My Own Mixed and Varied Business Career
When I was in high school, like many other kids at school I hated being there. I did not feel that I was learning anything that would help me know how to handle life, nor was I learning anything that I could then go on and use to create income out there in the marketplace. I intuitively knew that a lot of what I was being taught was unnecessary for my survival, and I did not like the rote way of learning that schools use to shove information down our throats. Like I said, I am more of an apprentice style learner, and so I needed to be ‘doing’ rather than reading about doing.
I was first introduced to the idea of direct selling at the age of 15. My mother was invited to a Tupperware party – a company that produces excellent kitchenware in the form of containers for storage and plastic items that can be used in microwaves – and she took me along with her where I saw for myself the concept of direct sales. I was very impressed with the product, and so I asked the lady who had been doing the presentation all about what she was doing. I discovered that this form of selling was called Direct Sales, and I liked what I saw. She explained to me that she was earning great money doing parties part-time, and it allowed her to look after her children during the week while her husband was working. Apparently he was at home looking after the kids while she was here talking to me, and I began to see how doing something alternative like this would really work for a woman if she wanted to have her own money within a marriage. She could be there for her children during the week while at the same time earn almost a full-time income working part-time on weekends. This realisation about direct selling began to expand my mind regarding the possibilities of how money can be made.
Then I was introduced to a cosmetic and perfume company called Avon, which operates here in Australia selling their products through catalogue distribution. The equivalent company in America is Mary Kay. The Avon company produces very professional looking catalogues that list all of their many and varied products, and the sales-reps would go door-to-door (usually in the early hours of the evening when most mothers are at home) and leave a catalogue on the doorstep. There were Avon ads on the telly showing ladies going door-to-door singing “Avon Lady” as they rang the doorbell, so people weren’t at all surprised when a smartly dressed woman turned up on their doorstep doing that.When I investigated how Avon worked, I discovered that they had several levels that could be achieved within their business, and that once you reached a certain level of sales volume per month you could become a district manager and make a percentage of profit on the total sales created by the reps who worked ‘downline’ from you within your team in your own district. I began to see how through effort one could leverage themselves into a position where they could earn a passive income via the efforts of other people doing the same thing you were doing. I did not try to sell their products, because to me, it all looked like a helluva lot of work for a very small return, and I have to admit that I’ve always been keen to make the big dollars, not the small, so I decided that this would take too long to earn a decent living out of. However, I did add the business concept to my slowly developing understanding of how to create really big dollars through helping people get what they wanted and needed from Direct Selling and Network Marketing.
I left school without completing my final year, choosing instead to study and perform dance and become a teacher of that rather than staying in the “education” system. I was bored and really didn’t want to be there, so getting out was a welcome relief. At the time, it was expensive to pay for my lessons and my dresses, so I was constantly looking for ways to make extra cash to pay for the costs involved in competing (which, I might add, were many and varied). So I took my knowledge of Party Plan selling and began to sell stock that I had purchased from the wholesalers myself. I sold lingerie, handbags, belts and costume jewellery in this way as a means to paying for my lessons and my dresses, and it wasn’t long before I had other women wanting to distribute my range as well. From this I learned about how by duplicating myself many times, I could increase my earnings quite substantially. Eventually I looked at Amway, Nutrimetics, and Neways over the next few years. All of these companies looked really good, but I did not feel comfortable selling their products. I was not very enthusiastic about soaps, cleaning products, makeup or health products. I would use those products, yes sure, but promoting them didn’t sit right with me. However, I loved the way these systems linked people together and created a community that helped one another to do well. THAT was what I really liked about these companies, but I needed to feel a strong alignment with (and a belief in) the company’s product before I could sell it to other people. Also, I did not like the way that each company required you to purchase a certain amount of product per month in order to be eligible for your monthly commission payment. Personally, I don’t like being committed to doing something that I am not enthusiastic about, so being forced to purchase items on a regular basis definitely did nothing to make me want to be part of these businesses. I didn’t love the products enough to actually WANT to do that, so joining any one of these companies would have been futile.
So I continued to dance and did what I could to make enough money to advance my training. I gained my qualifications to become a teacher at the age of 22 and from there I began my own dancing school. I also gained my qualifications as a massage therapist and was also able to earn money doing that too. Later, I would become qualified in other beauty-related skills, and earn money from doing waxing, manicures and pedicures, and makeup, but that would happen quite a bit further along in my career.
While running my dance school, one of my students gave me a set of tapes called The Mastery of Money by the author Stuart Wilde. In these tapes, Stuart spoke of the Esoterics of making money (which absolutely fascinated me), and so I listened to them many, many times throughout the entire time that I was in my twenties. I became soaked in the concepts he taught, those being that you need firstly to expand your mind into believing that money can come from anywhere – not just hard work – and that you can create within yourself such a wide expectation of receiving abundance that eventually, instead of you going out to find it, ‘it’ comes and finds you.
I liked what Stuart taught so much that I went on to purchase other of his recordings and writings, the first being his book The Trick to Money is Having Some. I read and re-read that book, and (combined with what I had learned from his Mastery of Money tapes) I regularly affirmed to myself that “I am what I am, and what I am has beauty and strength. All my needs are met; money finds me; money comes to me from everywhere; abundance is my nature; and there is no limit to the amount of abundance that I can have.” I had begun deprogramming my mind from the limited beliefs I had learned from my dad.
I continued to look at various other Direct Selling and MLM/Network Marketing businesses, all the while wanting to create total financial independence in my life. As my mind expanded to the possibility of allowing huge amounts of money to come into my life, so too did my career lean towards change. The expansion of my thinking created a new opportunity for me, and so I started a domestic cleaning agency, within which I applied some of what I had learned about different business models that I had liked prior to this.
During the time of running this business, I wondered how I might incorporate a good Network Marketing product into my business. I was introduced to Pro-Ma products by someone that I knew who attended a business breakfast meeting with myself and several others each Wednesday morning. The company had a fantastic range of products for car detailing and cleaning, and they also had an alternate range of products that came under the banner of Grace Cosmetics. I used the cosmetics myself, and later learned to do Bridal Makeups using them.
The company was run by a lovely, ethical Australian couple called Val and Sandra Fittler, who had begun their operations in May of 1983. The company seemed to be stable and reliable, so I joined in order to have access to the distributors rates on their products. For a while I made very good money by incorporating the Pro-Ma Car Detailing products into my business and by offering car detailing services as one of the many cleaning services that we provided. By doing this it showed me how people could be made aware of products sold by a MLM/ Network Marketing business through providing a service, and although it proved to me that Network Marketing worked, I still wasn’t making the kind of money I wanted from this type of business system.
I decided to sell my cleaning business because it had grown very large but had many weaknesses in the system. I wasn’t able to control whether cleaners spoke to clients and went private with them, and I couldn’t control clients offering cleaners private deals. I wanted to find a business that couldn’t be usurped the way mine was. I unwisely trusted the advice of the broker who brought the purchaser of my business to me, and sold the business with Vendor finance. The same broker had recommended a lawyer who had acted for both myself and for the purchaser. It proved to be a nightmare. The purchaser didn’t make a single repayment and I spent the next two years chasing the purchaser and the lawyer who had acted in the sale of my business through court, but fortunately connected with a hot-shot young gun lawyer who won my case AND sued the other lawyer on my behalf. I received a payout on his professional indemnity insurance, and took my business back to rebuild it again (It’s extremely rare to find a lawyer who will sue another lawyer, but my lawyer did. Message me if you want to know his name).
During the period after initially selling my cleaning business and while going through the legal case that ensued, I started a pre-loved clothing shop. I ran it as a consignment shop initially, then changed to selling items that I bought from wholesalers myself. It was here that I learned what I needed to know for later running op-shops within the non-profit organisation that I would later go on to create.
It was also during this time that I was led to begin an apprenticeship in the Insurance Industry, during which I learned the differences between the various Insurance products that are available. Although I didn’t realise it then, later I would discover just how beneficial this knowledge would be to me in my quest to find an investment opportunity that would create the kind of financial freedom that I had always wanted. During my training I was taught the difference between Life Insurance products and Retirement products called Endowment Policies (a retirement product sold in the UK and in Offshore Tax Havens), which are similar to Superannuation (a retirement product mostly used in Australia). I also learned about protection products, such as the kind used to replace the value of stolen goods or the kind that paid out when a person becomes ill.
I didn’t enjoy working in the Insurance industry and reluctantly decided to rebuild my old business again. I am unable to sell doom and gloom (because I don’t believe in selling fear to others), so Insurance wasn’t right for me. For the next three years I continued in the role of managing my cleaning business. During that time I was shown numerous opportunities but found that none of them interested me very much. That was, until a company called Investors International came along. Upon joining and purchasing their first education module, I wasn’t so much interested in promoting the company’s Network Marketing opportunity to others, but rather I was more interested in listening to what was being said in the recordings. Their product was an education package that introduced the listener to the truth about where the real investment returns could be found – Offshore. The company also sold Offshore Trusts as part of their service, but I wasn’t making the kind of money that warranted going offshore at that stage so I didn’t really need their other services. I really only wanted the education that could be gained from being introduced to concepts of 40% and higher returns per annum on investments, and how to legally protect those returns.
I was still reading the writings of Stuart Wilde and had heard him speak of how the various governments and banks of the world had aligned with the media in order to keep the general population almost completely unaware of where the really big dollars could be made and how to put in place legal structures that would allow you to keep most of what you earned, so I had already been introduced to the concept of offshore banking and investing through him. It wasn’t until I had listened again and again to the first set of Investors International tapes that I became ultimately deprogrammed from my limited perspective on just how much money was out there and how much of it I could actually have. After soaking in that information, I went from thinking in the million dollar amounts to thinking in the hundred millions. It was a real turning point for me.
Through Stuart’s books I also learned that if one is to succeed in life, you have to have the right approach. You cannot go out there into the marketplace with the intention of grabbing what you can for yourself and then doing the runner. You have to be prepared to serve others if you want to succeed, and so this concept began to find it’s way very deeply into my psyche. I could see why most MLM/Network Marketers failed in their attempts to do well in that industry.
Some friends who were involved in learning about the kind of high yields that were available offshore led me to a website being run by an Australian gent who was local to where I was living, whose name is Lance Spicer. His website is found here: http://www.tridentpress.com.au/
Lance’s books High Yield Investments 1 and 2 then reiterated what I had learned from the education module that I had studied from Investors International. In Lance’s books, he gave accounts of returns of up to 130% a year on some investments, which absolutely blew me away. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my mind was being stretched to believe in these kinds of returns and this level of financial dealings in the global market. A space was being carved for what was to come later.
When I finally decided that I’d had enough of the entire cleaning industry and of running businesses with staff, I let my business go and took a few months off. Actually, I was put in a position where I had to do that, but that’s another story – one which relates to my reasons for creating the Foundation I now run.
I have always had the gift of writing, and so I decided to write several training manuals about how to start various businesses, starting with three different manuals on how to own and operate a business in the cleaning industry. When I had completed the first three manuals, I took what I had done and applied for work as a teacher in the adult education colleges. I was given the opportunity to run one day workshops straight away. I ran those workshops for the next two years, throughout Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. I eventually wrote manuals for all the various businesses I had run, including the party plan businesses and the pre-loved clothing shop I’d owned as well, and taught workshops on those things too.
During that time when I was teaching I was introduced to an MLM/Network Marketing opportunity that utilised Insurance products called Endowment Policies, in a reverse kind of way. This particular opportunity appealed to me a lot, because there was a very high return on effort expended, a very low entry fee to take part (it was merely an administration fee, not an investment), and when I looked at the business from all perspectives, everyone (and I mean everyone) stood to gain from taking part. There were no losers in this MLM/Network Marketing opportunity. None at all…… that was, as long as a participant followed through to the end.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, over the next three years I marketed the business to enough others that I earned myself a good payout which was helped along by the fact that about 85% of people didn’t stick around for long enough to receive their payout, and so that money was divided amongst those of us that were left prior to the time finally for us to be paid. Sure, it has taken 15 years in total from the time I joined to the time I am to be paid, but it will be well worth the wait.
Now, I’d like to talk about the misconceptions of the Direct Selling Industry and how those misconceptions have come about. The actual business concept of Direct Selling and MLM/Network Marketing is pretty astounding in how it expedites your earning capacity through joining the efforts of those people in your team, and how it propels everyone’s earnings into potentially higher returns. However, due to the lack of good teachers (ie. sponsors) as well as the daunting nature of talking to people, many new recruits who have been excited by the idea of Network Marketing have tried to learn how to make money this way for a short while and then given up due to not having the support needed nor the will to survive within the industry. Joining a network marketing opportunity is definitely not a career path for the lazy or the frightened. However, it does give those people who aren’t lazy and who have no fear (and who otherwise would not have had a chance to change their financial position) the opportunity to become financially free. It is the one industry where you can start as an apprentice and learn as you go along, which for those people whose minds learn best by copying, doing and experiencing, is a far superior way to become an expert than learning through memorising mainstream education.
Like many other industries that have a bad name – for example, real estate, car sales, and the finance industry – much depends on the ethics of the people running the company as well as the character and level of knowledge of the person that you are being trained by or are dealing with. For example, if the person who has introduced the company to you, and whom you are being trained by, doesn’t truly want to help you get what you want and is only in it for themselves, then you will not get the support you need in order to learn what you have to learn so that you can make it. Or, if the person you are dealing with doesn’t really know much about the product, then how can they explain it to you, or for that matter, to a customer? They can’t.
There are many skills needed to succeed in any type of business. If you don’t develop them, then you won’t succeed. It’s very much like becoming a dancer….. you have to spend alot of hours practicing your routines in order to become a champion, and it costs ALOT of money to get there. One of the biggest mistakes that the Direct Selling/Network Marketing industry makes is that it does not prepare people to work very hard for a long time, and to spend alot of money on their own training, before they begin to see the benefits of what they have learned. People are sold on the idea that within six months they can be living off their earnings. This isn’t realistic. If people were told the truth (which is, that it will take at least two years to earn enough monthly income to give away your other income), the industry would have a much better reputation. Like in everything, success never happens overnight.
Anyway, there might come a time in the next few years where I travel to places like India and Africa and create work for women who need help to get out of abusive relationships in those countries. I have ideas of creating products – sheets and pillowcase sets, doona covers, bedding, clothing, silk scarves, lingerie, fashion jewellery etc – that would then be sold in Australia and other places, so perhaps a web of linked businesses will arise from what I have learned and what has been achieved through what I have learned so far.
So, as a conclusion to my study of Small Businesses (Direct Selling, skills for home based businesses, MLM/Network Marketing businesses), I would like to say that I made my decisions based on
1. How much effort was required to make a business work
2. How much profit was in it for my company at the end of the day, and
3. Whether or not I liked and/or believed in the product.
It is a Direct Selling / Network Marketing opportunity that finally is to give me the money I need to set me free financially. Of course, others will come to financial freedom in other ways, and one has to decide what the meaning of financial freedom is to them to know whether they have made it or not. For you, it might simply be having enough money to go sit on the beach two or three days a week and not worry about how to pay the bills. It might be different for someone else.
As you know, the system of Direct Selling /Network Marketing itself is a whole new way of approaching business that takes quite some time to learn, and if you’re also having to learn about the product at the same time, then it stands to reason why many people would drop out of a company that requires you to do both. It’s difficult enough to learn how to market and explain the activity without having to worry about understanding a product as well. Not to mention the personal development that is required if one is to succeed in a sales based industry, but that’s a whole topic in itself and not one for this article here.
Thanks for reading. 🙂