as my followers know by now i absolutely hate multi level marketing. if you're unfamiliar with the term, multi level marketing (MLM) is a business model that relies on recruiting as the basis of their sale structure. so basically MLMs are like pyramid schemes, the loophole being that in addition to recruiting brand reps they also sell specific products– this way they can advertise as a regular business that sells products to customers.
there are tons of MLMs out there. Amway. CutCo. Monat. Arbonne. Herbalife. they all sell products and they all sell "the opportunity."
"the opportunity" is really what recruits sell. they sell the dream that you can become your own independent sales person. you can make money at your leisure. you can clock in and out when you please. you can live a lavish lifestyle and get a company car and go on company vacations and go on company retreats. you get a direct message, "want to become your own boss babe?" it seems like the perfect gig.
until you check out the facts.
99% of people who join MLMs do not turn a profit. how is this possible? how can a business still function when 99% of their sales people do not make money? to put it simply, it is because YOU are the customer. yes You. recruits are prompted to purchase company products. in some MLMs you are required to sell those products like LulaRoe or Herbalife. you're purchasing and selling physical inventory. other MLMs don't even require you to have physical product like Monat or Younique, simply an online store where you can direct your customer sales. but with the second model, how can one sell a product without ever using it? you can't. so recruits will buy product regardless– for themselves or to sell.
so you've purchased a fuck load of company product to start your business, possibly paid a ridiculously large start up fee, and now you're ready to start selling! the person who signed you up (your Up Line) told you that the job has super flexible hours and you can make your own schedule. she forgot to mention the daily company meetings you'd have to attend as well as mandatory training sessions that are completely unpaid.
in these top secret company zoom meetings, top sellers will motivate the team with some pep talk.
"If you're not making money it's because you're not working hard enough!"
"It's your negative energy getting in the way of sales."
"You guys need to be investing in your future!"
there's plenty of reasons you can't sell these products.
They're Expensive: most MLM products are sold at a much higher mark up than other store brands. this is because you're purchasing products through individual retailers that are making commission. but in a world where you can just about get anything from the internet or store without having to pay an up charge for a middleman... why tf would you buy from an MLM? Monat's classic shampoo is sold for $38 not including shipping. some MLMs have had good name brand recognition however and actually have done well selling certain products. for example, CutCo. my family personally owns a knife set from them and i know plenty of people who do in this area. their knives are actually pretty good though. however, finding a reputable MLM product is few and far between. one of the biggest MLMs markets that exist is the health / wellness market. MLMs like Herbalife, BeachBody and Arbonne sell meal replacement shakes, vitamins, and supplements. YoungLiving and DoTerra sell essential oils. because health claims can be extremely vague and the FDA does not have to approve of every wellness product that is sold, it's incredibly easy for these MLMs to sell these products to uneducated consumers.
They Rely on Network Marketing: the products sold in MLMs are not any different than anything else out there. they rely on their recruits to personalize their sales pitch. this is known as Network Marketing. you are more likely to purchase something from someone you know and have trust in rather than a random sales person. this is how MLMs grow so large and fast. you trust people who recruit you into the business even if the model or products themselves are not that strong. it's all about networking. but this can get recruits into bad territory. MLM recruits will say that their job is simply network marketing since they're just promoting a product that they love. but that's not really an accurate comparison... if you love a mascara and you tell your friend to buy it, you're not directly profiting off of that sale. not everything you market is a sales pitch. we are seeing this become a huge problem in the influencer community. several years ago, YouTubers would promote products they loved on the internet to share advice with their followers. since the massive capitalization of social media, YouTubers must now blatantly disclose when they are marketing a product through a paid promotional ad or not. it is much harder now to find influencers that are not swayed by money to promote products and harder to find honest reviews. how can you trust they love the product so much when any random person can sign up and get paid selling it to you...? MLMs rely on network marketing to be successful, but what happens when you run out of people to network to? there's only so many aunts and uncles that can buy your protein shake supplement once a month. recruits then push to outside of their network and the real sales work begins.
Selling is Hard: you're Up Line told you you're simply not working hard enough. if you wanna be a boss babe you have to put in the time and hard work! didn't they tell me the hours were flexible and this would be an easy side hustle?? it's crazy how these guys contradict themselves. but the reality is that 99% of recruits cannot sell product because they are unequipped to do so. your Up Line will tell you that the business will train you and with their special expertise they will get you on the road to success. but you are asked to purchase your own product and training materials, work without a base pay, and are not eligible for any employee benefits other than a dumbass product discount... sounds like a shitty set up to me. MLMs make it seem like anyone can be a sales person. anyone can run a business. anyone can be their own "boss." unfortunately, sales is difficult especially with poor training. recruits have been found to say just about anything to sell their products even if it isn't true. Herbalife has dealt with numerous lawsuits regarding false product claims made by sales reps. PureRomance, an MLM that sells sex toys to women has had similar problems with reps making ridiculous claims about their products. do i hear a #lawsuit ??!! my fave.
It's Not About the Products Anyway: the reason you can't really sell product is probably because the company doesn't actually care if you sell product. they want you to sell the opportunity. they want you to recruit people, to create your own Down Line sales team, and get more and more people to purchase starter kits and attempt to run their own businesses. the company zoom meetings i was telling you about focus primarily on recruiting rather than individual product sales. you then will collect commission from recruits and their sales in addition to your own. the 1% of reps with a substantial downline will receive much more from the work of other people than their own. ah capitalism.
the truth of the matter is that MLMs do not advertise the facts of their business model. they advertise a dream. the opportunity. one that only 1% of reps will ever reach and pretty much only maintain for a few years max.
i always think about this when trying to understand why people would ever join such a scam?? just look up an MLM's income disclosure statement online... it's literally all there. but the fact that people continue to sign up for these damn things means that obviously there is a significant draw. its how i feel when someone buys a silly lotto ticket. the chances at winning are so ridiculously slim, as it is making good money joining an MLM, but people will always be drawn to the success stories. it doesn't matter if chances are slim. if your friend can start their own business, why can't you?
it makes me sick how much MLMs are structured around solely an individual's success. now this is true for a lot of jobs obviously, you work hard you win hard ... usually. but when it's extremely difficult to sell products, work all hours of the day without base pay, and create a successful down line of enthusiastic and ignorant "boss babes" ... how is the individual really to blame? this is actually one of the ways the MLMs manipulate their reps. because there is so much emphasis on individual success, high status reps will explain to their downline that the cause of their failure in the business is simply from, "not working hard enough." unlike other traditional businesses you'd work for, MLMs don't have typical employee benefits and they don't qualify for the same legal protections. many reps who fail will simply exit in silence for fear of public scrutiny and humiliation. by putting the blame on the individuals rather than the business model that sets people up to fail, it takes all pressure away from the company itself.
so i guess you could say i despiseeee multi level marketing. it's still crazy to me how people still don't know about the unethical business practices of MLMs or just how much these companies actually suck. but thats what this blog is for i guess, and i hope to write some more deep dives on specific MLMs in the future. so which one do you wanna see exposed? leave a comment under this post or on social media :)
ill see you hun bots later