Disclaimer: I subscribe to BeachBody On Demand. However, I do not use their shakes or any of the other products, nor do I sell anything for them. Don’t judge me – the workouts are legit, especially now that the gyms are closed again.
It seems like every year around this time the so-called “small business” MLM-style (or my favorite term – direct sales) schemes pop up in force. Everyone seems to be hocking their wares all over Facebook and Instagram recently. I do not support this form of “business,” and I use that term losely.
I’ve watched too many people sink themselves tens of thousands of dollars into debt, alienate themselves from their friends and family, and essentially ruin their lives. Amway. Herbalife. BeachBody. Avon. doTERRA. Rodan + Fields. ZYIA. I could keep going. You all know the names and what they do.
With Christmas upon us, I’m seeing more and more posts from people that I had no idea were involved with these companies all of a sudden posting about what they’re selling, and how you’d be supporting a small business owner if you buy from them.
But you’re not supporting a small business, you’re supporting a large corporation that seems to exist to siphon as much money as they can off of their consultants, of whatever they’re calling themselves.
Case in point: I had this friend, we’ll call her Samantha, a number of years back. She got involved with LuLaRoe after getting out of college. While her normal job paycheck paid the bills, she wanted to get ahead on her student loans. Smart, right? Well she was convinced by another friend that selling these leggings was the way to go – she’d be out from under her debt in no time. What really happened is that she sunk thousands of dollars that she didn’t have in buying her “inventory” which she could sell for a number of reasons. The first is that the area was saturated at the time with people selling these leggings. The second is that the patterns she got were hideous and damn near impossible to sell to anyone. And lastly, she didn’t know all that many people that were in to wearing leggings. Many months later she tried donating the garage full (I’m not kidding) of leggings and other weird clothes to Goodwill, who wouldn’t take them because they already had so much of that kind of stuff.
In the meantime, she alienated all of her friends. Those of us that tried to convince her that putting herself thousands of dollars into debt was not the best plan were told we were negative, unsupportive people and that she didn’t need that kind of vibe in her life. The people that refused to buy the leggings were told largely the same thing. The few people that did initially purchase from her, but didn’t do so regularly were told that they weren’t “true” friends. It destroyed her marriage as her husband finally got sick of the debt that she was putting them into and the stress that the whole thing was putting on their lives. Watching her life implode and being able to do nothing about it was horrible to watch.
A few of us tried reaching out to her after all was said and done, but she never got back in touch. A mutual friend of ours claims that she’s embarrassed by her behavior over the last year and doesn’t want to hear us say “I told you so.”
Not that we would.
I have another friend, who is really the girlfriend of a friend, that seems to fall into these traps at least three times a year. This is a successful, educated woman who can’t seem to stay out of them.
I just don’t get it.
I know it’s a pandemic and a lot of people are having financial difficulties, and these companies prey on people – women, it seems, almost exclusively – telling them that they’re on the road to a better life. How are people still falling victim to these things? With all of the exposes and people telling their personal experiences – how are these still a thing?
So word to the wise:
- If you’re offered a business opportunity that operates entirely on social media,
- Either has no physical inventory or requires you to front the money for it without actually seeing it, or
- Requires you to sell something to your friends and family
you’re probably about to join an MLM or direct sales business, and I advise you to step away.
That’s it for now. Stay safe, friends!