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The combined number of recruits from these cycles are the sales force which is referred to as the salesperson’s “downline”. This “downline” is the pyramid in MLM’s multiple level structure of compensation.[6]
And Donald, who has cut back on hosting Arbonne parties since her mat leave ended, says she still makes about $200 a month thanks to her e-commerce site and regular customers. “It’s not a lot, but that’s just from people going online and buying products themselves. So it’s extra money I’m not doing a lot to make,” she explains.
Also, if you go and grab my Free Report on 10 Things to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy, you will not only get more myth-busting essential oils information, but you’ll get access to my VIP newsletter as well–complete with updates, great healthy living offers, of course new posts on essential oils, and more.
Investigate the products or service the company sells. Since you’ll be responsible for pitching and selling this product, make sure it is reputable. Some MLM companies market questionable or dangerous products, and you could face legal action if you take part. You should keep the following in mind when considering a product:[3]
Example: Let’s say I sell $10,000 of widgets every month, and my profit margin, after accounting for all expenses, is 10% – $1,000 per month. Let’s say I decide to start an MLM business and I recruit another distributor, who takes over all my leads. We’ll make a REALLY generous assumption that my distributor’s profit margin is 5% – many MLM products don’t even scrape 1%.
Stern jumped in during the heyday phase of a MLM when the people at the top grew rich, and quick. By the start of 2017, nine months after Stern joined, LuLaRoe was pushing 80,000 independent retailers. According to interviews with several consultants, this is also the time when sales suddenly became tougher: The hundreds of thousands of ravenous customers who once clamored to buy leggings from 10,000 consultants flipped in less than a year to eight times that amount selling to just a fraction of the clients. The scales began to tip.
A number of folks in the oils industry have suggested that the reason YL and doTERRA recommend so much internal usage of oils is to drive up usage and drive up sales.  I don’t know their motivation, but that would make perfect sense.
It should be noted that when selling product, the only distinction from a real-world business is the possibility for deception due to the “looseness” of the MLM and the incentive to exaggerate claims without any accountability. Other than this, selling product in an MLM is fairly similar to selling any product in the real world.
Dynamic Essentials was an MLM promoting “Royal Tongan Limu,” a seaweed extract. The company was dissolved by its parent after it was ordered to pay $2 million in fines and destroy almost $3 million in unsold inventory for falsely claiming the product could cure cancer, arthritis, and attention deficit disorder (ADD), among other ailments.[20]
Independent distributors develop their organizations by either building an active consumer network, who buy direct from the company, or by recruiting a downline of independent distributors who also build a consumer network base, thereby expanding the overall organization.
I started checking out various oils companies because I didn’t want to recommend any company without fairly checking out the competitors.  I felt it would be a disservice to my family and to my readers.
A few people do make big money from MLMs. And these people are often trotted out in promotional videos, celebrated at annual events, and very publicly ‘rewarded’ with prizes like prestigious cars (although these ‘prizes’ aren’t as generous as they first appear – you simply get a discount on the lease which you must take out in your own name, and if your sales fall, the discount ends…). You also need to promote the company on the car they ‘give’ you.
Dr. Jon Taylor’s website includes surveys of MLM tax preparers (do they really make money?), answers the question of “odds of success” at MLM vs. gambling (hint: you are way better off in Las Vegas,) and provides a history of MLM at http://www.mlm-thetruth.com
Business failure of any type is traumatic on the relationships involved, but in most small businesses there is at least the chance of success. And this is never the case in an MLM, unless “success” can be defined as profiting off of the failures of others.
The Pyramid-Scheme-Alert (PSA) organization offers consumer information on MLMs, news of legal cases, analytical tools, insightful articles, and an opportunity to affect new laws and social change by membership and contribution. You can do your own evaluation of any MLM program or suspected pyramid scheme.

Stern decided to get out after she realized she had $20,000 in unsold wholesale inventory sitting in her living room. “It clicked for me that if you order 30 items, they send you 10 quick movers and the rest sit. It’s a false sense of actually being successful,” she says. “I noticed all these people started going out of business. I started getting scared that my inventory would be worth nothing, and I would be stuck with $8,000 on my credit card.”
As a result, many women sign up unaware of just how hard the system makes it to earn a living selling for a MLM. “I’m trying to make it work the best I can without letting my family know I pretty much signed up for a pyramid scheme,” says Kayla, a consultant in her twenties who lives in rural Wisconsin.
In recent months, sellers have claimed that LuLaRoe leggings have a tendency to tear like “wet toilet paper.” The $25 leggings—their most popular item—are manufactured in the US, Vietnam, Guatemala, Indonesia, and China, and are mostly made of a mix of polyester and spandex. Starting in fall 2016, customers started reporting that LuLaRoe’s “buttery soft” leggings were falling apart. Sometimes within just a few hours of wearing them, pinholes would splatter across the fabric, a “blow out” would reveal the wearer’s underwear, or they’d lose all their dye in the wash, leaving them a sad, mottled grey. LuLaRoe has denied that anything was wrong with its leggings, saying that only 1% of its clothing is returned with defects.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states: “Steer clear of multilevel marketing plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors. They’re actually illegal pyramid schemes. Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people—except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid—end up empty-handed.”[39]
It turned out to be a savvy choice. In her category, two major competitors have recently declared bankruptcy, while Costa’s company has seen astronomical growth. “There’s a retail disruption happening,” she says. “Traditional bricks-and-mortar is suffering big time.” Peekaboo Beans, on the other hand, is thriving — by 2015, it employed 700 consultants, had paid out $1.7 million in commissions and its revenue had grown by an average of 70 percent every year.
This is yet another answer your might give to “Why Network Marketing”? Financial Freedom. Branding yourself along with your product is a key to your network marketing success. With other competition in the marketplace, you are the key difference that can make or break your financial freedom. Having a great product is a good start, but without a positive attitude and an excitement that only you can bring, you will never achieve success in network marketing.
Nu Skin, a cosmetics MLM, has accumulated more than $48 million in civil penalties since 1994 for exaggerating the effectiveness of its products, which include baldness treatments, wrinkle lotions, burn creams and others, and for making bogus claims regarding chromium picolinate and L-carnitine, key ingredients in several of their supplements.[19]
So now, I’m making $500/month without doing anything. That’s only half my previous income, so I still need to sell widgets to maintain the same income as before. But I no longer have my old leads, since I just created my own competitor. Let’s make another EXTREMELY generous assumption that my new distributor has found some new customers and increased sales by 10%. Total sales are now $12,000, but the money is now split between two people, so each of us sells $6,000 in widgets and pockets $600, and the upline (me) pockets an additional $300 as commission (5%). So I now make $900 per month.
No one can perfectly predict “X,” and the situation is not nearly as simple as considered here, but the objective for marketeers is to forecast “X” as closely as possible in order to provide lasting value to all parties involved: to avoid missed opportunities as well as waste, loss, or failure.
Then, in 2016, she had her daughter, Mia, and went on mat leave. Bored — and making only part of her usual salary — she asked her former patient to meet up. She became a consultant before they’d finished their coffee.
For any company selling a product the concepts of marketing and sales are very important as they can mean the difference between success and failure. While they are often used interchangeably or grouped together they are two different concepts … Read more
Jump up ↑ Mitchell, LaTonya M (22 September 2014). “Warning letter to dōTERRA International, LLC”. US Food and Drug Administration, Public Health Service. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2014/ucm415809.htm. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
“Network marketing” and “multi-level marketing” (MLM) have been described by author Dominique Xardel as being synonymous, with it being a type of direct selling.[6] Some sources emphasize that multi-level marketing is merely one form of direct selling, rather than being direct selling.[21][22] Other terms that are sometimes used to describe multi-level marketing include “word-of-mouth marketing”, “interactive distribution”, and “relationship marketing”. Critics have argued that the use of these and other different terms and “buzzwords” is an effort to distinguish multi-level marketing from illegal Ponzi schemes, chain letters, and consumer fraud scams.[23]
Jump up ^ “Hong Kong multi-level marketing plan needs closer look (editorial)”. South China Morning Post. October 31, 2013. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
Indeed, one of the biggest complaints we’ve heard about MLMs is that once someone joins one, they see every social interaction as an opportunity to make their sales, or add to their downline. Friendships have ended and relationships have broken up through this.
Fed the fantasy of achieving the all-elusive American dream, many of them are being wooed by multilevel-marketing companies. Known as MLMs (or “direct-sales”), the current US administration is stocked with their cheerleaders: Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, is married to a cofounder of Amway; Ben Carson is a spokesperson for a vitamin MLM called Mannatech; and president Donald Trump used to have an MLM, Trump Network, and was a spokesperson for another.
Thus, there is reason for the “bad taste” most people have for MLMs. By instinct if not experience or insight, we wince at the thought of what we know will follow in the wake of an MLM. Relationships strained, factions formed, deception, manipulation, greed, loss, a closet full of videotapes, brochures, and useless inventory that “everybody wants.”
Use of invented jargon and euphemisms, which has led to a predictably hilarious euphemism treadmill (i.e., “network marketing,” “referral marketing”, “affiliate marketing”, “home-based business franchising”, “Independent Business Owner”)
Though emphasis is always made on the potential of success and the positive life change that “might” or “could” (not “will” or “can”) result, it is only in otherwise difficult to find disclosure statements (or at the very least, difficult to read and interpret disclosure statements), that MLM participants are given fine print disclaimers that they as participants should not rely on the earning results of other participants in the highest levels of the MLM participant pyramid as an indication of what they should expect to earn. MLMs very rarely emphasize the extreme likelihood of failure, or the extreme likelihood of financial loss, from participation in MLM. MLMs are also seldom forthcoming about the fact that any significant success of the few individuals at the top of the MLM participant pyramid is in fact dependant on the continued financial loss and failure of all other participants below them in the MLM pyramid.
 Starting in fall 2016, customers started reporting that LuLaRoe’s “buttery soft” leggings were falling apart. That figure may be low because LuLaRoe products used to be so hard to return. For a long time, angry customers couldn’t send back faulty products directly to LuLaRoe: They had to return them to the consultant they purchased them from. Customers are instructed to hand-wash leggings inside out and air-dry them, but that hasn’t stopped the company from getting sued by angry consultants alleging that the leggings are poor quality. Some LuLaRoe retailers have even taken to fat-shaming customers, telling them if the leggings rip, it’s their fault.
^ Jump up to: a b O’Donnell, Jayne (February 10, 2011). “Multilevel marketing or ‘pyramid?’ Sales people find it hard to earn much”. USA Today. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
That self-help-tinged speak is a common thread among MLM companies. Arbonne’s tagline is, “transform your life and the lives of others.” Part of Stella & Dot’s appeal, says Berendson, is that, “the [company’s] name stands for the CEO and Chief Creative Officer’s grandmothers, and the business is all about empowering women and creating a business her way on her own time.” But that enthusiastic brand loyalty might be part of the reason for the persistent negative perception of MLM companies, which have sometimes been described as, “cult-like.” If you’re not in the community, that much enthusiasm can be off-putting.
They will claim to have made “new friends,” most of which are MLMers or new acquaintances who could be considered “future prospects.” The shallowness of these “new friends,” the stilted conversations among the “old friends,” and the embarrassment, in general, for what seems clear to everyone but the MLMer go unnoticed. Callousness sets in; standards are lowered.
Mentor your recruits effectively. If recruits are successful, you make more money, so you should be prepared to train them well. This may be a substantial time commitment, even up to several weeks. But you should understand that you’re building a team and it is in your best interest to spend enough time making sure your recruits are competent enough to go off on their own.[8][9]
In 1991, some distributors in the MLM FUND AMERICA began to produce their own, improved recruitment material. They were summarily fired, which did not please them since many of them were founding members who had “gotten in early.”
Jump up ↑ Cohan, William D. (November 18, 2014). “How a Strange, Secretive, Cult-like Company Is Waging Legal War Against Journalists”. The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/article/190881/how-strange-secretive-cult-company-waging-legal-war-against-journalists.
MLM businesses operate in all 50 U.S. states. Businesses may use terms such as “affiliate marketing” or “home-based business franchising”. Many pyramid schemes attempt to present themselves as legitimate MLM businesses.[7] Some sources say that all MLMs are essentially pyramid schemes, even if they are legal.[4][17][18]
None of these conditions exist anywhere in the real world. Markets change, trends come and go, customers are fickle and demanding, and competitors constantly enter/exit the market. There isn’t an endless supply of people willing to serve as self-appointed salespeople in any market, anywhere – some of us have better things to do than sell overpriced supplements to our friends on Facebook. And there are almost always plenty of competitive alternatives to every consumer product. So what inevitably follows is point #4…
Recruiting can involve any form of communication like email, private messaging and others, such as phone calls. No picture is needed to start a network marketing business or to be recruited by a network marketer.
So, as the saying goes, “Get in early!” This is a rationalization on the level of “getting in early” on the L.A. looting riots. If profit from the sale of products is fundamentally set up to fail, then the only money to be had is to “loot” others by conning them while you have the chance. Don’t miss the “opportunity,” indeed!
All products and services have partial market penetration. For example, only so many people wish to use a discount broker, as evidenced by the very successful but only partial market penetration of Charles Schwab. Not everyone wishes to join a particular discount club, or buy gold, or drink filtered water, or wear a particular style of shoe, or use any product or service. No one in the real world of business would seriously consider the thin arguments of the MLMers when they flippantly mention the infinite market need for their product or services.
Revenue and total profit of the MLM company is thus largely generated from the pockets of participants within the MLM pyramid who are simultaneously both salespersons and consumers at once. Only an insignificantly small proportion of revenue and total profit is derived from non-participant retail consumers who are outside of the MLM participant pyramid. Many MLM companies will not disclose what percentage of its consumers are simultaneously their own participants. Other MLMs do not keep said figures because they do not differentiate between participant consumerism versus non-participant retail consumerism.
Whether they realize it or not, consultant leaders often use time-honored cult tactics of denial and blame to keep women within their sorority. A famous series of experiments from the 1950s conducted by Soloman Asch in England showed that three out of four people will deny evidence right in front of them if the majority says it’s not true. In the study, individuals were placed in groups where they were constantly contradicted by other members. When this happened over a length of time, they would start to agree with the majority—even though it was clear that the opposite was true. In MLMs, “you’re trained to avoid people who question whether this is a viable business or not,” Brooks says. “Which is exactly the same technique that cults use—they try to isolate you from people who question your belief system. I’ve been contacted by a number of people who deal with cult survivors, and some of their clients are former MLM people.”

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