Tuesday, 24 September 2013

What I learnt from MLM (Multi Level Marketing)

So your sat at home after work, bored and wishing you had a bit more cash to go buy that KFC for tea. Up pops a TV ad, "Do you have spare time on your hands? Love makeup and meeting up with friends? Well you can now earn money by doing what you love! Join us today and make your dreams come true." You don't even think twice. You click on their website and join up. You have now taken the first step to starting your own business. How easy was that?!
Too easy in my opinion. Starting up a busy shouldn't be that simple. I'm currently in the process of writing a business plan for my own mobile beauty business and it's draining. The fact that you can just click a few buttons and then someone pops over to your house to get you started is shockingly too easy. That person will be a Sales/Team Leader for your chosen company. They will be full of enthusiasm and will do anything to get you started. Why would someone you don't know want to help you? Because at that moment they aren't earning a penny from you. They don't earn anything until you are signed up and selling their companies product. You see they just like you are working on commission.
I watched my mum run businesses from home time and time again, each time a new company, each time leaving a wake of failed business ventures behind her. Every time she started something new she would go guns blazing but they would fizzle out when people stopped buying after 3 campaigns aka brochures. Those of you reading this may be too young to remember Tupperware. My mum use to host Tupperware parties. Can you believe you could actually have a 'party' with plastic containers? The house was full of the stuff and naturally my lunch was packed into a Tupperware box. There was also a jewellery business and makeup among others.
If you have ever considered working from home or wanting extra cash by doing a business along side your day job then you may have come across companies such as Ann Summers, Betterware, Kleeneze, Avon and the new trending fitness brands like Heralife, even Weight Watchers is a multi level company. They are cleverly branded and marketed to make you want to be a part of it. Yep, those annoying status updates by your friends asking you ever so nicely to buy from them because, well, you're their friend and you want to help them out. That's one of the reasons why I stopped.
All these companies have the same structure:
1. Buy the product/brochure/idea (there is always some outlay)
2. Sell it to your family/friends/neighbours
3. Receive product and hand out to the buyers with a new brochure
4. Hope they keep buying again and again
5. Become a Sales Leader and recruit other people to sell the product so you can earn from their sales
So what did I learn and why won't I ever go back?
I have respect for my friends and family. My first Sales Leader would actually contact them behind my back and try to get them to join up! Don't get me wrong I gained many new friends and even had some amazing times being apart of the industry. It hardened me to the world and made me a good seller. It gave me a direction in life and I overcame my depression because it got me out of the house and actively doing something with my life. I couldn't with good conscious though sell a product a no longer believed in. I believe that is what separates the 'I need extra money' people from the 'I run my own business' people. You CAN be very successful in the mlm industry if you have a great business mindset, believe in what you're selling and know the right people (that will get you far). Don't join a business because your friend wants you to help her out. Research it thoroughly and only join by going directly to one of the top dogs. If your friend (or even just the random girl from Facebook) isn't earning several £100s from her business then she won't be able to show you how to.
I know I may sound like a Scrooge but it's just good business sense. At the end of the day it comes down to you. If you are the sort of driven, self-motivated, level headed person who can talk the hind legs of a donkey then mlm is for you and you'll do well. Remember these are all self-employed businesses and you WILL have to declare your earning to the HMRC. If your Sales leader doesn't tell you that from the outset (probably because they were worried it would put you off starting) then be sure to ask them about it because they will be (should be) declaring themselves.

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