The Loneliness of the Long-Distance German Cyclist

John Lennon said: “Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans.”

I’ve got another one: “Network Marketing is what happens to you when you’re getting on with life.”

So the phone rings in the middle of a Thunderstorm. It’s a lone German cyclist wanting a bed for the night (actually what he’s wanting is a TV for the World Cup Final tonight).

Never mind, we are accommodating; even though The Studio, our luxurious Bed and Breakfast suite – (Google for full over-the-top description “Deben House Bed & Breakfast”) – was still in disarray from last night’s guests, Tamsin rushed around changing sheets and I was despatched to the supermarket before it closed at 4.00 p.m. for bread, yoghurt and fresh fruit compote.

Bread and yoghurt I can manage. But what exactly is Fresh Fruit Compote and where would you look for it? This is when a few grey hairs (very few, as it happens) come into their own. Shop assistants take pity on the poor old buffer with his shopping list and lead him meekly to the chiller cabinet.

Then, in contrast to the dismissive attitude I sometimes experience, the young man said: “Is that everything? Can I help you with something else?”

No, I assured him, that was everything…

Actually, no it wasn’t. I tracked him down again – to where he was scooping up handfuls of frozen fish to put them back in storage for tomorrow: “I just wanted to say thank you. Not everyone is as helpful as you’ve been and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it.

- Oh that’s OK.

“Have you worked here long?”

- About six years.

“Really, and is it a good place to work?”

- Well it’s OK but I’m beginning to think I’ve been doing the same thing forever. Maybe it’s time to move on, you know…”

“Is that so? Well in that case I wonder whether I have something you might like. Now this might be for you and it might not – only you can decide that … but it’s a way to get yourself more money and more free time without it affecting what you’re doing at the moment. If I were to send you some information, would you take a look at it and tell me what you think?”

Certainly he would – and we’ll be talking again at 1.30 p.m. tomorrow to see what he likes best about it.

If he turns out to be a superstar, then the German cyclist and his piles of wet clothes will have been worthwhile after all.

Bed & Breakfast v. Network Marketing

I love doing Bed & Breakfast – not because of the man who asked, with a rather startled expression, if I could please remove the dead mouse from the mousetrap in the airing cupboard or the couple who broke the bed. But because I get calls like this:

“Hello is that Mr Passmore. This is Georgia calling from Happy Utilities. Is it yourself who looks after the gas and electricity.”

(Well it is myself but I’m not moving them because my Network Marketing business supplies Gas and Electricity so you can guess where I’m going to get them from. But Georgia does not know this.)

So she says: “I’ve sent you an email, have you seen it? Well do you know the end date of your contract? Oh, you’re on a domestic contract? So how come you don’t pay the full rate then? Because of the the telephone and phone and broadband? How’s that then?”

And at this point I put her out of her misery. I say: “But I would like to thank you for the call. Clearly you’re very good at what you do – after all I wouldn’t still be on the phone if you weren’t. But I have a question to ask, is that all right?”

- Certainly.

“Do you work on salary or commission or a combination of the two?”

- Well we get a small bonus if somebody joins.

“That’s good. I’m glad to hear that. I bet you get some good bonuses.”

- Well they’re not very good and we’re on a very low wage.

“Oh dear. Well I’ve got something you might like. How would would it be if you got paid when somebody joins – and then got paid again every month when they pay their bill?”

- That would be ace!

“Well that’s how I get paid. Do you know I went to see a lady in Ipswich in April 2005 and she’s paid me every month since then. Currently she’s paying me about £5 a month and I only ever went to see her the once for about 40 minutes. Now if you add that all up it’s a lot of money for 40 minutes work.”

- It is a lot of money…

Actually I think I love Network Marketing more than Bed & Breakfast.

*For more tips on how Network Marketing in the Cold Market, see the Cold Market Academy tab at the top of the page.

Lunch for the dragons

I claim that nobody told me we had run out of crickets. It is my job to order them online but it is someone else’s job to tell me to do so and Norbert and Kreetcha make no sound at all.

OK, so now I have your attention, I owe you an explanation. Norbert and Kreetcha are bearded dragons and part of the Passmore menagerie. It must have been ten years ago on a visit to the dinosaur park that we got them – the man who sold them  explaining that they ate live crickets in the same way that a dog breeder will say “puppy food”.

Live crickets were a surprise, I can tell you – especially when Mrs Passmore opened the first batch and plunged her hand into the envelope to find 1,000 live crickets loose in there. You could hear the scream in Chelmsford. Also they’ve been escaping for ten years so now the house sounds like sunset in Mombassa.

Never mind, that’s not the point. The point is that it was Friday night and too late to order any more. The only thing to do was to go to the pet shop for a tiny overpriced tub of crickets to get us through the weekend.

The old petshop, that is. The new petshop is much to grand to sell crickets. In fact I don’t think it sells anything at all that’s alive – just rows and rows of dog food and racks of plastic bones and kittyloos and whatnot.

The other thing about the old pet shop is that it’s gloomy – not just the subdued glow from all the fish tanks but the staff are gloomy too.

The man behind the till pointed me to the crickets “where they’ve always been”. He took my money without a flicker of a smile.

This made it rather awkward because my standard opening in shops is: “You’re really cheerful, are you just starting or are you about to finish?”

In fact I thought about not saying anything at all. But the one thing I have learned in Network Marketing is that you just never know – you never know who’s going to want to know. You never know who’s going to join – and you never know who’s going to be any good. You just have to ask everyone.

So I asked him: “Look, I don’t know if this is of any interest to you but I always say the same thing to people in retail so if it’s alright, I’ll say the same to you…”

- What’s that.

“Well I’ve got something you might like. It’s a way to get yourself more time and more money but it doesn’t affect what you’re doing at the moment. If I were to send you some information, would you check it out?”

And this is what he said: “More money? Well I could certainly use that. We’re closing next week. They offered me a job in Colchester but that’s miles away. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Yeah, more money. I’ll check it out…”

A question of ethics

Tamsin marathon narrowHere’s one for the ethics committee:

Tamsin had a stall at the school fete so she could promote her fifth and final marathon of the “five in five months” for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. I went along to help – so did our 11-year-old, Hugo.

The stall was pretty simple. All you had to do was lob a £1 coin at a magnum of wine and if your coin was closest at the end of the day, the bottle was yours. There was a Lindor chocolate the size of a football for the kids – and that was only 50p.

All day long people lobbed their coins. We did brilliantly. It was clearly addictive – or alternatively the Kyson School parents are all compulsive gamblers because they would keep saying: “No, I can do better than that…” and emptying their pockets.

It poured with rain (this was an English school fete). The people sheltered under the tea and strawberries gazebo. The rain stopped. They came back and lobbed more coins.

It was towards the end of the day that Hugo reappeared lugging a bin liner as big as himself and filled with the sort of plastic junk we had been trying to get rid of for eleven years. Because he paid £1 for it out of his own money, this made all the difference. Now he wanted a go at the giant chocolate.

It did cross my mind that there might be a conflict of interest here. But I’m afraid I was so high on the amount of cash we were raising that such tiny details were swept aside as he tossed coin after coin from his pocket money into the coffers of the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

Until one of them landed so close to the Giant Lindor that it was almost touching.

Desperately, I looked around for some other child with a keen eye, a 50p piece and an insatiable chocolate habit.

Hugo, meanwhile, was chanting: “I won! It’s mine! I won! I am the champion!”

Modesty is not his strong suit.

The only thing I can think of doing is buying another giant chocolate….

… and you might think that none of this has anything to do with Network Marketing – but you would be wrong… because everything has something to do with Network Marketing.

What happened next was that I became so anxious about the niceties of my own son winning the giant Lindor that I sought advice from the next stall. The woman there was selling tiny intricate pieces of jewellery and the most beautifully painted greetings cards – all done by her daughter. Her daughter was clearly very talented. Apparently she made some good money from it – which meant the daughter was an entrepreneur….

Now, it just so happens I’m always interested in meeting entrepreneurs. As it turned out, she was just overthere  by the cake stall.

And now she’s looking. Or as she put it: “More money? I’m always interested in more money!”

People are, you see. You just have to ask – and have a chocoholic 11-year-old… and an athletic wife…and a bit of luck…

P.S. Tamsin did complete her last marathon. Hugo ran two miles with her. I walked round with the dog and a bucket. It means that so far she has raised more than £2,500 towards her target of £5,000. If you would like to help her make up the deficit, she accepts, cheques, cash and online donations at


For more Cold Market tips, click the Cold Market Academy tab at the top of the page

Who smashed the phone?

Number One son’s phone is broken.

It wasn’t his fault. Number Two son knocked it off the chest of drawers in the hall.

What do you expect if you leave it right on the edge (Number Two son’s explanation)

- I didn’t…(you don’t need to know any more about this).

The fact is that today I took the phone into town to the mobile phone repair shop. This is an amazing place where the man behind the counter said immediately: “Ah, Samsung Galaxy Fame” as soon as I took it out of my pocket (I had to take the back off, remove the battery and look up the model number on Google before I knew what it was).

Anyway he can fix it (of course he can fix it).

But the unexpected part was that in all the time he had been working there nobody had ever gone in and prospected him for my Network Marketing business. This was astonishing because mobile phones are what we do (well, part of what we do).

“You mean nobody has ever come in and said: ‘If there was a way to get yourself more free time and more money without it affecting what you’re doing at the moment, is that something you might like to look at?” They never said: “Do you like to keep your business options open” or “Are you planning to do this for the rest of your career?”

He looked blank. He said: “No”.

So now he’s not looking he’s looking at my business – and the best part is that I’m not going to forget to follow up – I have to pick up the phone tomorrow…


For more Network Marketing tips see The Cold Market Academy at the top of the page.

Cruise Wear

I have my cruise wear. I have my green shirt (eau de nil tending towards peppermint, according to my personal shopper). I have a pair of blue shorts (pale torquoise). I have much else besides – including a casual jacket in a sort of grey (you won’t wear it but it’s a lovely cut).

All of this is necessary because at the weekend a niece arrives to look after the children and we will setting off to the Eastern Mediterranean for a six star holiday courtesy of my Network Marketing business – and my fellow distributors will be appalled to see that the new wardrobe comes from Next.

Next – for those not familiar with the British High Street – is a clothes and homeware chain – and it does not give CashBack.

It’s a big thing, CashBack. Members of our Discount Club get it for shopping in selected stores – and as distributors it makes sense for us to demonstrate just how much you can get. In our household this amounted to £719 over the past year. But we’re not going to do that again if we go shopping in Next…

“It’s nearer.” said the Personal Shopper. “And you can park outside.” I was still grumbling when we reached the counter and I had to pay the £286 without any prospect of getting any of it back. This was why I nearly missed what the young salesman said as he carefully folded the eau de nil shorts: “Going somewhere nice?”

“A cruise,” said the Personal Shopper. “Venice, Dubrovnik, Mykonos, Epehesus, Istambul…”

“That’s nice.”

Snapping back into character, I said: “D’you want to come with us next time?”

“I certainly would!” He reached for a French blue shirt with a tiny pattern that I’m not too sure about.

At this point I always find it best to create a long and significant pause. Everything stops then. The French blue shirt is half-way into the bag.

“Really? Because you could…You seem a really cheerful person. I expect you’re really sociable too…If you’re serious about coming with us next time…but I think you have another customer (there was a rather diffident man with a primrose yellow polo shirt and a triumphant-looking wife).

“Only one,” said the salesman. I’ve got a minute and Julie’s here.” Julie was handing a bag across the counter.

“All right, ” I relented. “If I sent you a link to a three-minute video would you watch it?”

- Yes

I pulled out my clever phone and started punching his details into it. His email address was so long he had to do that part himself. “Right, when I get home I’ll send you an email with a link to a three-minute video. Now, how soon are you going to be able to watch that for sure?”

He could watch that when he got home.

“Well I’m out tonight but if I ring you tomorrow morning, you’ll have seen that for sure and you’ll be able to tell me what you like best?”

He certainly would.

“So this is the number I should call is it? And you’ll have watched it by then, no question?”

Oh absolutely.

And we shook hands – and this is the email I sent him when I got home:

Hi xxx,

it was good to talk to you today and it made me feel a lot better about not getting CashBack from M&S or Debenhams. I told Tamsin that if you join us and you become a Superstar, I will forgive her!
Have a look at www.... and I look forward to talking to you again tomorrow.
With best regards…
For more hints and tips about Network Marketing in the Cold Market, see the Cold Market Academy tab at the top of the page.

Adding to the list

When my sponsor showed me Network Marketing back in 2005, he didn’t take my name.

He didn’t ask for a card or punch my details into his cellphone.

In fact if I had never picked up the phone and called him, the last nine years would have been very different (and I don’t even want to think about how the next nine would be looking…)

It is always best to collect names and phone numbers – to build the list. But yesterday was different. Yesterday was the County Show: 60,000 people, horses, cows, sheepdogs – and the rest.

The rest is incredible. If you’re a city dweller and you’ve never been to a County Show, you really should go: Part trade fair, part funfair they have everything from the Pig Olympics to a woman with nothing but a basket of lemons and lemon squeezer turning out cups of citron pressé.

I went with my eleven-year-old to eat and look at cars – and at every stall I was able to say: “Is this your business?” and “Have you come far?” and “Do you do a lot of shows?” and anything else that could lead me to say: “Do you now what, I have a colleague who does what you do. Tell me, if there was a way for your to earn an extra income without it affecting your business – in fact I think it would even complement your business – is that something you might like to take a look at?”

Sometimes I would get a card in return but in the case of the hog roast man or the woman with citron pressé, the queue made that impossible. I probably gave out fifty cards and got no more than half a dozen in return. But hey, it was a day off. We were supposed to be enjoying ourselves and sitting in an Audi R8 V10.

But then, at the end of the day, we fetched up in Halford’s the cycle store. It had to be Halfords because not only was Hugo’s new bike heavily discounted but they give my company’s customers a 5% discount and I have to be able to show people that. Of course by this time I was so used to giving out cards that I gave another three to the staff in there.

And here”s where it’s all leading. Opposite Halfords is the shop where we bought a wetsuit for my daughter – only to find that her best friend has one exactly the same. Obviously Lottie’s had to go back.

The young man on customer services got a card. He looked at it. He said: “What’s this?”

Throughout the entire day – the 50 cards, the quick conversations – nobody had said that. But it had been a long day. We still had to collect Son Number Two from athletics. It would have been so easy to say: “Look at the website”. But sometimes in MLM you just have to go back to work…

I pulled out the phone and started pressing buttons. We’ll be talking again at precisely 1.00 p.m. on Monday. By then he has promised he will have reviewed the information on the website.

… and if anybody else has done the same, well that’s a bonus.


*For advice on how to find new people to talk to and what to say to them, see The Cold Market Academy tab at the top of the page.

10 Reasons Why Your Mom Said “No” to your Network Marketing/MLM business

1. Why can’t you get a proper job? Mrs Morrison at Number 23, her son has ever such a nice job. Wears a suit…

2. Your Uncle Frank started one of them pyramid things. Lost all his money, he did. Out on the street they were – and Deirdre with them three kiddies…

3. It’s a cult.

4. Started your own business! Stuff and nonsense! Your father never started his own business!

5. I said it would end in tears – soon as you took up with that Christine Wossername. You could have been a doctor you could. I always said…

6. Well it all looks very nice dear but I like to know where I’m placed.

7. Maybe next year –  if I’m spared…

8. We’ll hear no more about it. Now eat your Cocopops.

9. Who d’you think you are? Richard Branson?

10 Why don’t you open a shop? You could have your name over the door. Haberdashery’s lovely.

Falling into place after 137,000 miles

My Mini has done 137,000 miles. I’ve just spent £250 on the water jacket and the coil. Before that it was £900 for a new head gasket. This is infuriating – particularly since BMW have brought out the new model – but there really seems no point in changing now: It will have to go all the way to 200,000 miles.

The Mini is provided by my Network Marketing company: Reach a certain level in the business, put in a certain amount of activity and they give you a brand new BMW Mini all decked out with logos and your phone number. Some of the more attractive members of the team have found that it’s a great way of stoking up their love life (people dial the number on the back and leave a messages: “Our eyes met across the forecourt…”

People like me, on the other hand, get: “I saw the writing on your back window about getting a monthly income forever. You keep driving like that and you won’t live ’til next week!”

Of course there are some people who don’t want the Mini: One team member said she wouldn’t be able to keep her golf clubs out of sight in the back and another asked: “Why should I want a Mini when I can have a Saab?”

Neither of these people, I should add, have progressed past the second rung of the ladder – but that’s their choice.

I’m on the third rung from the top and I love the Mini!

In particular I loved it yesterday when the Satnav directed me not into our training venue but instead into Tesco’s car park. Never mind, I needed the cash machine.

On the way to it was the inevitable Automobile Association saleswoman. I always like to talk to these people, they make great distributors but at the time, she was busy with a customer.

But on the way back from the cash machine, it was she who hailed me: “I saw your car and I’ve been on the lookout for one for ages. I met one of your people some time ago but then I was doing well and said no and now I want to ring them I can’t find their card. These days things aren’t so good and now might be the right time. Can you tell me all about it?”

Well no, actually. For one thing I had a room full of new distributors arriving at any moment and secondly, we don’t tell anyone anything any more. It makes far more sense for them to educate themselves by looking at the website or the DVD or dialling into the information line. That way they’ll believe it.

So we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether she she believes it. In the meantime she demonstrated how good she would be by saying: “By the way are you a member of the AA?

I pulled out my card. “Oh,” she said. “A Gold Member…”

Some days things just fall into place…


People who have been watching the video of my pop-up prize draw have been amazed at how quickly people stop to talk to me – and then amazed again at the fact that these total strangers really do agree to me going to see them at home for an assessment.

And I suppose when you think about it… it is amazing.

This is because all over the world there are Network Marketing recruits who join with high hopes and write out a list of all the people they know - only to find that a significant percentage of their friends and family want to think about it.

You can understand how frustrating it must be: You have to ring your cousin Bernie five times before he agrees to to see you. Then he cancels three times and finally says he’ll get back to you.

…and yet I stand in the street with my silly grin and my old man’s hat and the fifth person I ask stops to fill in the form and then, without a second thought, gives me an appointment.

But it doesn’t amaze me, I assume it”s going to happen because Multi-Level Marketing – or as they call it MLM – really does work.

Nor always of course…

Last Tuesday a struggling distributor from Norwich drove for an hour to join me on the street in Ipswich (in exactly the same spot where we filmed the video). In half an hour I asked 100 people if they wanted to enter my prize draw and not one of them did. I think me colleague was rather disappointed. I just went shopping.

But then yesterday I was in town paying in the charity cheques from Tamsin’s latest marathon. I got the sticky front door key re-cut and I was just about to hop back on the bike to get the distilled water for the iron when I thought I ought to do a bit of prize draw. But I didn’t have time. I had to be back  for the courier delivering the new iPhone.

I’ll just do five minutes, I decided. Five minutes can’t hurt.

I wrote 1249 on the form. I told the first two people walking past what they could win and they both kept on walking.

Then the third stopped. We were awfully close to the greengrocers and I wondered if we should move away but surely the greengrocer would say something if he minded. So we filled in the form. I asked my four questions and we put all the ticks in the right boxes. It took me the usual 38 seconds to deliver my Magic Minute and we agreed an appointment for Monday.

At this point, I should add, I adopted my new Cement Sentence (students of the Cold Market Academy know all about the Cement Sentence). Lately I’ve been trialling this:

“Now I’m very reliable so I will be outside your door at two O’clock on the 19th and if, unexpectedly, the earth should open up and swallow me, you can be sure that the last thing I will do is call you and say I can’t make it.”

… and she laughed. Then I delivered the clincher:

“Could I ask you to do the same?”

We shook hands and went on our way. I wrote on the top of my form “1253″

The whole process had taken just four minutes.

… a lot less than it takes to set up an iPhone for someone who can’t remember their iCloud password…

Network Marketing in the Cold Market
What’s it all about?

This is the diary of a successful Multi-Level Marketer making money from home and fitting a part-time business into a busy life.
Over the years it has developed but the objective remains the same: To demonstrate how anyone can build a successful network marketing business in "the nooks and crannies of the day".
Eventually this spawned a training programme which I call The Cold Market Academy. This began as a seminar available only to MLM-ers working with my company. However this is now available as an e-book worldwide and priced at only $20 with a money-back guarantee! To order your copy click the Cold Market Academy tab.
But at the heart of the Network Marketing Blog is the answer to the two most common questions people ask when they look at this business - and the two biggest challenges they face when they start:
1. I m not a salesperson.
2. I don't have the time.
These are genuine concerns and all too often they get brushed aside: "Don't worry about that. We'll show you how..."
This blog is designed to show how it works in reality and in real time - how anyone, no matter how busy, can work their business consistently in small fragments of time. Because that's all you need; just a few seconds to find out if someone's interested.
And please bear in mind the entries here are only a tiny snapshot of the daily activity. Most of what goes on would make very dull reading indeed: Making calls from the list ... adding names to the list...making calls from the list...
As for being a salesperson: Have a look and decide for yourself.
Is it sales?
Let's say you call on a friend unexpectedly and find them up to their ankles in water and battling with a burst pipe.
Imagine it: There they are, soaked to the skin, trying to wrap a towel round the leak while they shout: "I rang the plumber but all I get is the answerphone..."
Honestly now, would you ignore their plight or would you volunteer the number of your own plumber.
Would you do what you could to help them or would you consider that going into "sales" on behalf of the plumber would be beneath you?
And what would your friend say when they realised you had deliberately chosen to leave them struggling to stem the flow and all because you felt embarrassed about "selling" something.
Network marketing is all about spreading good news and it's all about helping people.

If you're thinking of getting into Network Marketing - or already in it but not making enough money - contact me at

About Me

John Passmore
Woodbridge, Suffolk,
United Kingdom

For 25 years I was a newspaper reporter - ending up as Chief Correspondent for the London Evening Standard. Then I gave it all up and, with my wife, set out to live the simple life on a small boat while writing a column for the Daily Telegraph. Five years and two children later we moved ashore - and five years and another two children after that I ran out of money. Nobody wanted to give me a job and I couldn't afford to start a conventional business. Then at a craft fair in our local community hall, somebody showed me network marketing. It was described as a home-based business that would provide a second income for anyone who wanted to work from home. I was sceptical. There were claims of high earnings and something called a "residual income". But what if it did work? And besides what alternative did I have? So I threw myself into it wholeheartedly (which is the only way to succeed at anything). I'm not saying it's easy or that there were never moments of doubt but if you're prepared to learn and determined never to give up, then there is a statistical certainty that you will make money. I started in April 2005. I was broke and embarrassed. Today I have no money worries whatsoever.

(In particular we have no worries since converting our garage into what we now grandly call "The Studio" - a luxurious apartment which we offer as bed and breakfast or a holiday let. See