What I wish I would have known about MLM's before I ever started them…
This week I am being featured in TIME Magazine regarding the over saturation of Multi-Level Marketing and the reality that most people will not likely make money within the industry, and sadly, the opportunistic approach many within the industry are currently using to try to recruit, due to the Covid Pandemic. As sad and desperate as some distributors stooping as low as making claims their products fight against Covid 19.
If you are considering joining any MLM I would highly suggest you read this TIME article before deciding. You can see the stark realities of the field. You can find the article HERE.
Pandemic Schemes: How Multilevel Marketing Distributors Are Using the Internet—and the Coronavirus—to Grow Their Businesses
Photo Source: TIME Magazine
The amount of people that reach out to me regularly regarding my ‘Why I quit Beachbody’ blog post I wrote a few years ago is unbelievable. I feel with the outpouring of people regularly reaching out to me and the amount of interviews I’ve given to reporters, that an updated blog post about my feelings on MLM’s after being in the field for multiple years after posting that blog post, was well overdue.
It is an experience I can hardly put into words, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. If you are considering joining Beachbody specifically and you haven’t read my original Beachbody post and the insane cult like public bashing that ensued when I decided to leave coaching, then I highly suggest reading it now.
I’ll start off by saying that Beachbody Coaching changed my life in many ways, as I stated in my original Beachbody blog post. I was an overweight stay at home mom without many stay at home mom friends, and it immersed me into a group of like minded people trying to get healthy and fit, and it was fun to have interaction within the Facebook group, being that I felt quite isolated. I quickly reached my goal weight and l loved the products! I knew my upline was making an absurd amount of money per month, liike $30,000-$40,000 or something crazy like that and we definitely could have used more income at the time. However, she started the first year Team Beachbody was a thing in the MLM world. So basically, she started over a decade ago when nobody knew what coaching even was, and has since obviously grown a large team beneath her. She most definitely would not have the success she has if she started her business now, with the extreme over saturation that MLM’s have in general, with Beachbody being one of the most saturated MLM’s available today.
I was told if I did the vital daily activities I could easily be making my goal of $2,000 a month in a reasonable amount of time. I never made a red cent in Beachbody in the 2 years I invested in the company. After the monthly fees, yearly out of state conventions, products you have to buy to be a product of the product and the wear and share clothing you need to wear so you can be a walking advertisement, you’re talking it costing roughly $3,000 a year it will COST you to coach depending on how far you have to travel for the convention. And trust me, if you are serious about building your business if you don’t go you’re certain to be shunned by your upline as not serious, and you’re left to the sidelines and not mentored like the others on how to build your business.
You can even ask my ex-husband. He will tell you that he’s never seen me more dedicated or work as hard as I did in Beachbody. I mean, I lived and breathed it. It was ALL I DID for TWO YEARS. It was literally a loss I took each year at tax time, even with all the write offs, and there are many. I can say this much, Beachbody will most definitely be the hardest MLM to make money in, but there’s a very high chance you won’t make money in any MLM, but I can guarantee you won’t in Beachbody unless you either:
A) have a very large social media following that trusts you when you start...
B) like the Love is Blind star, you explode with a following later.
Let’s face it, you’re helping people make a life change and you become essentially a life coach, not doing something as simple as picking out a foundation or lipstick, as is the case in many other MLM businesses. Trying to keep people motivated with daily check-ins and trying to keep them on Shakeology, which is priced so ridiculously high you’ll be lucky if 1% of your customers stay on it, so forget your supposed $30 residual monthly commision from that. Workouts aren’t like makeup or clothing that people run out of relatively quickly or just like to add to their collection. A client could potentially like one workout so much that they don’t want to try something new, or they just join Beacbody on Demand and you get some menial kickback from that.
The only way to consistently make money in ANY direct sales company is by growing a team, PERIOD. That IS a fact. You get a kickback from what your downlines sell. Why do you think your uplines are up your ass about not working hard enough….or you’re not focused….do more personal development. Sure, you can make money in sales, but the hard truth is unless you have some insane following like I mentioned before, the level of hustle you would have to do to make a living just off of sales is insane. You essentially wouldn’t sleep. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like to sleep from time to time. Just sayin.
Obviously, you have to ‘fake it till you make it’ in any MLM because you don’t make money out of the gate. I did a little bit of the fake it before you make it and it makes me sick to this day. I wasn’t grossly over the top with my posts, but I did make my ex-husband upset with posts like...I paid for our carpet to be cleaned, or I was able to pay cash for my flight to my Beachbody Summit (the annual Beachbody convention), because he felt like I was putting it on blast that we couldn’t afford it even though we could, but that’s what you’re told to do so people can relate to you and reach out. The hope is another stay at home mom will think huh, maybe I should do that for a little added income? Those parts I wish I could turn back time and change, and I have certainly offered up apologies and regret.
The whole ‘make your mess your message’. That’s what they will tell you to do. Vomit all your personal info because someone will relate and reach out. If you have anxiety, write all about that shit! If you have body image issues...write all about that too! Write about how you couldn’t afford $10 of gas once, but now you don’t have to check your bank account before you pump gas, and make sure you cry about it on cue like my old Beachbody upline does in every Youtube video. I guarantee you if you go to ANY Beachbody Coach’s social media right now you’ll find posts regarding these subjects or how “I wouldn’t be able to travel to all these amazing places”. Ya, they’re talking about all those trips you have to actually pay for a flight to get to to go on. It ain’t free people.
After Beachbody I tried two other businesses and found a wonderful culture and in no way the same cult minded scenario as Beachbody. The first company I tried after Beachbody was SeneGence. The company that invented Lip Sense. I made a decent amount of sales immediately after starting it because Lip Sense was very new and there was a buzz about it. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Lip Sense which made it hard for me to sell and be genuinely excited about. I will say however, their damn foundation is hard to beat!
The downside to that company was at the time, you had to purchase in advance and ship your own inventory, and I didn’t like that part of the business and felt it took away time you could be doing business building activities...aka...recruiting. I have many friends still in that business, of which none are making any remarkable amount of money. I didn’t stick with the company for more than a year, and certainly didn’t put into it even half as much as I did Beachbody due to those factors.
Senegence just so happens to be one of the companies mentioned in the Time Magazine article.
‘As the industry grows, so does awareness. Data obtained by TIME through Freedom of Information Act requests shows that consumer complaints to the FTC about MLMs have risen in recent years. Complaints against SeneGence, a makeup and skin-care MLM, jumped from two in 2016 to 14 the following year before falling to six in 2018; consumers reported total losses of nearly $25,000.’
(Information Source: TIME Magazine)
I decided to try a new company called Limelife. I loved the culture of that company and they seemed more geared toward finding balance and peace within your life and your business and they had beautiful websites and their products were amazing. In the end however, I still had that bad taste in my mouth that you really have to fake it until you make it. The only way to make a decent living in any MLM is to grow your team. So it’s really not so much about you loving the products you’re selling, it’s more about selling the lifestyle and getting distributors beneath you. When you boil it all down. The distributors ARE the customers. It’s all just one big pyramid scheme...only it’s currently legal. I have a feeling though...that won’t be for long. So in the end, I realized that MLM's most definitely weren’t for me.
I don’t care what anyone says, you are NOT a business owner. You are NOT a CEO BOSS BABE GIRL BOSS. You can lose everything you built if the company decides to fire you or goes out of business. That exact thing happened to my upline in Limelife. I had already left the company and honestly didn’t really follow the reasons she got fired, however, she was at the TOP of the company and she got fired. You have no guarantees that something isn’t going to go sideways and you lose everything. Hypothetically...what if you don’t have a lucrative website funneling customers to you and you are solely based on social media, and Facebook just shuts down? Or Instagram? Then what? What if for some reason your personal facebook gets shut down and you lose all of your contacts? That is a very real possibility.
There is ABSOLUTELY a cult like culture within MLM’s period. I hear these girls and I hear the old me. I see these posts and I think oh lawdy...how did I do that. Ever? I received a ‘Hey Girl’ message just last week from a Beachbody coach about joining one of her groups. I kindly said no, and mentioned I used to be a Beachbody Coach and still run my group for free. However, I don’t coach anymore actively with Beachbody since I realized I was financially losing my ass while coaching. The following voice messages she sent me were unbearably cringey for me to listen to. She immediately sounded attacking and that it must not have been my passion since I was only in it for the money. That it must have been my perspective that caused me to not become successful. Maybe I didn’t do enough Personal Development??? That she doesn’t do it for the money. She just loves coaching! I’m sure that’s why her latest posts are that she’s currently having panic attacks...trying to fit it all in.
These are all things people say that have drank the Kool Aid. She loves coaching and that’s why she does it going on 4 years. She doesn’t do it for money she says, as she has a full-time job. However, I bet if she was actually making money she wouldn’t have that other job now would she? Well sister, most of us that join an MLM are looking for an income. If I had wanted to coach for free I’d have done it on my own without being required to purchase or sell products monthly, which is precisely what I do now. I never shut down my Facebook accountability group and I am still actively in the group with my same people 4 years running. I was most definitely passionate about my business in every aspect. Nevermind that I helped multitudes of people lose weight and find themselves again and they are my forever friends, or that I helped one amazing woman lose over a hundred pounds, and she is now on the professional body competition circuit! Ya, I was kinda invested in my business. The financial side, as well as the human side.
In almost 4 years of doing Multi-Level Marketing I can tell you with certainty your chances of making any sort of respectable income is about 1%. I know hundreds of girls on my teams and there were maybe a handful, if that, on each team that actually made what I would consider a reasonable monthly salary you could actually live on, and I’m not talking private jets, champagne and caviar dreams. I’m talking between $2,000-$4,000 a month. You will have to compromise your self-respect, stalk all your Facebook friends’ friend lists, add anyone you have mutual friends with that you don’t know from Adam, and basically always ‘be on’ and ready to land a sale or recruit, and basically just start to see everyone as a pawn in your game or end goal. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and live that way. I’m a very genuine, loyal and sincere person, and in the end it didn’t align with my moral fiber.
My suggestion, if you are considering joining any type of MLM, is to go to the company’s income disclosures. They’re right there for you to see. For example here is Beachbody’s Income disclosure Statement. 80% of Coaches with an average of 4 years in tenure make just over $3,000 a year and uhhh, hello??? They be spending that shit on coaching. Enough said. Right?
Photo Source: Beachbody.com
Do you want to give up every minute of your life for freaking years to make MAYBE $3,000 a year? Shit, your ass could probably make more damn money in less time rummaging through dumpsters collecting and selling aluminum cans!
I hope this serves as some kind of PSA for anyone considering going the MLM route, especially in these trying times. It’s hard enough and stressful enough without dealing with a pandemic. Don’t add more financial and emotional stress thinking you can make a legitimate business in the MLM industry. It was hard enough with the over saturation before a pandemic that has mass quantities of vulnerable people being herded into an already overly saturated market. Again, if you haven't read my Beachbody Coaching experience post I think that would be enough to change your mind. You aren't finding your tribe or sisterhood. You're simply a cog in the wheel of your uplines master plans. A bunch of little worker bees making their dreams come true. Go spend quality time with your family and enjoy your life.
These are the wonderful ages of social media and a magical time for thinking out of the box and making an income doing it all online!
Please, don’t go hustle your life away lining the pockets of the CEO of an MLM!! Make your own dreams and go bust your ass to make them a reality!
I GUARANTEE, you’ll have way more luck doing that than you will have any luck with any MLM.
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,