Category Archives: Leadership

Companies That Pay Americans the Least

low-wage-companies

Which companies pay Americans the least and why?

Okay, so, this one is kind of a tough one because businesses are in business to make money (unless they’re a non-profit, of course), and we all get that — or at least I hope and pray we do because there’d be no reason to be a business owner otherwise.  That said, I’m not a personal fan of the “push” for $15/hr minimum wage.  More on that in a minute.  I’m also no fan of the cost of living being so high that average Americans struggle to survive, let alone thrive when they’re paid less.

Here’s the reality of both sides of this proverbial coin:

Workers (most with entitlement syndrome, admittedly — who honestly should be clean smacked by their mama or daddy for that) want and fight for $15/hr.  That’s all well-n-good except, let’s keep it real folks, there are many jobs that, frankly, require little-to-no skill and fail to meet the litmus test of warranting that kind of pay.  Plus, in a culture and society where most everybody also wants to scream and hollar about how much everything costs, some of the businesses/employers these very workers are yelling most loudly about really cannot operate with any decent profit margin (if any at all) if they do this.  So the vicious circle begins.

Workers want $15/hr minimum wage –> Governments (State and/or Federal) enact this, requiring employers to pay no less –>  Employers are unable to remain profitable while paying employees so much while still keeping their prices at current levels, so one of two scenarios takes place:

  1.  Employers raise prices, passing those costs on to consumers  –>  Consumers are unable to buy the goods at the new, higher prices, so they stop buying  –>  The business fails, leaving all their workers unemployed… with NO income
  2. Employers realize there’s no way for them to support this new wage and actually stay in business  –>  They release their workers, leaving them unemployed with NO income  –>  They seek out automated sources to manage the bulk of their operations

Oh, and if you think not, #2 is already happening.  Self-checkouts at your local grocery store — which I refuse to use because I see no reason to scan and bag my own stuff while paying the same price as everybody else AND put a fellow working-class American out of a job (eventually).  Automated ordering kiosks at fast-food restaurants — but no change in prices.  Automated machinery in restaurants (of all kinds), taking the place of a live human being.

THIS is a cycle, people, and there is no viable end…

save for our own control of living costs, taxation, supply and demand, etc.

My other (personal) issue with this is simply…

If a company is making a profit of millions or billions, paying their “average” (mostly part-time) employee $7 – $9.50/hr, the CEO should NOT be getting paid millions or billions.  Yes, they should get “more”.  They bear a big burden company-wide.  I’m  not disputing that.  Still, their pay should be more reasonable, some of the profits should be reinvested into the business to keep it competitive in the marketplace, and the rest (presuming they feel uneasy about guaranteeing a higher wage throughout the year) should be redistributed to the employees in the form of a profit-sharing plan.  I don’t think there’s a rational employee who wouldn’t feel good about such an arrangement.  They know the business has to be profitable.  They know it has to remain competitive for them to remain employed.  Most would even understand getting NO “bonus” every year (quarter, six months, or whatever frequency is chosen) if the company itself is having a down-turn.  Sharing profits with employees when they ARE available, however…  In MY opinion, one of the smartest, loyalty-building, productivity-focused things a business can do.  I’m just sayin’.

Debunking Myths: Even YOU Have a Team!

The term “team” is typically used in reference to sports or direct sales and network marketing. In reality, though, nearly every person (especially adult) on the planet has Funny Kid and Dog Teama team. That being the case, when asked, you also have supervisory skills. 🙂  The only question is how good those skills are. Allow me to explain and put to rest the myth that if you’re not involved in sports or network marketing – or are involved in network marketing but have yet to attract people into your downline – you have no team… and no way to hone your leadership skills.

Sports is easy, right? Unless you’re involved in a solo kind of sport like individual tennis, skiing, and so forth (with no hope of playing at a level where bigger teams are formed, like the Olympics), defining your team and the hierarchy within the team is fairly simple. Probably not a lot of explanation needed on this one. You either have one or not. You’re either a part of one, or you’re not. So let’s look at what “team” means in other areas of life and how it’s applicable to your professional life, level of success, and leadership skills.

See, in network marketing, terminology like “team” is often used in reference to your downline, or those who are recruited and coded to you for the sake of commission overrides. Think of it like a real estate brokerage office: Everybody in that particular office is a member of that broker’s team. Got it? Then, outside of hourly employees (such as clerical staff), the broker receives a commission from the sale of every darn house sold by any and all of his or her real estate agents.

Now, if you weren’t already aware of that fact, hang with me for a few minutes before you allow your feathers to get all ruffled. This is actually as it should be, in my opinion – only the amount would be up for debate from my viewpoint.

A broker is entitled to this override for several reasons:

1. He or She is required to acquire and hold a higher license than a real estate agent. This license allows them to supervise other agents. That’s not all, though, because when I say “supervise”, I could also interchange “be held responsible or accountable” for other agents. So if an agent in their office creates a liability in a transaction or contract, the broker is ultimately held responsible for overseeing the activity of the agent. This means that, even though the agent acted, the broker may end up bearing the brunt of any issues or lawsuits because he/she is supposed to ensure the agent really knows what they’re doing and that it’s done correctly and properly. That alone is a big responsibility, from where I stand.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward”. I’d say that’s accurate in most instances… including this one.

2. It’s the broker who ultimately pays and is held accountable for paying for all the normal expenses of that office. Things like electricity, heating and air, phone landlines, and so on – even though the agents often have their own areas to meet clients and conduct business. That also means that his or her name is the one listed as being responsible (or liable, depending how you want to look at it) on any lease agreements.

So, see, when it comes to a pay structure, a brokerage is very similar to network marketing. The biggest difference I’m aware of, being that a brokerage is contained to or limited by one broker and the number of agents that can be “housed” in that office. In direct sales (aka network marketing), those limits typically do not exist. Let’s move outside the pay structure, though, so we can dispel this thought that if you don’t have a “team” in this conventional way of thinking, you (a) have no team and (b) have no leadership skills (or the opportunity to hone any).

Believe it or not, we’re all in sales, which is the profession we hear the term “team” used mostly. Every one of us. Yep, even you. The person who says they love sales and everything about sales… is involved in sales. The person who says they absolutely hate sales, everything related to sales, and every salesperson they ever met… is involved in sales themselves. How can I say that? Well, let’s look at the facts.

From the day you were born, you not only became aware of “sales” and the necessary skill of persuasion, you began to practice those skills. Who was it, as a toddler, who would either bat those pretty long eyelashes or baby blues in order to get Mom or Dad to give you what you wanted? Or, who was it who threw themselves in the middle of the floor, screaming, kicking, and yelling until Mom or Dad gave you your way? Granted, one is obviously better and exhibits more finesse than the other, but they’re both sales. “I want [this], and I need to “talk” Mom or Dad into giving it to me.”

As we age, we either get better or worse, but it’s still sales.

Then, if you’ve ever been asked on a date or asked somebody out on a date, you were practicing sales, right? I mean, you were either “buying” or you were “selling” (yourself) to the other person. Starting to make sense? This means that, even if you thought or have always been told you sucked at sales, there must’ve been a time… I’m jus sayin. 🙂

Take a minute and think about all the times you’ve practiced being a buyer and salesperson throughout your life thus far. Were you a good buyer? What about a good salesperson? Did you get better or worse as you aged?

If you’ll remember, I wrote a recent post where we discussed the fact that fear is a learned response to certain stimuli, and, as a learned response, it can also be un-learned, so to speak, if you choose to. Well, you weren’t born a salesperson; it just didn’t take you long to figure out that doing certain things were more apt to convince your “buyer” to do as you wanted, give you what you wanted, etc. If you really hone your sales skills on a professional level you learn, of course, that the art of selling is much more and, if done properly, you’re not selling people things they don’t want to buy (which may be the case as a toddler or young child); you’re actually educating the buyer and helping them make a decision about the purchase they’re already contemplating. Real sales (as I’ve been taught) is more asking than it is telling, which I’ve also found more people to be most receptive to. This way the “buyer” gets to feel totally in control of the process.

Are we good on this?

Great! Let’s integrate all this knowledge on the correlating myths as they relate to teams, team-building, and leadership.

Remember I said that even YOU have a team? Like, right now, YOU (most likely) have a team. It may be a team of one or hundreds of thousands, but you have a team.

In conventional employment, a team may be a department, a group of managers, a supervisor and a subordinate… Teams. There are upline and downline teams. There are horizontal teams. There are vertical teams. Conventional businesses and conventional teams.

Let’s say you’re not in a conventional business, though. Let’s say you have an online or offline network marketing business that you’re building. And let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you have nobody who’s joined your current downline. So you think you don’t have a team… but you’re wrong, and thinking that way will actually sabotage what you’re striving to achieve. The reality is that you DO have a team; you’re just in the mode of preparing for them – or that team in particular, anyway.

Look at your life.

If you have a child or children, you have a team. If you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, you have a team. If you have a family (that you actually associate with lol), you have a team. If you have close friends who you hang out with, maybe “break bread” with, you have a team. And, I might add, you also have supervisory and leadership skills. Now, I can’t guarantee that this philosophy is going to fly if you try to put it on your resume, but I can tell you — as somebody who previously built a very loyal and stable network marketing team, as well as somebody who’s currently involved in the network marketing arena — the dynamics of these teams in your life and how you lead and work with them would certainly have a bearing to me if I was considering you for my team. These interactions and relationships are some of the most trying in life, so if you learn to lead gracefully and follow when necessary, you’ll have impeccable leadership skills when your new team finally finds you.

Here’s a Pepsi commercial to help illustrate the effectiveness of a small, yet powerful and un-covnentional team.. and what it can do for you!

(I don’t necessarily suggest you round up your posse and try THAT, but I did think it was funny.  You get the idea, right? 🙂 )

Here’s another example:  Let’s say you’re married and have umpteen-dozen children. In fact, you have your own softball, basketball, or football team. If you’re able to maintain a good relationship with your spouse and children while leading them effectively, by all means, click here and join my team. Seriously, right now. The conventional world may tell you that you have no real team-building or leadership skills, but I know better. The abilities and skills that you’ve acquired and honed so you can effectively manage and grow this part of your life truly isn’t that big of leap to what you’ll need to succeed in the same capacity in business, on a professional level. (Good thing we could care less about degrees and the like in my business. Lol)

Now, as you begin to shift your thinking in this way, you’ll also find that you begin to behave differently, too. And, as you begin to behave differently, you’ll find that you also begin to attract the team you desire into your life and business – whether conventional or not, online or off. You can’t help it.

So, stop being sad, thinking, “…but I don’t HAVE a team.”

I’ve just proven to you that you do. I’ve proven to you that you have supervisory and leadership skills that you may have never realized you have. What I’m NOT telling you is that you’re done learning, you have no need to improve or grow, or all you need to do is sit back and wait. That’s all false. You must do all those things, or you’ll find (in short order) you have a team that’s outgrown you – much the same way as one partner in a relationship may outgrow another. The learning and growing on your part is vital to the longevity and stability of your team – personal or professional. Just remember…

Even YOU have a team!

See you at the top,

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com

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How to be Successful: Lean Into Your Fear

Man on Tightrope Over Skyline
Courtesy of Coen Tan – http://coentan.com/

Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that one of the most critical success factors is the ability to lean into your fear. What does that even mean, though?

Certainly there are as many definitions of what it means to be successful as there are people who actually give thought to it. Why? Because success is very subjective. What it means to you could be entirely different from what it means to me.

Couple that with the definition of fear, which is also pretty darn subjective, right? I mean, we humans fear all kinds of things: fear of flying, fear of people, and, heck, even fear itself… as well as nearly everything else under the sun.

Somehow when we put these two words together, they take on minds and bodies of their own. There’s even a fear of success! Crazy, right??

I’ve read, by the way, that fear is taught, not inherent… for the most part. “They” (whomever the “powers that be” are in the scientific realms that study this stuff) say that we’re only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.

Personally, this makes sense to me because you spend roughly nine months incubating in a safe, warm, cramped, muffled environment only to find yourself released one day into a seemingly loud, cold, and very big place that’s completely foreign to you. If I had to guess, I’d say the “loud” thing is due to the fact that, while in the womb, everything you hear – from the sound of your own mother’s heartbeat and voice to the roar of thunder to the slam of a door – is muffled by distance, liquid, etc. And that fear of falling thing (which I find to be akin to the fear of flying – If you fly, you could fall, right? That could be a long way down.) comes into play because, again, you’re incubated in a relatively small compartment where you’re sealed on all sides, yet get to move however you want with no risk of ever falling. So, when you’re born, everything you knew to be safe is gone – hence fear.

Bottom line: If fear is taught… it can be un-taught, don’t you think?
Alright. Now let’s begin to apply this to becoming a “successmaker”.

Since we all pretty much have definite thoughts and reactions to success and fear, yet they’re almost polar opposites, and each cancels out or prevents the other from catching traction in your life, how do we use this knowledge to our advantage? You lean into your fear – provided your quest is to be successful. If it’s not, well, you needn’t do anything except allow your fears to control your life. For the rest of us…

1.  Spend some time first figuring out what defines success to you. Be clear and specific about it. Is it money or acquiring money (because, ironically, that’s NOT the case for everybody – even some people who have lots of money)? Is it to be the best mom or dad you can be? Is it to Pen and Paperachieve a sense of fulfillment with your Creator and find peace in that relationship? There’s something. Figure it out, and write it down.

2.  Spend some time figuring out what you fear most. This may take a bit more time because humans are funny creatures who tend to mask their fears with other emotions or justifications. Your fear of commitment may stem from a feeling of abandonment way back in your early childhood. I’m just sayin’.

For instance, I have a significant hydrophobia (or fear of water). This doesn’t mean, like, bath water, but, like big bodies of water – pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. I can tell you with 100% certainty that this fear was learned as a result of a sunny summer afternoon with my sister at the pool – who thought it’d be “cute” to take her little sister who couldn’t tread water down to the diving area and “drop her off”. So see, this experience as a young child ruined swimming and water sports for me from that point on.

Write yours down.

3.  Here’s where the painful and most productive work takes place. CHOOSE which is stronger: your will and desire to succeed or the fear of “whatever” you feel. (Some people even have a fear of people, believe it or not! That’s a real thing, apparently.) If you decide the fear is stronger, do nothing. Stop reading. Stop this short exercise. Put down your pen and paper, laptop, or other device. You need not expend one more ounce of energy to achieve your end result and defined level of success. If your desire for success is stronger, however, read on.

Still with me? AWESOME! I’m still here, too. Lol

4. Make a decision right now to “lean into your fear”. This means: consciously plan a way to meet your fear head-on, work through it, and overcome it. Now, odds are, you’re gonna have to engage in so-called fearful activities a few times; just stick with it.

Taking my fear of water issue, for example…

When my son was fairly young, he LOVED water. He was probably part fish.

I saw this early on and decided to open opportunities to explore this love – despite my own fears. To this, though, safety and precautions had to be implemented, right? So, off to the YMCA we go… at 6 months of age… until he was about 8 or 9. Swimming lessons. I knew that if we were at a pool or something (because I wasn’t about to allow MY fear to ruin HIS love) and he found himself in trouble, beyond a shadow of a doubt – fear or not, outcome good or bad – I’d go in after him. Now, maybe I’d surprise myself (like other heroic stories) and “miraculously” save us both, but I wanted to stack the odds as much in our favor as possible.

As he grew, though, he wanted ME to engage in swimming and water sports with him – even to the point that HE determined he’d “teach” me to swim… just so we could enjoy this time together! My heart ached.

So, I “leaned into my fear”, took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and scheduled some private swimming lessons for myself. I didn’t tell him about them but went while he was in school and such. (Telling him would ruin the surprise.) Then, one day a few months later when he asked me to get into the pool with him, I said, “Okay.” He was so surprised and excited. I’ll never forget that day… his expression…

Don’t misunderstand. I’m NOT a world-class swimmer, and I still do NOT like big bodies of water. (Let’s say I have a deep respect for them and what can happen in them; that sounds good.) I AM a bit contradictory about it now, though, because the idea of a cruise actually sounds appealing to me (I’ve not quite been able to secede to the “pleasure over potential pain” in this activity yet.). I did go para-sailing with my son once (tandem, just me and him), and actually found that I like that a lot – as long as I never hit the water. Lol And, various water sports look like a bunch of fun to me, like jet skis and stuff. (I only boat on shallow-water river type excursions and when my bonus dad is driving because everybody else – seemingly – thinks, again, that it’s “cute” to scare the girl who’s already terrified. I’ve learned, so I just don’t do it.)

Lucky for me… my fear of water doesn’t prevent me from achieving my definition of success. If my definition involved becoming a marine biologist or something like that, there could be a much greater issue. Get it?

So, where the proverbial “rubber meets the road” is the spot where your definition and desire for becoming a “successmaker” clashes with your fear. THAT is where you lean into it.

Let’s scale it back a bit and choose a very simple example.

If you’ve found yourself in Sales but have a significant fear of the phone – essentially, calling people – you have two choices:

• Allow your fear to dictate and find another career choice where you may achieve a lesser degree of success

Or…

• Lean into your fear.  If you detest the idea of calling your clients, following up on potential sales, etc., maybe your choice is to do that which you fear most first every day. That way the seeming burden is lifted, and you feel freer the entire rest of the day. And, if you’re hardcore, maybe you give up your sales job for a bit, go to work in a call center to overcome your fear and hone your phone skills, then return to a career in sales better equipped to deal with your fear or have none of it at all.

Make sense? Great!

Now you’re armed with the knowledge that, ultimately, the sum of all fears is rooted in your mind. So…

You also know how to be successful by leaning into your fear.

Go get ‘em!

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How Shane Rudman Has Elevated My Life

There are people in my life who I can say quite literally changed who I was and the way I looked at the world. I first “met” Shane Rudman via an audio I was given while in my first network marketing venture. Then I had the profound opportunity to not only physically meet but be personally mentored by him for a while. His view of people and the world forever changed my own perspectives on people and life, in general. So, Shane, if you’re reading this… THANK YOU! You still remain one of the few people I feel blessed to have ever encountered and to be a hero in my life.

Prior to having the “Shane Rudman” experience, I always felt I was meant to “be more”; it just probably didn’t seem real… possible…

Shane taught me that even adversity usually has a silver lining if you choose to seek it out — and when you do, your whole world can shift on its axis.

To this day, I have a sometimes still listen to a CD from an event with Shane Rudman. He opens the CD by saying that he created it to create a “stop gap”, if you will… a place in time where, whenever you’re doubting yourself or life or whatever’s going on in your life, you can listen to that CD and it will “remind” you… take you back to that specific moment in time so you can feel again what you felt just then. Even now, when I think of this CD, Shane, my encounters and conversations with him, etc., I’m “taken back” to a place and time when he reminded me that ANYTHING is possible. Because of that, I’ve also been able to raise a child who lives by a creed that says, “ANYTHING is possible!” (And I haven’t worked in that company for over eight years now.)

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How to Improve Customer Service

Customer service. It’s a pet-peeve of mine.

Good service, bad service. Good customers, bad customers.

Here’s some simple techniques on how to improve customer service, whether your business is online or off, brick ‘n mortar or virtual. We’re all customers at some point, and we all deliver customer service sometimes… whether we realize it or not.

Follow this one basic rule and even if you DON’T attend all the seminars or read all the books or focus on honing your skills… your customer service skills will open many doors for you.

Join the conversation below, and add your comments.






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How to Choose the Best Network Marketing Company

So, maybe you’ve read a previous article about network marketing and the companies that utilize direct sales as their marketing and distribution platform.  And, maybe (hopefully) you’ve taken the next step and reviewed Robert Kiyosaki’s video describing the type of person who will do best in network marketing.  If not, you may want to do that now.  Okay, now that we’re square on that, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

First, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Not all network marketing companies are created equal, in my opinion.

Second, they span across a multitude of industries.  As of today’s date, when I Google “network marketing companies”, there are 52,500,000 results!  Yes, that’s 52 million.

52,500,000 Network Marketing Results in Google

Now, in all fairness, it is Google, so it’s also likely that not ALL 52+ million results are actual companies.  Some of these results are likely network marketing haters and nay-sayers posting videos and articles bashing one company or another.  Still, there are a lot!  Agreed?

How do you even begin to find the right one for you??

Although I’m really going to hone in on the business-savvy and logical aspects of targeting the best network marketing companies, I also believe whole-heartedly that it’s vital to find one that’s aligned with you, your personality, and your passions.  Why?  Because it’s going to be difficult to do what you need to do if you’re dreading dumping yourself out of bed every morning and there’s nobody and nothing “there” to motivate you to do it – like a boss who you have to answer to if you’re late… again.

So, to begin with, I think it’s best to ask yourself what’s really important to you about a company you’re going to align yourself with.  Truthfully, this should be a consideration and thought process that takes place whether it’s network marketing or a traditional employment situation.  I mean, you can get just as burned out (if not moreso) at your j-o-b than working as an independent contractor in a network marketing situation.  If you’re in alignment, that’s less likely to happen.

Where do you begin paring down 52 million results, though?                        Man holding head leaning by question mark

Well, for me, some important things were:

  • transparency (in dealings, complaints, value, compensation, and so on)
  • a fairly wide open market (leaving plenty of room for growth in all directions)
  • stability (I think the stats are something like: 50% of all new companies – traditional or not – fail within the first five years and 50% of those remaining fail within the second five years)
  • leadership (both of the company and my sponsor)
  • consumable products (or at least those that I can see people paying a monthly subscription for)

When you start looking at these things, the list gets shortened pretty darn fast.  Believe me, though, I’m in no way trying to say that even with all these things in place a publicly-traded company – with all it’s “transparency”, years of operations, seemingly stable leadership, in-demand and barely tapped market, and needs-based products that are consumable – can’t dupe the American population.  They can and will – even with the government’s knowledge!  History has shown us that.  It’s no different than a traditional business, however – whether online or off – as we’ve witness by the dot-com bubble, real estate bubble, pending economic bubble, and the list goes on.  We’re just hedging our bets here.  Even with a traditional job, you can be hired this week and the business be insolvent in another one or two.  (This actually happened to a friend of mine.)

So, to further narrow down the search…  IF your list is similar to mine…  It may be wise to check into DSA (Direst Sales Association) registration, listings, complaints, and standing status.  See, the DSA only ranks about the top 200, I think, so you’ve now gone from 52 million to 200 with just this one criteria!  (For instance, the company I chose to align with is within the top 10, I believe, and is the only one in that range for its industry – health and wellness.)

New York Stock ExchangeWith this knowledge in hand, you should be able to wipe out the vast majority of even the DSA’s list of 200.

  • Find something you feel passionate about and can “get behind”
  • Check the DSA for stats, complaints, standings
  • Look at company performance on the NYSE

Next, are there any documented endorsement or testimonials.  Be sure you understand I said “documented”.  How come?  Because – especially with the use and ease of the internet – people can throw whatever they want up on a web site.  Again, using my company as an example:  Would you agree it’s pretty powerful to be able to tell people (customers and potential network marketers, alike) that the company’s products are endorsed by over 600 professional athletes – some of whom are Olympians??  I mean, those people are tested, right?  And they have to be in optimum physical condition.  Those things help in terms of customers wanting to do business with a company backed with that kind of confidence by people who use the very same products they’re considering using.  Plus, those building a home-based business within the company get the confidence of knowing that that very same confidence exists outside of themselves, their sponsor, or even the company president.

Then, the biggie:  earnings.  As discussed in a previous article, network marketing is a place where you can make no money, some money, or an Shiny Gold Dollar Signabsolute abundance of money… depending on your own focus, efforts, growth, etc.  The company’s statement of average earnings should be a great indicator if you’re serious about your business and know the income level you’re aiming for.  (Some people just want a little more money at the end of their month, and some want six and seven-figure earnings and beyond.)  Again, almost every company has at least a few who are or have been quite successful.  As is said in the industry, though:  “Those results are not typical.”  I’m the kind of person who (although I’m tend to be very optimistic) will always evaluate for worst-case scenario, knowing that everything above that is “gravy”… a “bonus”, if you will.  With that said, I look at a company’s average earning statements this way:  If I can accept the lowest amount on the statement for average earnings, then I’m pretty good with everything above that.  See, one of the companies I was a part of did have million-dollar earners… but the majority of people aligned with them made no money.  None.  Conversely, when I saw my current company was paying out an average part-time income of $25,000, that seemed reasonable to me.  (I supported my son and myself on less than that a few times during my 16 years as a single parent!)

And lastly, let’s look at the leadership.  This applies, in my opinion, to both the company and the sponsor.  (No, I don’t believe your sponsor directly determines your level of success.  One of the beauties of direct marketing is that your “boss” can be a total jerk, know less than you, etc., and you can still go on to earn more money than them!  I do believe having a great sponsor as a leader can dramatically reduce your learning curve, though — and thus, speed at which you achieve success.)  I’d suggest you really evaluate why the company was started, how it’s been developed, whether or not it’s aligned with your personal values (One of mine is philanthropy, so it was important for me to find a company that also “gives back” in proportion to its success.), and what their overall mission statement is.

Believe me, if you’re seriously considering a network marketing business for yourself and just spend a few hours on one day to go through these things on your own, I have no doubt you’ll find…

The absolute best network marketing company for you.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com






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Is This a “Pyramid”?

What do people even mean when they ask that question?  Do they even know what they mean?  It’s seems to always be asked in reference to network marketing (aka direct sales) companies.  Personally, I think…

Network marketing gets a bad wrap

I’d honestly not given much thought or consideration to this question until recently – despite the fact that I’ve been involved in four network marketing companies (one currently, as a part of my overall wealth-building strategy) over the course of my adult life.  Just in the past few weeks, however, I’ve had two different people call my and my company’s integrity into question due to its utilization network marketing and my affiliation with it.  One… an 18 year old.  Another, surprisingly about 50ish.  So, I set off on some research of my own, and discovered some things.

  1. A “pyramid” is, in architecture, considered to be a very strong shape. (Think about the Egyptian pyramids, for instance.)
  2. Pretty much every company or business under the sun (unless it’s a single-owner, single-operator business) has a hierarchical structure of a “pyramid”. There’s a person at the top:  usually a CEO type.  Beneath that person are other supervisors, a Board of Directors, or other “management”.  Beneath those people are even more department managers.  Beneath those people are an even greater number of people who serve various functions.  And, the list goes on and on.  You get the idea.)
  3. Some of the most successful and notable business people on the planet find network marketing (aka direct sales) companies to be the best business model of this century for ambitious people, because, in a traditional model, you’ll never be able to earn more than the person “above” you, but in network marketing, you can – and plenty do.  (Disclaimer:  Some make no money, due to the fact that your income is a reflection of your personal efforts, business growth, leadership capabilities, and other factors.)
  4. Those same successful and wealthy business people find network marketing companies to be some of the best investment opportunities around. Why?  Because they’re very lean when it comes to expenses that usually wreak havoc in traditional businesses, like:  advertising expense, benefits, etc.
  5. Network marketing (via the independent contractor and home-business status) afford individuals the opportunity to create their own business for very little capital investment and then qualify for legitimate tax deductions they’d never otherwise be able to take advantage of.

So why are people so cynical about network marketing?

If I had to guess, I’d say it goes back to the beginning of the industry, as a whole.  I can see it this way, anyhow.

Shane Rudman, Network Marketing Icon
Shane Rudman

A very successful network marketing mentor that I once had the honor and privilege of working with once told me,  

As with many things, it’s common that the greatest asset can also be the weakest leak if not properly cared for and tended to.

What did he mean?  Well, in network marketing, people are the greatest asset – for sales and company prosperity and distribution.  Therefore, people can also be the weakest link —  and not even mean to be.  How?

As with any new venture, people are often very excited – as well they should be!  When we were kids, we had many dreams.  With age, society and those closest to us douse our dreams.  Not intentionally, per se, but nonetheless.  This means, when people are actually provided an outlet to dream again and find themselves in the company of others who are also once again seeing the possibilities of their dreams, a certain energy and synergy takes over and begins to grow.  This makes new people want to tell everybody “everything”.  Often the challenge is in the fact that they barely understand it themselves!  Inadvertantly, friends and family get bombarded, people who might otherwise be interested in the same business opportunity get misinformation, and, in general, I think people feel “duped”… and nobody likes feeling “duped”.  So, the nay-saying and network marketing-bashing ensues.  At least that’s what I think has happened – and, to some degree, continues to happen.

I also feel it’s quite plausible that those who are unsuccessful in network marketing leave their company, then go tell everybody they know what a “scam” it is… instead of accepting their own responsibility in that failure.  The fact of the matter is, in my experience, if you do your due diligence in aligning yourself with a solid business that’s transparent, it’s rarely the company or the company’s products that are the source of the person’s lack of success; it’s most often the lack of action, implementation, or tenacity on the part of the individual.  Now, before you get your drawers all in a bunch over that statement, let me also say that I’m in no way saying some people don’t suffer a lack of training or poor leadership or any of those sorts of things.  I’ve had the distinguished blessing to experience it all – good and bad.

I can honestly say that I really have nothing negative to say about the other network marketing companies I was involved in prior to my current alignment (a wealth-building vehicle and strategy, bear in mind).  And, in each of them… there are, were, and have been very successful individuals.  Perhaps, as I feel was the case with me, you simply have to find the right company for you and be willing to commit, allowing yourself to develop into the person you must become (mentally and academically) to achieve the level of success you seek.  It seems few people these days are willing to accept personal responsibility for who they are, where they are, the fact that they are who and where they are as a result of their own choices and decisions over time, etc.

Now, combine that scenario with the fact that there are obviously a lot of people who are ignorant about what a “pyramid scheme” actually is – or the fact that a true “pyramid scheme” is illegal… or the fact that there’s actually a regulatory agency (in the US anyway – Direct Sales Association) to monitor the companies who are its members – and you have people who (too young to even remember the birth of network marketing or “pyramid schemes”, as well as more than old enough that they could’ve educated themselves on the topic had they chosen to) simply walk around applying stereotypes and ignorant labels to everything they neither understand nor take the time to learn more about.

That said, I’ll be the first to tell you:  Network marketing is not the best business model for every person on the planet.  In fact, the video below by Robert Kiyosaki (a huge supporter of network marketing) leads one to believe there are far more people who it’s not for than those who it is.  Why?

Because you have to want to WIN to be successful in network marketing, and even though nearly everybody says they do, few will raise their hand, put their money-where-their-mouth-is and do what it takes to be successful… for a variety of reasons.

It would stand to reason, however, if successful business people and investors like Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and scores of others – with their vast knowledge base in business, people, and great achievements – are in support of network marketing, the least the rest of us could do is educate ourselves and stop “bashing” out of ignorance.

Your partner in success,

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

Choose Your Reality Carefully

Choose your reality carefully.

Does that sound like an odd statement to you? What does that even mean? Aren’t we all living the same reality?

The short answer: No, although realities do co-exist, overlap, and tend to be shared. How can that be?

About everybody has heard the sayings…

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Perception is real to the perceiver.”
“See things through their eyes.”

Most people glean over such expressions as merely whimsical notions, but I assure you that’s not the case. And, to take it one step further, if you’re an investor, business owner, self-employed person, or employee… If you work in a service or product industry… Especially if you work in sales, network marketing, or affiliate marketing… “Ha!,” you say. “That’s pretty much everybody who’s a productive member of society.” To that, I’d say, “You’re absolutely right!” And you better KNOW these sayings are more than notions; they’re ways of expressing the fact that reality to every person can, may, and, for the vast majority, does differ. Even more importantly, you’d be well-served to know and understand that that “world”… is chosen by the person living it.

When a person says things like…
“Why?”
“I can’t do that.”
“I can’t afford that.”
“I’ll never be [good] enough.”

They’re right. Likewise, when a person says things like…
“Why not?”
“Of course I can do that; it’s easy.”
“How can I afford that?”
“I deserve that… (job, promotion, relationship, happiness, or opportunity)”

See, the human brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy – until and unless WE tell it how to qualify the difference. It’s like when people say, “If I can touch it, feel it, smell it, taste it, and see it, I’ll believe it.” Science tells us that, right? And science offers and establishes some pretty cool stuff, so that must be the end-all-that-be-all! Well, yes… and no – because science also tells us that the human brain has the capacity to live a life of illusion, yet believe with 100% certainty it’s real. We tend to say that people who do this on an extreme level — not consistent with what “the rest of us” see, feel, think, and believe – suffer from all kinds of mental issues. Perhaps. I mean, we do know there are people who become a danger to themselves and others as a result of what goes on in their minds. The reality (pardon the pun) is, however, that we ALL do this – to a greater or lesser degree; so I caution you to choose your own reality carefully. And, to take it one step further, if you want to be successful in whatever you do, it’s imperative that you apply this knowledge in reverse.

See, if you’re in sales and you’re only concerned about your own reality, ignoring that chosen by those you serve, you’ll struggle to be successful. If you’re a business owner who fails to consider the challenges faced by your customers, your business may survive but will likely never grow to its full potential. Even investors (who are at the “top of the food chain”) who fail to address “what’s in it” for the other person or parties, may have some success, but it will be much less than it could be. Why? Because if you know how others view their “world” and what’s going on in it, you’ll also know the problems they encounter. And if you know the problems they encounter, you’re much more capable of providing excellent service, solutions to those problems, and win-win investment negotiations, meeting the needs of their reality. This translates into more success for you.

"You can have everything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want." ~Zig Ziglar
Here’s an example I used to use with my son when he was younger that I think illustrates this perfectly – especially in today’s world:

For YOU (by the mere fact you’re reading this), reality is that there are computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and so on. These devices yield the power of the internet and a massive amount of technology!

If you take a child, however, at birth, and place them in an environment where they never see or are exposed to such devices, their reality dictates that they do not exist. There’s no internet to them. The technology we all use every day doesn’t exist. People (children and adults, alike) who live in severely impoverished regions, may or may not be aware of what so many of us consider common-place and take for granted. In fact, they may be totally unaware of TV… or radios… or even events happening outside of their immediate area.

So, it is ever-so-important that, if you want to achieve success – whatever that is for you, you

Choose Your Reality Carefully

…because you’re betting the rest of your life upon it.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com

Goals-to-Results in 3 Easy Steps

Dreams to GoalsAs the year winds down, many of us will sit down to think about and set New Year’s resolutions.  Less, but still some will go a step further and call them goals.  Still fewer will take another step and actually write them down for frequent reflection and reminders.  And, only a fraction of the original lot will put in the time and effort to reverse-engineer those goals, putting action behind them so they become quantifiable results.

 Do you want to make this the year that your resolutions and dreams begin to come to fruition?

Or, are you going to be happy and satisfied with yet another year of making resolutions that fail to last even three weeks into the New Year?  Decide now.  If you’re in the second group, you can stop reading; I have nothing to offer you.  If you’re in the first group, however, hold on to your hats because we’re about to embark on the journey of a life-time – and I can hardly wait to hear about your successes and achievements!

  1. Make a list of dreams you’d like to turn to results in the coming year.

Remember:  This is one year – not two, five, or ten.  Keep them realistic and manageable.  That said, this year’s goals can be part of bigger goals that will take a longer time frame to accomplish, which is okay; just see and know it for what it is.

  1. Pare that list down to your top three-to-five highest priorities.

It’s not “bad” to have more, and I don’t personally think there’s a right or wrong answer here.  What life has taught me, though, is that, for the majority of people, focus is easier to achieve and maintain when there are fewer distractions.  So, the more you can place a laser-focus on your target, the better your results are going to be and the faster they’ll come.

  1. Reverse engineer the goal.

What does that mean?  Well, this is the part where you really begin to exert some mental power and time into the process because it means you need to actually think about the steps it will take to achieve that goal.

For instance, if you want to lose weight or become more healthy in the New Year (unsurprisingly one of the most common – and least fulfilled – resolutions that people make each and every year), put some thought into what this means for youWhat defines “weight loss” for you?  Is it 10, 30, or 100 pounds?  Everybody’s different, so define what’s best for you.  Then, choose the steps that are going to help you make this a reality.  You may end up with an action plan that looks something like this:

GOAL:  Weigh “X” pounds by December 31, 2015

  1. Eat one serving of fresh fruits and vegetables each per day
  2. Weight LossEat six small meals each day instead of two or three big ones
  3. Go out to eat one time per week as a reward for sticking to my plan
  4. Enhance my food regimen with high-quality vitamins and minerals to maximize my energy, stamina, mental performance, etc. (Free Health Assessment available here)
  5. Do some kind of cardio workout 20 to 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  6. Do some (light) weight training 20 to 30 minutes ever Tuesday and Thursday
  7. Weigh myself every morning and record my progress
  8. Envision myself as this lean, healthy machine daily (5 to 15 minutes)

Make sense?

But what if your goal is non-physical?  Let’s say… financial, since most people rack up a lot of credit card and other debt at Christmas then try to recover from it all year long — so they can do it again next year, right?  This is the year that pattern gets interrupted, and the way you look at and feel about money moves to a higher plain.  Your plan may look more like:

GOAL:  Eliminate “XYZ” Credit Card Debt

  1. Create and adhere to a budget (based on percentages, not dollar amounts, for psychological reasons; aligned with your frequency of pay)
  2. Credit Card DebtContact my credit card providers and request a lower interest rate
  3. Improve my financial education by reading on the topic 20 minutes daily, by those who are where I want to be or are at least debt-free
  4. Apply a consistent additional amount to my payment every month – or make a partial payment every time you get paid
  5. Set-up separate accounts for different purposes:  savings for short-term accumulation, checking for paying expenses, special-purpose savings for taxes or insurance or household expenditures…
  6. Give to some cause or charity every month (or pay period)
  7. Match your “giving” to yourself, and put it in another account or investment vehicle
  8. Plug-in to a free Financial Freedom Friday call for knowledge, strategies, and support (click the link or send a blank email to awlist3692158@aweber.com for details)

See, the thing is, most people make resolutions and goals with the greatest of intentions; they simply fail take actions that drive results.

And, honestly, most people try to rely on themselves to “make the magic happen”.  In reality, though, the encouragement, support, and sharing of ideas and knowledge you get by working with others who have (a) either “been there, done that” or (b) are like-minded and also taking action will compound and accelerate your progress, getting you results beyond anything you can imagine.

Make your plan today – not midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Keep your “head down”, focusing on  your goals; and by this time next  year, you’ll come up for air, look back at how you and your life has transformed, and be amazed by how much you’ve achieved.

Your partner in success…

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

Leverage: The Key to Success

Ask any truly successful person you know what the secret to success is, and I have no doubt they’ll tell you, “leverage”.

Gates, Buffet, Kiyosaki, Gates CollageStudy notable, successful people – Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates — and you’ll also find they all say the same thing: Wealthy, successful people become that way (and, probably more importantly, stay that way) because they learn and master the skill of utilizing effective leverage.

 

Many people believe that the word “leverage” in this context only applies to money. You know, the use of “other people’s money”. OPM, right? We hear about this a lot. That’s certainly accurate, but also pretty narrow-minded, in my point of view.  If you dig just a bit further, though… below the surface… you’ll find that the truly successful, ultra-wealthy find and utilize not only the leverage created by using “other people’s money”, but also time, talents, skills, locations, and a multitude of other variables.

See, the poor and middle class are often slaves to their money because instead of learning to leverage their own money (or the use of “other people’s money”), they put their money in “investments”, where the person or institution handling those investments is actually leveraging that exact same money – for their own benefit.

It’s like this: You put your money in the bank – like, a savings account or something. Many checking accounts pay 0% in interest or dividends unless you already have upwards of $5k or more in that account. Well, the vast majority of America’s (statistically) have less than $1k in savings, let alone their checking, which tends to be the put-n-take account to pay bills from, as a norm. So, let’s forget about checking accounts and look at savings, right? Right! Okay, here it goes.

Your money goes into your savings account. IF your account even pays or qualifies (two very different things) for interest or dividends, it likely pays you 1% or less. That same bank, however, uses your money to fulfill loans to other poor and middle class folks who also have less-than-enough money – but they’re loaning it out at 7% and higher! Usually upwards of 10, 11, 12, 13, or higher percent! That means you get your measly ½ to 1% in interest or dividends, and they get the difference: 9% and up, on average. Are you excited yet??

“But,” you say, “I don’t have more money… or enough money… to do any leveraging with, so I can create wealth.”

That may be true… for now. What do you have, though, that you’re squandering — instead of leveraging — to put yourself in a better position? Understand this:

If you’re not using leverage to your own advantage, you (by your very essence) are probably serving the role of leverage, helping to grow somebody else’s wealth and success.

The big asset being squandered by most of us: TIME.

ClockIn my opinion, time is the most valuable asset each one of us has, yet it’s also the one most often wasted.  It’s spent doing nothing productive.  Sitting in from of the TV.  Playing video games.  America is the most entertained country in the world!  And, since the implementation of “No Child Left Behind” and decision to cease teaching things like handwriting in our schools, we’re also on the fast-track to becoming the dumbest, too.  (Don’t misunderstand, I don’t condone teachers or schools who pass children along into higher grades just to get them out of their classroom.  In their quest to slow things down for some children to catch on, however, they’re also damaging the more advanced students who need a faster pace and more engagement to keep their brains learning at an optimum rate.  Likewise, I disagree with things like removing handwriting in exchange for typing or computer skills because the mere act of hand-writing has been scientifically proven to create more activity and synapses in the brain than the act of pecking at a keyboard.)

Most people are just sleep-walking through life, never making good use of the time God has given us. So, here’s a novel idea for you: If you’re currently lacking money (but want some… more…) but have plenty of time, leverage your time right now to move yourself ahead, by learning new skills and trades or changing your mindset in preparation of the wealth you’re going to create, so you can recognize and take full advantage of those opportunities when they arise — then keep that money when you get it.

Once you begin to see results in this area, begin making the shift away from trading time for money. Leverage. Remember: What’s your most valuable asset? Time, right? I mean, you do realize that time on this planet for a human being is finite, yes? And do you also understand that none of us (Can you say NONE of us?) truly know whether our time ends today, tomorrow, or another 20 years from now? Internalize that for a moment. Truly. Stop and think about that fact for just a minute. Once you get that into your heart (not your head; your heart), you’ll find you better start playing life full-out!

“Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!”
~ Basil King

A business acquaintance of mine recently shared with a group of us that about a week ago an incident occurred with his mom that shook him to his core and brought this realization into a very personal state for him. I mean, of course he logically always understood it… but now it’s really real.  Here’s some background and the way it went down:

He’s grown and successful with his online network marketing business. HE has traversed the “great divide” that many in network marketing seek: moving from a part-time to a full-time, self-sustaining business. One of his goals and reasons for getting into that kind of business is the fact that there are no “glass ceilings”, and he wants to retire his mom… who continues to work two jobs, despite some significant health challenges. He wants her out of that situation – and, for the record, I believe he’ll accomplish that in very short-order now.

Well, I believe it was just last week… His mom’s blood-sugar level apparently hit bottom in a fast way, causing her to have a reaction that HE mistook for her dying… in his arms! He said when he went to her, she was unresponsive, and he felt no detectible signs of life. He shook her. He yelled at her. He even called 911, I believe, because he felt her go limp in his arms and thought she’d died – right there, right then. Just a few minutes later, his mother “awoke”. She remembered none of it and was behaving as though nothing had happened. That moment, he said, changed his life and focus in a matter of just a few minutes. He said he realized – despite his work ethic and current dedication – he’s not doing all he could to achieve his goal of earning the income necessary to retire her for life.

Now, he’s already pretty darn good at leveraging his skills and focusing on the “tasks at-hand”… but do you think he’s even more focused now?? Of course he is! Do you think he’s coming up with some very creative ways to leverage his resources so that goal is met on a shorter timeframe? Yes, I can guarantee it! (By the way, incidents like this are not only motivational but, internalized correctly – like Bruce is – become leverage against the little voice that lives in nearly every person’s head that says, “You can’t do that, “ or “Slow down, what’s the rush,” or “It’s just too hard”.)

As we embark on a new year and you’re making whimsical resolutions Goals – or, if you’re more serious and intent with your life, perhaps you even take the time to sit down and write out your goals – don’t just make a list of stuff that you’re going to give up on three weeks after the new year starts. You’re already taking the time to do this task… Why not leverage that same time and energy to find even more resources that you already have that you can use as leverage to propel you into your future success for 2015?

That would be time well spent!

To your success…

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com