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My heart goes out to you. It’s bad enough that your sister has been so nasty to you, but doublely so when you were going through heart surgery and needed her support. It’s really sad but when involved in MLM not much else matters. My son is in Quixtar and I know of two people in his line that have gone away to a conference the last three years when it was their children’s birthdays. So, yes I’m afraid that their MLM becomes their first priority. Quixtar tells them that by
going to meetings, conferences, and especially all the time spent recuiting, that they are building their business so that they’ll be able to spend more time with their families in the future. My reaction to that is they will never be able to get back the time they lost with them no matter what. And yes, they are guilted into going to all functions. It keeps them “Plugged In” (I call it brainwashed).
They say it sets a good example for their downline. I call that a way to make more money for people at the top. Negative? Hell yes, to us, but they convince everyone that everything they do is positive. The negativity comes from the outside, us. But just what if someone decided NOT to go to a function, buy books or CDs (the tools you need to build your business) or decide to leave the business? I would bet a lot of negativity would be said from the uplines. But of course they are just trying to help them build their business.
He was listening to a recent CD he got from Quixtar. It was all about the negitives of their business on the internet and how the speaker turned everything around to make the MLM look good. Exactly!!! — Steering you to the information They provide and want you to believe.
They have an answer for EVERYTHING! They don’t want anyone to think for themselves, yet we are the closed minded ones???
The Keg steakhouse does not tell their franchisees that if their family does not eat at their restaurant, they are negative and not to be trusted. I absolutely HATE Dairy Queen hamburgers, and if any of my family opened a DQ I would not eat there. I don’t believe DQ would tell my family I was an outsider trying to steal their dream or crap like that. That argument is not relevant. I do know some cults that encourage people to avoid non-cult members of their family like the plague has infected them, so there is some similarity there.
As for the whole open-minded argument, I believe a good many of us joined an mlm because we were open minded. My open mind saw mlm’s for the scam and waste of time and money and relationships that they are. I do not believe I have to keep an open mind to something that clearly doesn’t work. I won’t keep trying different kinds of cigarettes hoping to find the right brand that won’t kill me, just to say I am keeping an open mind. I won’t keep an open mind to the possible benefits of a fascist government, there are not any. I will not keep an open mind to a mlm that works, THERE ARE NOT ANY. The Titanic had a viable model, except for too few lifeboats, undersized rudder, going too fast and let’s not forget about that pesky iceberg……do I need to keep going
I am really getting a lot of information, although it IS discouraging to know that I can’t really help my sister with anything or get her to “see the light.”
Her friends have always been a strong influence, as are most peoples’ friends, and I think that the only way she’s going to break away from this is if she ends up losing enough money that her husband notices she’s at a loss. The friends are only going to push her further into it, and I’m sure that they are all in denial as well!
Mark, as for your comments… I feel like you are missing the point entirely. “I think it is a perfect way for your sister to involve you in something she is passionate about without putting on the pressure to buy. If you like it…you will get more I guess.”
Did you read my post? Maybe you missed the entire section that I stated she’s been pressuring me from day 1 about the business and becoming a part of it. I told her that I do NOT want to buy products, but that I would try to help her by asking my friends, who also said they would not like to buy or become distributors.
I also feel like you aren’t backing up arguments on this company being “viable.” Where are the facts that support this argument? I am eager to read them.
When someone is recovering from surgery, the focus is on them. It’s not a time to give a gift that is about recruiting. It’s a time to give a gift that says, “I care about you.”
Period. End of statement. “I care about you.” Not, “I care about you BUT if you like it, you can join me.” Roxy had already told her she didn’t want to be a distributor previously. It’s a loaded gift and it’s clear at that point it’s not about, “I hope you get better,” it’s about, “Here’s a gift from my stuff and I want you to know about it.”
If you don’t see the difference, then you’re missing something big and important in terms of human needs and behavior.
but I doubt that she would expect you to buy your own steakhouse. And I doubt if she would eat every drop of food that she consumed in that steakhouse, and she certainly would not be in business for very long if the success percentages in that “steakhouse” franchise were as ridiculously low as they are in the vast majority MLM’s. I also don’t think that if your sister owned a steakhouse and you were a vegetarian, she would claim you were negative and did not support her dreams if you refused to eat her steak.
Your hypothetical about “if her sister owned a steakhouse and suggested she eat there” is a good opportunity to demonstrate the difference between a real business and an MLM.
If I owned a steakhouse, I could encourage you to come and eat there. I could offer you gift certificates and even money if you brought along 20 of your friends. I would not suggest that you then open up your own steakhouse in my steakhouse and we would share (along with the people above me) in your income.
Arbonne, like most MLMs, promotes signing people up as “distributors” or “IBOs” not on selling product. Roxy’s sister is not selling beauty products she is selling “opportunity”.
If she stuck to the steakhouse t would be harder work but she would not be worrying her family.
Sounds to me that this woman would be far better off using some of her hubby’s moolah to go back to college and acquire some skills and set herself up in a real business. She obviously has the drive – pity she has been blinded by the “light”.
I was dating a guy that was in up to his ears in Primerica. I thought that going broke would cause him to leave the company. He switched all within the same MLM so he could work and still be part of the MLM. I got him to move 50 miles away (which means you lose all your customers) but he simply stepped down from his high ranking to a lower ranking prostion to retain the customers. Now he is trying to turn the company he is working for into Primerica. He is buying some of the books and giving them to his boss (so he can run the company the “right way”).
One day when we went to horrible talk (actaully it was a plea for money) given by the Audobon Society. I wanted to leave and he told me I was being “negative”. I said the talk was stupid and pointless and I did not want to waste my time. He told me that I needed to understand that some people aren’t good at presentations and I needed to change my thinking to become more positive. Later the same day he tried to get me to listen to positive thinking cds.
The point is the brainwashing is powerful and no person wants to admit that thier “friends” used and manipulated them. Your sister is being told she is a loser if she quits and not to communicate with losers. It is a long hard road to get someone to get out of a MLM and stay out. However since your sister is new to the scene it might be easier to get her out. The most important thing is to get to counseling so a trained professional can get her to see the light. That is the only way that I have seen that works.
mistaking what you were saying concerning your sister. I think it is a perfect way for your sister to involve you in something she is passionate about without putting on the pressure to buy. If you like it.. you will get more I guess.
I am just trying to absorb what is being said and not trying to become completely close minded about MLM’s in general, because I don’t think you can lump them all together, especially in light of a company like Avon becoming multi level. They have been around forever, and I remember my mom going door to door selling it before there was such a think as the internet and there weren’t Avon ladies on every corner back then.
I can understand the purpose of the blog is to protect those who feel victimized or affected by MLM’s, but should we become as obstinant about all MLM’s being bad as proponents of them claim they are all good?
I am here to objectively gather info in general because I have had so many different family members involved in different things…but basically it seems like the business model is a viable one in theory and I just don’t see much wrong with self promotion. If your sister owned a steak house (and it was a franchise even) she would probably tell you to come on down and eat there…no one would argue that you should support her. Granted I don’t know a thing about her MLM, because I have no personal experience with them…maybe they are not financially viable for their prospects.
Is there room in this blog for someone to be truly openminded and open to the possibility that not all MLM’s are created equal?
As opposed to supporting her son who was in the hospital, trying to get over a crippling illness. Her justification was there was nothing they could do to help anyway and missing this weekend retreat could set their business and our future as a family back.
Sigh…. this seems to be a common thread with so many MLM “training forums”: “Build your business first – family can come later”
As an “authority on family” (I’m 55 and have 7 adult kids and 7 grandkids) – I want to assure all of you that family will NOT wait.
Your “time” to influence your kids/set a parenting example/be involved in their lives/teach them to love and show compassion for others happens in the blink of an eye.
Even in a “perfect” family where the father works 8-to-5, and the mother may or may not work…there’s still scant time to spend with your kids. For every night a parent is prospecting; for every weekend the parents spend at a “function”….there’s one less opportunity for your kids to learn something. If they haven’t learned important life skills by the time they’re 18 or so….they will be at a disadvantage when they leave the nest – and what loving parent wants to do that to their child????
Kids MUST come first – business-building can wait.
Not all of them but enough to make you go….hmmmmm. And you are right, distributors are taught that they will run up against opposition AND they are told exactly how to deal with them. The most common thing told to them (over and over and over and over again) is that anyone ANYONE who doesn’t support your business is against you. Is a negative influence on your life and not someone you need in your life. They are taught to put the business ahead of family for now (because it will pay off later). Baby showers, anniversaries and birthdays have been missed. Marriages and relationships have ended.
Like others have said, at this point, she’s in hook/line/sinker and there’s not a whole lot you can do or say without getting blamed for something. I don’t know if I’d fan the flames any by sending the gift back…that won’t accomplish anything positive.
I’m with the person who said to keep your distance for abit. She’s got to work this out (though it could take years).
PW often says that the only thing you can really do is ask questions and be truly interested in the answers. Questions that if she allowed herself to think for a moment and find the actual answers, it might put a chink in the solid hold MLM has on her. I believe there is a list somewhere of the questions to ask….stuff like, how much money does one actually make after subtracting expenses?
Though I’ve discovered from personal experience that some of these questions are greeted with the same reactions that you got when asking about pyramid schemes. I had a SIL in PPL and after I told her NO in no uncertain terms she advised me that I need to be more open minded in order to see something of value…lol. When I asked her to quantify what her sponsor was making (rather than the typical…he’s doing so well) – and if she had proof, she sort of freaked and refused to talk to me for months.
Know that many of us can very much relate to what you are experiencing. Always know you can find support here.
Your sister is being brainwashed, and while I believe she is responsible for what she says and does, the people who are “training” her are very good at this. My mother elected to go to a “training” weekend with her upline as opposed to supporting her son who was in the hospital, trying to get over a crippling illness. Her justification was there was nothing they could do to help anyway and missing this weekend retreat could set their business and our future as a family back. I’m thinking her son did not want to hear that.
I would say do not allow your sister the luxury of getting away with treating you that way. Do not support any form of her business. Draw some very straight and deep lines in the sand and do not let her cross them. I believe eventually she will come around, then you can be there and hopefully get back to where you were. Love does find a way in families. Good Luck
that made me think of a melaleuca party I attended at my niece’s home. Once they ran through a few products, the phones came out of the woodwork and there were 3 gals cruising through the living room and dining room announcing that they had 3 open phone line with which to call in to get people signed up. I sat there thinking, what the heck is going on here.
Because there’s now a wealth of information on the internet, telling of the scams revolving around so many MLM’s – they want to steer you towards information THEY provide – not people who’ve been in the business and left. Another good anti-MLM website is ebay: go there and see what the price of Arbonne products are selling for from people who want to get out.. LOL!!! Even if you signed up under your sis, THAT is what you’d have to compete against. Amway’s statistics show that for every 3 people who sign up, 2 will NOT renew the following year. I can’t imagine Arbonne has any better statistics??
My “motherly” advice is to keep your distance from your sister while she’s not thinking clearly. She will be told that “those who are not supporting her are holding her back” – there’s no sense in getting blamed for something that’s certainly not your fault. Sooner or later, she’ll see that her dreams are not being realized – or if they are, that they’re not worth the loss of family and friends – and the person you know should return.
There are similar stories in the “files” sections of this forum – of families that were torn apart by the influence of MLMs (don’t be put off if it’s not specifically Arbonne – the story you’ve described sounds a lot like MANY MLMs).
going on when she kept saying that I’m negative and that I just have a bad attitude about things and just because she didn’t go to college as long as I have doesn’t mean that she isn’t capable of doing this business. I took that as a sign that someone had told her that this situation would arise, and there are specific ways to deal with it.
As for the comment about people lending her money.. her husband is very wealthy. She is doing this basically because everyone in her circle of friends is doing it and I also suspect because she has been regretting her decision to be a stay-at-home mom. She needed to do something that would get her out of the house, I could tell she had been feeling trapped for the past few years. So I feel that because money is basically no object, her husband has tons to just give to her.. that’s exactly what is going to happen. Maybe until there’s a point that he realizes she’s spending too much and making too little.
All the other women in her circle of friends are in this to “become rich on their own” to “get that white Mercedes” and a number of other “perks” their greedy little eyes light up over when talking about this company.
My sister has only ever gotten into a fight like this with me once before, and she was having a rough patch with her husband, I was living there at the time and I think the combo of other things going on in her life then contributed to that particular fight. But she has never acted the way she did when she was “defending” Arbonne.
I really want to know if at some point these people sit you down and tell you that anyone in your life that isn’t on board with this is your enemy and that everyone who disagrees with the company is closed-minded?
Being “closed-minded” and “ignorant” were the LAST things I would expect to be called, especially from her! She knows I’m not closed-minded… I have always been open to the ideas she has come up with in the past to help herself… she was doing interior design for awhile and she was great at it! She gave that up to become a consultant. And ignorant?? I think not. I am extremely informed… I read the news all day long, I have one degree and I’m working on another! Far from ignorant by most peoples’ standards!
I just wish there was something I could do to help her see that this is going to alienate her from our family… my dad doesn’t even want to be in the same room as her any more! She’s a totally different person and it’s scary. I feel that I should at the very least send back the “get well” gift. Maybe I should hold back on sending her a note that I am here to support her? I really DON’T support this!! I see it as a scam, point blank.
I’m not asking for a real name, but it’d be nice to call you something other than bonneoumauvais.
More importantly: You hit the nail on the head. Your sister drank the cool aid. She is, at this point, literally brainwashed. Would your sister normally behave at all the way she has under Arbonne? I don’t know. You’ll have to answer that one, but I doubt she would.
We can offer support, but we can’t fix this and neither can you. She is being told that her whole life should be Arbonne and if she has a spare few bucks, she should invest it. If she has a spare few minutes, she should invest it. If you’ve seen Star Trek, she has become a borg drone.
This is exactly what the Abronne people want: They want her to listen to her over anyone else, they want her to consider them the source of all knowledge and wisdom and they want to control her thinking, which she has. The reaction she showed to the words “pyramid scheme” are typical: she is in denial. At some level she knows what it is and you dared to tell her the truth. That’s not what she wants to hear, so when you said that she had to react to avoid facing the truth.
I wish I had good news, but basically at this point all you can do is be there for her and nod and say yes at the right times and politely stay back from her. She really believes this is the best thing on this Earth and will believe whatever they tell her to believe.
If/when she comes out of this, she’ll feel like dirt because she’ll realize that when you needed her, she wasn’t there but you’ve been there for her all along. At that point, you can use that to help her understand what the issue is with a group like Arbonne and it may take hold.
Until then, she is brainwashed and the first thing you can do is make sure she doesn’t suck in your family or friends and cost them money.
As painful as it is, you can’t stop her from going broke or into debt or from messing up her own life. It’s like she’s an alcoholic: you can’t do a thing to effectively stop her until she hits bottom and realizes how much trouble she’s in.
Make sure nobody lends or gives her money. She needs to run out of money as quickly as possible. If your parents, for example, keep lending her money, then they’re letting her continue. If, on the other hand, it comes down to she’s spent all the money and her husband’s paycheck isn’t due for another week and they’re there to turn off cable or power and nobody helps out, then she’ll first say everyone is not supporting her, and second, she’ll have to start dealing with reality.
For some this happens when the first bill is paid late, for others it happens when a service is cut off. For others, it happens when they’re alone and in the gutter.
That sounds tough, but if people keep enabling her so she can keep spending money then she won’t see what kind of damage this is doing to her and her family. She will need to fall and see how bad things are on her own.
It’s not easy to deal with, but we’re here to listen and help!
Why would someone need flowers or a card after surgery? Her sister was simply giving her a gift and because she chose to share a product that she represents and sells, she is wrong for doing so? I don’t think sharing the gift of a face kit is so bad…
I can understand not wanting to be high pressured, but don’t overreact to an act of generosity. Sure she is probably hoping you like the product and will buy more or agree to sell it, but be grateful your sister gave you something. Not everyone has family who is willing to do so.
I have a friend who does a jewelry MLM, but I wouldn’t have a fit if she GAVE me a gift of it at some time. I just won’t plop out $1700 to become a distributor…
I will just have to come right out and say it, you’re sister was wrong for doing that. Why would you need a face kit for a gift after surgery? Yes, she is brain washed. I was never pushed into doing the biz right off the bat like she was. However, after a few months the upline I used to be apart of would start selling the biz to me. “If I don’t sell the biz, I will be cut off from upline support and training”. That meant totally. Which I was. How convenient.
Arbonne provides, self help programs to get people to do their biz more. That is what I experienced and I didn’t like it. You can find similar self help programs else where without them. Btw, the car you supposedly get isn’t even yours fully. It is a leasing program! You do not get to choose what color either. It is white and that is it. Supposedly they picked white for purity of product ect and blah blah blah. I was not going to work my ass off for a car I would not even fully own! The only thing good was the ASAP points for the jewelry and then I found out the jewelry was not real until you get to the top. Well at least I got a coffee pot and a boom box out of it. Both nice, but standard. You have to buy so much arbonne a month to get anything. So they where expensive. The chrystal pic frames are the smallest frames 4×6 or less I believe. I never went on a cruise with arbonne so I can’t tell you about that. Just the fact that they went to places I have already been to
and they went to places I was not into.
I found this blog\forum while doing a simple search about MLMs and what they are all about because my sister has recently become a consultant for Arbonne International. I wanted to get some information on how companies like hers can impact families and relationships.
Judging on the rules of the site I assume the first thing I should do is introduce myself and the reason I am here, so here goes…
I am in my early 20’s, I have a BA and am currently working towards an MA. I work full-time in the Environmental field and love it so far, although as I’ve heard many times over, this is bound to change after I’ve been working full-time for a few more years! =P Favorite things: I love to travel, especially to urban areas, I snowboard, read anything and everything I can get my hands on, and love to be outside doing anything (or nothing) at all. I also value and love my family very much, which brings me to why I joined this blog.
My sister and I have not always been close because we are about 10 years apart in age, but we have become very close in the last 6 or 7 years. I usually speak to her a few times a week and we live near each other, so I visit when my schedule allows… not as often as I would like, sadly. I used to live with her and her family on breaks from college. She is a stay at home mom and has a husband and two children.
She has always been a positive force in my life, sometimes more of a mother figure than a sister really… but has always been a great sister!
Months ago, she told me that she was going to become a consultant for a company called Arbonne International, which I had also heard of through a college friend. I honestly told her to be careful and to make sure she did background research on the company before she got in over her head. She probably didn’t like getting advice from her little sister, but what’s done is done. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but I was worried that she was getting caught up in something that could turn out to be a scam. At first, she seemed to be doing so well, she always sounded excited and happy… she was making a lot of new friends, and other women she is friends with were also signing on. She invited me and my coworker to her “Launch Party” and gave me a catalog to look at before the event. I arrived early to give her a hand with food/drink preparations, and was excited to see her friends, who are always a lot of fun.
The “Launch Party” turned out to be something completely different than I had expected… the women were very concerned with selling the business, not the actual products. The business was pushed for over an hour, and it just confirmed my suspicions that the company might not be so shiny and wonderful. I was trying not to be negative though… I thought the women getting carried away with the Mercedes Benz and the chance to get together to have wine & cheese once or twice a week and the chance to do something different was maybe causing all this buzz.
So I tried to keep out of it and just let her do her thing.
I came over one day and saw all the inventory she had purchased.
She asked me if I would want to become a consultant for the $29, and that I would get a discount, etc. I said No. I reminded her that I am but a lowly Graduate Student making an entry-level salary while paying an outrageous rent. She didn’t mention it again for the rest of the day. I helped her format her e-mail and listened for what seemed like hours about the company and the products, she was excited… I was happy for her, but still wary of what might happen.
Each time I visited or talked to her on the phone after that, she tried to get me to become a consultant or to get my friends to become consultants. I told her to forward me the e-mail she was planning on sending out to her friends and that I would pass it on to the women in my address book. She did, and I did. Still the pushing continued.
Every conversation was ruled by Arbonne… she had gotten a Blackberry to manage all the e-mails, everyone in her neighborhood and all their friends and relatives were becoming consultants, she was printing business cards and pamphlets and getting a briefcase and more inventory and a travel case for all of it and attending what seemed like a dozen parties a month.
I felt like I was losing my sister entirely!
Then I was diagnosed with a heart problem. I was told that I would be undergoing an exploratory surgery to determine the cause of my heart’s irregular beating. I called my sister. I cried a lot. I told her I was scared and that I was skipping work for the rest of the day to come over. I was there for about 15 minutes before the conversation turned to Arbonne. I knew my sister must be “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Why else would she be so preoccupied??? I couldn’t explain it.
The surgery was on a Wednesday, my dad had flown in the night before and we were to be at the hospital at 6 AM. My sister had called earlier in the week to tell me that although she felt bad, she wouldn’t be able to make it over to my place much during the week after the surgery. She hoped to at least come to the hospital for a little while, but she was so busy with Arbonne that she wasn’t sure. My dad was staying in town for the week to help me out and I was happy, I hadn’t seen him in awhile. The surgery went fine, and the night I returned home, my sister brought dinner to my apartment (she hadn’t ended up coming to the hospital).
My sister had also brought a get-well present. Three of the five pieces of a face wash kit. She also brought her breifcase with her binders of information and I could tell she couldn’t wait to start talking about the company whenever the moment arose. She had already talked about it 5 times by the time we were cleaning up after dinner…
and at one point I said to her that I was happy she had given me the products, that now I could try them out and tell my friends, that mybe they would buy something. She again started pushing them becoming consultants. I told her what I had always been telling her about it.
My friends are young and just starting out. A lot of them are in Graduate School, the others are in entry-level jobs. They do not have money to spend on expensive skin care or on buying an inventory. They do not have time to spend on building up a customer base or a “Downline ” They see Arbonne as a Pyramid scheme.
I had said the WRONG two words. The rampage that ensued at this point cannot be adequately described in words. She screamed in my face for the next 30 minutes. In front of my dad, on the night I returned from the HOSPITAL. “Just as my job had trained me to do what I do”, her job had trained her that people with my attitude are negative and closed-minded. She stated this with an anger and force that I had rarely seen in her before. I was ignorant. I was closed-minded. I didn’t support her. I wasn’t proud of her. I was an immature brat. I couldn’t be happy for someone else. If I didn’t support her, then I wasn’t someone she wanted to be around. (!?!) I could barely get a word in… and when I did, I used the chance to state this fact. She said that I always had to be right. At one point she told me that my friends would have to buy thousands of products to make a difference and to even begin to help her out at this point, me and my “two friends.”
That one really hurt. She knew it had been hard for me recently… that I had only a few close friends in our area… I had graduated, my college friends and I all moved to different cities!
I am shocked that my sister could be so rude and act so horribly toward anyone, let alone me! I feel as if I don’t know her any more and we haven’t spoken since the blowout. I felt terrible for calling what she was doing a Pyramid scheme… I felt that I shouldn’t have put down something she was so excited about and maybe I should just call her and take the blame for what had happened.
Then I spoke to the college friend I had first heard about Arbonne from. She said that a close friend of her parents’ had become a consultant and that she had done a complete 180. She was no longer the unique, informed, well-spoken and well-liked person she had been only months before. She was now pushing my friend so much that the friend had to be rude back to her. She was forced to be completely rude to a long-time friend of her family, which made her feel extremely uncomfortable. I realized then that maybe I hadn’t been entirely at fault for the argument…. and then I found an entire message board on AOL! called a “survivors” club! This has backed up my initial reaction to Arbonne.
So this is why I decided to join this message board. Phew! If anyone is still reading this by now… I just wanted to get my story off my chest, and to see if anyone had any advice on how to deal with the situation. Should I try to repair the damage by apologizing?
Should I give her time to realize that she’s lost a sister and a friend and maybe she will come around?
I really have no experience with MLMs or anything similar. I’ve read conflicting stories about Arbonne… I don’t know WHAT to think about the company itself. From what she said they “taught” her… it sounded like brainwashing and I was shocked she’s be taken in by it! Please let me know if there are any articles in particular I should read about it or if anyone out there has some advice! Thank you so much!
but if you take it to a meeting, once you start handing it out, you’ll be asked to leave and they’re pretty much ready for that.
In most recruiting meetings they make a point of saying, “When you talk about this, people will tell you it won’t work. Do you want to know why? Because they’re jealous and want to steal your success.”
That one statement “inoculates” many people against any statements of reason that could go against the lies told in the recruitment meeting.
Train their people to look for the “hook” – that one thing that will appeal to any given person. I’m sure they told you how wonderful these opportunities would be for your kids – the great things you’d be able to do with and FOR them…..
Don’t beat yourself up too hard – a lot of skeptical people have been drawn in, too. You are in good company….LOL!!
I was a single parent raising four sons! I was very gullible and did what I was told to do because I wanted a better life for my children. I went to the rallies. I bought the books and tapes. I spent money I did not have to meet the expectations of my upline. Guess what… It never worked. I never made the kind of money the big wigs were always talking about.
This went on for about 20 years! My advise to anyone thinking of getting invovled in MLM is this. DO! NOT! risk your home or your vehicle or your basic necessities for survival to go to a meeting or rally or convention! It is not worth it! You will regreat it! Think about the choices you make. Good business practices do not include guilt tactics and threats and allienation from the group if you do not do the business as fast as they say everyone else is. Thank You for letting me post.
Here are some thoughts I have on your list:
Yes, if they *require* self-consumption in order to be a distributor, then I agree with you. However, in A/Q, for example, no one was required to buy anything. You were strongly encouraged to self-consume products and berated if you did not, but purchases were not required.
Similarly, no one was required to purchase the educational/motivational tools, either. But you were made to understand that virtually no one succeeded without the tools and trying to build the business without them was tantamount to “reinventing the wheel.”
So I’m not sure your first listed item is strict enough.
Lots of jobs require specific training. HOWEVER, most jobs do not require ongoing, continuous, virtually day-to-day training. Even my wife (a doctor) participates in ongoing medical education, some of it at her own expense. However, there is no one over her shoulder telling her she’ll fail if she doesn’t do it (other than a certain basic amount required for re-licensing), and much of her educational expenses are covered by her job. In fact, she’s in California right now attending a seminar, entirely paid for by her employer (airfare, instant approval payday loans online, lodging, seminar fees, etc.) Her company knows the value of this training, so they cover much of it. Contrast that with an MLM that coerces participants to purchase their own training, much of it saying nothing more than “Don’t Quit.” We were involved for 5 years, and very few of the audio tapes that were sold as the “basic” training for IBOs actually taught anything about building a successful business. Most of it was emotional, rags-to-riches stories, meant to inspire loyalty and belief.
So I would, again, qualify the listed item.
Here, I may have to disagree with you, but it may be a small matter of semantics.
I believe that anyone involved in an MLM should have a minimum sales requirement, consisting of non-participant customers, in order to recruit. I don’t think anyone should be allowed to bring in new people unless they have the business acumen necessary to teach new recruits how to become profitable. And the only way to become profitable is by selling products. If you can’t do that, you have no business recruiting.
So I do believe that an IBO should be able to profit from retail sales, and if those sales are sufficient to qualify for bonuses, I think those should apply, too. But I don’t think anyone participating in the business as a rep (salesperson, IBO, distributor, whatever) should be able to participate in the multi-level aspect of the business without the prerequisite sales skills.
Of course, all of this is assuming the MLM is legit and that there’s some sort of demand for whatever the product line is.
Am I pretty close to your take on this?
I have posted before, my criteria for judging MLMs. In my book, they are bad if they satisfy any of the following: (I will explain why if you are interested)
1. Require you to buy product to be a distributor.
2. Require any “training” for the job.
3. Require you to “qualify” at some level(in recruitment OR sales) in order to get commissions.
I am not personally familiar(other than this forum and google) with Mary Kay or Avon, Tupperware or the jewellery thing – but I’d be interested to know if they meet any of the above.(My attempt to gather information).
You aren’t sure my motive is really information gathering because I have friends and family involved in multiple different mlm companies? That’s not really something I can convince you of obviously, you’ll believe what you want apparently. I am an information seeker. If I am searching for Premiere Jewelry, find out it’s an MLM, then search for MLM scams and find this blog…it piques my interest, I join up to see what I can find out further.
The only post about them I have found here is seven years old and not very detailed.
I can only speak to what I have seen about the companies my close loved ones are into…they have never high pressured me to join, buy or have parties. So I guess not all mlm’s are teaching these negative, anti family practices that you keep saying they do. Of course, I am not telling them they are brain washed because they have ambitions to make themselves a business out of these companies.
I also am not their prime market because I personally don’t wear jewelry or use cosmetics.
Is a steak house the same as an MLM? No. But I doubt all MLM’s have the same EXACT structure either.
My uncle sells cars and guess what, his boss makes money off of his sales too. Managers make commissions off of employees. Exactly the same? Nope. But the same basic principle. Every higher level makes a bit more off of the ones below them. My uncle also wins incentive trips for having the most sales, etc.
My SIL who sells jewelry makes money, loves having the parties and enjoys the company of the women she meets. I am sure not everyone makes tons of money. Neither do car salesmen, waitresses, managers…there are successful and unsuccessful people in all businesses and professions.
I can grasp that some companies are only pushing recruiting and not product sales. If they don’t make sales, then I can see they might not be viable as an avenue for money making…but if you are selling product, to those who want it, not forcing your friends and family to buy it, then surely these folks are making some money. Is it going to make you rich quick? I don’t foresee anything doing that without work short of winning the lottery…
Alcoholics analogy wasn’t really hitting home for me…
If I know someone who is a diabetic, I won’t start telling EVERYONE not to eat sugar…or that fruit is sweet, so it must be bad too.
Ok, so if we are going to be open minded, can we not admit that not ALL mlm’s are created equal? Or that at least the possibility exists that one is not bad? Mary Kay, Tupperware, Avon, Premiere Jewelry…I know someone involved in them all and I don’t see that they are being brainwashed like I keep hearing here about some of these things like Arbonne and Quixtar, Amway. So how long does it take for the supposed brainwashing to happen? Are they all just doing it wrong because they haven’t pressured me to be a rep yet?
I can tell you that so many Mela reps were involved in conversation here at one time that we had to make a rule SPECIFIC to Mela reps telling them that their “opportunity” IS an MLM and that any effort to argue the contrary would result in being kicked out of the forum.
They are trying REALLY hard to conceal what they do, and that, to me, is a HUGE red flag.
I am now a firm believer that there are enough products in the marketplace that anyone who has a better, higher-quality, more commercially desirable product is not going to resort to MLM (or infomercials, for that matter) to sell them. If the product is not being made available in traditional venues, there’s probably a reason for that – and the reason is, more than likely, not the marketplace.
If there’s money to be made on a quality product, MLM is not an effective way to sell it, and there’s more money to be made by traditional means, anyway – that is, if your product is truly your main moneymaker, and not some behind-the-scenes motivational tools scheme.
I would normally say you will learn your lessons in due course… but in this case, there are little ones involved. Is this the best you can do ? Do MLM and loose money for quote ” mental stimulation and adult interaction”? what are you doing as an investment for their future ? Do you have a college fund for them? I hope you are loaded, because not many can keep loosing money waiting for the big *ACE* – more likely you will end up with an *ASS*.
Also, denial is not a luxury you can knowingly indulge in when you have children.
Mark can be taught! (Congratulations! I’m glad you’re doing research and thinking about this instead of using the phrases MLMers toss out as platitudes!)
Here’s another point: MLMs like to talk about cutting out the middle man. Look at a simple product, like produce. The farmer raises it and takes it to a distro center. The center ships it out and it ends up in local warehouses. From there it goes to the local store. At each step along the way, value is added to the product because it’s moving closer to you. The farmer adds value because he’s created a tomato. At each point the transport adds value because it’s closer to you and eventually it’s at the corner store so you can drive down before supper and get the 2-3 tomatoes you need for a salad. That’s worth a few cents extra on the price instead of having to drive out to the farm or to a farmer’s market to get it.
But look at an MLM: the product is still shipped, often by UPS or USPS. That costs money but along with that, there’s anywhere from 1 or 2 or many more people that get a cut for doing NOTHING. I looked at my ex-gf’s system. If I bought something from her, then she gets a cut, her friend’s sister, that friend’s sister’s Father, then his sponsor, then one Diamond I know of, then another one I know of above him, then one guy I know is at the top, PLUS any levels between the first Diamond I know of and the next one. That’s at least 6-7 levels as it is and not one of them does a single thing to earn the money I’m spending on the product, yet they all make money FROM me.
Maybe or maybe not. Google has many servers and if you search for the same three terms in a different order, you can get different results (it’s happened to me before). Also, if you’re in a different area than someone else and your search request goes to a different server, you could get totally different results for the same search. A friend on the other side of town and I tried that and we got different results.
The more appropriate word is ‘IF”. Would you be ready to give up if you knew for a fact that less than 2% of those that get involved with MLM make ANY money (a large portion of that money is the low dollar amounts).
If you think about it, really think about it…..a business model that requires 98% of the people to fail (and it works best if those that fail place those qualifying orders each month and be good little distributors even without making a commission) in order to work for that 2%. Is this something that you feel comfortable telling people you solicit? Are you okay with just about everyone you solicit into the business losing a lot of money?
Just some questions to ask yourself. I had a friend years ago whose husband was in Quixtar for over TEN YEARS and he religiously went to the meetings, seminars. He bought all the marketing paraphanalia and still after all that time, didn’t make a dime.
When I was first involved with MLMs, I thought MLMs were just misunderstood and had a bad reputation due to bad companies. Truth is, “I” misunderstood. No one tells you the cold hard truth or shows you the REAL numbers that can’t lie.
AND if it is Mela, their products are NOT what the distributors claim they are. Don’t believe any hype, do research on the actual ingredients. Their personal care products wouldn’t be touched with a 10 foot pole by anyone in natural circles.
If you are ever looking for ideas for working at home, I’ve compiled a list of telecommuting companies and would be happy to share. You CAN use that drive you’ve learned and push yourself into your development zone without a MLM! 😉
MLMs cost a lot. While they can build up self esteem, they also tear it down in other ways. People here who were in them have taken years, in some cases, to recover emotionally. There are many other ways to build up self esteem. One thing I did a while back was to take on one of the scariest challenges I figured I’d ever face. I’m a serious klutz so I started taking ballroom dancing lessons. I’m actually getting compliments that I’m learning how to lead quite well. It wasn’t a quick change, but it makes me feel quite good about myself.
There’s also other self help groups just tackling things you want to learn and aren’t sure you can, or groups like Toastmasters.
When I saw this first post come through, I waited, not knowing just what to say because it’s not clear just what’s going on.
I will make a point I learned years ago: whatever the truth is, you’re going to have to face it sooner or later, so it might as well be sooner. It may be painful, but it’s less pain than what you’ll hit later. For example, my ex-girlfriend was sure she was going to be running her own business and be a millionaire in QS in a few years. I
haven’t heard a single bit of news about her success yet and that was back in 2004. Meanwhile, in the time since then, my business has done well and my net worth at this point is definitely more than she’s ever made in her life from any job, by an order of several factors. I’m saying this not to brag but because it plays a part in this and as a reminder that we can all “make it” on our own, no matter what the MLMs tell us.
Dawn (what we’ll call my ex-gf) loved to design dresses for things like SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) and to make jewelry. She majored in Interior Design because she figured she could make a living at it. She is, literally, a genius, but she was so unsure of herself that she didn’t think she could ever make a living doing what she loved. She had a low paying job (I’m guessing she was making $15,000 to $16,500 a year) doing the cable routing plans for a construction company and she hated it. She was scared to death of spending the next 40 years of her life working 9-5.
One time she said she believed it because it had to work since nothing else would. Parse that carefully. She basically believed it because if it wasn’t true, in her mind, she had to face 40 years of 9-5. Her belief had nothing to do with whether it was a good business model, but with her fear of having to live the life they painted as so terrible.
Sooner or later she’s going to have to face the truth: She can keep going and spinning her wheels, making the prospects for her life worse by spending more and more money. If so, at some point she’ll be deep in debt, no more credit cards, and not able to continue in QS. When that happens, she’ll have no choice but to drop out and she’ll not only have a job she hates, but a mountain of debt to pay off.
Or she could have, at any point, accepted that “if it is to be, it is up to me,” and developed a plan to decide what she wanted to do with her life and started working toward it. If she had started focusing on trying to turn the jewelry and dress work into a business, she might be making enough now to live off it.
Sooner or later you’ve got to face the truth. While sooner can be painful, it’s a LOT less painful than later.
I have been reading this blog for a bit and whilst all your comments make me smile or even laugh, this is the first one that has prompted me to reply. Thanks for the wisdom, I shall try to print them and stick them to my refrigerator
As an “authority on family” (I’m 55 and have 7 adult kids and 7grandkids) – I want to assure all of you that family will NOT wait. Your “time” to influence your kids/set a parenting example/be involvedin their lives/teach them to love and show compassion for othershappens in the blink of an eye.Even in a “perfect” family where the father works 8-to-5, and themother may or may not work…there’s still scant time to spend withyour kids. For every night a parent is prospecting; for every weekendthe parents spend at a “function”….there’s one less opportunity foryour kids to learn something. If they haven’t learned important lifeskills by the time they’re 18 or so….they will be at a disadvantagewhen they leave the nest – and what loving parent wants to do that totheir child????
They abuse the trust we have in our friends and family and build up the new trust we create (or is created for us) in the new “friends” we make in our business. And if we manage to bring friends and family into the business, they use that existing trust to turn us against those who said “no.”
Some of our friends (my wife’s and mine) simply had to wait it out until we quit. Some of them had even said, “We’ll see you in five years or so.” They could not have been more right.
Sadly, some people stay involved far longer than five years.
But I think the only way to get someone to reconsider the wisdom of what they’re doing, critically, is to ask them the questions they should be asking themselves. Once they realize what has been happening, it’s truly like “seeing the light,” like “watching the fog lift.”
There are steps and stages involved in leaving an MLM, too, so the best thing you can do, even if you’re unable to get through to your sister, is to be there when she quits. *This* is how you can help!
Be loving and accepting. Don’t offer anything resembling “I told you so.” She is going to be going through feelings of guilt and inadequacy. We hear it here all the time: “How could I have been so stupid as to have fallen for this scam, even as my friends (or in this case, sister) were telling me to beware of it?”
You may not be able to help her get out sooner, but you can help her through the post-MLM process. As long as you can understand what she’s going through, she will value your support. We are here, primarily, to facilitate and support that.
It does sound as if you have a bit of a fantasy going here. You don’t know if you will make it, you understand the things we are saying, you agree with what we are saying, even up to a point, but you are still holding out hope that you will “Make it” in your mlm. I am not really sure what you are looking for. You ask what we think, you must know that we will not respond positively to the idea of any mlm. I like that you are questioning your own motives but I think you need to just break away. There are other environmentally sound ways to shop outside mlm, and there are same as if not better products for personal health. Personal growth can be done through other organisations and won’t cost you what mlm will. My mom used to justify here mlm fixes as a time to socialize with like minded people, etc. The only problem was that it cost her many thousands of dollars and a few real relationships. Please also remember this, if you do make it “BIG” in mlm, it will also come at a personal cost to you, as well as your family, as well as the thousands who have to lose money in order for you to make it. Good Luck and I hope you don’t sell your soul.
Some say that in theory a bumble bee can’t fly. The key words are “in theory.” I have a program in my text editor right now that is doing everything perfectly so, “in theory” it should communicate with the radio I have hooked up to my computer, but it doesn’t.
The reason we use the words “in theory” is because there is a difference between theory and reality. Reality includes millions of factors that humans can’t account for in theory and one of the most complex factors is humans themselves. MLMs look good on paper, but they also have a structure that is perfect for abuse. One person can build their own cult out of their downline and, in most cases, that’s exactly what happens.
Self promotion isn’t the issue, self promotion at a time when one should be thinking of others is an issue. There is a time and place for everything. (Just look up the lyrics to “Turn, Turn, Turn” or find it in the Bible for a refresher.)
This is a logical fallacy, or a flaw in your reasoning. You’re substituting “steak house” for Arbonne and you seem to think that draws a fair parallel. It does not. For example, you could replace “Arbonne” or “steak house” with brothel and it becomes a different situation — and before you say, “But those are illegal,” all we have to do to deal with that is say it’s in Nevada. A steak house is a completely different situation from Arbonne. Records and reports of abusive and brainwashing tactics are rife for Arbonne.
So, since you’re considering all this objectively, why don’t you listen to people who have dealt with MLMs, including Arbonne, personally? You said you were here to gather information and Roxy just gave you a ton of information about what’s going on with Arbonne, yet rather than absorb it, you want to tell her it’s wrong.
I love that. “Truly open minded.” Just gotta love it. In other words, since we disagree with your view point we’re not open minded.
Many of us were open minded and that’s how we learned that MLMs don’t work. You’ve got well over a hundred years of personal experience with QS (one of the biggest MLMs) alone. We were open minded until we learned what ripoffs they are.
Open minded does not mean ignoring the facts. You are essentially claiming you’re open minded and we aren’t. Since you’re open minded, then you won’t mind checking on the sites we use to post the down side of MLMs, would you? Since you’re open minded, it won’t bother you that over 99% of people that join an MLM lose money instead of making it, will it?
See, open minded does not mean staying open to something when the numbers, facts, and experience show it’s bad. If MLM were worth being open minded, then more than .5% of the people who go in to them would be able to make a living at it. Open minded does not mean ignoring facts once they’ve been established.
One last point: Roxy pointed out a lot of issues with her sister in her post. She pointed out how her sister’s behavior and personality changed, how her sister could now only talk about one subject and how her whole life is consumed with one subject. She gave us many points that showed that there were serious problems with what Arbonne was doing to her sister.
Why didn’t you address any of those? Why pick one point only and ignore the many that show that there is something seriously wrong with the situation?
If you respond, I expect an answer to that question. Avoiding it will only let us know that you’re not as open minded as you claim because you’re going to deal only with the points you want to deal with and ignore anything that disproves what you want to believe.
that had some indicators that a MLM is not going to be profitable or that money is not being made on sales of product to customers if certain criteria exist. Paying beyond I think four levels, they said they profits are coming from overpricing product and purchases made by those in the MLM. And it is an MLM if it has levels and layers of commissions and bonuses.. can’t really argue that.
Don’t remember the site but they showed up in the top page of results, so they would be easy to find if you searched for it.
Time to come clean. I am a customer in what you would consider an MLM company. Although they don’t consider themselves MLM, but there is commission on 7 generations…
I think you are all right in what you say but at the moment I am in denial… I say to myself things like: “Well, it was time to start buying better products, to look after ourselves. It was probably time to buy better vitamins. I have always claimed to care for the environment, time to put my money where my mouth is, etc”
After a second attempt at doing the Business side; I have come to the conclusion *all by myself* that you sell people the business in order just to gain customers. It’s very aspirational. Then after reading all of Roxy’s postings I saw Hal spell it out “they are not selling [beauty] PRODUCTS but they are selling OPORTUNITY”. So thank you for that, Hal.
The reason I am confused is because, I can see in me a lot of what you guys are saying, yet I am not ready to give it up.
Someone, (Watkins I think) wrote a while ago that his time in MLM had given him high self esteem. I am sort of in it because of the personal development side: personal sales, presenting, picking up the phone etc, definitely pushes me out of my comfort and into my development zone.
I am a SAHM with a 4 year old and a baby that is not 1 yet. Hence touched by Deb’s wisdom ref family not waiting. So my not-MLM MLM, gives me some mental stimulation and adult interaction but also plenty of disappointment which I bag under the name of “learnings”.
I am enjoying the products, I know that penny for penny I am spending more or at best I am static (I do get about 15% of my consumption bill back from my commission pay) but from that to making profit…requires some very serious effort and qualities that right now are probably not in me. I see it as a very long term thing and an investment of time, but can’t deny that it would be nice to be there when the exponential growth kicks in or to recruit an “Ace”.
What do you all think? Keen to read your replies and also, can you guess which company I mean? Please be kind, I am vulnerable.