Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on MLMs. I know, I know. I just heard all of you collectively cringe away from your computer screen, but hear me out!
MLMs, or multi-level-marketing/network marketing/direct sales companies get a really bad reputation. Maybe you have friends that have hounded you to join their teams. Maybe you got burned once (or twice) and lost a lot of money giving it a shot.
I get it.
Until recently, I was just like you. I thought the whole thing was a scam. In college, I’d been suckered into losing a lot of money with a company, and didn’t want any of it again. Every time a Facebook friend posted about their new business venture or added me to a group, I’d cringe. “They’re totally being scammed,” I’d think to myself, as I watched them hustle to pay off their investments.
Some of my friends were really successful, though, and I started to get curious. Still, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t make that mistake again.
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And then, I became so passionate about a product that I was selling it on accident.
The thing is, not all MLMs are bad, and not all distributors, or consultants are just out for the money. I stumbled into my current gig simply because I loved essential oils and shared them with everyone I knew.
Finally, I decided to give the MLM thing a shot about 6 months ago, after a lot of uncertainty. I can honestly say that it’s been a great experience for me!
When you’re passionate about a product and using it regularly, it becomes easier to tell everyone you know. When something truly works for you, you want to shout it from the rooftops.
Since I made the decision and started learning more about my business, I’ve begun to question a couple of things I used to think about MLMs. I wanted to share them with you, too!
MLMs are not pyramid schemes.
I went to a meeting once that ended up being a recruiting event for a pyramid scheme. I was asked to “buy in” to a business with my investment before I could start making money. It was never fully explained exactly how that would happen, except that I would turn around and recruit others to “buy in” underneath me.
There was no product. No service. Just an exchange of money for nothing, and a bunch of “middle men” trying to earn their cut. It was sleezy and the guy’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. I left that meeting feeling gross and taken advantage of and never answered his calls again.
The fact is, pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing/direct sales companies are not the same. If you get involved in a pyramid scheme (which is illegal, by the way), you put out money, but don’t actually receive product. You’re basically “investing,” and then trying to get someone to “invest” under you.
I don’t know about you, but every single time I have given money to an MLM (whether it be through Young Living, or supporting friends in other companies), I have received an actual product in exchange.
MLMs and Network Marketing are not a scam.
Yep, I’m a convert. I couldn’t understand it. I’d been in the handmade business industry for 8 years, and kept seeing people quit what looked like successful businesses to pursue an MLM. It wasn’t adding up for me.
According to the Direct Sellers Association, over 800,000 people considered their network marketing business their full time income. That’s a lot of people that are making a legitimate income, and that doesn’t even count the people that are still just getting started and are still growing towards a full-time income.
The truth is, success or failure in network marketing is directly tied to what you put into your business. Are you putting in full time hours, learning about your products? Are you dedicating time to studying business and marketing? These are the things that will make you successful in any company.
The thing is, you have to do your research. Look into the company you’re considering.
Make sure you like their products.
Check out their income disclosure statements.
Talk to their distributors.
If you really stop and think about it, it’s a brilliant business model.
Instead of investing millions into advertising, companies like Young Living are investing that in their distributors. They’re giving these families freedom, which is not something you can say for big corporations and box stores.
If you’re against MLMs because you’ve had a bad experience in the past, I’m really sorry about that. I’ve been there. I do hope that one day if you have a friend running an MLM business, you decide to give them a chance. Just like with any other business, we are working hard to provide for our families, and all we want is your support. (And even if you don’t like the product or can’t afford it, emotional support is great, too!)
If you’re with an MLM and working hard at your business, I am so proud of you. You saw an opportunity and ran with it, despite what others may have thought. Keep on hustling and I know you’ll see so many rewards!