MEMORY KEEPING 101 – FOREVER & CREATIVE MEMORIES
Saving Your Memories, Not Selling a Business Opportunity
I remember sometime back in the late 70’s, a friend came by to share a business opportunity. It seems as if the first hour of his presentation was spent describing fantastic vacations, palatial second homes and very expensive cars we were going to have very, very soon. I guess we were supposed to overlook the fact his shoes were worn out and his car was ready for the wrecking yard. Eventually we got him to admit he was there to sign us up for a multi-level marketing company that is now a well known pyramid scheme. We said no thanks and then spent an hour trying to get him out of our house. His parting words, “I’m sorry you didn’t have the vision to understand what I was offering.” We ran into him a few months later and he sheepishly let us know he was pursuing other opportunities.
I’m sure all of us, at some point or another, have been approached by someone who wanted us to join their MLM team. I want you to know there are some great teams out there to join – Tupperware, Melaleuca, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and so many more. While there have been some bad players in the past, this type of company provides great products, usually at a lower price and they have also been a real boon to women. When the glass ceiling was firmly in place, there were lots and lots of women who were outpacing their male counterparts through network marketing.
Back in the day, most network marketing happened out of the trunk of people’s car. They’d buy up lots of merchandise, so they’d have something to sell you and the more they bought, the more impressive their title would be. There were also lots of parties. You’d go to a friend’s house and their friend would demonstrate a product line. You’d order something so your friend could earn her free product and then a few weeks later it would be delivered, usually with a little pressure for you to have a party, too.
Then along came the world-wide web and network marketing was transformed. Network marketers didn’t have to buy up a bunch of merchandise they might or might not be able to sell. They could drop ship their products to their clients, just like Amazon and E-Bay and Walmart. While many companies still use the party format for marketing their products, there are many more that don’t and it’s not a tool I use.
Today, the biggest difference in retail marketing and network marketing is the way a company chooses to spend it’s marketing dollar. If you’re Walmart or Macy’s or Louis Vuitton, then you’re going to buy up radio and TV spots, have slick ads in print and put brick and mortar storefronts at the local mall. Companies like Mary Kay and Arbonne instead invest in their representatives to spread the word. That’s the way FOREVER and Creative Memories do it.
In spite of this transformation, there are still people who want to know if FOREVER or Creative Memories are MLM’s. So, let me tell you how my business works and then I will tell you how these companies work.
Service is my Primary Product
I am a Memory Keeper. I am offering my service and experience as a life long scrapbooker and part owner of a real estate photography company. I love helping others preserve their memories and along the way I have learned quite a bit about media, how to preserve it and how to share it. I will be happy to make scrapbooks for you and help you organize your photos. You pay me directly for those services. I will be using Creative Memory products in your album. I will also use my new Cricut, stickers from Hobby Lobby and paper from JoAnn’s if I can’t find what I need in the CM line. If we do a digital projects, I will most likely use FOREVER programs like Artisan and Historian as I work on the job, because they are my tools.
If your project is digital and you want to do it yourself, then I will recommend FOREVER products like digitization and permanent storage, to you. If you need these products, then I’m recommending to you the very thing I use for my own projects, because they are, without a doubt, the very best available. Yes, I will make some commission on those purchases, but this is my business and to continue doing what I love to do for others, I need to be able to support my habit, but if you’d rather use another company, go right ahead.
While I want to help you save your memories, I won’t be trying to recruit you to my team. There are CM advisors and FOREVER ambassadors who choose to build their businesses by building a team, but that’s not what I want to do. It takes a lot of time coaching and mentoring to be a good team leader, and your own success is determined by your leadership skills.
My business is based on my scrapbooking and organizational skills, not my recruiting skills. In addition, a team leader should also be modeling the business for your downline and very, very few people have creating scrapbooks and organizing photos for other people as their primary goal. If team building were my goal, I would not split my effort between two companies, but would pour my energies into one company or the other – in my case Creative Memories – but because many people with a memory mess need digital solutions, I offer both.
Now, if you’re going to be spending a significant amount of money (as in thousands) with either company, then I may show you how to get deeper discounts, but it’s because I want to save you money, not because I want to add you to my team. I will actually make less money with you as my team member, than I will if you are a customer, but because my ultimate goal is to preserve your memories and help you share them with others, if I can save you a little money along the way, then that’s what I am going to do.
Every once in a great while a unicorn does come along. You could join one of my companies as a representative to get the discount, fall in love with what they offer and build a very successful business of your own. That’s great! I would support your efforts, as would everyone in the company you chose. That’s why we call it network marketing. We network with our clients and our fellow representatives. The more you do for others, the more successful you become. However, I have photos to organize, scrapbooks to create and people to help save and share their memories. I don’t have time to go unicorn hunting.
Creative Memories is a part of my life. Along with a lot of other people in the 90’s, I learned those adhesive photo albums I’d been using were actually destroying the very thing I was trying to save. I was soon hooked on a lot more than acid-free, photo-safe albums. I loved stickers and die cuts and paper. (Oh, did I ever love the paper!) I still love scrapbooking and after all these years I know there are no products out there better for what I love.
There have been two Creative Memories and I have been a customer and a representative of both. The first Creative Memories was an MLM. Your success depended on having parties – only they called them home classes, workshops and crops, but you also had to recruit. To keep your consultant designation, you had to purchase a certain amount of inventory you hoped to unload at your events and you had to recruit. Confession, I was dismal at both. I filled up my house with product and I never recruited a soul. That was happening to a lot of people, so for that reason and some others, Creative Memories went bankrupt.
The new CM is completely different. There are no buying quotas to meet and while I can build my own team should I desire to, they are only my team and no one else is benefitting off of them. There are various streams of income I can make based primarily on my sales and the sales of my direct team members, but that’s it. That’s all there is. It is not an MLM.
Forever is a little different and the teams do have various levels, but they are quite limited. The business plan is based first on my own sales to my own customers. They do not pay a membership fee, nor do they have to buy a certain amount within a certain time period. I never have to recruit anyone to promote within the company. I can reach the top commission level on my own.
Should building a team be what someone wants, that’s great and they will receive a tiny portion of sales for their own team members up to 5 levels down, but that’s it. There’s not some big dog at the top of the pyramid making his living off all the people who have ever been joined the company. There is no pyramid, only a short trapezium.
I say a trapezium, because while there are nine levels of compensation with Forever and thousands of ambassadors, a manager only qualifies for a tiny percentage of the sales within their own five level team. In fact, the Senior Executive Ambassador from whom I get most of my training and who I turn to when there’s a problem doesn’t get a penny of my sales. She just loves Forever and wants to help everyone be successful. That’s the culture.
So, if you avoid want to avoid having parties and being recruited, you’re safe with me. If you have a problem with the pyramid-like compensation plans of some of the MLM companies, you’re safe with me. I want you to be my customer, not my team member. I want to help you, not recruit you and I assure you, you can spend a whole lot of money with me and never buy a product from CM or FOREVER. If you have memories that need saving let’s talk. If not, check on my Weekend Report tomorrow and my Travel There post next week!