An Open Letter to Uplines + Big Cannoli Truth Bombs

Recently, the buzz has been that I have done MLMs in the past and that because of that, I base my trainings and seminars on what said company leaders profess. The short answer: No. But, that isn’t good enough, right? You asked (accused, rather), and I will answer and explain.

Dear Top 1%,

I hope you’re ready for a big dose of honesty from someone who doesn’t feel compelled to feed you anything else. I realize that you see me enrolling 60+ women from 5+ of the biggest Direct Sales companies into my free seminars and trainings, and somehow, that translates into you believing that I have stolen your goods. I have never used an ounce of what you train your teams with/on because, quiet honestly, I think you’re doing your teams a big disservice.

Let’s take a look at some statistics regarding the direct sales industry, according to Jon Taylor’s “The Case (For And) Against Multi-Level Marketing” (2011, published on the Federal Trade Commission website).

  • Within their first 365 days of signing up with an MLM company, 50% of distributors (or whatever name you have for them) drop out.
  • Within their first five years of business, 90% of distributors drop out.
  • By year 10, about 95% of people who started have dropped out.

If you think that your training and system has nothing to do with this, you have the wool pulled very far over your eyes. People don’t start things to fail, right? These numbers do not mean that MLM is a scheme, a scam, or a false opportunity. It means you’re doing things in such an outdated fashion that you contribute to that strikingly large number. Can you force someone to work hard? No, you can’t. But you sure as hell don’t have to pretend you’re giving them some type of untapped resource when you’re still trying to do what the first Mary Kay consultants did a million years ago to gain success.

Look, I know what you’re thinking: “Excuse me lady, but my system has worked for thousands of people. CHECK OUT JANE OVER HERE, DAMN IT! SHE JUST GOT HER FREE CAR, OK?”

Yeah, it worked at some point. Most things work for some timespan, be it a week or a year or a month or a decade. But the reality is that consumers only notice what is different. When five hundred people on my Facebook newsfeed are having a flash sale for the same product on the last day of the month, I don’t notice it. It’s not unique. It’s not fresh. I make it a point to scroll past it like nearly everyone else. This isn’t a negative attitude; this is a fact. You train your team to be robots half the time and call it “duplication.” I train people to find their authenticity and run their businesses in a unique way that can help actually stand behind. See the difference?

The whole “duplication thing” has been taken too far. You are teaching hundreds of thousands of people to do the same thing and follow the same system. I’m not sure why it hasn’t sunk in that consumers don’t want to go the same online party sixty times in a row…? You should be working hard to duplicate authenticity, because that is the only thing that works. Yes, I said it. Authenticity works better than the virtual party lineup that you insist your entire team should follow.

Why? Because people can only stick to what they don’t believe in or enjoy for so long, but people can get behind being themselves for a lifetime. So, nope…I don’t train your team members to send X amount of messages per day or ask the same questions or follow the same scripts. I take them on a journey of self-discovery and instruct them on how to use that to their advantage to grow their business authentically. If this offends you, you should reconsider your industry: Leadership isn’t about creating sheep, remember? If you want to create sheep who just do what you say, you’re a manager. Not a leader.

Still, though, I haven’t explained to you what we actually do in these seminars. Here are the behaviors I help others understand both on and off my team:

Sharp writing skills and audience awareness. You know what people don’t want to read? Content that has no place on respective social networks. Over and over, you have encouraged your teams to connect Instagram to Facebook. No. They are two different networks with two different content and writing standards. You should hardly ever post the same exact content on Instagram as you do on Facebook. Instagram is known for glorified photos of food; Facebook is known for photos of your cute kids eating it; Twitter is know for a short and sarcastic comment about it. Three different stories. I help others create good stories, and these skills are absolutely worth duplicating. The best thing? It’s not one size fits all. Everyone’s voice is different, so everyone’s story has a chance to stand out.

Self discovery of what they like and are good at. Not everyone wants to host virtual parties. Not everyone wants to host home parties. Not everyone wants to create a VIP group. Not everyone wants to perform makeup tutorials. Everyone is unique, so why do we insist that everyone has to follow the same system…? It’s not written in stone that people have to do any of those things, and you shouldn’t make them feel like they have to do. Believe it or not, there are ways to run any current MLM without social media. It’s true.

People need to be able to follow a system they are comfortable with. If people are more authentic in person, they should run their business face-to-face. If people don’t like sending cold messages that make everyone feel awkward and cringe, why are we insisting this is a thing that people HAVE TO DO? THIS – this is why people fizzle out so much in the first year. When you give people a system and rules to follow, you’re an employer. When you give people free reign and help them blossom into who they are, you are a entrepreneurial leader. 

The difference between stepping outside of the comfort zone vs. doing something they hate. Starting a business means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Subscribing to a system that you despise isn’t that at all. That’s called trying to force yourself to do something you don’t believe in. No wonder the damn turnover rate is so high.

I mean, come on people. Let’s be real here. When you’re afraid to tell your family what you’re doing, it’s because you don’t believe it in 100% yourself. We know this is true. No personal development book is going to help you believe in something you think is a waste of time. To make it NOT a waste of time, you need to do something that feels authentic. You’re not afraid of what other people are going to say. You’re simply unsure of yourself.

Think about a time when you were so hell-bent on doing something or making something happen that you couldn’t care any less what people think. Even the most shy, timid people can identify these moments. I can promise you that all of us can look back on a time in our lives where we took a leap of some kind: Changing careers, relocating, etc. And there was no one, not even Jesus himself, that could talk you out of it! You CAN feel that way about your business, but to do that, you have to be true to yourself. “Systems” don’t leave much room for that.

Newer types of marketing. Never once have I been in a company that has trained teams on content marketing or permission marketing. There’s been a sprinkle of attraction marketing here are there, but it all reverts to “just follow this system” and that makes everything else irrelevant.

The marketing world is changing. If you fail to get on board with it and educate your teams, you’re doing them a disservice. I pick up where you leave off.

 

And there you have it – the basis of my trainings and seminars. What really bugs me is that uplines feel both worried and threatened about this. Why? Why are you worried that your team members might figure out who they are a little more? Why does it threaten you so much? And, let me get this 800 pound gorilla out of the room right now: Ask anyone who has joined one of my trainings/seminars, and they will tell you that it’s impossible to identify what company I am a part of. It never, ever comes up. Poaching ain’t my thang. That’s something insecure people do.

So, with that: No. I don’t steal your system whatsoever. I have no reason to. I don’t think it works that great (I don’t care if people earned millions on it and started ten years ago), and the sooner you cave and understand that real success is based on authenticity and that you should be duplicating THAT, the more successful you will be.

Honestly, this is why I’ve settled on my company: Encouragement to actually be ourselves. Now that is something I can get behind, and that is how I train my team. The best marketing strategy is authenticity, and there is no way around that.

Peace, Love, & Big Cannoli –

Courtney

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