From Swiss Golden to Forever Living, Nigerians are no strangers to Network Marketing aka Multi-Level Marketing. While some come in the form of the notable Ponzi schemes, there are success stories to be found on the more reputable platforms.
The Next Edition spoke to one of such successes. Her name is Beta’Asi Emmanuel Ekanem, a BMLS holder in Medical Laboratory Science from Imo State University. She did her internship in 2011 and specialized in Laboratory Haematology from the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
Mrs. Ekanem whose exploits in network marketing are notable is married with two lovely kids. Her success story in a scary business, which is what she believes in is a must read.
TNE: At what point did you decide to drop your degree and go into MLM? What convinced you?
Truth is, it wasn’t planned like that but I have always known I didn’t want to be shuffling between the lab and the blood bank taking calls for the rest of my life with very little or no time left to spend with family. When I got married, the picture was clearer because my husband being a doctor was already too busy. I realised if I joined that type of life the children would suffer. Also, I am the type that loves a very good life and I knew with my salary and that of my husband put together it would still be a struggle to have that good life. At this point, I was convinced the 9-5 kind of job was not for me. However, I didn’t specifically choose MLM because I had tried my hands on a couple of other things like selling shoes, women dresses etc, until my husband told me about a certain MLM company, that’s how I started my MLM journey.
TNE: How long have you been doing MLM?
Like most Nigerians growing up, I had been introduced to a couple of networking businesses here and there without any conscious effort to work it. But my real MLM journey started precisely in JUNE 2013 when as a pregnant Youth Corp member, I joined an MLM company and in just three months, I qualified for a brand new saloon car and within another three months, I was awarded an all-expense-paid-trip to the USA. I have remained in the industry since then. So that’s about six years now.
TNE: Have you spent all these years with one network?
I had stints with two other companies before my current one.
TNE: Why did you leave the precious company? What was your experience there?
The first company I already talked about was a successful experience. I had three successful years with them before I left- a brand new car and two USA trips to my name. I left because somewhere along the line, after putting to bed I couldn’t really be out there as much as I should, my team members started going astray and before I could say jack, the team had disintegrated. It is not easy trying to juggle between being a female entrepreneur, a good wife, and a good mother. I tried rebuilding but it wasn’t working. Like a songwriter said, “You have to know when to walk away.” So, I walked.
The second was an American company, very reputable. Though my husband warned me against joining because of some grey areas he saw in the compensation plan but I am someone that loves challenges. So I went ahead. I still went on to become the topmost distributor in Africa as the only Gold Medalist and qualified for an all-expense-paid trip to the USA where I enjoyed two weeks in Salt Lake City at the company’s 20th-anniversary summit.
While at the Summit in the US, I raised the complaints of my team members and some of the grey areas to be addressed as the Nigerian market would not continue to fly with those issues unaddressed. We couldn’t come to a common ground and we sadly had to part ways. However, this was where I learnt the real network marketing. This was where my eyes opened to the opportunities in the industry and that is why I would remain eternally grateful to my two good friends from Canada Mr. Mike Clarke and Mr. Jiri Hradsky, for teaching me so well.
TNE: How is your current network? Are you enjoying your experience there?
My current company is the best thing after salvation. In my language, I call it “Iboro Akam” meaning answers to prayers. In less than two years of doing business with this company, my life and that of my family has experienced a 360-degree-turn around. Considering the fact that it came when we were really struggling financially.
Since coming on board this company, in less than two years, I have been awarded two brand new SUVs one of them a Range Rover Evogue. My husband recently was also awarded a brand new SUV 2019 model. I have been sponsored to attend the companies 10th-anniversary ceremony in Beijing, China. I and my entire family have been sponsored on a trip to South Africa where we visited, Santon City, Johannesburg; Cape Town and Pretoria.
I and my team just returned from another all-expenses-paid trip to Mauritius where the company sponsored over 45 members.
Again, through hard work, dedication and the grace of God, I have risen to the top position in Nigeria being the first to hit Blue Diamond, which is currently the highest rank in the country. I have duplicated hundreds of weekly millionaires in my team, and about 26 of my team members currently drive in their brand new SUVs and this is without taking weekly cash bonuses into consideration. The beauty of this business is that it allows you to reach out and easily help others to find their path in life. Nothing gives satisfaction like seeing people you mentored gradually becoming great leaders and raising others themselves. So my experience has been a roller-coaster of joy and success.
TNE: Some people believe that network marketing is a way foreign companies run away from paying for adverts. Do you agree with that or not?
I do not agree with that. There are two ways that multi-nationals get their products to the end users. One is called Indirect sales where the companies use huge advertisement budget to bombard the end users with news of their products. The end users now have to depend on retailers who also depend on wholesale distributors to get access to the goods and services. While passing through these chains, cost increases and quality depreciates.
Now the advertising money only goes to multimillion Naira media houses especially TV and Radio who in return only pay peanuts to their workers. The effect of the huge advertising money on the economy is not commensurate to the amount spent.
The second one is direct sales which is the Multilevel Marketing where Multinationals produce products and reach end users through word of mouth. Word of mouth is the best and most trusted form of advertising because the products come to you through people you know to have used them with good results. Not hearsay!
The huge advertising budget then goes to these members who sell the products and here distributors even earn higher than the company MD in many cases. There is no limit to how much you can earn in MLM which is not the same as indirect sales. So it is just a matter of choice and strategy. But we all need to understand that direct sales are the future.
TNE: Why do you think you have found so much success in it while some don’t? Some people don’t move beyond registration, why is it so?
For me, I think everything in life depends on your big WHY. Before I set out to do anything, I always ask myself that question. Why do I want to do this? If the why is big and important enough it will keep me on track when distractions come. I haven’t done anything too special. I just stay committed and dedicated to the business. I do it like a business. I tell myself, if I was working in the hospital, I would wake up early and by 7.30a.m, I would already be at work. So why not get out as early as 7.30a.m for my own business and do it like I’m trying to avoid a query?
So for those people who don’t succeed, it’s simply because they don’t take it seriously. Some because they didn’t start the business with millions of Naira as in traditional business. The little start-up capital of N87,000 makes them handle it with no seriousness. That is where the failure starts.
One must also be willing to learn. Have a role model in the industry. My husband always says, watch the gurus and do what they do. I have learnt from a couple of people.
Above all, I commit my business to God every day in prayers and He has been faithful.
TNE: What would be your advice to those who want to give MLM a try?
According to Eric Worre, money is no longer in the offices. It’s now on the streets. Go out there and help some people improve their lives and watch what becomes of your own life. You can do this no matter how busy you are. Start on a part-time basis but must be committed and consistent. Lives are changing on a daily basis and anyone, just anyone can be the next success story.
For me, network marketing is the only business I know that is 100% risk-free. Risk-free in the sense that, you use your money to purchase products and that automatically makes you a member. Where is the risk in that? So it’s worth giving a try.
TNE: What about old members who registered but weren’t active. What advice would you give them in reviving their memberships?
Actually, this is supposed to be a problem in some other platforms. But in Norland, all you need is just start again if you have been dormant. The company does not penalise you for inactivity and your points also are not flushed off. Just get back to work and this time stay on it till success comes because its as sure as day and night. When you work it, it works.
TNE: Do you think it takes a certain kind of person to excel in this business?
Yes and No.
Yes because it takes a person who is dissatisfied with the current rat race that seems to lead to nowhere and brings no satisfaction. It takes someone who derives joy in helping others to succeed and finally it takes a person with the discipline to stay focused and work the system.
No, because anyone can learn the rudiments of success in this industry just by paying close attention to your leaders in the business. Anybody can unlearn the old ways and beliefs, learn the new ways of this 21st-century business, relearn and earn.
TNE: As a mother of two little kids and a wife to a Medical Doctor. How do you balance going round for seminars and speaking with family life?
It’s not been without challenges but I think I have been lucky to have a husband that supports me all the way. We are like partners and together we have built the business and achieve all the successes. So on that front, I haven’t had much challenge because he is as neck-deep in the business just like I am. We travel together for seminars when his work permits but when he can’t, I go alone. When I’m not around he understands. He knows I’m happy with MLM and so gives his full support. I believe the fact that we work as a team is one of the reasons for success.
The kids are catching on very fast. It can be heart-wrenching at times when I have to leave them for days for seminars across the country. Their father tries to ameliorate that effect by keeping us close on regular video calls 3-4 times a day. When I’m back I try as much as I can to make them feel that I’m back. It takes an understanding of the parties involved. Nevertheless, MLM even allows me to spend more time with my family than I would have if I was working as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in a hospital. Again, I have been lucky.
TNE: Will you keep on doing MLM or do you see yourself leaving it in the future?
Yes, I will continue with MLM and I believe that with Norland I am finally home. The beauty of Network Marketing is that it allows you to make money and then fund your other passion. Maybe in future when I’m ready to pursue other things but for now, I’m down with MLM.