If you are looking for ways to earn money from home, chances are you’ve come across an MLM or two. Just a hunch. You can make money selling with an MLM but you can also run your business in a way that you lose money or alienate the people close to you. These tips will help you understand how NOT to work an MLM business so you can avoid the most common mistakes.
Considering an MLM?
Before you jump in and sign up with an MLM, a.k.a. multi-level marketing business, there are a few things you need to know.
First of all, most people work their MLM businesses completely wrong.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Can you make money with an MLM?
First, let me clarify that I am not against MLMs. I have done very well in several MLM businesses (check out my Senegence experience here)
I know several people who have done exceptionally well financially with an MLM.
That being said, most people do not make much money with an MLM and some people even lose significant money. You have to be very smart about it.
I’m contacted by moms all the time who want to earn money from home. I usually steer them away from MLMs. The reason being, if you need to make a real income quickly, an MLM is not the way to do it. You’ll likely be resorting to tactics that you won’t be proud of if you need to make money right away.
Be sure to check out our work at home mom Facebook group for other work at home options before you sign up for an MLM so you are aware of what is out there.
What not to do when working an MLM
I’m a big fan of moms having plenty of options when it comes to working from home, BUT you do not want to fall into these MLM traps.
Do not start cold pitching friends and family members.
Just don’t do it.
We’ve all opened our inbox and seen one of these messages. “Hey! I know we haven’t talked since high school / college / that one time at your kids’ school when I introduced myself BUT I hope you are doing well! BY THE WAY … I just signed up with a GREAT company and instantly thought of you. This would be such a great fit for you because you need to lose lots of weight / I bet you’ve been trying to earn extra money / I know you’ve been wishing you could take as many vacations as I do. Can I send you more info?
I physically cringe when I get one of these now. As a blogger, I often get messages on Instagram. They start with a compliment or question and then move immediately into a pitch.
I get these the most often when I talk about my weight struggles since having my twins because clearly I must need an MLM product.
You guys, these messages are hurtful. They make people feel used and they are not the way to run a business.
Just. Don’t. Do. It.
If you were creating a product of your own and marketing it you would not start by pitching your family and friends. You would run Facebook ads. You would build up your own social channels. You would find legitimate places to advertise. You would not expect to grow your business solely based on the support of your immediate circle.
Don’t invest a lot of money.
There is almost always a monetary investment when signing up with an MLM. I get that. Be VERY careful with this though.
It is okay to invest a little bit of money but you need to be smart about it.
- Have a plan. Map out a game plan for recouping your investment in a short period of time or have a plan about what you will do if you lose your investment (because that is a real possibility).
- Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. This is just smart business with any venture. If you were starting a business you would not invest more money than you could afford to lose. Take the same approach with an MLM.
- Do not carry inventory unless you know you can sell it. I always encourage new work at home moms not to carry inventory if possible. Way too many people end up selling excess inventory for pennies on the dollar because they can’t move it. Buy the bare min. and start slowly if you need to have an inventory. A better option is to pre-sell the product and then order.
Don’t assume you are running your own business
I hear MLMs promoting that you will be running your own business all the time. The fact is, you are not a business owner. You are a consultant. You are subject to the rules that the company has set. You don’t have full control and your “business” can be taken from you at any point if you don’t follow the rules they have set.
Most MLMs actually make more money on recruitment versus product sales. That’s a bit of a fishy business model when you look at it that way.
If you want to truly be a business owner, create a product or find one to distribute. I know many moms who have had great luck buying clothing at wholesale prices and selling them to customers. They are not subject to anyone dictating how they run their business. They could sell their business down the road if they want or completely outsource it.
You are an independent contractor if you are part of an MLM. There are some benefits that come with that, but you are not a business owner.
Don’t be Vague about what you are offering
This is one of my biggest pet peeves with MLM companies. Many of them either encourage you to be vague when posting online or actually forbid you from sharing details publicly.
When you post about an “opportunity” but refuse to give details transparently it makes you look sleazy.
Don’t do it.
If a company is encouraging or requiring these tactics, RUN.
Do not assume you will get rich quick
MLMs can be very predatory in nature. I’ve seen this first-hand. I’ve had leaders in my upline push and push people to buy more inventory or sell products to people who cannot afford them.
There are often a lot of promises made. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.
MLMs like to share success stories. Those are generally truthful but they are the outliers.
There are far more people under them who either didn’t make much money at all or who lost money (read Cassie Michael’s story and learn how she finally got out of debt here).
You can make money with an MLM but more than likely it is going to take time and a lot of hard work. If you need a guaranteed income right away, look into something like teaching with VIPKid or these jobs that you can do during naptime.
Don’t sell your soul.
You do not need to become someone that you are not in order to work from home. There are more than enough opportunities and businesses that will pay you to work from home. You don’t need to force yourself to mimic what someone else is doing or do things that go against who you are as a person.
Now, it’s important to note that I am not saying you don’t have to push yourself. I firmly believe that it is important to challenge ourselves and go outside of our comfort zone. You can do that without changing who you are though.
If the product isn’t something you can support 100%, look for another one. If the company culture doesn’t fit your personality, look for another company or change the way you run your own business.
I’ve been working from home for almost 16 years and I’ve been able to find so many opportunities. There’s a work at home opportunity for nearly everyone out there.
Don’t work from a place of desperation. Be smart. Take the time to create an income the way that you want to. If you need an income while you figure out what you are passionate about then look at some of the great hour jobs that will allow you to work from home.
You can earn an income with an MLM but be careful to avoid common pitfalls. Making a few dollars is not worth alienating your family or friends. You should be proud of the word that you do. If an MLM doesn’t fit what . you are looking for, keep looking.
You’ll find some great, legitimate, work at home jobs in our Busy Work at Home Mom Facebook group if you aren’t sure where to begin your job hunt.