There are endless statistics out there about how you will not earn money in an MLM, the evidence is overwhelmingly against joining one of these schemes. But still people join. They respond to adverts, they listen to their friends and relatives who tell them it is a great opportunity. They are told all sorts of things.
This blog post examines the reality experienced by people who have left an MLM, namely Forever Living, although I suspect these experiences are shared across many MLMs. If you are thinking of joining an MLM, please take a moment to read what the reality is like. As described by successful MLMers who were being paid full time wages.
The Expectation- The hours will be part time. A typical claim is 5-10 hours a week.
The Reality- Much, much more than this.To get anywhere, to earn anything you need to put in serious hours. 12 hours a day is normal, 18 hours is not considered too much. This is every day, with no days off. This adds up to 126 hours a week.
The Expectation- Spend more time with your family than if you were in a traditional job.
The Reality- People are encouraged to put their children in nursery to spend more time on the ‘business’. Every social situation is a prospecting opportunity. You can’t relax and enjoy your child because you should be doing an MLM related activity- one-to-ones, training sessions, preparing for presentations, putting out social media. Every fun family thing you get involved in needs to be photographed so you can say how amazing it is that you are spending time with your child.
Evenings with a partner are non-existent. That is when you are doing online training, checking up on your team, reading emails, making videos, planning for yourself, helping others plan. You might be hosting webinars, attending meetings, visiting team members, working on your mindset.
The Expectation- Work from home.
The Reality- Most of it was out of the house, dragging the kids around a lot of the time. Training days, success days, BP meetings, one on ones, building up relationships with prospects, searching for prospects, card dropping.
The Expectation-No targets
The Reality- There are targets if you want to earn any money. You have to do 4CC a month to be paid your bonus. You could either retail hundreds of pounds of stock or recruit 2 people and sell some stock. Very very difficult to achieve. The pressure is put on by yourself and by your upline who needs you to do your 4CC so they get their bonuses. Sometimes the only way to meet these targets was to buy the stock yourself.
The Expectation- You are your own boss with no one telling you what to do. Complete control over your work.
The Reality- Constant demands from uplines. Lots of obligations hoisted on you- talking at presentations, online training, participating in team events. Targets set by the company, lots of obligations set out in the contract. Promotions given by the company, termination is a real possibility. You are questioned by your upline if you don’t perform as well as expected and accused of not trying hard enough. This environment has been described as more pressured than a well paid corporate job. All without the safety of a regular income.
The Expectation- The products will sell themselves. All you need to do is to be seen to be using the products and people will be asking about them. They are great products so it is easy to sell them.
The Reality- Very difficult to sell. The products are very expensive for what they are.
The Expectation- Friendly environment. Much is made of the ‘Forever Family’ and it seems from the outside that it is all very friendly and supportive.
The Reality- Cut throat, Mean Girls environment. Lots of bullying.
The Expectation- Recruits are easy to find.
The Reality- You can go months and months without recruiting anyone. Friends block you. Invitations start dropping off. You become unpopular.
The Expectation- It is cheap to start up and run.
The Reality- There are many expenses that all add up. See below.
Typical expenses over a month, as described by an ex-FLP member.
£12 FLP360 site
£7 QLS site
£2.99 smart pod / PowerPod
£20 Business Cards
£100 – to hire room for BP
£120 (at least on personal use products)
£50 success day tickets (hotel fees, transport, food, parking on top of this)
Team incentives £varies (one month we were all encouraged to buy an iPad mini for a team incentive, products, books and CD’s are also common incentive prizes)
£30 teas and coffees at 1-2-1’s
If you can’t retail / struggle to recruit and you are a manager you will have to buy your 4cc!
£50 on books/ audio / mindset training
£80 on products for Trial baskets
£40 – office stationary / phone bill
£other training events
The £300 costs were once a quarter for team parties
Success days are now £50 and when in Birmingham or London you have to pay for travel accommodation food etc so it soon adds up
Out team trainings cost £20 a time out of our own pocket these were held 5 times a year
Mindset weekends were approx £250 twice a year
Plus costs of running the business travel costs trial products, business cards advertising, paying for room hire for business presentations and team trainings
£300 a quarter for team parties
Total- £687 to £1470 (this figure takes into account the frequency of the training/ events.)
And from another ex-FLP member-
“Monthly costs for me were at worst just over £500 per month as some months customers wouldn’t order as products do last and if I was unable to recruit despite working really hard I would have to buy my case credits just to get paid my leadership bonus.”
But the costs don’t matter if the earnings are great do they? Here’s an enlightening quote from one of the above people- “I used to earn about £1800 per month but put in a lot of hours…. that money dropped every month as people left. When it dropped to £800 I had to stop as my costs were more than I was earning. I couldn’t sustain it.”
We keep hearing about all the time that it takes to put into this scheme to get anything back. What does a typical day look like? Here is one woman’s experience…
“Told to do mindset from 6 but started at 7
Then from 9am after sorting my children I would be making calls prospecting people.
Commenting on team posts on facebook…. motivating others….
Sending out messages asking if people were interested in trying the products. Noone was interested really I got the odd lead but hated bothering people
I neglected my family at times as I was so wrapped up in Forever it takes over your whole life . Then I was out or working at home every evening. Online business presentations, actual live business presentations, one to ones with people.
Training up a new person so planning with them.
Team get togethers it was constant.”
“How time is spent over an average day:
6am: Alarm 6:05: headphones in to listen to mindset training
6:30: Check team pages & business page / answer messages
7am: shower, dressed, makeup, lunches for family
8:10: school run 9am back from school run and will have morning with my youngest child. I usually tried to go somewhere I could meet “new friends” – shopping centres, play groups, the park. Post on FB/ Instagram Carding / fliers being given out and a lot of time my 3 year old was handed food / iPad to keep him quiet.
1pm: school pickup
1:40pm: home and lunch for kids / homework / after school activities (retailing and prospecting on my way)
4pm: prep team training, catch up with team, message some customers and Post on FB / Instagram
5pm: start dinner, iron hubbies work shirt. Watch training while I do these things.
After I get my children to bed at 8pm I start working on my social media. I would have a list of people pre written on a Sunday and I profile and take time to engage with them trying to build rapport to see if they are interested in the business / products. Some evenings I would have launches / pamper parties / sizzles to attend. The local BP would be attended once a week. I hosted an online webinar once a week. Online events were at least once a month too. So evenings were really full.
11pm: evening mindset training & gratitudes.”
I asked her what ‘gratitudes’ are.
“Gratitudes- where you sit and think of things you are grateful for that day. It’s part of mindset.
I was absolutely shattered. I’m still recovering.
I found myself snappy, irritable and my anxiety was through the roof. If the team didn’t have a good month I would beat myself up.”
I find all this really, really sad. These women are stretched financially, time-wise, energy-wise, friend-wise and they are fighting a losing battle where the odds are stacked against them. And they are told to be grateful.