At least once, most of us were approached by someone on social media who had “a great opportunity” that you “cannot miss” and that “you would be a perfect match for.” Of course, you can ask multiple times in various ways, “What is it?!”, but the secret can only be revealed during the Zoom call or in the café around the corner on Monday at 5PM or Wednesday at 3PM. The mysterious stranger said in the beginning that YOU, only YOU are the best for it, perfect match, but “if you have a friend or someone who is looking for an opportunity, they may join us as well.” What can it be? What is that one in a million opportunity you should take advantage of? Well, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you multi-level marketing companies, generally known as MLM.
Trust me, I know how it works because I worked for three companies within the last five years. Every time I told myself that I would never do it again… I did. They fooled me once, they fooled me twice, and the third time I literally have no clue what I was thinking.
There is a difference between multi-level marketing (MLM) and pyramid schemes. The second one is illegal, but they both are based on recruiting people. You just need to build your team. The bigger your team, the bigger your paycheck is. To be honest with you, I literally never made anything. If you calculate all the money I spent on all these three companies, I could easily have a car or travel the world right now.
When I was 19-year-old, I was approached by someone from MLM for the first time. I was always dreaming of going to the USA. Well, there were different programs I could choose from, such as Work&Travel, but no. I didn’t think twice, and I was stubborn enough to prove to everyone that this was what I wanted to do. Now, when I’m thinking about one of my biggest life choices so far, I don’t understand why I thought that selling books door-to-door in some random town close to Chicago was what I wanted to do with my life, but at that time, I was more than excited. And let me tell you, everyone who ever saw my CV during the interview was asking me, “aww, what did you do in the USA?”. So, it was worth it. At least I caught someone’s attention.
I knew I would never do anything like this again. Until I finished my master’s degree and couldn’t find a job. It was bold (and stupid) move to promote cosmetics and skincare products for someone who doesn’t do makeup, doesn’t have a skincare routine, and is buying cheap things on sale in Boots. Only Forex I can somehow explain as this was interesting to me at some point.
You can be contacted everywhere, every single social media is okay, and even dating apps, because why not. I am pretty sure that at some point, some of my friends didn’t want to reply to my messages, thinking, what the hell am I doing this time?! Back in the day, I was upset because I thought no one could see my vision, no one could see what I see, now I don’t know what I saw, but I think I was blind.
Every person working for such companies will do their best to explain why this is not a pyramid scheme or MLM. Every single company will say that they are not like the others, and they are making money. Everyone is selling dreams. In this place, I would like to defend some of the consultants. When they are approaching you, no one wants to scam you. People genuinely believe in a dream that someone higher on the ladder sold them. You will meet confident, open, charismatic, and bold people. They will tell you how much money they make, how easy everything is, you just must follow them. Obviously, you cannot check their accounts. You don’t know if they are honest with you. Some of them do, some of them don’t.
The other problem is that sometimes people that are contacting you have no training whatsoever. When you become a business owner or independent contractor, you name it, everyone is so open to help you, explain everything, and share all the knowledge, at least in theory. Well, maybe I didn’t have luck, but someone really explained to me what I was doing in neither of the cases. I was promoting products I barely had any knowledge about. You just learn on the way, which is quite understandable, but also not really. If I offer you a program that costs over £200, I should kind of know what is inside, right? Same with Forex, how could I ever promote this to anyone, promise profit, but I lost more than I gained. It isn’t good.
But finally, I understood that this is all bullshit. You can join any MLM company, and you will realise that you have this fee, that fee, another fee, and the fee everyone just forgot to mention you about. Trying to leave MLM is like trying to leave a cult. Not like I’ve ever been in one, but I can only imagine. Everyone is talking to you, even some random “important people” who you always heard about their journey during the calls. You are finding out about other options, and everyone is offering help, etc. The only fact is that if you leave the company, the person above you takes a step back from the promotion. That’s why they want you to stay. Everyone will tell you they want to help you, but it’s not the case.
The truth is, I don’t regret any of that. I had fun, and I learnt a lot – about the business, people, and myself. Moreover, I met many lovely people with whom I don’t really have contact anymore. I travelled a lot, and I was inspired, motivated to change something in my life. I think this is the biggest power of MLM. These companies can inspire and encourage you like no one else can. You will feel that you can move mountains, change the world, and soon, very soon, you will become a millionaire. You just must trust the process, fake it till you make it, etc.
Some people hate them, and some love them. I learnt the hard way that it’s better to avoid them. I don’t hate people who are sending me “the” messages. They are just trying to change something in their lives. Someone else just knew how to listen to their needs and sold them an opportunity and fake dreams. So my advice to anyone who is considering joining any of these companies is to think twice, or maybe even three times before. Think if this is something you want to do, something you see yourself doing in five years, and make sure that you know how to reject the offer firmly if it’s not something you want to do.