To MLM or not to MLM that seems to be EVERYONE's question!

This week I was lucky to be flown up to Sydney for a nice night out with a company I am an ambassador for. It was a great night with some awesome people, but more on that in my next blog. This blog is about before the event and what one little conversation set off in my brain.

THE SET UP

It was a beautiful sunny day, as all of the various ambassadors assembled in the hotel foyer to get cabs. You know the scene; you don't know many people so you make polite conversation and be on your best behaviour. Being one of the older guys and believing in gentlemanly habits, I grabbed a cab and invited some peeps to join me. One rather striking couple came and sat in the back and that's when it happened.

 I'm a friendly guy so I ask what people do for a living to break the ice. Well the first one was a big faux pas. Turns out she was quite famous, yet I didn't have a clue. She really looked the part - pretty, amazing dress, stylish as you would expect. But that wasn't the surprising part.

THE RELEASE

What really surprised me what her boyfriend. An awesome guy, who I hit it off straight away. Just a down to earth dude, friendly and likable. He introduced himself with aplomb with - "I'm in Network Marketing." BOOM! Simple as that. No hesitation and right to the point. Most people I have met are shy and elusive when they talk about their MLM they represent. In fact the training says don't tell them at all!  Get them to an event then spring the trap, like people can't smell it a mile away....

That's why I loved this guy. Upfront, honest and genuinely proud of his job. Loved it.  So it made me think about all the people who dismiss Network Marketing as a con. Something to be shunned and almost afraid of. Like selling health goods was akin to getting people to drink the kool-aid or throw their money down the drain. Perhaps that's a fair perception as I'm sure many people have been burned by the promise of big money in Network Marketing companies. But then again, 90% of small businesses fail too - so do we put up our nose when our friend says they have started a small printing and want us to buy some business cards?

There seems to be a big divide between those who are advocates of NM and those who HATE it. A bit like Beliebers and the rest of us. But why the need for hate?

THEM AND US

It really made me think about my recent venture into the travel Network Marketing business. I joined to help get more holidays with my kids, a fairly honourable reason I would suppose. I didn't expect some of the reactions of people to my news. The judgement in their eyes, the almost fear that they will think less of me. I know some people have said straight away 'it's not for me', like I'm suggesting they strip for a living. Rather than join the fastest growing travel business on the planet.

Now, I'm a bit gun shy to be honest.  I feel a bit guilty and don't tell people about how I travel. Too afraid of what they might think. But why should I be ashamed of something that I have seen a lot of good and successful people really make a go of? Because of some shonky people in a similar industry? Well put up your hand if your industry hasn't ever had someone do the wrong thing. Hands down in your a lawyer, doctor, real estate agent, accountant, police officer or just about anyone in IT! People are shonky, not industries.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM

So what makes us reject the business model of Network Marketing? Was everyone burned by Amway back in the 1980's or is it something about selling? I would love to hear your thoughts as it seems to be such an emotive subject. But why? It's just a business model. I sell everyday in my other business, as do most entrepreneurs and small business owners - heck who doesn't have to sell something! Your kids school raffle tickets, your friends new clothing range or yourself when you go for a job. Let's face it we all sell. So what rubs people the wrong way about MLMs?

THE BOTTOM LINE

People are all different. We like different music, movies, clothes and jobs. We have different values and customs. Of course everyone wouldn't like the same industries, but do people have criticise something they haven't experienced or don't understand? I remember a time like that and it was called the 1970's, when being different was dangerous.

I hope one day to have the courage of this awesome guy I met who helps people get healthy. That's it. He genuinely cares about their outcomes and believes in the products he suggests. I could buy them from a shop with the same level of skilled advice, but why not support him in his business endeavours. After all he is just a guy making a living and surely he deserves a break. Maybe it's time to investigate rather than judge. Surely if Rich Dad, Poor Dad says it's okay, who am I to disagree!

 


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Andrew Ford

Social Star, Level 4, Suite 402, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.