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Helping Your Company and Your Downline

In the MLM/Direct Sales/Network Marketing/Party Plan profession, someone once said, and was fond of telling his Distributors, "You're in business for yourself but not by yourself." Most of these companies (using many different names to describe themselves) provide their Distributors with up to date websites and tools to help support those individual businesses. But, IMHO (in my humble opinion), there's at least one other important support source for Distributors and their parent companies: an industry trade association.

Our profession (MLM/Direct Sales/Network Marketing/Party Plan, Person to Person and possibly more names have been added to this list) has several trade associations (you can find some under the different names listed above and associations) but again, IMHO there are only two major organizations of this type. One is located in Washington DC and the other, the Multi-Level Marketing International Association (MLMIA) is a 30 year old (1985) located in Southern California. You might be selling vitamins, cosmetics, equipment, toys or any other legally accepted product in the eyes of the government and the consumer and these organizations bring together legislative and educational support for the entire MLM/Network Marketing/Direct Sales industry.

Instead of all the names above for our industry, I’m going to use the term MLM. And, I know that might turn some of you off, but it is the one most respected in Asia and the rest of the world and the oldest name for our extremely large group (outside of Direct Sales). The term Network Marketing wasn’t used much until the late 70’s (but that’s another story in our history books). And, if you’ll come along with me for a bit, you’ll understand what MLM really means, and I’ve heard it all. MLM could mean Making Lots Money, Moving Lots Merchandise, Making Love More, etc., but my favorite has always been that MLM means “Making Life Meaningful”.

Back to our subject… MLMIA is located on the sun drenched coast of beautiful California (in Irvine, CA which actually touches Newport Beach). No coincidence here, since MLM is especially popular in the Sun Belt states of California, Arizona, Texas and Florida and Southern California is probably the center of the industry, although some people will debate and say that Utah carries the title now. The MLMIA has affiliates worldwide, from the South Pacific to London and the Middle East.

Founded in 1985, the MLMIA leans toward members from the younger generation of MLM companies, although, thank goodness, many older established companies are involved as well. As founder and chairman of the MLMIA, the principal reasons the association was formed was "We felt the direct selling industry needed an organization that focused solely on the problems and issues of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies." In addition, we felt Distributors needed to have a participatory role in industry issues. We were the only trade association to accept all Network Marketing/MLM companies (Corporate), supplier companies (that we term Support) and Independent Contractors (individual Distributors) as members. Our goal is to “Support Multi-Level Marketing throughout the world." MLMIA members have done just that, by testifying before legislatures on industry issues and by playing important roles in cases affecting Network Marketing/MLM. In addition, the MLMIA helps weed out disreputable operators and pyramid schemes and has adopted ethics screening standards for its members.

MLMIA, (a non-profit 501c6) has led a task force that met regularly with attorneys general and government regulators to maintain open lines of communication between the MLM/Network Marketing industry and government. We spoke at their meetings, and they spoke at ours. It's been a beneficial relationship for the industry and for consumers as well.

The MLMIA provides a wide variety of educational materials and hosts conferences on the industry, with specific segments devoted to issues of interest to individual and corporate members. "Since the organization is there to support both Distributors, Corporate and Support Members, we feel it's important to provide a balance of programs and activities." In addition, members can obtain benefits through the MLMIA. Distributors are encouraged to call their parent company and ask if they belong; you all (along with everyone in a company) may be eligible for benefits. And please don't be shy about individual membership, either; you'll enjoy even more benefits for being part of this group.

The MLMIA is there to support YOU, but they can't help you if YOU don't get involved. Find out about membership. You have nothing to lose - and much to gain. www.mlmia.com or call 959.257.0931 and ask for Doris.