Our Story – Lessons Learned
If you have read through our story, probably the hardest knock came at the end when the MLM company went retail and threw away their distributors. There were plenty of other lessons in there… things we could have done better. Here is my list of lessons learned:
- Know and understand your distributor agreement
Your distributor agreement spells out what your responsibility is to the MLM company and what their responsibility is to you. If it is out of balance, perhaps going to another company is in order. However, you may already have invested considerable time and money into your current company, so you may be stuck with what you have.
- Know and accept the risks to your business
It is ok to accept some amount of risk but you should definitely be aware what the risks are and protect yourself the best you can. In MLM you must have all your eggs in one basket so you are fully dependent on your company. Knowing the risks this presents is exceptionally important.
- Protect your personal assets
If things do go bad you don’t want to lose everything you’ve worked a lifetime for. Structure your business so that the business takes on the risk but protects you personally. Incorporating and keeping the business separate is one way to do this.
- Negotiate your contract if possible
Rather than accept the distributor agreement, contact the company directly and tell them you’d like to sign up, but you have serious concerns about the distributor agreement. This starts the negotiation ball rolling. Some companies won’t negotiate, find one that will. You will have to lay out what you have to offer them in order to get your own contract.
- Have your own organization if possible
I have seen certain distributor groups that were able to negotiate having a completely separate distributor group that they manage complete, including commissions, which allowed them to plug in one or more MLM companies and change when needed. This adds a lot of work to your business but may protect your group from a bad MLM company.
- Trust but verify
Hopefully you can trust your MLM company to give you good information, but if you have suspicions, independently verify it. The earlier you get certain information, the earlier you can act on it.
- Don’t let your ego run away with you
Make good decisions and put your ego aside. I grew a pretty big ego during our business run and I made decisions that could have gone bad.
- Work well with your partners
It is important to understand the point of view of your stakeholders and take them into consideration when you make decisions. I often did things that needed to be done, but I should have gotten approval from my wife Chris before I did. Things get pretty tense when you do things without getting important parties involved.