Multi-Level Marketing Realities – Part 7

When we left off in part 6, our business had just gotten listed on Yahoo.  On the Yahoo directory, we were the only distributor listed for the dietary supplement, and it was an extremely popular dietary supplement.  It was advertised constantly on radio stations in every major market in the nation.  Being the only distributor listed on Yahoo was a huge boost for our business, and mostly we were ready for the boost.  This was in the springtime in 1998, just ahead of summertime so it may have been May.

So our trickle of business turned into a tsunami and Chris is trying to keep up with all of the activity.  There was email after email of information requests.  There were telephone calls day and night, and overnight.  There was fax calls all day long, evening, nighttime.  Chris talks of having 26 voice mails waiting when she’s ready to return telephone calls (although I think this might be a slight exaggeration), as there were times of the day she was just too busy to take them.  Then as she would be returning telephone calls, more people would call.  Call waiting went into voice mail and added to the number of calls to return.

We had to order product by the master case, which was a large case of 12 little cases of 12 bottles.  Each of these suckers weighed 50 lbs and Chris would feel sorry for the UPS guy, so she would give him a good tip (I joke that she was bribing him).  Her and the kids would deliver bin after bin after bin of mail to the post office in the afternoon.  We would get orders with checks in the mailbox on a daily basis and floods of orders on the website.

As I said, we had been getting information requests by email and there were more than we could retype into Quickbooks so I created a program that would create shipping labels based on the emails.  We had also gotten our postage machine for quicker postage onto our catalog envelopes for information requests, tyvek envelopes for smaller orders, and boxes for larger orders.  We would label our bottles, samples, company supplied literature, and we would put a shipping label with our sponsor information on the distributor application (far better than trying to write it on them all).

Our little townhouse became a wreck with production and our garage was our storage space for supplies we didn’t have room in the house for.  Chris had cleared out part of our linen closet for supplies and we had row after row of bottles, boxes of samples, literature galore, envelopes, boxes of labels, and more there.

Chris had started an account with Boise Cascade who would deliver office supplies to us.  She also bought a file cabinet and organized all of our paperwork from every order.  We had a small bedroom and it was a short, long cabinet that she kept under the window in our bedroom.  Our desk space was probably 2 ft by 4 ft and two levels and we used every square inch.  We would use our bed for filling orders and had a regiment that we followed to prevent errors.

We had two major things happen during the summer: The MLM company announced that they were no longer accepting distributor applications until further notice and they ran out of product, for weeks.  Next time we will talk about the events that happened during the summer of 1998.

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