MLM is a term that’s bandied around in a number of circles, and there’s a reason it’s been shortened to a bunch of letters. Let’s take a look at what it’s stands for.
Literally, it is Multi Level Marketing and can also come in other disguises, as Network Marketing and dare I say it…. Pyramid Selling. MLM really developed because Pyramid Selling was getting such a bad rap all around the world, so some geniuses came up with the idea of calling it something else. Using an abbreviation does hide the fact from some people, that it is based on “levels of selling”. Look at the top of the pyramid – there’s not a lot of room for people to be at the top is there?
Which kind of makes the question, “What is MLM Marketing?” a bit of a double whammy, as it translates “What is Multi Level Marketing Marketing?” Funny right? But not really, as you will see when we take a closer look.
But what does it actually mean, and why do I think it’s something to be avoided?
Well, we get the first clue from multi-level. Without the different levels there is no business, and no reward structure. So anyone getting into an MLM program will be tasked with recruiting additional members in order to make any real money. The programs also tend to rely on you also selling a bunch of products, which let’s face it, can usually be found for better value elsewhere. But like I said, the real reward will only come if you can suck other people into the equation, who effectively sit below you in the pyramid – let’s call a spade a spade! If you think you are one of the one’s to get rich – your are probably living in fantasy land!
Not all Network Marketing is Bad News
And now enters the term, Network Marketing – as effectively you will be working to build up your own network. But let’s be totally clear, Network Marketing is also used to describe quite legitimate ways of growing contacts for any business. However, the fundamental difference lies in the fact most legitimate businesses don’t prey off their network. They don’t pester them for sales; they don’t constantly try and recruit them; and they don’t target friends and families ruthlessly! There is a big difference in growing your business through building solid relationships, based on transparency and trust and building contacts purely in order to constantly try and promote, sell or flog stuff to. You are probably starting to get the picture, right?
Who really makes the money with MLM?
And the ONLY people who can make real life-changing sums of money with MLM are the ones right at the top of the pyramid, or if I’m being kosher, at the highest level. The lower down you are, the less opportunity there is for you, and that is FACT. Those that have got in early and are doing well, will tell me this is all nonsense. There are plenty of opportunities if you are prepared to work hard (aka, be pushy) or if you open up a new geographic area for your network or multi-level. I disagree on the second point, mainly because I think that geographic boundaries are falling through the power of the internet, and particularly social media. Chances are, there’s always someone one step ahead of you with an MLM scheme. Think small change if you are down the levels!
Beware of High Entry Costs
Usually an MLM program requires quite a bit of up-front investment, especially if there are products involved! I remember being convinced back in the 1980’s that Amway was the way to go – fantastic products, a lot of hype etc – but I had to fork out quite a lot of money on a demonstration kit. And who was my biggest customer – my MUM! Now I am a Mum myself, I feel quite guilty about this. Needless to say the whole Amway thing was very short lived stage in my working life.
I’ve seen it as well with Pampered Chef, Arbonne and Stella & Dot. And, HerbaLife is a big one that raises it’s head often where I live. I do try and support my various friends who join these schemes, but more out of a sense of loyalty than anything else. I have a rule for myself that I only go to ONE party for each friend (or friend’s network). The goods tend to be overpriced and I usually come away with only one thing. Otherwise, I would soon be broke!! But the point is, I see all these people paying over the top for their display goods to show at home parties or exhibitions.
What does it take to be an MLMer?
Please don’t think I am personally attacking anyone who is working for an MLM program. I’m definitely not! All sorts of people explore different options for an income throughout their lifetime, and being a qualified marketer myself, I cam confidently say that some of these companies have real big bucks behind them. Quite simply their marketing efforts look professional and sound credible. Take HerbaLife for example – they have world-famous soccer hero Cristiano Ronaldo as an endorser.
But let’s take a look at why big-brand personalities endorse anything – 9 times out of 10, it’s because a company pays them megabucks to do so. There may be charities that celebrities support, because they genuinely believe in the cause that charity is pursuing – but for anything commercial, you can bet your bottom dollar they have been paid to lend their name to a product or service.
But, back to what it takes – effectively you need to become a first rate hustler to succeed. And where do these MLM programs tend to push you – straight to your own families and friends. And in the main I don’t think anyone feels particularly good about putting pressure on people close to you. because let’s face it, these people want to support you and want you to succeed, so they feel pressure to buy from you, or host parties. Do you really want to put this pressure on the people closest to you? Most people who start down this road, eventually feel that it puts too much strain on their personal relationships.
There are a small minority who can have some financial gains from MLM, but these people tend to be dogged in their approach and VERY thick skinned. They will use their nearest and dearest, and talk to strangers about their product or joining the program. Negative responses don’t phase them, and they carry on regardless. But let’s face it, the majority of us aren’t like that – or certainly not on a long term basis.
What are some of the most common MLM schemes?
This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most popular ones. I’m sure you have heard of many of them…some of these are global, and some may depend on what country you live in. Some of these are already being monitored by the authorities.
- 7-minute Workout
- Karat Bars
- Karat Bars
- Mary Kay
- Origami Owl
- Pampered Chef
- Stella & Dot
To sum it all up…
So if you’re part of an MLM program, don’t feel bad and who knows, you might be making a modest amount of money out of it. But, if you’re on the cusp of joining I would say think VERY, VERY hard about it first. You may well be signing up for a whole load of unwanted stress…
Remember as well, that if you join an MLM program, and then it is forced to shut down, your entire network goes with it – and any income!
Like I have pointed out, they are pyramid schemes, cloaked under another name and it will be the very first individuals who are in who make the big sums of money.
My Honest Business Opportunities
Take a look at some of my genuine, honest business opportunities….
==> WEALTHY AFFILIATE (affiliate marketing business)
==> BINARY BROKERZ (trading in binary options)
==> EASYSHIFT APP (enlisting for paid tasks in your local area)
My advice, is try and focus on creating a business with a bit more integrity, which doesn’t push you into an uncomfortable zone with your nearest and dearest.
If you would like to make any comments or have any thoughts, please leave them in the section below.
And you can always report a scam here
If you like this, why not share it?