Businesses, A history:
I first became familiar with independent agent/recruiter styles of business (otherwise known as MLM) when my parents became involved with Herbalife. I myself lost some good weight on the Herbalife products and they work if you use them properly. Good company, good product, but the greatest benefit was that of improved health, not making lots of money. All things considered, it was worthwhile.
My second foray into this kind of business was with a company called Online Exchange. This one was however less legitimate. I signed a lease and received a website and credit card processing equipment. In signing the lease one set of lease payoff requirements was explained to me and a 30 day cancellation policy was provided. Everything took longer than 30 days to process, and the lease payoff requirements had been described to me in a way that was specifically wrong. I then learned that the legal term for that was fraud. This ruined my credit from late 2000 until early 2004 when I discovered that the FTC had gotten involved. It's good to know that I wasn't the only one, but I had fallen for it all the same.
My third entry into MLM was with Primerica. This is another legitimate company. Legally, Primerica is simply an insurance agency. I determined this by looking it up last year on the state insurance listing website. I did not stick with it as it does not at all line up with my talents. I'm a programmer, and I have talents in other technical areas. Primerica needs sales people as they sell a useful product. I do not need to be one of them.
This brings us to the present. There have been some other businesses I have tried to start. Presently the only business that I am a part owner of is the consulting company my Dad, my brother, and I have. We call it Kruger Computer Systems. It is simply an entity to run billing through for some people we do consulting for. KCS continues and is a good way of organizing small jobs when tax season comes around.
Of all this I have learned a lot about businesses and what it takes to get into them. I am getting pretty good at identifying the red flags that show up as warnings before mistakes are made. This is especially important when the mistake is that I am the wrong person for the business.
This brings me to yesterday. My friend had invited me to see some information about her and her husband's Pre-Paid Legal Business. Let me first say that I do not wish to discourage other people from this kind of business. They are involved in a legitimate business. The same pre-paid legal that they sell was available to me to sell at Primerica. The reason why I said no yesterday was because I know this kind of business isn't for me, I've tried.
What I've learned about Business Opportunity meetings:
Business opportunity meetings are created by marketers. This too, I will not condemn. The meetings do what they are designed to.
Here are the parts of a meeting.
- Describe to someone some pain that they're feeling.
- Establish that you were in the same situation.
- Show that the business is what has caused you to over come the pain you used to have.
- Offer everyone there the possibility of overcoming their pain by starting a business of their own.
At this point I expect to offend some people.
Everyone has some sadness or pain in their life. What religion tries to do is to provide relief for those ills. It's what we usually call gaining salvation or otherwise being saved. The problem with seeking this through a business is that even if you do improve the quality of your life, a sudden change in legislation or problem with the economy can undo all your hard work. Your works in your business on which you trusted can all vanish in moments leaving you very much where you started. Unhappy.
This kind of meeting works because people everywhere are looking to be saved. Either by someone or by something. When they go to a meeting and are told that there is a solution to their sadness and that their failures are not their fault. It's easy to sign up for a business instead of looking at one's own life and figuring out what is causing personal unhappiness. Once again, I know because I've tried.
How many businesses founded on this did I succeed in? None.
Is this to say that people involved in this kind of business make it their religion? No.
Business opportunity meetings just have a tendency to attract people who are looking for religion not a business.
So what's to be done? Make your religion your religion and don't confuse it with anything else in your life. Business and politics are two things I have sworn off of mistaking for my religion. I have made that mistake in the past. I know what my religion is. I would prefer to trust that following Christ can save me. Now if only following Christ were as easy as starting a business.