Let’s make money! Let’s make money from home! But how?
I use to believe a good way to make money from home was by joining an MLM. I grew up with grandparents that sold Amway, and we had SO many Amway products in our home.
Back in 2011, I joined Scentsy, and actually found a little bit of success early on. Enough to keep me invested in it for quite a few years. Still, I ended up leaving in 2017. Why? Well, things changed and it became increasingly harder to run the business the way I wanted to.
I started thinking about what I liked about being a part of Scentsy and it was the community. Yes, I still loved the product but at the end of the day, it was about the relationships and how we were all working towards similar goals. And I knew I could find the same thing in the blogging world.
And…the big difference there was that I had so much more freedom with my blogging and freelance career. So much more. And so in December of 2017, right after Christmas, I didn’t make my minimum and I was no longer a consultant. I have not thought about going back once, and never would.
I still like the product. I will still buy it. But I no longer want to be the person that sells it.
In the years since I have left, there have been podcasts and YouTube videos, and documentaries coming out about MLMs and what was really going on behind the scenes.
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This past weekend, I watched LuLaRich, a documentary about LuLaRoe and how it grew and then failed, terribly. LuLaRoe has a little bit of a different business model than I had experienced in my direct sales days. For one thing, the initial investment is so much more. And you received products that you would sell directly, vs placing orders online. I did have an inventory but that was optional.
That being said, there are similarities. There seems to be a trend with every MLM. The company is created, and if you can get in towards the beginning, and stick with it, there is money to be made. People are excited about the product, and it might just sell itself. If you can do it, you can more easily add to your team as more find out about the product and want in on selling it too.
And all of that can be great! But then with more and more consultants, the market gets more and more saturated. Companys also like to change their rules. For example, when I started selling Scentsy, I was able to do a giveaway on my blog whenever I wanted. This was great for me and helped me build my team. Then the rules changed and that was harder to do.
I get it, a company changes rules for a reason but when you feel like it is taking away from what is working for you, it is hard not to get frustrated. And sure, you should be able to pivot and figure out a new and creative way but the more limitations on your business, the hard it feels to move forward.
As time goes on and the market gets saturated, it is hard to find customers, you can’t get into fairs because they usually have a 1-2 consultant limit for your company, and it gets harder to add people to your team.
And I know, running a successful MLM business is hard work but so is running any type of business and for me, I wanted freedom in my choices, freedom you can’t get on the MLM side.
There is also such a huge push to talk to everyone you know about buying the product or joining your team. You need to be hosting parties non-stop and that gets overwhelming quickly.
And that’s not even touching on how easily you can fall into debt by selling an MLM product. How easy it is to talk yourself into keeping more inventory because that will help you get to the next level. How easy it is to want to buy all of the cool products coming out. How easy it is to feel like you are working so hard and receive so little on your paycheck.
So the question is, should you join an MLM here in 2021? Maybe? I mean, you really need to think about this decision and realize that in most cases you are not going to make a ton of money. You will have to sell to everyone you know and can fall into some practices that might have been okay back in the earlier 2000s but are so overused these days that you just end up annoying everyone in your circles.
I have heard so many stories of women who have just had babies, posting on social media and then getting messages that they just need to join this MLM to “get their bodies back”. This is the gross side of MLMs and not something I want to be a part of.
If you have the skills to be an amazing marketer, if you have the skills to rock a business, do it for yourself and not an MLM. That way YOU hold the controls and it truly IS your business.
I really do think MLMs and Direct Sales had their time but here in 2021, it’s a different story. Are people still making money doing this? Yes. Will it be easy for a new person to do so these days? I really don’t have high hopes that they would.
I have heard that MLMs are predatory by nature and I can see that argument. I also know some amazing people who are still selling for MLMs and making a living doing so without feeling that way. To me, it’s a complicated issue.
If you are interested in joining an MLM, do your research! What are people saying about the product? Is it holding up or are a lot of people upset about the product or the company in general? What are people saying about the owners of the company? Are they good people or do they come with a lot of controversies?
If you start selling for the company, what will be required of you and what are the expectations? Are they promising that you can make millions? Or are they more realistic about it?
How do they train their consultants? Do you see their consultants doing things to get sales that you don’t feel comfortable with? Is there any other option to sell a similar product vs going with an MLM?
Etsy is an amazing place where creatives can sell their own products. You can find candles and soaps and bookmarks and journals and pretty much anything someone can create on there. And while there are rules to selling on their website, these business owners have so much more freedom than those in MLMs do.
Some might say that with that comes the ease of running a business. With an MLM, you basically track your sales and inventory, your business expenses and get a 1099 at the end of the year. With your own business, there is a little bit more to it from that. Either way, you will be tracking what you have made.
MLMs can offer you trips, to Mexico, or Jamaica, or a nice cruise. They can offer you a community of people, and a purpose for all that you do. However, these things are also possible outside of the MLM business model.