If you’ve perused my blog, you’ve probably seen my previous post on my efforts to find a way to generate some income while being a stay-at-home mom. I’m still dutifully working towards that goal and have found a few ways that seem legitimate if I can manage to put the time/effort in while taking care of a new baby. Unfortunately, something that I’ve noticed is that there seems to be this trend towards taking advantage of a mother’s desire to stay home by making moms feel “empowered” through “women-focused” business models and scams. I think that most moms can spot common scams pretty quickly (envelope stuffing, etc.), but these multi level marketing schemes seem to really sneak through the filters of even the most educated and well-rounded women. With their promises of abundant income, “fun” work, and awesome bonuses (i.e. vacations, cars), MLM schemes seem to be taking over mom’s groups and the social media pages of mothers everywhere.
What’s so bad about MLM businesses? Well, as a person who has never become an “independent distributor” myself, I have to preface this by saying that my opinions are based solely on observations of friends and family over the years, and not of any personal loss due to a MLM. With that said, I have know many people who have joined one of these “teams” to sell things such as Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Cutco Cutlery, some fancy vacuum of one sort or another, Arbonne, etc. and I have known exactly ZERO people who have managed to make and sustain a legitimate revenue flow from any of these “businesses.” I have however, seen them all go through the same process. First, they discover this amazing opportunity to change their lives. They are convinced that they will sell these amazing products and be business owners which will allow them the freedom that they desire and that they will be able to quit their jobs, etc., etc. They then dive head first into the business. They make a monetary investment. They watch inspirational videos. They post endless marketing ads on their social media sites, on their cars, on their lunchboxes, and anywhere else that they can find. Next they start telling all of their friends and family about how they’ve been invited into this exclusive club and push for them to try to product, book a party, and join the club as well (because those of us who refuse are just stupid…right?). It is at this stage that they are so obsessed with their new venture that they fail to see how annoying they are becoming and they ignore all the time/money that they are investing because they are so convinced that it’ll be worth it in the end. Parties are booked, product is sold, teams are formed, and MAYBE a slight profit is made. Fast forward a few months and you’ll find someone who has run out of friends/family to sell to, who has realized that they are spending more than they are making, and who is desperately trying to keep up the charade because they are convinced that it must be THEM that is failing, not the business model itself. Shortly thereafter and very quietly the once excited and motivated “business owner” quietly lets go of the dream and stops even trying. The end.
Why then do these things continue to plague our communities? Why am I invited on a regular basis to yet another “party.” Why am I constantly bombarded by a new friend/family member wanting me to join their team? It’s simple really. We all want the dream. We all want to do something fun for a living that provides us with unlimited income and freedom. Unfortunately, these MLM schemes are playing on our hopes and dreams to sell us the improbable. Is there the occasional person who truly makes money with one of these things? Probably. I’ve heard of many, but met none. So for now I’ll continue to believe that in order to truly make money from home, I’ll need to work hard and avoid scams and schemes that promise the too-good-too-be-true scenario.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this. Have you been part of a MLM?