In my short time on the earth I have had the opportunity to be a part of two of the most successful Multilevel Marketing Companies in the world. Yes yes…I said it. Network Marketing… That thing that your friends and family warned you about. This type of business is more affectionately known as a “Pyramid Scheme”. I’m sure most of you got “the call” at one point or another. And trust me, those of you who have not will. You know that call that goes like this,

“Hey aunty, uncle, nephew, sis, friend! I’ve got this new business that I started and I really wanted to show you what I’m doing. It’s going to be huge and I wanted to give you the chance to get in early. I’m inviting you to a meeting at my home…. Will you be there?”

Yes, that call. I’m sure some of you cringed just at the thought of it.

Fortunately for me, I do not share the trauma and displeasure most habour about MLM. In fact i treasure my experiences good and bad and from them I have been able to compile a number of undeniable business and leadership lessons that I use in my own life and business daily. Today we’ll discuss only three of those lessons.

Lesson One: Strong businesses are built on strong relationships

You know that little parlor in your neighbourhood that has been there for as long as you could remember? The owner knows everyone by name. They are concerned with how are doing and have the authority and blessing from everyone to discipline their children. Everyone loves them. They treat everyone like family and because of this everyone in the village keeps coming back to their shop. In contrast there are the three other shops in the area. Their owners are rude. They keep to themselves and refer go everyone as him or her. Needless to say their businesses don’t thrive and their shops don’t last very long in the village.The top income earner in Network Marketing Mr. Holton Buggs once said that the way he built his multi million dollar business is by forming and nurturing meaningful relationships with his partners and customers alike. He said that the fastest way to kill your business is to value the money more than the people you serve. I can think of many highly successful entrepreneurs who share this view. Richard Branson for instance is one business man who is big on building good relationships. Mr. Branson says

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. Take care of your employees and your clients will be taken care of.”

To some this goes without saying but I have seen and heard of many businesses that fail because of a lack of proper relationships. I’m saddened by the fact that most big business in the Caribbean don’t follow this mantra. We as entrepreneurs and the region as a whole will benefit even more if we can adopt it.

Lesson Two: Exposure is Everything

Here’s a question for all my entrepreneurs, amateur and seasoned. What would happen if you told everyone you ever met about your business and show them how it could benefit them? Chances are your business will grow faster than it is right now. You’ll have greater client engagement and frankly more avenues for you to serve.

That’s right exposure is the life blood of any business. Without it your business is bound to fail eventually.

Dexter Yager,, one who is considered an MLM phenomenon as the first person to become a billionaire from Network Marketing believes that what grew his business to the level it is today is the fact that for a number of years he committed himself to exposing his business to 5 to 6 times a week to brand new people.

Yes I know sometimes it’s just hard to trust people with your “baby”. It makes you vulnerable, however I believe that this is a key lesson towards anyone’s business success. Think about it. These are the same people you made a decision to serve, which should be the reason you get into business in the first place. So believe me When I say, in entrepreneurship Exposure is Everything!

Lesson Three: Personal Self-development is the cornerstone of success in entrepreneurship.

In every Network Marketing company that I have ever come across, the systems are different, the products are different but there is one thing that I find to be a constant; they all endorse the concept of true personal self development.

This is one of my absolute favorite lessons because I consider myself to be a lifetime learner. Furthermore I believe that as entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, having been conditioned in a certain way, it is necessary for us to seek out new knowledge and challenge the things that our forefathers did in order for us to get different and better results.

As entrepreneurs it is imperative that we equip ourselves with the right type of information. Moreover we should submerge ourselves in this type of information if it is to become a permanent part of us.

I heard it said multiple times by David Imonitie, another very successful Network Marketing professional that repetitious information is the the only way that the human mind is able to change behaviour over an extended period of time.

So MJ, how we develop ourselves at a personal level?

The answer is education. I’m not speaking about degrees and diplomas although they carry their own merit. I speak of true education, which is knowledge of oneself, how the mind works, how people think and leadership. All of these are things that should be very important to an entrepreneur.

How do we educate ourselves?

We read books! Not only do we read lots of books but we also make it a habit to apply what we learn immediately. A study was done by Harvard Health where it was discovered that the average person spent just under 2 hours a day and just based on average life expectancy of the average person they calculated that a person will spend roughly 37,935 hours in their cars. If just 10% of that time is spent listening to an audiobook or some seminar you would have had enough contact hours to graduate with the average Bachelors Degree.

Another way to develop yourself is to simply find someone who has done what you would like to do and follow them. Ask questions, go to their seminars, read their books, learn everything that you could possibly learn from them. Bottom line be committed to learning as much about your potential and and your business as you possibly can.

These lessons have surely helped me and I hope that they do the same for you. If perhaps you have learnt lessons of your own from your involvement in Network Marketing please feel free to leave a comment in the section below..