In defence of network marketing?

Network marketing/MLM gets a lot of bad press and let's face it - a lot of people have been hurt and there have been some nasty bankruptcies. But there's also a tendency to tar all MLMs with the same brush and even to equate them with 'pyramid' schemes. 

This analogy has some basis in fact because the models are almost identical. But it's a little like comparing a street hawker selling knock off Swiss watches to the legitimate Rolex dealership across the road. Both do the same thing - but in very different ways. With MLMs it's a question of focus. The good ones focus on product sales, the shady ones focus on recruitment.

And of course there's a whole range in between those 2 extremes - gradable by where they put the bulk of their focus.

Let's face it... if all MLMs were just pyramid schemes in disguise, they would disappear as quickly as pyramid schemes do. But many MLMs have stayed the course. Look at AMWAY, the grandfather of MLMs which was founded way back in 1959 and is still going strong. AMWAY's an abbreviation of 'The American Way' after all πŸ™‚

And consider the number of people involved in network marketing in the US right now.​ In 2015 there were 20,2 million people involved in direct selling. Estimated sales were $36,12 billion. This begs 2 questions.

If MLM's are all pyramid schemes how did the industry reach this size. After all pyramid schemes all collapse don't they?

​Are the 20,2 million people who have chosen to become network marketers all fools?

​In the article below from the Huffington Post, Regan Long provides an inciteful and sensitive look at the MLM industry and comes up with interesting conclusions about MLM and our society.



Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn ... we have been seeing a tremendous shift in peoples' posts, a large percentage of them being women and/or mothers.

As you scroll through your news feeds, you may find photos and posts with similar catch phrases of "join me" or "are you ready to try ......" or you may possibly read "looking for ....... for my next group/party I'm hosting".

Why is there such a rise in these start up businesses? Why are we seeing a trend of these posts being blasted through all types of social media? Why does it appear that everyone is being fooled to hop on someone else's bandwagon of what appears that they're showcasing, well... the grass is greener on the other side?

Well here's the short and simple truth that I have found not only from research and personal experience, but simply living it: this actually works. These so called "schemes" are actually creating opportunities for millions to begin their own businesses from home.

We're living in an economy that it takes two incomes to make ends meet. We're living in a country that is battling to have paid family leave available for all of its families. We're living in a time that people are becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired.

- Sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck - or maybe not even able to stay above afloat some months.

- Sick and tired of working long, tireless hours away from home, but there's no choice. You must do what is necessary to pay the bills and put food on the table.

- Sick and tired of paying the astronomical costs for someone else to raise your children, while you're answering to someone else.

A lot of these posts you're seeing of these small businesses being advertised are mothers. And this should really come by no surprise to anyone.

Mothers have met their breaking points head on and are taking leaps of faith to become Entrepreneurs, becoming their own boss of something that is giving them some freedoms.


And you know what - it's WORKING.....


.... Something to keep in your back pocket: when you're buying from a chain store, you're helping contribute to the retirement of the millionaire or billionaire CEO. When you're buying from a small business owner, you're helping pay for that family's groceries, you're paying toward the electric bill and helping Tommy afford a baseball glove or helping pay down Sarah's outstanding hospital bill. You're helping pay down school loan debt and you're likewise contributing to someone's ability to have more time with their children, their significant other or parents who may have fallen ill.

And these small businesses - well, there's nothing small about them with the amount of effort and time that these Entrepreneurs are putting into them. Yes, it's more than a few posts on social media. Yes, it's more than setting up a couple groups or sending out some invitations to their next party or group. Yes, it's even more than posting those witty, inspirational sayings or selfies you see each day......

THE HUFFINGTON POST                                                                                                                     READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Kate Shellnutt examines the MLM industry after being struck by the ever increasing promotions on social media by MLM marketers. She comes up with some interesting conclusions.


...When I took a closer look, though, I realized there was something far more significant than products, parties, and profits going on. Multilevel marketing strikes certain women deeply. It gives them something they aren't finding elsewhere: a sense of achievement, mentorship, community, or purpose.

Some women struggle to thrive in traditional office settings, and work-life and work-family tensions are obviously major reasons for that. When workplaces lack substantial maternity leave, child care options, or flexible schedules for working moms, women from the high-achieving lawyer to the hourly worker can burn out fast. (In case you forgot, the US remains the only developed country without mandated paid leave options for parents and where moms routinely face job and pay discrimination.)

I watched a former classmate return to her marketing job a few months after having her first baby. No less than two weeks later, she announced her plans to leave the business to stay home with her daughter ... and sell skincare products from an MLM company called Rodan + Fields.

She called the switch an "exciting new journey," even though she left behind a full-time salary and benefits for 10 percent commission on a few parties and online sales a month. The chance to work from home and set your own hours has that strong an appeal.

Certain subcultures present additional barriers for working women. I'm the exceptional Army wife who gets to work full time and has been able to keep my job as a remote-based editor as we get transferred from duty station to duty station.

Few military spouses get so lucky. I've met wives who intended to become teachers, researchers, realtors, and nurses but ended up as housewives or stay-at-home moms due to military moves. The parking lot for the commissary on post is dotted with car decals advertising sellers' custom websites for Thirty-One Gifts and Scentsy.

These ventures have also taken off within religious communities. As I reported for the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, several major MLM companies β€” from historic Amway to Thirty-One Gifts β€” were founded by Christians, and they incorporate worship and Christian speakers into their corporate training.

Additionally, Jamberry, Younique, doTerra Essential Oils, and Young Living Essential Oils are all headquartered in a heavily Mormon area outside of Salt Lake City. They can provide a loophole for women whose faiths discourage them from working outside the home.

"As long as MLMs are regarded by conservative Christians as a more honorable option for women than a normal part-time or full-time job, these organizations will continue to attract women within the church at significant rates," said Jen Wilkin, a Christian author and minister who leads a women's Bible study in Dallas, in the Christianity Today article.

In the midst of military communities and church culture, I'm always navigating around MLM. We've since moved from Tennessee to Georgia, where I had to start making friends all over again. After a few weeks at a new church, a woman finally invited me to hang out. I thought I'd made a connection at last β€” only to end up sampling essential oils on her couch that night. I came home with a tiny bottle of cedarwood oil to rub on my feet to help me sleep.

For us friends turned clients, it's hard not to be cynical or skeptical. But perhaps some of our questions are best directed at the surrounding society, rather than just the sellers themselves. The workplace norms that put women at a disadvantage β€” and other practical, theological, and cultural considerations β€” are ultimately what force many women into MLM. They may not see another way for fulfilling (and hopefully profitable) work.

The MLM industry can be a wake-up call to communities and companies. Women are so motivated to work that they'll do it for next to nothing and will bring their friends, relatives, and neighbors into their businesses. Imagine how successful they'd be if they were given the adequate support, flexibility, and training to do it in your office.

VOX.COM                                                                                                                                              READ THE FULL ARTICLE

And here's an excerpt from a testimonial by Audrey Floyd about a very positive MLM experience. I'm not implying that everyone's experience will match this at all. This is simply food for thought for those unwilling to take a balanced perspective about MLM.


Audrey Floyd is a local pre-k teacher and is an independent director with Thirty-One Gifts, which specializes in family and home organization products. She started with the company in September 2014.

β€œI had always loved the products and really was just looking for a way to make some money for the "extras" in life - my son's gymnastics lessons, family trips, and maybe some shopping for myself,” Floyd said. β€œI wouldn't say I was skeptical at all, just nervous and I had a ton of questions. I didn't have a clue where Thirty-One would take my life, but I'm so glad I jumped on board. I never imagined I would be as successful as I am.”

β€œI had always loved the products and really was just looking for a way to make some money for the "extras" in life - my son's gymnastics lessons, family trips, and maybe some shopping for myself,” Floyd said. β€œI wouldn't say I was skeptical at all, just nervous and I had a ton of questions. I didn't have a clue where Thirty-One would take my life, but I'm so glad I jumped on board. I never imagined I would be as successful as I am.”

Floyd said she enjoys her job at Stonebridge Early Learning Center and has been teaching for six years and she doesn’t see herself leaving teaching, but she also will continue her successful Thirty-One business because she enjoys helping other women.

β€œI didn't realize that I wanted to be a leader and recruit women to this wonderful company,” she said. β€œ It actually took me a while to become confident in that area. I didn't know that I could or that I had that type of personality. I really just wanted some extra money. But now, leading a team of nearly 30 women and being able to encourage them, it means the world to me. My team is part of my why. I love each one of the ladies that has joined me on this journey. I have been invited to our founder and CEO's farm in Ohio for a leadership retreat, I got asked to be in this season's fall catalog, and I earned the leadership incentive trip to Punta Cana for me and my husband this year. I consider it success. But mostly, I am very blessed and thankful to God for bringing Thirty-One into my life.”

Floyd encourages others interested in the multi-level business model to be themselves and to make sure time is delegated on tasks that will help them reach their goals......

Tο»ΏIMES HERALD                                                                                                                          READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Any promotional material you see on this page or site are for products I have tested and use myself.