“Remember to keep an open mind and get some new information!”
Two key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. I originally published this series back in November of 2013 when I wrote for the Examiner. Of the businesses that the average working-class person can get involved in, none are more controversial than “Multi-Level Network Marketing” businesses (MLMs). I bought into a MLM when I first started my federal career which was a learning experience. It sounded like a good idea at the time but didn’t go quite as planned. This series talks about what I both experienced and learned during that little experiment.
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This next series of articles will veer off the path of scholastic education and literacy, and venture into the world of financial literacy. This series will look at Multi-Level Network Marketing businesses (MLMs). It’s an subject area rarely explored in print, but one which we’ve all experienced through personal participation, being recruited or being sold a product or service by someone else.
These business models and the people involved with them are already highly scrutinized, thus the intent of this series is not to do more of the same. The goal will be to simply take an objective look at them from multiple perspectives: the business associate, their prospects, friends, relatives and coworkers. As a writer, my goal will be to be fair in my commentary.
This topic will potentially touch multiple people. It’s particularly relevant in this era of recessions, further potential government shutdowns and sequestrations where people are being forced to consider alternative ways of earning income. Again, the goal here is not to sway anyone to a particular side, but simply to educate readers curious enough to read this series.
“Hey man, I want to talk to you. I’ve been watching you. You look like a serious brother, and I have a business opportunity to turn you onto,” a bus driver told me at the beginning of my commute one morning. “I don’t want to drive this bus forever, and I want to make some real money! Take this brochure and if you text me your number, I’ll invite to one of our meetings so you can get some more information!”
I could hear some contempt in his voice, particularly about having to work his job which was interesting. It raised a couple of questions in my mind. Why would someone feel contempt about working their job? Why would someone feel contempt about working a job? Why would someone feel resentful about having a paycheck? Many would say that there’s dignity in working. We’ll revisit this later in one of the subsequent parts of this series.
Besides being surprised that one of the metro bus drivers ‘prospected’ me for recruitment into his business, it brought back memories of my own experiment with Multi-Level Network Marketing. Just briefly, Multi-level Marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople they recruit.
What made this bus driver prospect me? And what made him consider me a “serious brother?” It could’ve been my regular ridership on his route most mornings. Perhaps it was my “serious” appearance and disposition that made me seem like someone who could effectively work in his business and help he and his colleagues achieve their financial and life dreams.
My thoughts reflected to the many network marketers encountered during my travels in person and on social media, and what their motivations were. My motivations at one time for participating in one were: becoming rich, taking advantage of business tax breaks, and being able to walk away from my job.
Since 2005, multiple opportunities have come across my path. The first was from an Indian man in his late 20s in a supermarket late one night just before I moved away from Michigan. After striking up a friendly conversation with me about my life and aspirations, he started talking about an ecommerce business he was involved in. He encouraged me to learn more about it and to, “keep an open mind and get some information,” common phrases used by prospectors. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
Since then there have been numerous offers to participate in businesses involved in ecommerce, financial counseling, travel services, weight loss/health products, legal advice, organic coffee, and health care services. The list goes on. You name it, and someone has gotten it covered.
At their informational meetings, most if not all the network marketing businesses had elaborate presentations, and marketed dreams of:
• Financial independence;
• Making multiple residual passive income streams;
• Walking away from 9-5 jobs;
• Taking vacations whenever desired;
• Making your own schedule and;
• Making a full-time income on part-time hours.
This topic will be examined in greater detail in the subsequent articles. People’s motivation for joining this type of enterprise will be examined in part two of this series.
Thank you for reading this blog post. If you enjoyed this piece, you might also enjoy:
• Are you getting your Matching Contribution? A discussion on saving for retirement
• A look at the Law of Compounding Interest and why you should care
• Your Net Worth, your Gross Salary, and what they mean
• Is there power in budgeting your money
• I still don’t have a car in 2018: A story about playing financial chess
• We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
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