Connection Marketing — A Platform For Millennials
I have personally reached a point in my career at which I can reflect back on some decisions and say, “I’m so glad I did that in my 20s.” And on the flip side of that coin, I’m also thinking, “Why didn’t I think about this sooner?”
I’ve had hundreds of conversations about the job market conditions for millennials. Having teens at home and envisioning their future, I also have a very personal interest in seeing younger generations creating true wellness in their lives.
I’ve come to believe that connection-based marketing (also known as network marketing) can offer a perfect side-gig for 20- and 30-somethings to get ahead. One that can turn into a sizable income-producing asset, before they’re sandwiched between work, a spouse, children, dogs, aging parents, football games and dance carpool. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
What’s special about the millennials?
At their core, millennials (born between 1981–1996) are a passionate, responsible group. They’re serious about succeeding in their career and care deeply about their work-life balance. They care about the ethics of the company they work for, and have big expectations for financial compensation. Essentially, they want to be “doing well by doing good.” This makes perfect sense as many millennials are entering the workforce with a lot of school debt, and their ultimate goal is to thrive within the system while making a difference.
Millennials are also very entrepreneurial and view career success quite differently than their parents do. According to a recent study by Bentley University, 66% of millennials would like to start their own business, and 37% want to work on their own. In fact, millennials are realizing that starting a company, even if it crashes and burns, teaches them more in two years than sitting in a cubicle for 20 years.
So, why don’t more millennials pursue their entrepreneurial ideas?
In my conversations with people in their 20s and early 30s, I was surprised to discover that although they DO have the entrepreneurial spirit, very few actually take the entrepreneurial route. It wasn’t until I saw this article — “Where are all of the young millennial entrepreneurs?” — that I began to understand this better.
From a young person’s perspective, the entrepreneurial landscape has changed to where it may not be worth the effort to pursue their ideas. For instance, “…the immense regulation of small businesses today makes the barrier to entry so much higher that plucky young upstarts are much less likely to be able to get off the ground.”
Adding in the common educational culture of rewarding effort while squelching innovation, plus leaving college with a lot of debt, millennials will most often settle for “safe” jobs rather than venturing out on their own.
However, this helps us understand why millennials are perfectly positioned to pursue a side-gig.
A recent study found that more than a third of millennials are pursuing freelance and project-based work in an effort to find their passion without incurring undue stress. This trend will continue to grow in popularity as it offers options not otherwise possible.
Starting to build a side-business in a network marketing company is one of these options. It can turn into a significant income source that might just be a perfect fit for the millennials’ mindset and unique emotional makeup.
Why is connection-based marketing a good fit for young professionals?
1. Low risk, high benefits. Becoming an Independent Consultant or Brand Partner in a network marketing company is an entrepreneurial venture without any of the traditional entrepreneurial risks. The “risks” are purely emotional, and the benefits are immense personal and business growth.
2. Business mentorship. According to a recent Bentley University study, millennials love getting coached, particularly at the beginning of their career when they need more support and validation. And I’m not just talking about training on how to do things. I’m talking about ongoing mentorship on success mindset and the art of leadership — the type of mentorship that’s inherent in a network marketing team.
3. Servant leadership. Within our industry, servant leadership is required in order to make an impact. Why? People work as a community in collaboration, and no one is a manager or boss of another. Imagine a “flat” organization when everyone has the same role and responsibility of being a spokesperson.
Leadership is built by creating a community culture that’s focused on helping others to succeed. A recent Deloitte survey indicates that the #1 reason that millennials leave their jobs is lack of opportunities for leadership development. Network marketing offers priceless leadership training that millennials crave.
4. Take advantage of freedom. Millennials have relative freedom. Yes, young adults in their 20s and 30s have bills to pay and tough challenges in a very competitive workplace. But many don’t (yet) have the extended family responsibilities competing for their time and emotional investment. This is the time to get ahead, to diversify, and to intentionally lay out a game plan that can really pay off later on.
5. Take advantage of free training. This one is big. Because connection-based marketing is a combination of personal branding, marketing, business development and coaching — key entrepreneurial skills — it’s nice that they’re already built into the program.
6. Connection and community. Referring to the study by Bentley University, millennials are communicators and love social interaction. The crux of building a team in a networking-based company is building relationships and connections, creating a culture, a tribe of people with similar values. Millennials are uniquely poised to not only deeply appreciate this community-building, but to enthusiastically embrace it.
7. Inspire others about business ownership. Zachary Slayback discusses the implications of the example set by watching parents who are entrepreneurs. “Growing up with entrepreneurship in your household makes it seem less daunting, but so does growing up with it in your community.” By embracing an entrepreneurial side-gig, millennials have the opportunity to become entrepreneurial parents and inspire not only their family, but their entire community.
It can be frustrating for a young person to figure out which seeds to plant. It can also feel overwhelming to know how to build alternative income options that can pay dividends in the long run. As a 40-something professional who has worked corporate jobs, owned a solo business, and built a network marketing business, I can tell you that deliberate, strategic moves today can create a satisfying work-life mix for the long run.
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