Have you ever been approached by someone selling you the idea of financial freedom or gaining a secondary income?
I have. Many times. But there was one time I actually said yes and ended up joining a network marketing company also known as a MLM (multi-level marketing). I worked the business for 12 months, grew a team and immersed myself into it; going to the conventions and training sessions. I enjoyed it. I truly believed in the business.
However, after 12 months, I gave up my position and moved on to another venture. Did I regret joining? I guess not. I made some good money out of it, but I also strongly felt that particular business model wasn’t for me.
In hindsight, there were a few things I wish I knew before joining (especially as an introvert). So if you’re an introvert looking for some extra cash and you’re considering network marketing, you need to read this before you sign on the dotted line.
1. It’s Small Talk Central
Quite often in network marketing, the overarching companies don’t pay for marketing. You effectively provide the network! And YOU also do the marketing. The idea is that you will find and bring in your own business through personal contacts or referrals.
However, to bring in this business you have to speak to A LOT of people. They call it ‘prospecting’ which is really a fancy word for SMALL TALK. Striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is encouraged and often praised in this type of business. The whole point is to speak to as many people as you can, because the more people you talk to, the more chance you have in making a sale.
This is quite common amongst most business models however, I felt like this is intensified in a network marketing context.
2. Be prepared to HI 5 and ‘woop’ every 10 mins
Most network marketing companies have the same culture. It’s full of energy and everyone seems to be bouncing off the walls! (in a good way). Hi 5s and ‘wooping’ are both encouraged (and sometimes overused) at every event. The enthusiasm and positivity is sky high and it’s great, if you like that stuff but as an introvert it can be tiring.
An over enthusiastic environment can be extremely draining for introverts. Being forced to act bubbly and sociable can also make you feel awkward and out of place. Although we may be brimming with excitement on the inside our facial features sometimes fail to match up.
3. Cold calling
Another way to keep your business rolling is through cold calling. These essentially become a way to further market your product or service. When you’re given leads or referrals ideally you should call them within the 24 hrs. This means there’s no time to dilly dally. If you’re in this business to make money then you’ll need to keep on top of the sales calls.
4. Public Speaking
When you get to a certain level in your network marketing business you’re expected to hold meetings to recruit new people or tell them about your product. You also have to conduct training sessions for your team. This all requires public speaking. Yes, speaking in public…to people.
If you’re an introvert that doesn’t like public speaking then you’ll either need to overcome the fear or leave the company. If you want to progress through the ranks, public speaking is something you’ll need to get to grips with.
With all of that said…network marketing can be a great way to earn extra money. Many of them let you start on a part time basis and build your way up from there. If you work the system right there is money to be had.
We must remember that network marketing models cater towards extroverts. However, if you’re an introvert and you can look past some of the things mentioned above then by all means go for it! This post wasn’t written to deter you from doing it, but to make you aware of the type of environment you’ll be entering. Remember, not all environments were made for us and sometimes it’s not about fitting in, but rather realising your strengths and weaknesses and adapting wherever possible.
One way to look at is, is that you’ll defintiely be around like minded ambitious people, which is always a plus!
Have you ever done network marketing? What was your experience like?