One of the things I have been doing for the past year and a half is working on my business skills. The reason? Well, I feel that skills like leadership, team-work, orientation to goals, financial intelligence and time management, among others, are part of what we need if we want to achieve those great things we dream of, even if they’re not business related. If you’re an assiduous reader of Youthink! blog, chances are that you have great dreams about our world becoming a better place to live, so business skills may also be important for you.
During this time I have realized that one of the best vehicles I know of, to learn and practice business skills, are companies that are based on network marketing models. Warning: a lot of you might disagree with me on this one. But you know what? My experience with this type of model so far has made me learn so many valuable things that I thought they were worth sharing with all of you. Feel free to comment, though!
These business models have their foundation in the late nineteenth century  and they have been revolutionizing the world since the 1950’s with the appearance of Amway . Growing since 2001, the global direct retail sales accounted for more than $114 billion in 2007, a year in which almost 63 million people were involved in the industry . Frankly, when I saw these figures I was amazed at how big this industry is!
I guess you must be thinking “what does this have to do with our world’s development?” and the answer, from my point of view is: a lot. As Robert Kiyosaki  says, network marketing models are based on teaching people (pdf)  with any background (the only real requirement is to be able to read and write) the skills to create, maintain and strengthen a sustainable business. These skills include: personal finances and time management, leadership, team-work, vision, and focus. The reason why these models work like this is because these skills are the foundation to building a solid and successful network of people, which is, of course, the key success factor for this type of business.
Network marketing models offer a democratic alternative for those who want to drastically improve their income and therefore their quality of life. This is why I believe they can be seen as very useful development tools that can be applied in almost any country in the world. In my case, even after having studied business administration and having had four years of professional experience focused on building and strengthening business of diverse types, I have learned a lot about entrepreneurship, sales and real orientation to goals while developing my network marketing business. The main reason behind this learning is that this model is ideal to practice while you learn, and I just think that’s awesome. Another thing that I love about network marketing businesses is the possibility to learn directly from those who have achieved amazing things and can teach with their example. In this picture we were all at a hotel lobby in Quito, Ecuador, learning from one of the greatest leaders of the network marketing company with which I work. He has earned literally millions of dollars thanks to his work during the last five years or so and he was right there, next to us, teaching us what he has learned with practical tools that we could apply right away. What other type of business leader does that? I assure you, not many.
So! Questions and comments time: What do you think about this? Granted you have been in touch with a lot of network marketing companies (or not) and you may have a good or bad opinion about them (or not). Please let send in your thoughts on how valuable these models can be for our world’s development.