Financial freedom. The thing you’re promised when you first come across a company selling amazing products that want to bring you on board to work for yourself or “create your own business”, when essentially you’re joining another version of a semi-legit pyramid scheme. So what is a pyramid scheme I hear you ask? They’re a type of sales structure where new recruits are taken on to make sales by someone where they both earn commission which goes right the way up the chain. Pyramid schemes are illegal because there’s no actual product involved, but chuck some makeup, shakes, or skincare in there and you’ve got yourself an MLM.
Some of the most well known companies that have this set up are:
- Juice Plus
- Stella & Dot
Now some people can smash this and do really well out of it, provided there’s a decent product/s or they’re really great at selling/conning people into working for them. However, I have issue with the companies that don’t have the product to back up the price tags and use badgering as a sales tactic. I don’t care how much someone tells me a product is great if I’ve tried it myself and I didn’t like it – it’s just not for me.
My first experience with this kind of scheme was the world-renown Avon. I was a mere 18 years old, fresh into adulthood and naive enough to believe I could sell sell sell. I had to purchase around £80 worth of product for my kit and pass around the brochures to everyone I knew, friends, family, neighbours – I was on it and determined to earn myself a pretty penny.
In terms of MLM’s I don’t think Avon has the same tactics of some of the shadier ones we’ll discuss today; I didn’t feel pressured to make the sales or target a particular group of people – it was simply put to me that if you sell what you can, this is what you’ll get, the recruitment of others wasn’t their focus and they just wanted their products to be sold which in MLM terms, is exactly what you want.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that my “career” with Avon didn’t work and I ended up owing them money for the products which I couldn’t afford to pay for and fucked up my credit rating for a good few years after (I can’t remember what kind of letters I got, but it was close to court action so it wasn’t great).
After my experience with Avon, I made a vow to not get involved in an MLM/pyramid style scheme again, but did have my fair share of run ins; I was sold a few products from Younique (which in my opinion is massively overpriced and not worth your money), I purchased a couple of bits from Stella & Dot from a friend that was a rep (they were okayish but again, overpriced for what they were) and finally I kind of got roped into being a Nu Skin rep, but never attempted to sell the products when I came to the realisation I was being a knob again. I spent again, around £80 on a starter kit from them with the intention of trialling it out – I’d been signed off from work and was looking for something to pass the time between being sick and scratching my skin to death (if you’re a long-time reader, you’ll have guessed this was when I had hepatitis E). I had been told that I didn’t need to use the products to sell them (major red flag), but having my blog made me more cautious about selling shit I didn’t know worked, so thought I’d try it myself and see how I get on.
I wasn’t a fan of the products and decided it was a no-go, I wasn’t going to push products I don’t believe in and still stand by that today. If I wouldn’t buy it again or spend my own money on it, then I’m not going to recommend it to anyone.
I was called a couple of times and brushed the rep off eventually, but since then I’ve seen so many girls pushing the products, trying to recruit more people (all without naming the company – it’s Nu Skin’s thing) and I seemed to have that massive target all over my Instagram page for wanting to join the hoard of people pushing products.
To conclude, I’m not a fan of these schemes and don’t tend to like the products being sold – I feel like any relationship I had with someone before they became a rep has been tainted with an anticipation of waiting for the inevitable “we’ve got this new product that I really think you’d love” – I really won’t and please don’t be offended if I start to ghost you. I don’t take kindly to using a prior relationship for financial gain – I’m all for supporting people with their own business, but I draw the line at badgering and only sparking conversation to make a sale or bring me onto your team.
Have you had an experience with an MLM and what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.