Picture this scene; you’re out of ideas for your next (or first) business and you seek inspiration quickly. A contact on Facebook or Twitter gets in touch, telling you how he or she knows you’re an entrepreneur and that there is a great and easy business idea you might be interested in. Your contact cannot give you more information right away, but if you agree to meet you’ll get filled in. Welcome to the world of MLM businesses!
Multi-level marketing businesses, often confused with pyramid schemes, because they’re almost completely identical, are all around you. If you have not been invited to join one yet, chances are you will. An acquaintance, a friend or even a family member will one day tell you about this great business opportunity. What I can guarantee is that its no opportunity, and its barely even a business.
Be your own boss! Get rich with hard work! Work as much, or as little as you want! Make your dreams come true! Who wouldn’t join? MLM businesses seek to attract a particular segment of society which is receptible to these messages. These businesses cover all sectors, from travel to wellbeing and everything in between. They have everything set up for you to succeed, all you need is commitment – and money.
At first, everything about an MLM looks great. From being part of a supportive family to simply following proven techniques, you almost keep back from asking questions for fear of missing out. After all, someone you trust probably invited you, why would they ever scam you?
Some of the lies you will be told
MLM businesses thrive on lies, so right from the moment that you get an invitation for a meeting, the lies begin. One of the biggest lies is that you will be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are individuals who solve real problems with creative solutions, not just copy and repeat. At best you’re a business owner, just another grocery or pet shop, but you’re not even that. These shops provide something of value to their customers, whereas your main goal is not to sell a product but to recruit more agents.
MLM businesses tend to target specific groups of people, and none are as popular as new parents looking for part-time work which is flexible enough to help them tend to their children. You get the best of both worlds, spending time with your family while earning money at your pace. This lie has led to so many distraught parents and ruined lives, it’s horrifying to see it still works.
Even members or associates or any other term used to describe MLM suckers, who work 40+ hours per week rarely see a profitable return. If you work part-time, or even less, you are practically guaranteed to lose money. Start complaining and the supportive business family you thought you had will turn against you, blaming you for not working hard enough.
Another common lie of MLM business is that its easy, and anyone can do it. Technically, this is not a complete lie. Forgetting the part of your business which requires you to sell overpriced and often poor quality products, if your social circles contain sufficient gullible people who trust you, you might actually succeed somewhat. In doing so, mind you, you will be ruining their life and your friendship, but hey, here come the riches!
Where do you go from here?
OK, so first off, I’d like to apologise if I burst your idea. I am sorry, not that I put you off MLM businesses, but that you have not yet found your next big thing. We have all been there, and inspiration will eventually come. The good news is that you can use the initial investment you would have been required to pay to join this organisation to much better use. Buy books which are great for entrepreneurship, watch inspiring movies or travel to unique places. Sometimes doing a new or distracting activity is all it takes for the next idea to come along.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy journey. There will be times you will doubt your worth, and other times where you’ll feel even worse. However, if you truly believe that you are making the world better, even with one individual at a time, it’ll be all worth it.
If I haven’t managed to put you off MLM businesses, perhaps because you truly feel that you will succeed, then I invite you, before you join, to ask important questions, and investigate the replies in detail before signing any commitment. Beyond that, all I can say is, good luck!
Editor’s note: Due to the high probability of potential lawsuits, I would like to state that not all MLM businesses fit the above description and some are genuine businesses which churn out rich and successful entrepreneurs every single day. Also, get rich schemes exist.