Multi-level marketing (MLM) businesses have been around for years. Today I want to share with you the truth about MLMs as I see it.

In recent years, however, with social media being so popular I think there are more and more people being offered these work from home business opportunities, especially for mums.

Frequently by cold messaging on platforms like Facebook. Can you really make money with them though? Is there such a thing as free money? I chatted to a number of other bloggers to find out the truth behind MLM’s. Would it be better to sort your finances out and save money elsewhere?

Brunette woman sitting in computer chair with hands behind her head and legs in air

How to make money from home

I love working from home and for many, it is ideal. Parents of young children especially often find that childcare costs lead them to look at if they can make money from home.

You don’t have to physically visit an accountant either, as you can access a certified tax expert online from your home in the USA whether it is in New York City, Tampa, Baltimore or anywhere else in the country.

If you are in the UK there are similar experts here too. A finance blogger recently wrote this article for me about ways to make money from home if you need any ideas.

A calculator, pen, spectacles and blank piece of paper on a baby pink background
Calculator with paper, glasses and pen on pink background

Can you make money with MLM companies?

We always are alerted to the big successes whenever someone approaches us to encourage us to join a business like this. Of course, some people will make a lot of money with them.

Those people however I believe are very few and far between. The truth behind MLMs is that sadly many of the people recruiting are actually told to tell people they earn massively.

This is because the more people they recruit the higher their actual potential earnings! I find this absolutely astonishing.

Are the MLM success stories genuine?

Of course, if you chose to look at these success stories and decide it is the business for you then who am I to stop you?

Remember essentially the big money is made by recruiting more people usually however sometimes it is selling expensive products. Do you have people to recruit or to buy the products?

A family of four people in silhouette against a sunset in the background
Family in the sunset happy

It fits perfectly around children and another job

This is one of the popular reasons that people go into these businesses. They want to make money from home to support their families. Do remember though to check out the negative stories for each brand.

Also, consider how much money your social circle generally has to spend. If you need to put money into a business this is also a factor to consider. The truth behind MLMs is that primarily you are selling to your friends!

Make your own minds up but here are some stories from bloggers. I will not name them throughout as some wish to remain anonymous. However, I will list the contributors at the end.

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Can you get into debt with MLMs?

One blogger said, “I did Avon and loved it until I started buying stuff myself and people not wanting products they ordered then I got into debt with them.”

Another said “If someone doesn’t pay for their order you have to pay for it yourself! Sadly I ended up owing about £100 because other people wouldn’t pay up!”

“When I did Avon years ago to try and help pay off debt. I ended up owing them money.”

pencil with rubber on the end trying to rub out the word debts

Do MLM recruiters have high expectations?

I was shocked to hear another blogger say “I was involved with Body Shop at Home in 2017. I was recruited online by a woman I didn’t really know. Within a few hours, I was added to a Facebook chat with all her other “downlines.” They would discuss how badly sales were in the chat but on the public pages brag about how much money they were making to entice others to sign up.”

She added “I had a specified time limit to make a certain amount. Before I had a chance to put in a large order my access to the ordering part of the Body Shop At Home website as an agent was revoked. I wasn’t sure why. When I questioned it I was told that I had not made enough in sales, despite still being within the time limit.”

Lady happy in sun, an image often used by MLMs

You have to recruit others to make money from home

This quote from a fellow blogger didn’t surprise me either but may help you to see the reality of some of these MLM businesses. “There seemed like loads of initial fees and the rep who signed me up and told me to purchase loads of these “specials” which would make my money back in no time. I circulated those catalogues around every house in my area and I must have walked miles! I got one sale the first month and the commission was poor. The rep who signed me up explained that obviously empires take time to build but I’d get my money back soon and that I needed to ‘recruit’ reps!”

This one also didn’t surprise me but may help you decide if MLM businesses are a way to make money from home for you. “I love Scentsy products. Their wax products and warmers are fabulous and I love the brand values BUT they make it impossible to make a profit with their super strict approach. this and the fact UK prices are so much higher than in America. The only way you’ll do well is if you treat it as an “illegal” pyramid and recruit recruit recruit. I refuse to lie to people so it was a non-starter for me.”

Brown leaves on the ground with white text overlaying

Do MLMs prey on the vulnerable

These bloggers told me things I had suspected with MLM businesses but never was entirely sure about. The truth behind MLMs is they do seem to prey on the vulnerable!

“I was eighteen and it was sold to me as an opportunity to become my own boss and work for myself.”

“I once had a woman contact me in response to a blog I’d written about my Post-Natal Depression. Basically, she said “I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. Have you read X book? Have you ever considered selling Younique?”

“I tried Jamberry, Nu Skin and Kids Bee Happy when I was desperate. I made a loss.”

woman sitting on a rug with a calculator and receipts looking worried
a woman with unpaid bills has many debts. unemployment and personal bankruptcy

What are you actually selling?

This experience is shocking. “I was approached to try Forever Living and knowing very little about it queried what exactly it was for. I was reassured it wasn’t a weight loss product and that it was for busy mums such as myself to feel healthier, a boost for my hair and skin, and help me to feel more energetic. It sounded like the perfect pick me up!”

All sounds ok but then what she went on to say was shocking. “Within 24 hours of starting on the cocktail of “vitamins” as they were described I was in the back of an ambulance with a suspected heart attack. My heart rate at 200 beats per minute and wired up to every machine going. I was rushed straight into resuscitation. It turns out that the “vitamins” they sell have such massive amounts of caffeine (disguised under different names) that it had impacted massively on my heart. The consultant said I wasn’t the first patient experiencing the same and in his opinion, they should be banned completely!” I tend to agree.

A cream background with italic green text and pink text with a floral drawing at the bottom

Unwelcomed Messages to join MLM’s

I have received a number of these recently. Included as imagines in this post for you are quotes from a recent email. Here are some quotes from others.

“I’m always approached about it through Instagram. When I say I’m a journalist by profession and ask why on earth are they cold messaging me. Pointing out I’ve never expressed any interest in earning extra money they say I have a really positive looking profile and I should take it as a compliment.”

An envelope stuffed full of £20 notes

Are MLMs all bad?

In the interests of a fair argument, I have also shared below a few less negative stories from fellow bloggers.

“I sold Bodyshop for about 6 months while I was studying last year. My experience was very mixed. The company is very nice and all seems well but there is a huge pressure to recruit more people into the organisation. Also, it’s very time consuming for what you get paid in commission. I ended up with huge amounts of stock that I couldn’t sell as there were already about 10 girls in my little village selling Bodyshop. It wasn’t a bad experience, but it wasn’t worth it for me.”

“I’m working with one now and I have nothing but positivity for it. It’s health and fitness related. I’m making decent money and leading a very healthy lifestyle because of it and I have absolutely no issues with sharing it with others. I feel like all network marketing is being tarred with one brush”

A grey background with a silhouette of a man surfing with white and grey text overlaying

Thank you to the following bloggers for their comments and for sharing the truth behind MLMs’

Vicki from Mumma and her monsters

Sophie from Soph-obsessed

Laura from Five Little Doves

Jenny from Midwife and Life

Tina from Girls Gospel

Becky from The Unnatural Mother

Emma from Not my first rodeo

Laura from Milton Keynes Kids

Check out this post from Chammy IRL with the pros and cons of Body shop as an MLM.

If you have a story with an MLM either good or bad please do feel free to comment in the box below with your truth behind MLMs. I would love to read about your experiences.

MLMs are businesses such as Avon, Body Shop, Just, Pampered Chef, Arbonne, Thermomix, Younique, Jamberry, Juiceplus, Ann Summers, Scentsy, Herbalife, Utility Warehouse and many more!

My thoughts on MLMs

My thoughts about MLM businesses remain that they are preying on the vulnerable. They are leading people to believe that it is easy to earn high amounts of money from home.

I believe essentially they are cons. Very few people ever make real money from them compared to the hours put in.

Feel free to share if you agree or disagree below!

Do agree with this truth behind MLMs that they are essentially not a good idea?

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2 Comments

  1. Another peril of MLMs is that they can cause friction in friendships. My husband’s friend approached him about joining one, gave him loads of brochures etc. He came home with them and I put them straight in the bin and told him to tell his friend its an absolute no. His friend hounded him for weeks and it caused a bit of tension between them. All is well between them now, but after insisting DH could make thousands of yen his friend almost went bankrupt through the scheme and has since left it.