The most difficult, yet rewarding part of being a business owner ( and thoughts on Multi-level Marketing)
The Beginning-A Business in a Box
A few years ago when I decided that I really wanted to go “all in” on starting my own business, I received a Facebook message from a friend. He was telling me about this great new business he was working on. He had recently become a Beachbody Coach.
Beachbody is a multi-level marketing company that sells exercise programs, meal replacement shakes, and fitness supplements. The idea is simple, you sign up to become a “coach”, and as you sell products, programs, even sign on other coaches, your commission grows. They even provide the marketing materials for you.
A business in a box. That’s how it seemed to me. You just follow their steps, and next thing you know, your rolling in cash. I was all in. I signed up that night and went to work on promoting the products. How could I lose?
But just as fast as I got started, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I just wasn’t that motivated. Even though I could work whenever I want, I still felt like an employee. I wasn’t creating my own thing. I was following the steps to help build someone else’s dream. About 3 weeks in to it, I stopped completely.
Before I continue, I want to make clear that this is not me bashing the MLM (multi-level marketing) companies and people who participate. I have friends who are doing well with the model and really maximizing it. I simply realized that it is not for ME personally. Ultimately, it comes down to your strengths and what you enjoy most.
The most difficult, yet rewarding part of self-employment
A short while later, after starting my photography business and going full time, I realized why I didn’t fit with the MLM model. It’s because I love the idea of building a brand to be EXACTLY the way I want it to be. A true representation of my beliefs and values. Even if that means making mistakes along the way. I view branding and marketing as a form of expression and creativity. The best method of branding is 100% authenticity.
A lot of people ask me what was the biggest shock in leaving the 9–5 world to build my own thing. The answer isn’t the lack of a weekly paycheck, or the need to put yourself out there, or even the flexibility in hours. For me, the biggest shock was realizing that there was no road map. I had to try things, even when I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. When you work in the 9–5 world, you are generally given your tasks/responsibilities, and it’s pretty clear what you should be doing. This is not the case when you start your own business.
While this is in my opinion, the most difficult part of owning a business, it’s also the most rewarding. Through the process of failing, trying different avenues, and creating your own systems. That’s where you can discover who you truly are, your values, and ultimately gain the confidence to keep moving forward.
This is why anything that states “If you follow our program 100%, you will have the life of your dreams”, or “These 10 steps will earn you 6 figures next year” will never truly attract me. I do find value in reading articles and information, but I believe ultimately its a matter of finding the bits that ring true and forming my own “Frankenstein” process/practices.
I hope this is helpful whether you are considering joining a MLM company, or you are starting your own thing. Again, it all comes down to your strengths and what you value the most. Authenticity is key.