When I was a little girl in the 70s, the most prestigious job in the village was a school teacher. The teachers had a regular income, they were salaried. Majority of other people were either farmers or casual laborers. I learned most of what I know about money and career from my mom, a school teacher. She told me that while she was growing up, the only career options that were available was either teaching or nursing. When she completed her secondary school education, she had to choose between these two careers. First, she visited the local hospital to familiarize herself with nursing. She could not make it. She found that she could not survive in a hospital environment. Nursing was not for her. She took the next available option; teaching. She joined a teacher training college and had a successful career as a teacher, until her retirement. As we pursued our studies, more and more career options opened up. University education was very prestigious at the time and if you made it to the university, you were assured of a successful career. If you were lucky to land a good job, you could rest assured that you had job security and would retire with a pension.
The world changes really fast. Some changes have minor impact on humanity while others are revolutionary. First, university education in Kenya expanded very rapidly. Kenya had one university up to the 70s – Nairobi University. Things started changing in the 80s, with Moi University joining the scene and Kenyatta University becoming a fully fledged university. The years after 2000 witnessed a rapid growth in the number of universities in Kenya (both public and private). The universities also expanded their programs to accommodate self-sponsored students and parallel programs to take care of people who desired to further their education while keeping their jobs. Within a span of less than 20 years, numbers of Kenyans pursuing university education soared to 100,000+ at any one time. Not possessing a degree became a liability in the work place and many working people found themselves under pressure to further their education. Then came the Internet revolution of the 90s and it turned everything upside down. The Internet has brought rapid change in all areas of life, including in the work place. The Internet is swallowing up jobs at a faster rate than we can understand. Publications that were once very popular have lost out as digital content takes over and with that goes down some jobs. The job market in the media industry is constantly shrinking as more and more people turn online for content as well as for entertainment. There are softwares that can perform tasks that initially required employees. The Internet is closing some doors while opening up others, but we have to stop staring at the closed door for too long we miss all those that are opening around us.
With technology swallowing up jobs, holding on to the same old conventional thinking won’t keep you afloat in today’s fast changing world. Technology has opened up opportunities that we never dreamed of decades ago. Think of opportunities in graphic design, generating content for online platforms, software development, online marketing and so much more. When I first got started in network marketing, we built the business using offline methods only. We met our prospects at restaurants and took them to physical offices for everything ranging from getting enrolled into the business, being trained, ordering product, monitoring the growth of their teams and so much more. If someone was in a town where the company did not have an office, chances of success were really slim. The Internet is changing the landscape in network marketing. To build a successful network marketing business, you are going to need to learn how to work online. Companies are coming up with better and better systems, systems that enable you to prospect, enroll, make sales, train your teams and monitor your growth from the comfort of your computer or smartphone. A lot of the activities are going online. Online marketing is the future of network marketing. I don’t believe that live activities such as events will be done away with, but online efforts will be critical in growing large organizations. It is now possible to grow a global business from the comfort of your home so if your network marketing business is not online, be prepared to join the bandwagon or get left behind.
I have encountered all manner of misconceptions about the network marketing industry. Network Marketing is NOT:
> A get-rich-quick scheme
> A pyramid scheme
> Taking advantage of/using other people
> An easy route or shortcut to riches
Decades ago, information was not readily available. Everything we knew about network marketing was what we heard from someone; our neighbor, colleague, family member or someone else in our circles. Many joined this industry without any information. They would be given an impression that all they needed to do was to get on board and they would become millionaires. Many joined with a lottery kind of mentality, expecting to do the bare minimum and end up as millionaires. That is just not how life works. If it was that easy to become a millionaire, everyone would be in the millionaires club, even the laziest person on the planet! In desperation to make some money, many inexperienced people use lies and falsehoods to trick people to join their downline. That is why we have very many disillusioned people who claim that network marketing does not work. You cannot succeed in network marketing by having people who have no clue what they are supposed to be doing as your team. Who will get the work done?
Network marketing is one industry that gives everyone an equal chance to make it to the top. If you are hard working, creative, self-motivated; you are likely to discover that this industry will give you more satisfaction than the traditional career path. If you are in formal employment, what are your chances of overtaking your supervisors and bosses? Probably none. In network marketing, high achievers can overtake everyone and go to the top. You get a chance to receive full rewards for your exceptional performance. How long does it take you to get a raise in a traditional job? 2, 3 years? How much is that raise? An average performer might be ok with that but a high achiever definitely gets frustrated. If you put in the same work that you put at your job, your income after 5, 10 years in the network marketing profession might hit levels you never imagined possible, not even in your wildest dreams. That is not so with formal employment since there is a ceiling on the income.
With a shrinking job market, what are the options for the average person? Chase after nonexistent jobs forever? Get into a small retail business that has neither the capacity to grow into a big global business nor the aspects to give fulfillment to a professional? Network marketing is a profession like any other. If you are going to be successful in this industry, you are going to have to work harder at yourself than at your business. Top of the list is working on your mindset. You are building a big business. You have to work on yourself to be able to think and conduct yourself like the CEO of an organization, like an entrepreneur who is building an organization from scratch. You have to scout for the right people, bring them on board and ensure that they are properly trained. You have to acquire people skills as you have to motivate and inspire teams. You have to ensure that your business has the right systems and strategies in place. With the Internet revolution, we are going to see more and more people edged out of jobs and pushed into self employment. Building a traditional business requires a huge amount in start-up and running costs. It also requires experience or your business might not see the light of day. For those who are in a position to do that, well and good but majority will not be in a position to raise the capital to invest in a traditional business. In network marketing you acquire the skills as you build since you benefit from free training, coaching and mentorship from successful people in the industry. The small businesses such as hawking, kiosks, motorcycle taxi (boda boda) are available to many since they don’t require so much in start-up and running costs (though most of them require more capital than a network marketing business). The small business is unlikely to appeal to a professional who suddenly finds himself or herself edged out of the job market. For high achievers who are ready and willing to learn new skills and to put in the work to build a global business, network marketing definitely makes a lot of sense. The future for network marketing is bright.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter; a network marketing professional, personal development mentor, life coach and blogger based in Nairobi, Kenya. Catch me on Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/Financial.Literacy.Africa/?pnref=lhc