My Son, The Network Marketer

My son gave me a call yesterday afternoon.  He let me know he would be late coming home.  He was going with his friend to an “opportunity meeting” of a particular network marketing company.  He assured me he would not “get in”, and we left it at that.

A few hours later, right before the meeting was going to start (I can only guess his friend was really talking up this opportunity before the meeting), we had a text conversation that went something like this:

Son: I think I am going to sign up. I can make my money back quick.
Me: Please don’t!
Son: Why not?
Me: It is your money, but I will not support you unless we talk about it first. Your
friend makes money when you get in. I discourage this highly!

He then went “dark” for a couple of hours.  He had signed up for this “great” opportunity.  Unfortunately, he seemed to be following in my footsteps:

  • In my early 20s, I did join Amway. (My brother joined first.  I just followed him along to the meetings and the events.) It was a social outlet.  I didn’t have the conviction to sell the product.  I bought a few items, but always seemed to be buying things I didn’t need to keep up my “points”.  I used the excuse I was too young when it came to contacting “successful” people. I did sponsor a few, but either I was not very good at it, OR they were not really that interested.  If I had the chance to talk to my son first, I would have told him about this.  Maybe it would have changed his actions.
  • In my 30s, a friend joined Shaklee.  He was really sold on a couple products they had available.  (I believe they were for air filtration.)  I made no effort to build a Shaklee business by getting my friends in.  I advertised in the local “suburban” newspapers and tried to sell the product.  I forgot how long I did this, but I don’t believe I got one phone call.  If my son wanted some of my thoughts on network marketing, I would let him know that despite any claims he may have heard or who endorses the company, the product does NOT sell itself.
  • In my 40s, I signed up with Ignite.  They sell energy and gas in a few southern and north eastern states.  They started in Texas (where I live now).  So, although Texas is a big state, there are many companies that resell electricity in Texas.  Although I believe Ignite/Stream has a quality product, there are other choices.  If you are shopping price only, they are probably not your cheapest choice.  But, they will be there tomorrow.  Within the next couple of months, Ignite will also offer cellular services.  They are not the only company or the first company to provide wireless service through a network marketing organization.  If someone buys a service “product” from me, it is either because I was first to ask OR they are related to me.  Selling a utility is more than just the product-you are also depending on their customer service and support.  Many people are hesitant to switch providers for services/utilities they rely on.  Some will, but some will refuse.  Since my sons new network marketing company sells services, I would have been happy to explain this to him before he paid his substantial membership fee.

Will his money be wasted?  I doubt it.  I hope he can develop a business and be successful at it.  (I am NOT negative network marketing, but I am aware of the statistics and facts.)  If he does not have the success he thought he signed up for, then losing a little money in pursuit of a dream-no matter how sincere-is not such a bad thing.  We can hope our kids will come to us and seek our feedback on many thing ESPECIALLY things we have already gone through.  We can also hope they attend college for 4 years with straight A’s and get the perfect degree before marrying their perfect spouse and before having their perfect little house full of kids.

If raising kids had a formula that guaranteed each kid would clear life hurdles perfectly when the equation was completed, the government would legislate it.  (Of course, this would guarantee the perfect formula would still fail.) Despite my excessive blabberings/encouragements/rants/stale-jokes and sermonettes,  I continue to have a number of experiences my kids haven’t brushed up against yet.  When I am not volunteering “guidance”, I am listening for a dad’s favorite question, “What do you think, dad?”




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