Delving into The World of MLMs

“Hey babe! I’ve just been taking a look through your feed/blog/account and think you would be the PERFECT addition to my team. Are you looking to quit your 9-5 and make money from home?” if the latter rings a bell (a potentially alarming one), then you my friend, appeared to have stumbled across an MLM scheme.

Disclaimer: There are some legitimate MLM programmes available, and by no means am I tarnishing every person and every business with the same brush, nor shaming anyone if they want to participate. I just disagree with the fake-friendliness and programmes that have negatively affected people’s lives.

What does MLM actually mean?

MLM stands for multi-level marketing. It’s a controversial method of network marketing and the illegal versions are called pyramid schemes. The most common form of MLM is for a person to be ‘recruited’ into a team; to sell products/services to family and friends. Doesn’t sound too fishy just yet? Well, they can be fraudulent and can cause the recruited member to actually lose money rather than make anything back. Losing money can also consequently land people in debt.

MLM participants and recruiters can come across very friendly, approachable, likeable and honest. It is a clever technique to lure people into the depths of a scheme that can cause more harm than good. Often the targets of these schemes are students, stay at home mums and people looking for additional income.

It’s a system that preys on the vulnerable and makes a mockery of true, hard-working business owners. It takes advantage of those less financially advantaged and with little to no knowledge on the truth behind MLMs. It’s not dissimilar to a form of brainwashing.

So what does MLM involve?

From my research online, and vast personal experience of coming across these participants daily, is that it works by signing up, paying for a ‘starter kit’, and selling *cough nagging* your family and friends into buying your products and/or joining your team to gain commission and profit. Can you see how the cycle continues? It appears most money comes from the recruiting aspect and the commission gained from recruiting others into the business. This is where the ‘pyramid’ aspect starts to make more sense.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

So what is a pyramid scheme and how does this differ to MLM?

If you picture a literal pyramid shape, it starts at a point at the top and gradually widens out into a lower, wider level. So business CEOs recruit and enroll people at the top-level and work their way down continuously in a chain. All the while promising payments and rewards for recruiting others rather than selling a product/service.

An article by Randy Duermyer states; “To be legal and not a scam, money needs to be primarily earned from the sales of products and services rather than the recruitment of new members. MLM programs with no or a low-quality product or a focus on getting paid per recruit could be an illegal pyramid scheme”.

The lower level earns little to no money, and the big bosses at the top walk away with the cash. Some invest thousands into these businesses with the hopes that they can quit their job and get rich from home. But they don’t get rich, and they end up worse off. It’s a false sense of security.

So in short MLMs are pyramid schemes, just not always illegal ones.

How do MLMs/pyramid schemes work?

If you know what warning signs to look out for – you can become a pro at spotting an MLM recruiter from a mile away. I delete multiple DMs a week, which have all been from young women. They claim to be business owners, travel agents and “entrepreneurs”, but this could not be further from the truth. You may be enticed into what seems like a generic, friendly conversation. The second you reply, you are bombarded with over-friendly, pushy messages.

A few messages in, you may be hit with “have you considered earning extra money from home?” or “I’m part of an amazing business opportunity I think you would be great at, would you like to hear more?”. Their pitches are quite obvious, so shouldn’t be hard to spot. Voice messages are now a common form, which makes your invite look personalised when they’re more than likely following a script and changing the name each time.

The so-called “benefits” of these schemes can involve all expenses paid trips, winning a car and luxury prizes. So to people who are struggling to put food on the table and have no idea what MLMs are, it looks like a life-changing opportunity. The problem is how morally wrong they are, as well as financially.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Examples of MLMs that you may recognise are:

  • Avon (who have built reputability and personally, I have used and still use Avon as a consumer, as it’s a better established, legitimate business that just uses MLM techiques with its Avon reps)
  • The Body Shop has been a new and upcoming one
  • Arbonne
  • Herbalife
  • NuSkin
  • Juice Plus

How did it all begin?

Network Experience state “The first direct seller that made the breakthrough was the “California Perfume Company” established in 1886. California Perfume Company was renamed as “Avon Products” in 1939 and is still at the top of the MLM industry. ” so they weren’t the creators of this type of business model, but they seem to have paved the way. In 1945, another company changed its name from the California Vitamin Company to Nurti Lite, which practiced MLM strategies still used today to sell their products.

It appears the earliest MLM business was JR Watkins Medical Company in 1886, explained by Tony on Quora.

But WHY can they be so bad?

The primary reason is because it’s a predatory method that preys on unknowing and vulnerable communities worldwide. It seemingly offers care-free income and great prospects which most of the time, is not true. A fantastic in-depth article I came across by Eliza Romero describes that “Using the language of third-wave feminism and borrowing quotes or phrases from real female CEOs helps recruiters and recruits see themselves as legitimate professionals, no different from a founder of a startup company”.

It’s all a facade and a beautiful lie. It is psychologically manipulative too, giving people sales pitches and leading them into a false sense of security. They have also kept going since the start of the Covid pandemic, which I think is a disgusting technique when people are facing so much personal and financial devastation.

It’s hard to locate UK statistics for MLM schemes, but they are vast across the US.

“Among the more than 20 million Americans who participate or have participated in multilevel marketing (MLM) organizations, 90 percent say they got involved to make money. However, nearly half (47 percent) lose money and a quarter (27 percent) make no money, according to a new study released by AARP Foundation.” – quote from PR Newswire

Where can I find out more?

I remember watching the BBC documentary by Ellie Flynn which gave an insight into the households directly affected by MLMs and it was shocking. One of the young women involved ended up £3000 in debt due to the false promises of an MLM scheme. She invested expecting to seek results, and gained nothing in return.

I, among many, find the fake friendly conversations by MLM recruiters insanely tiresome and annoying. I know family and friends that are involved who thankfully, do not seem disadvantaged thus far. There are some legitimate schemes, but please do your research if you are interested. I am not here to promote these models of “business” but to raise awareness into the dangers and toxicity of the majority of them. The truth behind the true earning success rates of these businesses needs to be shared more publically to avoid others falling into the same trap.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and experiences with MLM in the comments down below.

Until next time,

Emily x

August 2019 in Review & Welcoming the Sunday Series

Pinch punch first day of the month! September 1st has rolled around and I’m ready to activate my autumn mode. As I’m writing this it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday and I’m kicking this new month off on a positive foot.

It’s crazy to think I’ve only got a handful of these monthly reviews left until we’re leaping into 2020. August was probably the last full month of proper summer here in England which I’m almost grateful for. I’m excited for cosy evenings, winter coats and hot chocolates. I like taking a little bit of a different stance on these monthly reviews each time I write them, so I’m going to do a little roundup and then get straight into talking about the new blog series I’m going to be working on.

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Chatty Tuesday: Ways I Calm Myself Down

Sometimes things can be too overwhelming and I find myself feeling flustered, anxious and uncomfortable with my own emotions. Over the years, there have been a few methods I’ve culminated that have helped to calm me down when I’ve needed it most. This can be from one end of the spectrum to the other. It’s been before jobs interviews, exams, driving lessons and even for no reason.

Anxious thoughts and feelings can pop up unexpectedly and leave us feeling confused and out of our depths. The methods I use to calm my anxieties down that I keep returning to, have lessened my anxiety as a whole for me. I think it’s important to note that I have never been diagnosed with anxiety, I am just referring to it as general anxiety that can peak especially with events that are commonly anxiety-inducing. These methods won’t work for everyone, but if they help even one of you – that’s good enough for me.

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20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Happy birthday to me! June 24th 2019 marks my 20th birthday and I am currently celebrating in Spain with my boyfriend Lewis. Wonderful. I cannot believe my teenage years are over? I’m definitely a little bit sad about it, but looking forward to being taken a little bit more seriously now I can knock the “teen” part off of my age. I do feel beyond my years though, I feel like it should be a 3 in front of the 0, not a 2. A lot has changed in the last year that has heightened my adult status more than I could have ever imagined. I’m not a wise old owl (yet), but I am growing, learning and changing every single day.

I remember my 12th birthday so vividly. Surrounded by Puffles (who remembers those), cheesy badges and a blue pullover fleece (12 year olds now would never). Actually, I remember every year quite vividly, and I can sit here now and recognise how much I’ve developed and matured each and every year. Time has flown by so incredibly fast, I find myself struggling to catch up. One minute I’m episodes deep into Good Luck Charlie, and the next I’m paying council tax. MADNESS. So I wanted to culminate just 20 things I’ve learnt in my 20 years of existence.

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3 Tips To Pass Your Car Theory Test First Time

Passing your theory test is a must if you want to take the next step and take your practical test. The pass mark is 43/50 (86%) for the theory test multiple choice questions and 44/75 (58%) for the hazard perception clips. The theory test is divided between these two sections. The crux of the test is you have 57 minutes to answer 50 multiple choice questions (all based off of The Highway Code) and then you have to work through 14 hazard perception clips. 13 of these clips will have a ‘developing hazard’ but 1 clip will have 2 of these developing hazards. If you want to read a further breakdown of the theory test questions and hazard perception test, the government website explains it all (including a video too).

If you haven’t booked in for your theory test, stop what you’re doing and book here now! It costs £23 and having a goal date in mind to work towards will be super helpful. I sat my theory test on the 24th May 2019 and managed to score 49/50 on the multiple choice section, and 48/75 on the hazard perception section. I thought it would be helpful to compile together the techniques that helped me pass, hopefully they can help you too.

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Chatty Tuesday: 5 Ways To Unwind After Work

Happy Chatty Tuesday everyone! Believe it or not, today’s blog post came about whilst I was sat at my desk at work, thinking about how I can unwind as much as possible when the clock ticks past 17:30. Sitting on my bum for 40 hours a week doesn’t sound like a strenuous job, but it’s mentally rather taxing. I’m not one for wishing precious time away, but I do find myself daydreaming about all of the things I’d much rather be doing. Winding down after a long day at work or even university can be quite difficult, so I wanted to compile a doable list of things you can try to relax that extra bit more.

I’m not currently at university and never have been. I chose to work full time instead, so I can’t speak personally from a student’s perspective so this post will be aimed more at those in work with a bit less free time. As a bit of context, I currently work full time in an office. I leave the house at 8am every day and get home around 17:50. So, before bed that gives me around 5 hours to “unwind” in. This is the tricky part. When you have to wedge relaxing and me-time around doing the washing, cooking, cleaning, washing yourself or even putting the kids to bed, it can be difficult to know what winding down even means when before you know it you’re up and on the go again. Here’s 5 ways to unwind.

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8 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

We’ve all been there. That wave of emotion that washes over us when we wake up – “I don’t want to go to work today”. This is normal and probably happens to most people on most days. However, where do we draw the line between just generally not having the get-up-and-go and genuinely dreading the day ahead; wishing you were anywhere else? That’s where today’s post comes in. From personal experience (and from a friendly recommendation to cover this topic), I wanted to compile my personal experience into one place to help you work out if it’s time to leave your current job.

We as humans are constantly changing and growing. Therefore, our surrounding environment needs to adapt with us to create a balanced lifestyle. That could mean more hours, better pay and a healthier working environment. Do you find yourself looking on Indeed “just out of curiosity”? If so, I hope this post helps you make a step in the right direction. Leaving a job should take careful consideration depending on the situation. Make sure you consider all routes before reaching your final decision.

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10 Tips on How to Find a Job

I’m in my early 20s but have already had my fair share of jobs; a mixture of retail and office-based work. These might be employment fields that you’ve had personal experience with, or never want to enter at all in your life. That is more than fine. This post is to provide you with some helpful hints and tips to help you find a job.

This post is aimed at career beginners and those that didn’t attend university, but most are applicable to all!

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