I’ve Moved! Join Me On My New Blog – www.MarkMcCaslin.com

I have created a new blog that I will be posting on from now on.  As a result, I will no longer be updating this website.  Please join me over on my new blog – www.MarkMcCaslin.com.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Mark

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What Have We Become? Truly Something To Care About

The other day I wrote a blog post entitled “Should I Care?”  I used that title in an effort to get people’s attention, because it obviously could have covered a multitude of topics.  That particular topic happened to be about when to share your business opportunity with friends and family.  Today’s topic is much more important.  Actually, it’s a matter of life and death in many instances.

After all of the children had gone to bed last night (or so I thought), I walked into my bedroom to find my oldest daughter sitting at the foot of our bed, talking to her mom.  She was crying and clearly very upset.  Being the father that I am, I assumed that one of her brothers had said unkind things to her (as brothers are wont to do).  That wasn’t the case.  You see, my daughter has a heart for orphans, and she spends a good amount of time following blogs of people who either have adopted or are going to adopt orphans from around the world.  Many of these orphans have been cast aside by their societies due to mental or physical disability, illness, or other difficulties.  It is her dream to give a loving home to as many of these “unwanted” little ones as possible.  She absolutely loves it when she finds out that one of these children has gotten their “forever” family.

Unbelievably, far too many countries treat orphans with disabilities (even minor ones) as something less than human.  For instance, in some Eastern European countries, if such children have not been adopted by the time they reach the age of 5, they are transferred to a mental asylum, which is often a death sentence because 95 percent of all children with Down Syndrome die in such institutions after they are transferred there.  You can read a full account of one such case here at the blog No Greater Joy Mom.  How can something so horrible be taking place on this planet in this day and age?  How can these precious, vulnerable children be treated so cruelly, so heartlessly?  We wouldn’t treat animals like this, yet such horrific treatment is inflicted upon these children because they are not valued as human beings; they are deemed worthless and unworthy of love, compassion, even decency.  What have we become?

It’s no wonder such stories and images broke my sweet daughter’s heart to the point of tears.  Besides her and a few others out there, who cares about the plight of these children?  Oh, it’s easy to shake our heads, tsk, tsk it and say how awful it is.  But what are we doing about it?  Are we just paying lip service to these atrocities, so we can get back to our microwaved meals and large screen TVs?  Don’t get me wrong; I’m asking myself these questions first and foremost, for I am shamefully guilty.  It took the broken heart of my own precious child to break mine.

Too many people say that they just can’t adopt, that they don’t have the money or the room to care for another child.  It’s true, not everyone is called to adopt, and I’m sure it can be quite difficult and daunting trying to care for these desperate children.  But which one of us can say that living in America, in a clean home, surrounded by love, is not a better place for any of these orphans to be compared to these institutions in which they are tied down to their beds?  Maybe we can’t all adopt; maybe we are called to support adoption agencies and adopting parents financially in any way we can.  Does my Starbucks coffee mean so much to me that I can’t put aside that $4.00 a day, instead choosing to support the orphans?  Am I going to just pretend I haven’t seen these images or read these reports because it’s unpleasant and might interfere with my enjoying the baseball game?  God forbid.

One day, we will all stand before a righteous God, and we will be accountable to Him for what we have done with all that He’s blessed us with.  What will we say?  It will be too late then to be broken-hearted.

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”  Matthew 25:40

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Should I Care?

Should I care?  Well, I guess that depends.  Do I care if my child is hungry?  Of course.  Do I care if the Twins beat the Red Sox?  Nope.  In this particular instance, the question has more to do with business than anything else (although it does enter the realm of “personal” as well).  Mike Dillard, he of Magnetic Sponsoring fame, was once asked during an interview about approaching friends and family about your business opportunity.  The question was asked because, as many of you who are involved in networking marketing already know, our family and friends can be the harshest of critics (ironic, given the fact that we often turn to them for support).  For someone new to the business, it’s not always easy to face rejection from the people who have always meant the most to you.  Given that backdrop, we can understand why Mike was asked this question.  His answer was brilliant:  He said that, yes, you should approach your family and friends about your business opportunity as soon as you don’t care whether or not they join.  Wow.

You see, if we want to be successful, we often have to change our mindset in order to be able to attain that success.  You have to plant your flag and refuse to let anyone discourage you or talk you out of your dreams.  Network marketing has created more millionaires worldwide than any other industry.  Chances are, working your 9-5 job (if you’re fortunate to still have one in this economy) will never bring you even remotely close to that opportunity.  So, you can’t allow others to impose their will and opinions on you; sometimes you have to strike out on your own.  Just because people believe that they have your best interests at heart, does NOT mean that they actually know just what your best interests are.

Mike’s answer, although seemingly simple, gets to the heart of the mindset issue.  You can’t be desperate to have people join your opportunity, no matter how much they mean to you, or how much you think they’d be great at it.  So, don’t care whether or not they want to build the business with you, do it without them.  You can always come back to them when you’re a success and see if they’ve changed their minds : )

P.S.  If you want more information on attraction marketing, check out Mike Dillard’s FREE Magnetic Sponsoring Bootcamp videos here.  Regardless of whether you have a network marketing business, direct sales business, traditional brick and mortar business, or are thinking about starting any of those, this free training provides priceless insight on how to properly market your business to attract endless leads.  Check it out!

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Attention – Network Marketing Is NOT A Bad Word!

Ok, so technically it’s two words, but I think you get my point.  I never cease to be amazed at just how few people understand what network marketing, multi-level marketing, or direct sales are all about.  Those of you who do have network marketing experience no doubt know exactly what I am talking about.  For the record, legitimate network marketing opportunities are not illegal, nor are they a ponzi scheme, pyramid scheme, get-rich-quick scam, and they don’t deplete the ozone layer.  Yet, I have heard those accusations time and time again (except the last one, which I threw in to see if you were paying attention) by people who really don’t know what network marketing entails.  Please understand that I don’t blame people for not understanding what network marketing actually is; rather, I wish that those same people who don’t know what it is would refrain from yelling from the rooftops that they are certain that it’s an illegal scheme and that anyone involved in it is part of some nefarious movement bent on stealing the souls and life savings of all unsuspecting victims. Hasn’t it always been sound advice to refrain from commenting too vociferously on things that we don’t understand?

So, what is network marketing then if it’s not those things?  From Entrepreneur.com, Network Marketing is “a business model in which a distributor network is needed to build the business. Usually such businesses are also multilevel marketing in nature in that payouts occur at more than one level. Network Marketing is a type of business opportunity that is very popular with people looking for part-time, flexible businesses. Some of the best-known companies in America, including Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Tupperware, fall under the network marketing umbrella. Network marketing programs feature a low upfront investment–usually only a few hundred dollars for the purchase of a product sample kit–and the opportunity to sell a product line directly to friend, family and other personal contacts. Most network marketing programs also ask participants to recruit other sales representatives. The recruits constitute a rep’s “downline,” and their sales generate income for those above them in the program.” 

Now, even though I am the CFO of a $30 million organization and have a Masters Degree from an Ivy League university, people should not take my word for it when I say that network marketing is the most viable way of creating real wealth in today’s economy.  So, let’s see what others are saying about it.  Network Marketing is a business model that is heartily endorsed by such renowned business people as Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, David Bach, author of the Finish Rich books, and some guy named Donald Trump. Oh, and did I mention that Warren Buffet invests in a direct-selling company?  It’s one thing to “get something over” on someone like me, but I highly doubt that one would be able to sucker those four gentlemen.

Do you need to do your due diligence and research various companies to make sure that they are legitimate before shelling out any money?  Of course!  According to legal-dictionary.com, a ponzi scheme is “A fraudulent investment plan in which the investments of later investors are used to pay earlier investors, giving the appearance that the investments of the initial participants dramatically increase in value in a short amount of time.”   That’s the difference between a fraud and a legitimate network marketing opportunity – the independent distributors do not receive any money directly from people who sign into the business, and no one gets paid unless someone actually purchases the products or services.  When I started my Adaptogenix business, I paid the company directly for setting up my business, from my websites, tracking my sales, providing technical support and accounting needs,  to organizing my team.  And all this for a one-time payment of $55.00!  Tell me this, where else can a husband, father of 9 and full-time employee obtain a business that I can do in my spare time for such a ridiculously low fee?  Nowhere except network marketing.  For full disclosure, I do purchase product myself each month in order to be eligible to be paid, but because the products are healthy and developed by a Harvard-trained doctor, it’s something I would be buying anyway.

Feel free to comment below and express your feelings about network marekting – the pros, the cons and your experiences with this industry.  And if you want to find out why I think Adaptogenix is the next billion dollar company in the health and wellness industry, let me know! (I know, so much for subtlety . . .)

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I’m Not An Expert, But I Play One on YouTube . . .

Boy, it’s been a  L O N G  time since I’ve been back here in the blogosphere.  Have I missed anything important?

I felt compelled to sit down and put my two cents into the use of online marketing for your network marketing business.  I don’t think it will end up being a rant per se, but there are some things about the online world of network marketing that, quite frankly, perturb me (I’ve been waiting to write ‘perturb’ for too long!).

Perturbish item #1:  “Insider Secrets!”

Search ‘network marketing’ on the net or YouTube and check out the results.  You can’t swing a stuffed animal (don’t want the PETA people after me, so I deliberately didn’t say dead cat . . . oops) without being bombarded with promises to take you “behind the curtain and show you the Insider Secrets that only a handful of top money earners know.”  Umm, excuse me, but if 124 people claim to have the Insider Secrets, how can they still be considered secrets?!?  By definition, only a small percentage of people try to start their own business, and a smaller number of those people choose the route of network marketing.  So, while these little tricks of the millionaire’s trade may be unfamiliar to the mass public, they are by no means “secrets” to many online marketers.

Don’t get me wrong, the individuals that first thought up these creative ways to market and grow their business should definitely get props for their work.  But, the more people they train and mentor to use their techniques, the less those techniques remain “secrets.”  I would much rather have someone tell me that they will teach me proven techniques that have the potential to help me grow my business, whether or not they are “closely guarded secrets.”  People just want to know that something works and that they have a fighting chance to succeed.  Don’t shroud it in a mystery that it isn’t, and just tell it like it is.

Perturbish item #2:  “I’m an expert!”

Is it me, or is there a proliferation of experts roaming cyber space these days?  Pretty much everyone who has a MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, etc., page claims to be an expert at network marketing, online marketing and the like.  Now, certainly some of them are experts and they have much wisdom to impart.  But come on, can 95% of the people be experts?  Of course not.  I know that there are programs, businesses, courses, etc., out there that encourage you to state that you are indeed an expert in your particular business, even if it’s your first day.  The reasoning?  You know more than the person who hasn’t read the first 2 pages of your sponsor’s website, so if you know more than them, you can confidently claim to be an expert.  It reminds me of that old commercial for a certain pain medication: “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”  Well, the vast majority of people claiming to be experts on YouTube aren’t experts, but are playing them online.

Look, I get and agree with the fact that someone even on their first day of their network or online marketing opportunity knows more about those industries than the person who’s never pursued such an opportunity.  But can we please have a little more truth in advertising?  The people who are going to want to do the business and who will also succeed don’t need to be lured in like that if the opportunity and the leaders are legitimate and worthy.  Again, I’d much rather someone say to me, “I got involved in this business because I need a way to improve my life, and these are the reasons I chose this opportunity.  I get to work with a leader that’s already been where I am now and has become very successful and respected in the business.  Also, the training is great.  So, you have to decide for yourself, but I’m going to give this my all and become successful with or without you.”  That’s what I want to hear and the kind of person with whom I want to work.

Perturbish item #3:  “If you really wanted to, you’d find the money.”

I have to think that we’ve all heard these words at some point of our entrepreneurial endeavors.  “If you’re serious about changing your life, you will find the money you need to enter at the highest level of our business.”  Well, I have to respectfully disagree.  Sometimes people can’t get the money they need to start their business or take that class or market their opportunity.  The reason they are looking for a way out of their current situation is precisely because they have no extra money and no one from whom to get it.  That’s not to say that network marketing opportunities are too highly priced; one of the reasons I first got involved in network marketing opportunities was because they were so affordable.  Where else can you start your own business for a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars?  Not with a franchise or other brick-and-mortar stores.  My point is, however, that it’s all relative and based on the individual’s current reality.  If I’m having trouble making ends meet and have no family or friends from whom I can borrow money, then no amount of desire is going to put “extra” money into my hand overnight.  Sometimes, it just takes time for people to come up with the cash.  That doesn’t make them lazy or unmotivated or unable to do the business.  Sometimes, it just makes them normal.

Well, glad that’s off my chest.  Hope I didn’t sound too harsh or negative.  It’s just that I think it’s more important to tell it like it is, even if you are fairly new and aren’t making thousands a month.  You conscious will remain clear and people will respect you more for being honest.  We can be humble while also being determined.  We all have to start somewhere.

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Life’s Funny That Way…

Maybe the only thing that’s predictable in this life that we lead is that life isn’t always predictable (now there’s an understatement).  Just when we think we’ve gotten things figured out, life throws us a curve, perhaps to remind us that we aren’t the ones in control.  I’m sure you can all relate.

When our son Steven was born 7 1/2 years ago, the doctors found that he had a collapsed lung and a “spot” on his lung.  He was in the Transitional Nursery for ten days, which meant that we could not hold him at all for the first few days.  You feel helpless because you want so much to hold your baby and “make everything all right.”  Fortunately, his problems were fairly minor compared to almost all of the other babies in that nursery.  After ten days he was healed up and we were bringing him home.

I had taken some time off from my job so that I could spend more time taking care of the other children and to also spend time at the hospital with Diane and Steven.  It was on a Wednesday that I went back in to work, trying to catch up on as many assignments as I could that first day.  Around 1:00 in the afternoon, I received a phone call from Human Resources asking me to come up to their office.  Clearly this is never a good thing.  Sure enough, I was informed that my position was being terminated and I was thanked for all of my hard work.  At the time, I had an “unclassified” position with the State of New Jersey, which meant that I served at the pleasure of the Commissioner and/or Governor.  I was placed in the unclassified position in an attempt to get around the red tape involved in getting a job with the State (it had been three months, and they didn’t want to wait any longer to have me start).  Unfortunately for me, this was shortly after New Jersey voters, for some inexplicable and inexcusable reason, voted Jim McGreevey in as Governor.  Well, to the victor go the spoils, and everyone in my title that was unclassified was terminated (their word) so they could free up positions as rewards for their political “friends.” 

So there I was, out of work with five children, one of whom had just spent his first ten days in the hospital, wondering what I would do next.  The story does have a happy ending, though, because two weeks later I was once again gainfully employed.

You see, I was painfully reminded at that time that life is not always predictable.  I was laid off twice in a nine month span, and things clearly weren’t going according to my plans.  Things could have been different for me, for us, had I done just a few things differently.  I was following the “go to school, get a good secure job and stay there until retirement” approach to life.  But what happens when the economy changes, or the politics change?  This formula did not address such issues.  I was letting someone else determine what I did every day, depending upon them to provide the money needed for my family.  While I do believe that at that time of my life, the best thing for me was to have a job, I should have been thinking outside of the box.  I should have been not only thinking about making sure my income stream was secure and not dependent upon an employer, but I should have been taking action as well.  Had I developed a business, in my spare time, while I was working my full time job, I would have been more prepared financially to deal with job loss.  In fact, I could have positioned myself to walk away from a job and spend more time with my family, instead of worrying about how many vacation days or sick days I was taking while my newborn lay in the hospital.  My journey toward financial independence could have, and should have, started years earlier, but I was not exposed to that kind of mindset that says you need to take control of your future.

Even though life is unpredictable, everyone should plan their immediate and long term future.  If you are relying on wages to get you where you want to be in 3, 5, 10 or 20 years, you just may be in for a rude awakening.  Develop a Plan B.  Who knows, your Plan B, could very well become your plan A and change your life.  Life may be unpredictable at times, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t attack it head on and strive for a better future for our families.

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Nothing Personal, It’s Just Business

Diane and I were watching a movie last night, New In Town, and one particular scene caught my attention more than others.  Lucy is a corporate executive from Miami who has to go to Minnesota to reorganize one of the company’s plants.  Part of the reorganization includes layoffs (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it!), and one of the plant workers, who has gone out of her way to be kind and helpful to Lucy, finds herself on the list.  She confronts Lucy, but Lucy is caught off guard and stammers through her explanation.  At that point, her employee interjects that familiar line, “I know, it’s business, nothing personal.”  She then asks why it can’t ever be personal, that people’s lives are greatly affected by these corporate moves and that it absolutely is personal when someone loses their job.  (If you want to know more, rent the movie.)

We hear that line countless times, “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.”  In network marketing, or MLM, it absolutely is personal.  Most people start a network marketing opportunity because they want a better life for their families, they want to get out of a job that they might not like but have to keep if they are going to put food on the table, they want to get out of debt, and many other personal reasons.  There is always a personal story behind every individual’s decision to embark on a network marketing business.

If you want to succeed in this business, you need to focus on the fact that your new or potential distributors are people seeking a better life, not just numbers to accumulate so that you can get your monthly bonus.  At a training event, one of my mentors expressed it this way, “You’ve got people’s lives at stake.”  A bit dramatic?  Maybe, but for many people, they look at the business opportunity as their one last, best chance to get out of a desperate situation.  The people who join your business are looking at you as the person that can guide them and lead them to the outcome they desire.  We’ve probably all heard it said that people join people, not businesses.  You can’t get much more personal than that.

Am I saying that you need to babysit people or drag people along to make them be successful.  Of course not.  As Jim Rohn says, you help the people that deserve it, not necessarily the ones who need it.  If a distributor is not teachable or willing to do what it takes to grow their business, then you obviously can’t waste your time trying to get them to work.  I am saying that we need to look at the people around us, the new reps and the potential reps, and realize that, when they join our buinsess, we owe them something.  They are trusting you, and you need to provide the appropriate leadership.

Afterall, it’s always personal.

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