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!
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.