Introduction to Wake Up Now MLM Compensation Plan
It is the middle of the night in the Midwest, and as usual, I am wide awake. Tonight, as a preface to my Wake Up Now review, I am going to tell you a story that I have been wanting to tell you for a long time. It is a story about night people and the media. This story is close to my heart because I have always been a night person, and this is something of a night person manifesto.
As I have previously mentioned on this blog, Jean Shepherd, the author of the stories on which the movie A Christmas Story is based, was one of the great Midwestern raconteurs. He grew up in Hammond, Indiana, which is not too far from here, and in Chicago, which is also not too far from here, but this story takes place in New York City, a place that gets far less attention on this blog than it does from most media channels, perhaps because it is not the obvious place for newly minted multilevel marketing (MLM) representatives in search of fast start bonuses to go looking for new marks. It was the mid-1950s when Shepherd got his first gig as a radio DJ in New York, but he quickly ran afoul of the radio station executives because, like every true raconteur, he devoted more airtime to running his mouth than he did to playing hit records. As punishment, the station exiled Shepherd to the least desirable time slot, the midnight to 5:00 a.m. slot.
Of course, Shepherd took to his new gig like a raccoon to a garbage dumpster or take your pick of nocturnal animal metaphor. It didn’t even bother him that the executives did not let him broadcast from the studio in New York City. Rather, he broadcast his show straight from the broadcast tower in New Jersey, where it was so hot that Shepherd used to broadcast his show while wearing only his undershorts. (This was 1956, when outer garments were a requirement for most jobs. I know it sounds strange to those whose entire careers have taken place in the age of telecommuting.) In his new timeslot, Shepherd was free to run his mouth to his heart’s delight, and run his mouth he did.
Shepherd told his listeners that they belonged to a secret brotherhood known as night people. If you stayed up late to listen to Jean Shepherd’s show, you were a night person. Out of economic necessity, most night people still got up early in the morning to work at their day jobs, but the night was the time when they were really in their element. (I, for one, can relate. When I was in high school, my parents had to drag me out of bed every morning to go to school, because I had stayed up late the previous night updating my blog Classic Rock Ragnarok. During my brief college career, I flunked every 9:00 class I ever took, even the ones I liked.)
According to Shepherd, day people and night people had different temperaments. Day people loved schedules, rules, social conventions, and worst of all, lists. Day people were boring, humorless, shallow, and unimaginative. By contrast, night people were genuine, creative, weird and witty. They could think circles around the day people, and one day in the spring of 1956, Shepherd was inspired to do just that.
Jean Shepherd went to a bookstore looking for a book of scripts of Vic and Sade, a Depression-era radio show he had used to listen to when he was younger. When he did not find the book on the shelves, he asked an employee about it. The employee checked his list of books but found no evidence of a published collection of Vic and Sade scripts. What bothered Shepherd was not the fact that the book was not listed, but rather that the book’s absence from the list was sufficient to convince the bookstore employee beyond the shadow of a doubt that the book did not exist.
In typical Jean Shepherd fashion, Shepherd wasn’t just bothered, he was outraged. (This was before outraged radio DJs were a thing.) He was mad enough to do something. That night, when his show came on the air and all the night people tuned in, he was determined to show those day people with their stupid lists. He was determined to generate enough buzz about a non-existent book to get it onto the New York Times Bestseller List. That night, Shepherd announced his plan, and he and his listeners brainstormed on air about the details of the book. They decided that the book would be called I, Libertine. The title had snob appeal but still sounded trashy enough to keep the word of mouth publicity going. They decided that the author, Frederick Ewing, was an Englishman who had studied at Oxford and served in the Royal Navy before settling into a cushy civil servant job that left him with plenty of leisure time to research 18th century erotica, which research formed the basis for I, Libertine. They decided that Ewing’s wife was an heiress and they lived on a country estate. Shepherd instructed the night people to go to bookstores and ask for the book and not to be deterred when the boring day people working at the bookstores denied its existence.
The next day, the night people descended on their local bookstores and requested copies of I, Libertine. Day people who were colleagues and coworkers of the night people likewise started to request the book after the night people recommended it to them so enthusiastically. It helped that some of the night people who listened to Shepherd’s show were journalists who published articles about Ewing and I, Libertine; some of them even claimed to have met Ewing personally. (Other night people who listened to Shepherd’s show included Lenny Bruce, Garrison Keillor, and Jack Kerouac.) Eventually the plan worked, and I, Libertine made it to the New York Times Bestseller List without even existing. The demand was so great that a book with that title was eventually ghostwritten by one of Shepherd’s friends, but the night people had won the day even before that happened.
Unfortunately, that was the high point of Jean Shepherd’s career. He influenced plenty of night people, like the ones mentioned above and many others, but the I, Libertine incident gave Shepherd a taste of being a star, something he never really achieved, and he never had a terribly cheerful attitude toward the young stars that rose in his wake. In the 1960s, he interviewed the Beatles and published his interview with them in a magazine, but he regarded them in much the same way that the old men of the media usually regarded rock bands in the 1960s. In fact, his interview with them was not very different from that interview where an old man from the BBC asked Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd why his music was so loud, to which Barrett replied, without missing a beat, that old people’s music was too quiet.
A lot has changed since 1956. There is a lot more public discussion about careers for which night people like us are naturally suited. Fortunately, there are a lot of professions, even diurnal ones, where our creativity and our distaste for adherence to strict rules are accepted. (Writing is one such profession, and thanks to this vast Internet, there is a nearly endless demand for written content.) Unfortunately, the multilevel marketing (MLM) industry preys on our desire for freedom from the day people lifestyle. It promises us flexible schedules, bonus pools, and the occasional pink Cadillac. But the riches promised by the MLM industry are an illusion, much like I, Libertine.
Wake Up Now: The Company and Its Products
As MLM companies go, Wake Up Now was about as generic as they come. Like so many other MLM companies I have reviewed here on Notebook Crazy, the Wake Up Now business opportunity was based in Utah. Its founder, Troy Muhlestein, established the company in 2009. Wake Up Now products fell into two categories: energy drinks with names like Awaken and Thunder and online products that ranged from a travel discount program to tax software to health and fitness apps. In other words, Wake Up Now products were quite generic, too. As is typical with online services sold through an MLM business model, he online Wake Up Now products were almost identical to programs that you could download free of charge elsewhere.
In early 2015, Wake Up Now ceased to do business in the United States. It appears that its rise and fall followed a similar course to that of so many other MLM companies. (I have previously mentioned on Notebook Crazy that a lot of MLM companies go out of business after about five years, which is what happened to Wake Up Now.) It seems that the problem was that the Wake Up Now business opportunity relied more on the constant recruitment of new Wake Up Now distributors than it did on the sale of Wake Up Now products. There are only so many people you can recruit into a business opportunity, and eventually the company ran out of money. As is the case with so many MLM companies, its leaders had big personalities, and they sought to give the company a squeaky clean image, even advertising it on shows like This American Life. This probably means that there are quite a few Wake Up Now distributors out there with basements full of Wake Up Now products and still on the hook for all the credit card charges they racked up by investing in the Wake Up Now business opportunity.
So it goes.
The Wake Up Now Compensation Plan
I found a Wake Up Now review that reprinted part of the Wake Up Now compensation plan. It appears that the leadership levels in the Wake Up Now compensation plan were three levels of Director, seven levels of Founder, and then Executive, Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond, and Global Executive. The sheer number of leadership levels in the Wake Up Now compensation plan is sufficient evidence that the Wake Up Now business opportunity relied more on the recruitment of new distributors than it did on the sale of products. You do not need me to tell you that such a scenario is based news, because it has already played itself out and proven itself to be bad news indeed.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- The Wake Up Now business opportunity is defunct, which means that it cannot get you into any more financial trouble.
- This past Christmas, when I got the idea to write Notebook Crazy, the plan was for it to be the thinking man’s MLM review blog, and I planned to continue the tradition of the great Midwestern storytellers, including Jean Shepherd. I have always wanted to give him a proper shout out on this blog, and this Wake Up Now review has finally given me the opportunity to do it.
- It is not every day that an MLM compensation plan has leadership levels named after precious stones but not after precious metals, but that is in fact how the Wake Up Now compensation plan was set up.
- If you are just now getting around to responding to your cousin’s Facebook post inviting you to join the Wake Up Now business opportunity, you may be disappointed to find out that the company no longer does business in the United States.
- I am not sure whether this counts as an advantage or a disadvantage, but it certainly is an odd fact of search engine optimization (SEO). When you search for “Wake Up Now Wikipedia”, the Wikipedia article about “coma” appears on the first page of search results.
Wake Up Now? No thanks. Ask me again after noon.
Hey, night people, schedule a call with me so that we can have a serious discussion about night people careers. Excelsior!