Let's discuss a question you'll inevitably get asked in the network marketing industry…
Is network marketing a legitimate business?
If you haven't heard this one already, get ready.
Maybe it'll come from a family member, spouse, friend, or maybe even a coworker once they find out you've taken the leap from employee to entrepreneur by starting your own enterprise.
It can be tough to answer without feeling attacked and reacting defensively when you're first getting started.
Believe me, I know.
So here's my promise to you: by the end of this post, you'll have rock-solid clarity on the legitimacy of the network marketing industry and will be able to comfortably discuss the subject at length with even the most skeptical person.
But first, let me tell you my story, because…
Confession: I was a “Negative Nellie” at first!
Yup, ‘fraid so.
I was an active duty US Navy pilot when my wife got involved in the network marketing industry while I was stationed in Iraq.
She was looking for a way for us both to be able to exit the US military.
I was the pilot, she was my navigator; that's actually how we met—flying combat missions together over Afghanistan.
We had a brand new baby girl.
She was a year old when I got unexpectedly deployed to Iraq and my wife was on the short list to possibly get deployed.
Can you imagine?
We were in a position where we had a small six-figure income combined between the two of us.
We had a decent income, getting paid every two weeks with consistency from probably the most stable employer in the world, the US military, as they're not going out of business anytime soon.
So we certainly didn't have to worry about job security. We were up for promotions. We had full medical and dental benefits. We basically had everything going for us.
But then I realized…
I could get deployed into a combat zone (for the third time)…and my wife could be next!
And if both of us got deployed, our daughter would be living with her grandparents.
So you can imagine, all of a sudden, we had to do something right then and there.
This was the impetus to find a better way and that's exactly what my wife Mia did.
Mia went out and found a way for us to grow our income as big as we wanted, so we could live our dreams.
She found network marketing and I came into it with an attitude of…
“You've got to be kidding me, there's NO WAY this is a legitimate business.”
I was the naysayer, the “doomsday” person saying…
“This is NEVER going to work!”
If you've ever had that experience, you know how crappy it feels.
Especially if it's from the person who's lying next to you at night.
What's interesting is I eventually got a taste of my own medicine.
This was after we'd gotten out of the Navy and I was having a particularly rough time in my business.
Things got so bad, in fact, that I had to ask my dad for money just so I could buy diapers for our baby.
I remember thinking, with a certain amount of shame…
I'm a college-educated, combat-decorated military officer, and I can barely afford to feed my family.
How humiliating to be in your late 30s, almost 40 years old, and asking your dad for money!
“Maybe it's time to put the dream away and get a REAL job.”
Now, I'm happy to say that didn't happen, but those were tough times that we had to go through.
Yet it proved something about the legitimacy of this industry.
Let's talk about the word “legitimate” for a minute…
It's from the Latin word “legitimus,” and it means “lawful.”
“Legal” and “legislate” both come from the same root word “legitimus.”
Now, here's why this is important…
If you look at the entire home-based business industry, whether network marketing or Internet marketing, you'll find this industry is ridiculously legitimate on the basis of how exhaustively legal most companies conduct their businesses.
In fact, most companies hire massive legal teams to research and legitimate every aspect of how they…
- Build their compensation plans
- Formulate their products and services
- Market and structure everything they do business-wise
You'll even find that this industry is FAR more legitimate than a lot of more traditional businesses.
And funnily enough, there are a lot of people out there, running illegitimate businesses in other industries, who are pointing fingers at our industry and questioning: “Is that really legitimate?”
So always remember this…
Network marketing is a legitimate business by the very definition of the word “legitimate.”
It's as simple as that.
There's one more hurdle you have to overcome
It's a hurdle I put in front of my wife, and I'm sure that you've had to experience it as well.
It's called cognitive bias.
Cognitive bias is a flaw in our decision making and a fallacy in our reasoning.
And it manifests when we're presented with just about anything, which we're inevitably going to prejudge from a place of our own ego or our own agenda.
Case in point, maybe you're a sports fan like I am.
I'm an ardent fan of the Seattle Seahawks.
So if somebody comes to me and wants to talk about one of our opponents, like the LA Rams, for instance, all of a sudden, my cognitive bias is working overtime, and I'm automatically thinking to myself…
- “They're the enemy!”
- “They're the team I don't like!”
I'm naturally going to have a strong bias and prejudice.
Of course, this is a playful example, but there are times when people have a very strong cognitive bias.
Which is one reason I recommend that my clients stay away from political conversations in their businesses, unless their business is selling politics.
Because the bottom line is that…
It's difficult to break down somebody's cognitive bias
And as a result, people are going to come at you with a preconceived notion regarding whatever you're talking about.
So if they come to you and ask if your business is legitimate, you have to be prepared for the fact that you probably cannot and will not sway their opinion, at least not on the first go.
When I got started in this business, a famous motivational speaker, a man named Chris Widener, did a conference call for our team.
At the end of the call, the host said…
“Listen, we're going to open the call up to any questions. If you want to jump out and ask Chris a question, just unmute yourself. Let us know who you are, where you're calling in from.”
Well, nobody unmuted themselves, which I found odd because this guy was a big deal.
It was an honor to have him on our call and I think everybody was in shock that he was actually taking questions from people.
So I jumped on and said…
“Hey, Chris! This is J.T., from San Diego.”
“Go ahead, J.T.”
And I said…
“Here's my question… How do you get past your friends and family telling you that this is fake, or this is false, or this is a scam? What do you have to do to prove to them that it's a legitimate business?”
This was his answer:
“You do nothing—you get to work!”
“You build your business. You stop worrying about what your friends and your family are thinking and you start focusing on the people you can actually serve with your business.”
This is a very important lesson, my friends, one that I'm grateful I learned early in my career.
Remember—it's not about convincing people!
You don't need to convince anybody, as long as you yourself have realized the truth, and the truth is this…
This is a categorically legitimate business.
And as food for thought…
Network marketing, Internet marketing, and online businesses are all going to become seen as more and more legitimate as we move forward because more and more people are telecommuting and working from home
And while they might work for a company like IBM or Google, they don't work in a central office.
It's still a J-O-B, but they're working from home.
Working from home is becoming a normal occupation.
So what's the difference if you're working from home and building your own income stream?
What's the difference if you're guiding people and helping them live a better life?
What's a more legitimate mission than helping other people live a higher quality of life?
So whether you're helping them with their health, their fitness, their mindset, their finances, or whatever it is that you do as a professional who's out there helping people, I'd say that's a highly legitimate calling.
Now, of course, if you're using your Internet marketing skills or your business skills to do something that's illegal, then, of course, that constitutes an illegitimate business.
But I think we're all mature adults here and that doesn't need to be said, right?
The point is this…
The network marketing industry has been around for decades and it's going to be around for many decades to come, far past when you and I are gone, buried, and on to the next whatever-you-want-to-call-it.
So there's no question about it being legitimate.
It's extremely viable.
Thus, the question really becomes what is it that you're going to do to add to the strength and viability of the industry.
And what are you going to add, not just to the legitimacy of this industry, but to its legacy?
Well, my advice is this…
You have to become a LEADER in network marketing.
And if you embrace the idea of being a leader, then you don't need to worry about the legitimacy of this industry.
It's going to be just fine.
And as a leader, we can work together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to march as a strong, unified group of like-minded, empowered entrepreneurs to help other people live a better quality of life.
That to me is about as legitimate and as honorable as it gets.
Not because we're trying to be better than anybody else, or anything like that.
We're just trying to march the march and walk the walk, just like Chris Widener, the motivational speaker told me…
“Stop worrying about what people think, walk the walk, and stop talking the talk.”
Know this, my friend…
We're doing good in the world.
And we're helping a lot of people.
All you have to do is look around our community, and you'll see people getting real results and doing things on the up and up.
And when you conduct business like that, everyone will see you're in a legitimate business.
It's something to be proud of and that's really what I want to leave you with today.
Be proud of what you do.
Be proud of who you do it for.
And most importantly, be proud of yourself.
Take pride in the fact that you wake up every single day with a focus on helping other people.
Take pride in that fact that you wake up every single day with a focus on being a better you, and in the process, taking people with you.
Because sometimes you're going to carry them on your back.
Sometimes you're going to kick them in the butt.
Sometimes you're going to hold them by the hand.
Yet, most of the time, you're going to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with them.
And I know that I'm super proud to be able to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with you and I'm excited for the direction that we're all going in this very legitimate industry.
Speaking of direction…
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And if you found this content helpful, I would love to read your comments below!
Director of Leadership Development
Elite Marketing Pro
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