Are you worried that marketing yourself online will set off the “alarm bells” in your company?
Well, today I'm going to answer the question, once and for all.
And hopefully we can finally put this pesky conversation to rest.
Because as entrepreneurs, we need to behave like entrepreneurs.
And the real sticking point here comes down to mindset, believe it or not.
First, I want to share a little story…
‘Cause with my first network marketing company, this became a big issue.
My upline tried to stop me!
So back when I was new to the industry, I quickly discovered online recruiting strategies, yet I was also very dedicated to my company—it was an older, established company, and I really wanted to make it work.
I liked the people there, but I didn't like the offline way of prospecting and recruiting and wasn't really trained very well on how to do that right either.
My goal was to build my business seriously, but all I found was a lot of hype at the events, and there wasn’t any skills-based training available.
By contrast, when I went online 9 months into my business, I immediately started learning real scientific & strategic processes for advertising, attracting prospects and converting people into my business.
Not only was I being spoken to like an adult by my online mentors, but I was also told to learn real world marketing and business skills, so the intellectual part of my brain was like “Awesome, let's do this!”
And as a result…
I built an online lead generation campaign
…which did not mention the company name at all – (this is important).
And quickly I started generating leads who were specifically interested in coming to an event to learn more about my business, team and opportunity.
Then somebody higher up in my organization — not the company itself, but a member of my upline – found out that I generating leads and marketing online.
And they weren't happy.
In my case, my upline reported my activities to other higher-ups upline leaders, and I received a voicemail that pretty much said…
“You are risking your distributorship and you need to stop!”
They said I could be terminated for advertising
And they expected me to immediately stop what I was doing and to be afraid.
Instead, my response was…
“Wait, I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm not mentioning the company, nor am I mentioning this team or organization. This is my personal deal and from talking to prospects I've attracted, over the phone, I've gotten people interested in attending one of our events! What's wrong with that?”
Well, that was the beginning of the end for me, with that particular company.
Firstly, because I knew darn well what I could and could not do.
But more than anything, the situation pissed me off because I felt like, for the very first time, I was deploying tactics that actually made sense to me.
I was being taught and implementing actual skills and finding success generating leads — attracting people who wanted to talk to me about what I was doing.
Yet I was being threatened, even though I wasn't violating any policies, I wasn't using any company names or brands, or anything like that.
How will your upline react?
Scare tactics are often used by top earners who don't want you to do anything different from how they did it.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of pettiness in the industry, and unlike most business leaders in other industries, many network marketing top earners are afraid to evolve or even simply be open to exploring something new or cutting edge.
They don't want you to seek out the newest and innovative ways of doing business.
They’re negative about what happens online, because they don't understand it, they don't know how to do it, and they are insecure about it because they don't understand it.
The intimidation tactic they often use, much like they did with me, is that you're “risking your business” and the “company will get upset.”
Now, this doesn’t describe everybody in network marketing, of course.
There are a lot of pioneers who are more progressive.
I've met a lot of different network marketers who have built in a variety of different ways, so there's no one way of building this business.
It's actually pretty diverse!
So how can your company restrict you?
Well, your company can legally restrict you if you're using…
- Their company logos,
- Their brand names, or
- Anything related to the company
…so don’t mention your company at all, because they do have a right to restrict their property.
But you also don't want to mention the company for strategic reasons, because YOU want to become the focus.
Here's what I mean…
Instead of people asking:
“Can this company help me accomplish x, y, and z?”
The focus becomes:
“Can Ferny help me accomplish x, y, and z?”
“Can Jeanie or can Mary help me accomplish this particular thing in my life?”
YOU become the focus!
Those are the questions you want people to be asking themselves (and YOU want to the one be answering them, as well).
So here's the bottom line, strictly based on compliance and common sense:
Your company cannot restrict you from creating an online brand
If you choose to start a website and start branding yourself, the company can’t restrict you from doing it, because it's actually a different business.
They also can't restrict you from…
- Starting another business
- Opening a barbershop
- Going into sales (whether you're selling timeshares or something else)
- And participating in affiliate programs
Amazon, Walmart, Zappos, Bestbuy, Ebay and thousands of big companies have an affiliate program, for instance.
If you choose to be a blogger tomorrow, you can start promoting products on Amazon and making money.
And you’re still not violating any company policies, (unless your corporate leadership are real a-holes), because this is separate from the network marketing business.
The only thing any company can legally do…
…is restrict the use of their name, their brands, their products and hold you to the terms of your distributor agreement.
Which isn't anything to fret about, because if you build your business by branding yourself, you won’t be using them anyway!
Additionally, a company cannot keep you from establishing your own brand or creating your own non-MLM business.
They can however, get you (if it's part of their policies) for cross-recruiting if you are involved in another opportunity. Some companies may not allow you to be involved with other opportunities & some do, so be sure to read your distributor agreement
But here's where you can run into challenges…
MOST of the time, when an upline threatens a distributor, and tells them they're going to lose their distributorship, the distributor in question isn't actually making much (if any) money in their business.
So the question becomes…
“What are you so afraid of losing?”
It makes no logical sense.
But again, we've been so indoctrinated in the network marketing space—“drinking the Kool-Aid”—that our company is the BEST company, with the best products in the world, and the best comp plan in the world, etc.
So it's easy to think…
“I don't want to lose my company, or my chances of financial freedom are gone forever.”
But when you logically look at things, that's just ridiculous.
There are literally thousands of companies out there!
There’s likely a company out there with a better comp plan and a better product than you have. And likely a company who's culture will fit the approach you want to use to build your business.
But the the comp plan and the product do NOT make the business.
YOU make the business!
You can become a top earner in any company as long as you develop the skillsets to become a top earner, regardless of the comp plan or the product.
That's not to say that the product or the comp plan don't matter, but it's such a tiny part of the whole equation.
And so, literally, if you're having these emotional responses to threats from your upline and you're afraid of losing a business which isn't making any money, then lose the business!
There's plenty of great opportunities out there.
But, on the bright side, the threats are simply not going to materialize unless you are in clear violation of company policies, by cross-recruiting into another network marketing company.
Like I said, the company has better stuff to do.
Let’s say your company decides to get involved
If you're a lonely little distributor, they won’t care unless you're using their brands and their product names.
However, if you're a TOP EARNER and have a big downline, the advice I've given above to the newbie won't apply to you.
The company may choose to get involved and do all they can to control you.
Now, before we go any further…
Note: I’m NOT a lawyer or an attorney!
You should always consult appropriate legal council and read your company's policies before making any move.
That said, here's the deal…
If your company does not like the way you look at them, they can terminate your distributorship.
You have NO rights as a distributor.
They don't even have to give you a good reason to terminate you, even if you think you are not in violation of the policies. They have the final say in all matters.
So this is what I mean when I tell people:
You're not in a business, you're self-employed at best.
Sure, you can make a lot of money as a distributor of a company by being self-employed. Nothing wrong with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan making millions as employees of their teams. And there's nothing wrong with you making a million dollars in network marketing.
It's awesome actually.
But you still don't own the business.
Thus, ultimately, if you want to create true security, leverage, and control, then…
You want to establish your own network marketing brand, following & email list
You want to create your own following, so your company is a part of your business, and not the entire deal.
Then you have the ability to walk away without worrying about losing your income. (Hopefully you never have to).
Because if a company simply doesn't like what you're doing, regardless of whether you're in compliance or not, they can terminate your distributorship.
It's happened many times, by the way!
And to me, that's all the more reason why you want to develop the skillsets to become independent and have the ability to walk away, without worrying about your income also going away.
The reason I built a brand back when I was new in network marketing was because I never wanted to be threatened again.
I never wanted to be in the position where I was too weak or lacked the resources to simply walk away, from a situation which was making me unhappy.
That's what building a brand helps you do!
Here's the bottom line:
If you're in business for yourself, then…
You need to start making business decisions, not emotional decisions
What's in the best interest of your income, your future, and your family?
Don’t make decisions related to a “friendship” with your upline.
I almost guarantee as soon as you decide that you’re not going to build the business a certain way or you stop building the business altogether, they likely will stop being your friend.
Don't fool yourself into believing that their friendship is 100% true, if the only history you have with them is based on you being on their team and nothing else.
If they continue being your friend and wish you well, regardless of what you choose to do in the future, then that's a true friend.
But I know very few leaders in this industry that don't take leaving a company or building using a different approach personally.
This is one of the reasons why I hate the indoctrination tactics used by a lot of companies.
They use religion, politics, or other cult strategies to indoctrinate you because it keeps you in the business, for reasons other than business results and growth.
You need to be stronger than that!
You need to see through it and ask yourself the questions…
“Does it benefit me to stay with this company or to continue building this way?”
“Can I do better elsewhere or do better with a different strategy?”
Ultimately, those are decisions you have to make.
And I'm hoping you make the decision that's the mature business decision.
And I hope that none of this advice applies to you and that the best thing for you is to stay exactly where you are with the love and support of an amazing mentor who puts your business first.
However, for some, this post will be very hard hitting for their situation.
And top earners stuck in the pre-internet age, certainly won't like this post, but…
I don't mind upsetting a few people!
I've already done it many times.
Among old-school top earners, I'm not a very well-liked person.
However, progressive top earners in the network marketing space are attracted to what we do here.
This is one of those messages that slaps people around a little bit and brings them back to reality.
It makes people realize that this is their business.
So if you are truly in business for yourself, then…
You want to make business decisions that will benefit YOU!
Like I said at the start…
As entrepreneurs, we need to behave like entrepreneurs.
So if you're ready to create the leverage and security of your own business using the Internet.
Then I highly recommend signing up for my free online recruiting bootcamp.
You'll see the exact online business building strategies I use to generate 300–500 leads per day, 30–50 customers per day, and recruit 70–100 new serious business builders into my business each month!
So if you’re ready to get started…
Simply click here and I’ll gladly give you access to my 10-day bootcamp.
And if you found this content helpful, I would love to read your comments below!
Chief Marketing Officer
Elite Marketing Pro
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