On August 5, the Financial Mail Private Lounge in association with Nu Skin focused on female entrepreneurship as a driver for economic growth. Master of ceremonies, Zipho Sikhakhane, urged delegates to not limit themselves and to consider an entrepreneurial venture.

According to Marise Groenewald, Marketing and Operations Manager for Nu Skin in South Africa, the company’s network marketing model provides opportunities for entrepreneurs without any of the risk typically associated with starting a new business.

Author and image coach, Pontsho Manzi discussed ways of stimulating an entrepreneurial culture. She advised budding entrepreneurs to deliver on their promises, to have integrity, to believe in themselves and to always have a winning mindset. Sustainable and successful businesses, she said, are built on the establishment of long term relationships.

Jessi Low, 24, is a Nu Skin distributor and leader. Introduced to the company less than a year ago, she started distributing the company’s products as a side-line business. Since becoming a full-time distributor, she is now earning significantly more than she did in her previous job. Low emphasised, however, that this is not a get rich quick scheme and said that what you put in is what you get out. She has built her business predominantly online.

 

A panel discussion, moderated by entrepreneur Eleanor Scott, focused on how network marketing positively impacts female entrepreneurial undertakings in South Africa. The panellists, consisting of Mandy Perkins, Annita Ilungu and Nicolas van Rensburg, discussed how network marketing differs from traditional entrepreneurship. “There’s far less risk and virtually no start-up capital is required,” pointed out Perkins. “In addition, you have the support of an established company to provide mentorship and coaching.”

The fact that very little start-up capital is required is why network marketing is not a Ponzi scheme, added Van Rensburg. “You are remunerated for the amount of products you sell. Network marketing is about providing a different mechanism of making products available to consumers.”

The flexibility and unlimited earning potential is what attracted Illungu, a qualified Engineer, to network marketing. “In the corporate world, irrespective of how hard you work, your salary only tends to increase once a year. In network marketing, you can double your income in under a year if you’re prepared to work hard,” she said.

While the panellists agreed that social media had been a very useful tool in terms of growing their own businesses, they agreed that personal relationships were also critically important. “This is a people-oriented industry,” said Illungu. “You have to like people and be prepared to maintain long relationships.”

While network marketing is by no means exclusively the domain of women, they do tend to be more successful, conceded Van Rensburg. “Women are natural networkers by nature which is why they generally do so well.”

The primary reason people tend to fail at networking marketing, revealed Perkins, is that they give up too quickly. “The darkest moment is often just before the dawn,” she said, adding that she tended to advise her team to invest sufficient time and effort in it, upskill themselves and to spend time with successful people.”

Wrapping up the morning’s event, Dina Engelbrecht said that not only does working for Nu Skin provide unlimited earning potential, but that she has also been the recipient of numerous five star international trips courtesy of the company.

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