Behind the headlines- analysis of a pro-MLM news article

I have become aware of a newspaper article that detailed how a woman had risen from being a desperate, poor single mum to a successful, rich business woman thanks to her involvement in a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) scheme. Regular readers of this blog will be aware of how unsuccessful most people are in this type of scheme. Was this woman one of the few real life success stories or was the article just regurgitating the MLM fairy story that is so often fed to new recruits?

Let’s have a closer look at the article. The link to the Daily Mail article is here. One of the principles of this website is to not make personal attacks so I won’t be identifying the woman involved by name, and I won’t make any disparaging personal comments about her. This article will just analyse the truth behind the claims that are presented in the newspaper.

cash strapped

The above snippet is at the very beginning of the article and, already, the inconsistencies are there. It starts by saying she is ‘turning over £1 million’ and also ‘on track to make £1 million a year’. These statements have quite different meanings. How long has it taken her to ‘turnover £1 million’? What does ‘on track’ mean? We have seen MLMers make ‘on track’ claims before. It just means it is what they are aiming for, what they hope to achieve. It is this hope that keeps them clinging to their MLM long after everyone else can see it isn’t working.

This exact same story has been repeated in The Sun and this is their headline-

sun

How successful is she really and what is the truth behind the claims?

She doesn’t have ‘a staff of 400’ for a start. The 400 reps are tied to The Body Shop At Home to sell their products and are reliant on the company for brochures, advertising, products etc. They are sales reps with no employment rights. Officially they are considered self employed contractors for the company. They do not work for the rep in the story at all.

Something that jumps out at me, and also to other readers (see the comments at the end of the article) are the inconsistencies. She claims to be nearly a millionaire, or at least owning a million pound business, or maybe just being in charge of some people who have sold £1 million worth of product, either way, she is claiming to have a ‘rags-to-riches’ story. She is boasting about being really rich. If she is so rich, why is she hoping to get on the property ladder? And why is she planning on getting married in 2 years time? If she is so rich and successful, why doesn’t she just buy a house and get married whenever she likes? She sounds like she is still financially behaving like a non-rich person.

Perhaps houses are really expensive in Aghalee and it is impossible to get a deposit for such an expensive are? A quick search on Rightmove, however, will show you that you can buy a 4 bedroomed house for £125,00 or £220,000.

purple bricks.PNG

If she had a million pounds, she could buy that house outright. Obviously she doesn’t have even £220,000, so she would need a mortgage. A mortgage could be obtained for this house with a £20,000 deposit. The thing with mortgages though is that you need to be able to prove a steady income, and MLM schemes would not count. The woman in this article seems to have been given a paid position in the company- managing the reps in the Northern Ireland division. Perhaps she is waiting until she has 6 months of payslips to prove her income?

If my theory is correct, the woman hasn’t accrued a fortune and anything she is able to afford now will be due to her paid employment, nothing to do with being a success in the MLM business.

The reality is more likely this-

Woman finds herself struggling for money, and out of desperation joins an MLM.

She finds it hard to make any money but realises her chances are better if she can recruit a lot of people. These people then spend money on products and starter kits, making profit for the MLM and raising the profile of the woman.

She qualifies for numerous incentive holidays with the company. I have tried to find out how much product people have to buy/sell to get this incentive but there are no details available anywhere. It is impossible to access any terms and conditions for the company. You have to express an interest on the website for a rep to contact you and then you can start finding out more.

She was successful in recruiting a lot of people.

Her recruiting got the attention of the MLM bosses who offered her a paid position.

Now, with a steady income, she is able to start saving for a mortgage deposit and then apply for one.

She can now start saving for a wedding.

 

My version of the woman’s story isn’t so exciting. Why would a misleading article like this be written in two different newspapers? The cynical part of me thinks that the ‘story’ was provided by the rep to the papers in an attempt to recruit more reps. One of the papers even has a video embedded of the rep explaining how great her ‘opportunity’ is.

In conclusion, this rep’s story is a non story and could result in more people joining an MLM scheme where 99.7% of people lose money.

If anyone wants to refute what I have said here, please comment below. Perhaps there is proof that the rep is actually very successful and has earned £1 million. If so, I would be very happy to look at it and issue a correction here.

 

Further Reading

Timeless Vie article on a real life experience of a Body Shop At Home rep.

Anti-MLM Coalition have a real life story of an ex-rep.

Bot Watch article on why conventional companies turn to the MLM model. Mentions Body Shop At Home.

A Reddit post on someone’s bad experience with Body Shop At Home.

 

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