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Why I don’t support Multi-Level Marketing

You’ve probably heard of many Multi-Level Marketing companies. Pure Romance, Paparazzi, LuLaRoe, Mary Kay and many others. Maybe you’ve had a friend or your mom’s friend who sold Young Living essential oils. Multi-Level Marketing companies, or MLMs, are very common. But they are also dangerous. Sure, selling some essential oils or makeup on the side can’t hurt anyone, can it?

Here’s my opinion on it. Yes, it can. 

In my own words, an MLM is a fancy word for a pyramid scheme. Now, we know a pyramid scheme is bad. So are MLMs. Distributors are asked to pay a price to buy their products. Once they have products, they must sell them and try to recruit people with network marketing. The more people you get to join your network or team, the more money you will make (at least that’s what these companies want you to believe.)

They are harmful to women

MLMs are famous for targeting women. According to the Direct Selling Association, three-quarters of direct sellers are female. Decades ago, housewives would sell Tupperware or Mary Kay. It was an attractive job opportunity since many housewives were too busy taking care of their home or children, so they couldn’t get a full-time job. 

This is still a major reason to this day why women are targeted by MLMs. These companies advertise that you can work right from home, you can work right from your phone and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home or your children. These women then buy a “starter kit” to start selling their products. A starter-kit can cost anywhere from $100 up to $700. But why should you pay to work?

They create fake friendships

Have you ever had that one girl you barely knew in high school hit you up randomly one day? It was probably an attempt to sell you a product from her “business”. As a part of network marketing, you need to build a network of people to sell your products. Distributors are taught to network and message every single person they’ve ever met. Sure, that’s nice, but they’re most likely only messaging you so they can sell you products. They probably don’t want to actually create a friendship with you.

They can put you into debt

MLMs like to advertise that you can make so much money per year, just by selling their products. While there might be a select few that do make a lot of money, most people do not. According to this survey by Magnify Money, most distributors make 70 cents an hour, before deducting expenses. With that being said, you’re better off getting a part-time job. MLMs claim that they are a long term investment, but how long can you go on until you realize that it’s just going to make you broke? Many men and women who start selling products for MLMs usually do not make enough money to pay off what they owe. 

Multi-Level Marketing companies may seem attractive — you can work from home and make all the money in the world! But the truth is, being a part of an MLM will most likely not make you rich and it could potentially ruin your life financially and maybe even emotionally.

Sara is an Integrative Public Relations Major at Central Michigan University. She hopes to work in a PR agency one day, managing social media for clients. When she's not reading yet another book from one of her three bookshelves, she can be found cuddling her cats, Luna and Selene. 
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