Multilevel marketing companies (also known as MLMs) have a bad rap. Some of it is deserved, and some of it isn’t.
MLMs are often labeled as “pyramid schemes,” but that’s not true. The difference is that pyramid schemes are illegal because they offer no product. With MLMs, a product or service is the basis for the business.
Truthfully, if you have a go-getter personality, and you can follow some basic business and personal etiquette, you can make a lot of money in an MLM. The trick is to avoid all the potential pitfalls along the way!
MLMs can be awesome if you understand how they work, but they can also be a financial and personal disaster if you jump right in without thinking.
Here are some things to watch out for if you’re considering joining an MLM:
Don’t exaggerate your income.
One of the common tricks to getting new recruits is to exaggerate how easy it is to make money. In reality, it’s extremely difficult to make serious money in an MLM. To make a lot of money, you have to be smart and work hard—just like with anything else. A reputable MLM won’t pitch you on the idea of getting rich quick. If they do, avoid them.
Don’t forget about common-sense business practices.
Multilevel marketing is built around a lot of hype. Some people get so caught up in the hype that they lose their minds. Inventory is one example. For instance, don’t buy two years’ worth of inventory when you haven’t sold anything! Your inventory should always be based on your actual sales, not hyped goals.
Don’t compromise your integrity.
In an effort to sell sell sell, some multilevel marketers lose sight of truth. A “hierarchy leader” in an MLM once told a room full of women to buy tons of inventory using their credit cards and not tell their husbands about it. Are you kidding? If anyone is encouraging you to be dishonest, run far away. A legitimate company won’t ask you to lie, require you to go into debt, or fill up your garage with needless inventory.
Don’t be “that guy.”
We’ve all known someone who has just joined an MLM and constantly wants to talk about their new “business opportunity.” This isn’t confirmed by science, but evidence points to these people being the most annoying humans on the planet. Combining friendship and business is always dicey, but if you must talk to friends about your MLM, remember this: No means no. You’re an over-the-top salesman when you start pressuring your friends and family all the time. No one likes an over-the-top salesman. Stop it.
Don’t join an MLM just for the money.
If you’re in it just for the money, you won’t last. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. In other words, you’re not just selling pots and pans or makeup. More than that, you are in the business of recruiting, motivating, training, and leading a high-turnover sales team. This is your job. Make sure you are realistic about that when you start.
Bottom line: MLMs are legitimate businesses. But know exactly what you are getting into. Look out for all the red flags listed above and have some class. Obnoxious multilevel marketers give legitimate business people—including other MLMers—a bad name. Don’t do that.
If you’ve heeded these warnings and are still comfortable with your MLM opportunity, then go for it. Combined with patience and friendly sales tactics, multilevel marketing can be a great way to make money!