What Is Network Marketing?
Network Marketing is a great way for you to earn money - with several big advantages over traditional workstyles:
You're your own boss! You decide when you're going to work, and how hard. You decide whether you can take time off. If you want to work around family or other commitments - you can. It's well-suited as a part-time activity. However, like most businesses, your earnings depend on how much you sell.
You pick the products to sell! You can pick the things you like and believe in. So you can feel confident about promoting them. Customers will notice your enthusiasm - and warm to it - so selling becomes much easier. Conversely, they react negatively if they suspect you're cynically pushing something you don't like.
You decide how to work! If you're looking for more contact with other people then go for Party Plan or Door-To-Door. If you're not comfortable about talking to strangers, you don't have to. Just pick one of the other approaches - Mailshots, Leaflets or Adverts.
Who Can Do It?
Anyone can join a network marketing scheme - as long as they're 18 or over. A few schemes accept 16 year olds - with restrictions. There's no requirement for qualifications or previous experience.
Network Marketing is particularly well suited to:
People who relish the challenge of running their own business.
Parents who need to fit their work around the needs of young families.
People with health problems or disabilities that restrict their work options.
Retired people who want keep active and top-up their income.
People with full-time jobs who want to earn a bit extra.
Anyone who's finding it difficult to get a job.
How Much Will I Earn?
It's possible to make a lot of money at network marketing. One big hitter recently reported that his team had sold £1 million worth of products in a month. Even if he only gets 1%, he's going to have tax problems beyond our wildest dreams! However, like all big hitters, this has only been achieved through long hours, hard work and perseverance - with a little bit of luck thrown in.
Your earnings will depend on how much time, effort and cunning you put into it - which is up to you. In the UK, 95% of networkers are part-timers and their average sales are £2,659 a year. So average earnings are around £500 a year for a few hours a week. You'll see lots of opportunities claiming big earnings for very little effort. You can safely assume these are scams.
Businesses with products to sell traditionally had two options for reaching their end customers. They could use their own sales resources to sell direct. Or they could use traditional retailers (shops).
Network Marketing offers a third option that is often more effective, and cheaper, than the other methods. The company's goods and services are sold through independent salespeople - called Network Marketers (or Advisors, or Agents, or Distributors - different schemes use different names).
You're paid on a commission-only basis. Usually this is calculated as a percentage of the value of your sales. Often the percentage starts low and increases as you sell more. Your earnings depend entirely on your sales success.
Many schemes also encourage you to recruit other people into the scheme. You'll be paid either a fixed fee for each recruit, or a percentage of the recruit's sales (plus a percentage of the sales of people they recruit, and so on).
What Would I Have To Do?
As a network marketer your primary task is to sell goods and services for the company (or companies) whose scheme(s) you join. You have to find the customers and persuade them to buy.
Some companies have well-developed approaches which they can teach you, and which they expect you follow consistently. These can work well - so for beginners this is probably the best way to learn the ropes.
Other companies leave it up to you to decide how best to find customers. There are several basic approaches you can choose between: Party Plan,Door-To-Door, Mailshots, Leaflets and Adverts. Pick those you feel most comfortable with.
The easiest way to recruit other people as networkers is to talk to your best customers and gently persuade them to join the scheme. Other promotional techniques can be used once you've gained a bit more experience.
With some schemes you may also be involved in delivering the goods and services to your customers and collecting their payments. You're effectively running a tiny franchise operation.
What Help Will I Get?
Some companies are quite good on training you and supporting you through the learning curve. However these are the exception. Most companies just say that training and support is the job of your team leader (the person who recruited you). They may not have much more idea than you - the blind leading the blind!
How Much Will It Cost Me?
You shouldn't have to pay a joining fee for a networking scheme. However, you may need to buy a small stock of products to show customers. You will almost certainly need supplies of leaflets, brochures, price lists, and order forms. The company is entitled to make a reasonable charge for these sales materials.
UK government regulations require that your total up-front expenditure should not exceed £200 in the first week. You should be able to try out the scheme, find out how well it works, and decide whether you want to continue, without breaking that limit.
Isn't This Dodgy?
Network marketing is still tainted with the reputation of the old pyramid-selling scams and foot-in-the-door salesmen. In the UK, recent legislation has outlawed the worst excesses - and the best companies now adhere to voluntary codes of practice. The old problems have been greatly reduced but you still need to beware of rogues.
The attraction of less well-known companies is that they tend to pay higher commission rates. And an early joiner can (with a lot of effort) do very well by recruiting a large downline team of salespeople. The risk is that you might get caught by a scam.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
Don't get put off by all these warnings. There are some rogues out there and they are still catching unwary victims. However the vast majority of network marketers do steer clear of the rogues and make useful incomes by working with the many reputable companies.
Where's The Snag?
Nothing's perfect in this world. The main snags with network marketing are:
No guarantee of success. Customers don't have to buy from you. If the products you've chosen aren't attractive to the people you approach - you won't sell much.
Variable earnings. Some months will be much better than others. The bad months can be very dispiriting. Especially if you don't have any other source of income. A lot of networkers hit a lean patch and give up. You will need a certain mental toughness to keep going through the bad times.
Little training or support. Some companies are quite good on training you and supporting you through the learning curve. However these are the exception. Most companies just say that training and support is the job of your team leader (the person who recruited you). They may not have much more idea than you - the blind leading the blind! This is one of the reasons we include these articles.
Give a dog a bad name. Sadly, network marketing is still tainted with the reputation of the old pyramid-selling scams and foot-in-the-door salesmen. In the UK, recent legislation has outlawed the worst excesses and the best companies now adhere to voluntary codes of practice. The old problems have been greatly reduced but you still need to beware of scams. Be prepared for adverse comments from friends and family who aren't fully up-to-date.
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