I feel as fickle as a pickle. This MLM journey began as a venture into a new way of business for me, a new opportunity, and something to share, something to build. It’s now been over 2 years and I’ve gathered some wisdom and experience along with salaciously and greedily picking up more opportunities upon the path. At first I was loyal. Ut-uh, no way I am sticking to what I am doing no matter what. I made a commitment and that is that. My original sponsor Patrick jumped ship quietly somewhere around 6 months after bringing me into the company. I didn’t look back, I focused my efforts on the lineage of experienced leaders above him. Mark Yarnell talks about this happening in his book: Your First Year in Network Marketing.
Sponsors sometimes leave. My new sponsor became Amy. Fiery and voracious Amy. Awesome, I love Amy and embraced all that she offered me. I kept down the road.
Remember back in the 1800′s, before cars? before oil power? When people traveled they had these horse drawn carriages with big clunky wood wheels and dirt roads filled with giant rocks that wheels would bump hard, really hard over these rocks? Or it would rain for days and the poor horse would get stuck in the mud trying to pull 600 pounds forward? Many many times this is what the road felt like. Tough, wind in my face, and blowing hard.
Why is it so hard to build this I would ask David? ”Don’t make it so hard” came his reply.
The harder the winds, the harder I pushed. Meanwhile, I would witness what in my own judgemental mind were what seemed to be less capable people building farther, faster and easier than I. What am I missing? What am I doing that is not serving me?
David, (Yoda) would chime in: Who are you being when you invite someone to look at what you are doing?
Um…I am being myself.
At this point myself felt like a mess of scar tissue, fresh wounds and frustration.
There was a secret part of me that started to get mad at my little kids for “being in the way of building my business!” I suppose this sentiment began around the time my son turned 3 and no longer tolerated me speaking on the phone. Okay I clearly cannot build this thing on the phone, I need to take it to the streets and build it in person.
This sort of worked better. but I needed to look deeper at this. I took on a new perspective. Perhaps my business building is getting in the way of me being a mom. This was clearly how my husband saw it.
It was just around this time that Amy, after 8 years with Lifeforce decided to move in another direction. Her announcement hit me hard. Okay, next up the Lifeforce linage: David. David was the original leader in the very beginning that I learned from. So I was happy to start working with him again. David had build his residual income and was now working via Mexico from his house on the beach. The phone does not reach Mexico very well.
The winds of change were continuing to whip through the barren land.
I flew out to San Diego to a Life Force event. A new marketing man, David Collister, was brought in to re-train everyone and help build LifeForce as a company. It was after this weekend that I felt I needed to take a step back. I realized I needed to learn marketing, But David Collister and his old school MLM techniques weren’t doing it for me. I needed something else. I began to look over my shoulder at Amy Starr and what she was working with. Internet marketing, and writing. Hmmm. I like it. I jumped on board.
Internet marketing is not so easy. Old school MLM seems to have this gentle pokey nature to it, whereas Internet marketing…well….I felt like I got into a row boat to start rowing as these big marketers and big time players would just whiz by in speed boats. I could see what they were doing, and how big and fast they were growing and I wanted to take my little row boat and row faster. I wanted to get there sooner.
Meanwhile, my neighbor, and original sponsor in LifeForce Patrick, was up to something. Since leaving LifeForce he would troll the internet searching for something. It is now winter. Patrick and his wife Christie had set up a little nook in the basement that looked like a french restaurant. ( I suppose their apartment upstairs no longer offered them enough space.) Here is where they would dine, nightly. Behind them was a thin barrier wall with storage and mold. The other side of the french restaurant: The laundry room. I would make my nightly trek down to do our filthy laundry and say hi to my neighbors as they dined on Italian fare in a french setting. So Patrick would periodically pitch me his ideas, what he was finding, hey do you want to join me on this? He might ask. I always politely declined.
Patrick and Christie are all about the dinner party. They love to invite people over to their french restaurant downstairs, pour the wine, and pour the stories. I, many times would find myself lingering to talk, fresh laundry hot on my hip. This made our pink Victorian fun. Community, ideas flowing, a peaceful place in general. One day Patrick made a special trip to knock on my door. Hey Ali, I want to show you something. He was getting all excited about some internet thing he stumbled upon.
He would bring over spreadsheets, leave data in my mailbox. I was being courted. It was now spring, and Builders Bank was asking all of us to vacate our sweet pink home. Fear shook through my veins as we looked for what is next. Spring melted into summer, and Patrick’s little opportunity kept finding it’s way into my mail slot. He took to having his breakfast outside on the front porch. Tuna fish and carrot nubs. Again I would walk by with laundry. My little side business is doing well he would coo. Great I would respond passing by with more laundry.
We were now in a deal on our new home. My energy began to pour into the move. Patrick seemed to sit back nonchalantly counting change on the porch. I began to get these daily reports, this is how much I’m making he would purr. I began to half-listen. Then I began to ask questions. It looked easy. Too easy perhaps. I dipped in my toe. This was a complete distraction. I dabbled in this new venture rather gingerly as I could not do more until after we closed on our house. I invited a few loved ones to look at what I was doing. By the grace of god, everyone completely ignored me. Two weeks later this venture I shall call FUCK, (I won’t mention it’s name, but it’s another 4-letter word) collapsed. When it fell it took 2 million people with it. When it fell, I fell. What did I do? What perilous ridge did I invite people I care about to dangle upon? I had dodged a bullet. I stood close to a fire, and witnessed the burning. I felt flooded with gratitude that the timing of life smiled grace upon my wayward soul. I felt deep shame at my dabbling as an entreprenuer. I felt deep love as my husband kindly offered me a hand when I needed one most.