Investigate the company. Once you set your goals, investigate the company that interests you. Find out if it’s a member of an industry association, such as the Direct Selling Association or the Multi-Level Marketing International Association. Also, contact the National Fraud Information Center. Nonmembership doesn’t mean your company of choice is a pyramid. Keep in mind, however, that organizations like these hold their members to a strong code of ethics and not only prohibit illegal scams but also provide tips and advice on how to spot and avoid them.
MLMs have been made illegal in some jurisdictions as a mere variation of the traditional pyramid scheme, including in mainland China. In jurisdictions where MLMs have not been made illegal, many illegal pyramid schemes attempt to present themselves as MLM businesses. Given that the overwhelming majority of MLM participants cannot realistically make a net profit, let alone a significant net profit, but instead overwhelmingly operate at net losses, some sources have defined all MLMs as a type of pyramid scheme, even if they have not been made illegal like traditional pyramid schemes through legislative statutes.
So you meet your buddy at a burger joint. You reminisce about old times and play catch-up. You’re having a real good time. But then he mentions this nutrition company he’s been selling for lately. He says he’s just getting started, but there’s a lot of income potential. In fact, he knows a guy who has paid off his mortgage working for this company. He thinks you’d be a perfect distributor for it because you lift weights and you’re driven.
The company will offer products to you at a wholesale discount and then you sell those products to friends, family members and other customers at a higher retail price. If you convince a customer to become a salesperson, then you will earn income off their sales as well. Same goes for anyone they recruit. And so on. As you and your recruits sell more products, your earning potential grows.
In April 2006, the FTC proposed a Business Opportunity Rule intended to require all sellers of business opportunities—including MLMs—to provide enough information to enable prospective buyers/participants to make an informed decision about acquiring/joining a business venture with information disclosed about the average likelihood of monetary profitability (and the extent of monetary profitability, if any) of acquiring/joining the business venture. In March 2008, however, the FTC removed "Network Marketing" (i.e. MLM) companies from the proposed Business Opportunity Rule, thus leaving MLM participants without the ability to make an informed choice of entering or not entering MLMs based on the disclosed likelihood of success and profitability:
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In his book, According to Kotler, Paul Kotler defined this subject as follows: "Multilevel marketing (also called network marketing), describes systems in which companies contract with individuals to sell a set of products door to door or office to office. It is called multilevel because a contractor can also invite others to work and earn money on their performance." The sales representative thus has incentives to enlarge the sales force and to earn added commissions on the sales of his or her recruits.
Multi-level marketing (simplified Chinese: 传销; traditional Chinese: 傳銷; pinyin: chuán xiāo) was first introduced to China by American, Taiwanese, and Japanese companies following the Chinese economic reform of 1978. This rise in multi-level marketing's popularity coincided with economic uncertainty and a new shift towards individual consumerism. Multi-level marketing was banned on the mainland by the government in 1998, citing social, economic, and taxation issues. Further regulation "Prohibition of Chuanxiao" (where MLM is a type of Chuanxiao was enacted in 2005, clause 3 of Chapter 2 of the regulation states having downlines is illegal. O'Regan wrote 'With this regulation China makes clear that while Direct Sales is permitted in the mainland, Multi-Level Marketing is not'.
For a portion of independent retailers, LuLaRoe is to economic opportunity as Goop is to wellness: It’s for ladies who already have it all. The ability to throw down $12,000 to start a LuLaRoe business and work 30 hours a week sometimes comes from a place of privilege, not desperation. Some mothers who are just looking for a hobby have husbands whose salaries are already high enough to support their families. “I felt like I was trying to keep up with the Joneses to stay in business against these other consultants who can afford to drop a $500 order every few days,” Ashley says.
At sales conferences, the people at the top of the pyramid are paraded for all to see. And those people are real. Some people do make this work in a big way. And some people are able to generate a little side income. However, the odds of making it work are against you: the vast majority fail. Before signing on the dotted line and buying a lot of product, think long and hard. You would probably make more money with a minimum wage job or driving with Uber. And you certainly wouldn't risk a friendship doing that.
Many MLM companies do generate billions of dollars in annual revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profit. However, the profits of the MLM company are accrued at the detriment to the majority of the company's constituent workforce (the MLM participants). Only some of said profit is then significantly shared with individual participants at the top of the MLM distributorship pyramid. The earnings of those top few participants is emphasized and championed at company seminars and conferences, thus creating an illusion of how one can potentially become financially successful if they become a participants in the MLM. This is then advertised by the MLM company to recruit more distributors to participate in the MLM with a false anticipation of earning margins which are in reality merely theoretical and statistically improbable.
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