The MLM Life: Pyramids & Purpose
Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 23, 2013
Hachette, the number two book publisher in the world, will release, under the Business Plus imprint, Oliver DeMille‘s and my new book LeaderShift on April 16 of this year. In LeaderShift, we wrote about the difference between Credentialists and Creators. The Credentialist career plan follows the traditional path of getting the right degrees, building the proper résumé, and following the approved formula for “success.” Creators, in contrast, take an unconventional approach to success and build their own trails to their dreams. Although we hadn’t coined the terminology yet, when I left the #2 MBA program in the USA (University of Michigan) in 1994, I exited the Credentialist path and launched my Creator destiny.
The MLM life intrigued me after I opened my mind to truly comprehend the opportunity. Over time, I realized I could rise as high as my leadership took me, no longer blocked by limited experience, age, or political prowess. Indeed, the Creator’s path rejects Credentialist opinions and moves up by serving customers, not kissing the boss’s behind. Hating politics and loving numbers (remember, I am an engineer ), I realized a person’s pay raise becomes effective as soon as he does. This is huge for a Creator since he can focus on serving customers, not bosses. Essentially, this is the difference between the two career paths. Creators like to challenge themselves in the marketplace to determine whether their ideas are viable. Credentialists, by contrast, like to stay behind the lines, hoping to advance up the hierarchy through impressive résumés rather than creative ability.
Many of my friends and family thought I was crazy and said I was giving up a great career as an engineer, in which, incidentally, I had already received four patents and won a National Technical Benchmarking Award by the age of 25. Furthermore, I was promoted to 7th level senior engineer at the unheard of age of 25 with a 19% raise for the year. Nevertheless, I knew the Credentialist path was too risky. Why? Because it placed my ability to advance into a boss’s hands, leaving me chained by his opinions rather than the customer’s satisfaction. Interestingly, the 12,000 people who worked at AC Rochester in Flint are now no longer working at the facility since the buildings have been torn down and it’s literally miles of cement surrounded by a fence. This is a very sad and sobering reminder of what happens when a person places his destiny in the hands of Credentialists.
Despite getting started in a poor compensation plan, I knew that any Creator path was better than the best Credentialist path for me. However, this isn’t true for everyone. Network Marketing/MLM, in other words, isn’t the ticket for everyone, which is why I stopped trying to get everyone into Network Marketing years ago. I learned that Creators are a different breed than Credentialists and are drawn to the LIFE business on their own when they understand it for what it is—a free-enterprise system that rewards performance. Creators love that they will be compensated based upon results, not politics. Credentialists hate it for the same reason. This, in essence, is the problem with America—the Credentialists who flocked to government in order to hide from their personal scoreboard are now using government power to destroy the Creators who created the American dream. Government control within the economic sphere destroys the efforts and rewards of the Creators, thus destroying the American Dream as we know it.
Network Marketing is one of the last bastions of free enterprise left in Western Civilization. It allowed Laurie and me the time (over five years) to refine our skills and develop ourselves for success. Many would say that’s too long to invest in a Creator path. On the contrary, we understood that a five-year investment to develop the Creator mindset is a small price to pay. For instance, look especially at how many people invest over five years to get degrees that are practically worthless upon graduation. That is too big a price to pay! Please don’t misunderstand me; I love education, but education and a college degree are not one and the same. What I love about compensated communities is the scoreboard constantly communicates whether true education is occurring or not. Leadership simply cannot be faked. If people are following a person, then he is a leader; if not, then he’s not, regardless of what his credentials might say.
Let me close with one of the greatest misconceptions in the MLM field. People will say to me, “But, Orrin, isn’t the MLM profession a pyramid?” Although I don’t get this objection as much as I used to since MLM is becoming more common, I still think it’s worth analyzing. There are several factors to consider. First, review where one works currently. Is it a corporate job or small business? Draw out the corporate hierarchy. Did anyone notice as he was drawing it out that the person at the top has several direct reports, who have direct reports, who have several direct reports until the bottom is reached? Indeed, this structure is the quintessential hierarchical pyramid because the guy at the top always makes more than the guy below him right down to the bottom guy or gal who makes the least. Moreover, moving up the chain isn’t based upon performance alone. Network Marketing, in contrast, doesn’t pay based upon where you fall within the hierarchy or how long a person has been with the company. Rather, it compensates based upon how many groups a person is willing to serve every month. For example, when Laurie and I started in MLM, we had tons to learn and made many mistakes. Still, within 12 months, we had passed hundreds of thousands of people who had started before us. In fact, within a decade, we had passed over a million people and were in the top handful of income earners within the company. Pyramid? On the contrary, MLM is the best method yet designed for Creators to rise out of the corporate quagmire. Where one starts in networking is irrelevant; what one does with his spot is everything.
Laurie and I followed an unconventional path to success and are proud we did. If you are a Credentialist, then either be willing to change or don’t join the LIFE business. LIFE offers nothing for the radical Credentialist because no part of his pay is based upon his past. Bonuses are based only upon a person’s ability to serve others. However, if you are a Creator or desire to be and have been frustrated by the Credentialist system blocking your path, then you will LOVE the LIFE business. The MLM life isn’t for everyone, but it sure has satisfied millions of Creators around the world. The choice is yours, and consequently, so too are the results.