And no, I am not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Succeeding in network marketing is like winning the lottery. The odds are stacked against you, but you can’t resist that one in a billion chance that the jackpot could be yours. That’s why people continue to sign up. You can’t win if you don’t play. That’s why Amway and Mary Kay have been around for over 50 years. Yet, every day you hear MLM horror stories. It’s a scam, it’s a pyramid scheme.
Network marketing, also known as multilevel marketing (MLM), is not a scam. I do find pleasure in binge-watching anti-MLM rants via podcasts, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos. Despite this, I know that they can be profitable business ventures for many people.
What is Network Marketing?
Network marketing is a direct selling method that gives independent distributors the ability to build a business by selling goods and services directly to customers. They also have the opportunity to add a team of distributors underneath them. Distributors are given percentages of profits that their recruits make. The amount varies depending on the level hence the term multilevel (MLM). Compensation plans also differ among MLM companies.
Amway is the black sheep of the industry.
There are some great companies with incredible products. Unfortunately, some companies such as Amway, operate in a way that gives the industry a black eye. Amway is often accused of focusing more on recruiting than providing quality products.
What is the problem with Amway?
Lack of transparency: When people are recruited the distributors often avoid revealing exactly what the business is. They even refuse to say the word Amway.
Overpriced Products: They sell overpriced everyday products that you can buy at Walmart. Members buy items such as expensive toothpaste and laundry detergent monthly. Critics say the company profits most from the self-help materials distributors are encouraged to buy.
Questionable Recruitment tactics: There are many stories of Amway distributors stalking potential members in stores. They offer a mysterious business opportunity and lure people into meetings. Medium writer, Miss Levelup, explains how she was tricked in her article Amway/Scamway.
Cult-like behaviors: Former consultants claim the business mentors encouraged them to ignore outside criticism. They also complained that their time was consumed with meetings and self-help homework. They were also shunned by mentors if they left or threatened to leave. Experts say a cult indicator is how an organization treats members when they want to leave.
Come on, be a #Bossbabe!
I was roped into buying vitamins from a friend’s MLM program in my early twenties. I was put on a conference call that included my friend, her husband, and her father-in-law. They talked a lot, raving about how I could obtain an abundant lifestyle once I joined their team. At the time I had no desire to take part in a home-based business. I already had a full-time job.
I only agreed to join because I was supporting a friend. But after I started receiving vitamins monthly and was automatically charged for them I wanted out. After a few months, I called and canceled the auto shipments. I am someone that has tried and failed to take a daily multivitamin for years. So, to spend $60 a month for “life-changing” giant pills that I did not even take was a waste of time and money. If it was a product that I liked and used, then I would have continued to buy.
Can it work for you?
The right product is the key to making money in network marketing. You need to represent a product you believe in and are proud to stand behind. So many of these companies continue to thrive because of the products as well as the hype of making it big. If you are not willing to use the product yourself then that’s a red flag that it may not be the business for you.
The problem with network marketing is that people are lured in with the idea of the flashy lifestyle instead of the products. They leap at the promise of having to do little to no work and reap big rewards. That’s not how it works. If you want to make money in any business, even network marketing, you must put in the time, effort, and some money. Knowing this, if you are still willing to take the risk then you are not a victim of a scam, you are an entrepreneur.