Direct Sales – A Vehicle To Create Wealth in the African American Community: Building a Mindset – Part 2


I believe creating wealth is as much a mindset as it is a deliberate set of actions designed to achieve a desired financial outcome. It is this mindset and the belief that everything you need is already in you that will move more African Americans toward prosperity and away from the hope that an American economic recovery with more jobs will provide the lift that keeps them afloat. The post World War 11 economy that built the world’s most successful middle class is a thing of the past.

The President and dozens of economists have noted this recession was the worst since the Great Depression. For African Americans, this last recession erased a decade’s worth of job growth. “From January 2000 through January 2012, (according to most recent data available), the number of jobs held by blacks had increased by only 235,000, or a paltry 0.1 percent per year. And, from its pre-recession peak in July of 2007 (when blacks held 16,307,000 jobs) through January of 2012 (when blacks held 15,512,000 jobs), the number of employed African Americans dropped by 795,000, representing an unemployment rate of 14.2 percent (up from 8.9 percent in July ’07).” Moreover, according to the 2010 current population survey, “in January 2012, the employment to population ratio for blacks stood at only 52.2 percent (vs. 59.3 percent in July 2007). Let’s move on!

Yesteryear’s job creators have evolved into today’s proponents of crippling austerity measures, “off-shoring” jobs, and parking assets in foreign tax havens rather than investing in job creation here at home. The “job creators” exhort the rest of us to “get an education” for jobs that do not exist except a limited number in manufacturing and low-wage positions in the service and retail sectors. The previous White House occupant referred to these as the “jobs of the 21st century.”

Here is a reality with the bark off: Jobs and many careers – and the associated skill sets – only promulgate a system that connects your economic future to the policies, even capriciousness, of employers and the vagaries of partisan politics and their impact on local economies. You graduate with a degree, untested skills, and hope. Conversely, Direct Sales promotes a skill set designed to achieve time freedom and financial independence, not enhance your promotability in your job or career. Also, you utilize your skills to help others achieve more than they thought was possible. Moreover, you grasp quickly that the absence of a structured work environment removes the ceiling to your aspirations, and the need for others to define you and your value to your family and your community. The old model of creating a linear income is a universe away from wealth creation through geometric growth. Consider, the number one distributor in one direct sales company is 30 years old with a fourth-grade education who may also be the highest earning Latino distributor in the history of direct sales.

The power of the direct sales industry and the low-level of African American participation suggests there is an anomaly it is in our interest to correct. What are the compelling arguments to continue our fealty to economic policies anchored in widening income inequality in favor of the rich, fraying further the country’s social fabric, and undermining our belief in opportunity. I believe strongly the survival of those segments of the population marginalized by austerity economic policies will depend upon a return to self-reliance: leveraging your time, talents, and resources to work for yourself.

There are 43 million African Americans or 13.7 percent of the total population with enormous purchasing power. Look at the numbers: “$316 billion in 1990 to $600 billion in 2000, to $947 billion in 2010 – to $1,038 billion in 2012, to $1.1 trillion projected in 2015, and $1,307 billion projected in 2017.” [Nielsen Company study commissioned by National Newspaper Publishers Association entitled “African American Customers: Still Vital, Still Growing.] Imagine if we could leverage a commanding share of that purchasing power generated through Direct Sales to multiply the circulation of these dollars within our communities!

Direct sales has changed lives, saved marriages, staved off bankruptcies, and made millionaires. But, the successful in direct sales were the believers. To the believers, thoughts of success, ideas, and attitudes are real things. Their’s is a contagion that affects legions of people worldwide.

To paraphrase Brian Tracy, much of the ability of the African American community to thrive and ultimately prosper will come from how we deal with change. We have to recognize the inevitability of fundamental, perhaps permanent, change in the American economy and accept that change as normal. Much of our purchasing power, for example, is vulnerable to the effects of economic recessions. The lesson is to reduce our job-anchored dependence on the labor market. Learn from change, rise above it, and continue in the direction of our goals. Witness the impact of Direct Sales in Mexico today, a country where the average monthly income is only $600.

The health and wellness products of a highly successful Lehi, Utah-based direct sales company and the dynamic leadership of a local businesswoman in Mexico City have combined to generate levels of enthusiasm, upward mobility, and success that is nothing short of awe-inspiring to their more affluent colleagues in North America and other foreign markets. In January this year, the leadership and passion of this Mexican businesswoman inspired over 11,000 Mexicans (and some Colombians) to fill a stadium in Mexico City to celebrate the success of their own and to learn of the opportunity available to those willing to leverage their time, energy, and quite limited resources in pursuit of their dreams. There are national conventions that can only aspire to this magnitude of support.

It is the beliefs and the passion of this Mexican woman that serve as the North Star of success for thousands of young Mexicans today and the contagion has reached a feverish pitch. It is easy to understand why.

In Mexico, a social-safety net does not buffer Mexicans against the winds of change that blow on all of us. As Jim Rohn would tell us, Mexicans just set their sails differently in response. Do Mexicans believe more passionately in their ability to shape their futures than the rest of us? Only we can respond to that question.

What sets a growing number of Mexicans apart from others is their willingness to say “Yes” to opportunity, to learn what they need to know to succeed, and develop those qualities of character to transform their lives. Their beliefs drive the results they have achieved. The formula is simple: belief leads to actions and behaviors.

Let’s be clear! There are those among every group heavily invested in their skepticism (“direct sales doesn’t work!” or, “everything worked out for my parents and it will for me.” ); I don’t believe in the business model (Wall Street calls direct sales a business model less affected by economic cycles than other more traditional businesses); and, “I tried it once and it didn’t work.” You disliked at least one of your teachers in school but did you stop going to school? These skeptics may be more committed to this negative psychological investment than the attraction of opportunity. The choice is theirs; move on! For many, the ship of opportunity docked, made repairs, and finally sailed on – without them.

The creation of wealth is founded on commitment and Ty Bennett, a successful network marketing leader, says “commitment is the great differentiator between those who try and fail, and those who persevere and succeed.” He goes on to say, “when you are committed to your cause, you do whatever it takes.” Why would you give up on yourself if your commitment is to your cause? What is odd is that we never give up on our job even after our employer gives up on us. We are creatures of a mindset.

Earlier in this article, I spoke of a false hope that anticipates benefits of a healthier economy. Let’s be clear: Hope must permeate your consciousness before you physically see a manifestation of that which is hoped for. Hope is a life force never to be abandoned. It is a precursor to mindset. What I propose is to shift that life force to life’s possibilities; that which is within our grasp. That is the essence of this article. Keeper-Catran Whitney (CEO and Editor of’s Distributor Magazine) embodies the essential truth “you must understand the power of hope before you can change your life.”

I agree! Unless your vision extends beyond the horizons of your current condition to the possibilities that lie ahead, your future will likely resemble your yesterday. We need to talk about a paradigm shift in the minds of African Americans regarding how to achieve financial independence; that all income is not generated in a structured environment. If we do not change our mindset, the President reminded us growth and prosperity will be slower than it should be. “Unemployment will not go down as fast as it should, and income inequality will continue to rise….” We do not have to accept that future. We can make different choices.

I am not a paid spokesman for a particular company or a product line; rather an advocate for the power of an industry to move African Americans to a higher plateau of economic independence.

For those looking for a success formula, Mary Christensen, a former CEO of two network marketing corporations and past president of Direct Selling Association of New Zealand, recommends her triple A attributes: an optimistic Attitude, consistent Actions, and a flexible Approach. To this I would add, never quit because you can’t fail if you don’t quit before you succeed.

A final thought. Wealth creation is a recognized measure of success. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to attain it. If you don’t, says Christensen, “you’ll find an excuse.”




George Alfred Kennedy

Author George Alfred Kennedy

Career strategist, speaker, and mentor. George has the experience to help others decide who they are and what they want to do, and build an action plan to reach their destination.

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