I knew when I got married 13 years ago (13 years ago next month actually) that I wanted to be a dad. Not just a dad, a Great Dad. So, what does it mean to be a Great Dad?
The best memory I have of my Dad when I was young was the one time that he chaperoned a field trip that my class went on one year in school. I don’t remember what year it was but I know it was either elementary or middle school. On that field trip my class visited the local newspaper and saw how newspapers were printed. We visited the local PBS television station and saw all of that worked. Finally, we visited one of the local radio stations.
It was a great day. It’s actually the only field trip I remember from when I was in school.
Back then fathers went to work and mother’s stayed home to take care of the kids. Once the kids were in school full-time then the mother might get a part-time job while the kids were in school. Dad was home in the evenings and on the weekends or course, but we also lived on a farm, so when he wasn’t at work he was working with my grandfather to take care of the pigs or chickens.
So it was a big deal to me that my Dad took a day off from work to go on this field trip. I know that’s why it is the only field trip that I remember from school.
When I Became a Dad
When my wife was pregnant with our daughter I went to all of the pre-natal checkups with her. I think I missed one when she was pregnant without son. As the Dad at this point there is only so much you can do other than be completely supportive, so that’s what I did.
I remember one of my co-workers told me that I didn’t have to go to all of the appointments. He ticked me off when he told me that he raised two girls while working fourteen hours a day six days a week. His statement ticked me off because he was taking credit for his wife’s work. You can’t take credit for raising your kids when you are only home on Sunday.
I swore that wasn’t going to be me. I was going to actually be involved in raising my kids. All I had to do was figure out how – how to be home so that I could be a Great Dad.
I Finally Found a Solution
Through a roundabout path that involved two job changes, a career change, and a mostly unreadable book (all that I will go into more in another post) I was introduced to network marketing.
Before you get all “Oh no! He’s talking about network marketing!” let me tell you this. I don’t see myself as a network marketer. I’m an affiliate marketer who happened to be fortunate enough to stumble on a multi-tier affiliate program. More on that in a minute.
Network marketing, or affiliate marketing, would allow me to quit my job and work from home once I had it built up enough to have a steady income. That’s a key point right there. This probably isn’t going to happen over night. I worked for three and a half years on my new business before I quit my job. My wife still worked part-time too, so we also had another income. This is NOT about adding financial stress to your life.
So when my son turned four years old I quit my job to work “full-time” on my business.
I hope I am remembered by my children as a good father. - Orson Scott Card Click To Tweet
Is it Network Marketing or Affiliate Marketing?
One of my goals, the one I’m talking about here, was to be able to work from home so that I could spend more time with my family and be a Dad that took part in the day-to-day of raising my kids. I wanted to work from home, not just be based from home.
As I said, I joined a network marketing company, but I don’t do network marketing.
Network marketers are based from home, but they don’t spend very much time at home, at least not the very successful ones. They are always running off to meetings somewhere, either networking groups, meeting one-on-one with prospects or clients, or attending big group meetings. That’s all great if you enjoy that kind of thing, but I wanted something that allowed me to be at home with my family. Traditional network marketing wasn’t it.
How Does Network Marketing Become Affiliate Marketing?
I liked the products that this company has, they really work for me and my family, but the traditional network marketing approach didn’t. Was there a way that I could build the business that did work for me?
I decided to go online and promote the products on a website. Sounds hard, right? At first it was because I didn’t know what I was doing or what tools were available to make it easy. Now that I do know what tools are there it is very easy, and I think that just about anyone can do it.
You can read more about building an online presence here.
Along with going online I learned about affiliate marketing, which is just selling someone else’s products and earning a commission. That’s all the product side of network marketing is too. Then I found some two- or three-tier affiliate programs. That means that if someone becomes an affiliate through your link, then you get a smaller commission from their sales too. That’s the recruiting side of network marketing. All that’s different is the mindset.
In network marketing the focus is usually on recruiting new members and then getting those members to buy the product at wholesale. There isn’t a lot of focus on getting outside customers to buy the product at retail.
With affiliate marketing the focus is more on selling a product at retail to customers. If it is a multi-tier affiliate opportunity then you can sign up additional affiliates and make some additional money, but the focus is still on the retail customers.
Finding people who want to buy a product is easier than finding people who want to join a business, and you make more money selling a product at retail to a customer than you do selling it at wholesale to a member. So the affiliate marketing mindset makes more sense to me, and is how I have built my network marketing business online for several years.
There is another issue with the traditional network marketing approach. Regulators are redefining what a pyramid scheme is. I don’t mean the faulty concept that most people have in their heads. I mean the real legal definition of an illegal pyramid scheme. Regulators are beginning to require companies to show that at least 51% of their sales are to people outside of the organization. The company I am with has been making changes to put more emphasis on sales and less on recruiting. The other distributors are beginning to see what I have known all along – there is more money in retail sales.
My father was my teacher. But most importantly he was a great dad. - Beau Bridges Click To Tweet
Why Not Just Go With an Affiliate Marketing Opportunity?
There are a few things about network marketing that I like that affiliate marketing doesn’t usually offer.
- Physical products
- Broader range of products
- A community
Network marketing companies usually offer physical products with a specific benefit while most affiliate offers are usually service related or digital products. There are exceptions of course. I have found that physical products appeal to more people because they receive something that they can hold in their hand. They get something tangible for their money. Also, many network marketing companies offer consumable products that a customer will buy on a regular basis for repeat business.
The network marketing company that I work with offers more than 61 different products. You can sign up once and be able to sell any or all of the products for a retail profit. You can also purchase them for yourself at wholesale. More products gives you more opportunity to appeal to a larger audience. You can also pick a specific product or category of products and target a very specific niche. The larger catalog gives you more opportunities.
The biggest benefit of network marketing is the community. If I sign up for an affiliate marketing program I am essentially on my own. There is no channel through which you can connect with other affiliate marketers of the same product unless you set up that community yourself.
Network marketing has a built in community. Remember all of those meetings that I didn’t want to go to that I mentioned before? It’s worth going to them every now and then to meet other people so that you can reach out to them later. They may have valuable experience with the products that you are now selling. They may have a different approach to selling that you could adapt to your online efforts. It’s great to have people that you can connect with when you want to.
I wrote more on the support aspect of network marketing here.
Back to How to Be a Great Dad
Being a Great Dad to me means that I am there with my kids, at home. I get to take part in their lives every day, not just in the evenings or on the weekend when I’m too tired from working all week.
I’ve actually taken it to the next level. I homeschool both of my kids. By combining the good points of both network marketing with affiliate marketing I get to stay home with my kids every day and take a big part in their proper education, which is what I’m going to go do now.
One more thing before I go. I would really like to hear your thoughts about all of this. I know a lot of people have negative thoughts about network marketing. Has this changed your view at all? Does the idea of working from home and being a more hands-on parent appeal to you? Please share with me in a comment below.
I would also really appreciate it if you would take a moment to share this with your followers on Twitter and Facebook. That would be really cool and I would be very grateful.
There is never a guarantee that you will make any money in network marketing, affiliate marketing, or any other business you may think of starting. Based on my experience, your results will generally match your openness to learning new things and your willingness to put in the work.