Networking

Episode 84 – Friday, August 12th, 2016 (7164)

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Within last week, my friend from The Feast asked me thru text message if I was still interested to join her “work” about travel. I didn’t reply because I had no more cellphone load to respond about her offer. That was the only time that she reminded me about travel business where I had been belonged (as business partner) two years ago. When I saw her photos in Facebook, she and her friends (as business partners) went anywhere, not only in the Philippines, but also in abroad. But the question is… why do they keep posting their photos (about travel) on social media as an inspiration or brag to make other envy? Maybe…?

Well, in this episode (I think it might be contentious), I’m talking about networking, not social networking, but as in network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM). I know most people do not want to join this kind of business because it’s risky and might have been thought as “scam” (victimized other people to tempt them to become richer or to have “easy money”). But most of us don’t know about it because many individuals are already successful doing their business. It may be controversial because they must recruit people to become as their “downlines”, but it might be helpful to make their lives stable (and they will be no longer called as employees working in their high-paid bosses).

During that time when I became jobless in mid-2013, it was a tough time to search for another job that I was looking for. But one time, I saw the opportunity to earn something while I was out of job. There are my former “businesses” that I had worked within only a year:

(Note: I just use “common names” instead of names of their businesses or companies to protect their identities.)

Cellphone Load

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Around August 2013, I saw an advertisement thru social media (or website elsewhere) where I would earn thru prepaid cellphone load. I immediately sent a text message to a contact person posted on the page, and I talked her about the business that I was willing to start. In the next following days, I went to Ortigas to meet up one of her friends there, but he didn’t show up due of his busy works. He said his apology me to not show up on the meeting, but he promised he would meet me in Laguna anytime. After few days, we finally met up in a mall where he presented me his PowerPoint presentation about the loading business. After the presentation, I prepared the payment for the business, and he gave me a package – a tarpaulin, cards, booklets for procedures and some SIM cards that featured a load wallet. On that time, I became “technopreneur” (a combination of technology and entrepreneur) on the business.

Starting a new business was quite hard at first. I was trying to contact some of my friends who were interested to join my business. But only few showed up for my meeting (including my former girlfriend) to present my business. It was probably because they were too busy enough or they didn’t want to have part-time job. However, the good thing, for me, was to have own load wallet that I could load my own cellphone (in discounted prices plus a special SIM had unlimited text and calls, and a big byte of data) anytime, anywhere without getting hassle and going out to buy cellphone load in a mini store (or so-called sari-sari store). So, I wondered why most people were patiently going to the store to buy their cellphone load (most stores increase the price up to two pesos).

In late 2013, I decided to discontinue “recruiting” some new prospects for my loading business (although I continued to use load wallet for important purposes) to jump in a new business presented by my old friend and former college classmate.

Travel Business

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Early October 2013, I saw a Facebook post from one of my friend (and also former college classmate) named “royalprince” (not real name) that he had already earned more than 50,000 pesos in total just doing his own business. I was so curious about it, and I tried to contact him. Days later, one Sunday afternoon, he invited me on a seminar where he and some of my friends from the Feast (coincidentally) would present their business about travel. I was so innocent during that time because he was always asking some of them about this kind of business. The business that they worked was about high-end hotels here and abroad in discounted prices, and it had also have a chance to earn more money by recruiting new members. One of my friends showed me and other first timers about earnings where she presented a special “pyramid” which many thought it was a “scam”. But she clarified and explained that a member had a chance to jump in to the next level. After the presentation, I was thinking that I was interested to invest the new business (as most of them encouraged me to join their team). However, I took my mind first to decide whether I would join their travel business or pursue my loading business (where “royalprince” once tried it, but he failed). Just few weeks after, I joined their team to start the travel business.

During the course after becoming a member, there were some meetings, seminars, one-on-one presentations, and attending a big event gathering with some members from across the country to discuss and to share their stories and inspirations. In March 2014, I joined with my friends (as business partners) for an overnight bonding in a hotel in Tagaytay as what they did many times (until now, some of them are still doing this in a discounted price plus adding discounted airfare) while I only had experienced this only once.

However, like my previous business, none of my other friends joined me to become my member (or “downline”) for the travel business. Some were presented by the help of my business partners, but most refused or declined (even they didn’t want to answer our calls on the next follow-ups). Days after our Tagaytay bonding, “royalprince” had something to do with other “job” that he’s interested and decided to leave the travel business after he earned.

Financial School

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Late March 2014, he joined a financial school in Makati where some people learned how to educate about money and investment. During that time, he wanted me to join with him if I would be allowed by our team from travel business. And they understood our departure to join the financial school which was technically considered as our new “business”. I and “royalprince” (as my “upline”) became associates after we joined the new opportunity where we met new friends and learned new financial lessons for our future savings and investment.

During the course, we attended seminars every Tuesday and Friday nights in Makati to learn financial education from the experts. We also attended big events like gala night (wearing formal dresses) and seminar presented by the most respected advisors and financial experts. I was so happy to learn something from them.

However, most of the times, we got to go home almost midnight after long meetings with “uplines”. I almost complained about having “overtime” meeting (sometimes I felt so hungry) because my home in Laguna was far from Makati where most provincial buses had their last trips before leaving to the destination. One more thing, most of my business partners were just such boring compared to my old team when I was belonged to their travel business. Sorry, but honestly I was not happy to be with them because of their “boredom” (including the one who was so bragged as the one in my old team for travel business). The trip to Hong Kong last October 2014 was my last appearance for the team with “royalprince”. Although I was happy to have travel abroad for the first time after U.S. in 2004, I was starting to leave from the team that we had been together for only 7 months. After our trip, I decided to not show up to their meetings and night seminars anymore.

The Departure

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Even within days before my trip to Hong Kong, I confessed one of my trusted friends from my old team in travel business that I was so dissatisfied with my new team, including “royalprince”, my former college classmate despite of learning good financial lessons. Also, I was disappointed to “royalprince” because instead of helping me, he just made me as his “aide” when he commanded me something to do (especially when I printed colored pictures for our trip) while he was too “busy”. I felt him being “bossy”, and he didn’t even return my money that he borrowed from our Hong Kong trip (I was trying to remind him, but instead he complained about the computation of his borrowings). I remembered when I was presented by my friend (who was also an exchange student back in 2004) about food supplement in early 2014 “royalprince” told me that I must stick with him in only one business. During that time, we’re working as “business partners” for the travel business. But two months later, he contradicted and broke his promise as he was about to join financial school in Makati in which later I joined. And he wanted me to stay with them living in a rental room near Makati, but later I refused because I knew he would “use” me for the expenses. Since then, I decided to “unfriend” him in any form of communication (he had also connected to “Cutie Chinese” and “Chubby”, both were my former college classmates and already excommunicated).

Around October 2014, before the trip, I decided to attend a travel opportunity presentation instead going to Makati for the orientation of Hong Kong trip and seminar of the financial school (“royalprince” was trying to contact me, but I decided to have bonding with my old team instead). I was thinking during the time that I would return my old team and do the travel business again after my short stint in financial school. However, I finally decided to never return to do any of these businesses. I was starting to change my cellphone number to avoid being contacted from them sending annoying text messages (I was irritated every time when they sent me in a text blast, “congratulations to bha… bha… bha… (names of the members),” but without stating my name) and to unfollow them in Facebook (but still remained friends except for “royalprince”).

Also, I decided to discontinue my “job” on these businesses (considering as multi-level marketing) because none of my friends (even my family) were interested or refused to become a member. Most of them rejected my calls every time when I talked about business that I offered to them. Some were already presented but never joined. My personality is also the reason why I decided to stop doing the “networking” because of my speech defective (tongue-twisted, I mean). I’m not a socialized person (I’m not too much talking to the strangers or unknowns), but at least I did my best.

Aftermath

Months after my decision to stop doing “networking”, there were many changes from most of my friends who were the part of the team (especially in travel business) and took apart to do other businesses. Some of them decided to leave their travel business and to start their own; first they (including “royalprince”) worked for health wellness, and then the one is now working for real estate. Some others (including the one who is so mayabang or bragged) are remained on their team doing and expanding their travel business where they could travel, not only in the Philippines, but in abroad (thru discounted hotels and airfares). While in the financial school where I was belonged, most of my friends there became successful leaders as they have “downlines” to growth their businesses (as well as saving and investing in the stock market). Although I’m no longer belonged to their team, they’re remained as my friends, and I continue to deposit for my healthcare (thanks to “royalprince” who ruined my bank savings, but it is okay for me to have long-term healthcare).

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As of now, I don’t want to join or to work in a network marketing anymore because I have no close friends who want to help me in business and in financial growth. I know most of my friends outside (or even in my family) will decline the meetings, attending the seminar, or even calling them on my phone to talk about the business that they thought it is “scam”, but they’re afraid to face the truth behind. Multi-level marketing (MLM) may have a risk business for everyone. It may make the “uplines” richer while their “downlines” copy on what they did (considering as hierarchy). I’m not judging about this kind of business (baka sabihin eh I’m thinking negative about network marketing), but honestly, I’m interested to do and pursue networking if ever I have good and trusted friends to support.

Within one year (2013-2014), I had three different businesses that I failed to work on. But I learned something a lot from the mentors who wanted me and others to inspire their hard work and patience. I hope it’s my right decision to not join any businesses (that specify recruiting other people as my “downlines”) because I don’t want to take any risk that affect my future. I understand some of my friends will become successful someday by doing their businesses, and also they understand me for not pursuing what they’re doing. We have own right decisions that we must respect. That’s our own choice.

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