Sunday, January 25, 2009

Many Benefits of being a Linked In Open Networker (LION)

Hi again... the below is from a response to someone asking about all the Open Networkers asking for invitations on  If you are not aware of LinkedIn, please visit there, set up a profile, and ask me to connect with you.  There are now specialists who teach how to leverage this free resource, but, I'm simply copying and pasting a response to an inquiry below for your brief education...

There are a wide variety of benefits to having a large network, both in person and online. For example, after hearing how America is loosing jobs at a rate not seen since 1945, I started a group called College Graduate Job Hunters just today, and sent out a quick invitation to 1,700+ of my direct connections in just a few clicks. No doubt that as this group grows, it will be of service to recent college grads seeking employment in a very competitive environment... and having a larger network will make it grow faster. 

Further, there is a tradition on LinkedIn and other sites of being an "Open Networker." These folks, also called LIONs (Linked In Open Networker), both grow their own personal direct connections but also leave them viewable by other direct connections. So, when HR recruiter friends of mine are looking for a particular talent, with me as a direct connection, they can see the direct connections I have ...again, since I keep them open. 

So, yet another example, a friend of mine, Derrick Hembt, was searching through the 30 million profiles for a certain type of client. He noticed that one of them was only 2 degrees away... and that I had a direct connection with his target. Derrick asked if I would introduce him and state simply my confidence in Derrick's ability to serve his clients. Which I promptly did, using a LinkedIn introduction. Now Derrick is able to start a dialogue with this prospective client. 

When I answered a question posed by one of my direct connections (someone who I had not yet met) in a discussion group, he like my answer so much (and my profile, no doubt) that he picked up the phone and, because he could see my phone number as a direct connection, inquired about my business coaching service. Wouldn't you like prospective clients calling you, already impressed? 

Another one of my direct connections sent me an Executive Summary of his start up, asking if I knew of anyone who would like to review it. Since he knows that I have a large online and offline network, it was likely that I could help him find an investor. After reviewing his Executive Summary, I will be sending him a handful of very qualified investors, and with my further due diligence, I may decide to invest some of my own money with him. I'm sure he will be glad that I am an Open Networker and that he saw my invitation to connect and invited me. 

These are just a few reasons that playing the role of Open Networker on LinkedIn is advantageous for you and for your associates. One big happy family helping each other find partners, investors, employees, clients, or get hired. And, just imagine, for most of us on LinkedIn, it is a free service. 

However, there are others on LinkedIn who choose to use this as simply a way to keep track of their personal friends and associates, and don't make them viewable to anyone else. That's fine. So.... you can be a private "closed" networker or you can be an Open Networker, seeking to connect directly with potential associates from all over the world. It's your choice. Use this service as you see fit. I find it benefits everyone that I know to be a LION. 

I tend to be a Philanthropic Entrepreneur, I "show up giving." I activate the Law of Reciprocity. I offer something of value in order to begin the relationship. I give access to a large and growing network, both on LinkedIn and in person, to those who would find that valuable. And, only in my signature do I mention how I help small business owners. Just like in-person networking, I first find out how I can help someone I just met...Introduce them to a prospective client, etc., I don't start bragging about my achievements. 

I recommend that you not only set up a profile on but also decide to become an Open Networker.  

To Your Success, 

Andrew Barden 
Philanthropic Entrepreneur 
“Love Your Clients. Love Your Profits. Love Your Life.” 866-339-4619 

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Pros and Cons of MLM Distributorships (versus owning a business) - A conversation

Hi again. I wanted to share with you a letter from an MLM distributor as well as my reply back to him. If you are considering joining an MLM, you may want to read my reply. And, no, I'm not soliciting / recruiting. I actually tend to coach people away from MLMs. You'll see why...

I invited my direct connections on LinkedIn to share with their a new group that I started called "College Graduate Job Hunters."

It was started simply as a gesture to help those who are either recent graduates or changing careers later in life to have the ability to ask questions and get them answered by either experts or their peers. You see, there are a lot of HR recruiters on LinkedIn and they do answer questions.

So, given all the bad news about job losses these days (the worst we've seen since 1945), I thought I'd help job hunters, especially recent college grads.

So, to put it this conversation in perspective, I will first copy and paste the invitation I sent out. Then I'll paste his reponse. Then I'll paste my response. Let me know what you think. Did you find my reponse helpful?


On 01/23/09 2:23 AM, Andrew Barden wrote:

With all of the bad news about job losses, I started a group to help college graduates hunting for a new job.

Do you have connections on LinkedIn who would benefit from the discussions and advise offered on this group?

If so, please forward this invitation. Thanks.

To Your Success,

Andrew Barden



Edward Collignon has sent you a message.

Date: 1/23/2009

Subject: RE: LinkedIn Group: College Graduate Job Hunters

Hi Andrew,

You have quite a challenge to find jobs for people today and it's not going to get any better soon. I am personally recruiting quite a few professionals into network marketing because they can see the bleak future for the next couple of years. It used to be a College education guaranteed you a job but not today. More and more people are starting their own business and network marketing is inexpensive and an individual can earn a very substantial income working from home.

If you are not really familiar with network marketing you can purchase an excellent book on it at Amazon for less the $5 used. The book is "Dare to Dream and Work to Win" by Dr. Tom Barrett. A very good read as it adds a lot of credibility to the industry.

If I run across anyone that would be interested in your group I will tell them about it but most of my connections really are more interested in their own business rather then try to find another job.

Have a very successful and prosperous day,

Ed Collignon


Dear Ed,

I'm very familiar with MLMs, the pros and the cons. I'm a business coach/marketing and sales strategy consultant. I've done a few MLMs, too. The pros are everything you mentioned and more... the cons are, according to the Direct Marketing Association's annual study based on numbers provided by the MLMs themselves, that less than 2% ever make over $1,000 per month NET profit, and less than 1% ever make over $10,000 per month. So, 98% of people who join end up having an expensive hobby, and a lot of trampled dreams.

So, as an option for most people who need guaranteed income, the liklihood, as in, the probability, is simply stacked way against them. Sure, it can be a fun part time gig, making a few hundred bucks a month, which is a good number of people. But, the probability of getting a job and the probabilty of keeping that job and the probability of that job providing enough stable income is so far greater than starting an MLM business, that I would strong caution against looking at it as an "option" at all.

Instead, with the hundreds of clients that have come to me asking for help in their MLM business, I see money invested, money lost, maybe break even, and maybe make a few hundred residual. One client was even making $2,000 residual and he felt it was a major accomplishment. And yet, he is a licensed massage therapist and aestatician, who makes $75/hour, so if he simply attracted more clients, networking with local local wealthy women who are not feeling the recession, he would be making $6k to 10k per month. See my point?

Yes, for a very small percentage, MLMs are dreams come true. And, yes, passive income is the best sort of income. Flexible schedule, low start up costs, etc. Many, many pros. And there are better "models" than others, in terms of the ability to make money fast and grow it to business income level, which I consider at the very least $10,000 NET profit per month or more.

What I've noticed is that the people who have succeeded in MLMs are very good at a specific set of skills that most people do not naturally have... they are learnable, but, not natural for most people: consultative selling, networking, recruiting, effective marketing, both online and offline. These are all business skills that help anyone in any business make their revenues grow. Many of them had large personal networks with other people with similar skills. Many of them have clients from their current job or business, and they can carefully alert their client base to the new problem that they can help them solve. So, yes, it is feasible: for the right people with the right skills... again less than 1% of all MLMers.

Finally, one of the often overlooked cons of MLMs: you don't own the business. You are a commission-only sales rep. That's it. If the owners of the MLM make mistakes and it goes under, so do your monthly checks. They disappear. So, that income is very much NOT in your control. The majority of MLMs that get started, even when they are well funded, do not make it past 2 years. Now, if you create a legal entity, like an LLC, and you treat it like a business that you OWN, you can develop a large recruiting and training organization that could move from a current product/service to the next one, in case the current one tanks. Now you own a business with value. But, most people mistakenly say they are starting a business when they are simply joining the sales force of an MLM and, most often, they have to PAY to have to buy into it and then buy monthly in order to be able to sell the product or service. Everything, and I mean everything, is stacked in favor of the OWNERS, not the distributors.

Too many distributors start out annoying their friends, family, and acquantainces, simply because they don't know how to market and sell. This may be their first time "riding the bike," so to speak, so of course they are not going to get it right until they practice. But, unfortunately, they end up harming relationships. As a model, it would never make sense for a traditional business owner to send out inexperienced and untrain commission only sales reps into the field. It just doesn't happen. But, alas, that is often the case with MLMs. Even though many offer "training," I'm confident that most new recruits don't develop true sales skills for quite some time. Meanwhile, they experience the pain of rejection so deeply that they end up giving up. They were sent into a battlefield with no armor and no weapons. And they were taken out quickly. Marketing and sales are skills that are not natural for most people.

Personally, I'd rather counsel people to spend the time and money on starting THEIR OWN business, where they control everything. Then 100% of their sales goes to them. And, with affiliate systems in place, you can recruit people both online and offline to help you find clients. And your clients can referr you business and get paid/thanked. So, the power of networking and leveraging the time of others is possible to implement in a traditional small business.

Now, to be fair, there are some people for whom an MLM experience is a perfect fit. They benefit greatly from it: they get over their shyness, they start reading and listening to personal development materials recommended by their upline, they meet lots of people at events, they start networking locally and make new friends, etc. Again, there are LOADS of reasons to join an MLM... but, please, know the odds and tell your recruits the odds of actually making serious business income. And, let them know that all their years of hard work could go down the toilet if the MLM get sued or sells to new owners who make too many mistakes. Make sure that the offer is seen as the true gamble that it is.

Of course, all business is a gamble. It is a probability game. So long as your recruits know what they are getting into, you are truly being of service to them.

In Service,

Andrew Barden
Philanthropic Entrepreneur


And, finally... Ed replies with his story...

Hi Andrew,

I don't disagree with most of what you say but there are exceptions and today's market is one of them. I have been in Network marketing for about 18 years and have experienced a lot of what you say; however a person needs to do their due diligence and not get caught up in the hype of most companies. Like it or not Amway has supported millions of reps and still does, so does Mary Kay and others. Yes, many do fail as most small business's also fail. I am in South Florida and I can't tell you how many people come to Florida with their life savings in their pocket, open a Cafe or Pizza joint and end up blowing their entire savings. It costs a lot of money for a conventional start up, how about a McDonalds, a million or so and you have bought yourself a 70 hr. a week job.

Most people never earn over a few hundred dollars a month in MLM but an extra $300 - $500 a month would have saved a lot of homes and stopped many bankruptcies the last few years. It certainly isn't for everyone but job security really doesn't exist as it did in the past. I am in MLM full time making a good living and have helped a lot of people financially. The company I am with is 7 years old, shipping product to 62 countries and quadrupled last year when many major companies went out of business, Their is no start up costs, all marketing material including web sites are free but yes they must buy $30 of product each month and if they can't afford that they need to join the unemployment line. I read today that Sears is not expected to survive this year, what will that do to a lot of people.

Some people just need a job to go to every day and need someone to tell them what to do every moment of their lives and some can step out and take control. Their are many selfish individuals in MLM and then there are others who really do try to support and help their downline to meet their goals and dreams, I like to think I am one of them. MLM is a job and a lot of hard work, too many people get into a company thinking it is easy and they don't have to do anything but call on their relatives, again the lack of real training and hype that you mentioned.

A little over 18 years ago I was an executive with a major corporation, lot's of stock options that was my retirement, when we were taken over by another company and due to circumstances beyond my control seen my options drop from over 550K to 40K as a result I told the new company to stick it and took my buy out and left. We had a home up north and a condo in Florida so I consulted for a couple of years while I built a MLM business and finally moved full time to Florida and never looked back.

Anyway, I really don't mean to vent about MLM but I do feel I need to defend it some.

Have a great day and stay in touch.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Robert Imbriale, Direct Marketing Guru, Fortells the Future of the Internet

The Next Big Thing Online

By Robert Imbriale
Business Success Coach

When I first landed on the World Wide Web early in 1992, one of
the biggest claims I’d hear again and again about this dynamic
new medium is that it would soon be able to transmit graphics,
then photos, then sound, and finally even video would be able to
travel from computer to computer without the need for a

While these were great promises, the truth took a bit longer to
materialize. Over the years we’ve seen many innovations on the
Internet, including voice and video conferencing. The question
that is on the minds of many business owners is where do we go
from here? What’s next?

We’ve now got audio, radio, telephone, and video on the Internet,
what’s left to tackle? Don’t worry, we’ve got a long way to go
and what you’ve seen so far really is just the very crude
beginnings of what’s still to come.

How you figure out what’s coming next is to look at the evolution
of the Internet to date. There is a pattern of evolution that’s
worth looking at. Let’s take streaming radio broadcasts for
example. If you remember when these broadcasts started to appear
on the Internet in the late 1990’s they all sounded as if they
were being broadcast through a pair of tin cans with a piece of
rope between them.

While the innovation was amazing, it took several years before it
was fine-tuned and really ready for the masses. Today, when you
tune into a radio broadcast, it’s almost as good as being in the
studio listening in person.

This is what you now see happening with video on the Internet.
First, it was really amazing to have a tiny, tiny window open up
to play a very low quality video clip on your computer. The first
time I saw this in a mass distribution was with Windows 95(TM).

On the installation CD, there were a few video clips that would
play with Windows Media Player right on your computer. In those
days, I’d show that video to everybody I ran into that was
running Windows 95(TM) because I thought it was just so cool!

From there, we began to see small, short video clips appear on
the Internet, but they were very flaky, often failed to download,
and you usually needed some media player to view them.

Nearly a decade later, we have and now just about
everybody can watch video on their computers. While this is
really great, there are still many improvements in the works and
this is where you’ll see the biggest innovations to come in the
next few years.

First, there’s the Internet connections offered by the ISP’s.
These are now undergoing some major changes and you’ll soon see
Internet connections reaching or exceeding 100 Megabits. That’s
more than 10 times most current broadband connection speeds.

As these connections become more and more available, video will
continue to evolve from the fuzzy, often choppy small video clips
we’re used to seeing on to full screen High-
Definition quality video being streamed in real-time to your

As this happens, there will be innovation in the quality of video
people produce and upload to the Internet. For businesses, that
will mean no more sticking a $50 web cam in your face and
recording a low-quality video with poor lighting, and sound that
echoes off every wall in the room.

Viewers will simply stop watching as they will have the choice of
seeing many more high-quality videos from hundreds of thousands
of sources.

This change will stimulate the creation of even more video
editing products, and cameras that continue to deliver higher and
higher quality video at lower and lower prices.

Video is not the only area of innovation to keep your eyes on
either. The other major area is voice over IP, or VOIP. This
emerging technology is just now becoming good enough to be a
serious contender in the telecom industry.

In the coming years as Internet connections speed up ten-fold,
you’ll see VOIP offer better and better quality, and in many
cases it will surpass the quality of the POTS (Plain Old
Telephone) lines we use today.

When that happens, look for telecommuting to grow exponentially
because a company can then run a telephone system that can
connect to any phone in the world from a single location.

While many of these systems are in place now, but their poor
voice quality has kept many businesses away from VOIP. That will
soon change as sound quality improves and it will spark
another round of outsourcing like we’ve never seen before.

Finally, the other big trend to pay close attention to is
portable computing. We now have many cell phones and hand-held
computers that can surf the Internet, but in many ways, they are
still rather crude. Look for this to change rapidly in the coming
years as better, bigger, foldable screens become available and
wireless Internet connections become faster and faster.

With social networking on the rise, and better than 90%
penetration in the US for households with Internet access,
innovation will continue to evolve at its normal break-neck pace
for the foreseeable future.


About the Author

Robert Imbriale is the author of the best-selling book,
Motivational Marketing. He is a successful business coach, and
seminar leader who has helped hundreds of thousands of business
owners create bigger, more successful businesses, and he can help
you too. Tell him what your biggest challenge is with your
business right now! Go to If you would
like to have Robert help you with your business, you can reach
him at 1-800-541-3816 or at