I got the direct message in the image below a few weeks ago.
This is not the first time I’m getting a message like this, so I decided to tackle it head-on this time.
What is network marketing or multi-level marketing?
Network marketing or Multi-level marketing is a popular business opportunity for people looking to earn extra income from a side gig.
This style of marketing originated in the 1920’s when it was introduced by California Perfume Company (renamed as “Avon Products”)
Over time, It has remained a controversial marketing strategy, with countries like China making it illegal and banning its use due to the thin line between some network marketing schemes and traditional pyramid schemes. While not banned in Nigeria or the US, it does have a negative perception in some quarters.
However, quite surprisingly as well, the multi-level industry is one of the highest earning industries in history, paying out more than traditional high income industries such as sports and music.
The National Football League (NFL) , the highest professional level of American football in the world, shared revenues over $7.8bn in 2016. The American music industry earned $7.65 billion in revenue while the network marketing industry earned an estimated $183.7bn in global sales in 2013. This is higher than the government budgets of all the countries in West Africa put together.
What was my personal experience?
I was still in college (university) when I got signed up (indirectly) to the Forever Living Product (FLP) marketing program. FLP is a multi-level marketing company which manufactures and sells Aloe-Vera based products and other nutritional supplements.
To be honest, I got attracted to the opportunity to earn income by recruiting other sales representatives. I didn’t think much about the opportunity to sell the product line. So when it became a chore to recruit people, I tried to sell the product line but that didn’t work out so well.
It didn’t take me too long to realize it wasn’t working for me and I dropped it.
This was my personal experience and I acknowledge that, back then, I didn’t understand that learning how to sell was a key skill required to succeed in anything.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all sell; we sell our skills, our knowledge, our lives, our stories and so much more.
If you’re a career person, you sell your ability to get the job done to your boss or organization.
A business person? You are always trying to attract and keep the right customer.
Selling is a great skill and it’s one of the great things about network marketing; It forces you to learn how to sell.
Should you get into network marketing?
An investment decision is a private decision.
You need to decide if it is the right opportunity for you.
Do you have a clear understanding of how it earns you money? Things get tricky where the company does not market a clear underlying product or service. Forever Living product markets aloe-vera based products, Oriflame markets cosmetics.
Where the company does not market a clear product, It is most likely a pyramid scheme.
Does the company primarily compensate its participants or sales agents for recruiting others and not for selling its products or services? A marketing scheme where participants are primarily compensated for recruiting more participants is a red flag and might be a pyramid scheme.
Finally, is it the right investment decision for you? Are you willing to actively sell the company’s product line or service if it exists? The ability to sell is a core skill required to succeed in network marketing.
If you think you have strong selling skills, are you willing to put in the time required? and what are you willing to sell?
Swiss Golden is quite popular today. The company claims it is the only network marketing company trading a classic asset; gold. I do not have any experience with this company, so I honestly cannot share if it is a good investment decision or not.
However, there is no such thing as easy money. If it is easy money, then it will leave your hands easily.
Every opportunity requires a mindset.
Network marketing is an opportunity but it’s only for those who know how to use it, understand how it works and are willing to put in the work to succeed.
If you have doubts, there are other investment opportunities so don’t despair
Do what works for you. The Forbes list is proof that there are different routes to wealth.
Do you have a personal experience with network marketing? Feel free to share in the comment section below