Dear MLM, I Have Had Enough

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Caution:  Venting session ahead.

What comes to mind when I think of MLM companies? Here are a few words: scams, lawsuits, pressure, pyramid schemes, adverse side effects, get rich quick fallacy, no customer service. Sound like good things? Nope! Not at all. 

To anyone who has Facebook, or goes to church you probably have been hit hard by an MLM consultant. Whether by unsolicited messages or Facebook invites to come hear their sales pitch-anyone is fair game.

MaryKay. Monat. WorldVentures. Avon. Advocare. It Works!. Rodan and Fields. 

It usually goes like this: 1) find someone you aren’t friends with in *real* life and message them 2) begin with a friendly tone 3) compliment them in some way that gets them intrigued 3) talk about some huge sale going on and/or talk about the perks in becoming a seller under them. 

After having a few years of “wisdom” under my belt, here is my personal experience:

MaryKay: After high school graduation, I was working two jobs and going to school. A very stressful time juggling all my “adulting” responsibilities. I had adult acne come as a result. The lady I worked for quickly took notice and recommended her MK products to me. Since I felt bad, I took the bait. Afterall, I wanted my acne gone so I gave it a shot. The product she recommended dried my skin out so bad it started flaking. After telling her, no apology, but she did recommend another MK product to balance out the dry skin. Ahh. Make a problem worse for someone with your product then come save the day with another product. Genius. (heavy sarcasm if you didn’t know). 

Monat: I got a call from a lady at church, she was talking to me about how beautiful my hair was. So she pitches Monat to me. I had heard about it before at the Pinner’s conference and I liked that they didn’t have any toxic ingredients. I wanted a more natural shampoo that both my husband and I could use. Again, I wanted to have a product that would do wonders for my hair, and my hubby’s too. I was a little more aware of mlm companies, so I did keep that in the back of my mind. I did see some real life success stories from people I knew, so I gave it a shot. It seemed to work the first few weeks, then about 3 months in, itchy itchy itchy scalp. Like never before. I messaged her and she just said that was due to “new growth” and that it is common. A few months went by and the itching came back, and even worse to the point I was waking up in the middle of the night and had to put anti itch cream on it. Again, no apology, she just “liked” my imessage when I asked her kindly to take me off the Monat texting list and told her again about the itching. So I wrote to corporate and got my money back. Come to find there was a lawsuit of people experiencing itching and even worse side effects!

Worldventures part one: I was visiting a friend’s church (what is with church people?!? lol) and a middle aged gentleman was talking to me about my career. I soon found that he was not interested in listening to me but actually using it as a platform to pitch Worldventures to me. He did it in the most condescending way. He literally told me “so you want someone else to tell you how much you can make.” Ummm, seeing as different industries have different pay grades that are relative in compensation to the position, yes I will accept a fair wage for a job that I want to do. His question/statement was ironic because he also is limited on how much he can make and is dependent upon getting people under him, so someone is telling him how much he can make.

Worldventures part two: One day at work I got a text from a man from church (church people again!) and he asked me if I was still working at my job, I told him yes, as I remember years ago he was asking about my job. So he asked if he could call me, and I said I was at work and couldn’t talk on the phone but just to text me the information. He didn’t want to over text, so I said that’s fine we’ll set up a call. So he vaguely told me about why he was calling me. Also mind you, a little weird that I have not had regular contact with him, so it was very out of the blue. His phone call sounded a little MLM like, so I told him I am not interested in MLM companies. He didn’t deny or agree that his business was MLM. When he said ecommerce, and “his” business I was thinking of a software system of web plugin for blogs. So I set up a zoom call with him and his wife. The conversation was really fun in the beginning-they told me how they met and then they asked about me. Super pleasant. Then after some nebulous talk about life goals, finances, yada yada, the real reason behind the call began. Sure enough, it turned out to be an MLM scheme. GAHH!! I told him the first time  this is exactly what I DIDN’T want to do! But because they were so nice, I let them down easy and respectfully. Then she asked if I want to be a customer-meaning that I would go through her every time I wanted to buy random household items. I told them no, I already have my places to shop as well as I do a lot of shopping on Amazon. Then it came to the why. So to make them not feel bad, I said that I blog and I can get passive income that way. So then things got a little awkward. That wasn’t good enough for her, and she even told me that she is “not trying to be argumentative”. She was even interrupting me and told me she doesn't understand my logic. I’m thinking 1) I don’t know you from Adam (only your spouse who I knew went to my church) and 2) what kind of  business says to change the way you shop so that they can get a direct commission? Now I don’t doubt the “180 day guarantee policy” but why in the world would I completely change where I buy essentials so that you can get a commission? I don’t want to have to go through one person every time I need to buy something, there's no anonymity in that at all. Anyways after the call was going nowhere it ended on a high note and she did wish me success with my blog and cookie business. I just wish they would know the reality of MLM. 

Now let's be clear on one thing: as mad as I am about pyramid schemes and people who compare all businesses to a pyramid, I do understand where they are coming from. I understand not everyone is in an ideal career, and maybe they just want other options. I understand that some people are living paycheck to paycheck and want out of that cycle. I have also seen stay at home moms be interested in making some extra income to help out their family. Please please please-there are other ways to make reliable income or even just passive income other than joining an MLM company. I know it is easier said than done, but here are some tips on making legit money, enjoying your life/family and being passionate in a job. 

Tips on Making Money Outside of an MLM Company 

  1. Education is Key

Not everyone loves school, but learning is knowledge and knowledge is power. Learning a language, learning about an industry, learning how to problem solve, learning about other cultures, how to communicate, etc. is invaluable. If you can’t afford a 4 year university, a junior college or an accredited online college is totally fine! Yes college was tough and I had to WORK at it. I spent 4 years in community college and 2 years at university. Do I have any regrets? Yes-I wish I didn’t take so many fun classes (ceramics, volleyball, track, total body fitness) that would put me behind schedule on my transfer date. But, I did have fun with all those units lol. And out of all my time in school, I earned 3 Associates Degrees and a Bachelor’s Degree. Now I am pursuing a Certified Meeting Professional designation to further enhance my career.  I so value my time in school-not only did it prepare me for the Hospitality industry, I found ample networking opportunities and earned real life experience. I am so grateful for my time in college because it has helped me further my career (and not just getting jobs). If you think you are too old to go to school or you missed your window, no, no, no! It is never too late. You will be so proud of yourself and you will not regret it. 

  1. Take a Personality Test

Okay I know what you are thinking. What does taking an enneagram or Meyer’s Briggs test have to do with making money? You have to understand the “science” behind your personality to discover what YOU ARE GOOD AT. If you are stellar at numbers and formulas, a career in horticulture might make you dread going to work. I took my first personality test in college, it was for a career assessment class, and I learned my personality type is an ENFP. I love being around people, I love creativity, I have a high emotional “IQ” and I have a lot of energy but I can get distracted. Based on my scores there was a chart on what career options fall under ENFPs. Now my list didn’t say “Roshel, you are going to be an events professional in the hospitality industry”. I still had to do some deciding when it came to my major. I knew that I love parties/weddings, having fun, helping people, decorating, and that led me down the road to Hospitality. I know I would dread a career like being an overnight security officer where I would be working alone, or work at a company that has to process bad/negative news. Learn more about you, and learn what you would love to do and make it into a career.

  1. Side Hustle 

If you enjoy doing something but you don’t want to do it full time, then side hustle! I enjoy blogging (for me it is like journaling, just online) and baking. I would get pretty lonely and/or burnt out if I had to pick one of these for the rest of my life. I also babysit with a babysitting agency on the side too. Neither would I want to make a career out of being a full time nanny. Why I love side hustling is because like Costco, you can sample things! If you don’t want to continue doing (blank) you can take a break from it (as long as you have the ability to choose shifts or choose when you are doing your entrepreneurial thing.) Maybe photography is your release where you can be in nature and capture amazing moments and get off the field or out of the office. Out of highschool I worked at Kohl’s and I remember a lady there who worked for an insurance company, another coworker was a hair stylist. One told me this job was her gas money, the other - it was her bread and butter money. I thought that was great! Working two jobs can be fun (as long as you aren't killing yourself) because I love meeting new people and learning a new job. If you know me, I love to talk and laugh with others so why not get paid to do it? 

  1. Be Wise with Your Money

You will not suffer by being frugal, I promise. Being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap, or having a low quality of life but rather being cautious on what is spent and how often. My first car, a 2001 honda civic, lasted me almost through college. It died a few months before graduation. I loved that thing and it served me well for five years. If you can save some money by buying something used-that is AWESOME! This also doesn’t mean sacrificing quality/durability for a lower price, only being intentional on where you spend your dough. A trick I have done for years is if I find something I want on Amazon and it is not an immediate need, I put it in my cart and save it for later. Once a few weeks or months go by, I revisit that item and ask myself-do I still want or need this? Oftentimes it was just an impulse want, and then I simply delete it out of my cart. Another way to be wise with your money is avoid debt like the plague. There are a few “o-k” reasons to be in debt: new car with monthly payments, home loan, medical emergencies, leftover school loans. Don’t allow debt to creep up on you. Use your credit as a quick IOU. Make a purchase on your credit card (that should earn cashback/mileage rewards) then pay if of ASAP and when I say ASAP, I mean before the billing due date. Do NOT think it is okay to only pay the minimum monthly due-this will snowball your outstanding  balance and only accrue interest. 

I hope you thought this article was helpful. Have a great day and SLAY your finances!


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