Network Marketing – Hobby Or Job?

Anyone connected with network marketing has probably heard or said, “If you treat this like a hobby, you will be paid like a hobby. If you treat it like a business, you will be paid like it is a business.” I would like to change that to say, “If you treat you this like a hobby, it will cost you like a hobby, and if you treat it like a business, you will be rewarded like a business.” The reason I say this is because I am amazed at the number of people who are discouraged about their involvement in the mlm industry who seem to think that it is some magic bullet that, to use the well know line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Such is not the case; neither in network marketing the old way, nor, in the new paradigm of social, attraction, or magnetic marketing (Web 2.0).

Network marketing is a business, not a hobby. It takes work – lots of work. Especially is this true in the beginning. There is a huge learning curve with any business and mlm is no exception. And it begs the question, “It is worth it?” Multiplied thousands of people will say, “Yes, it is worth it.” What sets Network Marketing apart from a traditional business is that it can be done part-time if you so desire. You do not have to quit your day job and put the family’s future at risk for their security and well-being. You can begin part-time, say 10-12 hours a week, and set a goal (financial or the size of your organization) without have to “sell the farm” and hope that your new business floats.

However, therein is the problem. Because it can be done part-time, some people think that the effort can be minimal and the result optimal. This is not true. You cannot sign up in any Network Marketing company and hope to succeed if you are not willing to do the work necessary to succeed. It just will not happen. However, in most Network Marketing companies you will be paid according to your performance.

But you ask, “What about the person whose site said they made $50,000 in one week and I can too.” Are they lying? Or did they actually make that kind of money. To say they are lying is to go down a road I do not wish to travel. But there is usually more to it than meets the eye. With that particular project, they may have succeeded at a fantastic level. But, it is usually because of work that went before that project began, that gave them that level of success.

If you are thinking about joining the ranks of Network Marketing there is something I want you to consider. In order to be successful in any business, Network Marketing or otherwise, two things are necessary (well, maybe more, but it seems to me that these two are foundational).

1. It must have a product you can believe in.

2. It must have a fair compensation plan.

Let’s look at each of these individually:

First, you must believe in the product. Find a product that rings your bell. Something you can believe in and be proud to share (sell) to others. If you have to apologize because your product is not one of the best, you will find yourself starting strong, but finishing weak. There is no Network Marketing Company that believes their product is second rate and would want it marketed that way. No network marketing company that I know of that says, “We are number two but we are trying harder.” (That may have worked in renting cars, but in Network Marketing, especially with consumable product(s) everyone believes their product offers something that others are missing.) You must believe in and use your product or your integrity will not carry you through. After all, if you are not using the product, why should I? Personally, I have always had trouble with the car salesman who tried to sell me a Cadillac when he was driving a Honda. If your product is good, I would expect that you would be using it yourself. If not, why not?

Second, there must be a good (no, a great) compensation plan. People today can shop for Network Marketing companies just like they do for groceries or any other purchase. They want value for their investment. If it is going to involve their time and their money, they want to know about their return. And, they are not dumb. No one wants to invest time building a business, only to have some “break away” clause, or “the small print says we can do this” cause their dreams to be stolen from them. Some people have taken their entire down line from one business to another business because of unfair compensation practices from some companies. Having to “garage qualify” just to receive a bonus, or to meet some qualification to move to another level is not an acceptable compensation plan in today’s market. A new day is dawning and compensation packages must be competitive and fair for the independent distributor, or he/she will “plow in another field,” where the crop harvested can be worth the investment.

We simply must provide a better arena for people today who desire to have a home-based business in the Network Marketing business. If we don’t, the future will not look bright for network marketing and people will continue to move from one business to another, never finding the answer to the dreams they are chasing. Worse than that, Network Marketing (aka, mlm) will continue to be suspect in people’s minds and avoided by some who could be the most dynamic business builders in the industry, but who continue to stay away because of the reputation of it being a “scam” or that it is filled with people whose only desire is to make money rather than helping others find their dream.