Anti-MLM Mondays: Craft Fairs

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Happy Monday, folks. This week’s anti-MLM topic is craft fairs. Yes, if MLM huns aren’t infiltrating Facebook pages and Instagram DMs, they are also taking spots from actual craft makers via small-town craft fairs.

Being active on the anti-MLM subreddit, another theme I have noticed besides profiting off of tragedies and making baseless health and income claims is MLM huns portraying as small business owners (I mean, they do that when it’s convenient) in order to secure a spot at their hometown’s annual craft fairs.

For this week’s edition, I will be giving my reaction to 10 posts from Reddit that highlights this problem.

First, though, I want to turn the attention to a guest post on the MLM Truth blog about MLM and craft fairs. The post started off with the guest poster, who owns a small business and participates in these craft fairs, boldly stating that MLM reps don’t make their own products, they don’t own trademarks, and they don’t have any type of business license. Considering that most people pay for a starter pack to join one of these companies, this tracks.

The post also dived into the reasons why MLM huns show up at craft fairs despite the lack of craftiness required. One reason could be that the organizer has been involved in it themselves or has friends who are involved. Another could be ignorance. Maybe it’s not the right term, but sometimes organizers have no clue what MLM companies are and think they’re small businesses. Others know about the risks that come with hosting MLM reps and try to find a middle ground.

Reading further, some actual small business owners are coming together to promote their handmade products and to talk about their experience while people who are expecting all-handmade craft fairs just stop coming. Savy Writes Book, a YouTuber who runs a small business and does anti-MLM content, and someone I follow on there, did a video 3 years ago on this and I think I’ll leave it here below.

Okay, now let’s get to the posts

1. Targeting a 7-year-old girl for lipstick

A Reddit post from November 11, 2018, titled “MLM’s are ruining “craft” fairs”. A mom took her then-7-year-old daughter to a craft fair that she herself has never been to before. Her experience was so bad that she ended up contacting the organizers to ban MLM huns from participating after some tried to entice the young girl by trying to have her touch and feel the products.

2. More leggings aren’t always better

A Reddit post from July 10, 2018, titled “Local Craft Fair! AKA MLM Hell”. A mom took her then-3-year-old son and a few friends to a local craft fair that her city was advertising. Out of the 30 booths there, 5 were of actual small business owners. The rest were in MLMs, including about 8 or 9 of them from LulaRoe alone. That sounds like saturation to me. Just like the last post, the huns used a child to get the mom to buy from them.

3. When odds are stacked against you

A Reddit post from November 10, 2019, titled, “MLMs at craft fairs”. This post is from someone who has a small business selling handmade vegan products like candles and soaps. They felt like they have to prove themselves more than the other vendor because, surprise, surprise, the other vendors are MLM companies. Combined with a chronic health problem, the odds were stacked against them. Still, they will persist, as I got from the post

4. Wow, this seems legit /s

A Reddit post from November 6, 2021, titled “Local “homemade crafts” sales event is full of MLMs”. It’s a short post, but it’s a goodie. This person runs a bakery and had signed up to participate in a local craft fair that the local school is running. They counted about 20 or so booths, with MLM companies like Color Street, doTERRA, and Scentsy among them. Yep, definitely not local

5. The question speaks for itself on this one

A Reddit post from September 17, 2022, titled “Where are the crafts??” I think that’s a great question. Where are the crafts? I saw from this post that this craft fair is intending to host almost all MLM-related companies. Usborne, Thirty-One, Color Street, Avon, and Arbonne among them all. Do you see any actual, legit small businesses on here? I certainly don’t. Even being online doesn’t seem genuine.

6. Dude stands up for wife vs MLMs at craft fairs

A Reddit post from December 30, 2018, titled “MLMs at Craft Shows”. This person made this one short and sweet and to the point. It’s a short rant in that his wife has to compete with MLM vendors at craft fairs

7. “Un”popular Opinion

A Reddit post from August 3, 2020, titled “MLM’s shouldn’t be allowed to craft fairs”. This was posted on the Unpopular Opinions subreddit, but really, should it be there? Anyway, this post hits a point there. The CEO of Color Street (and other MLM companies for that matter) really don’t care about their reps. It may look like they do, but given the conditions, I also doubt it. It’s also lining the pockets of these same CEOs who already gots millions and billions to their name to begin with

8. No direct sales businesses allowed

A Reddit post from September 27, 2022, titled “I love knowing which fairs are safe to go to. This was definitely refreshing after seeing one last weekend with almost a dozen MLM sellers”. This is a change of pace from other posts. It shows a flyer promoting a craft fair that will be held next month. The part about direct sales businesses not being accepted is refreshing, so I’ll be awaiting an update sometime after November 20

9. I have to share booth space with a hun?

A Reddit post from October 13, 2019, titled “MLM mania at a craft show I’m doing”. An artist got accepted into a local art fair and was excited to go… until they got assigned a booth directly across from an MLM rep. Apparently, the “not accepting any more direct sales/MLMs” warning didn’t do much to deter them from joining. And yes, Norwex is an MLM.

10

A Reddit post from December 26, 2019, titled “”Craft fair” reads like our list of known MLMs…”. It’s a comment left on a Facebook post from someone who is concerned about the MLMs being at this craft fair. Red doesn’t like the inference of pyramid schemes, which pretty much sets the tone for this post.

There are probably other examples, but I want to showcase 10 of them so as to not clog this post too much, but they do show it’s a problem and organizers should find a way to differentiate actual small business owners from MLMs, or else people won’t do it. If you have been to a craft fair and came across an MLM product there, drop me a comment below

Anti-MLM Mondays: Tragedy and Death

Welcome back to another anti-MLM post. This week, we’ll be reacting to MLM posts about using tragedy and death to shill for products. Yes, that’s right. If using brainwashing tactics, emotional manipulation, and dangling the lifestyle over the heads isn’t enough, they will also use the tragedy of tragedies and the saddest of deaths to promote the product. Sometimes, they’ll promote the company as a whole.

When you think about the point where there should be a bottom… there isn’t one. I don’t think my trying to explain it would do justice, so I’m putting together 10 Reddit posts that encompass this “activity”. My reactions are in each caption.

1. The way this fits is just no

A Reddit post from March 22, 2022, titled “Latest Herbalife cringe marketing *ukraine energy bomb*”. We have an Herbalife “shop owner”, I guess, that is capitalizing on the war between Russia and Ukraine by selling this drink that is supposedly in support of Ukraine. The “donate a portion” trope is just so that they feel good about donating in the first place, almost like a performative activism type of thing

2. September 11th nails????

A Reddit post from September 12, 2019, called “9/11 sale”. A Color Street Hun used the (at the time) 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks by selling a nail set special to “honor” the lives lost that day. Basically using the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history to make a quick buck

3. No, we are not doing the military like this

A Reddit post from July 3, 2019, titled “Posh is offering a special for 4th of July, a discount to military families. Military wives would be excellent mlm victims due to the cultish camaraderie.”. Perfectly Posh is a skincare MLM company, out of many skincare MLM companies. This post promotes their discounted starter kits as thanks to the military for serving the country.

4. Essential oils as an answer to breathing? Really?

A Reddit post from June 8, 2020, titled “Doterra huns are using George Floyd’s death to sell their crappy oils and it’s disgusting”. This really made me angry. Imagine using the death of a black man at the hands (or knees) of a white cop to sell essential oils that don’t make two cents. They don’t just use tragic anniversaries to make a quick buck. They also use the biggest news stories to promote their products, especially if that story ends in someone’s death

5. Got hit by Hurricane Ian? Monat can help /s

A Reddit post from October 2, 2022, titled “My mom’s house was affected by Hurricane Ian. A perfect time to plug Monat!”. My state got hit by Hurricane Ian late last month, and while people lost everything in that storm, a top earner’s mom is more concerned about getting her hair done with very little hot water than basically surviving. The top earner in question is part of the 10 Million Dollar Commission club (per the comments) and still has to sell like crazy because of how the system is set up.

6. Dad died. Here’s my business

A Reddit post from April 30, 2022, titled “[TW: Death of a parent] Monat Rep’s father is buried on the same day as an event. Not only does she go to the event, she uses his death to advertise her business.” Staying with Monat, a rep had to bury her father and her upline praised her because she still showed up for the business. I mean, if that is not cult-like behavior. The OP confirmed that the hun did in fact put a celebratory post at the bottom of the first photo. All of this is just awful. She can’t even say goodbye to her dad without wOrKiNg ThE bIz

7. Imagine having a sale on the anniversary of your friend’s death (or heavenly birthday)

A Reddit post from January 8, 2022, titled “Having a sale for the anniversary of your friends death 😬”. Using someone’s death to sell products doesn’t have to happen on the day of the event or even a few days after. Sometimes, huns use the anniversaries of personal tragedies to make a quick buck, like this hun here. I was confused about this post at first, as the title suggests the friend in question died and it’s the anniversary of that event, but the original FB post mentions “heavenly birthday”, which suggests that it’s the friend’s birthday, but they are not here to celebrate it. Either way, this is just shallow and predatory.

8. I’m sure she needs those after a fire

A Reddit post from February 8, 2022, titled “Influencer uses her friend’s devastating house-fire to pitch sales for MLM (in the name of “donating”).” In this two-pic post (you’ll have to click on it since WordPress won’t show images embedded from Reddit if it’s 2 or more pictures), a Beauty Counter uses her friend’s house fire to field “donations” aka discounting her sales and taking a self-imposed pay cut to send proceeds to her friend’s family. And I will ask this… why not just donate directly? If you truly cared about her and the situation, you wouldn’t stoop so low to take advantage of this, but we’re talking to an MLM hun, so this message is moot to her

9. This makes Travis Scott look like a saint, and that’s a practically low bar to not cross

A Reddit post from November 7, 2021, titled “MLM Hun tries to cash in on the Travis Scott concert disaster.” 10 people died during the tragedy at Astroworld and this hun is coping with her ruined experience by asking people to buy her DoTerra essential oils (although she said it’s for the victims). A classic “woe is me” situation. 10 families have to bury their loved ones because of this, and all this lady cares about is herself, so this promotion she put out tracks. Also, she’s defending Travis Scott, another walking red flag

10. No length of time is too soon for a sale

A Reddit post from April 17, 2020, titled “For the lady who wants to coordinate her stick on nail polish with her favorite nautical disaster.” The Titanic, despite being built to last especially back then, sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. Even though it happened over a century ago and people have drowned as a result, this Color Street hun used this tragedy to make a sale for her nail sticker collection. Tragedy aside, some people in the comments have clowned the hun for not having any blue nails on sale. I mean, dull colors and a nautical tragedy, this MLM sale checks out

These are the 10 posts I wanted to react to that fit the theme. I think each post showcased here has different scenarios going on, but they all come to the same conclusion — taking advantage of tragedy, personal or not, to promote their business, or to have some special that “honors” but completely misses the mark

Anti-MLM Mondays: High School Mean Girls to Hunbots Pipeline

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NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Happy Monday. Still recovering from Hurricane Ian, but at this point, I am in a good position to get things back on track. Enough about that, though. I have an interesting topic about multi-level marketing that I saw constantly when I was watching anti-MLM content during the pandemic.

We already know that MLM reps are called ‘huns’ because that’s usually how they greet their potential recruits. We have heard about cold messaging, which is what huns resort themselves to after tapping out their warm market. A warm market is their inner circle, like friends, family, and acquaintances. Once they tap out of it, they enter their cold market, which is full of complete strangers. We heard about huns not checking a profile beforehand when they send those “hey hun” messages to complete strangers — telling them they would be killing it in what they do. Even if they do check profiles, they will find something if they can solve it for a profit.

But one thing that is constant in this part of the topic is huns contacting their former classmates years after graduation. It didn’t even matter how long ago they went to school together… 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, even 10, 20, 25 years after graduation. If you’re from a small town, you might or might not have a message from a former classmate that claims to want to catch up with you in an effort to really pitch you an MLM opportunity.

I know you’re wondering where I’m heading with this, but before I get there, I will tell you that even though I haven’t gotten a “hey hun” message since graduating from high school 15 years ago, I have gotten invitations to join some friends’ pages on Facebook which turned out to be fronts for their MLM businesses. However, this isn’t what we’re focusing on.

I have noticed while scrolling in the anti-MLM subreddit, fellow Redditors have posted messages after messages of former school bullies who have contacted them about joining an MLM. We are talking about those who essentially peaked in high school (read: popular kids) who are still chasing that spotlight well into their 20s and 30s contacting their classmates whom they once hated to “link arms” with them in a business.

This will be a Reddit reaction post

A Reddit post from July 19, 2018, titled “The “Girl you went to high school with that joined an MLM” Starter Pack”

The order in which I embedded these posts is not the same order in which I found them, but I wanted to start off with a hilarious starter pack post that sees some correlation between girls who peaked in high school and their MLM businesses. It features quotes such as “I run my own business” and “no chemicals” but it also includes a picture of a baby named “Westley”, a Facebook post that conveys a hun’s love for her “job” and a picture of a Younique credit card. Yeah, that’s a thing. Anyway, the following posts fit the bill almost to a T.

A Reddit post from January 4, 2019, titled “Girl from high school in MLM posted this. Doesn’t this prove that it’s a pyramid scheme?”

A Redditor made this post after watching an Instagram story from one of her former classmates that tried to explain the difference between a pyramid scheme and an MLM. While they do have the same characteristics, most MLM huns don’t make the most money unless they have a team. Basically, they combine the recruiting tactics of a pyramid scheme with a commission-based sales tactic with a few extra steps

A Reddit post from January 4, 2021, titled “Guess that MLM! 🥴 girl is an ex-friend from high school who is a serial MLMer.”

Sometimes the former high school classmate is a victim of circumstance. In this instance, we have Molly, a Redditor who goes by “No-Veterinarian6652” who was being contacted by her former classmate who was in several MLMs. Scrolling to the comments section, I find a comment from Molly who answered another Redditor’s question about her ex-classmate joining Beachbody, in which she responded in part “She has two babies and is a SAHM and I know she is a target for MLMs. She was previously in YL and she never sent me a single message. I’m thinking she was doing the whole “causal” thing with YL and then some Beachbody coach reached out and now she’s getting whipped into shape. She went from posting about 5 stories/day on Instagram with YL to probably 30+ stories, makes reels, etc. with Beachbody.” Molly would go on to say that she’s been trying to get the hun out of MLMs to no avail

A Reddit post from December 21, 2020, titled “Why is everyone i knew in highschool in an MLM?! Were in our 20s. Its a little too early for a midlife crisis”

This next post is from a Redditor that had graduated from high school in 2017… 5 years ago. She had three classmates that were in different MLMs — the first is a Tupperware magazine, the second is all about It Works and their keto products, and the third is an Instagram profile of one of the Redditor’s former classmates who is with Younique. So why is she in this post? I scrolled down to the comments where the OP mentioned that one of the huns lied about getting pregnant their freshman year plus subsequent lies about being miscarried and getting an abortion to keep her boyfriend and also lied about her age to get a boy in trouble. The other two were just vulnerable and the OP even tried to get one out before the pandemic started. To that I say yikes

A satirical Reddit post from December 27, 2017, titled “Study: 90% of girls who were mean to you in high school now trapped in beauty product pyramid schemes”

This last one is a satirical one, but I also think this drives it home. Someone posted a satirical article from a Canadian online news satire company called The Beaverton and going through the website, it’s basically a Canadian version of The Onion. In October 2016, they published this article about mean girls and pyramid schemes and they came up with the 90% line, which does seem like it. Although it’s probably not close to the real stats, whatever they may be, I just thought this was funny

In short, and don’t quote me on this one, but coming from a small town with not a lot of opportunities, it’s little wonder people move out of their hometowns to start their own journeys (and some do come back). For those that do stay in their hometowns, they could be suckered into an MLM just to provide for their families.

Anti-MLM Mondays: The Elomir Project

Taken from Elomir’s Facebook Page
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Happy Monday, everyone. This week’s anti-MLM post is about a company that went into pre-launch a couple months ago and has since opened up to actual customers after spending nearly 6 weeks signing up distributors. The company is called Elomir and as of right now, the fanfare has subsided. I remember watching a lot of Elomir content from anti-MLM YouTubers and unless I’m living under the rock, it was the first time we saw a new multi-level marketing company operate first as a Ponzi scheme and then as a full-blown MLM company with a product. In this week’s edition of Anti-MLM Mondays, we’re dissecting the company and where it went wrong

As always, if you want to read more anti-MLM content on this blog, you can check it out here

Brief history

Back in July, the first news of Elomir emerged in the MLM world and under the anti-MLM radar. It was a company that was claimed to be founded in 2021 by Toan and Van Nguyen, but it was actually founded by Terry LaCore. His company, LaCore Enterprises, is also the parent company of other MLMs such as Pruvit and Perfectly Posh. Elomir and LaCore Enterprises are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the Nguyens are in California

Back to the Nguyens, I found an article from the website Behind MLM which did a deep dive on Elomir and the husband and wife team behind it. They are listed as co-founders and Van is listed as the CEO. The article stated that Toan Nguyen is a crypto bro who had been involved in another Ponzi Scheme called DeFinity Fi Academy, which has since been locked behind some sort of a crypto paywall. The couple has also been in several more companies like that for over a decade. For those who have read my crypto bro post, you know that I am not a fan of cryptocurrency, bitcoin, NFTs, and other decentralized blockchain stuff. Already, this was a red flag. And although Toan stays shilling for crypto behind the scenes, his wife Van has been front and center in terms of promoting Elomir and their signature product Axis Klarity. She has also gone live to explain the reason, or lack thereof, why the product hasn’t been keeping up with the supposed demand from distributors and even the customers… if they had any.

Axis Klarity

Let’s turn the focus to Elomir’s signature product Axis Klarity. It’s billed as a “yellow strip” that is supposed to calm you as soon as you put it on your tongue to dissolve. It’s also supposed to “bypass the digestive tract”, but there’s one problem with that statement… saliva is part of the digestive tract.

From Elomir’s website

Going to the Elomir website and clicking on shop, Axis Klarity (as of this writing) is still the only product listed on the site and it costs US$89 for 3 packs. Back when it first came out, it was available as a 3-pack product with 30 strips each. Production delays meant that everyone who signed up only got 1 out of the 3 packs, with the other 2 to come at a later date. I’m not sure if Elomir held up to that promise, but considering it’s an MLM, I will take it with a grain of salt.

According to the site, each strip contains 3 simple and effective ingredients that blend and are made by Diffusive Technology, which is exclusive to Elomir. Scrolling a little further and there it is, the three ingredients in each strip. They are:

  • Curcumin: a substance of Tumeric
  • NAC: Usually found in onions. This ingredient became a focus of the product
  • Thiamine: usually found in meats, whole grains, and fish. It’s B1 Vitamin

NAC stands for N-acetyl-cysteine, and it became a focus because the FDA said that dietary supplements can’t contain NAC unless it’s prescribed. It is also the least known ingredient out of the three. As it is technically a drug, huns that have taken the strips on Facebook Live have, and this is with my own eyes, hallucinated. That’s pretty much it. It calms you down, but you also do a million other things, somehow. Some commentators have said it’s akin to taking acid.

#changetheconversation and #hitthestrip

Like many MLM companies, Elomir would have stayed under wraps if it wasn’t for the two hashtags on Instagram… Change the Conversation and Hit the Strip. As of this writing, there are not as many posts as they were at the height of it all. This past summer, especially around the 4th of July and beyond, pictures upon pictures were uploaded by the day of huns taking these yellow strips and placing them on their tongues. That’s not all, though. Since some huns didn’t get their products when Elomir started their pre-launch phase on July 5, they would turn to other items that fit the “yellow strip” bill, like a piece of Kraft’s Cheese, Listerine strips, Fruit Rollup, Post-It Notes (yes, they did that) and so on. And in true MLM fashion, it also includes health claims. I’ll leave you with links to the Elomir flair of the antiMLM subreddit and the Elomir Exposed subreddit that showcased this “phenomenon” and an Instagram post highlighting these claims

Elomir Zoom Calls

If you’ve been consuming anti-MLM content, you would know every MLM company has done at least 1000 Zoom calls over the course of their lifetime and Elomir is no exception. Going back to Behind MLM, the blogger followed up with a post reacting to a Zoom call from Van Nguyen where she tried to address regulatory concerns surrounding the production of Axis Klarity. Instead, she danced around it, put blame on production breakdown, defended her husband’s crypto investments, and even attacked critics and the anti-MLM movement for exposing the company.

Browsing the Website

Going back to the website, I clicked on Compensation Plan on the bottom of the page and I was taken to a PDF file. MLM companies publicize their compensation plans on their websites and they would have a least 4 different ways to earn (Elomir had 5) and usually, 1 or 2 are by sales only. That was the case with Elomir in which the first one was through retail. The other 4 are from sign-up bonuses, team bonuses, rank bonuses, and 3x bonuses… in other words, you have to have a team to earn more money.

The rank names are just lazy, to be honest… Icon, then Icons 1-12, and finally, Legend. You can earn a 15% commission on retail sales, but you can also earn a 5% commission off of your downline on multiple levels, earn a monthly team bonus, and get a rank bonus starting at Icon3 (you have to maintain it for at least 2 months), and they can triple your bonuses if you reach Icons 3-5 from the day you join until the end of that month.

Yeah, so very sketchy in my opinion. Also, it’s on par with other MLM compensation plans. I will post about it in the coming weeks.

The signup cost is US$49, but it can be waived if you sign up with a US$250 Enrollment Pak, which contains 3 boxes of Axis Klarity. At the beginning, it was the only way to enroll in Elomir.

Conclusion

Between the social media posts, crypto, the ties to LaCore, their product containing NAC, and the multiple zooms explaining the production problems away, Elomir had the hallmarks of an MLM/pyramid scheme. Imagine creating a company, promising to have the products ready at launch time, and when things go wrong, blame everything but from within. Several critics have pointed out that it was poorly planned. I believe that, and I also believe that the Nguyens created this company to mask Toan’s crypto scam. That part is just speculation, but it is something to think about.

Anti-MLM Mondays: The War on 9-5’s

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NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

It’s time for another anti-MLM Monday post. You can read my previous anti-MLM posts here

I want to ask this: how many of you have a timed job (aka 9-5, 10-6, or the like)? How many of you have jobs that are not 9-5? Does your job come with benefits, like health, time off, and tuition reimbursement? If so, I’m here to tell you this… your average MLM hun hates you.

MLM huns like to claim themselves as small business owners just for the sake of it and also to put themselves on a pedestal over those who work in “corporate America”. They see themselves as better than the people who they claim are “working for the man” and “contributing to the salary of the CEOs”. Now, corporate America has its own issues (read: billionaires who think they’re hot shit), but the main difference between corporate America and multi-level marketing companies is that the former actually pays their employees while the latter doesn’t. Corporate America is also a pyramid, but they have limited spaces. They don’t try to recruit people to work for them. Meanwhile, in multi-level marketing, they will take in anyone with a pulse.

For this week’s anti-MLM post, we will look into the MLM’s war on 9-5’s

A Reddit post from February 21, 2022, titled “I’m confused by MLM posts that knock working a 9-5”

MLM huns love to say 9-5’s are a pyramid scheme designed to make their bosses richer. They have made claim after claim that those who work 9-5 or other shifts are tied down without any dreams or goals and are there to line the pockets of their company’s CEOs. This Reddit post above explained that the OP was able to pay off and own her own car due to having a 9-5 job while the hun she was talking to only had her Mercedes due to reaching a quota in her company. In the later weeks, I will discuss the “free stuff” that gets thrown around in MLM companies

This is a YouTube video by anti-MLM advocate Monica Hayworth, published on January 20, 2020. I will be referencing this video through the post

I found an anti-MLM YouTube video from two years ago that explains the whole argument about 9-5’s that MLM reps keep spewing without context, even when they have been debunked.

Around the 2:10 mark, the “small business owner” tag gets debunked quickly. One of the reasons people join MLMs is the promise of being their own boss. The supposed benefits of time and financial freedom are enticing to people who needed a change and MLM companies prey on that. Another aspect of the “being your own boss” mantra is the tools they would receive upon joining these companies. I might dive into this another time, but the gist of it is that what they actually do is less than 1% of what real business owners do. It’s almost like the business was built for them and all they have to do is promote it.

At the 2:56 mark, the graph was shown of two triangles, one labeled “job” and the other “MLM”. Yes, both structures are in the shape of a triangle, but the difference is that in a 9-5 job (or any shift), everyone gets paid. The C-Level folks get paid, the managers and directors also get paid, and the rest of the company gets paid too. The money flows downward, with the C-Level holders getting the most (sometimes a lot more, but that’s an argument for another time) followed by managers and directors, supervisors, and finally the employees. In an MLM, the money flows upward. Huns holding higher ranks get a bigger cut of the sales their downlines made based on how big it is and how far up they go. They also stack. For example, a hun will make a 25% cut from her direct downline, a 15% cut from her second-level downline, a 10% cut from her third-level downline, and so on. Every MLM that has released an income disclosure statement has at least 60% of its workforce within the bottom 3 levels of the pyramid.

5 minutes in and there is a discussion on sales in corporate America vs MLM. Monica explains that in a regular sales job, losing a client will have implications for the whole company. In an MLM, however, it’s a revolving door. Those at the bottom keep coming and leaving because the hard work they keep putting in is not giving them the return they deserve, despite what the uplines tell them.

At the 6:45 mark, the stability is much different in a 9-5 than in an MLM. In a timed shift job, like 9-5, 10-6, 8-4, or whatever shift there is out there, you have a set of hours that you work, and you get your pay. The pay is stable because you know how much you get paid for your work hours. In an MLM, the pay fluctuates. MLM huns get drawn on the so-called “uncapped potential” to earn as much money as they want, but they could also earn nothing. In fact, in most months they lose money. Think of it like you’re sending a check to your job rather than the company paying you for your time.

At the 8-minute mark, the discussion goes into the base salary. Again, in a 9-5, you have a guaranteed salary. In an MLM, it fluctuates even day by day. In both instances, the amount is measured before taxes. That means in a 9-5, you will still have money left over, but in an MLM you’ll be running in the red

At the 9-minute mark, we’re now diving into the “free” stuff. MLM companies love to promote the “free” incentives to their reps, who in turn love to promote the same “free” incentives to their potential recruits and on their public social media posts. They also turn around and say that their 9-5 jobs don’t have them and have used this “lack of free incentives” as the reason to join the MLM.

Earlier this month, Monat held their annual Monations convention in St. Louis, Missouri. You would think that Monat paid for the airfare, lodging, and other expenses for their 25,000 reps… but it’s not the case. If they had a 9-5 and they had to go to a work conference, their company would have paid for all the expenses. But since they’re in an MLM, they had to pay for almost everything… the mandatory ticket (yeah, it was mandatory. These are the prices for the 2023 convention), the airfare, the lodging, etc. Here is the full Monations FAQ for reference, which includes a question about expenses and bringing babies onboard

Staying with the “free” incentives, MLM reps love to talk about getting their free company car from their businesses as opposed to an actual company. The problem with that, like that of the free trips, is that the rep is on the hook for at least half the car payment when they hit a certain rank, and they have to rerank to that level or higher every month or they’ll be on the hook for the entire car payment. The cars chosen by the reps are of a luxurious vibe, so the monthly payments are a lot higher than for most cars. In a 9-5, you don’t have to worry about any of that, and if you have a company car, the company is paying for all of it

The benefits are drastically different in a 9-5 versus in an MLM. In a 9-5 job, you get benefits like health, vision, dental, paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, sick leaves, etc. Sure, they could be better. They can be better, but that’s a conversation for another time. In an MLM, however, unless you’re in the top 0.0000001% of the company, you really don’t have benefits. MLM reps are 1099 independent contractors (in other words, NOT business owners), and therefore don’t have benefits. They also don’t have withholding, so they end up filing more tax returns (quarterly) than those in a 9-5

Speaking of paid time off, vacations are also different. In a 9-5, you get to plan your own vacation. You get to put in your requests and you can go wherever you want and not have to work. In an MLM, however, the way vacations work is that the reps usually beg people on social media to help them reach their goals so that they qualify for those trips. But what happens when they get there… they still had to work. Yes, they will post from their “vacation spots”, where “taking your job anywhere” is considered a flex.

The final characteristic is market saturation. Corporate jobs don’t have more people than they need. They have limited spaces and filling the spots is competitive. In an MLM, they will take in anyone over 18 with a pulse and $99 to spare. Because of how they recruit people, it’s not uncommon to see an entire neighborhood full of Mary Kay reps for example. They will deny it outright, but it’s not a secret.

In conclusion, the money flows downward in corporate America and upward in an MLM. The lowest level employees get guaranteed pay in a 9-5, although minimum wage has stalled for over a decade. The top reps make their money off the backs of their downlines, so it’s no wonder there’s a 99% fail rate. So keep that in mind if you’re approached with an opportunity to join an MLM.

Anti-MLM Mondays: MLMs and Marriage

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We know that MLM companies love to target all kinds of women — mothers, students, military, etc. But what if they also target their spouses? What if an upline not only want her potential recruits to join but also her husband? In this week’s anti-MLM Monday series, we will talk about how MLM companies and their huns use marriage to deceive their spouses

Most of the embeds will be from Reddit

Hiding purchases behind “gifts”

First, I want to start off with a meme I found on Reddit

This is a Reddit post from March 10, 2021, titled “Stop hiding your MLM from your partner”.

Yes, the meme is hilarious, but there have been stories about MLM reps who hide the purchases they made from their spouses from them. Some of the companies would ask if they want to mark their purchases as ‘gifts’ if they share bank accounts with their spouses.

Another Reddit post that shows a Lularoe hun plotting to hide her purchase from her husband. This post was made on March 23, 2020. It’s titled “Reposted to show MLM reply — Haha, hiding purchases from your S.O. is so funny, hun”

In a relationship, one of the reasons why couples file for divorce is finances. Couples who have joint accounts will need to set boundaries on how the money is spent, how they are earned, and how they are saving their money for other things. This just tells me that the hun’s spending habits go far beyond this tactic. It tells me that she is bad at managing money. If you want to know about Lularoe’s gift/purchase tactic, I found a blog post that explains why this is bad

Retiring their spouses

One big reason why women join MLMs is to “retire” their spouses. To them, it means they earn so much money from their MLM side gigs that their husbands will no longer go to their 9-5 jobs or a first responder job that pays well and be stay-at-home dads in some cases. In reality, they want their husbands to quit their high-paying jobs so that they can join their wives’ downlines in hopes of hitting big.

A Reddit post from May 26, 2021, titled “Yeah, you’re not retiring your husband, sis”. An It Works hun had her husband become a Diamond with the company, which nets her an extra $2,000 a month with eligibility for a $10,000 bonus. Attached is 2019 It Works disclosure statement.

My problem with this is that the huns think they are absolutely sure that they will make enough money to pull their husbands out of the working world regardless of whether or not they actually love their jobs. This tactic is part of the financial freedom and time freedom categories because it involves a potential to make six- and seven-figures and therefore they pull out after working the 30 minutes a day that was promised. Most will not make enough to “retire” their spouses long term

Amway is supreme in recruiting couples

The company that is notorious for recruiting couples is Amway. Founded in 1959 by Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel, their companies include Nutrilite and Artistry Skin Care and also run other sub-companies like World Wide Dream Builders and World Financial Group.

Being an MLM, they do have products, but you wouldn’t hear about them often. Amway is supreme when it comes to recruiting couples. The typical first interaction consists of an Amway rep at a store walking up to a couple to ask them about their financial situation. From there, they can give them a book from a fellow network marketer, and/or get their phone number to send them a Zoom link.

Amway reps might succeed in either recruiting both parties or only one of them, but even then, they will leverage the other party’s objections against their spouse and may tell them to dump them for being negative

A Reddit post from August 9, 2019, titled “A couple tried to recruit me to Amway while I was on the clock at the job I got to escape from Smart Circle”. A young guy started a new job and was approached by a young couple asking for his personal information followed by a pitch to join Amway

These are the general ways MLMs ruin marriages, but I want to add one more section on this. I probably won’t dive into it further, but if you remember what happened to Shanann Watts, there’s an MLM tie to this true crime case. More on Shannan Watts here

The Recovering Hunbot did multiple videos about the tragic death of Shanann Watts, but here’s her video about what we didn’t know about Shanann’s involvement with her company Thrive

In conclusion, addiction to working in multi-level marketing companies can break a relationship. This was all about marriage, but the same can be applied to any relationship

For more on how else they ruin marriages, check out this video from Erin on the Side of Caution

Anti-MLM Mondays: Manipulation Tactics

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Happy Monday, everyone. It’s time for another anti-MLM post. Read up my first three posts here, here, and here

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I have mentioned that upon watching anti-MLM content for almost 3 years that hunbots, hunbros, and other MLM reps love to use manipulation tactics to get people to join their teams. They know they can’t sell the products by themselves and some know they joined the company by their uplines using the same tactics, but they do it anyway.

For this week’s anti-MLM post, I will tell you the manipulation tactics I have seen after watching years of anti-MLM content

Love Bombing

A Facebook post from October 21, 2020 explaining that love bombing is one of the first steps used by MLM reps to welcome new recruits to their team

When you join an MLM, the other reps under the same upline will shower you with lots of love. Sometimes too much love. That is called love bombing. They do this to make you feel welcomed and appreciated. They make you feel like you have a sisterhood. They make you feel like you’re part of a team. They even shout women empowerment at the top of their lungs. But that love doesn’t last. The love bombing and toxic positivity go out the window when you’re falling behind in making money for them

Deception

MLM reps play a long game of deception. They will post their so-called “free” cars or pictures from their “free” trips. They would also post about buying a house with their “money” or telling their followers that they were able to pay for expensive items and medical surgeries with their MLM money that they somehow couldn’t get with a regular job. Money isn’t the only motivator, as they could also claim that they feel lighter, more focused, and have more energy with their products. I will make a post about the “free” stuff they get in a later post (SPOILERS: They’re not free). The Huffington Post talks more about the art of deception from a former Mary Kay hun

Financial Manipulation

People don’t have extra money lying around to buy starter packs to run a “small business” with an MLM company for a good reason. For those that are already in, they usually don’t make enough money to buy into the products monthly to keep their accounts active or to hit the next rank for the month. Their uplines, however, feed off of their downlines, so if they don’t see enough money coming in, they would yell at their downlines essentially to make them more money. An example of that is a video from Julie Jo and it’s about a top Monat rep yelling at her downline because they are not bringing her the money (warning: bullying, essentially)

Guilting

The video example above could also be an example of general guilting. Again, MLM reps with a team will use every tactic in the book to keep their downlines in line, similar to a cult. Two weeks ago, I told you about how they would use fear, shame, guilting, and bullying to get other reps to do their bidding. Basically, whatever arsenal they have on hand as far as emotional manipulation goes, they will use it, and it makes their downlines cast blame on themselves because they did not make enough money for their uplines

Mom shaming

MLM companies love to target moms. It didn’t matter what type of mom they targeted… soon-to-be mothers, first-time mothers, pregnant mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home mothers, military mothers, moms with empty nests, etc. They usually attract them because they are either pregnant with a child or have young children and need some income while staying home. They will advertise their scam as a way for a mom to be present for their kids or as a way to keep up with their kids’ schedules. You’re probably wondering “where does the mom shaming come in”? It comes in when moms put them in daycare. Daycare is seen as an antithesis of being a “present” mom. They see it as someone raising someone else’s kid, but in reality, it’s like any other school. Speaking of, some don’t like public schools either for the same reason and will homeschool them for the sake of being a “present” mom to their kids. However, the mom shaming go beyond just present for the kids.

Body shaming

Whether they’re a mom or not, body shaming is another manipulation tactic especially deployed by wellness MLM reps to bully their downline. They will use fatphobic terms like fat and ugly to reem them for not making enough money or losing weight to their liking. If they couldn’t do it to the faces, they would also do it online, especially when they lose a downline member. Another form of body shaming is when they appropriate those before and after pictures and say something like “getting rid of curves” or “getting rid of cellulite”, two things that are being accepted in today’s body positivity culture.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Looking for a certain number of people. Holding conventions. Building curiosity. Spamming the timelines of their followers with materialistic things. All of that creates FOMO, the fear of missing out. They’re always looking for 3 more people to join their downlines (and may have a discount on their starter packs if necessary). They will hold in-person, packed conventions where the top leaders and those who hit certain top ranks get to walk the stage as if they had graduated from college and give unnecessary motivational speeches that would last hours. They also love to build curiosity by pretending to ask people if they are looking to change their lives and spamming their unfortunate followers by posting the glamorous “lifestyle” they spew all the time. During COVID, MLM companies insisted on holding in-person conventions without precautions after the vaccines have rolled out, and it sometimes leads to deadly consequences. (Paparazzi Convention 2021 reaction. SPOILERS: COVID deaths, the lack of mask and vaccine measures in place, and it gets worse)

Claiming to be anti-MLM

I won’t dive too much into it but just know this… just like people who love to say “I used to be a Democrat until they started being mean” or those who say “I’m not racist, but…”, “I’m not homophobic, but”, “I’m not sexist, but”, there are MLM reps that say that they used to be anti-MLM until they saw some vision from their upline or something. To me, they weren’t anti-MLM. If they were, they would find the problem with the overall structure of the business model and never join. It’s not limited to one company. Keep that in mind when you watch an MLM video.

Gaslighting

The last tactic is gaslighting. Making their downlines feel like shit. Blaming them for “not working hard enough”. Replacing the actual reality with an alternative reality. Sowing doubt by telling them their eyes deceived them. Top MLM reps especially use this tactic to keep their downlines in check if even one of them starts to question them.

Those are some of the tactics they use to manipulate their teams into doing their bidding. What do you think? Do you know of any other tactics they might have used? Let me know in the comments

Anti-MLM Mondays: Hunbro Edition

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Let me start out by saying this… I hate that I knew who Andrew Tate and Dominick Izzo are.

They are two guys in the MLM world that have gone viral in the past month for the worst reasons. One of them is a former reality show contestant, runs a course on how to be a network marketer, and is having issues with Romanian law, while the other is a former cop and calls himself “The Bull of MLM”. Now, I’m not sure how these two got really popular, but since I have to know about them thanks to YouTube recommendations, you have to know about them too.

Before I get started here, I have to do a trigger warning… there will be instances where I will briefly mention racism, sexism, and homophobia, so if you’re not up for it, I invite you to leave the page. It’s for your mental health.

I’ll start with Andrew Tate because he was the first one I saw go viral

  • Real name: Emory Andrew Tate III
  • Has a brother named Tristan
  • Competed in UK Big Brother Season 17
  • Was a kickboxer at one point
  • Owns Hustler’s University where he offers courses on how to be successful
  • Moved to Romania because it was easier for law purposes (aka easier to evade sexual charges)

Next is Dominick Izzo who just hates everyone but won’t say that out loud (he’ll say other things out loud tho)

  • Self-proclaimed Top Network Marketing Recruiter (Jessie Lee Ward also claims this)
  • Former Cop
  • Podcast Host
  • Martial Arts Expert
  • Is sexist, misogynistic, and likes to fat shame women (and the best part that he thinks all of that is a flex)

As you can see, they are upstanding citizens /s. Judging by what I have both heard and read about them, I think that both men (and those like them, both men and women) do that because they lack something. Have you felt like there is a piece that is missing and you just find a way to compensate for that? Both men are loud, boastful, and are really missing something in their lives that they think they can’t control, so they have to lash out. I’m sure a licensed psychologist will look deeper into that, but I think that’s one aspect of it.

Another reason why both men are problematic are that, again, they don’t really hide their disdain for women in general. Andrew thinks that women should make money, but also think the men in their lives should get a cut for the woman’s hard work, while Dominick thinks that women are terrible network marketers because they use emotions to lead (again, a general attack on women).

And this is the part where I have to say that I have to defend hunbots because while we know they lie and scam people out of their money via an unstable business practice, we have to understand that they themselves are not the problem. Every Anti-MLM creator has said over and over again that their issue with MLM companies is the business model and their insistence to recruit vulerable people and not the reps themselves that are already in it. That’s why whenever they react to an Instagram post, or a TikTok video, or even a Zoom call, they blur names, faces, and handles (unless they present themselves as public figures, then it’s fair game). Since both Andrew and Dominick are public figures, it’s pretty much fair game

Lastly, the way they respond to the content people made about them. I have noticed that Andrew likes to send his underlings to post praising comments on his behalf to various posts calling him out for being misogynistic (see Chelsea Suarez’s video and go to the comments section) and sometimes will respond by jumping on a podcast, while Dominick does that himself. Just the other night, I watched a video from Jessica Hickson and she talked about her and her husband teaching their 5-year-old son about the value of hard work. While it’s an innocent lesson, what followed is anything but. Here’s the video if you’re up for it, because holy hell.

In short, just like hunbots are terrible, so are the hunbros, especially if they are popular enough to where they will be shoved in all of our faces for a while. Let me know if you have heard about them before (I apologize in advance for introducing you to them), but I think I’m gonna leave these hunbros alone and won’t give them any more attention than they deserve.

30 Things I Learned From Watching (and Reading) Anti-MLM Content

This is to show people why this model is not sustainable
By Security and Exchange commission, U.S. Federal Govt.This vector version by Mysid – Vectorized from Image:PyramidSchemeMS.jpg, and removed one phrase to make less US-centric., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114608614
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Long post incoming. First ever one on here, so bear with me on this

For the past 2 1/2 years, I found myself watching anti-MLM content. Mind you, it’s a huge rollercoaster of emotions and gathering information on some themes I have noticed ever since I started watching in April 2020, but all-in-all, it has been eye-opening. As someone who is on a spectrum and cannot do a regular 9-5 for the life of me, seeing the movement has opened my eyes to the shady practices these companies made. Now, I don’t want to say I consumed all anti-MLM content. I also watched pro-MLM content to get a sense of what they’re doing and how they’re employing the tactics. I quickly found out that I cannot do these things without switching my personality up 180, so we’ll leave it at that.

Thanks to Steven Hassan, BuzzFeed, and Owner’s Magazine, as well as a few videos from YouTube that I will link at the bottom of the post, I have compiled a list of 30 things about MLM huns that I learned about over the course of this pandemic

Switching industry names

It’s still Multi-Level Marketing, but they will also use “social selling”, “social retail”, “direct marketing”, “direct sales”, “network sales”, or more recently… “participation selling”. Yes, Beachbody’s CEO said this. As someone who don’t really pick up similarities right away, watching anti-MLM content has simplified that for me so that when they do take on new names for their industry, I will be able to pick up on it quickly like anyone else.

Failing to actually check profiles

“Hey, hun, I check your profile and I think you would be great fit for what I do” or “Hey, girl, I checked your profile and I see you have an amazing life. You would be killing it in network marketing” are some of the messages I have seen hunbots send to people that were shared publicly. I will admit, some of it was humorous.

Pain point research

If they do actually check profiles, they will find a pain point. A “pain point” is a specific problem faced by a current or prospective customer in the marketplace. It could be used as part of a selling point by the seller to sell a product that can help that situation. An example could be someone who had problems with their pregnancy or someone trying to lose weight or it could even be a new mother on maternity leave or even if someone is going through a health crisis. For huns, though, they use these pain points to offer solutions, even where there is none. Some will use these pain points as part of brainwashing and blackmailing, which I will get to in a bit. Using pain points in sales isn’t a bad thing, but the way I have seen hunbots use them made me cringe a bit because all it does is prey on people’s desperation.

Recruitment on Social Media

This is usually done within the first few messages. Once they ‘get’ to know you, they will start their recruitment pitch. Some of the pitches they use are about having this “unbelievable opportunity” to have uncapped income (aka income potential), or the biggest line they love to use… location/financial/time freedom. They will also send you a link to buy a starter kit FROM THEM (or else they wouldn’t make money). Some will also send you a link to a Zoom call to give information that they should have given you in those first few text messages.

In-Person Recruitment

Not all MLM recruitments take place online, and some of them will start out/end online, but then if you ever get invited to a coffee chat at Starbucks, or if you ever been to Sam’s Club or Target, you might risk getting recruited. The Amway posts on r/antimlm are great examples of in-person recruitment. The common themes among Amway recruiting are someone and/or their spouse retired in their 20’s and 30’s to start a business and them handing you a book to read so it can be discussed on Zoom. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a popular book mentors hand out to their recruits.

The “Anyone can do it” vibe

In general, I hated this saying. It tells me that the person who uses it is privileged and doesn’t know the extra steps others use to get to that level. Huns will say this all the time when they’re on Zoom calls with their teams. “If I can do it, anyone can”. Actually, they cannot or else it would be saturated. Another thing they do is that they will recruit everyone and claim that the market is not saturated. If you recruit 5 people and they recruit 5 people each, and those 25 get 5 people each, you will get to 13 levels before you’re out of people in the world. This is called exponential growth.

The Brainwashing

This is a big thing I learned from watching and reading anti-MLM content. Let’s say the person getting recruited is worried about what their family and friends will say if they tell them about the opportunity. The hunbots will tell them to cut out ‘negativity’. That could be cutting out friends and family who saw the red flags, or blocking strangers on social media who call them a scam or a pyramid scheme. They would even go as far as to attack the anti-MLM community for spreading hate and propaganda, when really the community is raising awareness about the business model. This was a great learning lesson as someone who can easily fall for people because of their friendly tones (and they will get you with that). In the MLM world, critical thinking goes out the window.

Lovebombing

If you do sign up for the opportunity, they will shower you with lots of love. By that, I mean, they will add you to all the groups, all the chats, etc. I find this toxic because while they love you at first, they will either outright ignore you or give you the runaround if you need help. So much for friendships, right? LEAVE. CLIQUES. IN. HIGH. SCHOOL.

Double Speak (aka goalpost moving)

One of the things I hate the most, MLM or not, is the double speak. The hypocrisy is uncanny with these huns. They will tell you when recruiting about working in “pockets of time” but when you actually join, all bets are off. They expect you to work 24/7 and to attend all Zoom meetings and join accountability groups. In general, whatever they say, they will quickly jump in the opposite direction.

Treating Valid Reasons as Excuses

“I don’t have time”, “I don’t have the money”, “I’m not good at sales”, those are valid arguments. Some people don’t have the last $99 on hand to join these companies. Some have a lot on their plate and cannot make time to work the business. Some, like me, aren’t good at sales. But for these huns… they have an answer to everything. No time? Work the business while watching Netflix. No money? Put it on a credit card or skip an important bill (that makes my blood boil). Not good at sales? They will train you how to be “coachable”.

“Pyramid Schemes are Illegal”

Their go-to argument when you assert your anti-MLM position. This will also be said in their social media posts thinking they did something. There’s one problem with that statement… their products serve as loopholes. If not for fizz sticks, shampoo, and various essential oils, they would be straight-out pyramid schemes. I have also seen them perform whataboutism with reputable companies, accusing a) those companies of being pyramid schemes and b) CEOs of said companies making money off the rich.

The “titles”

National Vice President? Managing Market Builder? Five-Star Diamond? Presenter? Artist? Those are all real titles given to huns at various MLM companies. These titles mean nothing in the real world, and I always get a laugh everytime a hun presents herself as a Double Star Vice President among others who are also Diamond Star Vice President. Also, the pay isn’t great, I’ll get to that later

Emotional Damage

Yes, there’s a reason why you don’t share secrets with anyone. Huns will goad you into sharing your most intimate moments just to make a buck in sales. If you try to leave your MLM or complain that you’re not doing well in the business, they will threathen to blackmail you. This is a horrible tactic to use in general because of the tactics they use to get you to share your deepest secrets to them.

Gatekeeping Money

You’re making money. I’m making money. We spend the money on bills and things we actually like. You love Starbucks coffee? Go for it. You’re in a middle of binge-watching a show on Netflix? Have fun. You saved up enough money to buy make-up at Sephora? Girl, you deserve it. The huns think they are not only entitled to other people’s money, but they have the gall to tell people how they spend their money, like we’re not worthy enough of a paycheck. I mean, it’s my money. I spend it whatever I want (after paying bills, of course)

Hide-and-seek naming

Whether during recruitment or posting publicly on social media, one constant I see among hunbots is that they don’t reveal the company name outright. They request that you DM them to find out who they work for and what they do. There’s a few reasons why they do that. They don’t want people to search on Google. They want to build curiosity. Honestly, I think they’re doing this on purpose because they want people to jump on it real quick and not do any research beforehand, which leads to…

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

They’re always looking for 3 more people, but those “3 more people” can turn into 18 in a snap. Gee, I wonder why. But really, they do this because they have to replace the people that left their teams. Another way they do this is to post media about conventions, retreats, and flaunting “free stuff” in such a way that people would see it and go “oh, I wish I could be like them”. Thankfully, they don’t generate more than a few leads at a time, so make what you will.

No Means Not Right Now

No is a complete sentence. Always remember that. In the MLM world, ‘no’ is only valid for a moment. They take that no and will keep messaging their potential recruits as often as they can without breaking TOS. This is done as “checking up on their potential customers”. To me, that’s spam. This is the quickest way of getting blocked, reported, and even getting banned on social media.

Making Claims about Income

“I make 6 figures from my side hustle” isn’t the flex it usually is. Even so, they don’t really seem to back it up with hard proof. Instead, they’ll brag about having 2 houses or have a nice car. Making income claims are against the rules, but it seems to be the least enforced and making many revisions haven’t really helped

Making Claims about Health

This is especially true for wellness MLM companies. Product A would help with asthma, Product B would fix autism, Product C cures cancer, and so on. Most MLM huns don’t have the right credentials to back up what they say, and for those that do (because they do have nurses, dietiticians, and scientists among the ranks), they misuse their credentials to make false claims about the products.

Misuing figures

Have you heard these two stats: “99.x% of reps lose money in an MLM” and “Of those who make $100k a year in an MLM, 82% are women”. These are the real stats, but MLM huns have warped the latter one so much, so they be saying something like “82% of women who make $100k a year are in network marketing” I had to look it up multiple times to make sure it’s the right one because they misuse it so much

Misusing Religion

If there’s a constant element in MLMs, it’s religion. Just like in politics, MLMs misuse religion for their own gains. I have seen bible quotes misused over and over again like a game of telephone. Most claim to be Christian, but in name only. If you have heard the story about how Jesus flipped the table on greedy merchants, than you already know what this is. “God put me here, God put me there, God sent me this, God sent me that” — Now I’m Catholic, not a practicing one (I grew up with it), but I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t want us to scam people or to be greedy.

Self-Blame

AKA “If you’re not successful, it’s your fault”. The business model gets absolved of all blame and it transfers it to the individual. It’s demoralizing because it’s a brainwashing tactic that will keep you in the business far longer than you need to be and also because then they make you think that you have to work harder to at least get your upline’s attention.

Get Uncomfortable

They love saying that. Do it uncomfortable, do it scared — basically, go all in without a backup plan. That’s all I got from this, and I will say, I agree with this… but please, have a backup plan

Overpriced products

Recently, a Phoenix-based lifestyle anchor I was following posted a flash sale from Monat — $66 for 3 products, which also includes a free product if you spend $100 or more. Two things came to mind… first of all, how dare she. Her hair looked amazing before she started using the product. Two, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t the first flash sale Monat posted this year. In fact, they do it often. This is just one example of MLM companies overpricing their products so that the uplines get a cut from their downlines depending on how far down it’s allowed. Now, back to the TV host. She might not be selling for Monat, but it’s still disappointing to see her shill for it every week.

Quotas/Inventory Loading

Have you ever heard any stories about former MLM huns telling their stories about how they had to buy products monthly to stay active? Have you ever been in an MLM where they tell you that you have to put the orders on autoship to meet your quotas? Yeah, that’s pretty much what this is. LulaRoe, Paparazzi, Young Living, Monat, Arbonne, and Herbalife are some of the MLM companies that will make you buy products in order to sell them, and often times… they can’t sell them fast enough, so they keep buying and buying products until they run out of room. I have seen photos of LulaRoe consultants donate leggings to Goodwill (a common theme on r/antimlm). I have seen pictures of Young Living and Paparazzi reps sell their products in bulk on Facebook Marketplace after they quit their businesses. It’s stupid, but also sad to see this practice happening.

Disclosure Statements

In a word, bleak. Some MLM companies post their annual income disclosure statements annually to give us a picture of how their reps are doing and also as a road map for potential recruits so that they can get a sense of how much they can make in each rank. But that’s not the only thing about income disclosure statements. Most of them don’t post them, and for those that do, it’s a huge yikes. Going by the figures, you would realize that it’s just not worth it

The CEO tagline

Being in an MLM means that you get to be your own boss, your own CEO per se, and the hunbots run with it. Most MLM CEOs are men, while the majority of their workforce are women. The truth is, they actually don’t know what it takes to be a business owner. Hell, I don’t know much about running a business either, but I’m pretty sure you have to do your own pricing, inventory, shipping, website building, etc. The lack of actual business sense rings true when they have to file their taxes… as 1099 contractors. Which leads us to…

They’re bad at taxes, mostly (but really bad)

When they file taxes, as independent contractors (and some think that a 1099 and a business owner is the same thing), they get a 1099 tax form the following January if they make $600 or more in the previous calendar year. Most will not make that much, let alone for years, but that’s not the only thing I saw with this. They also love to write off everything, and I mean everything. We’re talking travel expenses, meal expenses, gifts they have received. Yeah, it’s bad, but wait until they get a huge bill and it’s game over

Devotion to CEO and other major players

If you’re thinking of joining an MLM, get ready to fangirl the CEOs, the top leaders, and your uplines. This is part of Steven Hassan’s BITE model, and eating up the words from the major players is part of the Information portion of the model. I’ll do a blog post on that in the future, but I can tell you this… devotion is a one-way street (two-way if the downlines make them money). TL;DR, they are commercial cults.

Other MLM Competition

Finally, the last thing I learned about watching the content is that some MLM huns seem to think that other MLMs are scams. They will badmouth them and accusing them of doing the same things they’re doing (aka projection). They will also badmouth their sidelines (aka those on the same rank as them) just to save face. Some MLMs themselves go as far as to block their reps from joining other MLMs as along as they are active in them.

So these are the 30 things I learned from watching and reading anti-MLM content. If you ever got a message from someone on social media and thought about joining the MLM company, I will tell you right now… don’t. I can’t stop there, so here are some things you need to know and do before even jumping onboard

  • Ask them what MLM company are they with and what they do. If they cannot give an answer right away, it’s a red flag. Legitimate companies always state who they are, what they do, and most importantly, the requirements and qualifications needed to start said job.
  • Ask them if you have to pay to join the company. No legitimite job requires you to pay upfront before starting. If a job requires you to have a separate laptop or to have a uniform, they will provide it to you for free. Same with training. They pay you to train. In MLM companies, you have to pay for a starter kit, training, and in some cases, you have to keep buying certain items to stay active
  • Do your research. They will tell you, “no, don’t look it up on Google”, and that should raise enough flags for you to go on Google. Typing “is xyz an MLM” is a fantastic place to start. You can also go here and either type in the company or use the drop down button to find the name. Also, keep searching for things like reviews, lawsuits, and YouTube videos explaining the tactics the company uses. Be very wary of some companies with only positive reviews. If there are negative reviews, see them first, and weigh them with positive reviews.
  • If you have friends and/or family members that might be in a MLM, the best course of action is to try to talk to them about how they fare at their company. If possible, bring facts, figures, and receipts with you. They will try to either reject or rationalize the figures, but above all, make sure you remain calm but firm in your position

I want to thank you for reading if you have made it this far. This is something I wouldn’t say I’m 100% passionate about, but this is a topic that I would like to write about in this blog. If you like, stick around and read my other blog posts on other topics, or click on the links at the top of the page. I don’t have the necessary software to do videos, so instead, I will leave a few for reference

Yes, I Have a YouTube Obsession: Watching ‘Boss Babes’ Boss Themselves and Those Around Them

via Getty Images / MarketWatch
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Originally posted on my Blogspot, but reposting it here for better viewing

For the past 2 1/2 years, I picked up a viewing habit during the pandemic. Now, I can only speak for myself, but I am just fascinated by the folks promoting multi-level marketing companies. Sure, it sounds like a great idea — your ‘bosses’ (uplines) and your ’employees’ (downlines) all sell the same things you sell and everyone gets paid out of that. Well, that’s what I thought at first, but it’s not as cut and dry as you think. It’s a business model where multiple levels of salespeople sell the same products directly to customers, and oftentimes, it involves recruiting people onboard to do the same thing.

I know you’re probably thinking “is it like a pyramid scheme”? Well, kinda. It has similarities to it, but the only difference is that MLM companies create a loophole to avoid the pyramid/Ponzi scheme label by having products. It’s how they also get away with the “pYrAmId ScHeMeS aRe IlLeGal” line every time you tell them you’re not interested in joining. And if you do end up joining, you won’t get far. In fact, according to the FTC, 99.x% of people either break even or lose money in these companies. The less than 1% who do will think the other 99.x% are lazy and it’s their fault that they quit.

The Case (for and) Against Multi-Level Marketing. Sorry it’s in PDF form

So why am I fascinated by boss babes bossing themselves and their peers around them? For starters, I needed entertainment, but in reality, they say the most outrageous things and think they did something, and somehow, again, speaking for myself, I get drawn into that. But as much as I am against these companies, I have to hand it to their reps. They have the confidence, the drive, and the stamina to get what they want. My crippling social anxiety ass could never. But they’re using that to scam people out of their hard-earned money. Sometimes, it could be the potential recruit’s last $100 the reps are after. It’s just funny and sad at the same time that these huns (what we actually call them) are entitled to other people’s money, and not only that, they love to tell people how to spend money AND to shame them for spending on things that is of value.

r/antimlm is a treasure trove. Literally my favorite subreddit

As mentioned earlier, my crippling social anxiety ass could never fare well. The top-rated huns in every MLM company (and sometimes their CEOs — a topic for another day) host zoom call after zoom call telling people to essentially spam their timelines and slide into other people’s DMs to the point of suspension just to promote your business —  which means you have to literally post multiple times daily and send hundreds of private messages to those who interacted AND then follow up to get maybe 1 or 2 to join your MLM company — and I simply cannot do any of that shit. In fact, none of us should be doing that because spamming is against TOS, and because people are aware of these things, the no’s will be flying off the shelves. You will get rejected faster than you can say CEO. How you’re expected to handle rejection is a topic for another day

In short, I can’t tell you what to do if you’re faced with a chance to join an MLM company because I know it can be enticing, but if I were you… I would look it up. I know they will tell you “no, don’t do it”, but please do it. Look it up on Google. Watch videos by Anti-MLM creators (I will link some of them below). Read blog posts by those who are raising awareness about these companies

Favorite anti-MLM commentators to check out:

Amber Ny (anti-MLM commentator and former Beachbody rep now doing live streams

Blanca’s Life (a military wife raising awareness especially to help other military wives steer clear of MLMs)

Briannah Jewel (a certified personal trainer, biology nerd, and a registered dietitian-to-be who does reactions to things like Beachbody workouts and shows us how to actually perform them)

Chelsea “CC” Suarez (the spicy queen who always tells us to stay spicy)

Deanna Mims (another military wife and a former Beachbody rep who is now exposing the company she was with for 2 years)

DeeCee aka sayhellotodeecee (an MLM dropout who does hours-long live streams ranging from Beachbody to Jessie Lee)

Echo Echo (an Australian teacher and an anti-MLM commentator)

Erin Bies (a wife, a mom, and military hun, and a 13-year former MLM rep from 6 different companies. Now exposes MLM companies like Elomir)

Eva Mateja (a Croatian-Irish anti-MLM commentator who mostly focuses on activewear MLMs)

Gracious Expectations (a teacher exposing MLM companies due to MLM reps targeting teachers)

Hannah Alonzo (anti-MLM commentator who also reacts to scams in general)

Heather Cee (a relatively new anti-MLM commentator who’s already making big waves in commentary)

iiluminaughtii (focuses on corporate wrongdoings but does weekly anti-MLM commentary)

Isabella Lanter (anti-MLM commentator who has branched out to other scams)

Jessica Hickson (a retired hunbot — a top 2%er if you will — who is rescuing other hunbots from MLMs)

Julie Jo (former Arbonne rep now doing anti-MLM commentary and focusing on other scams)

Kareenah Hurtado (an anti-MLM commentator who also does commentary in Spanish to educate the latin community on MLMs)

Kiki Chanel (known as the anti-MLM queen who has since gone on to general commentary, but has recently returned to anti-MLM commentary)

Lara Bee (former MLM rep who hates long intros, so I’ll just leave this here)

Mack Attack (an anti-MLM and self-help guru commentator that focuses on self-help gurus and their ties to MLMs)

Monica Hayworth (former MLM rep turned anti-MLM commentator who focuses on unethical businesses)

Noble Xenon (gives commentary on various subreddits including neckbeards, choosing beggars, that happened, nice guys and girls, and, yes, anti-MLM and has recently branched out to include crypto bros)

Respectfully Sarcastic (a former Amberlynn Reid reaction channel that has now branched out to anti-MLM commentary)

Savannah Marie (a former Limelife by Alcone rep who now does general anti-MLM commentary as well as deep dives and product testing)

Savy Writes Books (a book author with a small business and a morning podcast who also does anti-MLM and self-help guru commentary)

The Antibot (general anti-MLM commentary channel)

The Recovering Hunbot (a former Beachbody rep who now does general anti-MLM commentary, focusing on companies that don’t get a lot of attention)

Thanks for reading this post. Have you been in an MLM? Do you know someone who has? I would like to hear about it in the comments below. And check out my other posts as I’m getting the hang of blogging.

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