100 Day Challenge: NetworkingNetwork marketing (the new name for “multi-level marketing”) has a bad reputation. But the truth is, at the core, it's not markedly different from other kinds of sales and distribution systems. The problems arise because most network marketing company creator either can't do basic arithmetic themselves or they are counting on a whole bunch of math illiterates signing up.

When companies require exponential grown that is statistically impossible to make a decent living, they don't work for most people. When companies emphasize signing up more members rather than selling an actual product or service, they don't work for most people. When companies depend on members to buy their overpriced products, they don't work for most people.

What network marketing companies get right, however, is the networking. No, I don't mean gathering up all your long lost friends to join you downline. I mean extending your influence and opportunities through connections with people you live with, work with, and associate with.

When you see the vision and benefits of networking and make it part of your strategy, you'll find it's not about amassing the most Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Quantity counts but the quality of each relationship is more important.

One of the methods I use to make money blogging is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing iswhen a business awards a blogger for promoting their product, service, or site. (For example, if you really, really want to read about network marketing, click on this link. You'll see an array of such books on Amazon. If you buy one, I'll get a tiny commission.) A few affiliate marketing programs have more than one tier, meaning that I get commissions on my referrals and also a smaller commission on the referrals of affiliates who signed up using my link.

In 2007 I offered a marketing program I liked  on a different site, through an affiliate link. It happened to be a two-tier program, offering half as much for second-tier sales.

I sold a number of the programs directly and had a bunch of people sign up as affiliates through my link as well. While I did make some decent money on my own sales,  I made about six times as much money on the half-commissions through one particular second-tier affiliate. This particular woman was such a prolific saleswoman that she alone dwarfed all other income streams in that program.

That single relationship — someone I knew outside of business long before we had any work contact — made an enormous difference in our company bottom line. That particular program still produces a small income stream — with the last sale just three days ago — even though I stopped promoting it years ago.

As far as networking goes, that was a very profitable contact. More importantly, it's one that would not have occurred had networking strategies not been employed.

Making connections with others and taking time to serve and help them comes back in benefits you can't predict. Make regular networking a part of your business and part of your life.

Join me in the 100 Day Challenge!