Does the majority of us feel the same way about certain business models relating to network marketing and multi-level marketing? A good read on NM versus MLM.
My experience below with a representative of a company called “BWW” isn’t about judging their business legality or business model. Personally, there is nothing wrong with such business models but I am not interested as a fully employed person. These business models are more suited for people looking for extra income or with more free time.
These companies will naturally appeal to your greed if you are not objective about time and money – introducing the idea you are like a “man on a mission” to earn your millions and an effective way to do it is to get support from mentors and peers which likely result you in buying their training materials and spending more time in their business community. Combing through LinkedIn profiles and blogs of these people, I feel their passion. Frankly, it can be very charismatic and contagious. BWW’s Singapore website showed an introductory video, the music employed taps on a harmonious frequency meant to lower our guard and the narratives were about “dreams”, “seed”, “success” related. It taps on our innate desire to be someone important. Wow!
However, I caution against being swayed by these people easily. Make an informed choice before committing.
A year ago, I was approached by someone on LinkedIn wanting to talk about some business opportunity. I thought it was a start-up and was not ready to make the move from my current job.
Recently, I have made contact with this person, wanting to explore start-ups, especially if their products have major disruptive potential. When I asked does his business has a website for my reference, he said in today’s e-commerce age, there is no need for an official website. He wanted to explain to me his business face-to-face and I agreed to meet up with him.
During the meet up, he asked a lot of “what is your ambition” questions which made me felt he was trying to prime my mind and to assess my potential in joining his business. So, his e-commerce business is a referral program where we draw purchasers to a group of manufacturer’s purchase portal and we earn commission based on these referrals. I got excited and thought it was a decent business model (In fact it is the essence of network marketing).
Manufacturers need not spend top marketing dollar but employ the word-of-mouth tactic through consumers like us. I was beginning to think about creating websites and use my content to drive sales for the various brands his business is carrying. From color pencils to apparels, why not? I am a lifestyle person, I can make some passive income and get to hone my marketing techniques!
To convince me his business works, he told me his business mentor (William Anthony) did a master’s thesis on the company’s business model and found it to be sound and effective. When I asked him what is the company’s name, he could not answer me and said it was a community. When I asked what does “XYZ Worldwide” means on your LinkedIn? He says it was just a name for his so-called independent business. No business registration was done.
I probed further by asking if he is in a network marketing or some multi-level marketing model and will he gain profits from me joining? He said no, and his reason was convincing, “I am recruiting more people to refer more purchases to our manufacturers so they would be incentivized to pay out more commission to our community”
Wow! Although I felt he was dodgy to my questions, his answers sounded somewhat reasonable so far. I was also at a mind-state of exploring start-ups and other businesses.
After we had our conversation, he invited me to a business seminar. I was open to understand how this business works so I accepted his invitation.
The day came and I was feeling lazy to get out of my house plus my country was plagued with haze from Indonesia. I asked my “recruiter” what is the agenda of the seminar and he screen shot a pamphlet advertising the seminar. I asked why didn’t he send me the pamphlet earlier he said, “Better late than never”.
Feeling extremely reluctant to step out of my house, I began to suspect about his “business”. I checked out the speakers’ names and managed to find those names linked to an organization titled “BWW – Britt Worldwide” claiming to be a business and an entrepreneurial training school.
In my limited capacity, I only knew of Amway and Sunway as one of the largest MLM companies in my country. I never knew BWW! I did an Internet search and found BWW is affiliated to Amway.
Reasons why it did not appealed to me:
Money is just an instrument we use to participate in today’s common economy. Remember the user of this instrument is still a human being. Do not let the tool use you, instead make good use of the tool and be clear on what it means to you.
Reading a blog from someone who went through the BWW’s seminars and the recruitment process, I felt the time and money invested does not give me the returns I am looking for. If I am only earning few hundreds a month, I rather spend my time with my family and with my hobbies.
I wish to remind my readers to be masters of their time and money.