So I've always been afraid to state my opinion on this matter because I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who participate in MLM's (mid-level marketing schemes, "network marketing", "pyramid schemes", etc). I by no means want to offend anyone who participates in these, however, I do want to make it known why I am against these types of programs. If you disagree with my opinion, that is fine, but it is just my opinion. Again, I mean no harm in what I am about to say.
1. I am a Marketer and Don't Like the Term Being Thrown Around
I am a marketer by trade. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications, I took classes on advertising, media, economics, and even social media (yes, back in 2011 social media was still considered a "new" thing). I hate the term being thrown around. I hate the fact that any Tom, Dick, or Jane with a social media account, trying to sell a product, calls themselves a "marketer". Salesperson, yes, marketer, no. There is difference between sales and marketing. My job is to build awareness about a brand or product, a salesperson's job is to actually sell it. In fact, I am a crappy salesperson. I hate talking about money (which I'll get into later). So I would never call myself a salesperson. I am not discrediting salespeople, there are ton of excellent salespeople who are highly skilled and highly educated. So please do not label yourselves as "marketers". You are salespeople.
2. MLM's are Path for Extremely Gullible People to Lose A Lot of Money
I hate when people pray on gullible people. I, myself, can be gullible at times. I thank my husband, family, and friends for helping me to become less gullible every day. Nothing irks me more then to see the messages on Facebook of "Who wants to sit on their couch, in their pj's, and make a decent side income? Reply below if you are interested.". And then people reply "Interested" and then the person says "PM Sent".
Yes, it is possible to make a decent living in your pjs at home. I do it every day. But what I don't do is make a decent living at the expense of others. I have a career that allows me these luxuries. My problem with the above scenario is that if the opportunity was that great, and the money is that great, why not be upfront with how much you are actually making, the job duties required, and how to apply for the position? I have had to rely on Facebook to recruit for my business. However, there are so many skeptics (like myself) who have been burned by MLM's (or are just sick of hearing about them) that bypass my actual recruiting post or see me as a "scam" artist.
Since MLM's are not upfront about what they are "recruiting" for, they lure people in with the thought of making a large sum of money. They play on the heartstrings of women wanting to be stay at home moms, but just can't quite afford it. So they say, you can have all this and be super successful, but you have to invest a little bit first. To be an entrepreneur, you often have to come up with capital beforehand, however, how much is determined by you and your goals. MLM's promise that your small investment will turn into something huge. What they don't include is how much work will be required to reach that level. Tons of and tons of work will go into making every dollar. Many times this is just to recoup your initial investment. There are many other ways I would rather earn a side living than to dump a chunk of change into an MLM and hope I get a return eventually.
3. MLM's Create a Sense of Distrust Around Peers
Prior to MLM's, when I would receive a message from an old friend on Facebook I would get excited. It was always nice to connect with someone from your past. However, now I get skeptical because 99% of the time that person is reaching out to me to join their MLM. It's actually quite hurtful. I love building friendships with people with no strings attached. However, it feels like genuine friendship has gone out the window. (Social media can share some blame in that). I feel like everyone is just trying to strike up a friendship with me so I'll go in on their MLM.
The flip side of that is when you already have a friendship with someone and they invest in an MLM. I'm supportive of friends helping friends. I'm always helping out friends in need. However, I do not want to support friend's who have MLM's because I become a crutch to them and their business. They become pushier and pushier for me to "join" .or whatever. It just takes away from the friendship when you are feeling forced to support their "business", which you yourself do not truly believe in. I'll be happy to support your actual retail business, restaurant, or any other business, but I am not going to support your MLM where you would only receive pennies of my business and the rest ends up in the hands of the higher ups.
As I mentioned above, I also hate talking about money. I hate anytime money is brought up in a conversation. That's why I sucked at sales. I could never close the deal. So I hate feeling like money (and the talk of money) comes between me and my friends.
My reasonings against MLM's are something I've wanted to get off my chest for a while. Again, you don't have to agree with me, but please respect my opinion. I am always respectful to MLM's, but simply chose not to participate. If you are actually interested in building your own unique brand and marketing it, that is an avenue I can definitely help with. I like to see the money people make actually go in their hands and not 1000 other people's hands who had nothing to do with your success. Just my two cents worth. Thanks for reading!
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Wife. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.