Latest from the blog
Those who find network marketing success have learned the importance of serving other people.
The other day my wife had an experience with a local business which reminded me of the importance of customer service for any business, including network marketing. A few weeks ago, my wife was cleaning the carpet when our vacuum cleaner stopped working.
photo credit: reitveld
We have an older model Rainbow vacuum cleaner, which usually does a great job getting the dirt out of the carpets. But that day it stopped picking up anything.
My wife asked me to look at it. Since I know next to nothing about vacuum cleaners, I wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
It was in the evening so we decided to wait until later to figure out what to do. We didn’t think about it again until the middle of the afternoon last Friday. After I took another look at it, reaffirming my lack of expertise in the matter, I suggested we take it to a repair shop in a nearby town.
My wife called the shop to find out how late they were open. A short while later she left with the vacuum cleaner.
In my mind, I was thinking we’d have to borrow or rent a replacement so we could get the carpet cleaned for a dinner party we’re having at our house next weekend. But about an hour later, my wife was back home with the repaired vacuum cleaner.
She said the folks at the shop looked at the vacuum cleaner immediately. After a few minutes, they figured out what was wrong and fixed it for a reasonable rate. They also sold her a new hose that we needed at a decent price.
All in all, they were nice, prompt and professional.
Guess who will be getting all our vacuum cleaner business from now on. And guess where we’ll suggest our friends go when they have similar needs.
Network marketers can learn a lesson from this experience. Too often we pounce on anyone we consider a prospect. And if we don’t think they’re a prospect we pay little or no attention to them.
Here’s the better plan: treat everyone the same way you’d want to be treated. Do this and the prospecting will take care of itself.
This mentoring program taught me to help everyone succeed.
The search for network marketing success can be a long, confusing journey. It seems like you can find tips, strategies, advice and recommendations all over the Internet.
Often lost in all the confusion is one of the most basic rules of network marketing — if you want to improve your business, improve yourself. Personal development can, of course, take many forms, but I’ve found that one of the most important keys for me is to focus on my strengths.
photo credit: toiletbowl martini
In other words, if I concentrate on doing what I do well, my chances for success in network marketing increase. The first step is to find your strengths.
Here are three quick, easy questions you can ask yourself that will help you discover your strengths.
• What brings you joy?
This may sound easy, but many people struggle when they give this question serious thought. We’re often programmed as young children to forget about those things that make you happy. Misguided parents often think this spares their children from future heartbreak.
• What frustrates you in other people?
Think of those times when someone you know has had a difficult time performing a task that you consider easy. There’s a good chance that the task is in an area of one of your strengths.
• What do other people praise your for that you think is no big deal?
Remember when you did something that someone else couldn’t stop talking about, but you just shrugged off because it was easy for you. That’s because it involved some aspect of a strength for you.
Early in life we develop skills that are built on our strengths. Later, in school and in our careers we develop skills that are outside our strengths. When we face challenges in those areas, we get in trouble.
The truth is, we perform better when we focus on our strengths.
This is one of the great things about network marketing. You can work out of your strengths and build a team to help you take care of the aspects of business that you find most challenging.
Success in network marketing comes easiest and fastest when we do our best. We do our best when we utilize our strengths.
(This ebook helped me understand how I could use my strengths to find network marketing success.)
“Content is king” has become something of a catch phrase in internet marketing. It urges bloggers to concentrate most on the content of their posts. If you want readers, the thinking goes, you must first give them something worthwhile to read. That logic has gone pretty much unchallenged among those “in the know” about how to be successful online.[caption id="attachment_263" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Chris Brogan (via chrisbrogan.com)"][/caption]
But Chris Brogan takes issue with the adage.
“Content is not king. You are. (or Queen.) Content is currency. You’re the king.”
Instead, he says, content is a way for bloggers to “deliver interest.”
“It’s a gathering place for you and the people you hope to entertain/attract/educate/equip. That doesn’t make it the king.”
Chris Brogan calls content “treasure,” “salve,” and “wood for the fireplace around which great stories are told.”
“Work hard on content, but focus on relationships,” he says.
This fits perfectly with how best to run a network marketing blog, which is a perfect place to build relationships. After all, network marketing involves both networking and marketing, but not necessarily in that order. The business works best when you market to large numbers of people, then network with the ones who show interest in your product, service or opportunity.
So think about the content of your blog as the marketing aspect. You write valuable content to attract lots of readers. To build off Chris Brogan’s analogy, you provide a campfire where your stories will warm their souls.
But, as Brogan says, the ultimate focus should be on the relationships. With no networking, there’s no network marketing.
Do that and you’ll be the king of your content.
For years, most people planning for retirement have heard about the wisdom of contributing to a 401(k) or similar plan. But as the financial crisis turned into a full-blown recession, everybody saw their investment accounts shrink.
photo credit: nick farnhill
Plans like the 401(k) let people contribute pre-tax dollars into an investment account that is expected to increase in value over time.
But now the financial situation has gotten so bad that Time magazine’s Oct. 19 cover story says it’s time to retire the 401(k). According to the article, the balance of the average 401(k) dropped 31 percent from the end of 2007 through March 2009.
“In a system in which one year’s gains build on the next, the disaster of 2008 will dent retirement savings long after the recession ends,” the article says.
The magazine said the “401(k) was never meant to replace the employer-guaranteed pension fund, supplemented by Social Security, as the cornerstone of our nation’s retirement system.”
“But propelled by a combination of companies looking to cut costs and consumers who wanted control of their retirement destiny, that’s exactly what happened,” the story says.
The magazine suggests several fixes to the 401(k) issue, including a form of retirement insurance that could pay for up to 30 percent of retirement.
Would it be OK if I suggested another alternative for those who are planning for retirement? Recurring income.
Recurring income is doing work right one time, but getting paid for it over and over again. It’s similar to payments Michael Jordan gets when someone buys his brand of shoes or checks Elvis Presley’s heirs get when someone downloads one of his songs from the Internet.
Unfortunately, not many of us can play basketball like Michael or sing like Elvis.
Fortunately, there’s another option. Network marketing has allowed thousands of people to create recurring incomes ranging from a couple of hundred dollars a month to tens of thousands of dollars a month.
It’s not easy. It’s not a “get-rich quick scheme.” But it is possible.
Everyone planning for retirement now realizes that relying on traditional methods is no longer enough. Why not invest your time and effort in a business that provides recurring income?
NOTE — Today’s blog post was written by Jason Lewis, who gives his thoughts on the power of choosing our own path in the world.
When I think about what makes life so great, my mind always comes back to the same thing — freedom. The freedom to live our lives however we choose is in my mind, without a doubt, the most exciting thing life has to offer us.
We have the power and the privilege to live our lives however we see fit and that gift should never be taken for granted. We, as Americans, live in a world where much is provided for us at a reasonable rate. As long as one possesses a job of some sort, one can have the basic necessities of life without very much trouble at all. A roof over your head, food, running water, electricity, as well as the added luxuries of television, cell phones, internet and transportation can all be afforded, to some degree, on even the most meager of incomes due to the society we’ve built in this country.
While one might say that that’s a good thing, I would strongly argue the other side. I believe that because of this, too many people have lost their drive, their desire to be great and achieve things others thought impossible. The world we live in today was built on the shoulders of great men and women who used their minds as tools to discover ways to make a positive, lasting impact on the world and to help better the lives of those around them. But sadly, that all seems to be changing.
Television, movies and the internet reach the vast majority of the free world and influence our decisions more than ever. We’re consumed by these things and we’ve become slaves to them. They tell us how to dress, how to talk and what to think. Because of this, more and more of us are becoming insecure and fearful, causing us to express our creativity less, for fear of what others will think, and that is stunting our individual growth as well as our growth as a society. Instead of thinking for ourselves and encouraging others to do the same, we’re afraid to express new ideas and we often ridicule those that do.
This type of behavior will be our undoing if we don’t do something to change this terrible culture we’ve adopted and start helping others realize their unlimited potential to be and do whatever it is they want to be and do. But just talking about this won’t be enough to change. Gandhi taught us that in order to induce change, we must become the change we wish to see in others.
These are powerful words when carefully considered. Many of us recognize that something is wrong but lack the drive, determination and thought to actually do something about it. And that brings me to my original point – we all have the power to choose the direction our life goes in and I choose to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Network Marketing provides everyday people with an opportunity to control not only their own life, but to help others live the life that they deserve as well. In order to succeed at it, you must first work on yourself and turn yourself into the person you desire to be and by your guidance and example, you will help others do the same for themselves. When this happens, not only does it help to create better people, it provides us with the freedom to live our lives any way we see fit.
No other industry on the face of this Earth can provide such a thing to anyone who chooses to reap its rewards. I am proud to be part of that culture and I look forward to the journey that lies ahead. To be a network marketer is to have the power to change lives in the palm of your hand. There is no substitute for that gift and it’s one I will not waste.
The other day I was thinking about my oldest daughter, who is a senior in high school. She’s applying to colleges and thinking about which school would be the best fit for her.
photo credit: Rob ShenkIt reminded me of my senior year in high school. Within about three months, I went from not even thinking about college to looking at technical schools and finally to applying for a scholarship at a university with the hopes of one day graduating from its law school. It’s not hard to see that my mind was scattered. I was not very focused.
Looking back, I don’t think I’d change anything. Life turned out pretty well for me. However, I strongly believe that you’re better off focusing on where you want to go in life. To get there, I’d like to suggest two rules for living life. Only two.
First, find something that you love to do. Search long and hard for that activity that really gets your motor running. Look until you find what ignites your passion.
Second, find a way to make a living doing it. This may not be simple. In fact, it might be complicated, but keep working at it until you figure out how to make money at it.
This may take some time and effort, but the results will be well worth it.
We’ve talked before about how important a blog can be in your efforts to connect with folks who will become part of your community. Those who are thinking about starting a blog and those who want to improve their existing blog would do well to read Seth Godin‘s post about “Things to ask before you redo your website.”
Godin lists 24 excellent questions to ask yourself about your website. Spend some time considering all of them.
But pay careful attention to the final question: “Does the organization understand that ‘everything’ is not an option?”
Many network marketers, and for that matter entrepreneurs in general, tend to get sidetracked by trying to be all things to all people. By trying to accomplish everything, they often accomplish nothing.
This has something to do with targeting the right market and finding your niche, but it goes beyond that. It’s about how you run your business and beyond that how you live your life.
Motivation is a good thing, and going after your goals is admirable. Just don’t get so excited that you lose your focus. Find the place and the pace where you operate most efficiently and effectively.
I had an uncle who retired after spending his entire career in the military. He told me one time about some training he did in the latter years of his service that involved climbing a mountain.
Some of the younger troops took off in a hurry, even calling him “Gramps,” as they saw the deliberate way he started to climb. He didn’t bother calling them anything when he passed them about halfway up the mountain.
Dream about the joy you’ll feel when you reach your goals, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way. The best way to do this is by being someone who means something to somebody.
A few weeks ago, my wife and son were talking about license plates. For months my son has been playing a game of sorts, trying to find a license plate from every state in the union. He has a form with all the states on it. When we go on a trip, he gets it out, hoping to see a state that he hasn’t marked off the list.
During the course of the conversation, my son mentioned to my wife that he had noticed a lot of license tags recently with an X, a Yor a Z on them. I didn’t think much about his observation until I was in a traffic jam on I-40 a day or two later.
While I was creeping along with hundreds of other cars, I started noticing license plates. You can guess what happened, right? Car after car had a tag with an X, a Y or a Z on it. At least half, and probably closer to three fourths had one of those letters.
Now, does that prove that half the cars on the road have a license plate with one of the last three letters of the alphabet on it? Of course not. Instead, what I think it shows it that you tend to more easily notice the things you’re looking for.
So, here’s a suggestion: start looking for the good in life. In every situation, try to find something positive. Focus on that, and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
NOTE — This is the final post in a series on social network marketing. The complete series can be found here.
Social network marketing can work in multiple ways, but there are principles that increase your chances of success.
A few of the principles are personal — knowing why you’re in business and staying focused. But most of the principles concern you’re dealings with other people — building relationships, helping people, starting a blog, interacting with people, showing people how to succeed, not selling, and forming a community.
Perhaps the most important principle brings it all together — creating or finding a system to make it all work. You must have a teachable system. Once you have that, all you need are coachable partners.
So, what might this look like? How might a person journey from stranger to acquaintance to friend to business partner or customer? Consider this scenario:
• A person sees an interesting tweet you sent out on Twitter or became your friend on Facebook and saw something of note in your updates. Or maybe they found you through a blog on which you both comment. When you connect with him or her, you mention a post you wrote that might help them.
• The person visits your blog (or might have found your blog through a search engine or through another site). He or she reads a few of your posts and discovers that you provide relevant, valuable insights.
• After reading your posts, the person leaves a comment or two. You reply. A conversation develops, and perhaps moves to e-mail or another form of communication.
• Along the way, you introduce them to a personal development process that improves their business and personal life.
• During the course of the conversation, the person mentions that he or she is looking for a way to make extra money. Or perhaps he or she has noticed a link in your sidebar. You point them to your web site where he or she finds something that will make his or her life better.
• The person e-mails you for more information or fills out a form with their contact information.
• You call him or her. You talk several times. You decide if the person is a good fit for your business, and the person decides if it makes sense to them. If the answer for both of you is “yes,” you have a new business partner.
Because the person knows you and your business, he or she is likely a committed partner. This type of partnership will be mutually beneficially to both businesses.
This is not the only way social network marketing can work, but it is one way. Success will come to those who attract and interacting with people interested in their business and follow proven principles.
NOTE — This is the 11th post in a series on social network marketing. The full series can be found here.
Most everybody in social network marketing gets sidetracked because they lose focus in one of two ways. They either try to make money in too many ways or their way of making money gets fragmented.
Even worse, many people trying to make money using the Internet too often lose sight of the reason they got in business in the first place.
Social network marketing should never be construed as a “get rich quick” scheme. It is, at it’s best, a way to leverage yourself in multiple ways to earn a great deal of income.
But leveraging yourself in a number of ways should not be confused with multiple streams of income. In fact, you should focus on one, and only one, way of making money. Trying to make money in numerous ways only leads to numerous failures.
Tie tour primary business to your blog. When people visit it, they’ll eventually ask or find the links to how you make money. If the interaction funnel is set up correctly, it will lead them to consider whether or not to buy your products and join your business.
Moreover, getting involved in multiple projects only increases the chances of getting caught in one of the numerous scams that proliferate on the web. And it decreases the benefits that come with specialization.
But just concentrating on a single, legitimate business venture doesn’t guarantee success.
In social network marketing, many people get distracted by various methods of driving traffic to their web sites. Instead of trying every new trick that’s recommended by this week’s hot marketing guru, find what works and keep doing it until it stops working.
Remember that your social media efforts are only meant to attract people to your blog – your interactive funnel. That’s where you’re social networking efforts will be most effective.
Most importantly remember the ultimate goal of that interaction. Nearly every marketer started off with some sort of higher purpose. Success in its purest and highest form will only come when that goal is met.
Get the myth of multiple income streams and the fragmentation of multiple traffic-seeking methods out of the way, so you can focus on making a difference in people’s lives. With the distraction out of the way, the process of attraction will start.