It’s something I’ve never really publicly talked about, but privately, it is one of those things that instantly get me into a bit of a hot rage, which I can rant on about for hours – Multi-Level Marketing companies. Some of the ones I know about include:
Stella and Dot
There are plenty of others – ‘skinny’ or ‘detox’ coffees and teas seem to be the newest ones going around. They all follow a very similar ‘business’ model. People involved in it get compensated for the sales of the product they personally generate and the sales of anyone they have recruited. If the people they have recruited then go on to recruit more people, they get a cut of that as well, thus creating a pyramid. Pyramid selling is illegal in the UK, but MLM’s get around this by having a product, but the business model is pretty much the same.
So why do I hate MLM’s so much?
People rarely make money from an MLM – they usually lose it
According to some independent consumer watchdog agencies, between 990 and 999 out of every 1000 participants in an MLM lose money – more than 99%. That’s both incredible and ridiculous at the same time. How on earth are ‘businesses’ like this allowed to operate?
You’re (as far as I’m aware – I’ve stayed as far away as possible from any ‘opportunities’) encouraged or told to buy starter packs or kits, to begin with, and then to keep buying every so often. I know some MLM’s have a rule that if you don’t sell anything or buy anything for more than a few weeks, you become inactive and have to start all over again. If someone hasn’t made any sales that week/month/period, they then tend to end up buying it out of their own pocket. The products aren’t cheap – a quick look on one website shows me that a bottle of honey is more than £15. Interestingly, the price is not displayed straight away, you have to click through to the buying page to see how much it is. I guess they want you to buy from a distributor who will try to convince you to join the company as well.
They make dangerous and untrue claims
No pill sold by an MLM distributor can make you lose weight. No pill sold by an MLM can cure you of diabetes, cancer, depression, fibro or any other illness. They are pills containing a few vitamins, nothing you wouldn’t get by eating the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. You can lose weight whilst using some of the MLM products – in the same way you would lose weight by following any meal replacement plan. As soon as you start eating normal food again, that weight is going back on. It’s the same with the detox coffee and tea – believe me, if coffee made you lose weight I’d have wasted away by now. If there were pills that could cure diabetes and cancer, I’m pretty sure the NHS would have made full use of them many years ago.
They prey on vulnerable people
This is the thing that gets me most angry. Day in, day out I see posts asking for mums to get in touch: stay at home mums who might need a few extra quid, working mums who desperately want to work from home to be around their kids. They’re teased with promises of quick cash, quick weight loss, holidays, new cars and bonuses, all whilst being at home with their kids.
They target people who want to lose weight for the summer or a wedding, new mums who are trying to lose the baby weight. I’ve even seen screenshots where an MLM recruiter sent a private message to someone, congratulating them on a newborn and offering them the perfect solution to their ‘yucky mum-tum’. What the actual fuck?
They ruin friendships
I’ve had friends join MLM schemes (thankfully, all have come out the other side, relatively unscathed!) and within a couple of weeks, I’ve had to hide their posts from my Facebook timeline because it became just one big sale or recruitment platform for them. I’ve been added to god knows how many groups which I’ve swiftly left. I met up with one friend for a drink at the pub, and the whole time she was trying to sell me products and recruit me. There was no general chit chat – she had literally just invited me along to sign me up, and when she realised I was not interested, she never spoke to me again. Another friend who joined one confided that she lost almost 50% of her Facebook friends and had stopped being invited out on nights out with her friends. It turned out they were all sick of being used as potential customers. I really will support any of my friends who start up a legitimate business but I can never ever support an MLM ‘business’.
This only just touches the surface of why I won’t promote or endorse an MLM, whether in ‘real life’ or on my blog. Don’t get me started on the Range Rovers with bows attached to them, the huge bonuses and holidays, the emoticons (ALL the emoticons!), the cheesy motivational memes and pictures, or mascara that makes you look like you have spider legs for eyelashes.
What are your thoughts on an MLM?
22 thoughts on “Why I Will Never Endorse or Promote an MLM Company”
My thoughts are pretty much the same as yours – you know how I feel about Juice Plus anyway! ;D
I joined an MLM company because for me, their products worked. I couldn’t really justify their prices but with the discount from being a distributor it was ok. What got me though, was the fact I was targeted.
I refused to join my actual friends or work colleagues ‘team’ as I didn’t want to mix work and pleasure (they understood thankfully!) A mum at my daughter’s school suggested coffee. I took her up on her offer. She told me about the opportunity, sent me a video link and initially I’d said no. We still did coffee once a week for a few months. I thought I’d made a new friend. We did playdates. I bought in to her team as she hadn’t once mentioned it after my initial no. She mentored me but as soon as I explained my plan, she chilled out on the sales training.
She then switched MLM companies. She invited us over for a play date and within 10 minutes was in for the hard sell. I had to endure an hour of the pitch. After messaging her a polite no thanks a few days later, she stopped all contact! Didn’t reply to play date invitations. Excuses for coffee meet ups and then unfriended me on Facebook. I was a little hurt as I foolishly thought I’d made a mum friend. I was very annoyed though that she’d cultivated a ‘friendship’ purely as she’d seen me as a target. She’d spied a seeming weakness during a breakup with my boyfriend and had thought I was easy prey. She did exactly what I too hate about MLMs.
That’s exactly why I hate it. They really do prey on people who are vulnerable. I have to admit when we were absolutely rock bottom skint and I desperately needed some quick cash to be able to move house, I was tempted on one more than one occasion!
That’s awful to hear! Sadly there are far too many people out there that are just bad eggs that get caught up in these schemes. People seem to forget they have freedom of choice!
As the most recent recruit of one of the companies you have mentioned, I can totally understand your point. The main reason I joined was because of the work they do to help women who have been sexually abused in childhood/adolescence. I’m not a big fan of these type of schemes at all normally but these ones seem different. There are no sales targets and whatever you do is optional. You are given the freedom to run it how you want to. I vowed I would never adopt some of the tactics people try to use on any of my friends and I have no desire to change that. If people want the products, they will ask. All I intend to do is to showcase them via my page. If it works out, it works out, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It just means I’ve had some luxury products for £69 instead of over £300 lol. X
Good luck with it 🙂
Ahhh I understand why now!
I avoid at all costs
Total rip off!
My friend is an Arbonne seller, and it does invade on our relationship. I’ve been given the sales pitch to join up and realised from that why the products were so ridiculously expensive – a whole chain of people need to profit from that bottle of quite frankly average shampoo! To protect our friendship I’ve made it my tactic never to ask her about Arbonne and certainly never to become a customer. I feel bad to not support her, but I know if I get involved it will take over our friendship. I wish she could see what a con it is but she’s fully indoctrinated…
I do like the company that I am with (not one that you have mentioned above) because it works well with my last career and my blog. It is not really MLM but more Network Marketing.
Because of that it is. Or something that I need to “advertise” with friends or on my personal profiles. I’ve found that people who are interested are so because I’m experienced in the field and they trust me. I’m am. It at a “making money” point with it and I am sure I won’t be for a long time yet, it’s about being passionate. I don’t tend to listen to people who try to sell something that they are not actually qualified to talk about out so I can also understand where you view point comes from because there is nothing more frustrating.
There are some people who can be humble about it, although I agree few and far between.
Just a different view point for you.
Love & Light
I completely agree with everything you are saying
They annoy me too, I hate receiving requests off them all the time too xXx
this is an area I know quite a bit about and have a lot of experience with and actually as a blogger, some of the MLM’s can work for us.
I never thought I’d touch an MLM – I have friends and family members who have taken part in them and their training strategies can pretty much replicate a cult – especially the American ones – It borders on brain washing in my opinion.
Some of them, just like ANY hobby can make you feel really excited and enthusiastic at the beginning and sometimes you just can’t wait to chat to friends about it because you think they too might be genuinely excited about your new hobby too – sometimes this is actual excitement like the time I finally found a hand cream that I love or my favourite celeb make up artist was using a moisturiser that I’m a fan of … but some of it can also be from the brain washing techniques and high pressure of the targets. ALSO … remember conversations work both ways so if you feel a friend is talking about her MLM too much, don’t you feel like your friendship is worth trying to save rather than write off this friend as annoying? After all you liked her before the MLM right? What did you do when she had a boyfriend you didn’t like and she couldn’t wait to tell you all about him? Same thing! You have a duty to your friend to be honest about your thoughts and also to try and save her if it’s clear she’s in one of the brain washing American mlms – would you abandon her so quickly if she was in a dodgy relationship or a cult? I hope not.
I never thought I’d be interested in an MLM but I joined Jamberry the second it launched in the UK, id heard of it via US blogger friends and I’d met a team of their top consultants before the launch – I paid £99 and got a great starter kit and a chance to make some money – and from what I’d seen (and I asked for proof) you could make a life changing amount. It didn’t take me long to figure out that a) the company was way too OTT with its training and approach – that did not sit right with me but all around I saw people getting sucked in. And b) after I started using the products I realised that for me they didn’t work how I expected and I can’t sell anything I don’t have any confidence in. In the beginning I was all “oh my gosh you’ve got to try these amazing nail wraps” to all of my friends because at that moment in time I really did think they were awesome and I’m a sucker for something new! I tried it for a year, didn’t even make my money back – partly because I didn’t feel comfortable with their “party” platform. And I left.
I am however a MyShowcase consultant – i noticed you didn’t mention that one – and it’s British structure makes it a little different. I’m using it in two ways 1) for the discount on my own purchases because I was previously a fan of many of their boutique skincare brands (im mega fussy with ingredients) and 2) I use it like an affiliate program to earn commission – I never do the traditional parties or in the entire time I’ve been a member (over a year) felt any pressure so for me it works but I don’t feel I could EVER use this as a way of reliable income, it is really just a hobby/discount.
This one lets you join the ambassador program for free and earn commission via online sales (including your own) so I find the payout (up to 30%) is genuinely better than amazon or other affiliate programs (of which I have 17 years experience from every side of the table) so I think as a blogger there are ways of making some of the mlms work for us.
So overall, some of the MLM’s are scarily close to cults (that’s Younique/Jamberry/Scentsy) some will rob you blind with possibly toxic side effects (hello aloe) and some are just repackaged and pricy white tea. Some will take our closest friends and brain wash them, some will make the girl who you went to uni with give you the hard sell? Some will have a genuine item of interest (but probably only one or two).
Oh and Facebook groups – I blame Facebook, you should have the chance to approve or decline being added to a group – it’s totally not fair that you can be added into one by absolutely anyone without being asked. That said I also think that the person adding you to a group might not realise FB doesn’t let you accept/decline and just adds you.
Save your friends from cults and be nice about it.
I can’t help but feel that this post is directed at a particular scentsy blogger (who before that did Jamberry and before that forever living) within our online social group who seems to add us all in to various groups and parties on a daily basis.
And yes! While that can be annoying, you have yourself already pointed out that these MLM’s target the vulnerable.
That particular blogger is going through a really difficult time in her life and in a near desperate state trying to provide as a single parent to two disabled children.
Rather than having a bit of a bitchy moan about how annoying it is for you, perhaps you could think of a way to help your vulnerable and desperate friend instead? Drives me crazy that you point out this has targeted your vulnerable friend but instead of helping her, all you can do is grumble about how annoying it all is for you.
Come on – that’s really not cool now is it?
How about – “No Thank You, these groups aren’t for me but please let me know what I can do to help you in other ways while you are going through this tough transition in your life”
Support your fellow blogging friend rather than bitch about her in a blog post and all over Facebook you complete tit. (And yes you are a tit if all you can do is complain about your “friends”)
Nope, not aimed at any blogger. In fact, I have absolutely no idea who you are talking about. Not aimed at anyone in particular at all. It came about after having three messages in one day from random strangers asking me to buy their shite. It came about from the constant ‘want to lose weight’ posts in Facebook selling groups.
Plus – my blog. I can write about whatever I like. And judging by the amount of likes and comments I got on it across social media, I’m not the only one who thinks it.
How dare you attack Rachel for saying what she wants to say on HER blog. No other MLM people have taken offence and she has communicated nicely back and forth with them. Why should she have to help this person when this person can help themselves? There are enough regular jobs out there for people to do that don’t involve being an absolute cockwomble on social media. I have a child with disabilities and I manage to work. I don’t want to spend my entire downtime with my kids on my phone ignoring them whilst building an *empire* that’s actually a load of old bollocks. How dare you try and troll someone who is just putting her opinion out there? Who exactly do you think you are? Sending you a great big virtual throat punch you complete and utter knob head
Many Many years ago I got pressured into going to a Herbalife meeting with a friend -it was such a hard sell- it showed guest speakers standing on the stage professing to have been cured by Herbalife and speakers who said they drive amazing cars and had children who go to private school all because of this wondrous product. It was all I could do to walk away from signing up to it. but I did it- I turned my back and avoided the queue of people waiting to sign up . and the friend that had taken me there lost so much money through being sucked into it- he never made a penny .
I’ve tried a couple myself, hated the selling side and ended up losing money. I still use some of the products tho, I honestly like some of the products and think it is worth the money it costs as a customer (mostly make up brands). If the seller tries to recruit me I turn them down. But I do try to share their posts occasionally, one of my friends may be interested and it does no harm.
Hi Rachel, sadly I’ve had similar experiences, with both my mom and a friend being selling “machines.” I know they meant well and I was always nice to them but it seemed that all they could talk about was their products. With the friend I’d met her through her sharing how Plexus helped her, but when her product (Plexus) didn’t work for me she just seemed to not be as interested in talking to me anymore, and I could hardly find the “life updates” on her facebook page anymore as it was constantly full of testimonials from fellow users. (With regard to supporting her, etc, she seemed thankfully plenty supported by her Plexus friends so I was able to bow out of the picture without her taking much notice.) A similar thing happened with several other people. My mom thankfully abandoned Arbonne when she found out they had been involved in some shady financial stuff. Soooo… yes so far my experience hasn’t been great and I haven’t bought into any of these schemes, but I’ll still assess each advocate individually, if they don’t let it take over their lives, aren’t pushy, etc. Take care! x
I met a lady through a mum’s group in Facebook. The group is lovely and I’ve met new friends through it. So when a lady invited me to meet up for a play date with our kids I thought nothing of it. But she literally met me to sign me up and never met up again. She was so painfully sucked into it. She believed she was going to have the car and a fancy wedding when she had made her millions. She showed me all her projections and aims. She went to inspirational talks and conferences and raved about it. It was painful to watch. Suddenly one day her Facebook references to forever living disappeared. Without a trace. She must have realised all too painfully. I was a little hurt I was used but actually I just think she was so sucked into it and couldn’t see it and I felt sorry for her when it all clearly imploded. I’ve seen a few others fall from it. Huge Facebook presence. Massively into it. Suddenly it all stops and that’s that.
I run a very successful network marketing business, I absolutely love it, I make over 3 times the amount of money I use to make doing a full time job and I only work a few hours a week.y income continues to grow as does the popularity of the industry.
The only scam in life is going to work for 5 days a week for a little wage. Your article gives a very bleak view of an industry that allows you to take full control of your own life. Treat the business like a business and it will reward you as such.
I would have to say that your article seems to be made up of the usual rubbish that people who no very little spout out. Personally if I was to write a blog on a subject I would do better research and maybe try speaking to people who are succeeding in the field.
Exactly the sort of comment I would expect from someone in an MLM!