I never thought I would get involved in multi-level marketing. In fact, I loathed the idea so much that I got annoyed at the mere mention of it. But then I started reading about new “social selling” businesses like Stella & Dot in the Wall Street Journal. After my curiosity spurred me to research the benefits these businesses offer for the right type of woman (social selling companies are 99% women), I did what my former impulsive self would do: I started my own MLM clothing company. My company has since closed, for a number of reasons — clothing proved too complicated for me, being a sole founder almost killed me, and cash flow dwindled… But after that experience, I gained a new perspective on “direct sales,” “direct retail,” “MLM,” or whatever term you choose to use, and decided to pursue it again. That said, it’s not for everyone. Have you wondered if it’s right for you?
Yesterday, I met up with my friend and fellow Beautycounter director, Tammy, from Northern California. Tammy broke down three simple characteristics people need to be successful with MLM:
- You should want something more in life. Whatever your hopes are, there should be a part of you that knows you want something more. It could be that you have financial goals that are not yet met. It could be that you’ve been staying at home with your kids and you want to get back to work. It could be that you want a new challenge. Whatever it is, you should want something bigger than just the opportunity itself. This is often called your WHY.
- You need to have a positive, likeable attitude. A positive attitude is not always natural and it takes work, but it can be learned. You can condition yourself to change your thinking. Daily gratitude journaling, reading, and affirmations help me a lot. The likeable part is necessary in any form of sales or people-related business. I’ve shared some self-help books that can improve this — and many other areas of your life — on my Pinterest board.
- You must be coachable. In MLM, you will get training, and you will have a lot of opportunities to be coached. Most people will ignore the advice and think they know better. Trust me: I have fallen into this trap, only to see my business soar after I admit that I don’t have all the answers. You must be willing to open your mind to learning from other successful people.
If the above three characteristics sound like you, then you might consider investigating direct sales or MLM. Here are some other things to keep in mind about the business:
- It’s work. To me, it’s fun work. But you still need to work it to earn money. As they say, “It works if you work it…” Just like Weight Watchers!
- It can take some time to build it up. If your goal is to earn an extra $500 per month it won’t take as long (obviously) than if your goal is to replace your full-time job, but it does take time and persistence nonetheless.
- Really research the company. Carefully consider who you join under before signing up. Make sure that the company has a product you love, a mission that you believe in, and that they provide tools that will make it easier to share the products and the business opportunity. Branding is crucial.
- Recruiting will be a big part of your job. This can be the hardest part, but for those who can recruit, this business can truly be a gold mine of residual income. Honestly, I don’t know why every temp staffing recruiter wouldn’t want to have an MLM stream of residual income on the side! If you don’t have recruiting experience, that’s okay too. You can learn it. What you do need is a sense of urgency and a willingness to talk about the business that you join. Here’s a video on how I got to director status at Beautycounter (in my second month!) through recruiting.
- You will need to make time to run your business. But the good news is that you can decide how much time you will put into it. Do you have 10 hours per week? Then you can do this.
It might be time for you to take a second look at this opportunity, even if it’s something you never thought you’d do.
I’d love to hear any questions you have about the business or any comments from your personal experiences in MLM and direct sales that could be helpful for someone who is considering it.