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Branding Yourself Vs. Promoting a Company

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I have so many posts inside me since beginning my personal transition into truly focusing on building my Company, PBFP Marketing & Design. (PBFP stands for Personal Branding for Profit.)

Everything from remembering Why I started this Company years ago, to how to set boundaries with clients and stay true to who you are while exercising your God Given Talents to serve others…

From Stopping working for Money, To Start Moving forward working with Purpose, and most importantly, to run away from following gurus who are seemingly doing so great, but are really just trapped by the Material Version of Success rather than a Purpose Driven One.

These are all posts that I will be writing about soon, but one that inspired today’s post is, why I launched my own Personal Branding Company and how a question from someone who made a purchase from me inspired what I’m going to write about today.

Her Question was basically this:

I just bought an XYZ Pack… Do you get better results when you Promote the company directly, or when you use an Attraction Marketing System to Attract the Leads First?

And this leads me to WHY I started my Personal Branding Company.

My First Exposure To Network Marketing

Some know my story, but for those who don’t…

In a nutshell, I worked in the Construction Industry in an administrative position for over 8 years. A Few Years I worked out in a Construction Site, and the majority, I was trapped inside of an office – and I hated it.

I loved the Construction Site environment because I had focused time inside my construction trailer and then part of the time I was able to leave my trailer and go out into the job site and walk around.

I loved the freedom and flexibility working on the Construction Site Gave me and I loved how each day was different because the building was ever evolving and growing into the structure it would eventually become.

But I digress a little =)

After that Big Project was over I ended up working for a company where I was inside of an office all day and for the sake of keeping this post short, I ended up leaving that job to stay home with my first baby, my first son.

Through that circumstance I ended up finding a ‘work-at-home-job’ that required me to take phone calls from Companies like HSN and Tracfone.

telephone_operator_Snapseed

I’ll never forget on one of my HSN Shifts, where part of my job was to watch the Sales Segment for whatever product was on during my shift, which on this particular day, it was for a Semi-Permanent Lipstick that I thought was totally amazing.

I remembered ending up actually ordering the lipstick, which was more like a liquid lip color.

It only came in two colors and I really didn’t like the colors but I remember loving the formula, so I went straight to Google to see if I could find out if the company made more colors.

To my surprise, I ended up discovering that the company being featured on HSN was a sister company of a bigger company, that happened to be run in a Network Marketing Model.

I honestly had no idea what Network Marketing Really was back then.

All I knew was I loved the Lipcolor and if I paid the $250 Start up Fee for the Kit, I would get every single color they made plus their whole Eye Make Up Line, Brushes, Testers and a big carrying case…

The ability to Earn Some Money on the Side was an option that I would find out about later.

After I received my Kit

Once I received my kit, I felt like a Kid at a Candystore.

I loved makeup and I’m a big fan of Colors (if you couldn’t tell by my website =).

I tested out the Formula and it was even better than the one HSN Was selling.

I was in love.

I was having so much fun just mixing and matching and trying to layer new colors, I really loved it.

And then I realized that wait a minute, isn’t there an opportunity to make money with this?

So I ended up getting curious and dialing into the Company’s Weekly call, where I would dial in and hear a bunch of women from all over the country greeting each other and waiting for the Moderator to appear on the line.

There was just something ‘weird’ about the whole thing, a vibe that was just not really sitting with me, but I kept listening…

After I hung up, I didn’t really know what to think of it all.

I just figured I would make the most of the opportunity and start trying to get people to buy my lipstick.

I remember clearly going through the phone book trying to find Beauty Salons that wanted to Sell the Product.

I felt a shift happening inside of my mindset.

Where my Love for the Product, began to turn into How Can I make Money with this thing.

I remember feeling more anxiety and more stressed out because I was making appointments and driving across town with my Baby boy in a stroller to sit down and have meetings with these Salon Owners who wanted to buy a couple of tubes but didn’t want to Actually sell the product in their stores, which let’s be honest, was where the real money would be at – or so I thought to myself.

And then there was a Quota I had to meet if I wanted to stay active so the pressure began to increase.

What started out as fun for me, started to feel more like a chore. (hint, hint)

Bringing My Offline Business Online

After a few Months of working the business, I did have a few clients that I was able to get to purchase the product. Unfortunately, it was a product that lasted 3-6 Months, if Used DAILY, so you can imagine that the re-order rate was very very low. because the product lasted so long. I would need tons of customers to find me in order to make more sales.

And the Offline thing was just taking a Toll on me and my baby boy because poor thing would have to just sit there in his stroller while I would try to do a presentation for a salon and after 45 Minutes sitting in a stroller, you can imagine, he would become restless.

There  just HAD To be a better way.

So I began looking into Paying a Monthly Fee for the Company’s Replicated Website System.

Replicated-Website

Which Worked Like This:

You Paid the Company an Extra $30 A Month and they would give you a replicated website that had your photo and your contact information on it.

When you paid them the Extra $30 a Month, you would then be registered inside their system and you would be listed on their ‘Find a Distributor Near You’ Web Page.

You would enter your Zip Code and it would refer you to whatever Distributor was nearest you that was using the Replicated Website System.

I figured, this could help but it kinda of made me angry at the same time that inspite of the fact that I was already spending my money on Gas, buying promotional items from the company, like postcards, and color samples, and having to pre-order inventory in order to reach my monthly quota so I could stay Active… and then Add another $30 a month to my expenses…

Things just weren’t adding up.

But I was determined to make it work.

A Replicated Website is ALMOST Useless

I soon found out that a replicated site was ALMOST Useless.

I wanted to see if people could find me when they went to the distributor site, so I punched in my zip code and noticed that there were atleast 15 other ladies who had the EXACT same website as me…

How on Earth was I supposed to Stand out?

Most of My Current Clients, up until that point,  came from Referrals, and the couple that came from the site where at the edge of the 10 Mile radius for my listing location, which forced me to have to Drive across town if there were no other distributors that could service the client who was closer.

I’ll never forget the time that I had to drive 30 Minutes to some warehouses behind the airport, to meet with a client who had found me on the replicated website.. lugging my color kit with me…

And I sat in her office for over 35 Minutes while she decided Which Color she wanted to purchase.

She ended up buying 1 tube of Lipstick.

After Time, Gas – and yea More TIME…

I realized I was losing more money than I was making and it was getting old.

I began hating my lipstick business.

One last Ditch Effort

So my husband had a bright idea and it was out Last Ditch Effort.

He said, ‘Let’s Build You a Website’ so that when people go to google, they can find YOU instead of the other distributors. At that time there was no such thing as blogging as we know it, since WordPress didn’t even exist yet, but you could submit your Website to the search engines so that it would register and it would come up when people were looking for you on google.

I was never a ‘computer’ girl but when I saw my husband open up photoshop for the first time and I saw the ability he had to create beautiful images and build graphics for a website, he had my undivided attention.

I loved it.

He built such a Beautiful website that truly was different…

I remember him creating these cute little lip swatches to represent each color in the lipstick line and when you clicked on the little lip button it would tell you more about that color lipstick.

It was truly adorable and I loved the Website!!!

We Made Business Cards and I immediately began to pass them out.

I was proud of my website because it was MINE and I could make it whatever I wanted to make it and it would definitely set me apart from everyone else in the company.

2 Weeks to a Cease and Desist

Everything seemed to be going great.

I had contacted my clients, told them about my new website, they were so excited that now they could get updates from me and all that jazz…

And then 2 weeks after I launched my website…

I receive a Letter in the mail from the company that looked very official.

And Official it was, it was signed by an attorney.

My heart raced…

What did I do wrong?

What I had received was a CEASE and DESIST Letter from the company, which is basically a letter, also known as an infringement letter or demand letter demanding me to Take Down My Website immediately.

The company said that I was competing with the other distributors and that I was not allowed to have any of their logos or imagery on my site and if I wanted a website, I could pay the company the $30.00 a month.

If I did not take down the site, they would move forward with legal action.

So after all that had happened, I decided to no longer pursue the lipstick business and this is what I learned from that ordeal:

What I learned from the Experience

  1. If You are a Rep, You do NOT Own the Network Marketing Company. Sorry. They may tell you it’s Your business, but it’s not.  You are an ‘Affiliate’ in the business, but make no mistake, you are not in business for yourself. There is someone else making the decisions in the company and the Faster you can understand that, the faster you can Strategically position yourself so that you always Control YOUR BRAND. Does That Mean You shouldn’t do Network Marketing? Of course You can and in many cases you should, if that’s your passion, and the vehicle that will allow you to achieve your ultimate goals, what you DO need to be aware of is that because it’s not your company, you ultimately only have control of your own Personal Branded Website and Your Email List. So God Forbid something should happen, you always have an Asset that YOU Own that’s yours that no one can take away. Remember, the mistake I made was building a website that branded the company…. but if you Brand YOURSELF and Build the website around YOUR Passions and Interests that Align with Solving the problem that your Product or Service Solves, then you are Covered!
  2. Replicated websites are virtually Useless, when used on their own. Can a Replicated website be useful? Maybe. But You Must Control Your Brand on the front end. Again, I made a big mistake plastering the Company’s Logos on my website. Thankfully I was smart enough to choose a domain that did not have the company name in it so when I left the company, the Domain name was still generic enough so that it did not reference the company whatsoever and I was able to use it for other things that were ‘beauty related’ at the time.  Can You point someone to your replicated website? Yes, only after they’ve been exposed to YOU and you have generated the lead. (More on that in other blog posts)
  3. Remember why You started. I bought the product because I loved the product. It was an awesome product. And Sometimes, that’s just it. That is your purpose. The purpose was to be an End User and that’s it. Everything else about the business was a complete and total Struggle. Just thinking about it writing this post makes me anxious. You’ve got to listen to the cues your body is telling you. The Minute that I transitioned from loving the product, to ‘How can I make Money with this thing’ something changed inside me.  I was pursuing Money instead of just sharing a product I loved but here is the funny thing that is quite ironic…

Because of that experience and because of the Injustice I felt…

Because I realized that it was indeed NOT My Company…

Because I did NOT have any creative control…

Because I realized I was merely an employee making 20% Commissions…

Because I realized that at any moment, I could unknowingly violate a company policy or was at the whim of a company P&P that may or may not align with my core values or beliefs… that my ties with a company could be severed, Poof, just like that.

(And it BOTHERED THE CRAP OUT OF ME….) <<< Which is Key! 

It made me realize that FOR ME… I was meant to be a Solo Preneur, In business For Myself.

And that realization came from a Need.

It did not come from The Pursuit of Money.

Let me explain…

I needed to separate myself from the crowd.

I needed to carve a space on the internet outside of the replicated site the company was charging for.

I needed to Find a way to Stop doing all this Driving across town to make peanuts.

And just like the line in one of my Favorite Movies…Robots… Which says…

seeANeed

Because I needed to solve these problems for myself that I was experiencing in that network marketing company…

It forced me to create solutions to the problem…

And when you can do something that  Solves a Problem for others…

You don’t have to worry about Money.

It will Just find it’s way to you – Funny how that works.

So To answer the Question that inspired this now 2500 Word Post….

Should I Promote The Company, or Use a Lead Generation System to Attract More Leads…

I say. NEITHER.

Here’s My Advice…

  1. What is Your End Goal?

Do you want to be happy and fulfilled by serving others?

Or  are you just motivated by the potential of Money You will Make?

If You are aligned with a Network Marketing Company Because of Reason A. then My Advice would be to Brand Yourself.

Control Your Brand on the front end.

( I Can’t Answer If You are Motivated only by Option B. Because I’ve been down that road before, only to end up with money but little fulfillment and satisfaction)

2. Create a Website that relates to Your Passion. If it’s  About Health and Fitness and helping others, then build a website around that topic, so that you can BACKEND your Network Marketing Opportunity and expose it once they are inside of your Funnel.

Whatever it is that you can write about and teach about all day long without getting bored…

That’s your cue of what your Blog should be about…

3. Register a Generic Domain – nothing that mentions the company.

Personally I don’t even like to Associate my Name with a Network Marketing Company…

I did that once and now my name is automatically associated with that Company.

I would Go as far as to say, only use Your Name as your domain if You Have your Own products and Services that you are selling and then backending any other affiliate streams inside of your sales funnel.

4. Start writing Articles and creating videos about your personal Experience with the products or Teach people how to use them if you are passionate about them, but always tying into YOUR Passion about SOLVING the PROBLEM Your Product or Service SOLVES.

5. Use a Lead Generation System as a resource of Tools and Training to Grow Your Business. Let’s Face it, sometimes You’re Just meant to be an end user, and sometimes you are meant to share the tool, product or service with others.  If it is something that aligns with your Passions, interests and talents, then Go for it, but if it’s just a means to support growing your business.. then use it for that purpose. A Good Lead Generation Training System, like the one I use for my own business, will help you Drive Traffic to Your Website/Lead Capture Pages/ Content etc and will provide the training and tools to do so. You Can Check out the One I use here.

And 3,000 Words Later, there you have it…

You should Always Brand Yourself on the Front end, and Use Business Models to Backend your Network Marketing Company because the only thing you own is YOUR BRAND, YOU, INC. – that’s it.

Was this  Blog Post Helpful?

If you got Value , Leave your Comments or Questions Below!

I’d Love to Know MORE About Your Business and Help Point You in the Direction of the Training and Resources that will help YOU Grow YOUR Specific Business Online! =)

XOXO

 

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Barbie Figueroa
Online Branding Marketing Strategist
(Text) 305-600-1182
Have Questions: Connect with Me on Facebook

 

 

 

 

About the Author Barbie Figueroa

Barbie Figueroa is a Personal Branding & Online Attraction Marketing Coach committed to helping you Establish Your Online Presence and Help You Implement Systems and Strategies that will Result in Generating Leads for your Business Online. When I'm Not helping people get their Businesses off the Ground, I'm a Proud Homeshooling Mom of 3 Amazing Boys and the Loyal and Dedicated Wife of my amazing Husband of 2o Years. I also have a Passion for Health And Fitness & Have My Own Weightloss Story. , I have a Weakness for Coal Fired Pizza and I'm a Grand 'un-defeated' Champion at the 'Blinking Game'. =)

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