Multi Level Marketing (MLM) Unmasked

Heads up: This is probably the most aggressive post I’ve ever written. I find it very hard to control myself with this topic. Bear with me if I curse a little.

So… we all follow these want to be influencers on social media who sell haircare products, herbalife supplements etc. right?

Some of them are even my friends. Well maybe not close friends, but they are definitely people whom I’ve met at some point (otherwise I wouldn’t follow them online). And you have no idea how much it hurts me to call them stupid. But, the truth is, I haven’t seen anyone as stupid in this planet as them. And it really sucks because some of them have a very strong personal brand and if they invested half as much time into growing their personal brand instead of promoting a scam they could potentially be big on social media. But, then again, these people are dumb and dumb people usually remain dumb forever.

Here’s the thing, multi-level marketing companies are amazing. And what I mean is that they are amazingly full of sh**. Full of sh** heads who have no business sense and no idea of how the world functions. But here’s something else, they are both victims of a scam as well as scammers themselves. They are the worst kind of people that you can encounter on social media.

Let me put you into context…

A multi level marketing (MLM) company is essentially a pyramid scheme. Well technically not because pyramid schemes are illegal whereas MLM companies are considered to be working within a legal frame. But, practically speaking, there is no difference between one and the other. You are probably already familiarized with some of these MLM firms if you live in the US. The most famous one out there is probably Amway, although these guys are getting some real competitors nowadays on instagram. The way it works is that in order for someone to become a distributor for one of these MLM firms, they are required to purchase some sort of “initiation package” that is usually a few hundred bucks.

In other words, if you want to be allowed to sell products for them and earn a useless commission (yes, you could probably make more money by asking for cash at a stoplight) you need to pay them a few hundred bucks. This doesn’t make sense right? Well, there’s a sh** ton of geniuses who fall into their trap. Not just this! But then they go ahead and try to recruit other innocent souls into their scam. Seriously, humanity never fails to disappoint me. There are so many stupid people out there. Wow.

Here’s a nice (and more in-depth) article that explains how MLM companies function.

But, in order to save you some time, it’s been proven that most (99.7% according to the study mentioned above) people who join these scams end up losing money rather than making it. Not to mention the huge amount of time lost. And you better pray your future employer doesn’t know about your past history with a MLM company. They’ll have no respect for you. I wouldn’t at least.

I mean, you don’t even need to be a genius in order to see that there’s something odd with these firms and their “distributors”.

Most of these people on social media don’t even mention the name of the company that “they work for”. I follow probably around 20 girls on Instagram that try to sell Monat products. These are my favorite to be honest. My favorite kind of stupid, of course.

Again, if you’re a friend of mine who is part of this scam and you are reading this, please don’t take it personally. Just trying to help you out over here.

But seriously, these ones make me laugh the most. This group is so embarrassed by what they do that they don’t even mention their company name. Ever. I wonder why… And a lot of them even post pictures on instagram with the classic “payday finally” caption (covering how much they’re getting paid of course) because it’s probably less than ten dollars per paycheck. In fact, I bet it’s even under a dollar. Now, doing this is unethical because you’re creating false expectations. I know you’re lying because I understand business and money, but other people might not.

Now… if you’re going on social media saying that you have bought yourself a car thanks to a MLM firm you should be very careful. This is called being a fraud and you should never be allowed online ever again. Lying to people for your own interest is not cool at all.

Keep in mind, there is usually also an annual or monthly fee associated to being an MLM distributor. This is why most people lose money. The amount of money that they make never makes up for the cost of paying this recurring fee. And yet, a lot of them take years to realize that they’re being dumb.

No, but really, I’ve never heard any of them say “I sell haircare products made by Monat”. They just say “my company makes amazing haircare products”. I get it, I really do. You’re embarrassed for trying to trick people into your very own foulness. If people were to google “monat” they would find anything from horrible reviews to class action lawsuits. There is a good variety of people complaining about how their haircare products messed up their hair. Most of the class action lawsuits against Monat deal with this. I personally wont comment anything on this. I haven’t tested the products myself and have no interest in doing so. But I don’t expect anything good to come out of a MLM firm other than a sh** ton of bs.

Now… I’m not saying that all MLM companies sell shi*** products. I know a lot of people who have literally transformed their bodies thanks to Herbalife. Whether it was a healthy transformation or not I don’t know. Again, you’ll never see me trying a product sold by a MLM firm. But I know that herbalife even works with celebrities as big as Cristiano Ronaldo. The business end of being a “herbalife distributor” is still bs though. If you spend time of your life trying to distribute herbalife or any other MLM products… stop it. Please. For your own sake.

Kudos to the c-level executives of all of these MLM firms by the way. They are true geniuses let me tell you. They are assholes for trying to make money in a very unethical way, but being able to trick millions of stupid people into their bs has its merit.

Before you leave, do let me say one good thing about MLM.

Some people are actually able to get positive things out of joining a MLM scheme. I’ve seen people (very few) learn some legit selling techniques and make some long-lasting connections that in the end (miraculously) turned out to be worth their time. But the percentage of people that end up getting anything good out of MLM is just ridiculous.

If you’re part of a MLM group take my advice and stop what you’re doing. Go open up your own business. Do something that you like and don’t be afraid of failing. MLM is a 99.7% guaranteed failure with absolutely no learning lessons to get out of it. Now I’m not saying to go open up a restaurant without any experience in the hospitality industry! But put your time and effort into something that’s actually worth it and that will teach you something valuable disregarding the outcome of your endeavor.

Author: Tony Lewis

Marketing nerd, blockchain enthusiast and part-time planet Earth explorer. I like building (and acquiring) long-lasting assets.