Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurial endeavors. If you want to get into business and sell the results of your creativity or specific skill set, I will help hold you up to the heavens and proclaim favorably on your behalf. What I can’t and will not get behind however is anything to do with the multi-level marketing that has literally bombarded social media over the last few years.
I know that not all MLM companies are the same, and some are definitely a lot less terrifying to come across in the wild. Let’s take Avon as an example of one. Every few weeks the Avon lady will chuck a brochure at my mother’s head and vanish into the night. No pressure to buy or constant pestering – if my mom likes anything and wants to make a purchase, Avon lady is just a phone call away and as far as I understand, Avon reps get a percentage of sales back and probably cool swag here and there, but most do not expect the end result to generate any sort of feasible income or be anything other than a small side project to enjoy.
The companies that I have issues with are the ones that float around online and use cryptic buzzwords, promises, and lack any sort of searchable information so that you eventually fall into their clutches by your own curiosity. Body wraps, nutritional shakes, essential oils, and even oysters (?) have been countlessly pitched to me via Facebook and often times relentlessly now that I’ve made my weight loss goals public. God, the number of times that people I haven’t talked to in 5+ years have crawled out of the woodwork to better enrich my life with newfangled necessities is staggering and maddening. It’s even more baffling when complete strangers accost you.
For instance, I have to be completely honest and admit that I have bought products from these companies before, usually not due to any real need for them, but to appease or help out a friend because I was a pushover in that respect. Last year, a coworker of mine was helping out her friend and seeing if any of us ladies would be interested in -beauty product here-. “Sure.” I thought, “I could try it out…”, so I ordered it, it came, I used it, whatever. Suddenly I am getting messages both on Facebook and via my personal number from this mystery woman who I have absolutely no affiliation with except from buying said product. She wants me to “throw a product party” and join the team. I laugh and tell her that it’s pretty impossible since I HAVE NO FRIENDS (who would use the products) but that must have gone in through one ear and out the other or dissipated before it hit her brain because I actually had to block her a short time later. How annoying!
Many MLM structures are like a pyramid scheme. Join them! Get people to join under you! Reap untold riches by drinking the specific kool-aid! Do you like money? Passion? Adventure? All of these can be yours if only you give us your money, follow our rules, and sell our wares! Don’t forget to harass your friends and family into buying from you because if they don’t, they’re negative and hindering your success! Make sure that every waking breath and social setting is a chance to pitch your sale! SYNERGY!
So yeah, think twice before you add me without permission to your online groups, or gear up to ask me to hand over my hard earned money. I don’t think you’ll like or particularly enjoy my answer. If I want it, I’ll come to you first.