Up-line Upside

Thou shalt not gossip…so I won’t mention any names.

An acquaintance, who evidently had an opinion of who she thought I was, asked me recently point blank: “Why in the world would you ever get involved with an up-line-based direct sales business?!” It reminded me of my own smugness due to the limitations of arrogance not so long ago. Reading between the lines, the question really is a veiled pronouncement: “I thought you were more intelligent than that.”

I thought I was too, a few short years ago. This multilevel business model had a sketchy track record in my mind; my husband would actually walk away smirking at your idiocy if you broached the subject in conversation. And if you were “passionate” and “excited” about selling beads and baubles in people’s living rooms, the bigger he smirked. But Life has a way of poking holes in our pride to make room for humility. Times have changed, and thankfully so has the direct sales business model.

The key to any successful venture is to know what you want. When we find our “reason why”, we find our motivation. I knew I wanted to spend my remaining limited waking hours doing something that would benefit people around me as much as possible, while providing opportunities and income for my own household. I wanted to lay my head on my pillow at night and know I had contributed something worthwhile to my people. And I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t take me far from my loved ones for most of the week. Armed with this criteria, it was easy to trim the fat as far as knowing what I didn’t have room to entertain. There are always opportunity costs, taking up one project means putting others on hold, perhaps indefinitely.

After much research (and no small amount of prayer), I settled on the business I now conduct, working alongside a company of souls whose ethos and product line I regard highly. It should be noted that it all had to pass muster with my husband before I actually stepped forward with confidence; no sexism here, no subjugation of the little woman staying in the kitchen where she belongs… my egalitarian husband has a modicum of wisdom, I wanted to be sure he could look over the business model and give it a thumbs up. All business start-ups necessarily bring inherent challenges; the learning curve is only elongated when your life partner is not on board. Miraculously, he approved my new-found entrepreneurial endeavor whole-heartedly, only after careful review of all terms and conditions.

Again, running a business is no cakewalk. A good fit and support all around certainly do make it feel easy. Plus there’s a fun factor as well.

In fairness, the first month was like holding my breath, wondering if I really made the right decision or had completely lost my mind. When the first paycheck arrived, completely covering my initial investment and putting us into the black, I knew we had lift-off. Who doesn’t want to get paid to improve your own life and the lives of others around you? Who doesn’t want to learn and grow and pass on to your family those things you’re learning, with results and income to support it? Who wants to stay in a job simply because of a wage, all the while dodging that sneaky suspicion that you’re not making the most of the daylight? And regarding products, if I could buy what I normally buy, but now from a friend whose values are in sync with my own, why wouldn’t I make the switch? In fact, I was already doing this before ever entering the direct sales marketplace. Peace, love, harmony and all that, yes. But why support multinational corporation’s of people whose values we don’t know (or worse, we disagree with) when we could be supporting friends and family who we know personally? In doing my own homework, the pros fully outweighed the cons.

I like the multilevel direct-sales business model, you can probably tell by now. And I think everyone can make a genuine go of it and attain whatever level of success is desired. There are no ceilings, glass or otherwise, in this line of work. As Jim Rohn (one of my faves) is fond of pointing out, we go for high numbers because of the person we must become in the process of achieving them. We become hopeful realists, we take the initiative to recognize weak points and fears in order to improve and overcome.

If you hear the call already, the only caveat is to make sure that the compensation plan of your chosen company makes sense for the amount of time and effort you will be investing. For me, though I may be thinking of my business off and on during my downtime, I am already seeing acceptable returns even when putting in less than 30 hours a week. Isn’t that something worth writing home about? Why not you?

Up-line Upside