99) Failing Miserably – 2Xtremeperformance Inc.

“I do what others won’t, so I can have what others don’t,” Zig Ziglar once said.

Greetings new reader.

Welcome to my life story.

I am glad you are here!

Previously,  I shared my penchant for going my own way in my life and in my work. My career as a contract mask designer provided many wonderful benefits but by the year of 2005, I felt I couldn’t continue to live away from home on contract assignments, even though not doing so might mean losing everything, including our house, cars and credit. In this post, you will witness my earlier experiences with working at home.

For an individual like myself, who possessed a very strong entrepreneurial orientation, it was never a question of IF I would attempt to start a business.  Only how much time was needed to save enough money. And in the late 1990’s, with the evolution of the internet, advancing in computing and the emergence of work at home opportunities, it became increasingly easy to get started for a few hundred dollars.

How I Chose a Work at Home Business and a Business Model

“Find Your Passion,” said the self-help gurus. “Do what you love and the money will follow,” others said. “Be the change,” more recent luminaries have added.

These things all made sense to me from my earlier studies of trying to find out what you are naturally good at and like to do. I call this “vocational assessment”.

If this works in choosing a career, surely it works for choosing a business, right?

One of Our First Businesses

Since Nadine and I both liked the healthful life style which included fitness and eating healthy foods, we decided to participate in a network marketing opportunity that offered nutritional supplements. The company was known as 2Xtremeperformance. The company’s CEO was John Polk and was headquartered in Dallas, Texas. We called our venture RNB Nutrition.

Here is a definition of network marketing as defined in businessdictionary.com –

Direct selling method in which independent-agents serve as distributors of goods and services, and are encouraged to build and manage their own sales force by recruiting and training other independent agents. In this method, commission is earned on the agent’s own sales revenue, as well as on the sales revenue of the sales-force recruited by the agent and his or her recruits (called downline). Also called multilevel marketing (MLM), cellular marketing, or by other such names, it is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry that distributes practically any portable item, although restricted or banned in several countries due to its history as a vehicle for consumer fraud.

Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/network-marketing.html#ixzz2d0Ha115Z

At first, even while Nadine and I were working full-time jobs, our excitement carried us through some rough spots in learning the business. We read books, attended calls from our leaders and tried to apply every principle successful network marketers had used in the past. After a few weeks we were shipping energy drinks and signing up new members to our team.  Nadine turned out to be a natural at networking and better than I was at explaining the multi-level compensation plan.

Change of Direction

In a bizarre turn of events, the company decided to offer an expensive computing system which sold for – if memory serves – $6,000, and which we could not really afford to offer to our small team. During these few weeks Nadine and I sensed a shift in the philosophy of the company’s founder, John Polk, who in our opinion had changed the mission of the company from nutrition to personal computing technology. Difficult to remain excited about this new and expensive product orientation and disappointed that we were not capitalized to leverage possible advantages of it, we decided to terminate our association with 2Xtremeperformance.

Looking back at the failure of the business, I had made some rookie mistakes:

  1. Lack of research in looking beyond the exciting nutritional supplement “trend” in a home-based business.
  2. No business mentor or qualified upline sponsor.
  3. Not enough money for marketing
  4. No due diligence on 2Xtremeperformance.

The Federal Trade Commission later sued the officers of 2Xtremeperformance for deceptive trade practices and won an injunction against them.

We never suspected fraud. Things that were said to us made us feel that if our business failed, we had no one to blame but ourselves.

Ironically, even though our first meaningful home business turned out to be quite disappointing, for a few minutes one day, while signing up a prospect, I felt a little rush of excitement and saw just a glimmer of light. Inside this light was tiny sense of what it might be like to be truly FREE of a job. The feeling was over in an instant. But it was real.

Our first  business had failed miserably but had made sales and recruited team members. So our success was seeing that working at home WAS possible.

Next – What kind of person can work at home successfully?

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