It seems like everyone has jumped on board with one of the many different muti-level marketing businesses. But this Mom really just can’t get on board with Direct Sales- and this is why.
So what is a multi-level marketing business? By definition, a MLM (multi-level marketing business) is a company that uses direct sales to move product. And, encourages the representatives to add more reps within their “team” in order to gain a commission off their sales…and those reps add more reps…and so on, and so forth. Sounds familiar? That’s because while it might be legal in many aspects (such as they actually DO sell products), it’s by this definition that even the FTC says to beware of these “businesses” as they are actually “illegal pyramid schemes” with a legal loophole.
But don’t a lot of Moms make money this way?
I’m sure they probably do. And there are a ton of these type of businesses, selling everything from essential oils, to makeup, weight loss supplements, and even adult toys. But, a lot of people claim they make a comfortable living from doing this. And then they want me to “join their team.”
Here’s the problem I have with MLM’s…
I don’t typically ever buy from any multi-level marketing, or direct sales type business. And I never sign up to sell for one, either. When I get more offers to become a consultant of a product, than I do to BUY the product, it’s a huge red flag. Now, if you do buy from them, and even sell them-great! But here’s my reasons for not jumping on the direct sales band wagon, and why I don’t want you angry because of it…
- There’s too many consultants – literally everyone I know and their grandma is selling for one, or in most cases many more, direct sales business. I am bombarded with dozens of invites for “parties” every week! If I accepted an invite to join someone either at their home, or an online live chat, I wouldn’t have any time for anything, seriously. But that’s not quite the issue. The issue is because some many consultants all sell the same thing, I’m put in an awkward position. Who would I choose, should I accept these invites, to spend money with? Whomever it is, five more are going to be angry I didn’t go to one of their parties. Or book a party of my own. As a favor, I once decided to be nice and hold an online party for someone selling It Works, and had angry, pissed off house-wives coming for me not an hour later. Why wouldn’t you book with me? Never again. Keep in mind, these are all people I personally know-not counting those who randomly reach out over the internet. And no, it’s not feasible to buy something from every single one of the consultants I know. Believe it or not, no one needs that many pairs of leggings. This is coming from someone who lives in leggings.
- Products are overpriced – granted, everyone has to make a living. I don’t blame ya there. But speaking of leggings, mine are usually crusted with peanut butter and drool. I’m a Mom – and as a fellow Mom, consultants should understand that since they’re going to be stained, I’d rather buy cheap $5 leggings than $50 dollar leggings. And the $5 leggings tend to hold up better. Same goes for makeup (seriously, I can get lip color that lasts 16 hours for $9 at a drugstore, versus $30 from a MLM…that isn’t even from Ulta!) and wine (helloooo Walmart!). I’m sure the products are great, but if it’s too expensive when I know I can just keep buying the affordable stuff I like, then I’m not interested.
- It’s inconvenient- scheduling a day where I can go to a friend’s house, because the consultant only does “parties,” is way too much trouble. Or worse, being coerced into hosting a 3 hour long event, is too much for this busy mama to deal with. Not to mention being charged $8-$10 or more for shipping, and hopefully get it in a week (unless the consultant hijacks my stuff and tries bullying me into going to another party. Yes, this actually happened). No Thanks, Pure Romance – I can get romantic aids from Amazon on Prime, and the UPS guy doesn’t even know…or threatens to charge me twice for shipping because I don’t “party” with him.
- It’s sometimes misleading – now, I know not every direct sales person does this. But enough do, it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Misrepresenting products to the point of omitting the truth, lying altogether, or even just making it up because someone just doesn’t know a lot about them, isn’t worth a sale. If it’s not downright dangerous, it’s still unethical, and shady. I’d be more apt to try things if I heard more real success stories from people who weren’t involved in multi-level marketing, and less horror stories of direct sales buys gone wrong.
- It creates fake friendships – friends don’t send texts like, “Hey, I know you just had a baby, I can help you get rid of those stretch marks!” Ok, maybe if you’re a really special friend, you send texts like that. But the route direct sales has taken, leads those down a path of “pretending” to buddy up to someone in hopes of making a sale. And another. And another. I’ll tell all my girlfriends about amazing products I really like. My blog has a whole section dedicated to it! But I don’t try to pretend we’re best pals. And I don’t contact you just because I have something to sell. And if you were really my friend, you’d know that I don’t actually have stretch marks (thank God). I’m not looking to lose weight, I listen to my doctor if I need to “detox”, and I think those wraps are a waste of money. #SorryNotSorry
I don’t want to “join your team” because…
Simply put; I don’t have time to chase people down and beg them to buy from me exclusively, knowing there’s 10 other consultants within a 5 mile radius. Multi-level marketing essentially creates more competition for direct sales consultants-and when everyone who was once a customer, is now a salesmen…who’s buying the product? And sometimes consultants aren’t told everything about the brand they represent, like the LuLaRoe Scandal with taxes. And since these kinds of business are aimed at the friends and family of sales consultants, I don’t want to mix the two and have any bad outcomes, like the unfortunate aforementioned, and potentially ruin relationships. If, they aren’t already ruined by hounding people to buy things.
I also don’t want to be the one to make promises in order to make sales and build a team of my own – I know so many people who believed they could make thousands with well known MLM’s. And I know many, many Moms who spent the last dime they had in hopes of “starting their own business.” In the end, because they couldn’t make quota (in a town of 15 other consultants, all on the same team), they lost everything they had.
Not to mention the inevitable downfall of the customer base itself-because once you sell to everyone you know, AND turn them working under you…where do all the customers go? No one makes money but the ones at the top…
“Well, I do direct sales, and I make money…”
Great. If you stand by a product you believe in, and it works, and you’ve found success, I’m genuinely happy for you! Because I know these types of businesses really do help a lot of families put food on the table. And I know a lot of women who make it work for them. They usually have a few “businesses” they are running, but that’s not the point….
I still cannot realistically support every direct sales marketer I know. I can’t fork over hundreds of dollars on the “promise” that I’ll make thousands. I just don’t *usually* participate in any art of direct sales, period. It’s once in a Blue Moon I decide to buy something…and never from someone who bullies, harasses, guilt trips, or promises to make my dreams come true. In fact, the only time I have ever truly hosted a direct sales party, was for one person. And that’s because unlike most multi-level marketing companies, this particular one isn’t in debt. They don’t hold their consultants to extreme quotas-and I like the product! Therefore, the pressure to sell isn’t a factor for the consultant – and I’m not bombarded with a pushy rep!
If I invite you to hang out at my house while my friend is doing her sales thing, it’s because you’ve seen me use the product, and you’ve told me you’re interested. I don’t seek out people to sucker in to direct sales parties. Ain’t no body got time for that, really.
“Well, not ALL direct sales reps are like that..”
And no, they aren’t. The sayig goes, “Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.” Well guess what…when you’ve had to pick out one too many bad apples…you’re probably going to throw the whole barrel away.
So to my multi-level marketing friend, please don’t invite me to join your team, or host a party. If I need stickers for my nails, or tupperware, I’ll call you.