My first network marketing tee-shirt introduced me to the core system of this profession. Starting at the top with giant letters and getting smaller and smaller towards the bottom, it read:

Tell A Friend ... to Tell A Friend ... to Tell A Friend

At first, that's pretty much all I did to get my business off the ground. Soon this became too simple for my hungry systems-oriented mind. (In graduate school, "Systems" was my favorite course.) I discovered systems guru Randy Gage, gratefully followed his guidance, and it worked! I quickly achieved success...quicker than most.

Then came the workshop, "Nine Unbreakable Laws of Network Marketing," which offered a simple 3-2-1 plan: every day contact three new people, two follow-ups and one downline with a good idea. Simple and effective...at least, for me.

When Michael (E-Myth) Gerber spoke at a company conference, I was starstruck and energized. The master of systems offered me a whole new way to view my business!...but why weren't others in my downline as excited as I?

I then became a devotee of the smartest systems lady in our company. She had great numbers, tested and proven: talk with so many, then this many will meet with you, then that many will say "Yes!" I followed her system, and she was right! My business soared and again, I trained my downline in the latest, greatest system for success...

But some of my friends did not soar--not now, and not after any of the other systems I'd used and offered them.

What was the problem? It worked for my mentors. Worked for me. Was I unable to train? What good was my success if I left friends and associates behind? Feeling like a failure, I teetered precipitously on the brink of quitting the business.

That's when I discovered why it worked for me...and not for them.

I have a systems personality. Not everyone does. Some people are more successful doing their own thing, in their own way and own time, systems actually stifle them. (Thank goodness for the spontaneous, free-flowing people in my life!)

I began telling my new associates: "Plan your work--and work your plan, whatever that may be!" I stopped telling them what to do and how to do it and began listening more carefully to who they are and what they love to do. These were the keys to their success, because frankly, my way, no matter how proven, timely or sound, worked for me and my systems-happy cohorts...and not for everyone.

Back to the wisdom of my innocent days: Tell a friend...
to Tell a Friend... to Tell a Friend...

MARIAN HEAD is a network marketing leader, a regular contributing editor for Networking Times
and author of
Revolutionary Agreements: Twelve Ways to Transform Stress and Struggle into Freedom and Joy.