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One of the interesting things about most professions is the profusion of different ways in which they are described. This can lead to a lot of confusion about whether you are hearing about a completely different job or if they are all describing the same thing. My new profession is no different, which has what has inspired me to write this post with my own ‘musings’ about what is in a name.

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations says that:

Multilevel marketing, also known as 

“network marketing,” relationship marketing” and “multilevel direct selling,” is an important component of the Direct Selling industry. It has proven over many years to be a highly successful and effective method of compensation of the direct selling firms for distributing products and services directly to consumers, which compensates independent salespersons or distributors.

The go on to define it further:

Direct selling can best be described as the marketing of products and services directly to consumers in a face to face manner, generally in their homes or the homes of others, at their workplace and other places away from permanent retail locations, usually through explanation or personal demonstration by an independent direct salesperson.

Multilevel marketing” is not truly marketing at all, instead it is simply one of a variety of methods of organizing and compensating salespeople in a direct selling business for their management, training, motivating and recruiting persons who will sell their companies’ products. Therefore, it may best be described as a direct selling compensation plan 

in which salespeople may receive compensation in two fundamental ways. First salespeople may earn compensation from their personal sales of goods and services to consumers. Second, they may earn compensation from the sales of those persons they have personally recruited or sponsored into the plan; and they may also earn compensation from the sales of the group or network recruited or sponsored into the plan by those they have personally recruited. Thus, multilevel marketing offers a direct seller the opportunity to build one’s own independent business selling goods and services to consumers and developing and training an organization or network of direct sellers to do the same.

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So there you have it – I am not sure that I can add much to these descriptions.

One thing you do need to be aware of if you are thinking of joining a company that operates in this way. The range of companies, the ways they work and the products they proved is very wide-ranging. Unless you are really blown away by the products or ethics of a company (and I was with Forever Living) then it might be worth having a look around and seeing which one fits you, your lifestyle and values best. Happy  hunting.

Any comments or questions are gratefully received – and could inform future posts.

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