What an honor to “lead off” this fall issue of Networking Times, focused on the youngest generation of network marketing professionals, which I proudly represent.

I am grateful to belong to such a conscious and “tuned in” generation. Even though Gen Y is subject to the myths of being tethered to technology, entitled, or even lazy, I am witnessing something different.

Our “dependency on technology” allows us to be extremely efficient and leverage our social connections. Our “entitlement” has to do with knowing that we have a purpose on this earth. Our “laziness”? This only happens when our hearts are not in it. No matter what generation, when we combine vision with heart, we become unstoppable. 

Connect with any of these parts of us and you’ll have our attention. We want to make a difference, be independent, and have success faster than our parents did. Struggle and “hard hours” are a no-go; however, inspired action is where the magic happens. 

Our parents were told, “Get a good education and a good job, and you will be set.” These rules no longer apply. Entrepreneurship is a must, unless one gets multiple jobs. A perfect example is Uber. A $62.5 billion company and growing, it’s built on a similar social sharing model as network marketing. Times have changed and our generation is getting creative with how to get paid. 

As a network marketing professional, I build primarily online. Only a few times a day do I speak on the phone with team members. Texting and messaging is much more efficient for me. My online versus in-person event ratio is about 50/50. 

I’m not fond of the question, “How do we encourage Millennials to consider network marketing?” because it feels forced. Millennials want to make decisions for themselves. If you want us to join you, show (don’t tell) us that we are already doing all the tasks and using all the tools that make network marketers successful—connecting with people online and offline, elegantly showing instead of selling, being authentically who we are.

I believe the secret to getting Millennials excited and committed is three-fold. First, show us an “easy win.” We are skeptical and want to see that your system of inviting works. Share success stories of other young people who are crushing it in your business.

Second, set the right expectation. We need to know that success does not happen overnight, but that, given consistent effort over time, it accumulates to something far better than we ever could have dreamed.

Third, show us a way to be of service. Give us a platform to make an impact.

Turn to page 26 where my mom tells the story of her trip to Iran, and you will see what I mean. I couldn’t be more grateful for her lifelong example, inspiring me and countless other Millennials, as together we are “reinventing network marketing for the next generation.”

ASHLEY ALIPRANDI grew up in network marketing and joined the profession at age 21 while finishing up college. She recently reached an elite rank in her company.