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Upline, Downline all around the town

Sometimes it’s the language of a business model that is the sticky wicket  keeping people from successfully going forward.  It could be language like “network marketing;” or “multi-level marketing;” or “upline,” or “downline.”

It could be the term “direct selling” that keeps people from looking closely at an income opportunity that could provide them with additional help every month meeting financial needs.

In the world of home-based businesses, some business models do have terms like “upline” and “downline.”  These terms are easy to understand and in no way inherently infer anything about an independent contractor’s income potential.

Take hypothetical business model ABC.  ABC  is a direct selling, network marketing income opportunity.  “Direct Selling” simply means that the independent contractor [or distributor] sells products directly to the end user – the customer – rather than the customer going to a retail store to purchase that brand of proudcts.  For instance, Avon is a direct selling business – Avon representatives sell their products directly to end use customers. The company for which I am an independent distributor is also a direct selling opportunity – I sell products directly to end use customers.  [to check out my company, see the Business Links at left]

Network marketing” is a term that describes many kinds of business models in my opinion.  “Networking” is the process by which people connect with one another.  “Marketing” is sharing/telling information about a business and or its products/services.  Nothing mysterious about this term.  In my younger days, I worked as a staff person for a chamber of commerce.  One of my job duties was to network in the community – to connect with other businesses to tell them about the chamber and benefits of membership…a classic example of network marketing.

So then, why do the terms “upline” and “downline” make people nervous?

  • In a direct marketing business model the way to become an independent contractor is to be sponsored by someone already in that position.  Creative Memories [direct selling scrapbooking company] is one such example.  If you were interested in becoming an independent consultant, and didn’t already know a consultant, the company would locate one for you and you would be sponsored by that person.  That person is your upline sponsor.
  • Your upline sponsor is just the person on the organizational tree model who sponsored you or is higher on the tree.  It is not an income dependent graphic, rather it is an organizational graphic.  To put it honestly, if you were to sell your little heart out one month and make all kinds of retail profit and sponsor three new consultants, and your upline sponsor did ziltch…you would have made the income wouldn’t you?  See, the organizational tree graphic is not an indicator of income…just organization.

What about “downline?”

  • This one couldn’t be easier – the people you sponsor are downline on the organizational graphic from you.  Again it is not an indicator of income because you might be stagnant in your selling and sponsoring yet the people you’ve previously sponsored are selling like mad – they make the commissions, you don’t if you aren’t active in your business.

Don’t let the language of the direct selling business model scare you off.  There are many wonderful companies with great products and income opportunities.  Get past the strangeness of the terms and give this type of home-based income opportunity a chance.  You could be quite surprised.

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2 Responses

  1. There is also crossline, and this is language you get to speak and understand when you are part of the organization!

  2. Michael – you are so correct! I remember “way back when” I worked as a newspaper reporter – my first intro into that particular culture I found the language very strange indeed…it’s a truism that humans are afraid of what we don’t understand and that includes language.

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