What will my friends say?" is a question or concern I've often heard at educational seminars put on by network marketing companies; "they'll think I'm crazy," is another. For many, even though the business opportunity makes complete sense and they want to make these changes in their financial lives, one of the biggest hurdles of all is, "What will my friends and family think if I start a network marketing business?"

One evening, a single mom stood in front of a group of about 30 guests who'd come to hear about a network marketing business opportunity. The woman was telling us all about how her husband had left, leaving her with the job of raising their four children on her own. Rather than go on welfare, this brave young mother told us, she had started a network marketing business; today she was earning over $60,000 a year, part-time--and raising her young children full-time.

The business had given her security, hope, control of her life and most importantly, time with her kids. The business had given her her life back. She could once again dream dreams that she had not dared dream for years.

"And in ten years," she concluded, "I'll be a millionaire, because the business keeps on growing. I'll be able to provide college educations for my kids, and they won't need to take care of me when I'm old. I won't be a burden to them, which gives me such peace of mind. I could never have done any of this at my old job--because I could never have done it all without the support of the wonderful people I've met in this business."

As the evening broke up, I thanked my host and headed for the door, when I was asked by a young business executive who'd also been a guest, "So, what did you think?"

"I thought it was a great presentation," I said.

"Yes, it was...but it sounds too good to be true," he replied, as he searched in his briefcase for his keys.

"Why don't you invest a little time and find out whether it is true or not?" I suggested. "It might be just what you're looking for."

He thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. "No, I couldn't do that. You know what my friends back at the office would think if I told them I was starting a network marketing business in my spare time? They'd laugh their heads off. You know how guys can be."

I nodded and smiled. Yes, I knew how guys can be. In fact, I knew exactly what he was talking about. He climbed into his car, I climbed into mine, and we both drove off into the night.


The Hardest Part of All

In 1976, two friends and I launched our nylon and Velcro surfer-wallet business. We had started it from scratch, part-time, while working full-time for the Xerox Corporation.

I knew I couldn't stay with Xerox for long, because the surfer-wallet business was taking off. One day, while sitting in the office with a group of six salespeople, I mentioned that I would soon have to quit my job there and devote my full time to running the surfer-wallet business.

I still remember their reactions.

"You're crazy!" said one of the more senior salespeople. "You know that thing's going to fail."

"You know how many want to work for Xerox?!" said another. "You've got a great job, great benefits, good pay, lots of promotion opportunities...why would you let all that go and take such a ridiculous risk?"

"You'll be back," added a third, confidently. "I've seen a hundred people just like you, people who think they're hot shots. They leave the company with their boasts and big plans--and after they fail, they come back with their tails between their legs...if they have any tails left!"

With that, the whole group laughed; then they went on to talk about the new copier the company was coming out with, and after that they talked about who was going to win the baseball game that night.

I realized that I'd been talking to the wrong people about my business and my dreams. I was talking to people who would pull me down, not people who would push me up.

For me, the hardest part of leaving a secure job and starting a business was dealing with what my friends, family and co-workers would say or think. That was the hardest part of all.


The Value of Friends Who Share Your Values

One advantage of joining a network marketing business is that it is filled with new people, some of whom may become your new best friends. Most of my friends and family were in the E [employee] quadrant and had different values than I did. They valued security and a steady paycheck; I valued freedom and independence.

If you are considering becoming involved with a network marketing business, you have a tremendous advantage over me. A network marketing business provides a large support group of like-minded people, people with the same core values (the values of the B [business-owner] quadrant) to assist you in your transition. All I had was my rich dad and his son to encourage me. Everyone else thought I was crazy; maybe I was.

The friends I left behind at Xerox are still great friends, and always will be. But it was time for me to move on.

If it's time for you to move on and the B quadrant is calling to you, you may want to join a network marketing company and meet new friends--friends who will push you up, not pull you down.


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