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MLM over the years has been given a bad reputation, but many MLM companies have evolved over time and survived, despite two recessions and tough economy. No longer are business opportunities such as these considered a “pyramid scheme“, as they were previously viewed. Over the course of 30 years, I have been involved with multi-level marketing and direct sales as a consultant, and I have enjoyed the journey. It has opened my eyes to whether a company is viable, managed well, and worth my time, and I have found that there are many benefits of becoming a consultant with an MLM company, which I will share with you.

1) Low investment-Generally, you can become involved with a good, solid business opportunity for less than $500.00. If the start up fee is between $150.00-$500.00, you should expect free training, consultant support, website tools, and a great commission plan. I usually don’t waste my time and efforts on programs with a low start up fee, as these vital business tools are not in place, and commissions tend to be lower.

2) No overhead-Great earning potential and no large business expenses. No need to pay rent on a brick and mortar store, no utility bills, no need to carry and store large amounts of inventory.  

3) Free training-You are marketing a product with someone else’s name on it. You should expect free training for your investment and your expertise.

4) Unlimited earning potential-You can earn as much as you want, based on your efforts.  

5) Degree not required-You don’t need a college degree to earn money, and the earning potential is not based on your education. The training is provided, and all you really need is good common sense, and the ability to be coached.

6) Self employment-You cannot be fired, outsourced, or laid off.

7) Additional income-You can supplement your income, or replace it. That’s up to you. We all like a little extra cash sometimes!

8) Bonuses-How many jobs have you had that offer free vacations, cars, and jewelry based on your performance?

9) Flexibility-You work the hours you want to work, based on your needs and the needs of your family. If you need a day off, you don’t have to ask!

10) Achievement and self esteem-You can feel proud of your achievements and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Doing well is a great boost to your self esteem!

Although MLM is rapidly becoming an acceptable means of employment, there are some things to watch for when choosing a company, and some red flags you should be aware of.  

1) Avoid “get rich quick” schemes-If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. There is no way to get rich quick. If someone tells you you will, run to the nearest exit.

2) Pressure to quit your job-A good MLM company will not pressure or encourage you to quit your job, they will counsel you on a plan to reach that goal-eventually.

3) Required to purchase large amounts of inventory-This should be a red flag! There is no need to purchase large amounts of inventory...MLM is not about that! This is a tricky way some companies use to sell inventory to consultants, where the consultant gets stuck with large amounts of inventory they cannot sell.

4) Secretive meetings-If someone approaches you with a “fantastic opportunity” and invites you to a “meeting“, however will not share details with you, give you a company name, or says it is the (          ) team, chances are good that this is a company that uses deceptive measures to hook innocent people. If you do not have all the information ahead of time, and a chance to look at the companies policies and records, don’t commit. Would you go somewhere unknown for a reason unknown with a perfect stranger? If a relationship begins with dishonesty, it can only get worse!

My advice to someone new to MLM marketing is research the company, and understand that sometimes that “low start up fee” company is not necessarily the best, as tools such as training, support, and websites may not be in place, and the commission plan may be lower than other companies you could invest in. You are investing in yourself, and your future..isn’t that worth more than $20.00?


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Mar 13, 2009
    • To be honest, if we look at some businesses, they are all MLM in a sense.  For example, car dealership, insurance, or anything particular include sales and numbers: the sales representatives get X amount of commission, the managers get Y amount of commission over the representatives, the GM get Z amount of managers, the companies get XYZ over all.

      I agree on product stocking - now many companies do not require the rep to buy or ship the products.  The companies do it directly.  

      I am with [Link Removed]  -  a 17 fruits and vegetables in a capsule for whole food nutrition.  Only $50 start up, no stock up, direct shipment and payment, independent research by major universities and health institutes worldwide.  I just wish I have more times in letting others know.  I do not push that at all. (except a little here now)happy

      Chinadoll, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Mar 13, 2009
    • What does MLM mean - sorry it’s not a term I’ve heard in the UK or come across - until seeing it here on Fab40

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kelly Robertson wrote Mar 13, 2009
    • I've been involved in a MLM Direct Sales Business since 1999 (skin care and semi-permanent cosmetics) and while I agree that your advice is sound, I strongly disagree with a couple points. My contribution is just to ADD a little more thought to this great blog and is of course, my opinion based on MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. TIA ox  

      #1: Low start up fees are not necessarily a red flag. Why would they be?  The company I am a distributor for occasionally offers Free sign-ups and often, "specials" (for example, get a buddy to sign up with you this month and you each only pay $22.50). The sign up fee is normally $45 and it's a fabulous opportunity for anyone who loves unique, quality beauty products to start their own business. I did exactly this almost 10 years ago and have never looked back. I make a great living too, much more than any of my friends who work full-time (and believe me, I do not work 40 hrs a week).

      Too add to this, training is free and encouraged, there’s live support 7 days a week, regular meetings and conference calls, an annual Seminar that’s filled with tons of training, workshops, gala events, and FREE products; the company encourages a social network, they provide very inexpensive start-up kits (however, a kit is absolutely not necessary to sell anything), the compensation plan is more generous than any other that I know of, and even after 10 years in business, the CEO is always available to discuss anything with any of her distributors. There is no inventory requirement or any minimum purchase requirements, the shipping is super reasonable and if I wanted to just sign up to get a discount on the retail price, I can, no questions asked. I have my own website (I have a choice - I can also have a company website or just have my own) which allows me the opportunity to perform my own SEO (who else lets you do that?), and I can even set my own prices for product if I didn’t want to use their suggested retail. My first line can be as wide as I want and can go 5 deep. I get paid on everything, everyone sells (of course, if I meet my standards which isn’t hard to do). The company ships same day if the order is received by noon so often, distributors and customers have their product on their doorstep the very next day. All with a 1 year guarantee of $ back or exhange.

      #2: You CAN make a lot of money (I think "Get Rich" is subjective) in a very short period of time which of course, depends on how hard you want to (or can) work.   I made a State Leader position (based on retail sales and recruiting) within my first 4 months and EARNED (Net) almost $8,000 in that time (yes, I did!). How? Demos, SHARING my outstanding products, passing out business cards, social networking, booths, marketing myself, providing excellent customer service, nothing but the truth and a one-year guarantee for a full refund or exchange. And, I still maintained my home and family I just had to plan a little ahead). I set my goals out for the year and then refined my committed effort for the quarter, the month and then my week. I learned as much as I could about my product, I learned more about skin care and beauty (my industry), I took every Free class or workshop I could get my hands on, I paid for classes, and I made the best move ever by learning about the personality DISC. Knowing how to connect to different types of personalities will get you everywhere in sales. I'm also a proponent of self-education via reading quality books - ask me anytime for my recommendations and I'd love to hear yours.  

      I lead a large networking group for ladies in direct sales here in So Cal and can attest to these positive money-making experiences in other types of direct sales:  

      One associate who sells the Galvanic Spa (a fabulous product I might add) moved right up within her first 3 weeks of being recruited. She’s a top dawg in the Western Region of the USA now. I purchased a spa from her at her cost, she still made money and since my skin is my business, I couldn’t be happier and neither could she. We both agree that the book, “Think and Grow Rich” has impacted us very positively in business.  

      - I also know of another group member who is involved in Park Lane Jewelry (another great program with a very generous compensation plan) who moved up to a leadership position within her first 60 days. She claims her secret is that she wears her jewelry everywhere she goes and always has plenty of business cards with her.  

      - My good buddy, Angie, became a Director for Mark Kay by the time she was 26 .  She also keeps a very clean home, has a spouse and 3 small boys.  She set her sights first on that diamond ring and moved up, up, up from there.  She, by the way, is a plain Jane like me, selling thousands of dollars of MK every month.  One demo brings another which brings another and so it goes. She also participates in their training which I've been invited to attend and believe me, it's first class.  I was welcomed with open arms and Mark Kay Ash's teachings are very close to how I conduct my life.  She was a very smart woman and everyone could benefit by reading her book.

      So friends, it CAN BE DONE!  You CAN become involved in an “MLM” business for next -to-nothing and You CAN get “rich” in a very short periso of time with hard work and goals.

      But, as always:  BUYER BEWARE —do the reserach as the originator of this great blogs encourages and be aware that there IS hard work ahead. Please, feel free to call me and yak about any business plan - I’d love to hear yours or one you‘re considering. ox

      Love to all, kelly

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Polly W wrote Mar 13, 2009
    • Low start up fees were not classified as the red flag items. However I have found repeatedly that low or no start up fees = low or no earnings. It all depends. There are plenty of legitimate MLMs with low start up fees.  

      Get rich quick—-if someone promises you that you will get rich off this “easy opportunity” it is a red flag. Earnings should be averaged and specified, and every opportunity should be willing to share what the average earnings are for every consultant, the low and the high. Rich, to me, isn’t 100k a year. I know plenty of people that make that with an MLM. It may be a lot of money-but it sure doesn’t make you “rich“.

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