Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Posted on August 6, 2019 by dragonspitapothecary
There are lots of ways to fail and many people will happily share with you their own horror stories of experiences they have had or heard from others when it comes to direct marketing or MLM companies. It seems stories are extremes on either end of the spectrum. Some are just downright horrifying and you can see why people don’t like it and then there are the very glamorous stories of people hitting it rich and doing very well. Very few of these stories show you the average person’s journey or what they go through every day in trying to build their own business. What goes well, what’s easy and what’s not, common pitfalls they have found and how to avoid them.
While having your own MLM business is work and it takes time to do well, it doesn’t have to be an isolating adventure where you have to figure out everything by yourself. There is not a scarcity of market and there is nothing wrong with putting aside competition to leverage one another’s expertise. Perhaps if more MLM people worked together in this way there would be less back stabbing, customer stealing. competitiveness that gives this business a bad name.
What the Average Day Looks Like
The typical day of a person who has a new MLM business is actually much like any other person’s normal day. Most people are still working their normal job and when they get a chance they put on their MLM hat to try to connect with new people and setup times to meet. It’s a busy day and it can be tiring quickly if you keep hitting brick walls with people avoiding or saying no. You will hear the word no a lot.
How formal or informal you keep your time setup to focus on your business is up to you but it’s important that you do spend time on it. You need to figure out when you’re going plan, prospect, present, sell, service, follow up and keep up with all the activities necessary to create a thriving business. If you don’t then you don’t have a business, you don’t have sales and you don’t have anything to show for it. What that level of effort looks like is entirely up to you. You can put in every waking minute you can spare or you can carve out specific time blocks.
Many of the time guides of direct marketing companies tell you to plan on an average of 10 – 20 hours per week. This is actually a great guidepost because you can treat it like a part time job and have the mindset that you need a certain amount of hours each week to focus on the business of your business. To be honest there are weeks I can put in more than that guide and there are weeks I can put in less based on what is occurring with my full time job and life in general. However, I would say in general that is about right for how much I focus attention to income producing activities.
Define for yourself what that looks like and define a reasonable definition for the term “income producing activities.” What does it mean in your business? What actions do you take to support income producing activities? For me it is follow up to existing customers, writing my blog, prospecting for new contacts, working with new customers and scheduling appointments. For me it is not doing reporting and trends of my sales volume, scrolling social media and building posts, researching, or anything that does not ultimately lead to a sale. That’s the line I drew for myself.
Build a Plan
When I started out my business I drafted out a business plan with goals and objectives that were important to me and seemed reasonable to achieve. While your upline and company will have goals and recommendations on how quickly it should take you to achieve whatever rank or riches I prefer to set my own thresholds. Most of the time when I follow someone else’s plan I feel I end up with something that just feels like another job and that’s not what I wanted for my business.
My business plan is a template outlining where my focus is going to be for the year, how I want to do that and how I will measure my success. I also draft out what I’m good at, where I need help, where I need to learn something and where my weak spots are that could influence how well I do on my goals. I also include my why for this business. Why I started it, why it’s still important to me and why this year matters in the work I’m planning. This is a personal element I’ve installed in my own business plan after years of working in the corporate world where the focus is usually entirely on profit and growth. Sometimes profit and growth are more than numbers on a paper – at least to me.
In my plan I mark out quarterly objectives that I use as milestones for meeting my yearly plan’s goals. It takes time to figure these out but I’ve found with them in place I can easily see how likely I am to meeting a yearly goal really quickly and adjust where needed. To be honest, this year I did not meet my first quarter goals I set for myself and I’ve since redone part of my plan to modify where I need to focus as a result. It happens but that’s the good thing about finding things along the way you can measure against.
There are lots of free resources to use as templates for a business plan and you can personalize them just as I have done. The important part is to sit down and realistically have a plan and map for what is right for you and how you might achieve it.
The 100 Names List
Most direct sales companies tell you to create a names list of 100 people you know and start contacting them. I attempted this and got to about 50 names before I gave up. First of all, I disagree entirely with calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time all with the intent of selling them something. Secondly, who’s to say the names on that list are even people I want to sell to? It’s no wonder sales has such an icky feeling to it if that is what we think is the right way to approach someone with something we want to sell and for them to buy.
I think the better approach is to start with a vision and definition of who your ideal customer is. What do they look like, what do they do for work and fun, what kinds of houses do they live in and what kinds of cars do they drive? Do they have kids and pets? Have they gone to college? How do they spend their weekends? Where do they hang out? What kind of clothes do they wear? What’s important to them? What’s wrong with them? What’s on their mind? What do they watch on TV? What movies do they enjoy? What books are they reading? Are they married, divorced, single or its complicated? What’s stressing them out? What makes them happy?
List and learn all you can about this ideal customer and use that as your model for who you put on your names list. The more specific you are the better idea you know who to target immediately that you know and where you can go to meet people like this ideal customer model.
That is an entirely different approach than annoying all your friends and family and long lost high school friends with this great new product your selling and they all need to buy right now! Or excessively inviting people to parties or classes and having