Tag: career advice


You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Your Paycheck! How to Beware of MLMs

Let me preface this post with the fact that there are some people who have made a good living out of direct sales/multi-level marketing (MLMs). But they’re typically the exception and not the rule.

This post is not a judgement of those who work as independent sales reps in direct sales. Instead, it’s a concern over the MLM companies’ questionable structure and unethical practices. It also serves as a warning to those who are in a vulnerable place financially and career-wise and therefore are considering joining an MLM before knowing the facts and risks involved. As a career coach I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t provide the following words of caution.

What are MLMs?

Direct sales is also known as multi-level marketing (MLM). This is where people pay a buy-in fee and purchase inventory to sell a product directly to a customer, while also recruiting others to do the same, earning some money from sales, but mostly from their recruitment and their downline’s sales.

You’ve probably had a “friend” or acquaintance you haven’t heard from in ages hit you up on Facebook wanting to meet for coffee. You agree because you’re so curious as to why they want to meet with you after so long. When you do meet with them, you realize there’s more of an agenda than just coffee and catching up. They want to talk with you about “an amazing career opportunity” guaranteed to “change your life.”

This opportunity will let you be your own boss, work from home, make your own hours, and earn as much money as you’d like. Plus, they say, it provides independence, empowers you, and uplifts you.

This might sound great to some people. Especially those who are at a low point in their lives or careers and need lifting up. Or those who have just lost their jobs or want to spend more time at home with their children.

But are MLMs a viable career option? Can you really make money in an MLM? To answer this question, let’s first look at the statistics.

Consider the truth and understand the risks.

MLM companies are making a fortune, but the participants are NOT. From my research (see sources below), only one percent of people who join MLM companies earn money. The other 99% actually lose money. Some as much as five-figures.

Many MLMs require steep buy-ins, as much as up to $5,000 for some. And depending on the product and the structure of the MLM, these costs continue on a monthly basis due to monthly inventory purchase requirements to stay active and earn rewards. But typically, commissions on inventory sold are very small. Usually there is more emphasis instead on recruiting a downline.

This might sound a lot like a pyramid scheme. Because by definition, it is when the emphasis is on recruitment of a downline.

“One of the hallmarks of an illegal pyramid scheme is a promise that sellers will make money from recruiting others rather than selling the product,” says the Federal Trade Commission.

So if an MLM is pushing you to recruit more than they are pushing you to sell, BEWARE!

And, even if an MLM is legal by the above definition, it’s practices my still be unethical.

MLMs cannot turn you into an entrepreneur!

MLMs promise a “safe” way to become an entrepreneur. News flash: becoming an independent sales consultant for an MLM does not make you an entrepreneur! The only entrepreneur in this game is the one(s) who created the product and created the company itself.

And just because the opportunity lets you make your own hours this also does not make you entrepreneur. So don’t fall for this sales pitch.

There’s not much that’s financially safe about joining an MLM. As stated above, most people who join MLMs lose money. Those who do make a profit average only about a $1,500 profit per year.

You’re likely to be more successful by being a true entrepreneur and starting your own business. The amount of hard work required in MLMs just to stay afloat could be better used to build something more profitable and something you’re truly passionate about.

And you’re likely to be more successful. Statistics show about 39% of small businesses earn a profit over their lifetime versus 1% of MLM reps.

My guess is, there’s probably something you’re more passionate about than just being a glorified distributor for lipstick, leggings, or “nutritional” juices. Why not pursue those passions with the time, energy, and money you’d spend on something you’re not passionate about? At least you’d likely have more to show for it than a garage full of unsold inventory.

MLMs prey on women

Seventy-five percent of people currently signed with an MLM are women. This number is due not only to the type of products, but also to the increased cost of child care forcing women to stay home with their children. There’s no wonder MLMs prey on this predicament.

They use the appeal of working from home, making your own hours, becoming a “mommypreneur” and being a “girl boss” to lure women who are in this financial predicament.

However, instead of seeing their income grow, women who’ve been involved in MLMs have seen their debt grow.

“MLMs are the most despicable form of corporate feminism. They use their ‘you go girl’ branding to trap capable, ambitious women in a worsening cycle of debt. If MLM founders actually believed in empowering women they wouldn’t scam them out of their life savings,” says one journalist.

Ladies, don’t settle for being a “girl boss”. Aspire to be a “woman boss” and take control of your career! You shouldn’t have to pay for your job!

Viable career option, or risky gamble?

If you already have a proven track record as a leader, salesperson, and someone who can REALLY hustle, then joining an MLM could be a viable career option for you. But you need to understand the risks. One journalist has said, “The risk with MLMs is so high you’d be more successful at making money gambling than you would at joining an MLM.”

So before you sign up and pay your buy-in fee, do your research! This includes talking to former reps and participants, finding out why they left, and learning about the products outside of what the company says about the products.

Most of all, find out if the commission on your personal sales is higher than the commission on the sales of your downline. If it is, then it’s likely more reputable than most other MLMs.

I also suggest having another source of income when you first start, whether it’s a full-time or part-time job, and/or a spouse who’s also bringing in an income (with benefits).

Finally, be realistic about how much you can ultimately invest in the opportunity before you risk unmanageable debt. Make sure someone outside of the MLM (a friend or family member) holds you accountable to this amount. So many people get caught up in the recognition and awards that come from the amount of inventory purchased (NOT the amount sold!) they overspend just to reach those recognition goals.

If you already have too much personal debt, it’s not worth the risk at all. Besides, if you have to pay for a job or a paycheck, it’s probably only going to benefit the person receiving your buy-in money, not you!

Sources: http://abcn.ws/1PUpW8I, https://www.finance-guy.net/mlm-reviews, http://www.pinktruth.com/, https://bettingonzero.com/, https://youtu.be/lLBmElR0Luw, https://youtu.be/s6MwGeOm8iI, https://medium.com/@antionetterparker/why-creative-memories-just-couldnt-compete-review-4860f97dcf86

mlms

Summer Reading: How to Find Work You Love and Make More Money

It’s finally summer! Last Friday marked the official first day of summer. I spent this past weekend getting a jump start on my summer reading list. Do you have your summer reading list yet?

Reading is fundamental in growing your passions and improving your career. Without it you may never discover your true passions. There may be a passion in your future you’ve never heard of and never will until you read about it. Reading also helps you grow your career by keeping you abreast of the ever-changing world of work.

Therefore, I’ve listed below a recommended summer reading list. It includes my own books I’ve had published over the years and most recently. It also includes summer reading recommendations of some awesome books by other authors.

This selection is designed to help you pursue work you love and grow in a career that satisfies your passions. Enjoy and happy summer reading!

Lori’s Books

 

summer readingGet Your Resume Read! (*NEW*)

This small book is a collection of my blog posts I’ve written over the past three years specifically on the topic of resumes. It serves as both a stand-alone resource and a supplement to my on-demand program “Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets To Getting Your Resume Noticed”.

Though the book is small, it’s packed full of resume tips and advice to help you know how to make your resume marketable and competitive in today’s job market. Implementing these tips will dramatically increase the number of people opening your resume and reading it. This book also includes links to a variety of additional resources designed to help you create the best resume possible.

2 Ways to Get It (click on your preferred option):

  • Complimentary PDF download with purchase of on-demand video course or on-demand course bundle.
  • Kindle from Amazon (retail $4.99, no charge with Kindle Unlimited)

summer readingPersonal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic

Do you know what makes you unique? Everyone has to be able to answer this question, whether in an interview (“Why should we hire you?”) or in a pitch meeting (“Why should we sign you?” or “Why should we fund your idea?”).

No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you have to be able to explain why you should be the one to accomplish it. This is why personal branding is so important. Are you comfortable talking about yourself in this way?

In this book you’ll learn:

  • The importance and purpose of personal branding.
  • How to develop your authentic brand.
  • Self-reflection exercises designed to help you see how your passions and abilities fit into your personal philosophy and career.
  • How others perceive you (I promise this isn’t as scary as it sounds!).
  • How valuable your unique skillset is and where it fits into the world around you.
  • Who can benefit from your skills and interests.
  • How to effectively and clearly communicate your value (to family, friends, and potential employers or clients).
  • A method for making the best decisions for your life and career.

As a result you’ll get:

  • Your very own personal mission and vision statements.
  • The ability to know which big decisions are the right decisions for you.
  • A better understanding of how you add value to the world.
  • Better knowledge of who your audience is and how you can best impact them.
  • The ability to think “big picture.”
  • Confidence in being yourself.
  • Feeling comfortable in your own skin and your own abilities.

4 Ways to Get It (click on your preferred option):

Additional Books by Lori

You can also purchase my other two books on Amazon:


Additional Recommended Summer Reading

 

summer reading Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans provides step-by-step instructions allowing you to experiment with different possible careers and roles for your life. These experiments lead to ways to design and build your life the way you want it to look at various life and career stages.

I’ve personally gone through the book myself, reading it twice and doing each exercise at least once. I choose which exercises I think would best suit my clients at their particular stage of career exploration and help guide them through those exercises. I’m also a member of the authors’ Facebook group for coaches and mentors. So, I use this book quite a bit when coaching my clients and therefore highly recommend it!

summer readingBody of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Body of Work by Pamela Slim shows you how to make sense of all your diverse work experiences and the skills gained from them, and how to tie them all together to create a career portfolio and professional brand. This includes not just your “official” full-time job, but also your side jobs, passion projects, volunteer work, artistic creations, etc. All of those experiences can add up to future opportunities you may have never previously considered.

summer readingDo Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career

This book by Jon Acuff was actually recommended to me by one of my first clients to recommend to my other clients. It’s perfect for someone who is facing a major transition in their career, whether it be an unexpected lay-off, hitting a career ceiling, a change in role or job function, or an unexpected offer in another industry.

Do Over teaches you how to develop the four necessary elements of a successful career:  relationships, skills, character, and hustle.

summer readingWill It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money

I have several clients considering starting their own business. This is a great book for them or anyone else thinking of starting their own business or side hustle. It guides readers through several litmus tests to help determine if their business idea is viable, prior to diving in with a huge time or money investment.

The author Pat Flynn (who’s known for teaching people how to create passive income streams) spends a big chunk of the book discussing the importance of having a personal mission statement and personal brand (see 2nd book listed above) prior to starting any kind of business idea. It truly is the first step to starting anything new in your life or career.

Will It Fly? helps you determine both the right reasons and the wrong reasons for starting your own business. Because it is so important to know these reasons, I did an entire group coaching call on this very topic with this book as the basis for the discussion.

Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business

I read The Rise of the Youpreneur on the heels of Will It Fly? It’s a good follow-up after you’ve done all the exercises from Will It Fly? and determined which of your business ideas are most viable and best support your personal mission.

Like Flynn’s book, The Rise of the Youpreneur is chock-full of exercises and online resources to help you get your business off the ground.

While I’d already been doing a lot of what the author Chris Ducker recommends to become a successful brand in my own coaching business, I hadn’t been doing all of it because it just seemed so overwhelming. Ducker’s book helped me to organize and prioritize all those things into manageable phases and steps.

Breaking Money Silence: How to Shatter Money Taboos, Talk More Openly About Finances, and Live a Richer Life

I got a copy of Breaking Money Silence from the author Kathleen Burns Kingsbury herself when I heard her speak here in Nashville. It is BY FAR the best book on finances I’ve ever read.

Kingsbury delves into the emotional side of money. She talks about the various mindsets people have about money, explaining why money often creates unnecessary conflict between people. It dispels myths both men and women have about money. And it reveals the hidden costs of staying quiet about an often uncomfortable topic.

What I love most about this book is it provides tangible ways to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about money between couples, children and aging parents, siblings, and more. It also helps readers see their worth and the importance of negotiating a fair salary with their employer, something I often teach my clients how to do.

Not only is this a great book for anyone who feels insecure about their knowledge of finances (or thinks they already know everything about finances), it’s also recommended for financial advisers so they can learn how to address the emotional side of money when working with their clients. There are exercises at the end of each chapter for both the interested reader and their financial advisers.

Of all the books on this list, this is the one I’d buy a copy for everyone if I could. I plan to keep my copy because I know I’ll refer back to it every time I need to.

summer readingSecrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life

Barbara Stanny’s book includes strategies to not just help women earn more money, but to also help them overcome their fears, limiting beliefs and self-imposed boundaries in their finances and other areas of their lives.

Biggest take away: Success isn’t if you go on to achieve your dream. It’s having the chance to find out if you can achieve your dream or not, so you won’t wonder all your life.

What career books do you recommend for some great summer reading?

summer reading

Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

As a career coach, I’m always responding to career-related questions with various tips and career advice. I recently received a question asking,

“What are a few unique pieces of career advice nobody ever mentions?”

This is a good one because there are a lot of possible answers to it, but I chose two answers to reflect what most of my clients don’t know when they first come to me.


Career Advice Tip #1:

If you work for someone else, you still need to think like an entrepreneur.

Why? Because no one’s job is secure.

You have to view your employer as your client. And if your “client” decides not to continue working with you, you have to be in a good position to quickly land your next client.

You do this by becoming a good salesperson of your skills.


Career Advice Tip #2:

If you work for yourself, then you need to think of each meeting with potential clients or potential investors as a job interview.

For instance, I have several consultations with potential clients each week. Therefore, I’m going on job interviews EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year!

I know I have to clearly express the benefits of my skills as a career coach.


Determine Fit

In either scenario, you not only need to sell your skills.

You also need to treat the situation as a two-way street. You need to find out if your next job or your next client is going to be a good fit for you.

This is why I always suggest job seekers ask their own questions during a job interview.

These questions should be ones to help them determine if the company (i.e. “the client”) is who they really want to spend 40+ hours a week with for the next several years.

**Check out The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview for sample questions to ask when being interviewed.***


Be Selective

For me personally as a business owner, I’m selective in who I take on as clients.

Therefore, not only do I present the benefits of my services and make sure they’re a good fit for the potential client’s goals, but I also ask questions to find out if they’re the type of client I’ll want to work with.

I start with questions in my intake form and ask additional questions during the initial consultation.

I’m looking to see how serious the person is about my coaching program.

I’m also looking for someone with a teachable spirit, an open-mind, respect for others, courtesy, and professionalism.

Someone who doesn’t possess these qualities is not a good fit for me or my company’s mission or programs.


You need to be selective too.

If you’re a job seeker with multiple job offers, be selective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with multiple potential clients, be selective (even when you feel like can’t afford to be!).

Here’s how.

Before walking into an interview or a meeting, take some time to do an inventory of:

  1. your skills and strengths,
  2. how you uniquely demonstrate those skills and strengths,
  3. the benefits of your skills and strengths,
  4. your needs and wants,
  5. your deal-breakers,
  6. and the questions to determine any potential deal-breakers or to determine if the other party can meet at least 60% of your needs and wants (because you’ll rarely find a case that meets 100% of them! — BE REALISTIC!).

Choose only those opportunities that are at least 60% compatible with your inventory.

Keep in mind also numbers 1–3 will give you leverage to ask for numbers 4–5.

Following this advice will help you develop good habits and preparedness for those times when you find yourself at a career crossroads.

career advice

How to Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Career

There are many wrong moves you can make in your career. We’ve all fallen on our faces a few times, especially during the learning curve of a new job. But some mistakes are worse than others.

Today I’m focusing on some of the common mistakes that can ruin your career and how you can avoid them. I won’t include the obvious ones like doing something illegal. Everyone should already know not to do anything illegal!

6 Common Mistakes That Can Cause Career Ruin

1. Agreeing to a superior’s order to do something unethical.

It’s obvious to most people not to do anything illegal in their career. But it may not be so obvious to others they shouldn’t do anything unethical. Even if it’s an order from your supervisor.

If your supervisor has no problem making such a request, he or she probably has no problem throwing you under the bus when the unethical act is discovered. And it will eventually be discovered. Everything comes to light sooner or later.

If ever faced with an order to do something unethical, explain your discomfort and document the conversation. If your boss tries to push the matter or threatens to fire you, start looking for a new job ASAP! You do not want to continue working for someone like this.

If you get fired for refusing the order, you should be able to collect unemployment until you find something new. And depending on the circumstances, you may have a legal case worth pursuing.

2. Relying on just one source of income.

Since anything can happen in your career where a scenario like the one described above could leave you suddenly without a job, you should never rely on just one source of income.

As I’ve written before, there’s no such thing as job security in any company. So start NOW pursuing a side hustle or passion project for a little extra money or start making smart investments. This will help tide you over if you find yourself between jobs or decide to start your own business.

3. Accepting a counter-offer from your current employer.

One of my co-workers at a university where I used to do career advising started looking for a new job at a different university. When he had a potential offer from another place, he casually mentioned to me he might tell our supervisor to see if she’d counter-offer with more money to get him to stay.

I looked him dead in the eyes and told him “Do NOT do it!” He looked a little confused when he asked me “Why not?”

I told him taking a counter-offer can be career suicide. My answer is the same to you if you’re considering accepting a counter-offer.

There’s a reason (or reasons, plural) why you went looking for work elsewhere in the first place. It’s likely those reasons won’t change if you stay for more money. And while the additional money may seem great at first, it won’t outweigh the distrust and resentment which will grow between you and your supervisor or co-workers after cutting this type of deal.

When you do finally leave your employer (and you will), word will get around to other potential employers how you manipulated the situation. This will make you the kind of candidate they won’t want to hire.

4. Overstaying at an unhealthy job.

If your job is affecting your mental or even your physical health, it’s time to go. No job is worth your sanity or your health.

If you overstay at a job like this, you could become so unhealthy you run the risk of not being able to work at all, and therefore losing your income anyway.

Do what it takes to find something new using the resources available on this blog and on paNASH’s on-demand video courses.

5. Agreeing to take on extra work without extra pay for an indefinite amount of time.

There may be times when your company is short-staffed and you have to pick up the slack. When it’s necessary to take on extra work for the best interest of the entire company, you should do so.

However, this should only be temporary. And before agreeing to this, ask what the set end date will be for the extra workload. If you’re told, “until things settle down,” don’t accept this as an answer.

Instead, indicate the length of time you’re willing to do the extra work and schedule a meeting as soon as possible to discuss how you’ll be compensated for any extra work done beyond the specified date.

For instance, you’d say, “I’m happy to cover Sallly’s projects until the end of May. You and I can meet next week to decide how to move forward in June.”

Whatever agreement you come to, get it in writing.

If you’re still doing Sally’s work in June, you need a title change and pay adjustment, or at least a bonus.

6. Promising your employer you won’t job hunt.

Unless there’s a formal agreement in place or you’re receiving tuition reimbursement, never promise not to job hunt or to stay with your company for any specific length of time.

If your boss begs you to stay in a time of high turn-over or a rough patch, ask her for an employment agreement giving you the same assurance she’s asking of you. If she won’t or can’t, don’t allow better opportunities to pass you by.

These are just a handful of mistakes that can ruin your career, but equipped with the knowledge above you’ll be able to maneuver these landmines so you can move successfully through your chosen career path unscathed. Consider it career self-defense!

Click here for more career advice.

Related Posts:

career ruin

How to Improve Your Career With Physical Fitness

We’re well into 2019 with the beginning of February on our heels. If you made any new year’s resolutions, it’s likely you’ve already slacked off on them. Good for you if you haven’t!

If you have, it’s not too late to use February 1st as your fresh start.

For some this may mean getting back into a workout or exercise routine. Even if your new years resolutions didn’t include anything fitness-related, they should. Not only because it’s important to your health, but also because it’s just as important to your career!

Why Physical Fitness is Important for Your Career

The BBC recently published a story on the importance of exercising during the work day and how to fit it into your work schedule. Studies have also shown how important it is to continue a regular workout routine when you’re out of work and conducting a job search. Including exercise as part of your job search or work day helps you:

  • perform better and with more energy in job interviews or on work projects.
  • stay positive when job opportunities or projects don’t work out as you’d hoped.
  • increase your confidence in your skills and abilities.
  • sharpen your mind.
  • grow your network.
  • relieve stress.

I’ve found this to be true in my own career. If I don’t stay active on a regular basis, it’s not just my body that suffers. My work also suffers. But when I carve out the time for fitness, I see amazing results.

The Career Benefits of Physical Fitness

For example, when I go stand up paddle boarding, all my stress melts away. I come back to work with a clear mind resulting in clarity on how to approach a difficult situation or my next project.

The jiu-jitsu classes I’m currently taking not only are making me physically stronger but they’re improving my mind’s reaction time and ability to problem solve.

Spending a day in the trees doing various ropes courses builds my confidence and improves my focus.

And my workouts designed by my personal trainer help me sleep better at night so I’m refreshed for the day’s work ahead of me.

In almost every one of these activities I’ve also grown my network. I’ve met potential clients, some of whom have turned into regular clients. I’ve met others who’ve referred their friends to me. And I’ve also made strategic alliances and business partnerships through the various activities I’m involved in.

An Invitation to Improve Your Career With Exercise

I believe so much in using the benefits of fitness to better coach my clients on their careers and to help them make more connections. I do this by often including my clients in some fun activities.

In the summer I frequently take clients paddle boarding to help them gain clarity over their current career situation. I’ve taken clients to do ropes courses. I’ve invited clients to be my guest in my jiu-jitsu class. And a few weeks ago I even had a client mixer that included a self-defense class and time to network with each other.

All activities are conducted with the client’s ability and fitness level in mind. They’re designed to get clients far enough out of their comfort zone that they don’t end up too far out of it. The goal is for it to be fun, healthy, and helpful. When the weather gets warm again (which I hope is very soon!), I plan to have another client mixer at the Adventure Park Nashville ropes course.

If you have a passion for fitness, want to step outside your comfort zone, and need help getting unstuck in your career, click here to complete the paNASH intake form.

And if fitness isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Clients are never required to participate in any physical activities. Maybe your resolution for 2019 is to simply focus on finding your own passion or making a career change. If so, let’s talk!

Related Posts:

fitness