Desperation Tactics: Why MLM’s Recruitment Strategies Are Gross

Go to your local Facebook selling site and glance through the listings.

If you are really lucky, it will be run by a moderator who has sense and bans pyramid…I mean, MLM schemes from being advertised. They are my kind of group admin.

Most though, are free for alls, and those ones are almost guaranteed to be overrun by the huns, flogging their ‘not fake’ perfumes and weight loss shit or their ‘gastric band in a bottle’ crap. If it isn’t either of those, they are asking you if you want to join their ‘business’, selling makeup and skincare, or their overpriced electric wax melts.

The thing is with most of these huns is that they are not just trying to flog you a really shit and usually overpriced product, but they will almost certainly try to recruit you to become a hun too. The whole idea of a multi-level marketing business, which when laid out on paper is remarkably pyramid-shaped, is to recruit as many people as possible. They rarely make money from the sales, they make money from downlines. They rely on recruits signing up and buying up stock and inventory. Did you know, for example, one certain ‘perfume distributor’ lists the first step to success as ‘Be your first customer’?. I won’t even go into the fact that it has a booklet that is almost 50 pages long trying to explain the most complicated commission structure that there could possibly be. It is little wonder that people sign up without really knowing what they are getting into – most people simply would not understand it.

I’ve noticed that since the onset of the pandemic, the recruitment tactics of these ‘businesses’ have gone up a notch, becoming even more predatory than they were before. They know that people have concerns over their health, their finances, and trying to find jobs that work around possible school closures and kids. There are a lot more vulnerable people out there, and we all know that MLM’s love the vulnerable.

I know I have been targeted by MLM’s multiple times over the past 18 months, despite having a clear warning in my bio’s that I am anti-MLM. They see someone with children, who is self-employed and immediately, I become prey. Do I want a side-hustle while work is slow? (work wasn’t slow, actually, I’ve been busier than ever). Do I need a job that allows me to work around my kids? (Already got one, ta). Do I want to earn some extra cash from working on my phone in my spare time? (Nope, I want to spend my spare time with my kids and husband, thanks). I am astute enough to say no and tell them exactly what I think of their ‘amazing opportunity’, but I can see why so many people get sucked in, especially in a pandemic.

Working for yourself is often heralded as being something amazing and above being employed. As someone who does work for herself, I can tell you straight off that I love being my own boss and doing it all, but is it always better? Nope. It is a lot riskier, I don’t have the benefits and security that I would get from working for someone else. However, this glorification of being your own boss is paving the way for MLM’s. It’s all about the side hustles, the multiple income streams, the gig economy, the small business owner. We have all been encouraged to shop local and support small businesses, and of course, the MLM’s have jumped right on the back of that horse.

The problem is, they are not small business owners.

They are sales reps in a multi-national corporation. They do not create the products they sell, they do not have any say in where they buy things from, the logo design, the manufacturing process, or the pricing structure. They are sales reps without a guaranteed income, despite promising unlimited earning potential. The only people who benefit from these are the people right at the top – 99% of people who join MLM’s end up losing money.

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