Attn: Pyramid Schemers, I’m Not Selling Your Sh** for You. Quit Asking.

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For the 3rd time this week, I’ve gotten a message from somebody I barely know, or that I haven’t talked to in ages. It always starts the same way: “Hey girl! How’s it going? I’ve started this brand new business…” like they’re the first person to try to get other people to sell things for them under the guise that they can make six figures… “And I really think you’d be interested in it.” i.e. “I’d really like to get my hands on your client list, email contacts, and 3k Facebook friends.”

Now, this post is in no way disrespecting anybody trying to make money. Making extra money on the side is a great way to get ahead financially. I fully respect a side hustle! I’ve been self-employed for over a decade and realize that making money while having a flexible schedule is an attractive work situation. HOWEVER, I’m sick of being hounded by the pyramid converts… or should I say the “multi-level marketers,” which they’re now referred to. Here are the following reasons why: 

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{1} It doesn’t matter if you call it multi-level marketing.  It’s still REALLY annoying.

How it works: You make money if I buy your stuff. I make money if I recruit a bunch of other people to sell that stuff. I tell them THEY can make money if they buy my stuff and get other people to sell it. It’s not technically a pyramid scheme if there’s legit product, but it’s also not very profitable unless you’re the first few people at the company. Check out why it’s on the list of the Most Tried and Failed Businesses.

> The thing that annoys me the most is that people want to make it sound like they’re doing me a favor. “I’m going to let you buy a bunch of product from me. Then, I’m going to let you throw a party for all your friends (that don’t want to come… at all). And then I’m going to make you spend all day cleaning your house and cooking food for all of them. Then you’re going to pressure your buds to buy things and make them host their own parties so you can make money. The more of your friends that throw parties and sell things, the more money you make!”

Shut up.

 

{2} You’re not the only one doing this. 

Realize that the market is saturated with SO many people attempting the exact same thing. It’s not the 80s anymore when you needed your local Mary Kay or Tupperware consultant. I literally get two to three emails per week touting the advantages of me selling skin care, weight loss pills, etc. I’ve had to literally write out a response and save it on my computer so I can quickly copy and paste it into the message box to respond and not waste time in my day. I think now I’ll just respond with the link to this very post. Feel free to do the same!

 

 

{3}  If you want to start selling stuff, then YOU sell it. 

I have no problem if you want to sell bags or crappy jewelry or supplements, but YOU need to be the one selling it. Put your ads on your own social media pages, not mine. Don’t send me recruiting messages and don’t add me to your Facebook groups. And if you do add me to your group, and I remove myself, DON’T ADD ME BACK ON. I will block you. I have my own clients and business that I’m marketing for, I really don’t have time to sell your ish too.

Plus, the usual pitches sound fake AF. If people would just send me a message saying, “Hey, I just started selling ___. Here’s the link if you want to check it out. If you’re interested in purchasing anything, let me know and I’ll put an order in! Thanks and have a great day,” I wouldn’t be annoyed about it. The first thing they go for though is my contact list. “Hey, I’ve got this great ____ that all your clients would just looooove. How about you sell it to them?”

How about you f*** off?

 

{4} I need 4 bags with my initials on them like I need a hole in my head.

Can we get real with the sh** you’re actually trying to sell to people?! I don’t need multiple sets of permanent fake eyelashes. (I wore them for years for dance competitions. I can buy them for a few bucks at the local drug store or Target. I don’t need to look through a 28 page catalog!) Nor do I need crappy fake jewelry that’s going to turn my skin green, bend and break, or just look tacky. What happened to peeps selling Pampered Chef?! That ish was actually useful! And it was good quality.  If you’re not selling things people actually need, you’re even more annoying.

 

{5} Just because I’m in the fitness industry does NOT mean I’m going to sell supplements… or juices… or wraps… or cleanses.  

It’s hard enough to try to get my clients to eat real food (meat, poultry, fruits, veggies). Getting them to skip the drive-thru and cook actual food (the kind that expires in the next couple weeks) is ridiculously hard in this day and age, but I’m still working toward it. The fast foods and quick fixes are the reason people are in such terrible shape as it is. The LAST thing I’m going to do is sell them supplement powders or pills. Seriously. Don’t even try me.

 

{6} NOBODY wants to come to those kinds of parties.

When I hear the word, “party” I think booze, dancing, and socializing. You know what I want to do on a Thursday night? Go dancing with my man-friend. Go to the movies or to a show. Watch Grey’s Anatomy with my best friend and drink wine and talk about anything and nothing at all.  Or watch a movie with my family. Or sleep. Know what I don’t want to do? Listen to a sales pitch for crap I don’t want to buy, and then buy it anyway because I know that’s the only reason you’re having this stupid party in the first place. I’d really rather just send you $30 on PayPal and skip the awkwardness.

 

{7} I realize you’re trying to make extra money, but there are lots of other (more effective) ways.

In all seriousness, the reason any of your family members or friends goes to one of these parties is because they want to help you make some money. The want to support you in a time of need. I’ve conceded when a friend of mine was going through some financial hardships and they were trying to make ends meet. I get that wholeheartedly BUT I’d actually give you more money if you sold a service I actually needed. And then I’d tell people about it.

I love promoting and shopping at businesses that my friends are operating. I tell everybody about my hair stylist, my makeup artist for special occasions, my accountant, my friend’s pilates studio, etc. I don’t ever spread the word about the 8,000 mg of caffeine you could put in a pre-workout shake. People don’t need that sh**. Or more stuff. They also don’t need $60 face wash or awful make-up that ran its course in the 80s. You know what people really need? House-sitters, dog-walkers, cleaners, lawn care, CHILD CARE!

> > A couple I know was trying to raise money to adopt a child a few years ago. Instead of ambushing her entire network with jewelry parties, the mom sold a bunch of clothes and shoes she didn’t wear anymore. Then, they held Friday night babysitting events to encourage friends to have a date night while they watched a few families’ kids at once. They made fliers, promoted it on social media, and held several of these events over the course of a few months. Brilliant! I’d rather pay friends of mine to watch my kids than a 12 year old. And I’d know my money was going to a good cause.

 

So do yourself (and all your buds) a favor: When you start thinking about joining a multi-level marketing business, first read this, then ask yourself if you’re willing to make that your life (because you’re not going to make 6 figures working just 5 hours a week… you’re just not). Ask yourself if you would buy those products yourself on a regular basis. Ask yourself if you would attend one of those parties if 5 of your friends were selling that same item…

Next, write out a list of skills you have that would be useful to people with disposable income (walking dogs, house-sitting, fixing things around the house, cleaning pools/cars/boats, mowing yards, watching kids) and promote those sorts of business ventures.

If you need extra money, there’s no shame in that. Just sell your stuff yourself.

 

 

  •  I will say that I was actually happy to purchase a necklace from the Noonday Collection, which was hosted by a girlfriend of mine that had lots of wine on hand. The necklace was gorgeous and the company’s goal is to employ global artisans for a fair wage and help them with interest free loans to start their own businesses, and save for education, and emergencies. This article was great.
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Comments

  1. Ami,

    Yep, so true! I’ve been “tricked” into wasting my time on a phone call with more than one “colleague” who initially acts like they are very interested in my services and hiring me for something. But instead they try to get me to buy into their MLM nutrition scheme. That’s an immediate unfollow for that person on all social channels–provoking people to shut you out is a great way to market, eh?

    Thanks for the entertaining post!

    Amanda

    • Ami says:

      Haha. Thanks so much for reading, Amanda! If people were more straight up about their messages I wouldn’t be so annoyed. I still wouldn’t take them up on it, but I wouldn’t be AS pissed with them either.

  2. I totally get not wanting to be bugged and pitched all the time. I, for one, am exhausted by the “cold call” requests on LinkedIn who are clearly using me to try to get closer to my husband, who they perceive as someone who might hire them. I have 15+ years in the fitness industry and I also have to just cringe and shudder when I see people offering supplements, exercise videos, etc. without training or really any context in the health and wellness field.

    I used to get really foul at the people pitching me. Then I decided to change my mindset. The fact is, the retail landscape is changing profoundly right before our eyes. There will be fewer storefronts as online sales interactions increase. Direct retail is a way to offer up customized, professional and personal service (like we used to get in storefronts) via the internet and face-to-face sales.

    Here’s an example: I realized a few nights ago that I was late for a family member’s birthday. Instead of agonizing, I shot a FB message to my friend who sells Stella & Dot. Within ten minutes I had purchased a gift, within my price range, that she will have shipped and gift wrapped with a card. Easy peasy. Similarly, when I searched for hours for a dress to wear to my dad’s funeral and just couldn’t fathom dealing with one more detail, I sent her a pic of the dress and within a half hour she had accessorized me.

    Are all these companies worthy of our time? That’s a resounding, “No!” But some of them are. And, I believe in the power of the marketplace which will ensure that the cream will rise to the top and the companies shilling needless or bad products will not make it.

    But really, while you may not enjoy getting asked to these socials and you may not see the value in what these folks are selling, other people do. There’s a reason why this model proliferates, and that’s because it works. Is it perfect? Again, a resounding, “No!” But I trust that that will work itself out over time.

    Meanwhile, I personally have made good use of the ability to scroll past the messages that I don’t like.

    Thanks for the opportunity to have dialogue on this.

    • Ami says:

      Hi Kristine, Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. Please realize that most of the language in this post is me attempting to be funny. I’m certainly not going to cuss out anybody because they participate in MLM. In all reality, it doesn’t affect me to see other people selling things. It’s got its time and place, like anything. This post came more from a place of getting message after message for me to sell the stuff too, which is annoying. If somebody posts their own products on their own pages, that doesn’t bother me at all. I can scroll past or unfollow pretty easily! Goodness knows people probably do the same with me when I’m promoting my own fitness programs. We are all trying to make money doing things we love. I’d just love to NOT get involuntarily put into MLM Facebook groups or recruitment pitches every day of the week. : )

      • (I keep thinking that FB is going to crack down on the involuntary MLM group add thing.)

        Truth be told, MOST all MLMers are violating the FTC disclosure requirements. https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-staff-revises-online-advertising-disclosure-guidelines/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf

        Actually, most everyone marketing anything online is! And, I used to be pretty obnoxious about flagging those posts because it made me very mad as a blogger to be abiding by the rules for my $0.02 from an Amazon affiliate link when people were making real cash money off of MLMs.

        But the reality is most companies do not train their sales forces on those rules. And there is so very little – so very little! – enforcement. Plus. FB has created algorithms that take anything labeled appropriately and make sure only 1-2 people see it (so the poster will pay to “boost” the post) that there is huge disincentive to following the rules.

        I’ve recently signed on with a company that I really respect – Beautycounter – and will keep my business on my business, not personal, FB page. And, I plan to make my business as much about face-to-face as online, if not more. But still, the decisions are difficult and, like I said above, worth dialogue.

        It’s a new world out there, to be sure!

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