Network Marketers Never Die

Network marketers never really die . . . they just change companies!

Have you ever been approached by a friend who wants you to take a look at something he or she has just discovered?  The opportunity surely will change the world, help you lose weight, create and earn an extra $500 per month in income all while working from home in your pajamas!  Well I have.  My run with one particular network marketing company lasted over a decade.

At first my friend called me one day in 1998 because she thought that I needed the products.  I was experiencing severe pain after an auto accident which was preventing me from returning to work.  So-and-so had gotten tremendous benefits from this new company’s products and I could learn all about it on a 3-way phone call.  Before long, Donna was at my house providing a product demonstration (called a “roll out”) and loaning me a Japanese magnetic mattress pad.  It made sense to me that a product that helped lower “physical discomfort” and improve sleep would have the potential to help me.  I trusted her and bought a smaller product and eventually the full mattress pad plus insoles for my shoes.  Impressed by what I saw, she invited me to a Wellness Preview where I took a closer look at the business.

Network marketing (NWM) is simply a means of distributing goods or services via a network of individual representatives who sign up with the company.  They are not employees but a sort of independent sales associate.  Instead of selling products via a store front, or now-a-days via ecommerce, the hierarchical matrix of Wellness Consultants (or whatever title is given) finds the customers and makes the sales.  If one Consultant finds another to do the same thing then the first person will receive an override, bonus, etc. according to a set compensation plan.  The concept made sense to me in 1998 and still does.  I researched the difference between NWM and pyramid schemes:  the latter usually collect some kind of large fee without any goods or services being provided.  Pyramid or ponzi schemes are illegal.  Network marketing is legal.

My sleep did improve and my pain went down some.  Oh how much I have learned about my health since then (!) yet I did receive some benefits.  This was enough to have a big “product experience” when those benefits helped me to return to work, thus providing me with a conversation-starter with my own new prospects.  Unfortunately I lost a year or more analyzing the products instead of sharing more of what they did for people.  My research background gave me a bit of analysis paralysis trying to understand the science behind the innovative technologies crafted into wellness products.  This over-thinking of things actually ended up stalling my ability to help more people; you can reach more people if you focus on building a business instead of, well, trying to “help people” with the products.  “Sell the sizzle,” they say.

In due time, I did achieve the first level of leadership:  Silver Independent Wellness Consultants.  In a single month, with the help of my friend and my downline organization (i.e. those whom I brought into the business), we generated $20,000 in sales plus met some additional criteria.  My organization and the local consultants we ran with held product and business-oriented events, nearly a hundred Wellness Previews, trainings, booths at job fairs, product demonstrations at wellness fairs and markets, and really tried to make a go of things.  I even presented Nikken at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association State Conference with a physical therapist friend in the business.  Along the way I met some amazing people, some of whom I still chat with occasionally today.  You do develop a special bond with fellow Distributors who are smiling, positive, and trying to make a difference in his or her sphere of influence in the world!  Sure was more happiness there than in my traditional job in healthcare or “sick care” as we used to call it.

Yesterday a gal called me whom I had not talked to in over 10 years and since I had moved away from our circle of distributors in the Chicago suburbs.  She said she came across my business card and wondered how I was doing?  Sure was nice catching up with her for the first few moments.  Quickly she launched into an unusual discussion of two new companies, one familiar to me, that a friend was trying to get her involved in but she did not want to sell whitening toothpaste!  Not sure if she was complaining or prospecting?  Anyhoo, we are both occupational therapists which is probably what attracted both of us to Nikken’s “5 Pillars of Health” philosophy and wellness technologies.  Yet at some point we all need toothpaste so why not buy it from a friend?  [These are my words, not hers.  Based upon my own practice of recommending favorite products via affiliate programs.  Check out Julie’s Favorites below.  ;)]

Pat’s call was one of two prospecting calls this past week.  The first one was actually from a third gal who wanted me to look at a FitBit-type of personal monitoring device that had  a special germanium plate that was supposed to block electromagnetic frequency radiation (aka EMFs).  Oh dear.  I asked for research evidence of its effectiveness and ended up watching a video on the product benefits.  Below this YouTube listing was a video on the company’s compensation plan!  Perhaps I need to warn future network marketers who come a-calling:  I came into this industry as a skeptic and left it as a certified network marketer.  Yes, there was a program sponsored by the University of Illinois for persons of many different companies, given by a marketing professor and gaga-millionaire from the skin care company who now sells whitening toothpaste.  You gotta do better than this to snatch my attention gals . . .  Still love ya hon!

So I say:  Network marketers never die they just switch companies!  While I have seen this over and over again with my former Nikken buddies, all of us still use their products.  They are great and we are still sold on them.  There’s a KenkoAir purifier in our bedroom as I write this and our home, even this many years later, would still certify as a Nikken Wellness Home.  That also means that I bought-into and bought a lot of products . . . to support my health, of course . . . to demonstrate while enjoying the benefits . . . should I ever get back into the business . . . oh dear ones, I really don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

Nikken, independent, wellness, consultant, business, home business, opportunity, Japanese, company,

But I tell ya Gentle Reader, I will incorporate the concepts of leverage and word-of-mouth advertising (now called social media) should the Lord allow me to develop my company, Two Step Solutions, LLC.  My experience in network marketing definitely tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit that led to two other home businesses:  the Living Safely Program and Trinity Jewelry by Design.  I guess there is just something in me that loves to create new things.  Call it “humans being more?”

Hmmmm, I am getting a little happy feeling just thinking about it!


Looking for a hobby? Summer fun for a teen? Home business? Read on!

home business, jewelry business, handmade jewelry, business for sale, home business for sale, jewelry business for sale, teen summer job, crafts for teens, make money at home, summer job, high school job, better than babysitting, making jewelry, handmade jewelry, macrame jewelry,

After three years developing and sharing Trinity Jewelry by Design, I am gratefully moving on to a new company, Two Step Solutions!  Before I close up this Etsy shop, I have two announcements:

  1. Everything on the website is 25% off with coupon code “SHOPCLOSINGSALE” until June 10th.
  2. Trinity Jewelry by Design is for sale.  This sale includes all of the tools, supplies, display materials, and training needed to get started making jewelry as a hobby or as a  home business in handmade jewelry.  Head to the listing on the website for more details on this special offer.  The entire shop will close June 21st.

Thank you to the friends and visitors of the Hope Beyond blog for supporting TJ by D.  Some of you are customers, some have provided helpful feedback and training, and many came alongside my creative journey with me.  I am very grateful for you and that the Lord allowed me to learn new skills, make new friends, and have my own “occupational therapy” to keep me sane during some major changes in my life.  You all rock!

Two Step Solutions will be my focus including the launch of my eBook this summer, Making Life Easier for Baby Boomers.  You are invited to follow our blog at Two Step Solutions for the Active Tips and free resources that will make life easier for just about everyone really.

Take care,  Just Julie

Moving on with gratitude

Having just posted in every social media venue I can find, my Etsy shop online, and chatted with my Aunt Patty recently, the decision is final:  I am letting go of my hobby business, Trinity Jewelry by Design.

Sometimes when we are drawn forward to an exciting new opportunity, we simply cannot hold onto the things of the past.  I discovered this past week that the creative and entrepreneurial energy needed to make my new company, Two Step Solutions (TSS), a success will require my full attention.  Lord willing I will participate in one final public event (my fifth) this coming weekend:  a Fiber Arts Fest at a local farm and educational center.  How perfect.  Hemp, leather, and especially the friendship jewelry made from the Threads of Hope ministry will fit in nicely.  Perhaps I will find my niche at last?  So sweet.  Me and the farm animals, with Border Collies chasing the sheep around too.  Since it’s an outdoor venue, I should be fine with the adrenaline rush that usually comes with participating in an event.  I am looking forward to it actually!

fiber arts, fiber festival, Salomon Farm, Salomon Farm Park, Spring Craft Show, Farm Animals, Border Collies, sheep herding, sheep shearing, art in the barn

So humor me if you will with some pictures and a little reminiscing that captures the creative journey of these past 3 years.  I began making jewelry to have a low-cost, portable hobby I could pursue in our home office.  The first product was an adjustable 3-beaded macramé bracelet designed to represent the Holy Trinity.  These were born out of an activity I introduced to a missionary family who was visiting our home for dinner with their three daughters.  The bracelets were very basic yet also rekindled my experience with macramé over 30 years prior as a new graduate from occupational therapy school.  A macrame lamp shade and a couple of plant hangers were my own “occupational therapy” after moving away from home for my first job out of State.  Funny how things come back into vogue, eh?

macrame bracelets, adjustable bracelets, simple macrame, slider knot, 3-beaded bracelet, learn to macrame, Trinity Jewelry by Design
My first display in a professional office!

Eventually in my TJ by D journey, I discovered the world of YouTube videos.  Amazing!  You can learn just about everything including better knotting techniques, the value of better materials, how to take better pictures, branding, and so more right from your home computer.  Etsy furthered my training with it’s excellent resources, support teams, and a relatively user-friendly ecommerce site to get you online before the world.  But none of it would have ever happened if my Aunt Patty wasn’t already on Etsy with her own shop, Patches and Pockets.  Her initial instruction gave me the courage to start a steep learning curve that would de-mystify much of what I did not know about the internet.  I am so grateful for her willingness to show me the way!

double macrame, macrame bracelets, Trinity Jewelry by Design, toggle clasp, hemp, hemp bracelet, natural hemp, handmade jewelry
One of my first favorite designs as I transitioned to better materials.

And so there I was in the middle of the night when I felt the best and was most productive, making hemp jewelry.  I tried selling the precious stone jewelry of an acquaintance but it turned out that my shop wasn’t right venue for either of us.  My own skills got better; I learned to take better pictures which is critical to success online.  It would be two years before I started experimenting with leather lacing then leather wrist bands.  As time went on I sensed that I needed more of a niche product or at least one that would have more utility in daily life than jewelry.  I wondered if I might expand into leather tooling or perhaps making leather holsters for women?  Etsy had allowed commercial manufacturers into their marketplace and the competition from cheaper overseas companies diluted the quality of work in my media and vastly increased competition.  Handmade items made in America seemed to be valued less just as I was developing my own style, my own branding.  I joined “handmade” sales teams and implemented the strategies that they suggested but it didn’t seem to make much of an impact on my business.  Then my sleeping patterns changed and I lost my creative groove.  My personal health situation had become more complicated as well.

macrame bracelets, wrap bracelet, handmade bracelet, hemp, macrame, triple wrap bracelet, Trinity Jewelry by Design
Mixing all my favorite knotting techniques became my niche for a time.
chevron weave, macrame bracelet, charm bracelet, simple macrame, learning to simplify the design, Trinity Jewelry by Desing
Learning to simplify a design is harder than it looks!

I believe it was the Lord who inspired me to start Two Step Solutions.  I was praying for direction with my jewelry business, consulting close friends, and checked in with my Aunt Patty over those few months too.  My Aunt had already let her Etsy business expire as she pursued other volunteer opportunities with her local gardening group and hospital auxillary.  Hmmm.  Maybe it was time for me to pursue a venue that would look more like my former profession of occupational therapy yet incorporate all of the skills that I had learned over these past 3 years?  Indeed.  As it turns out, the vision that the Lord gave me for TSS will bank on most everything I have ever done including enduring a serious illness.  Wow Lord!

Threads of Hope, ministry jewelry, jewelry fundraiser, Trinity Jewelry by Design, Phillippines
Threads of Hope Friendship Bracelets get a T J by D touch.

A couple of weeks ago I had an unusual conversation with a jewelry customer who claimed that the bracelet that she had purchased from me had broken in two places.  By the time I received it in a plain business envelope in the mail, it was completely destroyed.  I was so hurt that I almost gave up TJ by D that week.  I had already launched the TSS website and begun working on my Business Plan, eBook, and Trademark.  I knew in my heart that I would be leaving the jewelry business yet I wasn’t sure how to go about it.  After several unusual “Conversations” as they call it on Etsy with my customer, I decided to act decisively and resolve the situation with confidence instead of acquiescence.  I refunded her money in full.  Then I saw a sign in front of a local venue called Salomon Farm Park for their Fiber Arts Fest.  Very quickly an “exit strategy” came into view.  I even had a few creative nights around this time simply enjoying my craft again.  I would participate in one final event, network the heck out of it, and letter go.  What a great way to wrap things up!

leather wrap bracelet, chevron amethyst, leather beading, leather lacing, purple leather lacing, purple leather bracelet, Trinity Jewelry by Design
My most popular bracelet on Etsy was sadly put to rest after it could not be repaired.

Some of the details of this transition are a bit vague yet so I’ll just put Trinity Jewelry by Design up for sale and see what happens.  Lord willing I am hoping that about $225 will come in this weekend to pay for my filing fee at the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office for TSS.  I found a Law School who is ready to file the application via their free clinic.  Alright.  I know what that means.  Better get hustling Just Julie!  It’s time to sell some jewelry and get my studio in order.  Sometime soon I may be moving on with gratitude and perhaps a few colorful sparklies will linger to adorn my own wrist, my own neckline too.

beachy necklace, beach necklace, summer necklace, handmade necklace, Threads of Hope, adjustable necklace, Trinity Jewelry by Design
Another fav purchased by a friend that combined a Threads of Hope Friendship Bracelet with pink hemp cord.

Of course I’ll be keeping a few of my favorite creations just for me you know.  I love this stuff!  JJ

Pretty things make me smile!

Here’s a sampling of some of some pretty things that are bringing a smile lately.  Simple, colorful, easy on the eye and pocketbook too.  All from my middle of the night shop:  Trinity Jewelry by Design

Breast Cancer Awareness Adjustable Necklace
Breast Cancer Awareness Adjustable Necklace

Each one represents a collection and all are handmade by yours truly.  The Friendship Necklace design features an authentic friendship bracelet from the Threads of Hope ministry.  Check the “About” page for more information about these artisans.

SPECIAL:  Enjoy free shipping and packaging with coupon code ANNIVERSARYSALE for orders placed in the USA this month (August 2014).

Sweet dreams, JJ

Chevron Macramé Bracelet
Chevron Macramé Bracelet
Lyme Disease Awareness Bracelet with Spirochete Design
Lyme Disease Awareness Bracelet with Spirochete Design
Friendship Necklace or Bracelet with Seahorse Charm
Friendship Necklace or Bracelet with Seahorse Charm
Chevron Amethyst Leather Wrap Bracelet
Chevron Amethyst Leather Wrap Bracelet
Adjustable Genuine  Leather Loop Bracelet
Adjustable Genuine Leather Loop Bracelet


On a lighter note: bling!

Now available at:  Trinity Jewelry by Design!  Be sure to check my website and use coupon code “ThinkSpring” for a 10% discount on every order until the end of March.  Maybe Spring will have sprung by then?  Hope so!  JJ

For Spring, for Lyme disease awareness