Find out how Colleen is relaunching her network marketing business in 2021.
Colleen was struggling. Working two jobs, divorced with two young daughters, unable to afford rent, she needed help. Diagnosed as a pre-diabetic Colleen started taking a supplement to curb her sugar cravings. Unbeknownst, her life was at a crossroads when her friends wanted to buy the products she was using and Colleen was about to give them her seller’s link. But, her seller suggested Colleen use her own link and so began Colleen’s network marketing journey. Five years later the industry has changed massively and Colleen is pivoting her team’s business strategies so they can all continue seeing success.
You’ve been in Network Marketing for over 5 years, what’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry?
Facebook groups. They used to be the most amazing thing, my Facebook Group had almost 200,000 people, and it was hopping 24/7. I barely slept because people would be asking for help at all hours of the day. How do I order? Who’s my coach? But last summer, Facebook changed its algorithm and began hiding posts that mentioned capsule, supplement or pill, which is obviously a problem with our products. If your account was flagged for posting too many times with this language, then Facebook would lock your group and often your account.
It’s been beyond gut-wrenching. It’s similar to how physical businesses have suffered during covid. You own a business, you’re in a large mall, everything’s great and then covid hits, and nobody can shop at your store. That’s exactly what happened to us when Facebook started shutting down our Groups. So because of that, we’ve had to think outside the box. Over time, we’ll probably look back and say, oh, wow, if that didn’t happen we wouldn’t have thought to try these other ideas. But it’s still hard at the time.
That sounds like a massive shift, how are you preparing for the future with social media reach dwindling and the pandemic changing the way people conduct business?
Our whole team is relaunching our business. We’ve never done that before, we’re going to all relaunch starting out like brand new selling associates again. Because the world has changed so much it does feel like we’re brand new, learning how to build up our businesses in this new economy.
In my group, one part of our relaunch business plan is that Monday through Friday, at 8am and 5pm, we’re hosting a Zoom walking group. We have a 1000 person Zoom and we just walk and talk for 30 minutes. My team is all on it and we want to build up a community again of people who are trying to lose weight and get active. On the call we all talk to different people about their weight loss journey, explain what we do and how it’s working for us and then hopefully we’ll start reaching the people who want and need our products and might be interested in the job opportunity side as well.
Wow, that’s such an innovative idea.
Yesterday morning, I got up at 6:30am to Zoom with my team in Mississippi. There were four of them, myself and another leader from Wisconsin. The six of us were video calling all day. Just talking and working on the phone until 11pm. It was awesome and if anyone needed to pop off and pick up their kids they just left and picked back up when they returned. I made it fun by incorporating little challenges as well, like everyone send this message to 10 customers and then when we’re all done, we’ll have five gulps of water.
As part of our relaunch, I’m also helping to group my team into smaller teams and build strategies with them. A group of young Hispanic ladies in my team are venturing into TikTok to see if they can build a following there.
Another part is helping people with their messaging. A lot of people don’t realize that network marketing involves writing a lot. And if your writing is drab or boring it just doesn’t resonate. I teach people to be more expressive with their writing and how to pep it up. So part of my normal day is also a lot of training and support.
You have an incredible downline and such a strong team. What’s your top tip for someone joining Network Marketing in 2021?
If you’re building a business on social media, the number one thing you have to do is be engaged every day, you cannot take days off. Facebook or Instagram, it’s all about algorithms. I describe it to my team as you may have 2000 friends or followers, and Facebook and IG shows your posts to around 3% of them. So out of 2000, only 60 people are seeing your account on any given day. It’s your job to get that number up.
Because you need to reach more than 60 people a day, you need a couple of 100. The more you talk and engage other people, whether it’s through chat, their story, commenting on their posts, connecting in groups, if you don’t do that then the exact same 60 people are going to see what you do every single day. So you may have 2000 friends, but 1940 will never see your content.
It sounds like an incredible amount of engagement!
It really is. I have two phones so I’m commenting on one, taking calls on the other, trying to talk to around 100 to 200 people every single day. Being a Network Marketer in 2021 is a lot like being a Social Media Marketer. And on social media you have to be interacting with people all the time, otherwise, you get caught up in the algorithms and nothing happens.
How do you manage your social media content?
It’s honestly more about engagement than content. I have two young women right now that have amazing content, the best in my team with lots of funny videos. But they hardly get any interaction on their posts and sometimes I’m the only one commenting.
I’ve told them so many times that even though they have the best content, it doesn’t matter how good it is if no one sees it. One has three kids and she says she doesn’t have the time and I understand that but interacting can be done five minutes here and five minutes there.
Sometimes people overthink it. You know, I’m making dinner, and I got three minutes before my potatoes are boiled so I quickly go and comment five times before I strain the potatoes.
You have an incredible backstory about how you joined network marketing. Are you happy to share it?
Yes, I come from a very middle class background and I’d never really understood what it was like to be poor. My parents started a chain of Round Table Pizzas and I worked in hospitality at one of the restaurants through my teen years and then as an adult my husband and I started our own successful restaurant. I was always comfortable. But after we decided to sell the restaurant, the crash of 2008 happened and for the first time ever I experienced what it was like to be truly poor, barely surviving paycheck to paycheck.
Fast forward six years, I was divorced, I had two more kids who were both young, I was working two jobs from 7:30am – 6:45pm and I just didn’t have enough money. I was renting a room in my mother-in-law’s house for me and my girls because I couldn’t afford rent on my own home. I was really struggling.
That must have been really difficult
It was but in November 2016 my life changed. At a Wednesday night bible study session, I walked in and my pastor had filled the room with over 300 purple and gold balloons. After worship, the pastor said we were going to do something different. We each took a balloon and sat in a quiet space and we had to write down one thing we wanted, there was a catch though it had to be for ourselves and not anybody else.
Well, I wrote three things down, “I would love to make 3 times the income I’m making, work for a Christian company and work from my car.” Then everyone in the church went outside and we lifted our prayers up to the Lord.
And on the way back from church my daughter asked me, “What job do you think God’s going to give you?” She had so much faith in me and in God.
Three weeks later a post appeared on my Facebook, “If you need help with sugar cravings, I’ve got the answer for you.” Around this time I’d also found out I was pre-diabetic so I needed to curb my sugar cravings but I couldn’t afford the full month supply. Now, my mom hated that I drank so much soda. So I called my mom and made a deal with her, I said, “Would you loan me $100 and I won’t drink soda for a month which will save me $100 and then I’ll be able to pay you back.”
At this time nobody sold things on Facebook and even my older sons thought it was weird! I was put in a chat with all these people, I had no idea who they were or what they’re talking about. Everything was going over my head. And I sat there frozen for 10 weeks, I didn’t sell anything and I didn’t promote anything. I just thought these people are kind of crazy but I love the products.
What turned things around for you?
I was at church and a couple of my friends asked me what I was doing because I looked so much slimmer. And so I told them I bought these pills on Facebook. They were interested so I phoned up the lady I ordered them from saying, “Hey, my friends want to place an order, should I give them your link?”
And I swear if she had been greedy and said yes, Give them my link, then my whole life would be different. But she said, “Darlin’, if you want to give them my link so I make money from your friends, I’ll do it. But you can give them your link.”
I didn’t even know I had a link. She explained how much money I would make if my friends bought a sample pack each and quickly doing the math, tallying it all up, I was shocked.
And that was the beginning…
100%. On Monday I got paid. And instead of ordering one sample pack my friends bought two each so I made $76. And it hit me, if I made this every single week, I’m gonna make an extra $300 a month that will pay for all my gas and we could probably eat out once a week.
That first paycheck and realization. I remember it like yesterday. And I try to remember that moment when I’m working with my team. They say that for an average family, a $300 increase in pay changes their livelihood. And it’s the truth. It changed my life.
That must have been such an incredible moment. How did your business grow from there?
So from that day onwards, every single person that ordered wanted to sell. I was so blessed. They loved the products and they wanted to sell, not everyone has that luck.
That’s not to say I didn’t work hard though. My business grew so quickly and I didn’t really know what was going on. I started a Facebook Group and just added my friends who were buying the products to it and it just got bigger and bigger. I was hardly sleeping because there was so much going on but for once I didn’t mind because I had this little spark of hope.
That sort of hope, it sends little bits of electricity through your veins.
It sounds like your life completely changed?
It did and I was able to pay off all my debt, my bills, afford gas, move out from my mother-in-law’s, retire from my two jobs. In the beginning things were happening so fast I hit managing in my first week and I hit senior my third week. My immediate upline was only three weeks older with the company than I was, so they didn’t really know what they were doing either.
Within three months I hit One Star and she asked me for a picture. Neither of us knew what it meant other than corporate had told her to get a picture. I had all these people ranking up under me but I didn’t even know how to check my back office. And so they were missing their shout-outs because I didn’t know any better. By the time I made it to Two Stars, I began to understand the process so I started learning how to manage my team and all the extra things that go along with it.
What is one of the things you’ve learnt by being a leader to such a large team?
I’m always learning but one thing I’ve really learnt is that as a leader I need to always be compassionate and loving. In our industry consistency is key so when one of my team disappears and they don’t work on their business for two weeks and they come back sad because their business isn’t growing, I didn’t get it. Of course it didn’t grow because they weren’t consistently working on it…
So I was talking to one of my uplines trying to understand and I explained that a lot of my team stop working on their business because they feel down or like they can’t do it. My mindset was completely different — We live in America, they’re healthy, have a great business opportunity, they should be happy.
But my upline explained that a lot of the time people want to be thought of or remembered. So if somebody disappears by day three, I should check on them.
I was looking at their life on paper and not understanding that other part, their mental health. So I’ve really learned, I’ve reached out to so many people, and said, “Hey, I’m so sorry that I didn’t understand what you were going through. I didn’t truly understand. And I just want you to know that I feel horrible. And if you would forgive me, I would be so grateful.” Every single one of them struggled with something like depression or anxiety that I couldn’t visually see. So I’ve really learnt to always conduct business with compassion.
That’s an incredible story, thank you for sharing. You obviously care about your team a lot.
Network Marketing is so much about inclusion. You end up chatting together all day and you begin to know people’s spirit. I think it’s because you’re not looking at them. You’re just talking to them. People aren’t worried about what anybody looks like so they begin to love somebody because of their spirit and just how kind they are to others.
Lots of my team have TruBesties and it’s wonderful. Two ladies in my team are 28 and 53, and probably in the real world they never would have connected, but they just clicked. In 2019, two ladies on my team had cancer. One of them was having a particularly rough time because of her illness, so her TruBestie decided to drive up and see her. We all pitched in and bought her clothes, we paid her monthly house payment, two customers she was really close with travelled up and did her hair and makeup. And then they went on Facebook Live to us all and it was so incredible because we didn’t know each other in real life, but we loved each other through network marketing.
Growing up working for your parent’s restaurant chain, and then owning a restaurant yourself — you have so much experience in hospitality. Did that influence the way you built your network marketing business?
Yes, it’s all about customer success. I give my customers the white glove treatment. It’s all about making people feel like you know them, and I genuinely do. God gave me this crazy brain where I can remember thousands of people’s stories. I remember their names, how they started on this weight loss journey, what they’re doing to stay fit.
I also bring the pep. In hospitality, you have to go above and beyond so that your customers choose to come back. People can lose weight anywhere, but they come to me and my team because of what we have to offer personally. Whether it’s meal plans, an exercise program, weekly check-ins, you’ve got to be different than the next person. So that’s a part of customer service.
People want to be cared about. They want you to know that you know their name, they want to know that you remember their story. So if I go live in my group I’ll be talking about a product, what it does, why it’s better than others, telling them about promotions etc. But, I’ll also be keeping track of who is watching the live and I’ll recognize a name and call them out and share a little bit about their weight loss journey. “Hi Prudence, she’s lost 100 pounds already her daughter Tasie is down 30 pounds on our gummies. She prefers the gummies over the supplements.” And people love it because you actually care about them. And then they become your friend, and then hopefully your business partner. And then that’s how your business grows.
And now you have Penny as well to help grow your business. You’ve just started with Penny, what are your thoughts so far?
I went on a Penny training session ran by Mackenzie, another Truvy Leader. And Penny is amazing. Before the training, I thought the app was going to overwhelm me, just because I made it overwhelming. But when Mackenzie broke it down step by step, and she has it down, pat, I realized this is going to be a huge tool. I can’t wait to connect my Facebook and grow my Penny expertise.
Thank you so much for talking to me today. Is there anything else you would like to add?
We joke about it in our chats using #bestlifeever – but honestly, network marketing has given me a better life.
I get paid 5 times a month which helps me be a better steward of my money, I’m able to be a big giver and support people and causes I care about.
In 2017, I was able to bring my mom on hospice and have her live with us until we lost her in 2020. I never would have been able to afford that before. Caring for my mom and my family and being present means so much to me. This truly is the #bestlifeever
Network Marketing changed Colleen’s life so she could support herself financially and transform her family’s life. In the face of algorithm changes and new social media channels, Collen’s ready to do it all over again to start from the beginning and reposition her business for success in the 21st century.
If you’re running a direct sales business and need help managing your team, customers and workflow — check out Penny, the AI-powered virtual assistant that helps you build and run a successful business through repeatable, scaleable, customer-centric sales processes.