What is Network Marketing/Multi-Level Marketing?
If you do a google search on Network Marketing (aka Multi-Level Marketing or MLM), inevitably one of the first sites you’re taken to is Wikipedia, and one of the first words that you read is ‘controversial’. A year ago I would have resonated very much with the sentiment of this word. In the industry that I am in many people have tried to get me involved with Network Marketing businesses before. It comes as a surprise to many, but even my father (a very traditional businessman, in the sense of a suit and tie, well respected, Management Consultant) has for many years now been encouraging me to seek out a Network Marketing opportunity. It was not for me though. Firstly I could never get behind any of the products, but also I very much feared the model – I felt there was something untoward about the whole thing.
When dōTERRA essential oils were introduced to me, I actually didn’t realise it was a Multi-Level Marketing model. This is one of the first things that softened me to the idea of it. I had been introduced to the oils by 2 women, that I trusted and respected, who were sharing their passion for the product; nobody once spoke to me about the business side of it. In the past I had been approached to ‘get involved’ in order to make money. With dōTERRA I was being educated around these incredible oils, and the business opportunity was an extra side of it that I was yet to discover.
Now I know what I know about dōTERRA, for me it is one of the biggest distinguishable factors about how they operate. From the Founders down there is a deep-rooted passion for the work they are doing, both in terms of the oils that they bring us and their mission to educate and empower us how we can use these oils to support our bodies on so many levels, but also to support the communities in which they grow and distill the plants which create these oils.
Not all Network Marketing companies have this ethos. Many of the bigger ones I had been aware of for many years are all about pushing ‘the business’ – the product very much seems to be by the way side, and instead everyone is being pulled into this ‘dream’ of becoming a millionaire!
This is where Network Marketing can indeed be seen to be closely linked to the now illegal concept of pyramid sales. Pyramid sales involved everyone putting forward cash with the hope of a re-payment, as more and more people were recruited to invest in the same way, then those at the top benefited, and the payout for those further down diminished until eventually ‘the bottom fell out’ and the structure collapsed, leading those at the top to be the only benefactors. There was no product involved, and everyone gave money, often for nothing.
Some Network Marketing companies encourage everyone to do the business, and in turn this means everyone is being pulled along with ‘the dream’. Getting an account means having to buy every month, and often you are receiving something you do not want or need, just to have the opportunity to fulfil ‘the dream’ but in turn having to push your friends and family to do the same.
This is 100% not for me!
What is different about dōTERRA?
The more I looked into dōTERRA’s approach (and I really did look into it, in the same way as I researched the oils themselves before deciding that they were something I could and wanted to align myself with), the more I realised that the word ‘controversial’ here really had no place.
Unlike the approach taken with some companies, the focus of dōTERRA is on sharing the product. The majority of those people that have an account with dōTERRA have chosen to do so because they share the same passion for these oils as I do. They want the oils in their lives, so they buy them, and after that point they are under NO obligation to ever buy again. Just as you would buy a product you loved from a high street retailer, or online store, people buy dōTERRA oils from dōTERRA (they come directly from their warehouse, never touching my hands). The only difference is that rather than paying for shop space, advertising, marketing, salespeople, offices – dōTERRA reward me (and others) for sharing and educating people in something they love. Women talk! We share things we love anyway, whether we are being paid for it or not, so where is the shame in being paid? When done right, from a place of authenticity and love, there is none! This is what I realised – I would be sharing dōTERRA anyway, and if I could support my family even a little as I did so, then what an even more wonderful gift these oils would be in our lives.
For us, as a family, we never had any intention of the oils being anything more than a small but welcome addition to our income; maybe it would pay for our petrol each month, and in a very short space of time it did. And that seemed amazing, even life changing in a small, but nonetheless significant way.
Then, after a little while longer, when the business started to grow bit by bit, just from me sharing my love, we noticed that the income from dōTERRA was now going to cover not only petrol expenses for the month, but also our shopping bills. Doubly amazing! And not long after that, and this is when it started to open our eyes to what it could mean to us, dōTERRA was bringing in enough to cover our mortgage. Truly life-changing. Life-changing to the point where myself and my husband, a self-employed wholesaler of organic chocolate, are contemplating a life where we’re both working together with dōTERRA: both at home, both looking after our children, both sharing something that we have become equally as passionate about, as we see the oils working on such a deep level, not just for us as a family, but everyone who touches them; together we are now taking our first steps on the path of this ‘changed life’.
The thought that that’s a possibility is quite hard to believe, and it makes us both grateful that we were introduced to these oils not so long ago.
I want to impress again, that of the 300 people I have introduced to these oils in the last year, only 20 are doing the business; the majority just simply are buying a product. And I have ‘approached’ only a couple of these people to do the business, because I felt it was truly aligned to their current lifestyle and chosen career path; it is not something I am ‘in the market’ of pushing on people, not in the slightest. My business is being built from selling a product, and not from selling ‘a dream’. The others that now work as part of my team have come to me as their passion for the oils has grown – they have been sharing the oils anyway, because they want everyone to benefit from their wonder, and hence ultimately they have realised they too could in turn support their families in some way.
I want to say here too one important thing to remember (and it’s another thing which inspired confidence in the business when I was deciding whether it was something for me and my family): it isn’t, and nor will anyone ever tell you within this organization that it is, a ‘get rich quick scheme’! As one of the managers of dōTERRA Europe said recently, it’s not for the faint-hearted! But if you have passion in the product, your life is aligned right in this moment to share it fully and you are willing to put in the work, and have the faith that it will grow as it is meant to, then it can change your life unimaginably.
So yes, the nature of Multi-Level Marketing means that people buying these oils benefits those who have shared the oils with them, and in most instances this is what puts people off, or makes them think it is some kind of ‘con’?! However it is this very thing that led my father to encourage me to find a MLM company I could align myself with. It is this very thing that thousands of women are finding is becoming a life changing experience for them and their families. It makes sense for feminine based industries to position themselves this way! It makes sense that it is fast becoming a very conventional business model in this modern world of entrepreneurism (think Jamie Oliver, Anne Summers, Usborne books). Women love. Women share. Women talk. Why should women not benefit? When you shop at your local supermarket, do you not think that the money you spend goes on to benefit somebody? Is that shop not making profit? And furthermore, why is it ok to benefit the shareholders and very wealthy board members of a supermarket chain, but somehow wrong to benefit a woman that you know and trust?
I am now proud to be part of a Multi-Level Marketing company such as dōTERRA (and don’t get me wrong there are others that do it right too!). And oh what a network it truly is! One of the biggest blessings of being involved with this company is the amazing group of women (and increasingly their husbands!) that I’ve come to know and love. When I began this journey I didn’t imagine that it would make me a part of a network in the most positive sense of the word. Far from being alone in this I’m part of an amazingly supportive team of people, all on the same journey, all trying to make a positive difference to others’ and their lives. There’s an endless number of people to turn to for advice, help, motivation, guidance, training, education… As someone very successful with dōTERRA has said, your world becomes bigger.
Maybe it’s a British thing – the idea that making money is almost vulgar. Which is probably why we find this approach quite hard to accept: it’s too direct, too transparent almost. Much easier to hand over money to a cashier at a supermarket so we can’t really see where the money is going! But there’s nothing vulgar, certainly nothing wrong, with being able to enrich people’s lives with these amazing oils, and truly change people’s lives with the income you can earn from them. We’re only at the beginning of our personal journey, just scratching the surface, and the benefits and wonders are clear already. We can’t wait to see where this adventure leads.