Network Marketing can be a hard slog, but choosing the right company and the right product suite can provide dividends. My early experience’s of the sector was common to most where I failed at first with a company selling water filters and then succeeded with a subsequent company,  reaching a Senior Marketing Director position for Telco Global Communications a company that utilised the Network Marketing business model to establish substantial growth in the late 90’s. For the benefit of those who are exploring business models and business opportunities, this article and the video I am sharing below gives an analysis as to where this industry currently stands, and why you should do your due diligence and take a look at what it has to offer. When I reflect Network Marketing, it gave me the opportunity to surpass the income I was earning in my day job, (which was at the time as a Principal Officer for a National Voluntary Sector Organisation that worked with young people who were vulnerable), and go on a journey in business that saw one of my companies make over £1.5m in sales. Not bad for a Battersea boy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.

What is Network Marketing?
Network Marketing is the modern name for Multi Level Marketing or MLM which also know as direct selling, a form of sales and distribution that includes sales made through the party plan, one-on-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements as well as more recently with internet sales. The three top revenue companies in the US in revenue terms for 2016, are Amway, Avon, Herbalife which are now household names were responsible for $15 billion dollars in product sales.

Mature Business Model
You may have heard many negatives attributed to Network Marketing with stories of individuals who entered in this field, only to share the products and the business opportunity with friends and family, to find they did not successfully fulfil their dreams and ambitions they thought the vehicle would help them achieve. This was, is, and will be the the reality for many people who do join companies in the network marketing sector on the basis of the promise of successfully achieving the residual incomes that comes with successfully achieving the ascending ranks and position advancement within companies that employ these systems of marketing; this only ever materialises for the few and not the many. This does not mean that Network Marketing does not work, on the contrary, it just doesn’t work for people who are not prepared to do the work of sharing the product.

Having said that not all network marketing companies and opportunities are equal. To achieve success as with any endeavour it takes application, focus and hard work. A favourite saying within the industry, is that it is Net’Work’ Marketing. However there are many people within industry earning an additional income of top their main jobs, whether it be a small amount or one that is continually increasing with the potential to scale.  I would apply the 80/20 Pareto principle, when thinking of the numbers of those who go on to earn money from this methodology.

Ponzi’s Pyramids and Perspective
Looked at from a more sober stand point than an often circulated image of proponents involved with this business model being likened to junkies who have not got a grasp on all of their rational senses, and who are being scammed into a pyramid or Ponzi scheme; Network marketing needs to be given some perspective and respect. Network marketing is not a Pyramid or Ponzi scheme, these are illegal and have no real product or value that is being exchanged and end up with lots of people losing their money after being promised financial gain.

The Challenge
If you get involved with a company using network marketing, the number one challenge to your mindset for success and resolve long term, will be mitigating the narratives of individuals spending too much time and money they could ill afford. These stories will usually come from people who know people who tried at great lengths to recruit them to a business opportunity only to not continue with the opportunity themselves. Believing that a failure to succeed at the business opportunity reflects on the opportunity. As someone who actually earned a healthy additional income for several years, let me assure you the industry is no joke, and there are many people who have successfully work with Network Marketing and earned.

Regulation and Trade
Regulated world-wide by trade bodies such as the Direct Selling Association; the Network Marketing model uses independent associates/distributors to get their products to market, allowing these associates to build a network of distributors/marketers who all doing the same thing purchasing products at wholesale and selling for a retail profit whilst recruiting others via opportunity meetings and presentations that make joe public aware of this alternative to the corporate sales model that seeks to recruit and train salaried sales people. Those successful at building large networks receive a commission on their whole network which conceivably grow into 100’s/Tens of 1000’s and where the very successful consultants receive very large payments on a weekly or monthly basis.

Network marketing companies in the main have high quality products that are usually more expensive than high street brands and employ this model of business because it is a much more efficient distribution method than paying exorbitant amounts on corporate marketing and media to achieve brand awareness in different marketplaces where, people recommending products to each other based on their experience is so much more powerful. Companies use the money they would spend on corporate marketing to reward associates and their networks; it is in this way that the business model creates a very attractive win-win proposition, to those seeking a way to earn an additional income.

Success comes from skill development
Some of the required skills necessary are, to be able to credibly represent the brand and the products of these companies. To become a high level earner, you also have to be able to persuade others to join the opportunity by successfully sharing the products, and develop their ability to be successful at duplicating that effort. Once new distributors/associates have signed up and venture into this world to persuade others, they then recognise for success to be achieved, they themselves as individual have to grow into, experience and understand the nuances of self development into a network marketing business. Here is the rub; many are attracted to the rewards network marketing offers but often lack the self discipline to develop the skills, and endurance required to develop the credibility to build the momentum necessary to nurture the development of the roots of a distributor network to reach the snowball effect needed to gain the holy grail of passive income that the industry’s compensation plans potentially offer.