By Amanda-Ellen Jojo
FINANCIAL freedom through network marketing is within nearly everyone’s grasp. According to a paper by Academic Journals (2017), network marketing has recorded remarkable success throughout the world. Our Editor Amanda Jojo (AJ) caught up with Cleopatra Mtandavari (CM) who is part of the growing population of network marketers that are distributing various goods, food supplements and cosmetics across the globe. With new opportunities emerging in the network marketing, Mtandavari crossed the floor and joined INUKA which is a cosmetics and fragrances products supplier. She was recently awarded with the Pearl Leader accolade because of her selling and marketing prowess.
Below are the excepts of the interview were Cleopatra bursts some of the myths and also shares insights about the qualities required to succeed in the network marketing industry.
AJ: What is network marketing? Is it different from a pyramid scheme, if possible kindly lay out the differences.
CM: Network marketing is an attractive business opportunity for many people. It’s a system of distributing products to consumers. Network marketing has the support of the company that offers products and training as well. As a network marketing distributor, you make money by selling the company’s products and if your customers are not network marketers you can sign them up. You earn a percentage for bringing them into the program and you also get to receive cash, bonuses, holidays and cars. Thus, this makes it legal.
Whereas pyramid schemes only want your money and for you to recruit many people. They require one to invest a large amount up front. There is more emphasis on recruiting than selling products or services.
AJ: What would you say are the biggest myths about network marketing and how would you encounter them?
CM: The market is saturated – I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they can’t be successful in Network Marketing or with a specific company because there are too many people already doing it. The truth is, is that you can create success if you truly want to and if you know how to set yourself apart from all the others.
Only people at the top make money – With a good compensation plan (which is one of the most important factors when choosing a Network Marketing Company to join) anyone can create success in Network Marketing if they are willing to work for it. There is no reason that a newer consultant/distributor can’t make just as much money if not more than the people who have been a part of the company since the beginning of time.
AJ: You were recently awarded with the Pearl leader, please tell us more about the accolade and how does one become a leader?
CM: My INUKA journey started on the 28th of January 2021 when I invested in a R600 kit. In that very month I became a Junior member and gained a senior membership status the following month. In January 2022 I made it being a Pearl Leader and I’m determined to go beyond. So, for one to become a leader is based on their monthly sales and recruiting efforts. There are two options, first you either sell 40 Personal PVs and introduce 3-9 members to each reach 20 or more PV each or you sell 95 – 100 000 PVs in one INUKA month. A PV is product value also referred to as point value, is assigned for the purpose of calculating your status value level. For example, 1 PV= to 1 classic perfume or 2 classic lotions.
AJ: What inspired you to be a network marketer?
CM: Every single day of our lives, we have a choice when we wake up in the morning whether we are going to focus on the positive or negative. Outstanding leaders know that their energy levels will determine how they perform. You can eliminate a lot of worry, stress, and anxiety just by choosing to focus on the positive. Force yourself to see the good in every situation no matter what. Despite the voices of negativity that echoed from friends it gave me so much enthusiastic hope, so much drive, in such a way that the weight carried by the words that were meant to shatter me, I converted it to the energy I needed for my Growth. In short that was my liberation to Financial Freedom and being my own boss.
BE POSITIVE – TURN SETBACKS INTO COMEBACKS.
AJ: How are you penetrating the market because it seems as if the cosmetics market is saturated?
CM: I just told myself that in as much as it is saturated, one cannot supply the whole of Zimbabwe, so I do stand a chance. BE CONFIDENT – MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Confidence is contagious and it is about passion and belief in your ability to make things happen. I have a higher level of perseverance and self-drive. Lastly build lasting relationships. Your business is built on a solid foundation of good relationships with others. Without this you can’t have a successful and growing business. Take time every day to build relationships with your customers. The stronger your relationships, the better and the more referrals I get.
AJ: What are the opportunities and challenges that come with network marketing?
CM: We get INUKA products from South Africa and the challenge we might face here and there is of delayed deliveries. Also, competition from other distributors. Opportunities that come with being a network marketer are so many. I can just give an example of INUKA. There are 6 ways to earn and benefit these include; immediate 50% retail profit, monthly cash volume rebates, once off fast progress leadership cash rebates, quarterly maintenance rebates, annual and quarterly cash rebates and car reward program.
AJ: I understand you are an entrepreneur. In brief tell us about your enterprise.
CM: So, I only do not sell INUKA products only, I have an emerging Brand by the name of House of FIFFY (H.O.F). It is a distributor of professional beauty products located in Bulawayo. It is the premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin care products, hair care products, foot care, jewelry and beauty services. “All your Fashion essentials under one roof!” Wonderful, isn’t it! H.O.F is mobile and flexible when it comes to delivering to its valuable clients. H.O.F is not limited to local deliveries we also do city to city travel. We also run promotions every month, give away FREEBIES for those ordering on their birthday month and orders above R500. We also do free make-up to clients buying cosmetics.
AJ: How are you balancing network marketing and being an entrepreneur?
CM: Quite frankly the beauty about my entrepreneurship and INUKA is they complement each other. For this reason, I hardly struggle to balance. House of FIFFY brand is about beauty and cosmetics, it focuses on looking good, smelling good and boosting your confidence on the go and this vision works hand in glove with the INUKA business. Over time I have realised it’s possible to market all products and still push sales as such I have balanced the two by putting the same amount of time into marketing, networking and taking orders on both.
AJ: What are some of the skills that you are borrowing from network marketing that you are using in Entrepreneurship or vice versa.
CM: Communication, advertising, win, retaining loyalty, efficiency and humility
AJ: Key lessons drawn from network marketing and entrepreneurship
CM: Sometimes growth requires new company, New location and new mindset. Customer is king. Look the brand, smell the brand be the brand. Exercise patience. Don’t be afraid to constantly advertise your hustle. Do not be afraid to try new markets and be innovative. You learn something new each day. You won’t win every day, allow room for loss, it’s part of the Growth.