What’s the best marketing opportunity to promote in 2017?
People are debating this topic all over the internet.
Some people are saying Empower Network. Other people say it’s generating leads for local business owners. Which is better? Who is making more money?
Let’s dive in.
So. Back in October 2013, I was mucking around on the internet and found the Vick Strizheus squeeze page for his Big Idea Mastermind (BIM) team.
(Aforementioned team is now defunct, it’s leader long since booted out of the company. So much for longevity right?)
Looking back 15 months from today, I feel like a putz for falling for the promises of high commissions and easy profits.
(Sure, you MLM defenders never explicitly promised riches, but it was always implicitly suggested, wasn’t it? So stop kidding yourself.)
But being the naive 20 year old I was, I caved. I pulled out the plastic and went ‘All In’.
I’ll be the first to admit – I was instantly overwhelmed.
Between the lessons on paid click advertising and solo ads and SEO and the 127 other things out there on Google, combined with my online marketing experience of absolutely zilch, I had no idea what I was doing.
In fact, I didn’t even realize that the Big Idea Mastermind was a front for the Empower Network for a good week after I joined.
Screw me, right?
Still, the thought of an early retirement strung me along like tin cans at the back of a newlywed car.
I was determined to make this work, so I did the unthinkable – are you ready for this? – I went through every single product, took copious notes and applied them to my brand new business.
Did commissions flow in like the salmon of Capistrano? Nope.
I struggled. Hard.
I lost money on stupid paid advertising campaigns, bought random software I thought I needed (I didn’t) and signed up for a whole bunch of ‘extra curricular’ courses I thought would help.
It took me 5 months for my business acumen to finally kick in (I’m a business strategist and management consultant by trade). I ditched team BIM (Vick himself got axed shortly after) and started branding myself on a new website.
And that was how my new site was born.
Thanks to guidance from a fantastic bunch of mentors, I started doing everything I could to rank this site for every Empower Network keyword imaginable.
Lo and behold, on October 2014 I finally got onto the first page of Google, and started pulling in some decent money.
Unlike the millions of marketers who have crashed and burned before me, I guess you could safely call it a happy ending.
I might not have been earning Tony Rush type money, but I was taking home a couple thousand bucks every month, albeit very very inconsistently.
So why did I bail?
Well, in simple terms, I just could not get my downline the same results.
And from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.
Admittedly, there was a half of me that really thought I could – because I thought what I did on my road to success wasn’t special.
Build a website, write content and get traffic? Easy.
I mean, if I just got everyone to follow the exact same steps I did, everyone would have a fair shot at success, right?
If you’ve watched my solemn confession at the very beginning of this post, you’d have realized why:
- The competition was way too fierce.
- I was a much better marketer and copywriter than I gave myself credit for.
- Empower Network – like so many of the other companies/opportunities that will come and have came before it – tanked. Really hard.
- Let’s be honest. The Empower Network was effectively selling hype, despite having a real product I actually enjoyed.
Like every other MLM/network marketing/affiliate marketing gig out there, by design only a very select few will ever enjoy success.
I don’t care what you’re in: DubLi, Team Wukar, Wake Up Now, MOBE… it doesn’t matter. Simple mathematics will always prevail.
Yet I trudged along willingly anyway, because the other half of me was totally motivated by greed.
I’m ashamed to admit it now, but during all those months grinding in the trenches, I was only really thinking about the money.
I didn’t truly give enough of a shit if the people under me crashed and burned, as long as I cashed out big at the end.
My god complex somehow managed to convince me that I SHOULD be the one taking home all the money, because I was the better marketer, better at SEO, better at getting traffic.
Sure, I’d teach my team members everything I know, but I always knew they were always going to be competing against the likes of myself and the other top marketers.
Like fighting a boar with a toothpick, they were never going to win. That’s just the nature of the industry.
I wanted to be the mega whale (not fat shaming here, its a gambling reference) swallowing up every lead in sight.
At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m a piece of low level scum.
Unethical? Scuzzy? Hypocritical? Yeah. I totally was.
But take it from somebody who has been there done that – I’m not the only marketer who ran along that line of thought.
It’s a dog eat dog world, because every dollar you make is a dollar somebody else loses.
It’s a zero sum game. Everyone who has ever made money in the industry knows that.
The ones who truly care about your success and well being? Are few and far between.
I was sadly not one of them.
That’s not to say I didn’t begin to repent – the last couple of weeks I stayed in were the toughest.
I kept promoting the company because the alternative was losing a 95% hands free income stream, even though it felt morally wrong.
But by early December 2014, I was out for good. Why?
All I wanted was even more income streams feeding into my bank account on top of all the affiliate stuff.
I told myself I was gonna give this local marketing model a bit of a go, and if it works out I’d see where I’d take it from there.
I admit – I was a skeptic.
But it turned out to be the easiest money I’ve ever made on the internet. (Not an exaggeration)
Long story short, I was hooked. In the 4 months since embarking on the local lead generation route (I took the last 2 months of 2014 off on a holiday), I’ve managed to overtake what I was taking home from Empower Network.
While the Empower Network began to slowly fold up and die, my income took off down a completely unexpected trajectory.
This is a story for another time, but the best part about the entire experience?
It was the fact that I wasn’t the only one getting results.
Every day I’m logging into our private Facebook group, is yet another day somebody is closing a brand new deal, holding up a brand new check.
It’s infectious. I no longer had to sit on top of a throne, knowing damn well I was the only one getting paid commissions.
Look, I could go on forever on why the affiliate and network marketing industry is fundamentally flawed, but it boils down to this:
Network marketing companies don’t provide enough value to justify paying all that money for.
Economics 101, buddy. You could have the best product of your kind in the world, but if nobody needs it (or you charge crazy prices for it), you’re sunk.
It’ll be like an ice-cream truck charging $50 per scoop because it’s ‘high quality’. Or selling some esoteric flavored ice-cream nobody is even interested in.
With network marketing, most of the time you’re selling jack.
Look, if these companies had great products people were really interested in buying, they’d be no need for a complicated MLM type structure anyway.
What, you think Apple needs to resort to an MLM model to sell more iPhones? Uh, no.
Think a company like Usana or Wake Up Now would last a week if they decided to stop awarding affiliates, and selling products solely based on their inherent values?
Reality check: very few people join these network marketing companies because they truly love the products. They ALL join for the opportunity to make money.
You get the idea.
Local lead generation is a lot more stable, because the business model makes sense.
There is a clear exchange of value here – I’m getting more business, and local business owners pay me for it.
And so what began as yet another income stream has now evolved into a full time focus for me.
As of 6th January 2015, I’m out of the Empower Network and I’m done with the industry.
I’ve re-branded myself, and am now keen to make 2015 my biggest year yet – all from local SEO work.
I’d like to reiterate it again – I was dumb, stupid and regret every bit of my involvement.
Jumping into MLM was stupid. Thinking I could get other people results was stupid. Assuming a company like Empower Network would be around forever? Stupid.
But most of all, selfishly chasing a pay check without caring all that much about the success of others?
Flat out dumb.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Tridion Talk! Wanna add something? Drop a comment: