Before I dive into this post, I want to say that this post is in no way meant to bash the industry or anyone in it. I have a ton of respect for the industry of network marketing and I think that it is a really incredible way for people to bring in an income for their family with a lot of flexibility. Being in network marketing can be really powerful because it can teach you the basics of running a business, which a lot of people use to branch out to running their own business later. I still love to support women in network marketing. I do not mean to discourage people from network marketing or encourage them to leave network marketing, just because I did. But I do want to share my story.
I was with one company for 4 years. I was a leader and I loved it; I loved leading, I loved the company and the product! I initially started to branch out and sell something else that I thought would make me more money temporarily. However, that turned out to be a poor decision on my part. I was too nervous to go into the unknown and start the business I currently have, so I figured it would be a good bridge. In the end it was just kind of a big distraction, a time waster, and I learned I just should have started this business at that point.
Why I decided to leave network marketing:
Lack of having total control over my own business
One of the best things about network marketing and direct sales is that in terms of the back-end business stuff, they do the heavy lifting for you.
You usually get a website, a database of all your customers and their orders, marketing supplies, and more. Plus, in most instances you don’t have to worry about shipping product yourself or keeping items on hand.
They even come up with different promotions for you to use to bring in more business. It’s great!
But you also have to go along with the direction of the company, and if you are like me and enjoy calling the shots, it can be challenging.
For people who love not having to make a lot of the decisions, it’s fantastic. But for people who like to be a bit more hands on in the back-end decision making, it can be a bit more challenging.
You could build a huge business and the whole company could go under, change direction, start selling something different, or be bought out. At the end of the day, it made me fearful that I could do all of this work and then have it all taken away from me for things that were very much out of my control because they are decisions being made at the company level.
Even though the company could be great and have the best of intentions, ultimately, if they change directions you have to decide if you want to change directions with them or leave. I did not like that level of uncertainty.
I didn’t feel like I had enough flexibility with my schedule
One reason I love owning my own business is that I get to decide when and where I want to work.
Since I homeschool my son, we aren’t tethered to a traditional school schedule. This means if we want to go somewhere right in the middle of January, we can!
I’m my previous retail management roles I was always working on the weekends. I realized in my party-plan business (which I really, truly loved!) I was back to working weekends...a lot!
I was starting to get really resentful. There would be certain times where I would do parties on weeknights or in the middle of the day, especially in the summer. But ultimately most of my parties were being conducted on the weekends. That worked out great when my son was younger and I needed my husband to be home to watch him, but it ended up that I was still missing out on things. I didn’t really like that because I love to travel and pick up and go, which I can do with my current business since everything is literally contained in my computer and my cell phone! I can pick up and go, I can work from anywhere, and I don’t have to worry about bringing product.
I know that a lot of people do online parties, but I’m a big extrovert so that never really brought me joy. I really was somebody who loved doing in-person parties and that was just no longer working for me.
3. Having to train women who didn’t take ownership of their business
There’s a saying that I firmly believe in, and that is “match effort for effort.” So don’t give a ton of training and coaching to people who just want to run it like a hobby and don’t have a lot of intentions of turning it into a business.
If I had women that joined just to get the discount, it didn’t bother me as long as I knew that that’s what they wanted. I would give them the appropriate level of training. But what was really exhausting was that I found myself spending time and effort to train people who said they wanted to work their business like a business, but there would always be some kind of excuse as to why they wouldn’t actually be doing that. So they would tell me they had certain goals and plans, yet every time I would follow up there would be some reason why they weren’t able to pull it off.
On the other side, I saw women who had huge life obstacles in their way who were consistently hitting their goals month after month. So it wasn’t that it couldn’t be done, just that certain people were deciding that their goal was a priority and other people were saying it was but weren’t acting like it was. It was frustrating in that I wasn’t getting paid in any of that training effort unless they were actually working their business like a business.
It was also very disheartening because I hated seeing so many women not believing in themselves or not trying. Now at the very least if somebody chooses to work with me, the payment has to come up front for my help and my knowledge. If they choose to not do anything with it, then that’s on them that they haven’t done it. I would still feel really sad and bummed out because I think that women are capable of so much, especially in the world of business. But at the end of the day it didn’t mean that I had spent 1-3 months working with the same person trying to help them, coach them, and cheer them on with not a whole heck of a lot to show for it.
Though I’m super grateful for my experience in network marketing and I have zero regrets, it helped me to get to where I am right now and I have a lot of very successful friends in the industry. It just ended up not feeling aligned with who I am, my values and what I want to be doing with my time. In the end, network marketing just wasn’t for me any longer.