Blogmas Day 11

Someone that I know joined an MLM in 2020. Actually, they joined two. First they started off with one of the token MLMs that gets talked about widely, and often, and is well known world-wide. They sunk several thousand dollars into that MLM before they decided that it just wasn’t for them. So then, with a stockpile of these useless goods taking up space in their home, this person decided to join (what I’ve discovered) a new-breed MLM.

This person is miserable. They were already someone whom I would consider to be a vulnerable member of society prior to joining these MLMs, but now… they’re vulnerable and more than $10,000 in debt from just this year alone.

They started changing earlier this year. I remember thinking ‘Oh, that was weird’ when witnessing their behaviour. But, it was two months into their first MLM experience before I realized what was going on. They fell for the ‘be your own boss’ speech hook, line and sinker and immediately started investing money they didn’t have.

Most people know of the obvious MLMs. Whether it’s Amway, Essential Oils, Tupperware, Makeup, Beach Body, etc… there are certainly a lot of them finding loopholes in the law and taking advantage of people the world over. This year, though… this year I’ve noticed a distinct change away from the typical business model of hosting parties and convincing people to buy. Perhaps it’s the pandemic, perhaps it’s people getting incredibly savvy at masking what they’re doing, but I’ve noticed a shift to completely social-media based MLM style structures.

People are collecting money on social media to teach people how to collect money on social media so that those people can collect their own money on social media by teaching a new crop how to collect money on social media. Does that make sense? They slide into your direct messages to pitch products you don’t want, don’t need and don’t have use for. They try to convince you to ‘be your own boss’ with these products.

The odds are high that you’ve likely seen this throughout 2020. If you have any form of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, they’re there. I promise you that they’re there… waiting for you to give them your cash.

Why I think this is so important to note is because they’re capitalizing on a new structure, something that doesn’t look like a typical MLM so a lot of people aren’t realizing what is actually happening.

I love my friend. I’m sorry they’re hurting. But they’re also being an asshole. This group of individuals who are running this ‘scheme’ through social media are teaching those who buy in that if someone says no, if they criticize, it’s not legitimate, it’s someone being jealous. My friend, as a result, is a very different person as we approach year’s end then they were even just six months ago. I truly believe they don’t realize how far sunk into this scheme they are. I truly believe they don’t recognize what is actually happening. And, since they won’t listen to outside voices who try to tell them otherwise, they’re continuing to sink down into this pit of despair.

I… want to help them. I’ve tried to help them. But I can’t. I’m not purchasing their product because I do not wish for them to think I support the scheme they’re running. Also, though… their product is useless. And since they won’t get out while they still can, they’ve all but sworn me off as of late. I think that’s something that is important to note when it comes to this new digitally optimized MLM structure. They’re teaching people to ditch their friends if their friends don’t believe. So, not only are they in harms way through what they’re doing online, but they are also cutting off anyone from their lives who could be a voiced of reason.

So, if you’ve ever considered starting some form of an MLM business that exists solely online, I would hazard a couple of warnings for you:

  1. If a business exists solely on social media, that is a red flag.
  2. If a business relies on your initial investment to be a legitimate ‘boss’ that is a red flag.
  3. If a business is teaching you how to get rich quick on social media, that is a red flag.
  4. If a business relies on teaching someone how to teach someone how to teach someone, that’s a pyramid scheme.

If you know anyone who’s joined one of these digital schemes, see if you can talk to them before it gets too late. Social media is a deeply complicated structure that promotes the popular and provides them advantages over the rest. These ‘gurus’ may have found their popularity in one of ten million ways. I promise you this, however they found their popularity, they’re not going to tell you the truth because that cuts from their bottom line.

Much like people who sell oils don’t make their money from selling oils, but rather from recruiting people to operate beneath them, these people who sell products solely on social media aren’t selling the truth to the trade, they’re recruiting people to operate beneath them.

These MLM structures will continue to evolve in the coming months and years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s these MLMs will always find a way to skirt the system. So be mindful of what you see, who you speak with and what they present to you.