This chapter contains a list of activities that are distractions and time wasters that don’t directly lead to prospect enrollment and therefore business building.
I recommend you avoid if you want to quickly build your MLM business. I admit that I have fallen victim to many of them, and I lost a lot of time with minimal gain in every case. I genuinely hope you take this advice to heart because you will build faster if you avoid these common (and often tempting) pitfalls.
Some will seem counter intuitive, and you may even disagree with me on some of them, but if you are honest, you will realize I am right about them. We have enjoyed Diamond rank for many years, and I have witnessed or experienced how all these distractions slow people down toward their eventual goal.
Case in point: I have been focusing on building my training courses and my SimpleConnector app over the past several years. This has caused our own business to slow down. I’m okay with this because one of my goals once I hit Diamond was to generate multiple streams of income and to create products to help distributors more effectively build their businesses. I chose to do that by creating digital and printed products. But this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped building my MLM business. I use the same tools I am creating for you to support my business too, just at a lower level than a new builder.
In any case, you get to decide what is important to you. You may want to push to top level leadership ranks. It is up to you once you get to Diamond, but by then you will have more free time and can make better business decisions without the time and money challenges.
It might seem obvious, but there is a big difference in the results of different business activities. Business building activities lead directly to enrolling prospects and include things like going out and meeting new prospects, taking them to classes, doing one-on-ones, and enrolling new team members. They will increase your business rank and your bottom-line profits. ALL other “business” activities are what I call business support activities.
I had an epiphany a few years back when I was creating my weekly planning worksheet for my online course:
Business-building activities always involve prospects. If YOU are the only one doing the activity, then it is a support activity which adds NO additional direct money to your wallet. Support activities help prepare to build your business, at best, or distract you from building your business, at worst.Business-building activities always involve prospects at some level. If YOU are the only one doing the activity, then it is a support activity, and it adds NO additional direct money to your wallet.
There is an elephant in the room we should discuss: other MLM “opportunities.”
You’re a Target
As we grow bigger teams, we become targets of other MLMs. They see us as a fast track to building their business teams, so they want a “minute” of our time to prospect us for their new business. Typically, these predators hop from one opportunity to the next and are always looking for a bigger, better deal rather than just making the long-range decision to do the work required to build a stable business.
Some MLM predators will land in your downline to prey upon struggling distributors. Often, your downline who have been tempted by the other MLMs are looking for YOUR approval and hope you’ll join them in the other MLM telling you how amazing you could be in their MLM with your “huge” downline. They somehow think it would be ethical for you to convince your team to move with you. This is ignorant thinking and always ends up badly for both of you.
Avoid “New and Shiny” MLMs
As someone famous once said, “Just say no.” I’m not telling you to go through life with blinders on, but if you want to be successful with a PROVEN MLM, then don’t get distracted with the latest shiny MLM. Remember that ground floor opportunities usually imply that people who come on later will be at a disadvantage. MLMs are all about duplication. If the new people can’t duplicate the first ones, then the model fails. It becomes a crumbling pyramid.
New MLMs are being started every day by serial MLM CEOs, and most of them don’t survive even five years. How would you feel if, in five years, your $20,000 checks stopped, in one month, forever? It happens all the time. One estimate is that there are about 3000 MLMs at any given time with 1000 disappearing and 1000 new ones each year. Think hard before joining another, especially if you are having success with your current one.
I don’t know any successful MLM builder who has not been tempted by new and better-looking opportunities, and if we are honest, who hasn’t joined other MLMs at some point? However, what looks better isn’t always better in the long term. In these moments, take a step back and really look at the situation with logic and not with emotional excitement.
I’m Guilty of It Too
Just so you know I am human. I’m guilty of it too, and so have most of my leaders with various MLMs out there. It’s just sooooo tempting. We try to justify taking it on by unrealistically thinking, “How much time would it take, realistically?” Then, after we have wasted our money and time, we hopefully come to our senses and realize we made a mistake and back out of it.
One fundamental truth is that you can’t dedicate yourself and serve multiple masters in life, religion, or MLMs.
To truly build any successful business (including an MLM), you have to be wholly committed. You have to devote your life at least for a short time to build your foundation for the higher ranks. Putting your toes in the water won’t work. You have to make the decision and jump in.
Read Your Company’s Policy Manual
One thing to consider is that most MLMs have clauses in their agreements (you agreed to) that prohibit prospecting your team for other MLM business opportunities. It’s one thing to sell products to them, it’s another to prospect for business builders. Check the fine print of your MLM company. Some companies consider distributors “intellectual property” and can sue you if you prospect distributors in your downline or even crossline for another MLM company. Besides that, it’s just not ethical. Realize that you are “stealing” the work of their upline and downline leaders if you pluck a distributor from one company for another.
The industry-standard measurement for retention is three months. If someone is still buying after three months, they are considered active. The retention value of most MLMs is very low, between 8 percent and 15 percent. Translation: Most customers quit after three months.
In contrast, the retention numbers for better MLMs are much higher, which means that enrolled people will remain active customers. This will help to generate that elusive passive income we all want.
So, if you are after long-term passive income, spend your valuable time building up your business in a single company that has proven itself. Choose wisely, because if you try to develop more than one MLM business, it will be very hard and maybe even impossible.
When you first start a new job, you usually get business cards, so it is only natural to want to get business cards as a new distributor, right? Wrong. They are a waste of money and time, and the reason is simple. When you are prospecting someone, you want the prospect’s information so you can control what happens next. The best approach is not for you to give them your information and wait for them to call. They will usually say, “Great! I’ll give you a call!” Then they’ll walk away with your card, and the odds are very high they won’t call. (How many people have you called back after they gave you their card?) You just lost control of the prospecting process.
Typically, if you ask them for their card or information after you have given them yours, they’ll say, “Thanks. I have your information and I’ll call you.” Pushing to get their card or information at this point will start to feel creepy. In a dating situation, how would “Please go out with me!” feel to you if you had already told the other person, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.” If you don’t have business cards, you can’t fall into that trap. If they won’t give you their information, would you really want to work with them?
So, how do you capture their information or share yours without the use of those little magic cards? Well, you can go old school and have a notebook with you and pray you can read their handwriting when you get home (or you own for that matter), or you can invest in a mobile-phone-based customer relationship manager (CRM) tool like SimpleConnector CRM mobile app. It creates an impressive, professional way to collect their information, and it gives them the information they requested as soon as you click the save button. When you hear that ding or buzz, you know that you are now connected and can keep the conversation going. That ding will lead to a customized website and, more importantly, to automated reminders for you plus follow-up emails and/or text messages for them.
Are you still tempted to get business cards? Think about how much time and money it takes to create and design a professional-looking business card. Not to mention that if you don’t have them, you won’t need to remember to carry them with you.
These days, we always have our phone. You will always have a way to capture their information and, even better, you can rest assured you will automatically and instantly follow up with them if you use a mobile phone app.
Ever feel like you need to have a custom website to build your business? If you’ve been following the logic of the discussion about skipping business cards, you will quickly realize that it is almost the same situation with a website, except that it takes weeks, not hours, to create a professional-looking website.
Another reason to skip this step is that if you give them your website, you just lost the upper hand once again. When the prospect says, “Do you have a website?” and you provide it, you once again lose control of the connection.
The only exception I have for this is a simple website that is automatically generated and tied to an email automation app such as Simple Connector, which sends them info as soon as they enter their contact information onto the form. Since it only takes ten to twenty minutes to personalize the website and link it to your automated email sequence, I’m okay with it. If you have the “gotta have a website itch,” this is a simple solution that doesn’t take a lot of time. Just make sure to leverage online-MLM-expert developed templates for websites, emails, and campaigns.
Also, have the prospect visit the site as soon as you meet them so they can fill out the “opt-in” form and get added to your contacts and start receiving the automated emails and text messages.
NERD ALERT! This section gets into technical stuff that will probably not interest most distributors. Network marketers who want to know more about automated email systems might want to read this section. Read on if you are curious, but don’t worry about missing out if you skip this section.
This is a topic that is close to my heart since I really enjoy automation systems. Getting a computer to do repetitive stuff that I don’t enjoy doing is something I’ve accomplished in various ways and multiple jobs for much of my adult life.
I have tried many different email automation platforms, from Aweber to Constant Contact to Infusionsoft to ActiveCampaign. I even became a partner in promoting their systems. All are just too complicated to both learn and teach to others who are not technically oriented.
And if all the above isn’t enough, I realized I could never duplicate the approach because of the high monthly cost. How many distributors would be willing to spend $50/month, let alone $350/month for the higher-end products?
Why I Created Simple Connector
I built Simple Connector to be easy to learn and use, duplicable, and low cost – perfect for my team and others to use to build their network marketing business.
It factors in all the things people need for belly-to-belly and now online prospecting and leaves the complexity hidden. It is intuitive to use, and it is super-low cost. It is the most economical app on the market for distributors, and I did this for a reason.
It isn’t all about money for me. I want to see you succeed. You might recall that my life purpose is to help people become the best versions of themselves.
If new distributors can’t afford a chosen automation platform, they won’t buy it. If they don’t buy it, they can’t duplicate what you are doing to be successful. Everyone loses!
That’s why Simple Connector is simple to use with all the power you need of the more expensive platforms at a small fraction of the cost. It also has the option of a web backend for power users and leaders who want to be able to customize their websites, campaigns, groups, and emails. In fact, there is also a way to share campaigns, emails, and websites with your team to duplicate yourself even better! Ahhhh.
Out of the box, it will capture information, send texts and individual emails, and give you the ability to see today’s tasks, to see a list (and optionally details) of all your prospects and contacts, and even to send emails to any group(s) you have set up, all from your Apple or Android phone.
Ever put your name in a jar for some freebie at a restaurant or health fare? Guess where those names go many times? If you are lucky, you become somebody’s lead for a cold call. If you are unlucky, they added your name to a generic “business builder lead list” sold to lots of entrepreneurs like yourself who are looking for easy leads they can prospect for their MLM business.
Lead buying is a perfect example of trying to take a shortcut. It sounds so simple. You think you are buying affordable leads of people who are looking for your business opportunity. You think that all you will need to do is call them up and send them to your website, and then enrolling as your newest business builder.
Uh-huh, get real. Every single lead is a cold call. You will need a script to read, and if you are lucky, you might have time before being hung up on to find out if the prospect is looking for a business opportunity. Of course, that is if they even choose to pick up the phone.
Do you listen to every cold call you receive during dinner or as you wake up? Or do you hang up? Why would you expect your cold call go any differently?
One of my downline distributors recently bought 150 leads, and not a single person signed up as a business builder in her business.
She spent MANY hours calling them, leaving them messages, and following up. Each session of cold calling took a couple of hours out of her busy life, and she had a professionally written script. She judiciously called ten leads a day, but after two weeks, and a few conversations with me, she realized this is not the way to build a successful network marketing business quickly.
Why? It’s back to this essential question: “Whose needs are you filling? Theirs, or yours?
Everyone finds prospecting for leads to be a challenge. There is no shortcut to acquiring leads. Just learn how to do it the right way, and then start doing it. (Sorry to be so blunt, but tough love is sometimes required!)
This one is probably obvious to most people, but there are so many options these days for training to build your business, I had to bring it up.
There are many training systems out there for network marketers. The goal of most is to help you sell more products in some way or another or to hard sell to find business builders. Some are sales courses that push making the sale at all costs, even if it is just a single product purchase. Some are more healer-oriented and are developed to help you “share the products.” Others are Facebook groups to help you understand more about the products. Some are well-organized training systems, but most are not.
By now you know my focus is showing you how to find builders so you can create the long-term passive income you want. You know that I don’t focus on selling the products. Instead, I leverage them to start the conversation that leads to the dream-building discussions so you can more quickly find potential business builders with a reason to transition to a better life.
My main point is for you to know that there are many competing training systems out there with different philosophies of how to be successful.
My warning is to avoid taking multiple courses at the same time. This can lead to confusion as to which approach to follow. When potential students come to me wanting to join my program, I ask them if they are currently in another course.
If they are already in a program, then I tell them to finish their course. I invite them to let me know later if they are still interested, so they can join at that time. The old adage that “You can’t serve multiple masters” is true here too.
Just pick one, get through it, and then see how well it works for you. If not, then try the next one until you find one with an approach that resonates with you.
When I joined my MLM company, I was the president of our homeowner’s association, vice president of our swing dance club, and the secretary of an inventors’ club. I also helped many people, for free, to determine if an invention they were considering was technically feasible. I was swamped and tired of being very broke!
I had forgotten the rule that TIME is your most valuable asset. And I was giving it all away for other people’s benefit. People loved me for it, but I was still broke.
I also was part of a coaching program, and my coach told me something painful but essential that struck a chord with me. He said I was brilliant when I focused on one thing but broke when I didn’t.
I gave myself this challenge: “How do I extricate myself from the process of giving away my time for free?” There were so many commitments I had made to so many people.
In my head, I knew if I wanted my life to change, I had to change something. So, I decided to stop volunteering for a while and pick one project to generate income. I knew this would change our family’s future.
Remember, at that point I owed $100,000 in credit card debt and was maxed out on all my cards. Most of the debt was from investing in many of the internet marketing educations programs to make money on the internet. (Later, I discovered that most of the people who make money on the internet are the ones teaching how to do it. Go figure!)
So, I chose to focus and work hard for a few years to build our MLM business. As a result, I was able to get out of debt and develop new streams of income. Can this happen for you too? Sure, but you have to stop giving your time away for free. There are no shortcuts or promises, as I’ve mentioned throughout this book.
If you want to change your income level and are actively volunteering your time to help other people or organizations succeed, then you need to take a hard look to see if your financial situation can support this. Does it make LOGICAL sense to give away that much time to others?
I remember a saying that went like this: “You can only give from baskets that have something in them.” Maybe it is time to stop giving so much away and start refilling the basket. Most of the “busy” people I meet are giving too much of their time to others. How about you?
My short message is simple: STOP IT! Watch this fun but thought-provoking YouTube video:
Work on chopping down your commitments so you can recover some time to build your business. Also, consider using your kids as the excuse TO build your business, rather than an excuse not to do so. Working hard for a year or two to create a business that gives you your time back can be much more rewarding than waiting. Remember that your kids are watching you. So, teach them the right way to prioritize things to manifest the results you are seeking. Explain to them what you are doing. They won’t be thrilled at first, so make the time you spend with them exceptional. Then build your business with the recovered time. Trust me. It’s worth it. Ask any Diamond or above who has kids.
As I mentioned earlier, when I started my network marketing business, I did not think I had a chance of being successful because not only did I not know anything about our products, but I didn’t even believe in them at the time. (Remember, most engineers don’t do woo-woo.)
However, my lack of knowledge and belief turned out to be positive. Sound odd to you? Then let me explain why you should not become a product expert. I know this will be hard for some of you (especially medical professionals), but you have to realize that in order to build a successful MLM that creates passive income and gives you back your time, you have to do things that are clearly easy to duplicate.
The reason is simple. If the prospect says, “WOW, you’re a natural at this. I could never learn that stuff or do what you do,” then you’ve already lost. It might make your ego feel great, but it won’t build your business as quickly as showing others how to find the answers to their own questions so they know they can do it too.
If you are the hero, then they will always come to you to be saved! If you want them to become the hero, then they have to believe they could do this too.
If they feel they can be better than you, that’s great; then they will have the belief right from the start that they can do it because you empowered them.
When people ask me what product to use if their nose is stuffy, I don’t just say, “Use the respiratory product.” I say, “I think that the respiratory product might work, but let’s check the book, app, or online to see what is recommended. ” After a few of these questions and answers, they want the book, so they don’t need to ask me anymore.
The goal is to empower your leaders and customers to be their own product experts. Ultimately, this leads to more passive income for you because you won’t need to spend as much time with them talking about the products. You can use the time to talk about helping them build their business, instead.
Plus, they won’t call or text you at 2:00 A.M. with a sick kid so they can ask you what product to use!
Finally, if you need anything else to convince you, the FDA prohibits you from prescribing products for medically diagnosed diseases and illnesses. Doing so will eventually get you (and your MLM company) in trouble. So, why start down that path? Make sense?
If you are currently the product expert on your team, start weaning people off by showing them the books and apps. You could even hold some training sessions on Zoom or in person to showing them how to find answers independently.
Many people I know spend countless hours going down the rabbit hole of Facebook or other social media platform. They are consuming the content.
Funny thing is they tell me it helps them build their business. The truth is that if they spent the equivalent time prospecting people, in person, their business would grow a lot faster.
Even Rachel Hollis, a trendy social media expert, told distributors at a recent leadership event, “I don’t consume Facebook content.” Why? Because of the rabbit holes. It is pretty much a waste of time on many levels, but especially for your business. It will not help your business to find out that Susie’s sister-in-law’s niece just had her first poop — with photos to prove it. Sorry for the graphic visual, but I think you know what I mean.
The same thing applies to Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. They all are time sucks UNLESS you are posting content that attracts BUSINESS BUILDERS and not product buyers.
Nowadays, advertising on social media is even more critical because of all the privacy issues and because Facebook and the other platforms are making it much more difficult for you to get your message out to people organically. They want you to pay for advertising, which can be awfully expensive and require expert help if you want to reach the people you used to be able to reach for free.
Also note that if you try to run Facebook Ads, it will consume tens to hundreds of hours to figure it all out. And then, once you figure it out, they’ll change it again.
Don’t just believe me; ask anyone who does Facebook advertising. It’s for the pros these days, not for the amateurs.
This one should be obvious, but I continue to find distributors quitting their nine-to-five jobs too early. They start having some success with their MLM business, so they figure they’ll be able to make more money faster than what usually happens.
They might be making $1000/month and they’re not happy with their boss or commute or job. So, they quit their job to build their MLM business. Then, a peculiar thing happens. All the things that didn’t get done because they were too busy in their job suddenly pop into view. WOW! They can “finally” take care of those things that weren’t getting done.
Then, they end up NOT building their MLM business with that “free” time. Soon, they become financially strapped because they needed the job’s $1500/month to cover all their current expenses, but the money isn’t there. Then they panic that they quit too soon, so they try to find some temp work to cover the difference but end up not being happy with that situation either.
Now, they’re trapped. They were initially on a practical path that would have paid off, but they got impatient. With just a little more patience, they could have developed enough MLM income to cover the lost job income, survived and even thrived.
Moving from a job to entrepreneurship is a challenge for most people. The reason for this is that jobs pay you for the activities you do, and entrepreneurs make money by the results they create.
To get paid from a job, you need to do three things:
- Show up, when you’re supposed to
- Don’t make waves (get along with people, and your boss)
- Sometimes do your job
If you do that, you’ll get a regular check. On the other hand, to get paid as an entrepreneur, you have to do ONE THING well:
- Create enough value for your potential customers that they pay you for it
There is no mention of time, is there? That’s because it could take you one hour or one week to create the value depending on your level of expertise or experience. The better you are at creating value, the less time you must spend doing it.
These subtle differences can mess people up when they are moving toward entrepreneurship. Master them, and you’ll be massively successful. Don’t master them, and you’ll be back at your job sooner or later.
So, the moral of the story is to not quit your job too early. Make sure your network marketing income is where it needs to be to cover your job’s current income and make sure to counsel upline for guidance. It is in everyone’s best interest to do it the right way with the right timing, even if you just dying to leave that job!
Avoid Online Prospecting
Do you feel it? Do you hear it? It’s that sucking sound of the internet calling you. Everyone wants the holy grail of online prospecting for their business. They think, “There are so many people out there. It has to be easy!”
The truth is that online prospecting costs a LOT of money and takes a LOT of time and expertise to turn into a real business.
If you want to build quickly, you would be much better off meeting people in your hometown than starting an online business.
One exception to this is if you ALREADY have a large group of people who actively follow you. I’m talking about thousands of people who already read your posts, watch your videos, and attend your webinars.
Here’s another problem, though: it is not easily duplicable! Do the people you find in your group also have thousands of people following them? If not, you will have to teach them how to do something you don’t for them to build their businesses. What will that be? It will be the “Do as I say, not as I do” approach to business building.
In general, all the online marketers I know will agree with me (if they are honest). It is much harder to build an online business than it looks. You will spend many, many more hours and spend many more dollars doing marketing online rather than doing belly-to-belly marketing offline.
I know I will get some resistance from die-hard distributors about this but hear me out.
One of my leaders regularly has a booth at multiple farmer’s markets in the area. She spends countless hours preparing product samples to solve multiple pet-related health and wellness-related issues.
Her events look like this:
- Spends hours preparing the product samples and smaller size product packages
- Loads up her car the night before the event
- Drives to the farmer’s market early in the morning
- Sets up her booth and cover (it gets hot in the summer)
- Stands on her feet for eight hours the first day sharing her products to people passing by
- Enters them into contests (“to win a prize, just fill out this survey and put it in the bowl”)
- Packs up her booth in her car at the end of the day
- Drives back home
- Takes her pets out for a walk
- Cleans herself up
- Crashes in bed!
- Repeats everything above for the second day
- Unloads her car
- Cleans herself up
- Crashes in bed!
- Starts the almost-cold-calling process the next day to follow up with all her leads
When I asked her how many business builders she has received from all the events she has done for the past eight years, she said, “none.” She says she uses the leads to plug holes for her MLM matrix structure to earn a higher bonus and she is a lower-ranking leader in our MLM!
Recently, I asked her if she wanted anything to change. She said she wants to go Diamond. What does she need for Diamond? Business builders. So, she stopped the farmer’s markets to focus on finding builders and getting to Diamond.
My experience is that you meet lots of friendly people at the events, but they want the free samples and lower-priced products. They’re not asking for a business opportunity. If you use farmer’s markets and street fairs during the simmer (oops, summer) months, tell me this: how many real business builders have you enrolled? Be honest. Was it worth the countless hours and dollars you spent on the booths, supplies, resale tax licenses, and even wear and tear on your body? What has your experience been?
Imagine if you were to go downtown and walk into stores at 2 P.M. and starting a conversation with business owners about what is important to them in the same amount of time you spent at that farmer’s market or street fair. Do you think you could find more business builders than at the farmer’s market or street fair?
All the distractions in this chapter will either slow down or interfere with your progress towards a network of dedicated business builders. I know that some of this chapter’s “not-to-do’s” are openly promoted as “to-do’s” by leaders, but if you ask them where they get their leads, they’ll probably tell you it is through one-on-one connections with people they meet just doing their daily activities. Trust me, there are gazillions of people who want what you have. They just don’t know it yet. So, go out and find them. They’re waiting for you!
 The only exception to this is if you use a tool like Simple Connector AND you use templates for the websites, emails, text messages, and automation campaigns that have been developed by online MLM masters.