A few years ago when I was exposed to the network marketing business industry, I got two sets of information almost at the same time from two different sources. Interestingly, they were also just opposite to each other.
The set of people who showed me the business idea, were very positive and passionate about it. They were highly educated people with high profile professional careers. In short, they had what I wanted to have in terms of money, education and success professionally speaking. They shared why they chose network marketing and showed me why it was a good idea for me to give it a serious consideration.
The other set of people were my colleagues and a few friends who were around the same level in their careers as myself. I started to get their inputs when I asked them of their opinion of this business idea (As I always did before doing anything new). Many of them were aware of this industry and yet they were not participating because they believed it wasn't a good idea.
They all had different opinions of things. But one thing mostly all of them said that got me worried was, "You will lose friends if you do this business."
I have a habit of not taking opinions of others and make it mine until I am convinced. Those who know me, know that I like to get to the bottom of things. I decided to ask questions and validate both aspects.
However, the problem was, my friends and colleagues were unable and unwilling to answer my questions any further. They surely cautioned me ‘as a friend’, but they weren’t willing to help me investigate further. I was on my own.
On the other hand, I liked the people who showed me the opportunity. Additionally, they were willing to help me get any information I would need to help me make a quality decision. I couldn’t comprehend why these highly successful professionals would risk losing their friends and ignore all other negative aspects for something that starts so small?
They gave me a book by Robert Kiyosaki titled "Rich Dad's The Business School: For People Who Like Helping People" that now I highly recommend to everybody whether you are building a network marketing business or not. I have always been fond of books and I read it cover-to-cover right away.
Long story short, I got started and now, I have thriving businesses in not just North America, but also in several international markets. I didn't lose any of my friends in the process and on the contrary, we made some friendships that will last as long as we do and beyond.
I take this opportunity to share, why people are afraid of losing friends when it comes to building a network marketing business:
1. Lack Of Understanding On Network Marketing
It is amazing how some people get so concerned about losing friendships when it comes to starting a network marketing business. On the other hand:
- They have no such fear referring friends to an apartment community where they receive bonuses for referral.
- They have no such fear helping friends open a checking account when their bank gives them referral bonus
- They have no such fear getting their friends a SAMs Club or COSTCO memberships even though they really don't know if really worth that membership fee or not.
- Best of all, they have no such fear asking their friends to invest money in ventures such as opening a restaurant, starting a training company, investing in real estate etc. even if they are not even sure if the return on the investment can be guaranteed.
We can either live in illusion and stay fearful, or we use our God gifted ability to think, learn and change to grow up. As I started to invest a little of my time and energy to understand and later, build this business, I was blessed with more friends and stronger relationships.
If I had concluded that it wasn't the right thing to do based on the negative opinions of others, I would have ended up being just like them – living in fear and confusion.
2. Lack Of Understanding On Friendships
A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. ~William Shakespeare [tweet this]
A friend as I understand is somebody who will stand with you through thick and thin. Traditionally, when we started a new business (a shop, a restaurant, a consultancy etc.), we always invited friends and relative on the grand opening day, showed them the products and services and in turn, received their blessings and the support.
I couldn't comprehend a friendships that will be lost if I start a new business of certain type. Therefore, I decided to test my friends and other close relationships and showed the business to everybody. And as I expected, I received tremendous support of all my family members, brothers, sisters and more than anything else, my parents. Not because of the network marketing company we chose, but because they believed in me, they believed in my vision.
Did everybody join my team? Not really. But doesn't it mean we broke our relationships? Absolutely not! I've several good friends who didn't start the business for their own reasons, but we still enjoy the sweetness in our relationships. In fact, they are our cheerleaders.
If I craved for friendship with every Joe I met, I would be afraid for sure because Joe will start running away from me for several reasons. But I had clear understanding of who was my friend and who was just a casual acquaintance. I couldn't afford to risk my family's financial future based on the opinions of people who I need to please to remain friends with.
Through the journey, I met some awesome people who became friends for life. These friends are the people I can count on, who I can depend on, who I feel proud to be associated with. I would have lost this opportunity if I didn't take the risk of 'losing friends'.
3. Lack Of Self-Confidence
The other two only enlarge this issue. Most people who fear losing friends, I realized, generally have the issue of self-confidence. They may have strong technical skills, good control on written and verbal communication, yet they lack confidence in themselves. They do not believe they have what it takes to have a positive influence on other people.
Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it. ~Albert Camus [tweet this]
Their complacency causes them to be unwilling to learn and change. Therefore, they choose not to rock the boat and thus stay in their comfort zone. Once in a while, as they get approached by their new friends, younger generation with one network marketing business opportunity or the other, they feel free to share their excuses for not succeeding at it.
People Lose Friends Doing Almost Everything
In my experience, when it comes to losing friends, it has really no relation with any type of business activity in particular. Couples take divorce, friends from school don’t talk to each other anymore on petty issues, good business relationships break because of almost any small issue… the list is endless.
If we do not take responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions, we may always have a challenge maintaining relationships whether we are building a network marketing business or not. To my family, it has been a tremendous learning experience and the knowledge gained through this process is priceless.
As long as humans are involved, there can never be a perfect thing and thus network marketing is not perfect either. But we used this as a litmus test to identify how many of our friends were really our friends. Without this business, we would have lived in delusion about things for long time.
Question: What do you think is the right way of making financial decisions such as starting a business or investing in a company? What do you think is the best way to qualify who to listen to and who not to listen to when it comes to making business decisions?