While many factors determine the long-term success of a business, one important element of a business plan is setting the price for the products or services offered to customers. At a minimum, the revenue derived must cover fixed and variable expenses for overhead, cost of goods sold (if applicable), and in the case of a sole proprietorship, generate a sufficient net income from which to earn a living. Similarly for a corporation, revenues must allow for paying sufficiently skilled people who are able to support themselves by working as employees for this business rather than finding work elsewhere.
While these criteria are relevant to the entrepreneur, they have absolutely no bearing on the interests of the customer. The customer’s sole interest lies in whether his or her purchase yields good value.
In the course of either promoting my business or describing to others what I do as a professional networker, I find that many individuals have little understanding about how the industry of network marketing, or multi-level marketing (MLM), actually works.
For those who have some exposure to the industry either directly or indirectly, perception tends to fall on one of two opposite ends of the spectrum: they either know someone who is making more money than seems rationally feasible/legal, or they know someone who has racked up a garage full of product and never made a dime from their business. In reality, there are people in each category, as well as a significant, nondescript middle-class segment which comprises the “full-time” established networkers that earn, on average, nearly twice the national median annual household income (at least for those affiliated with my corporate partner).
If only I had been properly approached with the concept of network marketing while I was an undergraduate student, I may have reconsidered my choice of profession at an earlier age. After all, the average full-time compensation of network marketers cited above is far greater than that of electrical engineers, even while EEs command among the highest salaries of new graduates with either Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. Of course, compensation is not the sole determining factor in selecting a career, but it was a significant consideration for a pragmatic student such as myself (and a widely touted selling point for the curriculum by faculty in the EE department).
I recently attended an event in Long Beach, CA, where I had the privilege of personally connecting with a highly venerated mentor, Tim Sales. Over the past couple of years, his training materials have been tremendously helpful to me as I have worked not only to build my businesses but also to focus on continually improving and nurturing the quality of relationships with my clients, associates, and customers.
Many times I’ve heard Tim speak of being focused on your prospect (or one could easily substitute your client, customer, spouse, etc. here–basically anyone with whom you are engaged in conversation), and I’ve always consciously held this in my mind not to be distracted by other people or events in my surrounding when communicating one-on-one. Despite my intellectual understanding of this, however, I gained an even greater understanding of this simply by being in Tim’s presence.
For the mere 3 to 4 minutes in which we spoke while a line of other eager fans of Tim’s stood nearby awaiting him to sign a book or CD, his attention was focused 100% on me for the entire duration of our conversation. It seemed as if there were a cocoon-like environment created around just the two of us in what was an otherwise VERY noisy entryway to a ballroom filled with people, booths, and activities. I felt as if Tim had all the time in the world to really listen to, understand, process, and give a response to my questions. I know this sounds like a very simple process (and is one he speaks of time and again in his own training materials), but to have experienced his embodiment of this in-person has truly deepened my appreciation of and sensitivity to the profound impact this has on another human being. Thanks again, Tim, for helping me to gain yet another level of understanding through your example… one which serves to enrich both my professional and personal life.
One of my favorite subjects on which I lecture in a business class which I teach to holistic health practitioners is an overview to taxes, or as I title the lecture, “Playing with Taxes.” Specifically, I provide an overview of the benefits of our tax system which rewards entrepreneurs, even those utilizing the most simple form of business, a sole proprietorship.
The savings in personal income tax are particularly profound when a portion of one’s home also functions as a place business, since the overhead of having a roof over one’s head is an expense which all must incur anyway, and having a means to legitimately convert a portion of these living/operating costs as deductible business expenses can really add up to significant tax savings.
There are a number of different industries and business models which may be reasonably run from home, especially in today’s age of ubiquitous e-commerce and efficient delivery systems. A few of the benefits in running a business from home include:
- Little to no overhead cost
- Zero travel/commute time to one’s home office
- Increased time flexibility
- Ability to employ children tax-free up to the standard deduction amount
- Reduction of personal tax liability through migrating a percentage of personal expenses to legitimate business deductions
The latter is an extremely valuable benefit of which many are unaware and is available to all home-business entrepreneurs. The key requirement is having a sufficient system of recordkeeping (tax journal) which must be maintained regularly in the course of running one’s home business. One of my favorite authors and speakers on the subject is Sandy Botkin of the Tax Reduction Institute.
So, how does one select an appropriate business model, particularly if one is only looking to run his or her business part-time? Continue reading
This site is offered to empower and support entrepreneurs who desire to create their best lives through sound, sustainable business and marketing practices, primarily within the industry of network marketing. It is intended to serve as a forum for networking, to cultivate an environment of collective learning, and ultimately to foster an esprit de corps among fellow professionals who are either considering, or who already have chosen, to participate in this industry.
As with any undertaking of value, this industry is not unique from others in the sense that a learning curve is involved with acquiring new skills. This aspect is accompanied by its own set of challenges, frustrations, and hard work––just as with any other endeavor which yields great rewards. The resulting financial, interpersonal, and self-development benefits which are achieved through this process, however, are second to none.
May you experience prosperity in all aspects of your life as you encourage others to share in the same.