“I Dare You To Be Rich!”

So says Burke Hedges, in his book “Who Stole The American Dream”, first published in 1992. He asks, “Is Network Marketing a scam, or is it the American Dream? Could you be your own boss and earn anywhere from part-time income to an absolute fortune in an unconventional business called Network Marketing?”

So, the book is clearly a propaganda piece for multi-level marketing (MLM). Nevertheless, most of the arguments in favor of MLM apply to starting and running your own conventional business.

What is the American Dream? Is it getting a good job? Working for a living? Or, is the American Dream owning your own small business?

Well, to start with, Why “American” dream? What is being developed here is the same dream that people anywhere have – owning their own business. Some people! Owning your own business is not for everyone. That’s not to say that anyone is incapable, but simply that some people have different priorities. Switching off and going home at 5:30, and not have to worry about the business until the following morning, has its attraction. For those with the lust for independence, owning your own business is paramount, even if it results in a few lost hours of sleep on occasion.

Amid the truth, some of the arguments for MLM are false or misleading, and these erroneous ideas sometimes flow into business in general – for example:

– You never get paid what you are worth working for someone else – You might not get what you think you are worth, but it is certain that you will get paid what the company thinks you are worth! The truth in business is that you can sometimes get paid more than you are worth, but as a general rule, you do get paid what you are worth in the market whether that is the job market or the industry in which your business operates.

– You cannot get rich working for someone else – Have you checked the payscales of some of the corporate heads recently? The truth is that in your own business you have a better opportunity to get rich, but no guarantee.

– Having a job is not fulfilling – Many people find their jobs very fulfilling, and many people in their own business find their work quite unfulfilling. The truth is that the two are unrelated.

– There’s no freedom in trading your time for money – but there’s no freedom in trading your time for anything else if you don’t have money! And in your own business you still trade your time for money.

– There’s no such thing as job-security, anymore – Actually, there never was! It was always an illusion. The only security is having your own business. It’s the only way never to be fired again, but there are no guarantees about not being laid off!

Such are the arguments for giving up your job to start a business. Now comes the argument against starting your own business in favor of joining an MLM program.

– 90% of all small businesses fail in the first year, and 80% of the survivors close their doors the next year! – Two points to ponder, here — How many MLM participants fail in the first year, and how many of these survivors quit in the second year? We are never told.

Secondly, just because a small business closes does not mean that it has failed. One of the benefits of owning your own small business is the flexibility you have. Suppose you start a gift-basket business. In any business there will be competition. In your search for a low-priced source of baskets, you might come across a source that allows you to sell baskets to your competitors. If you make more money selling baskets, you can close down your gift-making business and become a basket supplier. Did your gift-making business fail? Did you know that Wrigley’s began life as a soap company? When they used chewing gum as a promotion for their soap powder, they realised such a gain that they eventually closed down the soap business and concentrated in selling chewing gum! Do Wrigley’s count as a failure?!

– Owning your own conventional small business is not the way to riches, they say, unless you are lucky. Sorry, luck has very little to do with it. Ingenuity can look a lot like luck after the pay-off. But there is one thing I praise the MLM promoters for – their challenge to their audience to get up and do something.

“What about YOUR dreams?” they will say. “Are you living and working the way you thought you would – the way you wanted – the way you would choose to live? Do you have what you dreamed of as a child ? What you went to college for? Were you rewarded by your company for your years of hard work and loyalty? Will you be able to retire like you want? Most people answer, No! to these questions. I challenge you to quit doing what 95% of the people do – which is to reach age 65 broke! I challenge you to take control of your life and take YOUR dreams back from whoever stole them. Shoot for that luxury car – fully paid college education for your children – a two-month vacation anywhere in the world – whatever you want. I dare you to be rich!”