Everyone, at some point in their life, considers making money online. Who can blame them? In many cases you get to work from home, and who wouldn’t want to make their living with nothing but a computer and a little time? What many people don’t realize, however, is that making money online takes a lot of time, dedication, and skill, and you really have to put yourself out there and push yourself to be successful.
Unfortunately, this is where Multi-Level Marketing, or MLM, will swoop in and try to tell you that this isn’t the case.
MLM is all about recruiting sales people who will hopefully recruit other sales people, and so on.
The way it works, simply, is by compensating sales by not only the sales force, but the other people they recruit as well. It works by word of mouth sales and sales based on relationship (i.e. selling to your friends and family), in the hopes that you’ll not only sell to them, but encourage them to join as a seller as well. They preach making money in this way with ultimately very little effort, and it all sounds very tempting on the surface, sure. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, however. Let’s talk about some of the main reasons to avoid MLM:
1 Lack Of Control
When approaching you, a multi-level marketer’s main goal is to get you interested in that timeless dream: becoming an independent business owner and being your own boss, working the hours you set for yourself, and creating opportunities for yourself.
This all sounds great until you get down the truth behind all of that sugarcoating; you are at their mercy. Your job as a multi-level marketing seller is to sell the products they want you to sell, and say what they pay you to say about them. You are not being paid to be honest, you’re being paid to sell the product and recruit other people to sell. They have strict guidelines in place about how you can and can’t promote their products, and you can forget unique advertising.
Another part of your job as a multi-level marketing seller is selling other people on becoming a seller as well. You’ll tell them how great it is, how easy it is, and how much money you’ve made doing it. Unfortunately, you’ll likely be selling people on goals you haven’t even achieved yourself yet, and achieving that goal for yourself will be directly dependent on how many people you can convince that the goal is achievable, and if some of those people you’ve convinced are friends, you can likely kiss them goodbye once they realize you weren’t totally honest with them. It’s a vicious cycle.
Speaking of friends and family, part of multi-level marketing’s scheme is getting you to start by selling to the people you know will support you the most: your friends and family.
Its foundation is built upon using their loyalty, trust, and unwavering support to capitalize on your business, which can be very harmful in the long-run to your personal relationships with them. You’ll be selling products to them that you not only don’t have any personal experience with, but that you’re not even sure you believe in, and that are also generally far too overpriced for their actual value.
Remember how I said ‘unwavering support’? Unfortunately, once they realize that support is being capitalized upon, you’ll likely have to work a while to gain it back. Turns out, people don’t appreciate being taken advantage of.
Though these are certainly not the only reasons why MLM is considered a bad strategy and business model, they are certainly some of the more important ones, in my opinion. When you’re trying to build your own business and become your own boss, you want to build a foundation of truth, trust, and integrity in order to build lifelong relationships with your customers. After all, they are ultimately the reason for your success. Now that we’ve covered a few reasons to avoid MLM, I’ll go over a few ways you can help yourself and others to avoid these schemes altogether.
If you’re in the market to start your own business, it is inevitable that a MLM company will reach out to you, preaching grandeur and promising success. If it sounds too good to be true, the rule is that it most likely is, and one fantastic way to find out is by thoroughly researching the company.
Review their website, read about the history of the company (most company websites, if they have a website, will have a page titled ‘About’ or ‘Our Strategy’ – something telling you their beliefs and the way they operate), and educate yourself on their operations. Next come the reviews: you’ll want to not only read the reviews on their site (if applicable), but reviews on other sites as well.
The wonderful thing about people and the internet is that most people are more than happy to share their experiences with others, especially if their experience was a bad one. Word-of-mouth is your best friend when it comes to most things on the internet, and businesses are no different.
Read The Fine Print
As wonderful as their business proposition may sound both on paper and in person, their contract will shed light on quite a few things they may have ‘forgotten’ to mention when pitching it to you. Read anything they send you thoroughly and with a skeptical mind, even the fine print. Find their TOS, or Terms of Service, sometimes Terms and Conditions, on their website, and read it thoroughly. I know it’s boring, but you can never be too careful. If it’s not easy to find, or goes on forever, proceed with copious amounts of caution.
It won’t be easy. When they come at you, they come at you hard, and will pull out all the stops to get you to sign on and become a part of their business. As with anything, be respectful, but be firm. If they can’t answer all of your questions in full, without beating around the bush, and if the information you need to research isn’t easily accessible, it’s in your best interest to just stay away. Keep the things outlined in this article in mind, and you’ll be well prepared to not fall victim to MLM.
- FURTHER READING: Affiliate Marketing vs. MLM, Which Is Better?