A funded proposal, in our context, is (designed as) a way of generating your own leads for your network marketing business without spending money, overall, on doing so. The idea is that you build a list by selling something really low-priced which is of value to its purchasers, and by doing so you build a list of potential “leads” for your main business, the one you actually want to promote. So you offer an e-book, typically, about something relevant and interesting, and you make it look really attractive and good value so that it more or less “sells itself” (allegedly), and this way you end up with a list, and as all the internet marketing people will tell you, “the money is in the list”. But the $3 or whatever you charge for the e-book pays for all your marketing, thus netting you the list “without paying for it”. Thats the basic idea, anyway.
This is all well and good (perhaps) if you’re an internet marketer, but if you’re trying to build a network marketing business, its really a hugely flawed idea and in my opinion something to run a mile away from rather than considering at all.
These are among the reasons why I would never dream of touching one, myself:-
(i) Its a huge distraction from your “real business”
(ii) It means that youre effectively running two businesses instead of one (this is an under-appreciated and actually monumental problem about which I‘ll say a lot more in later posts, so perhaps enough said, for the moment)
(iii) It doesnt duplicate well at all (the people promoting funded proposals claim that it can do, and theyre wrong)
(iv) Its basically a “bait and switch” approach. What youre really doing is “baiting” people with one thing (the little e-book or whatever) and then trying eventually to “switch” a proportion of the resulting “leads” over to your main business (which wasn‘t what they were looking for, and thats why theyre not really leads, of course). So the reality is that you’re trying to persuade. This in itself is a dreadfully bad idea for a whole number of other reasons. Among them, the key point is perhaps that when youre promoting a business opportunity you should be promoting it only to people who are looking for a business opportunity of that kind (of whom there are an enormous number, especially at the moment), because anything else is really making life difficult for yourself
(v) So, the underlying idea of using a funded proposal is that youre trying to persuade people to look at your business opportunity because its you whos asking. In other words, you gradually “establish credibility” with them by “building a relationship with them”. Thats usually a euphemism for bombarding them with autoresponder email spam until a few of them eventually succumb and are willing to look at your main business just because they feel they “know and trust you”, and as we know, “people do business with people they know and trust”. There is actually something in this last point, but not as I‘ve quoted it here at all, and it‘s a hugely misunderstood and widely misused idea when - as here - it’s used to try to explain away something that was never actually true in the first place. The real point is that only people who have already decided they wanted to do business, do business that lasts: people who join you because you persuaded them are very unlikely, collectively, to be a success. Stable, successful, growing and duplicating downlines are ones in which the majority of distributors understand this point and pass it on
(vi) Its all rather deceptive, and in the early stages (which can last for a year or so) people can actually imagine that its “really working” because they do get some “leads” this way, and more to the point, they actually manage to sponsor some of them into their main business. This is the point that proponents of funded proposals always make: they werent sponsoring without using one, and now theyre using one and theyre “suddenly sponsoring people”. All well and good, you might think? Ah, but no - sadly, this is also wrong. What they usually havent worked out yet, when they say that, is that most of the people theyre sponsoring, who were not really looking for that business opportunity until someone persuaded them, will eventually drop out - it can take two years to learn this!
(vii) So the reality is that all the people who started a year ago, whose sponsor started a year before that, are actually unknowingly copying failure, and they really dont know what theyre talking about. You can even see this for yourself if you look around the forum archives of all the online forums where network marketing people discuss and promote their businesses. There are loads of threads with titles like “Funded Proposals Really Work” (a real triumph of hope over experience, this title!). These forum posters, all of whom have either a financial or an emotional investment in getting across their point of view, are not still there 3 years later: they have copied failure and dropped out of the business. They are not among the successful few who have actually worked on one business successfully and consistently and built it up into a highly profitable and ever-expanding source of making a great living.
They all started off thinking they would be, of course, because they had “expert coaching” from a “top mentor”, but strangely enough, the one thing they almost all have in common a couple of years later is that it didn’t work out for them, and they ended up becoming statistics. Of course, understandably enough, you cant tell them this at the time, because theyre simply doing what their sponsor (who knew no better) advised them to do. And you can’t tell them later either, because they’re not usually there.
The problem is that the learning-curve with funded proposals is long and most of the self-styled “experts” doing the teaching are not yet even half-way along it.
Funded proposals are, in short, one of the reasons why the overall failure-rate is so high in network marketing: they fool people into believing that theyre working for long enough for people to duplicate and promote them. In the long run they achieve almost nothing.
Unfortunately, however, theyre really masterfully promoted online by internet marketers who make a fortune out of network marketers and build their own lists in this way. As we all know, its easier to make some fast money selling a perceived service to network marketers by being an “expert” or a “consultant” or a “guru” or a “mentor” or a “coach” (all people to keep well away from, if thats how they have to describe themselves to do any business!) than it is to make your fortune in network marketing, and some of these people are really good self-promoters, too. So the appearance of the whole thing is terribly deceptive.
As in any other sort of endeavour, people have an enormous emotional investment in “not having screwed up with what theyre doing”. So I was really surprised when I posted sentiments very similar to the above in two different internet forums recently and actually found a large succession of people agreeing with me and almost nobody dissenting at all. Perhaps a bit cynically, I’d been expecting a succession of posts saying “No, Yuliya, youve got it all wrong: I built my whole business with a funded proposal” (offered, of course, by people conveniently not mentioning that theyve been doing it for two years already and theyre only earning $500 or $800 per month, i.e. not even making a living yet). Well, I didn’t really expect that at The Network Marketing Forum, because a high proportion of our members there are among the more successful representatives of network marketing, who obviously know better, but I expected it elsewhere, and I was wrong.
If you ask only people who are truly successful in network marketing (if indeed you can identify them to start with) youll get a very different impression of this whole subject from the one you’d form just from seeing the “Funded Proposals Really Work” forum posts (usually of recent members).
Not that I have strong feelings about this subject, of course. Just strong enough for me not knowingly to be willing to sponsor into my own business anyone whos planning to use a funded proposal to build their (and therefore my) business, because its just not worth my while in the long run, and is far more likely to lead to time-consuming problems than to future income.