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Still hung up on the “downline” thing?

Have you been looking into a business you can do from home, in your own time, but get turned off by what you consider to be mlm lingo?  Does the term downline both confuse and bother you?  It shouldn’t.  It’s just a word.

All businesses have their own terminology.  My brother is a business consultant specializing in organizational ontology, which is terminology right there.  In his business he uses words like valuenets, holagents, work fractals and other such lingo.  In context it all makes perfect sense.

The word downline is not at all scary…in fact it is a word common to all businesses.  Let me show you.

In a typical corporation you have the perfect example of downline.  Start with the CEO and go down the line to vice president, to department manager, to project manager, to job foreman to worker to the guy in the mailroom.  Downline is simply an organization chart designation.

In a network marketing business, downline indicates people you have personally sponsored into your same business.  Network Marketing, or direct selling, businesses operate as a business model that requires every person to join the company as an independent contractor.  In order to join the company, someone who is already an active independent contractor must sponsor you.  So, people you sponsor become your downline.

Depending upon the type of compensation plan your company offers, your downline plays an important role in your business.  In the case of the company with which I’m an independent distributor, the sales volume of my downline [people I’ve personally sponsored and people they’ve personally sponsored] determines my bonuses and commissions.  I earn nothing from the process of sponsoring – the person pays their new distributor fee [in the case of my company the new distributor fee has been waived for the remainder of this year as its way of helping in this economy] to the company and then is in business for themselves…just not by themselves.

Obviously I am downline from my sponsor…who is downline from her sponsor and so on.  What I really like about this type of downline is that each and every person is in business independently.   In the corporation example, the CEO may or may not be the owner of the business…in fact, many CEOs are merely employees – just like everyone downline from them.

So – don’t let the terminology of a particular business model deter you from what might be the answer you seek for meeting whatever financial needs you may have.  Even the moniker “mlm” simply means multi-level marketing and this has to do with the type of compensation plan.  And, remember, even a corporation has multi-levels of compensation for its various employees.

A networking marketing, or direct selling business just might offer you the extra income you need to:

  • meet your mortgage payment
  • take up the slack if you are laid off or downsized
  • purchase the extras your current paycheck just won’t allow
  • help you get out of crippling debt
  • let you take a vacation this year
  • do whatever is your dream

Downline – just a word.

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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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Network Marketing is a team event

It’s fun, in the time of global sports…the Olympics…to use sports metaphors when talking about business.  You often see or hear phrases like, “Going for the goal,” “crossing the finish line,” “jumping higher and farther;” phrases like that.


In the world of Network Marketing, the metaphors also apply.  My favorite is that Network Marketing is a team event.  Without your upline and downline your business is static.  Yes, you can build a large retail customer base, but in Network Marketing, one of the goals is to build a residual income.  A residual income comes from team commissions.  It comes when your downline becomes successful.  In fact, in the world of Network Marketing, it’s possible for your downline to score higher than you – and that’s a wonderful thing.


My team is constantly looking for new members.  The people I work with are looking for goal-oriented people; people who want to build a residual income for themselves.  People who are looking to help their families and the world-at-large are team members we look for.


We have a proven success path…our coaches know the plays and seek the best for every team member.  The beauty of Network Marketing is in it’s people.

7½ things to do in business today

1.      Visualize your success.  Have you defined it?  Do you know where you want to be in 5 years?  10 years?  What does success look like to you?


2.      Take 20 minutes to look through your “dream book” or look over your “dream board.”  You don’t have one?  Then how do you know where you are going and what you are working for?  A scrapbook or bulletin board is a great place to put clippings from travel magazines, new home flyers, information about gadgets and cars you’d like to have and causes to which you’d like to contribute.


3.      Review your goals for 15 minutes.  Are your goals [measurable milestone markers] in line with your dreams and aspirations?  Are your goals indeed measurable?  How will you know when you have achieved one?


4.      Spend 10 minutes being grateful.  Fill your mind and heart with gratitude that you have been given health, intelligence, support, encouragement, financial assistance…whatever has come your way to get you where you are in your business right now.


5.      Send a note to 2 customers thanking them for their patronage.  Without your customers…their goodwill…their repeat orders…and their referrals…your business goes nowhere.  Somewhere along the way in the 21st century, the “niceties” of saying “please” and “thank you” and “you are appreciated” have fallen by the wayside.  It’s time to pick them up and make them added values of doing business.


6.      Have coffee with a business associate and ask them how they are doing.  Don’t talk about yourself or your business at all…give that person your full attention.  This associate could be an employee or a downline member of your team. 


7.      Give yourself an attitude adjustment.  Do you take a “half full” or “half empty” approach to your business and your life in general?  Remember this: whatever attitude you wear, others see and respond to.  An attitude that tends to the negative will draw that in return.  Is that the vision of your business you want others to see?  An attitude of positive, of winning, of “can do” will draw that to your business…and therein lies success.


7 ½.  Smile all day today.