After retiring in 1994, financially free at the age of 47, I began to research the network marketing industry. Whenever someone invited me to a presentation, I would go, just to hear what they had to say. I even joined a few—but not necessarily to make more money. I joined in order to take a long, hard look at the positives and negatives of each business.
There are many network marketing companies that do have excellent education and training plans—in my opinion, some of the best real-life business training I have seen anywhere.

After working my way through masses of wannabes, hustlers and dreamers, I began to meet the leaders of some of these businesses. The ones I met were some of the most intelligent, kind, ethical, moral and professional people I have met in all my years of business. Once I got over my own prejudices and met people I could respect and relate to, I found the heart of the business.

I am often asked, “If you did not become rich and famous from a network marketing business, why do you recommend people get into the business?”

It is because I did not gain my fortune from network marketing that I can be perhaps a bit more objective about industry and its real value—a value that goes beyond the potential of making a lot of money.

It’s Not the Money

“We have the best compensation plan.”

I often heard this comment when I was investigating different network marketing companies. People anxious to show me their business opportunity would tell me stories of people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month because of the business. I have also met people who really do make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month from their network marketing business, so I don’t doubt the massive earning potential of network marketing.

The lure of making a lot of money draws many people into the business. Yet I do not recommend looking into a network marketing business primarily for the money.

It’s Not the Products

“We have the best products.”

This is the second most emphasized benefit I was presented with in my investigation of different network marketing companies. In fact, I was completely taken by surprise by how many products and services are delivered through network marketing systems.

As my search went on, I found network marketing businesses that offered:

Consumable home care products; telephone services; real estate; financial services; Internet Web sites; Internet market distribution, selling at discount just about everything that Walmart and K-Mart sells; health care products; jewelry; tax services; educational toys…

… and the list goes on.

At least once a month, I hear about a new network marketing company with a new twist on products or compensation plan. I join some because I want the product or service they offer. But product or compensation plans are not the main reason I encourage people to look into a network marketing business.

It’s the Education

The number one reason I recommend a network marketing business is for its system of education.

One problem I had in business school was that many of the teachers had no real-life business experience. In network marketing, the people at the top who teach have to be successful in the real world—or they wouldn’t be at the top. In the world of traditional business schools, you don’t have to be successful in the real world of business to teach business. Maybe that’s why the instructors in the traditional business education don’t earn as much as some of the instructors in network marketing education.

Some of the more important real-life business subjects that network marketing companies teach include:

An attitude of success; leadership skills; communication skills; people skills; overcoming personal fears, doubts and lack of confidence; overcoming fear of rejection; money management skills; investing skills; accountability skills; time management skills; goal setting; systemization.

The successful people I have met in the network marketing business have developed all these skills from their network marketing training programs.

Do Your Homework

Your job is to invest the time to look past the compensation plan and products and really look into the heart of the company to see if it is truly interested in training and educating you.

That takes more time than just listening to a three-hour sales pitch and looking at colorful product catalogues. To find out how good their education really is may require that you get off your couch and invest some time going to their training and education functions. If you like what you hear, take some time to meet the people who do the educating and training. That’s what I did—and what I found impressed me.

Look carefully: most network marketing companies say they have great education plans, but I found that many did not have the great education and training systems they claimed: the only training was a recommended book list—then they focused on training you to recruit your friends and family into the business. But there are many network marketing companies that do have excellent education and training plans—in my opinion, some of the best real-life business training I have seen anywhere.

Regardless of whether or not you reach the top of the network marketing system or make much money, the training is of great value for the rest of your life. If the educational plan is good, it can improve your life for the better—and maybe forever.

This passage is excerpted with permission from
The Business School for People Who Like Helping People,
By Robert T. Kiyosaki, with Sharon Lechter, CPA, authors of Rich Dad Poor Dad.