If you are thinking of starting a home-based business, sure enough, you’ve considered buying a starter kit of a product you like, use and more likely recommend constantly. Because, why not? Wouldn’t it be an excellent opportunity to become a consumer and be in business with the company you love?
Well, before you buy that starter kit, you need to read this:
What is Multi-Level Marketing?
MLM, as commonly known, is a business marketing strategy that some companies use to encourage current sales agents to recruit and train new agents. Boosting the company’s sales because of direct sales from the primary agent, but also from the sales and profits of the agents they have recruited. For many companies, it can prove to be a valuable tool for not building revenue, but also for making their marketing and networking circles.
The members or salesperson act as an independent agent, that is, a non-salaried employee authorized to distribute and sell the company’s products or services, and typically earn their income from commissions from sales.
MLM is not for everyone.
Although direct sales or MLM allows having flexible hours, and it is an excellent opportunity if you need to work from home, you want to start a side hustle, or simply you want to increase your income, you NEED specific SKILLS to actually make a living, and not end up with a closet full of inventory and get “unfriended” in Facebook.
Your list of contacts is your primary asset, but your parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and Church members are not enough, you need to be able to generate new leads every week.
Can you set appointments and organize events every week? If so, keep reading.
Networking is Key.
Besides your close friends and family, try building your contact list with many different people from other networks so that you will always have different angles and options to use when seeking help or business leads.
- Personal trainers/instructors
- Internet lead generation.
- Facebook groups.
- Other Social Media.
Look, Toto, they are not MLM anymore!
Because of the bad reputation and pyramid schemes, MLM rebranded itself into networking businesses or clubs. Varying from wellness, fashion, stylist, health, shopping clubs. You name it!
These “clubs” are known for their part-time and flexible business practices; they have presentations, trunk parties, spa parties, cook clubs, and wellness clubs to showcase their products, grow sales and recruit future members.
But beware that every new member or recruit is required to pay a fee upfront, which usually covers some sort of starter kit as well as product samples. From here, recruits are trained on how to sell the product or service on their own but are then encouraged to recruit other sales representatives and create a “team.”
The so-called “team” equals to what in MLM was known as the downline, where the original agent is paid for their sales, and then receives a portion of the sales from the other agents they recruit as well. As the recruited agents gain business, they can recruit representatives as well as earn revenue on their sales, continuing the downline.
MLMs you can trust
I wish I knew all these before I tried to work with SwissJust and Melaleuca, both organic manufacturers of absolutely incredible products. I am their most loyal customer, but maybe the worst salesperson ever. Remember that I’m an analyst, researcher, writer, advisor, and my entrepreneurial heart focuses on services, not products.
If you decide to join a Networking Club or MLM, here are three things to keep in mind:
- You need to invest 5 to 8 hours a week doing intensive networking for leads.
- Compare the price of the starter kit, they usually vary between $70 and $100, also check monthly fees for marketing materials, and if the training is included (usually no).
- Ask how many other agents/members are in our region, your chances of success depend on the competition you have in your network.
Here is the list of the seven largest MLM companies in the United States:
- Amway was founded in 1959 and is probably the most popular multi-level marketing company in the world.
- Avon has been around since 1886 when it started as the California Perfume Company. This MLM company is one of the biggest beauty brands in the US.
- Herbalife has been in business since 1980, and Herbalife products feature vitamins, minerals, nutrients, enzymes, and other ingredients intended to support healthy and active lifestyles.
- Mary Kay has been around since 1963 and, along with Avon, is one of the best-known names in MLMs on beauty products.
- Nu Skin started in 1984 in Utah and focuses on anti-aging skincare products and nutritional products.
- Tupperware is one of the oldest and best-known MLMs since the 1950s. The company’s founder was one of the pioneers of direct selling, realizing that it offered women a way to make money when many didn’t work outside the home.
- Melaleuca calls themselves the “largest online wellness shopping club,” they advertise the products as safer and more cost-effective than grocery store brands.
There are more brands, of course, here is a list of the companies with more requests on the Facebook groups I’ve researched. Feel free to Google them and see what they offer: Thrive, Truvision, Health, Isagenix, Medifast, Plexus, RODAN + FIELDS, LuLaRoe, Monat, and Posh.
Usually, Networking clubs and MLM companies do not allow direct sales on the internet. The reason behind it is because of the business model which relies on the constant growing salesforce.
I did some research on Amazon, Mercari, Craiglist, Facebook groups, and e-Bay for shady sales of starter kits, and of course, the list was impressive.
There is a lot of disloyal competition regarding some products. I did talk to some former agents/independent agents (makeup and jewelry) about it, and they openly told me that they do post off-season inventory on some websites to recover the investment because the companies do not offer an exchange.
Here are some pictures of some of the products I found on the internet. Do your research, test the market, talk to your network, and make an educated decision before buying your starter kit.