Want to read another perspective on MLMs? One mom shares why she never really wanted to sell to you at a party anyways!
There was a period of time when I was unemployed. A friend I literally had not heard from since high school but had as a Facebook friend reached out to me and said we should go for coffee to ‘catch up.’ She also told me she had some information I might be interested in about ways to earn money. I asked what she meant and she said she’d tell me over coffee but that it was the perfect thing for me. I asked what made it perfect for me and she said “because you were such a great public speaker in high school.”
I pointed out I hated public speaking and wasn’t particularly good at it at all. The assertion that I was good at it and would like a job path that included it on any level was laughable to me. This friend, the one who wouldn’t give me any details until our coffee chat, wasn’t looking to reconnect at all. She was looking at me as a mark; someone she could bring on under her MLM.
I never went on that coffee date. It rubbed me the wrong way that she refused to tell me what we’d talk about over coffee. It was clear to me what it was, even though back then MLMs were still fairly new on the mommy circuit.
MLM: Multi-Level Marketing—think Arbonne, Stella & Dot, Velata, The Pampered Chef South Hill, Twenty-One and on and on and on.
Every day it seems like a new one is popping up. You sell goods, and inspire others to sell goods, and the more people you get on board to sell those goods, the more money you in turn make. If the people you brought on to sell stuff then bring on their own people to sell stuff too, well then you get even more money. And so it goes. At its core, MLMs are more about selling the idea of being a part of the MLM than the goods you sell to get there, at least in this humble blogger’s opinion.
I have nothing against MLMs in principal. You want to sell Arbonne, give’r. What I don’t like, however, is people using our relationship as a way to leverage the potential of a possible addition to your team. I’m your friend. I’m your neighbour. I’m your random high school buddy who you haven’t seen in twenty years. I am not a mark. I am not a potential team member. If I want to buy from you, I’ll let you know. If I want to join your team, I’ll reach out.
But that’s the thing about MLMs. The whole purpose is to use your personal network to grow your business. That’s how it starts. You invite your good friends over for your first ‘event,’ whatever it may be. No pressure; leave your wallets at home. Or you meet for coffee, just to chat. As a friend you go, because you want to support your friend. So you throw them a bone to be nice.
Some people ‘see the light’ and get on the MLM train and some, though not most if we’re being honest, thrive and excel and end up making quite a good living at it. I know people who genuinely are pulling six figures and going on all-expenses paid trips and driving a sweet white Mercedes as a result of their MLM success. I begrudge them none of it.
What I do begrudge is being used as a potential next step on the ladder to get them there. If I reach out to you to ask you a question or share some information that is related to our kids’ school, I don’t want a response that says ‘I know right? By the way did you see I’m having a sale? Let me know if you need anything!’ It doesn’t inspire me to check out your sale. What it does do is inspire me to find alternate sources of information in the future.
I don’t want to come over to try a new mud mask. I don’t really need to hang out on a Saturday to attend an open house at your place showing all of the new items you have for sale. And I most certainly don’t want to go for coffee with someone I haven’t seen in twenty years to hear about a cool way to earn money she refuses to share the details of over the phone.
Can I politely say no? Of course, and I do. Is it really something I should be offended by? After all, these are just friends, trying to earn some extra money. Can’t I just acknowledge that and smile and nod and move on? Yes. I absolutely can, and I do.
But, I’m just sick of it. Just go away already! I’m not in the market for jewelry or a way to earn money part-time. If I am, believe me, I know where to reach you.