There is something really right about a business that allows people to get started for a relatively small amount of money, work at their own pace, be their own boss, experience the responsibilities of business ownership in an actual business endeavor without huge downside risks, have the potential for high upsides, and get the tax advantages that come with business enterprise. These attributes (and others) are what originally attracted me to the profession of networking. However, as I experienced more and more of what goes on in certain parts of this industry, I quickly realized there were several things I hated about it!
I was not alone. Along with my friends Orrin Woodward, Tim Marks, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins, we founded the LIFE company in an attempt to build a business to not only be the model of what could be in this profession, but what should be, as well. In other words, we launched LIFE to fix what we didn’t like about the industry while preserving the parts we felt were right about it.
Below is a list of my beefs with the industry, and what we are doing at LIFE to make it right.
1. No True Customer Focus – Our fix: at LIFE, we not only have a customer focus but a customer requirement. If a LIFE member does not develop at least 50PV in monthly customer flow after a brief apprenticeship period, he or she will not be paid any bonus on group volume. Also, we have the 3 for FREE customer acquisition program, in which any LIFE member, and even any customer, who gets three customers subscribing to the same or higher value package gets his/her products the next month for free! Also we have sales competitions with bonuses for the top finishers, as well as special bonus incentives on sales of particular products. We are also about to announce a sales bonus chart designed to give the smallest participants in the LIFE business a huge sales margin on products sold to help them begin earning more money sooner!
2. Gaudy Lifestyle Representations and Outrageous Income Claims – Our fix: in our business presentations we give only basic scenario-based income representations (as in, “if you build a business that looks like this, the way the pay plan works, it would result in X amount of pay for that month”), with the largest scenario depicting approximately $9,000 per month in income. (See our Compensation Plan brochure for this). We don’t show cheesy lifestyle pictures or videos, bikini-clad girls on yachts, or shiny bling to try and attract people to a false expectation. Our presentation focuses upon things such as obtaining more free time, better financial security, more focus upon family, travel, church and charity, etc. (We don’t go as far as talking about more time with in-laws, however!) Also, being a new company, we’ve just now completed our first full calendar year in business (year 2012), and therefore can now release an Income Disclosure Statement to inform prospective participants and properly manage their expectations (look for this in the coming weeks).
3. The Host Company Keeps Too Much of the Money – and as a result, the people in the field get to fight over the scraps. Our fix: our pay plan is currently putting approximately 70% of gross product volume (PV) into the field in the various forms of compensation. The company was not just founded by people who had come from the field, but from people who have determined to stay in the field.
4. High Sign Up Costs: We have heard of companies charging hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to join. Our fix: keep it low! Our recommended sign up cost, including sample products (three CDs, a hard cover book, a sticker, access to the LIFE business management website, and two tickets to a LIFE Live event) is just $89.99, in which the products are optional. Our goal is to keep it “less than the cost of a tank of gas!”
5. Poor Guarantees: some are confusing, very limited, or difficult to enact. Our fix: simple and straight forward, a 30 day no-questions-asked money back guarantee for all our products, including the sign up cost.
6. Trips for Top Performers: While there is nothing wrong with this, we wanted to do something a little different. Our fix: we put two very exciting trips into the compensation program for people with relatively early progress up the performance bonus chart. One is at the 6,000 pv per month level, the other is at the 15,000 pv per month level. Also, these are not business trips in disguise, but legitimate vacations. The recipient selects the trip of his/her choice from the list of available options, and takes the trip when he or she chooses. (See Incentive Trips for more information).
7. High Priced Products – our experience is that many networking companies charge super high prices for their products and then give some of this back to the field and claim that this is their “profit margin,” when in fact, the products are so overpriced no one could ever sell them for that price to begin with. Our fix: keep the prices low! For the type of informational products that LIFE specializes in producing, our competition is almost always 20 to 200% higher. For instance, our CDs sell for just $10, while most on the market in each of our “8F” categories (Faith, family, fitness, finances, friendship, freedom, following, and fun) can be found for sale from $12 to $67! Also, in our subscription packages that include books, we almost always sell the book in that month’s subscription for ten to twenty five percent below list price, as it is just rolled into a standard subscription price that doesn’t fluctuate based upon that months’ book price.
8. Inferior Products – what does this mean? It means that specific products that can easily be commoditized (produced by someone else at a cheaper price or better value, over time) stay in the company’s portfolio long after they are no longer competitive in the marketplace. This leaves those in the field leveraging their personal reputation to sell a product that is no longer the best on the market. Our fix: Informational products such as those LIFE produces cannot become commoditized because they are unique – meaning, by specific authors and speakers whose communication styles, delivery, humor, entertainment value, etc. are not duplicate-able. While the information can perhaps be mimicked by another, the brand cannot be copied.
9. Products that Don’t Matter: The other part about representing commodity products is that they really have no ability to make someone’s life better. Why spend your valuable time and energy working at something that doesn’t do any good? As my friend Tim Marks said, “I don’t want to waste my life selling tube socks and lawn chairs!” My favorite quote is attributed to D.L. Moody: “Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but that we’ll succeed at something that doesn’t matter.” As for me, although it’s possible to make money selling commodities, I want what I do to count in the lives of people (and yes, I understand that we all need commodities to survive, but you get what I’m saying). I want to make a positive difference in the world. So our fix: sharing information such as LIFE produces has helped people get out of debt, repair broken relationships, grow personally, break addictions, grow spiritually, and, as the tag line says, “live the life they’ve always wanted.” To me, THAT’s something that matters.
Now don’t get me wrong. We don’t have the LIFE business perfected yet, as that would be impossible. But we are working daily to make it better and better, in an attempt to deliver exactly what people want and expect in an informational product company, and for a potential business enterprise for many. Also, while we believe that our products are for everybody, we DON’T think the business building aspect of LIFE is for everybody. It is only for those who are prepared to work hard, who are looking for something more in life than they can currently accomplish, who enjoy working with and helping other people, and who have a long-term vision and can stay the course.
Thanks for reading!