Debt robs you of and/or limits your freedom for the simple reason that, when you are in debt, you have a claim on your future income! I’ve never met a network marketer who doesn’t want to experience FREEDOM. Freedom is part of the appeal to anyone joining this industry. You have the opportunity to experience freedom from the “corporate rat race” if you want, freedom to set your own schedule, freedom to work from anywhere, freedom to work with people you enjoy and, of course, financial freedom.
I’m willing to bet that you want to experience freedom too. So the question is how do you – as a network marketer – go about getting it?
Throughout this article, I’m going to be describing (and comparing) two approaches you can take en route to the freedom – especially financial freedom – you desire. In thinking of these two approaches, I often think of the famous Robert Frost poem that ends with these powerful lines… NULL
I use words like MORE, BIG, A LOT, FAST to describe the first road – the road MOST traveled by network marketers.
All of your emphasis, time, energy (and money!) is focused on making MORE phone calls, having MORE parties, signing up a LOT of people, building a BIG team, selling MORE and, of course, making MORE and creating a BIG residual income – all of which, you assume, will result in freedom – especially financial freedom. Far too many network marketers who take this approach to building their business experience unnecessary delay, stress, struggle, pressure, frustration, overwhelm, imbalance, exhaustion AND EXPENSE in the process – and after all of that, still may not experience the freedom they desire!
In contrast, the emphasis of the second approach – the “road less traveled” – is on FREEDOM FIRST. Anyone choosing this path to freedom understands and harnesses the power and simplicity of focus and consistency over time – and the ease that results.
Freedom is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “enjoyment of personal liberty; of not being a slave or a prisoner.” Based on that definition, we could say that “financial freedom” means “enjoyment of personal liberty with money; not being a slave or prisoner to money.” There are many ways we can be a slave to or imprisoned by money. The beliefs (conscious and subconscious) we have about money, ourselves, prosperity and life itself can keep us enslaved financially. In many ways, our emphasis on MORE – making MORE, having MORE, doing MORE – can enslave us. But the type of slavery and imprisonment in terms of money that is impacting the majority of current and potential network marketers (i.e., your prospects) these days is the imprisonment of debt. And I’m not just talking credit card debt – even though the average outstanding credit card debt per household in the United States exceeded $9,800 in 2007. I’m talking ALL debt – credit card, car loans (and leases), student loans, home equity loans and even mortgages!
Until and unless you become what I call a Debt-FREE Direct Seller™ (or network marketer!), you will never experience all of the FREEDOM that is available to you through your business.
I realize that’s a pretty strong statement… but “sugar coating” things is not going to support you and your associates! The reason I’m being so blunt is because debt robs you of and/or limits your freedom for the simple reason that, when you are in debt, you have a claim on your future income! If you have a 30-year mortgage, you’ve basically agreed to give your mortgage company a portion (even a significant portion) of the money you will make for the next 30 years! Even if you charge something to a credit card today with the thought “I get paid next week” – you’ve already set it up that the credit card company has a claim on money you don’t yet have!
But debt is much more than just a claim on your future income. Debt is also a claim on your future time and energy! In other words, debt is a claim on your future freedom (and your current freedom as well)!
That’s because – until you are financially free – the way you make money is by exchanging your time and energy for it. If you work a regular job – you exchange your time and energy at that job for your paycheck. If you stop showing up at work putting in your time and energy, your paycheck will stop coming to you in short order. Even in your network marketing business, you put in a lot of time and energy attracting and servicing customers, building a team, giving shows and parties – all in exchange for the money you make and/or hope to make from your business. And, yes, the opportunity for creating a residual income in your business exists – but you will first need to invest your time and energy into building that residual income. Debt LIMITS you. As long as you have that CLAIM against your income, time and energy, you do not have the freedom to do certain things you may want to do in and with your life. Because you have to keep spending your money, time and energy to pay off that claim, you can’t use that money, time and energy in other ways. Now, because you are in network marketing, you have an opportunity to do what many people cannot do that, ideally, should increase your freedom – especially financially. You have the opportunity, through your business, to make MORE money – even a LOT more money. Your income potential is almost limitless. But that potential is sometimes or often what creates the problem. You see, a lot of network marketers (including myself at one time), think that making MORE or A LOT of money is the answer or solution – that if they only made a lot of money, they would be financially free as well as happy and fulfilled. This is the “road MOST traveled” I mentioned earlier. But making more money does not guarantee financial freedom or any other kind of freedom nor does it guarantee that you will experience ease and joy and fulfillment in your life. It is not “the financial freedom fast track” people think it is. To illustrate what I mean, imagine that you are about to go on a bike ride when you notice that your bike has a flat tire. You take out the pump and pump some air in it and then set off, pedaling down the road. After only a few minutes, you notice that the tire is getting flat again. Thinking you didn’t put enough air in, you walk your bike back to the garage to pump it up again – and this time you make sure you add a little extra. You start pedaling down the road and again, within minutes, you notice the tire is flat again. This time you recognize that simply pumping more air into it is not going to solve the problem because there’s a leak in your tire.
Until you patch the leak, adding more air will be futile. I realize it’s obvious when it comes to a bike tire – but the same principle applies to money!
When it comes to money, many network marketers just keep trying to pump more money in – faster and faster, harder and harder. They (maybe even you) think that all they have to do is make MORE money and life will be abundant, they’ll be financially free, things will be easier. That might even be why you (or they) stared their business in the first place! As a result, most if not all of your efforts are directed at making more phone calls, signing up a lot of people, building a big team so that you can make more or a lot of money – preferably residually. Again, that’s the approach most take – that’s the “road MOST traveled”. Rather than finding and patching our “money leaks” – we keep “pumping and pumping and pumping” – and wind up feeling discouraged, frustrated, unsuccessful, overwhelmed and/or desperate as a result. DEBT is like a leak in your tire. Even if you do make more money in your business
, a portion of it is going to leak out and you won’t experience the freedom and ease you expected. Despite this, many network marketers create more debt in the process of trying to make MORE or have MORE in their businesses and lives. They create more leaks in their tire and wonder why all of their efforts (pumping and pumping) is not getting them where they want to be. They are on the road MOST traveled – but they are not experiencing freedom.
You see – when it comes to freedom – especially financial freedom – it’s not HOW MUCH money you make that has the biggest impact – it’s how you use and what you do with the money you have and are already making.