While I had done transcription and freelance writing on the side before kids, my first solution to make that transition from a more-than-fulltime job to being an at-home mom was like many other wanna-be work-at-home moms - through multilevel marketing and direct selling.
I was first approached with the idea of building a business with a well-known multilevel marketing company by a co-worker, in the Fall of 1996 when I was first pregnant with K. We were looking for a solution to help deal with our debt so that I could be an at-home mom, and the idea of part-time income was appealing.
Greg and I investigated the opportunity, met the people involved (a very important thing in any business, but especially in MultiLevel Marketing), and after some serious discussions on whether it was a good fit, decided to have a go at it.
Now Greg and I are both introverts – he even more than I. So the idea of approaching people we didn’t know and “selling” was not comfortable and took a lot of energy. And that phone – wow… it’s amazing how scary a little everyday device can be when you are facing your fears and putting yourself out there.
Legitimate, ethical multilevel marketing opportunities and direct selling are very viable ways to earn an income, and there are some wonderful opportunities out there, including the one we were part of.
If you believe in a product, believe in yourself, have a great support system and training, and are willing to put in the work, it is very possible to earn more than a decent living at it. I’ve seen this prove true for multiple people in my life, across a variety of opportunities.
But to build a business, any business, it takes energy and effort. For some - those who truly succeed at it – that energy and effort is fun and enjoyable, and it feeds them.
But for Greg and I, while it had its fun moments, and we learned a LOT about business and about ourselves, multilevel marketing was not a good fit. It took more energy than we had to give it, and it didn’t capture our hearts, our passion, and more importantly, our commitment.
Don’t get me wrong – we loved the products and the people. Greg grew as a leader and as an individual hugely during that period of time because of the business and leadership training, and the association with other like-mind people. In fact, because of that training and personal growth, he nearly doubled his income at work.
But the multilevel marketing business and the direct selling piece of it just wasn’t a good fit for us. We gave it a go for over two years, and then decided to let it go and embrace the other, more comfortable, opportunities that also came up during that time.
And, even though we decided not to “build” the business side of the opportunity after the second year, we have kept our distributorship active, even after all these years, simply because it makes sense to continue to buy the products at distributor cost.
And hey, maybe one day, we’ll be able to use internet marketing to sell the products online and then I’ll be in my element again.
Coming up next… the business lessons we learned from MultiLevel Marketing & Direct Selling, followed by the other opportunties I explored during that same time period.