Network Marketers Never Die

Network marketers never really die . . . they just change companies!

Have you ever been approached by a friend who wants you to take a look at something he or she has just discovered?  The opportunity surely will change the world, help you lose weight, create and earn an extra $500 per month in income all while working from home in your pajamas!  Well I have.  My run with one particular network marketing company lasted over a decade.

At first my friend called me one day in 1998 because she thought that I needed the products.  I was experiencing severe pain after an auto accident which was preventing me from returning to work.  So-and-so had gotten tremendous benefits from this new company’s products and I could learn all about it on a 3-way phone call.  Before long, Donna was at my house providing a product demonstration (called a “roll out”) and loaning me a Japanese magnetic mattress pad.  It made sense to me that a product that helped lower “physical discomfort” and improve sleep would have the potential to help me.  I trusted her and bought a smaller product and eventually the full mattress pad plus insoles for my shoes.  Impressed by what I saw, she invited me to a Wellness Preview where I took a closer look at the business.

Network marketing (NWM) is simply a means of distributing goods or services via a network of individual representatives who sign up with the company.  They are not employees but a sort of independent sales associate.  Instead of selling products via a store front, or now-a-days via ecommerce, the hierarchical matrix of Wellness Consultants (or whatever title is given) finds the customers and makes the sales.  If one Consultant finds another to do the same thing then the first person will receive an override, bonus, etc. according to a set compensation plan.  The concept made sense to me in 1998 and still does.  I researched the difference between NWM and pyramid schemes:  the latter usually collect some kind of large fee without any goods or services being provided.  Pyramid or ponzi schemes are illegal.  Network marketing is legal.

My sleep did improve and my pain went down some.  Oh how much I have learned about my health since then (!) yet I did receive some benefits.  This was enough to have a big “product experience” when those benefits helped me to return to work, thus providing me with a conversation-starter with my own new prospects.  Unfortunately I lost a year or more analyzing the products instead of sharing more of what they did for people.  My research background gave me a bit of analysis paralysis trying to understand the science behind the innovative technologies crafted into wellness products.  This over-thinking of things actually ended up stalling my ability to help more people; you can reach more people if you focus on building a business instead of, well, trying to “help people” with the products.  “Sell the sizzle,” they say.

In due time, I did achieve the first level of leadership:  Silver Independent Wellness Consultants.  In a single month, with the help of my friend and my downline organization (i.e. those whom I brought into the business), we generated $20,000 in sales plus met some additional criteria.  My organization and the local consultants we ran with held product and business-oriented events, nearly a hundred Wellness Previews, trainings, booths at job fairs, product demonstrations at wellness fairs and markets, and really tried to make a go of things.  I even presented Nikken at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association State Conference with a physical therapist friend in the business.  Along the way I met some amazing people, some of whom I still chat with occasionally today.  You do develop a special bond with fellow Distributors who are smiling, positive, and trying to make a difference in his or her sphere of influence in the world!  Sure was more happiness there than in my traditional job in healthcare or “sick care” as we used to call it.

Yesterday a gal called me whom I had not talked to in over 10 years and since I had moved away from our circle of distributors in the Chicago suburbs.  She said she came across my business card and wondered how I was doing?  Sure was nice catching up with her for the first few moments.  Quickly she launched into an unusual discussion of two new companies, one familiar to me, that a friend was trying to get her involved in but she did not want to sell whitening toothpaste!  Not sure if she was complaining or prospecting?  Anyhoo, we are both occupational therapists which is probably what attracted both of us to Nikken’s “5 Pillars of Health” philosophy and wellness technologies.  Yet at some point we all need toothpaste so why not buy it from a friend?  [These are my words, not hers.  Based upon my own practice of recommending favorite products via affiliate programs.  Check out Julie’s Favorites below.  ;)]

Pat’s call was one of two prospecting calls this past week.  The first one was actually from a third gal who wanted me to look at a FitBit-type of personal monitoring device that had  a special germanium plate that was supposed to block electromagnetic frequency radiation (aka EMFs).  Oh dear.  I asked for research evidence of its effectiveness and ended up watching a video on the product benefits.  Below this YouTube listing was a video on the company’s compensation plan!  Perhaps I need to warn future network marketers who come a-calling:  I came into this industry as a skeptic and left it as a certified network marketer.  Yes, there was a program sponsored by the University of Illinois for persons of many different companies, given by a marketing professor and gaga-millionaire from the skin care company who now sells whitening toothpaste.  You gotta do better than this to snatch my attention gals . . .  Still love ya hon!

So I say:  Network marketers never die they just switch companies!  While I have seen this over and over again with my former Nikken buddies, all of us still use their products.  They are great and we are still sold on them.  There’s a KenkoAir purifier in our bedroom as I write this and our home, even this many years later, would still certify as a Nikken Wellness Home.  That also means that I bought-into and bought a lot of products . . . to support my health, of course . . . to demonstrate while enjoying the benefits . . . should I ever get back into the business . . . oh dear ones, I really don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

Nikken, independent, wellness, consultant, business, home business, opportunity, Japanese, company,

But I tell ya Gentle Reader, I will incorporate the concepts of leverage and word-of-mouth advertising (now called social media) should the Lord allow me to develop my company, Two Step Solutions, LLC.  My experience in network marketing definitely tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit that led to two other home businesses:  the Living Safely Program and Trinity Jewelry by Design.  I guess there is just something in me that loves to create new things.  Call it “humans being more?”

Hmmmm, I am getting a little happy feeling just thinking about it!


A missed opportunity to minister

James 1:2-8 (NIV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Perhaps it is a weakness in my character that requires refinement?  To witness the love of Christ to others in our times of trial serves as both a powerful witness for Christ and perfector of our own faith.  Heck, with the amount of suffering I have endured, I don’t want any of it to be wasted.  Or repeated!  So today I wonder if it is possible that I have missed one particular situation of opportunity:  the Emergency Room.  Finally my broken heart has calmed down enough to consider the possibility . . .

Ten times I have landed in the ER in the past 4 1/2 years.  The first time was at the beginning of this illness with the viral hepatitis that started it all.  The next nine trips were all for wretched, continual seizure attacks that would not stop.  Most times the ER Docs could get them and the pain that accompanied them to stop with a combination of fluids and some kind of medication.  Often the medication made me worse.  Usually I would walk out of there about 5 hours later as a beaten puppy with an exhausted husband faithfully at my side.  And sometimes I even got a break in the convulsive episodes for some of the subsequent 24 hours.  This became less true with each subsequent visit.

Twice during my severe distress, barely able to punch out a few words when having difficulty breathing and my “brain on fire,” I have sworn at the person who I thought was not helping me.  Not cool.  Even a person with Tourette’s Syndrome or senile dementia has some responsibility to try to find reasonable means to communicate his or her needs.  My frustration got the best of me and I forgot who I belong to in Christ.  I forgot Who was in charge those nights in the ER.  I forgot who allowed these refining fires into my life for my highest good.  I lost the image He gave me of His tears as He hung from the cross for me.  I ceased to remember the gifts, the crown of glory that awaits those who are in Christ Jesus.  I certainly did not remember that even these ugly things were working together for my good (Romans 8:28) even when amongst the staff at the hospital.  And my witness for the One Who saved me was tarnished for sure.  In my own strength, I failed to get my needs met and failed to minister.  We left this past Friday night with me weeping, still seizing, and unable to walk . . .

Sure, I am human:  weak, limited in strength and in power.  I pray and my husband prays continuously for all aspects of this illness.  I submit to the will of Christ.  I could also describe for you the victories, the growth, the good things that have happened amidst the traumatic.  For example, Friday night after an IV treatment for chronic Lyme disease was supposed to be for salvaging what remained of my birthday.  That did not happen when I spent the evening in the emergency room.  I was sick all day on Saturday and Sunday.  Even so there were sweet gifts at dusk on each of those days and in the morning on Monday when I got to work in my garden again; for that I am grateful.  My spirit soars out there dontcha know . . .

Here is the scripture that is convicting me on a Tuesday.  See if you can follow where my heart, where my spirit has led me:

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NIV)

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Such is the opportunity for ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for those who suffer.  It’s not all about us.  My Lord, help me in your grace to use the witness of Your own life and the apostle Paul who wrote these words to strengthen my own ministry in times of need for your glory.  I have failed and want to do as You would have me do no matter what happens to me.  Please strengthen my beloved Steve as well.  Thank you for his care, love, and companionship in the best of times, the worst of times.  Bless him oh please.  He has been so good to me.

1 Peter 5:4, crown, glory, submit, His will, crown of glory, thy will be done, purpose, suffering, hope, Jesus Christ, reward, heaven