Single moms face a unique position in that they generally must live on a smaller income than before their divorce or separation. So, the question begs to be answered: how can I make more money and still have enough flexibility to be a great mom? Network Marketing (a.k.a. MLM) can be a great choice because it offers unlimited income potential, time-freedom and flexibility.
My personal experience in self-employment started at age 23 when I started my own network marketing business with Shaklee Corporation. My parents were educated professionals and entrepreneurs and their business of choice was network marketing, specifically with Shaklee. I feel like I got access to the best, but this is certainly not a commercial for Shaklee. I’m sharing with you my experience, from my perspective, because that’s all I can do. When making your decision, be sure to speak to as many people as you need to before you make your final decision. I no longer actively build a Shaklee business, but I still use and love the products and couldn’t imagine using anything else.
Network Marketing consists of companies that have a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation. Some of the top leaders in the industry are Shaklee, Mary Kay, NuSkin, Avon, and GNLD.
When selecting a network marketing company, there are several factors that are important. If I were looking to build a new company from scratch today, I would recommend to you the same things I recommended to people looking at building a Shaklee business ten years ago. Look for a company with:
- An excellent reputation in Direct Sales, with the Better Business Bureau, and “on the street.”
- They need a good, solid track record, preferably they’ve been in business for ten years or more.
- The company should be 100% debt free.
- Their compensation plan should be attainable and provide an equal opportunity for all Distributors.
- The best products to sell are consumable. This means your customers will need to buy them again (like vitamins, household cleaners, etc.), and repeat business is part of the power of Network Marketing.
- The products need to be safe for consumer, and better than the conventional products they can buy at the grocery store or at Target.
- The Corporate Office should have a powerful team consisting of strong leadership. The company decides to introduce new products or make a change in the compensation plan from time to time, and you need to have full faith in their ability to make those decisions. Ultimately because they affect you and your downline!
- Interview your Upline. Get their Bonus/Income Statements. The person who sponsors you doesn’t need to be making a ton of money yet, they could be new and newly pursuing their dream (you), but the Upline make a huge difference about how seriously your prospects will take you and your opportunity. Choose someone you feel you can get work well with because at least at first, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time on the phone and doing meetings with them.
- The company should have available affordable (or free) training and on-going support, business training, and product information. If you want information, you should have information! There should also be lots of training options: one-on-one training, group training, online training, and phone training. If you’re an information person and you need and desire a lot of information, it needs to be easily accessible to you.
- Both the business opportunity and the products should appeal to both sexes. In my opinion, make-up companies are fine and can check the rest of the boxes, but you’ve cut your possible demographic in half. A sound business decision for you could be to choose a company that appeals to everyone.
- The company should provide excellent corporate support, hold the majority of the inventory and do the lion’s share of the product distribution. Your sole focus is sharing the business opportunity, and sharing the products with possible consumers. They should be able to order the products online or over the phone and then shipped right to their door.
- Finally, it shouldn’t cost a fortune! With any business, you should be willing and able to commit a fair sum (less than $1,000, in most cases around $500) to launch your business. It should be easy and affordable for you to begin.
There’s no doubt this type of business can be the saving grace for a single mom, and in closing I have some additional thoughts for you to consider before making your choice. First, know that this is a business and working for yourself is both challenging and rewarding. For any business to work, you have to work it like it’s a business. You won’t have a boss telling you what time to work, what type of work to do, or even when to do it. For it to work, you have to be self-motivated and driven to succeed. Also, picking a company with high potential isn’t enough. You have to literally have a passion for the products you’re selling. Like I said, I wouldn’t take or use products other than Shaklee. I use them, love them, and share with my friends and family. I used to say, if I had to make the choice between using the products and selling them, I’d have to pick using them because nothing else is as good. That’s how you need to feel if you’re going to represent a product line: like you couldn’t live without it. That will help go a long way in your success.
Network Marketing can be just the opportunity you’re looking for, so do your due diligence and if you think it’s right for you, dive in!
Honorée Corder has dedicated her life to being a positive force for good. She writes personal and professional growth and development books, and The Successful Single Mom and Dad book series. As an executive coach and corporate trainer, she turns service providers into rainmakers, average producers into rock-stars, and dreams into reality. For more information on how she can specifically help you or your organization, visit http://www.coachhonoree.com.
A note from The Strong Single Mom Network: a HUGE thank you to Honoree for providing us with this chapter excerpt!