Networking: Section 3 - A Small Business in the Family

Getting your husband’s respect and attention 

A common problem for married women who start a network marketing business is an over-protective husband. The guy may really believe that his wife is getting burned by a get-rich-quick scheme or that herbalists are all quacks. Of course, a few cascara sagrada (a stimulant laxative) brownies will loosen him up (pun intended) and convince him of the power of herbs. But seriously …. 

Larry was really skeptical when his wife Maureen got into direct sales. He says: “It’s a whole lot different than the typical direct sales company. The company is based on education and taking care of the people you sign up.” Maureen patiently won him over. Now he adds: “I’ve got a couple of Managers who didn’t get their husband’s attention until they got nice bonus checks.” 

Once your husband notices how well you are doing, you’re all set for the next most common problem. He’ll want to dive in, take over and reorganize. Well, you wanted his attention … 

“Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.” 
— Juvenal 

 Getting respect from family and friends 

Strangers will take you at face value. They will judge you quickly, but at least they will give you a moment’s chance. 

The people who already know you may be harder to convince that you have something new to say. They’ve already classified you as “mother of three,” “computer nerd” or “Uncle Jake with the strange tattoo.” These mental perceptions run deep. You may never convince your mother that herbs are wonderful or that you know what will help with her gout. 

The key to breaking old patterns of perception is simply to exercise the consistency and persistence to make deep new patterns. As you continue to do your new thing, you will build a new reputation and your family and friends will have to start seeing you in a new light. 

 Involving your spouse 

If your spouse doesn’t share your enthusiasm, all is not lost. Managers who have seen it often say that it’s not unusual for the reluctant spouse to eventually join the other in the business. But it usually takes time and the right attitude. 

The best advice is to not push too hard; that would only alienate them and make life harder. If you’re going to improve their diet, do it gradually. If you start them on an herbal program, choose one that is “just right” – one that will gently improve their health over time. Listen to their concerns and do what you can to not challenge them in that area. Show your spouse the respect they need in order to earn the understanding that you want. 

Show that you still love and support your spouse. If you quietly and persistently keep on without in-your-face confrontations, your spouse can lower their defenses. Once that happens, you can involve them gradually, answer their questions and quiet their fears. 

You’re not going to take away everything they love to eat and force them to live on carrot tops and turnip greens. All you want is to contribute to the financial security of your family and help others in the process. 

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” 
— Terence

Involving your children 

Helping in the family business can be one of the most significant constructive influences on the developing self-confidence of a young person. Instead of watching TV or playing video “virtual reality,” here is a chance to experience real reality. They can develop real skills and feel very much needed and appreciated. 

Your children can earn and save significant amounts of money. (You DO plan to pay them, don’t you?) We promised our boys when they were in their early teens that we would match whatever they had saved to invest in their own cars, when the time came.

Our youngest took that to heart and tucked his money away for several years. When the time came, we paid up several thousand dollars against his first car. He learned his lesson too well, but we were proud of his determination and good choices. 

A child who learns to meet and talk to strangers, handle money correctly, make decisions and be responsible for the feeding the fish will already have what it takes to function away from home when they are more “grown up.” 

You can work out schedules that allow appropriate time for homework and other school activities, play time with friends and vacations. The biggest surprise benefit can be an improved bond between parents and the child at a time when they might otherwise be growing apart. 

Certain product and marketing questions and situations come up regularly. Children really take pride when they can provide the right answer with authority. Of course, children don’t know all the answers at first, but neither did you. 

 Living herbally ever after 

In a nutritional supplement company, the natural health philosophy can seem pretty scary at first. It can run completely counter to strongly-held popular beliefs about nutrition and drugs. Your spouse may think you’ve joined a cult or taken one too many enemas. Maybe your new interest disrupts a comfortable routine and makes your family feel insecure or robbed of your attention. 

Eventually something will happen that can change their mind. Gloria started her business as a hobby and got her husband Jim’s attention when she won a free trip to Lake Tahoe. Gloria says: “He was so impressed all he could say was ‘Wow!’” 

When husband and wife share common values and goals, life is much more rewarding. Maybe you will have to give up your business to make peace in the family. Maybe your family will join you in the business. Either way, you will have learned how to be healthier so that you can “live herbally ever after.” 

 Men, women and relationships 

The women in my extended family started passing around and discussing the books by John Gray, Ph.D. This is the fellow who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. A little more slowly, some of the men are catching on. Not surprisingly, the guys who have always been the most obnoxious pigs are having no part of it. 

Dr. Gray has been counseling couples for over 20 years. He took his observations to workshops and seminars and then started writing books. He’s clearly a keen observer of human nature and deserves your attention.  

He writes about the obstacles to good communication between men and women. For instance, John explains that we all need love but a man tends to identify with his actions and responds best to trust, appreciation and acceptance while a woman tends to identify with her feelings and responds best to respect, understanding and care. 

He says that men and women respond differently to stress. A man will tend to withdraw and become more focused to deal with stress; he needs to “go to his cave” to come up with a plan.

A woman will tend to lose focus and overwhelm; she needs her man to listen as she shares her anxieties. These differences often provoke men and women into behaviors that are completely misunderstood by their spouses. 

I recommend these books to anyone, in a relationship or not, who wants to improve their ability to understand, communicate and love.