There is no evidence at all that the MLM system is a “viable” one – viable by what definition?
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”.