Network marketing has always been ahead of its time. To me, it’s the most natural form of business: people sharing something they enjoy with the people around them. Network marketing is sometimes misunderstood, but the sharing economy puts the values our business is based on front and center.
The rise of the sharing economy proves that the world has finally caught up with us. Sharing is the core of network marketing, and we are the ultimate sharing business model. After all, the more one of us shares, the more wealth multiplies for everyone.
But it’s not just about the wealth. Trailblazers in business, network marketers have always prioritized interdependence. We share training, leadership, momentum, mentorship, support, success—everything! We believe and invest in sharing.
The sharing economy shifts economic power away from corporations and governments, putting control into the hands of the individual. It assures that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have something valuable to offer. Your experiences, your ideas, anything you share has the potential to change people’s lives. Network marketing gathers this potential for positive impact and provides the skills, tools, and support to make a lasting impact.
Simply put, the sharing economy is about opening up what you have to the community around you. It focuses on leveling the playing field, allowing each person to fairly leverage their resources and grow according to their capacities and desires. Relying on openness, trust, and equality, this new economic model shies away from mere self-interest in favor of the interests of all.
Everyone today understands that fairness is paramount to good business, and we want to participate in models that invest in it. Many of us recognize the traditional corporate business model is broken and that job security is a myth. The corporate compensation scheme is unfairly weighted toward the top. Job seekers have come to expect being paid less than they’re worth for working harder than they want. It’s a discouraging, impoverishing cycle.
By contrast, the sharing economy promotes the right and ability of each person to build wealth in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling. Network marketing refines the model by capitalizing on the strengths of sharing and offering the chance to build a sustainable, hugely profitable business you control yourself. Network marketers start out with unparalleled mentorship offered by fellow marketers. In turn, each one teaches one—or thousands.
That’s the soul of network marketing. It’s the way of the future, and we’ve brought it into the mainstream. Social media proves this. The tide of technology is turning so that sharing is the primary way everything marketable is conveyed. Because every person can share an experience, the middleman has no place. Services and goods move directly from the vendor to consumers, who spread the word and are rewarded for—you guessed it—sharing their experience.
Recently, a number of major city and state governments, and even institutions such as the University of California, have gotten up in arms about the sharing economy. They are concerned that “sharing” is becoming too big, too unregulated, even dangerous because of how it might erode consumer protections.
I believe on the contrary the sharing model enhances consumer protections. By replacing bureaucracy with community-based consensus, it offers the support and security of systems built on shared experience. It publicizes the good and the bad. When the entire community is in the know, people don’t need regulations to tell them what’s a poor bet.
Consider the power of online community platforms such as Etsy and Ebay. They have revolutionized the individual’s capacity to build, manage, and expand their own business, but as with network marketing, their success depends on the integrity of the community. Members share their experiences after each transaction to inform others. Shared positive experiences add up to a superb rating, which encourages even more people to engage with the good and dispense with the bad.
Similarly, opinion-sharing sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp demonstrate the influence of personal testimonials on the choices of a community. Members build a web of shared knowledge based on their experiences, and, ultimately, use that information to choose what they want for themselves and their loved ones. Businesses with poor ratings lose momentum, while those with rave reviews skyrocket with new customers.
These versions of the sharing economy model reward goods and services that do a great job of caring for the consumer. They use technology to help build a lifestyle of investing in goods and services that makes people feel good about themselves. What could be better?
Critics of the sharing economy also claim that it hurts communities by deepening the technological class divide. Certainly, some sharing businesses rely exclusively on technology to move their goods or services, and this can be alienating. But for network marketers, technology is merely another tool in an ample toolbox. It can accelerate the pace of growth, but it’s not mandatory for success.
That’s the distinct advantage of network marketing as the ultimate model of the sharing economy. Network marketers rely on direct communication, which is as simple as two people having a conversation. Technology, especially social media, can be very helpful, but lack of access online doesn’t need to spell failure. An unwired network marketer can still rely on traditional methods of communication to build a highly fruitful business.
The real concern is, perhaps, that traditional business is so far behind the curve. We’ve been at the forefront, pioneering a model of sharing in business that has proven lucrative for millions of people. Network marketers have made a huge difference in the world.
We are living the future: sharing resources, power, and prosperity. Network marketing is about the way you make people feel about themselves, and how that impacts the marketplace. It’s about how much you want to change lives, and the power of your motivation to create a better shared economy for everyone.
LOREN ROBIN is a top-producing network marketing leader. Having overcome many adversities in her personal and professional life, she excels at helping others to develop the strength and perseverance needed to accomplish their biggest goals.