Former MLM'ers?

Just curious. How many of you tried and failed at MLM, but still consider it a positive experience.

I definitely fall into that category. Despite the heartbreak, along with the wasted time and money, the experience taught me to believe in myself. It made me realize that ordinary people can be rich. Obviously I always knew that, but before MLM I didn't FEEL it.

I was with Amway, Rexall and Sunrider. Believe it or not, Amway was the one that really fixed my brain. They really focused on the motivational tapes (because that's where most of the big boys made the real money), and a lot of it stuck with me.

I have a buddy that is doing very,very well with Advocare.

This is his 4th year and the last 3 years he has been doing it full time.

I think MLM is a lot like regular business.There are good companies and bad ones.

But I think the best thing that happened is his self confidence has taken a huge boost.He attends most of their sales/marketing training and I know if for whatever reason he decides not to sell advocare he will be able to get a sales job very easy.And he will do well.

advocare- what's that dog food? Just curious

from my own personal experience, i've known dozens of mlm'ers, but none ever made money enough to justify their continued participation. apart from that , i've heard tons of "success" stories about people i don't know. i tend to trust what i've seen, not heard. i think the natue of its structure dictates that a few will prosper while the many don't....its a pyramid. just my 2 cents. check out this site:

i'd love to hear gorden hester's opinion of the article in that link. i'm sure he could give the other side.

Check out
There you will find a TON of info about MLM's and how they do business. There is plenty of information and it might take some time but it is well worth the effort.

You can also check out

I was involved in a MLM about 2 years ago and it totally changed my life as far as the way I view making money. I never actually made money with that company but the leadership training was outstanding. When I started the MLM I had one poorly run Jiujitsu school and that was pretty much my full time job - now I have 3 good schools and my own billng service. I am still involved with one MLM and I would recomemend other to try different programs like that :)

Justin Morris

Bottom line on the real MLM companies: They work, but they are incredibly difficult. Probably the most difficult business model on the planet for a distributor to make work. The VAST majority of people will always fail. The VAST majority of those failures are due to a lack of effort necessary to make it work. That's why even solid, legitimate public companies, like Amway, have terrible reputations among the general public. People are bitter about not being able to make it work.

In defense of the bitter people; Most of the people who are involved make it seem MUCH easier than it really is. People don't realize how quickly they'll blow through their warm market, and have to resort to wandering the malls meeting people or cold calling.

the vast majority of people fail due to the structure of the companies not lack of effort. they are legal pyramids that get around the law by "selling" a product. why not be bitter after having been pumped up at meeting, misled about the facts, wasted time and money, and all you have left to show for it is a closet full of toiletries you don't want or need?

read that site i posted. mlm's play off of human nature and take advantage of people. as for 15 million people being involved justifying mlm, there are over 15 million drug addicts also but that doesn't justify drug use. there are millions of cult members also. numbers don't make right. i could go on but the site says it better and in more detail than i can. i'm not saying that no one makes money, just that most lose, some scratch and don't make enough to justify their time and effort, and an elite few makes loads off the backs of others. it is the latter's example that keep the others involved - like the occasional cars won in vegas at the slots. just as the lottery's structure dictates that most will come out losers while an elite few will make lots of money, so does mlm's structure.

The article below was copied from, it profoundly explains the realities of MLM.

Multi-Level Marketing

What it was. What it became. What it is today.

by: J.F. (Jim) Straw

To begin with ...

Multi-Level Distribution Is As Old As Business Itself!

If it weren't for the Multi-Level Distribution of products throughout the world and across this nation, you would have to travel to Battle Creek to get a box of breakfast cereal ... to Switzerland to buy a fine wristwatch ... to Detroit to buy a car ... to California or Florida to buy orange juice ... to Mexico to get a Taco ... (you get the picture).

Multi-Level Distribution systems are dependent upon each level buying and reselling the products for their own account. - That, of course, requires capital investments in warehousing and distribution facilities, in addition to the cost of the inventory.

Owing to the (sometimes massive) capital costs involved in establishing the necessary warehousing and distribution facilities inherent in Multi-Level Distribution systems, small manufacturers were often limited to selling their products only within their limited surrounding area.

That lead to the eventual creation of ...

Multi-Level Marketing As It Was!

Long before William Penn Patrick's Holiday Magic Cosmetics (which I sold) ... even though it wasn't called Multi-Level Marketing ... Raleigh Products, Fuller Brushes, Watkins Products, and Avon Cosmetics (all of which I have also sold) were sold through warehousing distributors, area distributors, sub-distributors, dealers and finally retailers (with varying names for each level; of course).

In companies like those mentioned, the money flowed up from the retailer; ultimately to the manufacturer, with each level in-between taking their share off-the-top, filling the order and then replenishing their inventory by buying from the next higher level. Each level was clearly defined by the amount of product actually purchased and inventoried by the person on that level. Throughout the marketing levels, the emphasis was always on selling the product. Each level was structured to provide speedy deliver of the product to the end-user. - Of course, to eliminate the problem of salesmen absconding with the sample cases and samples, most of the companies required that the cases and samples be purchased ... up the same levels of distribution.

If a distributor's sub-distributors didn't sell enough product, the distributor still had to buy enough inventory from the next higher level to keep and maintain their distributor status. - That meant the distributor had to reach into their pocket and buy inventory for future sales. So, each level pushed the lower levels to sell more product.

The first Multi-Level Marketing companies (as we know them today) were a take-off on this method of marketing. - Those companies were designed and intended to take a manufacturer's products directly to the consumer market ... in volume ... rapidly.

But, the emphasis was changed from selling the product to recruiting more and more and more sales people. - Why? - Because it was logical to assume that if 100 sales people, making just one sale each per month, could sell 100 of a product - then - 10,000 sales people, making just one sale each per month, would sell 10,000 of a product. - The more sales people, the more sales.

In order to make recruiting sales people profitable, the originators of the first programs paid a commission for each 'dealer' recruited ... whether that person every sold anything or not. They did, however, require that each 'dealer' buy a minimum amount of product ... or recruit an established number of new 'dealers' ... each month to qualify for commissions from all of the 'dealers' they had recruited, and those recruited by those 'dealers,' and those recruited by those 'dealers,' etc., etc., etc.

Did you notice that I changed from hiring sales people to recruiting dealers? - That's because dealers don't have to sell anything.

The money to pay those commissions came from the "fees" a person had to pay to become a dealer ... the higher the level you bought into, the higher the "fees" you paid, and the higher your commissions on the "fees" paid by the dealers you recruited ... with on-going commissions coming from the required monthly purchases made by those who stayed in the program (if there were any). - Of course, you didn't have to buy the minimum amount of product inventory if you recruited enough new dealers each month ... from which you earned your commissions instead.

Later, when laws were passed outlawing the payment of commissions based on "dealer fees," the promoters simply reduced the dealer fees to token amounts (or nothing) and began paying the commissions on the sales of sample cases and samples ... which, if you didn't sell any, you didn't earn any commissions.

What Multi-Level Marketing Became!

In the beginning, Multi-Level Marketing was designed and intended to take a manufacturer's products directly to the consumer market ... in volume ... rapidly. - That is still its highest and best purpose, when it is the true and real goal of the marketing company (which is rarely the case anymore). However ...

It didn't take long for the less-than-scrupulous marketers to learn that they could expand a company's sales exponentially, overnight, by simply selling sample cases and samples ... even if none of the product ever got into the hands of the consumer, the company's sales volume was excellent.

That's when all kinds of marketing consultants began promoting establishing Multi-Level Marketing divisions within companies which were desperate for sales. - That, in turn, is ...

How Multi-Level Marketing Programs Began Violating the ...

First Law of Business!

The First Law of Business is ...

Demand Creates Supply!
(Not the other way around.)

To explain. -- If 1,000,000 people want (or need) Purple Widgets, in accord with the First Law of Business, someone, somewhere, somehow will create Purple Widgets to meet that demand. -- The demand creates the supply.

On the other hand, if you had 1,000,000 Purple Widgets in your warehouse, but no one wanted them, those Purple Widgets would be worthless. -- A supply alone can not create a demand.

Although the First Law of Business states that "Demand Creates Supply," it wasn't long before some of the marketing consultants discovered that they could sell almost anything ... even if it was a product for which there was NO demand (your warehouse filled with Purple Widgets) ... by simply creating a Multi-Level Marketing Program and selling tons and tons of a product no one wanted "in sample cases". - Then, when the dealers (sample-case-buyers) dried-up, the promoters simply moved-on to another company.

Occasionally ... as luck would have it ... an unknown 'demand' would be found and a product would find a true market; after the Multi-Level Marketing Program had died. But, usually, when the Multi-Level Marketing Program died, so did the company. - Some of them walked-away with a bundle of money from the sales of their 'sample-case-products.' -- Most lost all the money they had accumulated from their 'sample-case' sales by trying to reestablish a perceived 'demand' that didn't exist.

Today, the Multi-Level Marketing promoters are in ...

Full Compliance with the First Law of Business!

But, instead of supplying the products and services demanded by the public, they are ...

Supplying Multi-Level Marketing Programs to Multi-Level Marketers!

That's right, you don't even need a real product or service today. All you have to have is a Multi-Level Marketing Program.

Being an ol'professional Mailorder Marketer, I have had the pleasure of personally knowing some of the real, honest promoters and marketers who employ Multi-Level Marketing methods to sell their products and services.

On the other hand, I have also been thrown into close personal contact with those Multi-Level Marketing promoters who are less than scrupulous ... meaning they have no qualms about taking people's money under false pretenses (which, unfortunately, is the vast majority of the MLM promoters of today).

Note: In the Multi-Level Marketing industry of today, people who buy into the programs are always referred to as "mooches." Thus, those of us who have "been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" very often refer to M-L-M as "Mooches Losing Money."

Anywho, as one of those Multi-Level Marketing promoter once told me, he just keeps creating and selling "hot-air sandwiches." - Once the 'dealers' figure out it's a "hot-air sandwich," he just wraps his "hot-air sandwiches" in a new Multi-Level Marketing program ... with a new name, from a new location ... and sells them to the same "mooches" all over again. (His words, not mine.)

But -- that's not the reason ...

Why over 90% of the people who get involved in Multi-Level Marketing programs fail miserably!

Although I have made a bundle of money selling multi-level products ... believe it or don't ... I have never been involved in Multi-Level Marketing.

Back when I was a very young man, my Daddy told me ...

Never Ask Anyone To Do Anything For You That You Could Not Or Would Not Do For Yourself!

Of course, when my Daddy told me that I thought (at first) it was about the dumbest thing I had ever heard. As a matter of fact, my initial response was a little flippant ... "What about having a baby?"

His answer opened my eyes and my mind ...

"Son, I didn't say you had to be able to do everything you ask people to do for you. I said not to ask anyone to do anything that you either could not or would not do for yourself. If you ask a young lady to have a baby for you, it should be when you would be willing to have a baby for her, if you could. If you aren't ready and willing to take the responsibility for (have) the baby yourself, don't ask her to do it for you."

Living that sage advice, throughout my over 40 years (man and boy) career as an entrepreneur, whenever I came across a product I wanted to sell ... even a multi-level product ... I sold it myself. - I never put any effort into "recruiting" dealers ... I just sold the products. Then, if one of my customers did become a dealer, I earned the resulting "downline" commissions from their sales.

But ...

You Can't Even Do That Today!

Back when I made real money selling Multi-Level products, the "sales person" who sold the product (me) earned the lions-share of the commissions ... usually 33% to 50% of the "retail" price. And, even though the products were sold through a Multi-Level Marketing plan, the products were "legitimately priced" for the consumer market.

Today, the "commission" paid to the person who makes a real sale of the product is so low ... commonly 10% to 15% ... the advertising cost alone would devour every penny you earned in direct sales commissions. And ...

In order to pay 10% to 15% commissions on 3 to 5 levels, the "retail prices" of the products are so over-inflated, the only person you could hope to sell the product to would be someone who wanted to "buy a dealership" ... not the product.

As a matter of fact ...

You Can't Even "Buy" Multi-Level Products Anymore!

"What?" you say ... "That's right," I say.

Every month, I receive hundreds upon hundreds of Multi-Level Marketing offers. - Last week, I received 37 in the mail; 53 by FAX; and over 100 by e-mail ... Guess What?

Not one of the offers I received even tried to sell me their product. - In every case, in order to "buy" the product, I had to "sign-up" to be a dealer. - Most of the offers didn't even tell me what the product was ... just a "get-rich-quick" come-on alluding to the product by its brand-name or generic description. The only thing they were selling was the right to sell somebody else the right to sell somebody else the right to sell the right to sell the right ... ad nauseam.

Even those companies that did have a seemingly real product didn't offer to sell that product to me. They only offered me the "opportunity" to sign-up as a dealer.

Now ... since I know for a fact that a 'few' of you are involved in "MLM" ... let me explain the facts of business life to you.

YES! There are MLM companies that do (or at least 'pretend' to) attempt to sell their products - but - their "dealers" don't. The "good intentions" of the company are shot to hell by the "dealers" who only see the downline commissions. The "dealers" couldn't care less whether or not they sell any products ... as long as they recruit and enroll more dealers. - After all, that's the name of the MLM game. - And, when there are no more dealers to be found for their current offering, they move on to the next "hot-air sandwich" ... even if it has a seemingly real product to sell.

So, here's ...


Why over 90% of the people who get involved in Multi-Level Marketing programs fail miserably!

As I told you earlier, in order to satisfy the First Law of Business, instead of supplying the products and services demanded by the public, the MLM companies are only ...

Supplying Multi-Level Marketing Programs to Multi-Level Marketers!

But ... the number of people involved in Multi-Level Marketing is a limited universe. It can only survive by finding "new mooches" to buy "hot-air sandwiches." Because, after a "mooch" has bought into a number of "hot-air sandwiches," he or she quits and a "newer mooch" has to be found. Because, sooner or later, they will learn, for a fact ...

There Ain't No Free Lunch!

Because the MLM companies are selling the Free Lunch Dream, every month I get at least a dozen letters proclaiming: "With your loyal customer base you could make yourself a fortune by marketing my program." - After all, they "know" that, if they can get me to sell the program for them, they will "get filthy rich" from my efforts (not their own) ... just like the big-boys in MLM told them they would.

But, let me tell you about the big-boys ... heavy hitters ... in MLM who, without hesitation, show you their big checks as 'proof' that YOU can make big money in their MLM program.

Let's pretend that a "heavy hitter" shows you his check for $10,000 from the MLM company he is promoting. -- What he doesn't tell you is that he has 1,000 people in his "downline" ... each generating a $10 commission for him - but - those 1,000 people are only making $10 each (usually spending $50 to do so).

But, you say, "My 'sponsor' is gonna put people in my downline."

Okay, here's how that works. -- In those programs, they use an inverted pay scale ... you earn very small commissions on your own sales and the commissions get higher and higher the deeper the downline goes (sometimes to 9 levels). -- It is designed to make your mouth-water when you see how much you can make on the 5th (or 6th) level if you only get one (just one) dealer on your first line.

On the other hand, the "heavy hitter" doesn't want to put people on his top line ... he wants to give them to you so they appear on his 3rd, 4th, 5th, or even 6th lines; where the commissions are the highest. -- You get the itty-bitty commissions while the "heavy hitter" gets the big commissions from the deeper levels he "gives" to you.

The odds of you ever getting people down to your 4th, 5th or 6th levels are slim and none because, nobody will stay with the program long enough for you to benefit from the higher commissions; while your heavy-hitter sponsor is already collecting at those levels because he gave you his first line sale.

Right now, you're probably thinking "Boy howdy! Ol'Jim sure hates MLM."

Wrong, hot-air sandwich breath. - Ol'Jim hates what MLM has become. - A real Multi-Level Marketing company, employing real sales people, with the real intent and purpose of taking a manufacturer's products directly to the consumer market ... in volume ... rapidly ... is still a viable and effective method of marketing. -- There just aren't very many real Multi-Level Marketing companies, today.

But ... if you have the stomach for it ...

You Can Get Rich In Multi-Level Marketing!

If you have no qualms about taking people's money under false pretenses ... can stomach telling people that they will make outrageous amounts of money (knowing full well they won't) ... without working ... by getting other people to do the work for them - or - "We do the work for you!" ... without selling anything ... just by "recruiting" others ... all you have to do is develop your own personal customer base of Multi-Level Marketers ... like the heavy-hitter have.

Then, keep your customer base supplied with more and More and MORE Multi-Level Marketing Programs ... the only "product" your customers are really buying.

But ... keep in mind ...

Hype Only Produces Hype Customers!

Where over 80% of my customers stay with me year after year, you will have to accept the fact that, in the case of "hype customers," you will lose 80% of your customer base each year and have to replace those people with new "hype customers" ("mooches" in the vernacular of the industry).

That's the way the "heavy-hitters" in MLM have done it and are doing it even today. - You can do it, too - but - do it with the knowledge of what you are doing ... don't start believing the "hype" yourself.

As for me, I like to sleep well at night, secure in the knowledge that the products I have sold today will, without equivocation, assist my customers in their search for prosperity. -- I can't honestly do that with the Multi-Level Marketing programs on the market today.

"Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share, and sought advantage over no one." - Robert Brault

thanks bob henry nice post

"the vast majority of people fail due to the structure of the companies not lack of effort."I'll rephrase then: Everyone I have ever met that tried and did not succeed, failed because of a lack of effort. Myself included.

Most people have no idea, or real desire, to put in the work that any business requires - MLM or otherwise.

Most people want to punch a clock, collect a check, and forget about work till Monday comes.

like most scams, mlm's rely on a fresh pool of suckers. their current strategy does "meet the needs" of the select few who reap the benefits from the vast pool of fresh meat that believe the hype.

to compare them to franchises is misleading. with a franchise, the product is central, in mlm, the structure is all that matters because the product really doesn't matter. in most cases the product is just the vehicle by which the top members can operate their pyramid scam legally.

i don't see how mlm's can focus on retention. the only way they could achieve retention levels anywhere near that of the average franchise would be for most participants to maintain profitablity. for that to happen, it would require an ever increasing pool of new recruits and with the exponential growth structure it wouldn't take too many levels until the entire population of the earth was selling shaving cream out of their trunks. read the tale of ponzi. its interesting and realted to this.

one exception doesn't prove the rule. if the product was that great they would be marketing it through traditional distribution channels (and i would have heard of it)and they would be paying their employess instead of the other way around. if it was that great and maximizing sales was really their goal, they wouldn't have chosen mlm as a business model.

you seem to have a vested interest in mlm's. why? you state above that you always try to look for the good in things and ignore the bad. very convenient philosophy to apply to mlm as there is so much bad to ignore. don't you think that the bad done by mlm's outweight the modicum of good that they do?. if concern for your fellow man was really paramount in your personal philosophy shouldn't you not brush over the terrible track records of most mlm's while calling attention to the few exceptions you have come across? wouldn't you do a better service to this board by leading those who look up to you based on your success into fields with better track records? i'm sure you are astute enough to know the reality of most who have tried mlm's and you seem like a nice enough guy, so why would you want to steer people in that direction?