Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash
Mental Health

How I Escaped a Pyramid Scheme

I’m sure one time or another in your experience as a college student you have had a random girl follow you on Instagram, proceed to tell you how pretty you are in your DMs and tell you how you should TOTALLY try their products. We may lose some to this scheme of copy-and-pasted messages and unfortunately, one of those people was me…

I am not one to fall for those sketchy messages so when I first received something like that in my DMs, I asked a billion and one questions. Initially, I wasn’t sold. One of those reasons being that I was 17 years old and couldn’t participate in purchasing the “start-up package” without a credit card that I DIDN’T have yet. Another being, I couldn’t use my mom’s card because she didn’t like the idea of me being a part of a “random company.” With remorse, I declined the nice girl’s offer but still followed her page. Over time, I was so tempted to join her party boat which included “working from home in bed,” “easily being able to pay bills,” and “just being on her phone all day.”

I kept my will power… until a whole year later I saw, “START-UP FEE ONLY $20!!,” and compared to the original $100 fee, this was too hard to pass up. And that is where I began my journey of what I thought would be easy money from my phone, right? WRONG.

I was given an entire document of literal copy and paste things to say to people and information about the items I was selling. I was required to “cold message” at least 100 college girls a day (which is the cloned message I previously mentioned about how pretty you are and how I would LOVE for YOU to try out our products). It may not sound like too many, but having to find girls in college, then message them, then follow up, answer every single question they have that I might not even know the answer to and spend hours talking to these people —  just for them to turn me down! It’s truly one of the worst feelings. Especially last fall semester, I wasn’t doing so well with my mental health, so being put through all this work and using what little energy I had just to be declined did not help me at all. Out of 2 months, I made about 2 customers in total. It was sad because I tried out the products that came in my starter kit and they worked really well, but no one in my age group was really willing to put out that kind of money. Thankfully, I made the money back that I had put out but that was it. If I didn’t make any more customers, I would be putting out my own money to keep my website up.

Soon, this company became very toxic to me. I spoke to my mentor, who was the girl who recruited me, about my feelings and how I didn’t think it was right for me. Even though I expressed my important personal issues, she convinced me to stay with a reason like I almost wasn’t “trying hard enough.” My mind was constantly occupied with “get sales, get sales, and get sales.” And still, nothing to show in return.

Finally, I decided enough was enough, and I TOLD my mentor that I was not going to continue with this draining company, because it is doing everything but helping me out and making my life better like it had been advertised to me. She tried to convince me one last time, but I refused to be influenced by her words and respectfully, yet assertively asked for directions on how to leave the company. She reluctantly explained to me how and told me that the opportunity is always open. I thanked her and truly learned from this experience.

Always trust your gut if you feel like what you’re doing is right for you or not and don’t let higher-ups decide that for you. My experience might also serve as a “what NOT to do” when approached with a pyramid scheme! Just don’t get caught up with them in the first place, it sounds appealing because their job is to make it sound that way (take it from me!) Just block them and continue on with your life doing what you do best without anyone in your way — you don’t need some random girl in your DMs to tell you otherwise!

Melanie is a 21 year old, senior, Communication & Media Arts major and Her Campus Montclair's Events Director. She loves listening to music, dancing, writing, drawing, doing makeup, and having fun with friends. Melanie is very extroverted and loves to go on adventures. She's constantly on social media and is always updated on her favorite Kpop bands!
Similar Reads👯‍♀️