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Multi-level marketing is…?

Commonly known as direct selling, multi level marketing (MLM) defines a system, in which a web of distributors sells services or goods. With social media and technology being a way of life, the majority of us have become more than accustomed to seeing posts from friends celebrating this amazing new product. You just HAVE to try it and more amazing you can buy it directly from them.

Such posts are usually followed by another offering the job position of be your own boss. Promising that you’ll be able to easily fit it around all of life’s typical demands. Fair enough, posts that are repetitive in both text and nature can be suspicious and unfortunately sometimes down right annoying. But are you right to avoid these ‘scams’ like the plague, or are MLM businesses great money-makers.

My history with multi level marketing

In 2013 during my university years I was looking for a side hustle that I could fit around my studies. A quick search on the Internet brought me to one of the most popular direct selling businesses. Working for one of the biggest lingerie companies, offering an impressive staff discount and the ability to choose your own hours. This was enough of a selling point for me. It wasn’t long before I received a call to arrange a light-hearted chat in person with the manager for my area in the comfort of my own home. All the prospects that the job had to offer, not only was I impressed but excited to sign on the dotted line. The frequently run promotions with prizes and get together trips, it was like girls scouts for adults. I couldn’t wait to meet the other ladies that I now shared something in common with.

How do you get started?

You’re also taken to shadow a senior member and there’s lots of support on hand. Whilst things have changed since then, you had to rent your kit for a small fee until you had made a set amount. We were all responsible for bringing in clients to buy directly from the catalogue. The most popular way to get customers was by one hosting a party with games and order from the catalogue. It wouldn’t be long before you have regulars. You would be regularly offered a job that someone was double booked and unable to do, which is great especially when starting out. This was an aspect of the job that I loved as being a shy person (I know an interesting job for someone that’s shy) I found it hard to start conversations with strangers in public to promote my business, which my colleagues excelled at doing.

What’s doing the job actually like?

There would always be a mixture of nerves and excitement, even doubts on the day of a job with a new customer but I’d always leave having enjoyed myself and made money. I had a great time in the business and certainly proved to be highly profitable over the years. I gained to this day friends in my colleagues and in a number of my customers. It wasn’t long before I developed my own team either as recruitment is a key aspect. Since then I have worked for two other companies with some of my original colleagues and it’s actually been on their recommendation. These are the modern versions that you’re used to seeing on social media.

So are they a scam or a money maker?

I can definitely say from my experience that some of them definitely aren’t a scam. There’s certainly a lot of money to be made from the legit ones. Multi Level Marketing businesses have the same challenges any private business does, with staying self-motivated being the biggest. Whilst there is support from senior members, you’re solely responsible for promoting your business. Customers are not buying just the brand or they’d seek it elsewhere, what they are investing into is you. This feels great when you look back on everything you achieved for yourself.

Final thoughts

The best thing about running your own business is you learn what works for you; this may not be what you expected to. I definitely found it easier to promote the Multi Level Marketing that were run solely on social media. However, I found that I had to work harder to sell, as it lacked the face-to-face contact. I also picked up skills that I could use elsewhere as if you can sell lingerie you can sell anything. I remind myself of this whenever I’m faced with presenting or being interviewed. Like any new adventure you have to give yourself time to get settled before categorising it as a scam. However, if it claims that you’ll be rich in a month and sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.