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The Past, Present & Future of Network Marketing (Part I) – with Kayla Ybanez

August 1, 2023

Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for this one! Kayla is a former Network Marketer turned custom business strategist FOR network marketers. She helps entrepreneurs expand beyond the typical marketing space, create courses, dive into affiliate marketing, and overall diversify their incomes. You’re going to learn SO MUCH today. 

We explore the changing landscape of careers in today’s society, where people are seeking to build their dream lives and exploring alternative monetization methods. The rise of affiliate marketing has caught our attention, providing a quick and easy way to earn money. We discuss its potential and why it appeals to many.

Social media plays a significant role in our purchasing decisions, and we delve into the power of building a trusted online brand. Additionally, we shed light on the struggles faced by network marketers and affiliate marketers, particularly those from the middle class. Financial hardships and the need to diversify income sources are important topics of conversation.

As we share personal stories and navigate the challenges of the industry, it becomes increasingly clear that authenticity is key. We explore the curated nature of social media and the freedom that comes when we embrace our true selves, regardless of what others may think.

Join us as we embark on this captivating journey through network marketing, affiliate marketing, and the quest to create a legacy and diversify our income streams. 

Get ready for a thought-provoking discussion that may extend across multiple episodes. I’m exhilarated to have Kayla Ybanez with us, and I can assure you, we’re in for a wild and enlightening ride.

So grab your favorite beverage, find a comfy spot, and let’s dive right into “The Past, Present & Future of Network Marketing (Part I)” with Kayla Ybanez. It’s time to uncover the secrets, challenges, and opportunities that lie within this dynamic industry. Let’s get started!

Pressy play, freedom fighters!

Years of struggle, illness, and medical emergencies.

Kayla:

I come from a background also in marketing when I was a teenager. I did freelance for Disney Stars and other cool stuff. That’s part of the place where I got my start, very fun, very exciting. But you go to college, you live life and suddenly, what I did as a teenager wasn’t cool anymore. I had gotten into network marketing and having my kids, and we’re just kind of figuring it out, trying to figure out what to do about too much week left at the end of our money. And while we were trying to figure it out, we had a new curve ball thrown our way when our daughter who was three at the time was rushed into the ER and into emergency surgery when her appendix burst. 

We then found out that when her body was not healing and was basically getting worse after multiple life saving surgeries, they found out that she had an unknown cause of bone marrow failure, which meant that she had no white blood cells to fight anything going on in her body. 

And so surgeons were frantically fighting against the clock literally physically removing infection from her body with scalpels. 

Your body is usually doing a pretty good job, and the medicine kind of supports that, but she didn’t have her body helping her whatsoever. She had a bone marrow transplant in January of 2019, and a few follow-up surgeries including a 14 hour straight surgery towards the end of 2020 in the middle of all the fun things happening. 

The Transformative Power of Identity:
“I really believe I had the story at the time, but then it hit a certain point. I wanna say 2021, where my story really didn’t become relevant anymore, and in a way that did kind of scare me because I’m like, who am I now almost. It was kind of like a mini identity crisis, but I was able to, again, hone in on my skills, not just my story.”
— Kayla 

And during all of that time, if we go back to the first few months when we realized, the reality set in like, not only is this going to be a long journey, but the unfortunate truth was we didn’t know if she was gonna come home, which obviously means what you know it means. 

We still had things to figure out. I really wasn’t working. I would go in every now and then trying to get a couple bucks here and there, but that involved leaving Teresa by herself. A hospital is not a great place, but, I mean, it’s you know they’re taken care of, basically. Right. 

But it’s still the hardest thing ever because you don’t know. 

You could be getting a phone call. Something happens. Something goes south. And I just remember having to make that horrific decision of  do I go to work? All they cared about was having a body in a chair. You know, do I go and try to make a hundred bucks and and come back and hope everything’s fine? Or do I stay here and not make that money?

Maren:

Well, well, I mean, we get to a point where our backs up against the wall. I honestly think it’s what you need to have happen because otherwise, you can just stay in this rut for so long and day in, day out. 

Same thing, rinse and repeat. And but when you’re backed up against the wall, you’re forced to make a decision. And they’re scary decisions that maybe if  you didn’t have those moments where, like, I know you’ve talked about this before where you missed her first time going outside because obviously she was immune compromised. So that first moment where she was able to be outside and get fresh air for I don’t how many days it was that she had. 

Kayla:

And, honestly, for me, I think I just went for it. I just went out there. Right? I literally had nothing to lose. Like, when they say, like, how worse could it get? I mean, there were points that I was always saying that, I’m such an optimist. I really am. 

But, like, I truly was at a point where it could not get worse. They really couldn’t. And so I was like, whatever. Let’s just do it. And I think that being at that true rock bottom was a blessing in a way because the things that I was normally afraid of, I wasn’t anymore. 

And when I think back on it, did I do something to get over it, or was it truly just like a switch that flipped? And it was just like, it can’t get worse who cares. Someone’s gonna say something mean while my daughter’s hooked up to an IV. 

So, you know, it is what it is. Well, I think, especially in the network marketing space. Right?

Maren:

Those stories are always on the platform. Right? And I know for me, I felt like well, is that ever gonna be me? Because I don’t have an alcoholic mom. I haven’t had to file bankruptcy. I don’t I didn’t have the tragic story, so to speak. Right? 

But I would love for you to be able to encourage people, you don’t need to have that either to make it. Right? 

Like, you don’t have to have this story that they’re playing at the conference on the big screen. Do you know what I mean? You can be someone that just wants more out of life than what you have.

Kayla:

Right. And as someone that, I guess, it would be a disservice to say that in a way my situation didn’t give me some advantages in some places. Like, I’m sure some people took pity on me along the way and maybe gave me a platform this and that, which is fine.

It didn’t feel like it at the time, but hindsight looking back, I could kinda see how that certainly was possible. But I really believed if I had the story at the time, but then it hit a certain point. I wanna say 2021 where my story really didn’t become relevant and in a way that did kind of scare me because I’m like, who am I now? 

It was kind of like a mini identity crisis. But I was able to, again, hone in on my skills, not just my story. And I feel like I’m in that way now. Like, sometimes I honestly feel like It’s almost like amnesia. I’m like, I did go through that. It feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. But, like, I don’t really unless there’s a certain anniversary or something. 

Like, I don’t really talk about it, and business is still business without anything crazy happening. I’d say, like, I’m a pretty normal average person right now. So, yeah, definitely be reassured that, yeah, some people might have something happen to them, but, truly, as you said, you don’t, you don’t need that to be successful.

Connecting stories to others is most important in building a business on social media

Maren:

I feel like life, you don’t know what the next curve is gonna bring you. So not to say that, you know, your life is all gonna be rainbows and live pups. You could have all of a sudden this twist that becomes part of your story. Like, we’re all about growing and evolving. 

And I think the biggest piece is just always staying authentic to who you are and in your storytelling. And I believe that that’s what you have done, and that’s what you encourage people to do. So when it comes to this storytelling, to me that’s what sells. Right? 

And I know that is for you. And I’ve noticed that a lot of direct marketing and social selling and affiliates that have, like, programs where they’re training you, and even some people who just don’t wanna evolve. are living in this. They still live in the copy paste mode.

And you built your platform off of hey, let’s have relationships. Let’s network with one another. Let’s converse without thinking, hey, this person is a sale. So why don’t you talk a little bit about that and how that method truly helps people have longevity in this type of business?

Kayla:

I think one of the biggest disservices is we’re not, like, completing the sentence. Sharing your story is not to make it about you. It’s sharing your story so you can connect it to their story and their reality. So when I tell my story or when I share things, it’s in order to connect with people who have something that parallels. 

A lot of people that did have kids or whether maybe they have a niece or a nephew or they have a kid that matters to them, and so they could see the correlation from the experience of my connection with my daughter. And so it wasn’t just about me. 

It was about them and them imagining what if or what I would do. And so it’s always about tying to the other person. And so especially for the people that are like, well, I don’t have a story. Well, honestly, though, it’s not about you. It’s really about the other people. And so telling their story is more important, and how do you get their story? 

Because people are like, well, I don’t know what they’re thinking or what they’re feeling. It’s because you’re not talking to them. It’s like you almost inadvertently put yourself on this pedestal and everyone’s below you and you might kind of look down at them. but my whole idea is get off the pedestal and get on the front lines with your people, get into their circles, not just to say, oh, hey, everyone. 

Look at me, but, like, just listen to them. Observe. Hear what they’re saying. Hear how they converse with each other. because when you go to them in their own safe environment, they speak openly. And then when they see you and you become familiar, then they come to you and share with you in that environment. 

And then you can actually learn what other people want to hear. And that’s literally your good content right there is just listening to people and communicating that message back to them.

Maren:

I personally think a lot of people stay away from that method because it’s more work. You know? It’s a lot easier to send a basic copy, paste, message to someone rather than sitting down and having a, like, you know, opening up your phone and having a conversation. 

And I think maybe the copy paste you could do that in mass quantities but that’s a short sided goal. If you want a long term goal and long term longevity in this type of business and be able to have touch points with people in multiple arenas, you have to have the conversations. 

And I think you’re one of the few people that actually was brave enough to say that because so many people for a long time in my space were like, send a 100 messages a day. You know? And those people got burnt out. They’re not even in the business anymore.

Because it’s not fun. because let’s be real. You’re not really gonna get messages back.  So you’re doing this work of copy paste, and maybe you’re sending it to a hundred people and ten people right back  versus when you actually communicate with people. 

I’m not saying you’re gonna get 10 sales, but I can promise you if you’re actually having… if you were to have a 100 conversations with people, I can guarantee at least half of them will be responding and engaging with you compared to the other method of the simple copy paste. 

But I just can’t really understand why people haven’t evolved past that.

Kayla:

People still think they’re above it, honestly. They really do. They’re like, well, I’ve earned my keep so then people should just come to me. And I’ve had times in my business where I’ve inadvertently felt that too where I’m like, oh, I’ve done enough. I’m okay. 

Anytime you think you can cut a corner because you’ve earned your keep you find out the hard way every single time that it’s like, oh, no. Especially now, people are smarter. 

Occasionally, can someone send a random message, and it just happens to hit the right person at the right moment who maybe they kind of respect you. They kinda see you, and they might just go and buy. Yes. And what people do is they cling on to that one time that happens as universal truth. And it’s like, nah, man. You got lucky. You closed your eyes. you threw the ax and you hit a bull’s eye. 

That wasn’t skill, that was luck and chance. And think of all the time you’re wasting doing that a thousand more times to maybe get another one. It’s pure delusion. The pendulum’s always swinging. Right?

Lockdown made affiliate marketing popular

Maren:

During lockdown, people got lazy. Like, because people were at home, so they were bored. They wanted to purchase things. They wanted something new. They wanted a new product. They wanted a new opportunity because they had all this time at home to kill. 

And then once everyone was back to I’m using air quotes when I say normal. The new normal, That didn’t work. That method didn’t work anymore. And I’d be curious to see, like, what do you think? You mentioned about like, oh, just put up a link. Right? Do you feel like affiliate marketing? So let’s just kinda give people a little bit of a definition. 

Affiliate marketing is when you like something, call it your favorite laundry detergent on Amazon, and you put up a link on Instagram stories and people just click it, and then you get a kickback, a commission from a company versus building a team, building a network of people, you know, traditional network marketing where you’re selling products, but also building a network of people who do the same thing as you so that you’re building this massive organization, so to speak. 

Kayla:

I think what it appeals to is not the ease of the ability to make money. But I think the ease of going from I just heard of this opportunity. I like this product so I can get a deposit in my PayPal. Like, the turnaround is pretty quick. and also in affiliate marketing. 

And, again, I am new to space. I’m not new to sales. I’m not new to business, which I think is important to to notate, but in this new space, that’s brand new to most people, because it’s still so new. What I’ve noticed is it’s definitely appealing more to an impulse purchase decision. And so there’s a smaller, like, barrier to entry, whereas with traditional business or even in the coaching and consulting space and in network marketing, you’re playing more of a long game because retention is huge. 

Affiliate marketing brings quick results, but risks exist.

It costs you more time and money to keep getting new people for network marketing for traditional business. then it does to keep someone and have additional things to offer them over their lifetime of working with you. But with affiliate marketing, it’s like retention isn’t as much of an issue. 

It’s kind of like if they like it, they’ll rebuy it or they’re gonna move on to the next thing. There’s usually more turnover, and that’s okay. And so I think it can appeal to people that don’t necessarily want to have something that’s a long game. And that’s why I think it’s a great thing to add on to other things because if you need to get scrappy, Right. 

That can be a way to get scrappy to make something happen short term while you also have something that’s more of a long game for creating more of the legacy, the predictability. I think that the biggest thing about affiliate marketing, any opportunity or anything, is you wanna be careful putting all of your eggs in one basket because network marketing has a lot of unpredictability. 

I’d even say and argue the traditional job market has just as much unpredictability because I’ve been on both sides of having employees this, that, and the other, is with affiliate marketing, I could see something being ripped away or changed quicker than anything else. And so where the pros are, the cons also very much exist.

The Power of Trust:
“If you have a great audience and you have trust built, you can introduce this opportunity and your audience is going to eat it up because they already trust you.”
— Kayla

Maren:

And I think one of the things about affiliate marketing versus network marketing is the bond and the relationship between you and the customer and also like within network marketing, you and your team. You know, it’s a lot easier to walk away from something, you know, an opportunity that maybe has only been in your life for 2 months versus 10 years where you formed all these relationships and things like that. So I think that’s what attracts people as well. 

There’s less emotion attached to affiliate marketing.

Kayla:

Very true. And then I think what’s great is, right, you can have a few different things, and it’s not necessarily requiring more groundwork to be laid. Like, if you already have an established community with trust, introducing. I mean, we’ve even seen that with some people that we know introducing and affiliate marketing. 

Again, I believe in always doing it with integrity, right, doing something that you actually like and believe in, which is obviously what we’re talking about in this sense. If you have a great audience and you have trust built, you can introduce this opportunity and your audience is going to eat it up because they already trust you. 

They already believe in you, especially if you’ve shared products with them in the past. introducing something like this as a great way to monetize because people want to buy from you and support you while also getting something that they really want.

The importance of being authentic online

Maren:

And one of the things that I’ve noticed because you mentioned how people are smarter now. And so while I do think there are people who are quick to buy certain things, like low, like, low ticket items, like, like, let’s be real. You could throw up an Amazon link and, I mean, Amazon’s the type of thing. Like, you get it. Try it on. You don’t like it. You can return and get your full money back. So nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I obviously pride myself on truth and transparency and authenticity. Like, that’s who I am as a person, and that’s who you are which is why we’re great friends, but people have their guard up because whether it’s a skincare line or health and fitness or whatever it may be. I think everyone understands now that social media has curated. Mhmm. 

And so they wonder, like, Okay. You’re promoting said skincare line. But do you have a filter that I don’t know about or can’t see? You know, when it comes to health and fitness, okay, you say you’re doing a 30 minute workout, but are you really doing an hour? 

Are you taking some other supplement, like, you don’t really know. And so I think that that’s part of the scary part about social media is that it is so curated to a certain extent. 

Maren:

And what I don’t think people understand is they either have a team behind them, like, curating this content. like, literally have a selfie ring around their face all the time. That’s why they always look perfect. and if you notice, they hardly ever speak in stories. 

Like, it’s just photos or it is perfectly curated, you know, how it is. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, the other people who I believe are successful are the ones who are raw and real and just don’t give it. You know what? They let it all hang up better or for worse. And I think I know for me for a long time, I would, and when I say it a long time, you gotta remember I’ve been doing network marketing and being in this space and doing social selling for 9 years but I would say the first at least 3 years, if not 4 of my journey with this, I was stuck in that gray area. 

Like, I wanted to be me and at times I showed it, but then other times, I sat in my little box. I sat in my little network marketing box because this is what this top person does, and this is what this one so I like you were saying before, I lost myself. 

But once you break free, like, it’s so freeing to be that person because you have to accept that some people just aren’t gonna like me, and that’s okay. Like, you have and I’m sure for you, when you put up a message to people, there’s been times. I know you’ve said this, like, I was scared to put this up, but here I go… The whole point is you need to be you need to be who you truly are because I think that the unicorn of the like we were saying, the curated space, that’s not real life.

Maren sitting in booth outside with business materials

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Kayla:

And you gotta spend a lot of money to do that. Oh, yeah. And, like, those people, I think a good chunk of them, like, it’s so curated to the point where they’re also like, this is not real, but it it it’s an ideal, and it serves its purpose. Whether that’s to give you a dopamine hit or something or whatever. 

And also, like, what I said in my post, this, like, this weird imposed sense of, like, needing to be loyal, and that’s where the cult mentality or the belief that network marketing is like a cult. I mean, I think it really stems from that behavior of, like, if you want to be or do anything else that this it’s like you’re you’re you’re cheating. You’re being scandalous. 

Financial struggles in affiliate marketing and network marketing

And it’s like, why, though? You and I, we know why part of it is part of the structure of the  industry but I also think part of it’s not true. It’s like, it’s the belief that if someone expands and does other things, then somehow they’re not gonna do enough in their network marketing business, and it’s gonna hurt volume and bonuses. But my thought is if they’re unhappy, they’re just gonna pull away and not do anything anyway.

I don’t think it’s like this perfect answer, but, like, a lot of people have Like, I believe, and I think, again, people we know have said this, that, like, being able to get security from making money in other ways brings excitement and passion back into their network marketing business.

Maren:

A 100%. And right now, our economy, you know, the middle class, which let’s be real, most of the people who are involved with affiliate marketing and network marketing that’s where they’re coming from, the middle class. Yeah. 

Maybe some of them quote unquote make it rich, but sorry not sorry folks. Like, I don’t care. how top in your company are, you’re still not an elite. Like, you’re just not. I know you think you are, but I promise you there are people with a lot more money than you that are controlling the country. 

It’s not because you’re the top in your network. And so these people are hurting financially. They’re going to the store and really looking for bogos or they know that they have to cut back. And if they don’t have another source of income coming in, what’s gonna get cut? The products that they’re purchasing from your company. That’s gonna be one of the first things to go because I can promise you they’re not gonna cut their kids’ sports. 

They’re not they’re not gonna cut swimming lessons. They’re not gonna cut the family vacation. they’re gonna cut the thing that they really do like, especially moms, because let’s be real. Most women are doing this. 

So what are moms gonna do? Moms are gonna put themselves at the bottom of the ladder. So that shampoo that they really like that’s a lot more expensive than Pantene Pro V. Even though Pantene Pro V is probably like trash for you. Right? But they’ll they’ll go to they’ll go to that. 

That shake that they love, that they know is full of phytonutrients and probiotics and stuff. They’re gonna go to Walmart and get something instead. The moms are gonna put themselves at the bottom. I promise you their kids aren’t gonna be the ones that suffer. And so if they don’t have this money coming in, they can’t afford to stay in business. They can’t. And it just makes no sense to me. I don’t wanna say it doesn’t make sense to me because it does. I understand why the rules are in place because there’s a lot of people out there who do act with integrity. 

There’s so much more we need to unpack. when it comes to direct marketing, network marketing, social selling, and becoming your own brand. Next week, we will dive into part 2 of this interview with Kayla. We’ll be calling it how it is as only we can when it comes to multilevel marketing and affiliate marketing. Our goal is to help you build a legacy for your family and diversify your income. So make sure you show up next week, ready to take notes. 

Follow Kayla Ybanez on Instagram @kaylaybanez where she’ll help you to expand beyond network marketing & create a course, teach through coaching, or learn how to become an affiliate to diversify your income!

Kayla’s Bio:

So, let me tell you about Kayla. She started her journey in network marketing at the ripe age of twenty. But like many people, she took a break from it for a while. Life happened, you know? She did the whole college thing, tried out different jobs, and did some cool freelance marketing gigs for Disney Stars (yeah, she’s got some serious millennial street cred). Anyway, fast forward to her adulting phase, where she found herself diving back into network marketing and raising her kids. 

But then, life threw her a major curveball. Her three-year-old daughter ended up in the ER with a burst appendix. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they discovered she had bone marrow failure, leaving her with zero white blood cells to fight off infections. Can you imagine the strain on the poor girl’s body? 

Surgeons had to work their magic to physically remove infections from her guts and intestines. It was a nightmare! But hey, Kayla’s one tough cookie. She’s been through some serious challenges, and she’s not giving up. She’s determined to make things work and find a way to balance it all. That’s the kind of person she is, always pushing through and rising above.

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