I sometimes wonder how much different my life would have looked had I been exposed to network marketing when I was in my 20s or 30s...
I remember that sense of confidence after graduating from college as I set out applying for jobs. My mom bought me a couple great interview outfits, I had a solid GPA on my resume, I’d done an internship, and I’d been active in my sorority. Of course I’d get a great job. After a couple months, I took an administrative assistant job paying $7 an hour.
Twelve years later, I chose career and kids, and I remember envisioning pushing a stroller in my heels and thinking it would be somewhat glamorous. I took 6 weeks off after having Olivia, dropped her off at the on-site daycare panting in my flats and got yelled at upstairs by a crazy boss who thought a new mom lacked commitment to her career while Olivia cried downstairs. It was more glum than glam.
I’d heard of Amway and Mary Kay in my 20s and 30s, but I didn’t know anyone who made a real income in direct sales. And it certainly wasn’t something people my age were exploring.
Today, it’s a different story for millennials. They either know someone in this profession or certainly have been exposed to it on Facebook or Instagram. Gallup defines millennials as people born between 1980 and 1996. And their perception of network marketing is way different as they don’t have the same stigmas many older people attach to it. They also have no expectation or desire for the 40-40-40 plan (40 hours a week, for 40 years and retire with 40 percent of your income). Many are more skeptical of traditional business than Generation Xers and baby boomers. They’ve seen their parents lose jobs; they’ve seen businesses they grew up with fail. They know there are no guarantees.
Millennials also value social connection and personal freedom. They crave collaboration, but have a strong need to express their individuality. They place “my job” equally or even ahead of “my family” as their dream and need to draw more from their work environment. They have their best friends at work -- including best friends who are customers. They want meaningful work and to stay with an organization that helps them grow and develop. Working for a larger purpose is a strong value among millennials. According to Direct Selling Association’s 2016 U.S. Consumer Trends report, 90 percent of millennials say being able to “give back” is an essential factor in choosing a job.
This combination of traits and experiences makes millennials ideal candidates for network marketing, which might explain why nearly one in three people involved in direct sales is between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the DSA. That means 5.9 million of the 20.2 million people associated with direct sales are under age 34.
This holds true in my company and on my team. Our fast-growing and thriving Start Your Life movement is devoted to the 18-35 year old age group and a vision that all young people own their lives physically and financially, and through their contributions, create freedom and a lasting legacy. That sounds a whole lot more meaningful and exciting then the filing and errand running I was doing in my first job.
My teammates in this age group are creative, eager to learn, adept with social media, they are quick to create bonds with others, value personal development and they have big dreams.
Network marketing offers the time and financial freedom and flexibility to pursue multiple interests and allows people to add value to others’ lives and to give back in meaningful ways.
So millenials, have you explored avenues to true success that don’t come with being bound to a desk or the investment and risk of starting your own business? And Generation Xers, have you opened your minds to encouraging your kids to embrace opportunities outside of what we had when we were graduating?