“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
Women are the backbone of our society. They are our mothers, our sisters, our friends. They are half the population, after all. Without them, we would not be here; I mean that quite literally. Oftentimes, the strength of women goes unnoticed or is quietly dismissed, especially when working in a “man’s world.” However, the myth that women are inferior to men or generally unable to handle the type of work that men do is one that still persists in our current culture (even if only behind the scenes). Although the climate is changing, women still face their own unique set of struggles.
Network marketing has existed for many years, and a quick reference back to my article titled: How a Side Business Could Turn into a Community Profit Pool will remind us of those classic plasticware parties women hosted in their homes decades ago. You see, women have been in the industry since the very beginning. They hosted gatherings to promote their products, they became masters of marketing, and—most importantly—they became independent entrepreneurs.
What many fail to realize is the role women have played in network marketing since its inception. During a time when women were expected to be unemployed homemakers, selling products to their circle of friends in the hopes that their friends would do the same was a way to gain a sense of independence and accomplishment. In fact, one might say that women are the sole reason for the success of direct-selling companies, especially for pioneers in the cosmetics and houseware industries.
The very nature of direct-selling relies exclusively on social networks. Women, especially the midcentury suburban housewives of their day, were masters of their craft. From hosting parties to going door-to-door, women have always had their sights set on entrepreneurship and a hunger for success—as well they should! We have to remember the expectations placed on women in society and their determination to rise to the challenge and tackle it head-on.
Despite living in a time of shameless sexism, women of the past managed to rise to the occasion to prove themselves worthy of success and independence. As a male marketer, I am very thankful for those women and the work they put in to make network marketing what it is today. Some of the best marketers I know are women whom I deeply respect and admire.
Times have changed for the better, but times are still not perfect. However, that doesn’t mean that one cannot strive for perfection. In my years in the business, I’ve heard many critiques about women in the industry: their strengths and weaknesses, their “deceptive” tactics to make sales, etc. In this article, I will expand on these misconceptions to finally shed some light on one of the most powerful tools a woman can use to become an independent businesswoman.
Misconception #1: Women “Exploit” Friendships
Perhaps one of the biggest complaints I hear about women in the industry is their eagerness to “exploit” the relationships they have in their life as well as make new relationships under false pretenses. This is, of course, something that is totally false. In my opinion, this is another scare tactic used to put women down and make them feel inferior for using their own network to advance their career.
If someone is running a business with integrity and honesty, there is absolutely no room for any kind of “corruption” or “abuse.” However, by no means do I suggest that there are not those who engage in dishonest or deceptive business practices; quite the contrary. However, that’s not to say that every person who engages in direct-selling or network marketing lacks integrity. There is corruption and abuse in every facet of every business imaginable. To believe that women, and women only, engage in shady business practices is a symptom of modern sexism and misogyny.
Misconception #2: “Housewives” Shouldn’t Work
What an outdated concept! The idea that women cannot be loving wives and adoring mothers with a career of her own is, again, an antiquated fallacy. In our modern day, there are women who juggle it all as women have always done. With network marketing comes opportunities to earn passive income. As I always say: it takes work to get something going, but it takes very little to keep it moving. A body at rest stays at rest, and the same is true of one in motion.
The idea that women cannot take advantage of opportunities to earn money from home with relatively inexpensive startup costs is completely disrespectful towards the women who have done it. It is a huge disservice to women when we, as a society, continue to put them down and tell them what they cannot do versus what they can do. We need to support the women in our lives and show them that they can, in fact, wear many hats and create a successful and rewarding career for themselves.
Misconception #3: Women Should Work?
The title of this subsection may be a bit confusing considering the topic we just finished discussing, but I assure you of its relevance. The confusion felt here is akin to the confusion women feel when they’re chastised for what they do and what they don’t. It appears as though women are at an impasse; that is to say that they’re faced with two evils, and their only option—the “correct” option—is to choose the lesser of the two evils. As it stands, there’s no way to win. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
The act of balancing parenthood with work is often frowned upon, especially for mothers. It goes without saying that the choices women make are often under incredible scrutiny. With a career in marketing comes the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many likeminded women and form sisterhoods. Forming groups of supporters is not only essential to the success of one’s product, but also to the success of oneself.
Misconception #4: Efforts & Costs
Multilevel marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme; those who claim that it is are simply misinformed. As with anything, there needs to be an honest effort for success. Just because an opportunity may lend the chance to earn passive income does not mean that it comes for free.
I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am today. I worked so hard that I was able to retire early before moving onto my newest business venture. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but I am able to enjoy the rewards now.
The fact of the matter is that not everyone is a natural-born entrepreneur. Some will give it their best and fail—that’s simply reality. Conversely, the reality is that there are those who will be successful, and chances are that somebody will be a woman.
For relatively little cost, a woman is able to begin her marketing journey. It’s simply up to her to take it where it needs to go. The idea that women cannot handle the responsibility of running a business is totally false and incredibly offensive to women everywhere.
Misconception #5: Targeting Women
Cosmetics, housewares, diet products, and supplements—all of these are categories of successful, household names in the marketing business. Some argue that these products were specifically targeted towards women, but I don’t see that as a negative. It’s common knowledge that women wear cosmetics, but most everyone owns a home that needs housewares, most everyone is watching their weight, and most everyone has some sort of health concern they’d like to resolve naturally.
The idea that cosmetics companies target women is, quite frankly, redundant. What we have instead is a case of targeted audience marketing. Manufacturers know their audience, and they know their intended target audience as well. In tandem, this makes for a fine marketing tactic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with formulating a product with a specific population in mind, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that population endorsing that particular product.
To assume that women lack the intelligence to make informed decisions about what they do and don’t want is totally obsolete, horribly outdated, and simply not true! Women were the pioneers of direct-selling, after all.
March, the month at the time of posting, is Women’s History Month—a time for reflection and thanks. This industry, this society, and the entirety of the human race would not exist were it not for the sacrifices and the choices women make every day. Let us all take a moment to honor those women today and always.