Have you been a victim of the money-hungry MLM (multi-level marketing) distributors with only one goal – to recruit anyone who crosses their path?
All they think about is growing their downline (the people they have recruited to work underneath them) and if you happen to walk by or are standing in line in your local grocery store, you might be the next target. The last time this happened to me, it was the MLM giant Amway.
More than 18 million Americans are involved in MLM or direct selling businesses, according to the Direct Selling Association. Joining an MLM is appealing to many since it offers freedom and flexibility, plus the promise of big earning potential.
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MLMs all follow a pyramid structure in which the people at the top (known as upline) make tons of money off the sales commissions of the people they have recruited to work underneath them (their downline).
The MLM representatives make it sound like you are given the opportunity of a lifetime when joining. In reality, success rates are minuscule. It is estimated between 73 percent and 99 percent of participants either do not make any money or lose money (source: huffpost.com).
My advice is to be alarmed and stay away!
There are only a few people who succeed and you have to be okay with bending the truth more than a little. I know, because I tried to become an independent distributor with Nu Skin, but I never felt comfortable with giving people false hope of money riches, when it is close to impossible to grow a big enough network to make good $$.
MLMs Will Cost You!
Investing in an MLM business can be very costly, both in regard to valuable time and money. You will need to buy products to sell in order to join an MLM (often referred to as a starter kit or similar) and then you also have to continue purchasing products for a certain amount every month to not get kicked off the program.
People are buying over-priced pasta from Amway just to be able to stay in the program.
I am living proof of how costly it is to join an MLM. I was convinced by a former acquaintance to invest in products for over $1000 to get going as an independent distributor with Nu Skin.
How MLM Companies Work
The Pyramid Scheme
In 2010, Amway paid $56 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused it of being a pyramid scheme.
This speaks for shady business.
It is only the “top dogs” that are making enough money and can survive on an MLM business. They are the ones you meet on the recruiting events and coaching meetings with the intention to make you feel in awe and get your hopes up.
The business model is built on the ability to recruit other members that are good entrepreneurs and can build a big organization underneath you. When the members from your downline are making sales, you earn a commission from those sales, and this is where the money is.
You will not make much on direct selling and the products are too expensive to sell successfully anyway.
Recruiting people to MLM companies is not an easy task. MLMs have a bad rep as being pyramid schemes and people do not feel comfortable with annoying friends and family to purchase products or getting into the business.
You have to be the person who annoys EVERYBODY about joining the business if you are going to succeed with any MLM.
I just could not do this.
I even tried a different approach and focused more on direct sales, instead of recruiting people. I went directly to big hair salons and spas and tried selling Nu Skin’s skincare products, but they were too expensive, so hardly anybody was interested in buying. I only made two sales in three months.
You can read more about my Nu Skin journey here:
Amway Tried The Usual – Showing Off!
Amway is the biggest MLM company in the world, with nearly $9 billion of yearly revenue. Amway was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos and is based in Ada, Michigan.
The distributors are many and they are ruthless when they set their eyes on you.
When a prior neighbor couple made an attempt to recruit me to Amway, they tried showing off like the MLM companies always do. Little did they know bragging has the opposite effect on me and it always makes me feel disgusted when riches are flaunted in my face. It does not impress me and I see through it.
They took me to a big house in an expensive neighborhood in Miami, Florida, where another Amway distributor higher up the chain lived. They showed me around the house and offered me champagne while talking about how their lives had changed from nothing to incredible thanks to Amway.
“Look what you can get if you join Amway!”, they said.
Yeah, right….the oldest trick in the book, I was thinking.
It is so obvious what they are trying to do when they are showing off like that. If Amway would be a good enough business opportunity, they would not need to impress people with fancy houses and expensive cars.
I later found out the neighbor couple that brought me to the event, had not even made a cent from their Amway efforts so far. It was difficult for them to admit they had not made any progress in the four months they had been with Amway but I kept questioning them in the car ride back from the meeting.
They were brainwashed to believe they would earn 6 to 7 figures in a very near future and it did not matter what I said to hopefully make them question the whole business concept.
I almost felt sorry for them. They had given up their careers to invest fully in the Amway business. I do not know how their Amway efforts are going today or if they gave up since the constant nagging about buying Amway products or doing the business strained our relationship.
This is exactly what you should consider before joining any MLM business. You will strain your relationships with family and friends. To expand your network and to be able to grow the business, it is common to turn to family and friends. It is easier to bother people you already know, I guess.
Would you appreciate being pressured to buy over-priced Amway products all the time?
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About The Author
Stina Pettersson is originally from Sweden but has resided in the U.S. for the past 6 years. She started her American journey in Miami, Florida, and recently moved to Austin, Texas.
Stina was active as a professional dancer for 21 years but she was forced to slow down her dancing after ACL surgery in both knees. She is now back to her roots, with her beloved horses and also enjoys daily nature walks with her two adorable dogs, Max and Abigail.
Stina has the gift of being able to receive communication from the spirit and extraterrestrial world which she loves sharing with her readers.
“My main goal is to maintain a flexible lifestyle, where I set my own schedule. Even that I work hard, I love what I do every day. I also have the opportunity to help other people which is a huge gift.”
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