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The Network Marketing Paradox

I’ve been toying with sharing an idea for probably 9 months now.  Gee, that’s long enough to have a baby. But, this thought is more like having Rosemary’s baby as it has to do with being a voice for the other side of network marketing. Maybe it’s not the dark side. Maybe it’s a conversation to liberate those who need a graceful way out of network marketing. Hmmm?
You see, my wife and I spent 10 years in network marketing never making enough money to cover our autoship. We worked and studied, trained and applied ourselves but enrolled only a very few short-lived people. It was a tough realization, but I finally had to admit to myself that I wasn’t going to be a 5% network marketer; it just wasn’t going to turn out way I thought it was going to. The question became how to come to peaceful terms with ten years and thousands of dollars – gone?
Relentlessly, this quote echoed in my brain – “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” I didn’t want to be labeled as a quitter, which is the equivalent in my mind to being a loser. No way was that going to happen. So, like staying in a bad marriage just for the sake of the kids, we continued to work and work and work.
I understood the full impact of not making any money and I had lost any motivation for what I was doing. I thought network marketing was the finest business model on the planet but when I looked hard at it, best business model or not, it made no sense to continue any longer.
I didn’t want to be selling products any longer. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about the “business.” I didn’t really have a business of my own, no, I was a glorified salesman for “the company.” I was an independent contractor, a commissioned salesman, nothing more. Looking in the mirror became tougher and tougher.  I began to consider that maybe I was a loser.
Now I’m sure there are many out there who would strongly differ with me saying I did quit and I am a loser. And, it’s OK. You are defending your position, entitled to your opinion and I understand. When I was “in” nothing could dissuade me either from believing in my company, my product or service, my team, and my dream. I had gulped the “kool aid” and nothing was going to turn my head. But, once I finally acknowledged the nagging, masked over and long lived doubts, once I grasped the weakening of my convictions, it was actually a relief to be free of the lost hope of network marketing success.
Network marketing had become such a habit it was difficult to forecast life without weekly team calls, meetings, cold and follow up calls, presentations, lead generation systems and product briefings. But, because of my self-development training I began to see there was the possibility of life after network marketing. I was deprogramming myself from the network marketing habit. There was a sense of release, a calming. And, I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
If you’ve ever been involved with some sort of network marketing or even internet marketing business and you wondered why only a few were successful and you weren’t yet independently wealthy, then you’re in the same boat I found myself. You believed that a network marketing business model made all the sense in the world, just like me. You believed everyone had an equal opportunity and you could help tons of others to succeed, just like me. It was an ideal model from every point of view… except from my wallet’s.
The Conundrum
The problem I face today is finding a way to assist others to resolve the conflict they feel when they entertain an idea like leaving network marketing. It’s so contrary to everything that has been taught. Network marketers have had their brains hammered by experts to think positive, to believe in your why, to reach for your goals, to just talk to one more person because you never know if that person is “The One.” Nothing wrong with those teachings, but you are left with the thought that leaving is abhorrent, blasphemy, the devils work.
At what point do you really take stock of a situation from a business view, take the emotions and the fairy tales out of the equation and say enough is enough? But, how can you pull the plug on a vehicle that is purported to fulfill your dreams? That’s the paradox I faced and I know others do too. And, how do I help those people who’ve thought about leaving network marketing but can’t see a hopeful future without it?
What would you advise a friend in this kind of a predicament? Like a smoker you’d tell them to go cold turkey and find something else to do. Go chew some gum. Could you take that advice?
I know that there are people like me out there who have talent, they have been trained and educated and if they could even consider for a moment putting their efforts into something they are truly passionate about for themselves they could see a future of possibility and be successful at it. But, with the network marketing paradoxical anchor around their necks there can be no hope, no movement.
By the way, just in case you’re wondering, I realized quickly that I wasn’t a loser and I wasn’t a quitter. The day I left network marketing I got it! Did I quit network marketing? Yes. The correct question is: Did I quit on myself? No, never. I acknowledged a failure and merely changed modalities, changed careers. (It wasn’t fatal.) Now, get this – I would never ever quit on myself, therefore, I could never be a loser.
So the bottom line is, at what point do you make an emotionless “business” decision and pull the plug? And, once that deep seeded MLM identity has been released, set free, what do you do? Where do you go from there?
I’ll answer the question in my next post in just a few days.
Please leave a comment. I am extremely curious to hear your points of view. It should undoubtedly be an interesting conversation. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend Tags: career, changing jobs, commissioned sales, deprogramming, freedom, habit, liberate, mlm, network marketing, quitter, self-development, training, winner

Rick Lelchuk

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