Upon asking a friend to help me out by letting me host a party for a few friends he would invite, he pointed out that the challenge was that “everyone is selling something these days.”
He has a valid point.
We all know SOMEONE that is selling SOMETHING. Stella & Dot, Herbalife, Scentsy, Mary Kay, Avon, Arbonne, Body Wraps, Chia Seeds, Water Purification systems, Passion Parties, Juice Plus, Weight Loss something or other, and of course, Nerium (that skin cream I mentioned).
When the chance to begin selling Nerium was brought to me, I was SO NOT WILLING to be another one of these “people selling something.” NOT. WILLING. After all, I HATE HATE HATE it when people bring their crap that I don’t need to me to buy—or worse the “business opportunity” to “buy into.” Blech.
The how and why I eventually came around is another story that I will save for another time (ask me anytime!)
But when my friend said those words today: “Everyone is selling something” and I pondered the statement for a few hours, I swear I heard a distinctive click in my head. The whole picture kind of zipped to one side and swirled around and landed in a whole new position—yes, I experienced a shift.
Everyone IS selling something these days. MultiBILLION dollar companies spend MILLIONS of dollars constantly bombarding me from every single angle with ad messages. They distract me on the freeway (hello sexxxy lady in the Spanish liquor ads!), interrupt favorite TV shows(no I do not have TIVO), fill 1/3rd of every hour on the radio(Gallery Furniture saves you money!) line my Facebook page(No I am not a black woman that needs grant money for a college education), pop up whenever I click to almost ANY website(yes I am SURE I want to leave this page!!), appear at the top of search engines, on the back of taxi cabs and bathroom stall doors(good to know where I can post bail for my drunk friends.)
No flat surface is safe. Brands “sponsor” athletes and performing artists, festivals, parades and anything else that is in the public eye. This is called “front of mind” marketing. There is no call to action telling you to “buy this.” It is just linking things you like to products they sell so that subconsciously you connect the two enough to make the choice to buy theirs instead of the other guy’s when it comes down to it. It is subversive and questionably ethical, all things considered. It is using psychology against you and your tender, impressionable brain. I think it stinks.
Enter network marketing. Some call it MLM (multilevel marketing), some call it relationship marketing, and ignorant people think it is the same thing as pyramid schemes (it’s not) and possibly illegal (again, it’s not.) All it REALLY is, is a way to cut out the middle man—the big brand conglomerate—and keep all those millions of dollars that go to ad buys in the hands of the people who are using the product and who, in the end, are the MAIN way you get your intel on whether you will try a product or not. (These companies do not spend millions on ads and can therefor pass on a giant portion of the profits to the distributors, brand partners, consultants, etc.)
So, times are tough. People are unemployed and money is tight and we are all looking for ways to make a little extra where we can. Some folks are trying to craft and sell things on Etsy, some want to sell their art, photos, or music online. Some are going back to school hoping that ever elusive “enough education” will make them more desirable…blah blah blah. We all have our ways. Lots of us are turning to owning our own business. If we had a million dollars liquid cash, we might consider buying a McDonalds franchise or slapping up yet ANOTHER Starbucks. (Pretty sure we could duplicate the famous West Gray double-Starbucks success in other parts of the globe with ease!) But we don’t have a million dollars do we? If we did, in all likelihood we would spend it on our kid’s college education, our student loan debts or paying off our Hondas and modest 3/2/2 houses, etc. Oooohh fancy living.
So businesses like these network marketing companies are, in essence, a way to have a franchise of our very own without the massive buy-in. We like the product and use it ourselves; what is more natural than telling our friends about it? We tell our friends about our favorite brand of jeans, the great AC repair guy we used last summer, the transmission shop we trust not to screw us over. It is natural. This type of business—this kind of “selling” is natural. But more importantly it is a way to keep money in the hands of the people that need it most.
If you do not care for smelly candles, then no, you should not buy from my friend Tamsin who will be selling Scentsy soon. If you are not much into health food and healthy living, then you should probably skip buying Mila Chia seeds from my friend Joseph. If you are happy with your body weight then don’t bother looking into body wraps with my friends over at Premier Pilates. If you like buying drugstore cosmetics, then don’t hit up my Mary Kay girl Kali. If you have perfect skin, then smile patronizingly and ignore my posts about Nerium. Of course, if you happen to know someone who WOULD be interested, we would all appreciate that connection when you get a chance.
The point is, this is one very major step toward all that wealth redistribution so many of you are so adamant about. For those of you FOR it, it is a way to keep more cash in the hands of the 99%. For those of you against it, it is a way that those who are willing to WORK HARD to EARN their money can earn it ethically and without taking it away from someone else that earned it first. It is a win-win!
It is perfectly acceptable for an artist or musician to pimp themselves out and ask for community support. The vast majority of my circle of friends go to great lengths to support local talent. It is considered chic and socially conscious to buy local produce from farmers and locally made crafty items from the resident knitters/hat makers/costumers, etc. I am hereby inciting a revolution of attitude and thought toward those people who are “selling something” in a social networking company. It should not be considered taboo or rude or obnoxious. It should be viewed for what it is: your FRIENDS trying to make a better life for themselves.
Keep in mind that perhaps the single most valuable takeaway from companies like this is never the money. Almost all of these companies have a culture of positive, uplifting people sharing a constant stream of advice and help, edification and education about life, health, philosophy, business, and creating a better internal thought life—which as we all know, leads to a better external life in all kinds of areas. Many people sign up for the worldly riches, but end up being empowered, expanded, grown into the kind of person they never knew they could be. That alone is worth your supportive attitude and actions.
Network Marketing has been called “the business of the future” by Robert Kiyosaki. (Google him, he is not a random nobody) This kind of business was heralded as the best option for those seeking to grow financial independence and wealth outside of a normal 9 to 5 job by Harry S Dent, Jr. in The Roaring 2000’s (famous economist and financial fancypants predictor guy—Google him too!) A number of other finance and economical individuals have discussed MLMs in a multitude of books and articles. Check it out for yourself. A good session of thinking things through would probably suffice but I know how much you all love an “expert’s” opinion.
My call to action in this little diatribe is this: support not only your local artist and farm, but also your local entrepreneur. He or she wants to share something they found life-changing enough to risk failure and possibly ridicule from YOU, in order to make their lives be what they envision for themselves. They know, when they start that most people will sigh, roll their eyes and feel “bombarded with sales” by every new thing that comes along. But they also know that some people will resonate on the same level they did and see this thing for what it is: a chance. Or just a damn fine product that can improve their quality of life in some way—be it health, wellness, beauty, or other lifestyle centric product. You are going to buy stuff like this anyhow—you are just choosing to give the profits to Wal-Mart or CVS or L’Oreal or Lancome or whomever, as well as putting money in the pockets of the advertising companies whose business it is to use psychology to manipulate you.
If you are giving women holiday gifts this year, I ask that you consider someone that sells Stella & Dot or Scentsy. If you are looking to vastly improve your nutritional intake with a simple addition to your daily routine, consider Mila Chia. If you wear make-up and want the best quality for the most affordable price tag, consider Mary Kay.
And if you were planning to spend money on the skin quality of your face—be it with night cream, peels, Medspa treatments or plastic surgery, for wrinkles, blemishes, scars or dark spots, I ask that you consider this much more affordable and less invasive alternative called Nerium—at least enough to watch my quick little video. That’s all. Watch the video. If you are still curious then buy a bottle and try it for 30 days. There is ZERO difficulty in returning the bottle. Hell, I will volunteer to pick it up and return it for you myself if you are worried about having to go to the post office. No harm, no foul. All I ask is that you are willing and open to the fact that this is a legitimate and viable business option which I have chosen because I love the product. And I ask that you respect that choice and support it in whatever way you can—just like you do the other local folks around here. Let’s keep the money in the community and share our favorite products with each other and all be happier, healthier, and wealthier for it—in all the ways that matter.