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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

Are You Judging Me?

Do you remember how old you were when you didn’t feel judged? I can’t actually remember a time.

As a little girl I needed Jordache or Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, or else what would the kids think of me?

I needed high top Reebok sneakers, the kind with the double Velcro straps; I had black and white, but then I remember I got an off-brand light pink pair, and those were made fun of, so of course I never wore them again. Everyone had great perms (even the boys permed their mullets) and so my mom let me get a perm, except mine never took all of the way, so I looked ridiculous with half curly, half stringy straight hair. And lets not even talk about the bangs I had, because everyone had bangs! So I had to have bangs! Problem is, I have two cowlicks, on each side of my forehead. So while other girls had cute bangs that they could curl under that went with their Aqua Net big feathered layers and perfect perms, I had bangs that clumped together in the center of my forehead. I looked ridiculous and have pictures to prove it, but at least I wasn’t judged for NOT having a perm and bangs!

Now that you have glimpsed into my life as a 7th grader outside of Nashville, TN; lets flash forward to present day, pre-Covid19.

I worked extremely hard with my life coach, Sarah Centrella, to let go of all the judgement that I had been feeling and the lightweight, freedom that I felt was magical!!

But before my work with her, what type of judgement did I feel? I felt judged for making more money than a lot of people I know but I also felt judged because we didn’t have all the “fancy” things that others have around us in Fort Lauderdale. I felt judged because I spent 60-90 minutes a day working out rather than focused on working, and I felt judged because I’m much rounder in shape than a lot of the moms and Andrew’s school. I felt judged because my career was in Network Marketing.

There, I said it, in case all of you didn’t know that already…Every penny I have made in the last 4 years, has come from Network Marketing (and it is a lot of pennies, by the way). But no matter how much I make, or how successful I became in my company, there is still an awful stigma that comes with this type of career.

That judgement and stigma are what I am going to tackle today. Where did it come from? Why does it exist? The most negative thing that comes at me is “Are you in one of those pyramid schemes?” Well, here is the answer to that – Pyramid Schemes are illegal, they are actually when people give you money for something and you give them nothing in return. That’s actually theft and you can go to jail for that. Another thing that can fit this description is if a company has you make a huge investment for the opportunity to sell and promises you will make a ton of money. My investment was $34.95 (less than I spend at the Chik-Fil-A drive through) and I wasn't promised anything. I, have a website that you can go to and purchase products from, then those products are shipped directly to you. Does that sound any different than amazon to you? And my guess is that you order from amazon multiple times a week. So let’s tackle the next big pushback I receive, “I don’t think it is right to make money off your friends and family.” While I can see where they are coming from with this one, let me explain why it is typically a hypocritical judgment. When I owned a cake pop company, my friends and family had no issue purchasing my cake pops. They knew it cost money to make them, package them, ship them and keep the lights on; so paying for them just made sense. If you had a friend that owned a pizzeria, you would absolutely go in and purchase a pizza; it just makes sense. In both of those situations, we made money because you bought a cake pop or a pizza and you probably felt really good about supporting the businesses. I am wondering if you think my business is less of a “business” because you don’t see me working 16 hours a day and sweating like a madwoman to produce a product? Or is it less of a business and not worthy of your support because it isn’t really “mine”? Well let me flip that one on it’s head. If I bought a McDonald’s franchise, would you come support that? But is it really mine? Or is it McDonald’s?? Are you picking up what I am trying to lay down here? The final issue I have heard is that “People that own those type of companies are all scumbags and treat their people like crap, so I don’t want to support that.” And to that I can only speak to my company, Plexus Worldwide, our founders are different. Have I heard some crappy stories about some other companies? I have. But I haven’t experienced it firsthand, so I won’t speak to it. I know that my company is completely debt free. I know they have donated millions of meals to Feeding America. I know that when natural disasters strike, they pay us early. I know that I have no requirements to buy any certain amount on any given month. I know that I only order and stock what my family will be using that month. I know that the statement repeated the most in our company is “If you are blessed, be a blessing.” I know that our company is not perfect, but when they make a mistake, they work to make the situation right.

With all of that off my chest, let me talk to you about what working in Network Marketing looks like, because from your perspective, it probably looks like too many posts on our social media trying to sell you something. I’d like to tell you what it looks like from my perspective. Being vulnerable, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every day I share something on my social media that most would shy away from. Why? Because I am making a conscious effort to connect. Not to sell something, but to connect with others. Do I post about our products or share testimonials? I do, because if I didn't tell you how much better my TBI symptoms were, would you know it helped with that? If I didn't show you pictures of my kids sunburns subsiding overnight and them being painfreee, would you know we had a cream to help? If I didn't share about a friend's Crohn's Disease symptoms easing up, would you know it helped with that? If you don't have Crohn's that post looks like spam to you. If your daughter has Crohn's that post looks like hope to you. Every day, I am either reading, watching a training or listening to a podcast to learn more than I already know and most days I am doing all three of those things. We like to say in our industry that Network Marketing is really just Personal Development with a compensation plan attached.

I am also praying. I am praying over my team, so that I can help them in a way that benefits them. I am also praying that I will be led to reach out to someone who needs this business or these products. Which brings me to the biggest part of this career, reaching out. And…reaching out and following up, and reaching out and following up, and reaching out and following up. You guys, if I reach out to you, it isn’t because I am trying to make a buck. It is truly because I have a product that I think will change your life. Do I enjoy reaching out to you? NOOOOOO! I hate it! I wish you would look at my informational social media post and call me. But you don’t. So I reach out. I reach out because I care. I reach out because you are posting about anxiety and I have a probiotic that reduces it naturally. I reach out because you are on antibiotics again and I know that one dose of antibiotics can destroy your gut for a year and I have a different probiotic that will help get your body in alignment again. I reach out because you keep posting about migraines and how nothing helps them and I have a magnesium blend and pink drink supplement that took mine away completely. I can go on and on and on, but hopefully you understand what my work looks like. If I am lucky 1 in 10 people respond back to me when I reach out to them. Is that a kick in the gut? Some days. I won’t lie, sometimes it really sucks. And then I get a message like this one I got a few days ago from a husband.

And that, that right there is why I keep reaching out and following up. Why I keep learning. Why I work so hard to have a positive mindset. Why I am proud to be in Network Marketing, even if it is often misunderstood. It may not look like a career to you, but it truly is. I sell something that I am passionate about. Just like a real estate agent works behind the scenes like crazy to sell your house or help you find the perfect house to purchase. I am also working behind the scenes like crazy, because I am passionate about helping everyone I know and even people I don't know, feel better physically, mentally and financially.

I can promise you that this is very much a business. It is very much a career. If after reading this, you still feel like you want to judge this industry, well, I’ve done my best in blog form and I would be happy to have a real heart to heart with you.

For my friends in the industry, if you are feeling judged by others, maybe you can share this with them and it will help them understand what you do. And if you don’t feel supported by loved ones, well I haven’t totally figured that out yet, so stay tuned. I have family members who mean the world to me and still do not order from me, ever! I have family members who tried one out of 29 products, once, didn’t love it and refuse to order anything else. They all know that the income from my business pays for so much of what our family needs, but they’d still rather buy their multi-vitamins and probiotics based on a coupon they have from Publix. My only advice there is to try very hard not to take it personally. They love you, I promise they do. They may just not understand how much their support through a purchase would mean to you. So keep doing what you are doing fellow network marketers! Keep growing, keep sharing, and for heaven's sakes, there are a ton of people out of work right now, so if you can help them earn some money from home while they are also trying to figure out how to be 3rd grade teachers, then do that! Let them know that it doesn't matter if others judge them because those people are not paying their bills!

Hey! If you don’t want to spend your money on nails, eyelashes, Botox and Tory Burch sandals – That is okay! No judgement here! Or if you do want all of those things, you be you sister! No judgement here!!

Feeling judged? Time to take advantage of my coaching while it is FREE to get rid of that heavy feeling!

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