Networking Marketing…for the Birds or for the Brave?

[Note: I wrote this in February but then experienced all the blog and website difficulties…so you’re receiving it later than I planned. However I still feel like it needs to be shared, so I hope you enjoy!]

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time, and seeing that I just celebrated my one year anniversary with the Juice Plus+ company in February, I thought this would be as fitting time as any to get some of these things out there for the world to read. For real, this could get lengthy because I have sooooo much to say.

Disclaimer: This post IS about the pros/cons of direct sales and my experiences with it during the past year. If you want to hear about my journey, read on…but if you want nothing to do with the conversation, please feel free to stop here. I’m not here to convince anyone of anything.

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As we all know, it seems like network marketing and direct sales have EXPLODED over the last few years. One in part due to social media and another because people are catching on. Listen, I’m a year in, so I’m a baby in this world, but the more I learn, the more I am intrigued. For years I have seen (mainly women, admittedly so, and I’ll go into more reason why I believe it attracts women more than men later) my facebook account has been overrun with people posting about this new product and that new product, as well as “if you join my team today, you’ll change your life forever!” rhetoric. I was ALWAYS turned off by it. I mean, literal eye rolls all day long. I found it so annoying when I was invited to purchase a new product from someone I hadn’t talked to since high school. I’m still frustrated when I’m added to groups or online parties without being asked first. That is what feels like you don’t really care about me as a person but literally just want to make a sale off of me, and I’m not down with that.

But here’s the ironic thing: there are many people who would now group me in that category. I am a part of a mission driven company that seeks to inspire healthy living around the world. How does it do that? Through people like you and me, sharing their stories on how Juice Plus has made a difference in their lives. To some, this is the most annoying business model out there. But to others, it is brilliant. Let me explain.

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All around me I see advocates for “shopping local” and “support small businesses.” As well as, “When you buy local you’re not buying a CEO another vacation home, you’re putting food on a family’s table and helping a mom get her kid in soccer.” Yet when it comes to supporting a mom (hi! me!) and allowing her to stay at home with her children by purchasing a product that you want* from her directly, all of a sudden she’s the most ignorant person on your friend list.

*I want to emphasize that you want. I’m not here to make you buy something you don’t have any interest in. If you don’t want what I’m offering, no hard feelings. Let’s both agree to disagree and still be friends in the process. Deal? 

When I first heard of Juice Plus (before I became a rep) I would ask the question, “why don’t they just sell it at a retail store so that it doesn’t carry a negative stigma to it when people find out it’s sold by independent distributors?” And then I learned that this is VERY intentional. If things are sold on the shelves of every convenience store, where is the integrity of the product? Where is the education? Where is the regulation? But when it is shared by individuals, then that gives me an opportunity to step into your life, teach you about whole food nutrition, share a product that is backed by 35 clinical research studies, and partner with you in your health journey. Call me crazy, but ain’t no Publix or Walmart gonna do that.

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Now. Let’s get back to why I think women are the main culprits 😉 to buy into this business world. In my experience, the VAST majority of women (not all, don’t hear me wrong), but most women, wives, and moms want just a few things from life: To feel valuable, to contribute to their world and their family in a meaningful way, to have time freedom to spend with their husbands, kids, friends, etc., and to pursue something they are passionate about. Who doesn’t want to love their job, spend time with their family, and contribute financially to the bills/paying off debt/fun money? Seriously? Who?? Women are seeing an opportunity that enables them to work from home, talk to people all the time, and be with their families. Is that something you can really be mad at them about?

Before I get too passionate, I’m going to bring this back home; to me and my life, and the past year of my experiences.

PROS:

  1. The Juice Plus product makes complete sense to our family. We’re lacking in the 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day we’re supposed to get, and this is a proven way to get that nutrition in our bodies. Check.
  2. I have seen family members and friends health positively change as a result of flooding their bodies with whole food nutrition every single day. Some examples? Matt’s sinus infections are gone. My asthma and allergies have dramatically decreased. Adalynn’s eczema has cleared up and she no longer has to live off of hydrocortisone and steroid cream.With those kind of results, I am compelled to share this with others. What kind of person would I be if I knew of something that could change someones health for the better and I kept it to myself?
  3. Financially, Juice Plus has been a blessing to our family. Have I gotten rich quick? Definitely not. But that’s why I respect this company so much. It’s a gradual building of residual income that directly helps you to see and connect with the lives that are changing as a result of this product.
  4. I have a hobby that I’m passionate about, fits into my lifestyle, and connects me with a community of like-minded people. I have made new friends and rekindled old ones. It has been so much fun sharing health with people that I care so much about.

CONS:

  1. If you can’t tell by my post, the main con I’ve experienced is the smug comments from others making it very clear to me that they think what I’m doing is “less than” their 9-5 job, and that just hurts my heart.
  2. It’s hard work. This business is not for the faint of heart. Just like starting any new business, starting your own virtual franchise doesn’t come without effort. Is it fun? Heck yes. But is it going to happen without being intentional? Nope.

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That’s it. Really. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and for that, I am proud to be in network marketing. It took me a long time to be able to say that but I finally can. I am proud to be brave and to step out into a world that is made fun of, eye-rolled, and talked about under people’s breath. I am proud of taking a leap of faith to invest in something I believe in. I am proud to show my husband that I am working hard and want to help as much as I can with our finances to pay off student debt and keep our electricity on. I am grateful I can show my daughter what a hardworking woman looks like and to not give up in the face of adversity. I am pumped for the future…for the families whose lives will be changed by whole food nutrition, for my own family’s health and financial freedom, and for others who decide to step out of their comfort zone and willfully become part of the group that is considered annoying, less than, and selfish. Why? Because we know that that is the furthest from the truth. The truth is, individuals in network marketing are brave for stepping out on their own, entering an unknown world, going against status quo, doing what it takes to stay at home with their babies, and living their life for what they are passionate about instead of living in fear of what others think of them.

Has it been worth it? You better believe it. And I’m not stopping any time soon.

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