My Experience with Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

My Experience with Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

You can’t escape Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies these days, they’re all over social media whether you’re looking for them or not.

“Join my team, I only have space for 3 more team members”

“Make £££ around your other commitments”

“Spend time on Facebook? Why not make money while you’re at it?”

The adverts sound great and if you’re looking for a way to make extra cash then it’s easy to believe the claims that you’ll make cash easily. I was drawn in by exactly one such advert for AVON – here’s my story…

What is MLM?

Multi-level marketing (also known as MLM for short) is basically pyramid selling. There’s one person/people at the top who then recruit sales people beneath them. The people at the top receive commission for any sales those beneath them make. Nobody within the pyramid is employed, there aren’t any salaries. These companies pay commission on sales.

What’s the problem?

With a lot of the adverts bandied about on social media, it’s easy to believe that if you work hard then you’ll make amazing amounts of money. The truth is that only a few people will actually make the big figures you see online. The majority of us will get sucked in to working our butts off to make sales and actually not hit our commission threshold. In some cases, this might even leave you out of pocket with delivery charges and “sales leader” fees.

What to look out for.

For a kick off, avoid like the plague anything that involves a sign up fee. You’re out of pocket before you’ve even begun with little or no hope of ever making that money back!

You should also be very wary of “jobs” advertised as recruiting “distributors”, “consultants”, “promoters” and “independent business owners”. I won’t tar all of these with the same brush but these are the classic job titles used for MLM companies.

What attracted me to AVON.

Many MLM companies sell make up and beauty products.


That’s certainly the case with AVON. I actually really like their products and thought that with them being a household name I’d find selling their products fairly easy.

The truth is that I did make sales. I had regular customers and the products kind of sold themselves. I made a small amount of commission some months and Christmas was pretty good sales wise. The trouble is though, I trawled the streets delivering brochures and then when I called to collect them they were never left out. I’d often have to call 3 times before I’d get my book back. Then there’s delivering the products. Even when I’d arranged a time to deliver, often the customer wouldn’t be in or they wouldn’t have the money ready for me. I needed MOUNTAINS of change at all times. Then there were the returns. It was like a never-ending nightmare, all for a couple of pounds if I was lucky. I had to hit around £80 of sales in order to receive any commission.

As with all MLM schemes, the people above me would rave about how much money they were making and how wonderful their lives were since they’d become team leaders (I forget the actual term they used now). After lots of aggressive selling and harrassing, I caved and decided to give the leadership plan a whirl. THIS WAS A BIG MISTAKE.

I became one of these people you see all over Facebook using emojis and claiming  you can make £££ in the run up to Christmas selling to family and friends, no need to leave the house, products will sell themselves, blah blah blah. I did attract some interest and would go out maybe three nights a week signing up new representatives. I’d pay for their first set of books, spend ages with them explaining it all and be there to encourage (badger) them while they made their first sales. I’d only get commission if they hit their commission targets (at least £80 of sales) and I’d usually end up in the red because their sales hadn’t covered the cost of their books. That’s if they actually ever bothered trying to sell anything. Many would take the books and never be seen again, that was me losing money left right and centre!

The winners.

It’s true, there are some winners in the MLM game. These are the people sitting at the top of the pyramid and the rest of us scamper around for the dregs. You’ll always read about the successes as that’s what the reps and recruiters want you to be tempted by. The hyped up incomes are not achievable. There are lots of ways you can earn an income from home, in my experience though MLM is not one of them.


My Experience with Multi Level Marketing (MLM)

My Money Cottage



  1. September 21, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Oh wow, sounds like Avon was a big mistake for you! I used to do Avon, 13 years ago now when my son was a baby. I ended up in the red too as I would pay for the orders and then people just wouldn’t collect them or they would change their minds!

  2. September 21, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Oh wow, sounds like Avon was a big mistake for you! I used to do Avon, 13 years ago now when my son was a baby. I ended up in the red too as I would pay for the orders and then people just wouldn’t collect them or they would change their minds!

  3. September 21, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I have never tried Avon, sounds terrible! A lot og these companies are just too good to be true x

  4. September 21, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    I did Avon and really enjoyed it, but I was never expecting to make big money from it, it was more of a hobby.I liked the fact that if someone didn’t pay for their order, you could just send it back, so I couldn’t lose money. It does frustrate me with a lot of MLM recruiters, though, when they promise the world, because, realistically, with the amount of MLM schemes out there, the market is saturated and there is no way you are going to climb the pyramid and make any real money.

  5. September 22, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    I use to buy Avon from friends but always thought it was a lot of work for little return as soon. As soon as one friend gave up selling it another started, but not for long. I do not know anyone who sells it now.

  6. September 22, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    Fantastic post and so much information about this – It’s not something that I generally pay attention to and avoid like the plague! I haven’t had an Avon lady around for many many years – I wouldn’t even know who deals with it in our area. It’s something I considered doing myself, though I never went through with it. So sorry it didn’t work out for you. Sim xx #BlogLove

  7. September 22, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Really useful post- thanks for sharing your experiences! I didn’t know very much about MLM before reading this, only those posts on Facebook that make these opportunities sound too good to miss!

  8. September 22, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    I used to be an Avon rep. It was great for a short time. I made £300 commission at Christmas. But… as with all MLM it did dry up. People seemed to move on. The effort the rest of the year did not bring the results I needed.

  9. September 23, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    MLM has changed so many friendships for me due to the constant pressure to sell, enrol and invite you to events online and in person. I just want to go for a drink!

  10. September 23, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Ever since the body shop has introduced MLM, I kinda wanted to join but then I skipped! I’d rather slave for blogging than running around distributing books and vouchers!
    That being said, this post actually made me aware that I shouldn’t throw the books in the trash! The first time one of the books were sent through the letterbox, I skimmed through it and binned it. Never knew the cost had to be covered!

  11. September 24, 2017 / 7:27 am

    I had no idea what MLM was but I knew of Avon’s pyramid scheme as someone tried to recruit me once. It is something I have considered doing but I hate sales so not sure I’d be much good

  12. September 24, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I tried avon and it really didn’t work for me. I think to make money you need to be at the top of the tree

  13. September 24, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    That’s really interesting to read, I often wondered how this worked and if it was successful

  14. September 26, 2017 / 8:41 am

    So interesting to hear it from someone else who did it. I’ve always wondered about these jobs and one of my friends tried working for Arbonne without much success. She tried so hard to do well because she could see loads of people above her were successful, but she only saw the rare few and not the 100’s just like her who were out of pocket from buying all the sample products and brochures. x

  15. September 26, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    I personally don’t ever buy from or use anything from MLM. I have got enough on with my blog and business plans to be putting my time into that too! #bloglove

  16. October 6, 2017 / 11:35 am

    MLM “businesses” are a pain in the arse. I hate the way they portray working as something awful. What would happen to our country if everyone quit to sell aloe Vera or make up lol.
    I didn’t realise Avon’s commission level was so high!

    • October 6, 2017 / 11:39 am

      Well it was that high when I tried it and that wasn’t all that long ago. I get why people want to earn money around the family but MLM definitely isn’t the best way to go about it.

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