Chapter 1: Network Marketing Isn’t Perfect…It’s Just BETTER!
Do you feel restless? Do you feel unsatisfied? Do you feel there must be a better way when it comes to your work and the way you make your living? The good news: There IS a better way, but it’s different than what you were taught in school. Let me explain. As I travel and speak around the world, I like to play an audience participation game. I ask people to help me create the ultimate business and to tell me specific things they’d like to have in that business and things they’d like to avoid. It always makes for a very interesting list. If we were face to face, I’d do the same thing with you now. But since we’re not, let me summarize what people from over 30 countries have told me while creating what I like to call “The Perfect Career List.”
People usually start naming things they don’t want:
• No boss
• No commute
• No alarm clock
• No employees
• No politics
• No compromises
• No discrimination
• No educational requirement
And then, as people start to use their imaginations in a
more positive way, they start to visualize some positive attributes:
• Something positive
• Great product or service
• Unlimited income
• Residual income
• Enjoy the people you work with
• Time freedom
• Something meaningful
• Personal growth
• Lots of perks
• Contribution to worthy causes
• Low risk
• Low start-up costs
• Tax benefits
Now, you might add some attributes of your own, but wouldn’t you agree that’s a pretty good start? Imagine being able to enjoy a career with all those attributes!
All “jobs” that I know of fall into one of five categories:
• Traditional business ownership
Here is the Wikipedia definition of blue-collar. “A blue-collar worker is a member of the working class who performs
manual labor.” My definition is someone who labors to fix something, make something, clean something, build something, or service something (or someone). In my life, I’ve worked many blue-collar jobs. And, for anyone who’s ever engaged in this line of work, there is a certain satisfaction in a job well done.
But here’s the big question: Can blue-collar work deliver on The Perfect Career List? The obvious answer is no. Sure, it can deliver on some of the attributes. It might have a great product and a low start-up cost or any number of other individual items on the list, but if you really look at it, blue-collar just can’t get you where you want to be. Not “The Perfect Career.”
Here is the Wikipedia definition of white-collar. “The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor. Typically white-collar work is performed in an office or cubicle.” My definition is a person who is employed by someone else to do work other than manual labor or sales. Many people choose a white-collar career, as it is one of the most socially acceptable of the options available. It has long been viewed as the safe and secure option. Recently that has changed. The implied contract that, if you are loyal to the company, the company will be loyal to you, is long gone. I’ve also been a white-collar worker in my career. In my experience, there are two types of people who do this type of work: Achievers and Hiders.
Achievers are the people who want to perform at a high level. They are ambitious, motivated and energetic. They are full of ideas and want to move up the corporate ladder, which are great attributes to have. But there is a downside for the Achiever.
The moment a person decides to be an Achiever, they become a target. Their boss sees them as threatening to their job, so they start to hold them down or take shots at their reputation. Their peers see them as a person who will either embarrass them or keep them from getting a promotion, so they start to do what they can to undermine their accomplishments. So, to remain an Achiever and survive in this hostile environment, a person must become good at one thing that has nothing to do with their productivity—and that’s politics. They must learn how to navigate the political world by diminishing their enemies and strengthening their relationship with powerful people. In fact, some of the most successful people in the corporate world aren’t Achievers at all. They are pure politicians.
So if you decide to work in the corporate environment and to be an Achiever, you must accept the fact that you must
become a good politician also. Now, let’s talk about the Hiders.
These are the people who HATE politics, but still need a job. They learn not to be the ambitious
They don’t stand out. They don’t speak up in meetings. They don’t bring new ideas. They HIDE. They see their heads down and do as they’re told. They do just enough so that they aren’t talked about negatively. They survive. And this has worked for decades. But in the New Economy, it’s becoming much more difficult to hide. And people are running out of time. So, back to our Perfect Career List: Can a white-collar job deliver on the list? Again, the clear answer is no—certainly not in very many areas.
Some people choose to get away from being an “employee”
and get involved in a sales career. This is certainly more adventurous
because typically salespeople are paid on their production
instead of by the hour.
I’ve known thousands of salespeople. There is a common
theme I’ve noticed over the course of my career. The typical
salesperson will have a period of time where everything goes
perfectly. Everything they touch turns to gold and they make
some really good money.
As soon as that happens, they almost always set their
lifestyle to that level of income. They buy a new house, get
new cars, put their kids in better schools, purchase a vacation
home—the works. Everything is great for a while.
And then something changes.
The company changes the compensation plan, their territory
gets reduced, a competitor shows up, they lose their best
customer, the economy goes into recession, new technology
makes their offer less valuable, or government regulations
change their industry. These are just a few examples. There
are hundreds more reasons why the salesperson’s world could
(and probably will) get more complicated.
When that happens, with the big lifestyle they’ve developed,
now 40 hours a week isn’t enough to pay the bills. So
they go to 50 hours a week. And then 60. And then 70. And
then their life gets very small. Yes, they have the stuff, but they
don’t have time to enjoy it.
The other challenge for the sales career is, no matter how
a person does, they still start at zero the next day. It can be
tiring to live under that kind of pressure over a long period
Can a sales career pay the bills? Sure. But can it deliver on
The Perfect Career we described earlier? Again, the answer
Traditional Business Ownership
Some people opt for the big dream—building their own
business where they are the boss and they call the shots. It’s an
exciting idea, isn’t it? Here’s the reality for most people:
Step One: They use their life savings, take on new debt,
and many times borrow money from friends and family to
Step Two: They take on more debt in the form of leases
and personal guarantees in just about every direction.
Step Three: Now instead of focusing on what they are
good at (let’s say they were great at sales and decided to start
their own business), they have to be all things to all people.
They act as attorney for legal matters, accountant for financial
matters, babysitter for employee matters, negotiator for purchasing
matters, and collection agency for accounts receivable
matters. They even get to take out the garbage. They are
doing EVERYTHING but selling, which is what they were
good at in the first place.
Step Four: They struggle. Instead of owning the business,
the business owns them. They are the first person to work and
the last person to leave. And after everyone else gets paid,
they might be able to take home enough money to pay their
own bills, let alone reduce the debt they incurred to start the
business in the first place.
Step Five: They succeed or they fail. They either hit a point
down the road where the business is successful, or they fail,
many times filing for bankruptcy and falling back into a cor
porate or sales job. And even if they are successful, that usually
means a lifetime of long hours and stress.
Sounds romantic doesn’t it? If you haven’t started your
own business before, ask friends who have if this description
isn’t accurate. Most people who start their own traditional
business aren’t worried about getting a return on their investment.
They just want a return OF their investment. It’s pretty
clear that traditional business ownership can’t provide the
Perfect Career as we’ve described it.
The last category of ways to earn a living in the world today
is to be an investor. And what do you need to become an
investor? Money, right? If you don’t have a lot of money, it’s
going to be very difficult to earn a living from the return on
your investments, especially if you try to be conservative to
reduce the risk of loss.
But let’s say you do. What’s the next thing you need in
order to be a successful investor? You need to have incredible
knowledge and skill. I know more people than I could
count who were skillful real estate investors over the years.
But when things radically changed in the real estate market,
their skill couldn’t help them. They lost big.
Would you like to invest in someone’s traditional small
business? Good luck. In most cases, you won’t be an investor;
you are more likely to be a philanthropist.
How about the stock market? People do great there, don’t
they? A few do, at least from time to time. But I know more
people who’ve lost than have won, especially in the past decade.
It’s very difficult to have guaranteed returns when you’re
not in control. And trust me, as an investor you are NOT in
control. Anything can happen. And it can happen overnight.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate that point. In late 2001,
I was living large. I had sold a company I co-founded and was
working as a very highly paid consultant. For my part of the
sale I received approximately 170,000 shares of stock in the
new company. It was publicly traded on the New York Stock
Exchange and selling for about $44 a share, which meant the
value of my stock was around $7.5 million. I had big income
and a great portfolio. Life was GOOD.
I used part of the stock to secure a home construction loan
of about $2 million for a dream house I was building. As for
the rest, I didn’t diversify because I knew the company was in
great shape with a good product and an amazing sales force.
Then something out of my control happened. Overnight
the stock went to $37 a share because a group of investors
had targeted the company and shorted the stock. In other
words, the lower the stock price went, the more money they
I thought it was ridiculous because the company was doing
great, so I bought some more shares at $37, using my existing
shares as collateral, knowing the price would go back
up. It went to $33. I bought more shares. It went to $27. I
started getting margin calls, which meant if I didn’t send them
money, they were going to start selling my shares to cover the
losses. I didn’t have it to send. The stock continued to go down.
It went all the way to $10 a share and my $7.5 million was gone. Poof! All in less
than 90 days. Now, the stock eventually came back and the
company was taken private for $65 a share. But I wasn’t there
to capitalize on it. I was wiped out.
Could I have been smarter? Sure. Did I make mistakes?
Absolutely. But here’s the lesson: If you’re going to be an investor,
you have to accept that things will be taken out of your
control from time to time. And when that happens, it can be
So, back to our Perfect Career List. Can being an investor
deliver on that list? I don’t think so.
We’ve talked about blue-collar work, white-collar work,
sales, traditional business ownership, and investing. And
none of them can deliver on our Perfect Career List. So is the
perfect career even possible? The answer is yes, but to get there
you need to understand that everything is changing. The old
models of compensation are dead or dying, and we are going
through the biggest economic shift in any of our lifetimes.
The NEW Economy
The world as you know it has changed. For the people who
don’t recognize that fact, it will be the worst of times. For the
people who do, it will be the best of times.
Over the last 100 years, an interesting phenomenon occurred.
The rise of the corporation became the standard in
society. The safe and respected place for people to exist in the
workplace was as an employee.
Step One: Go to school to learn how to be an employee.
Step Two: Find a company that will employ you.
Step Three: Work for that company for 40 years.
Step Four: Retire.
In recent decades, the promise of being rewarded by the
company for your loyalty and hard work has been exposed as
a myth. People began to realize the loyalty they were giving to
their company was not being given in return. So a different
Step One: Go to school to learn to be an employee.
Step Two: Find a company that will employ you.
Step Three: Switch companies for various political and
economic reasons every three to five years over the course of
Step Four: Find that you can’t retire comfortably after 40
years, so you keep working.
And now we are going through the biggest shift in any
of our lifetimes. For a century, companies have paid people
by the hour, by the week, or by the year. That’s changing on a
The world is moving toward a performance economy.
And it’s already happening. Here’s what that means: In the future,
you’re only going to be paid for performance. You won’t
be paid for your time anymore. Servers in the food industry
already live in this model. They get a very low hourly wage required
by law and they make their living through tips, based
on their performance.
If you can imagine the same model being applied to virtually
every job in the world, you will see what is coming.
The person cleaning the rooms in a hotel won’t be paid by the
hour anymore. They’ll be paid per room.
For office workers, here’s an example.
A person has a $60,000 annual salary.
Step One: The company will lower that salary to something
like $50,000 because with today’s marketplace there are
other people to take the job for a lower amount.
Step Two: They will reduce their “base” salary to something
like $20,000 a year.
Step Three: They will tell that person that they can get an
additional $30,000 over the year if they hit certain performance
benchmarks on a monthly basis.
In other words, if they hit their numbers, they can make
an additional $2,500 a month. Now the pressure is on, and the
company is loving it. If you don’t hit your numbers they can
save even more money. If you DO hit your numbers, guess
what’s in your future? They are going to raise your requirements.
Unless you are extremely specialized, this will happen to
you if it hasn’t already. Count on it. And it will happen in
every single profession worldwide. The evolution has begun.
Why is this happening? One, it’s a better model for the
company. They’ll get better results with less expense. Two, the
New Economy needs fewer people, so the company has more
people competing for fewer and fewer jobs.
Let me explain why the New Economy needs fewer people.
The exponential rise of technology has changed everything.
Over 100 years ago, 90% of the population worked in
agriculture. Today, because of dramatic efficiencies, it’s less
than 1%, and the farming jobs are gone.
Remember customer service call centers where you talked
to people? Today, you talk to a machine and those jobs are
gone. Remember when companies had a massive amount of
salespeople? Now people order online and those sales jobs are
gone. Remember Blockbuster video and all of its employees?
Now people watch movies on their handheld or tablet devices,
and those jobs are gone. I love books, but go to your local
bookstore while you can. They will be history soon, and so
will the jobs provided by those stores.
I could go on and on through virtually every work category
in the world. Technology and efficiency are eliminating
jobs every single day, and there is nothing we can do to stop
it. In fact, it’s only going to accelerate. If you are sitting there
waiting for the economy to bounce back and for jobs to return,
don’t. They aren’t coming back.
Just like the children of farmers saw the handwriting on
the wall and left farming for new vocations, the same thing
is happening for people working in Old Economy jobs. To
survive, they’ll need to open their eyes to this reality and find
Network Marketing is BETTER
The best way I know to not only survive, but to thrive in
the New Economy, is Network Marketing. There are important
products and services in the world today that need to be
promoted to the people who need them. Consumers still need
to be educated.
Companies have choices. They can dive into the everfragmented
world of advertising to get the word out, they can
hire a large and expensive sales force to sell their products or
services, or they can utilize Network Marketing to tell their
story to the world.
More and more companies will choose to use Network
Marketing because it fits the New Economy. They can provide
all the corporate support and pay distributors on a purely
performance basis to promote their products. It’s extremely
efficient because in the New Economy, word-of-mouth advertising
continues to work better than any other form of promotion.
The company can just take the money they would
have spent on advertising and promotion and pay it to their
distributors to spread the word.
What that means for you as an entrepreneur is that you
can receive all the benefits of traditional business ownership
without the typical risks. And there will be no cap on your
income, because Network Marketing companies WANT you
to make as much as possible. If you’re going to be paid for
performance anyway, why live with the cap?
The “Catch” To Network Marketing
This all sounds great and it is. But there is a catch that
most people won’t tell you. Here it is:
You must accept a temporary loss of social
esteem from ignorant people.
That means for a while, people still living in and trying to
function in the old system will think less of you. They won’t
understand. They’ll think you’re crazy for being involved in
And actually, the word “accept” isn’t completely accurate.
You need to do more than that. You need to embrace the temporary
loss of social esteem from ignorant people. YOU are
seeing the future before it becomes apparent to everyone else.
YOU are the smart one. YOU are the person taking action to
live a better life.
There is a reason why people will think less of you, and it’s
not just because they are stuck in the old system. Let me see
if I can help you better understand this, because if you decide
to make Network Marketing your profession, it’s important
Most people have either joined a Network Marketing
company or know someone who has. This is what goes
through the mind of virtually every person who decides to get
involved. “Hmm, I can think of five or six people who might
do this too! My sister would be great! My friend loves this
kind of thing. I know this other person who could be amazing!
Okay, I’ll join.”
In other words, they aren’t joining a profession. They’re
just hoping to get lucky, sign up a few people to cover their
own start-up costs, and sit back and wait for the money to roll
in. The allure of being paid for someone else’s efforts is powerful,
but often badly misunderstood.
They haven’t started a real business. They just purchased
a glorified lottery ticket. Imagine a lottery ticket with six
scratch-off spots. Those spots represent each of the people the
new person thinks will certainly join. They approach those
people and try to get them to join. And because of their lack
of skill, most of them end up with nothing—just like the lottery
ticket. This becomes just another lost opportunity, and
since they have acted in unskilled ignorance, they may have
damaged some friendships as well.
So they rip up the ticket, and instead of taking responsibility
for not really starting their business, they blame Network
Marketing and make sure to tell the world, “Look, I’ve
been there. I’ve done it. I talked to every person I know, and
Network Marketing just doesn’t work. Save your money.”
THAT’S what you’re dealing with if you choose this as
a profession—the opinions of ignorant people who think
they’ve done it right and it doesn’t work. If that’s going to be
too hard to handle, then Network Marketing isn’t for you. But
if you can embrace it, the world is yours.
The people who embrace this get paid BIG money. Companies
will pay unlimited amounts to people who can help
blind people see, who can educate the ignorant, and who can
build a community of like-minded people.
Some people like to say, “Perception is reality.” I hate that
saying. All great leaders in the world have ignored it for centuries.
What if Nelson Mandela had said perception is reality?
What if Martin Luther King Jr. had said perception is reality?
What if Steve Jobs had said perception is reality? The great
leaders of the world said, “Reality is reality, and I’m going to
do everything possible to help people understand that fact.”
The truth is, Network Marketing isn’t perfect. It’s just
BETTER. And that’s reality!