Have you noticed that many of your friends now run a small business selling skin care, oils, leggings, kitchen gadgets, jewelry, wine and more?
They are pimping out products in Direct Sales or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies.
You thought they were smart. They are educated and have a successful career.
You scratch your head and think why would they even do that? Why not go into selling used cars or timeshares?
Numbers Around MLMs
- One in six U.S. households has someone involved in direct selling
- Nearly three in 10 people involved in direct selling are Millennials
- More than 77% of people involved in direct selling are women
- 52% of direct sellers are college graduates compared to 28% of all Americans
You're probably thinking you don't need me sharing numbers on it to know it's a thing. Your Facebook feed tells you. But why has it become such a thing for smart, educated women?
We spent most of our waking hours at work. Surrounded by people, we don't love let alone really even like, and I'm not even talking about the bossholes we work for. That's for another day...
The environments that we work in suck. No amount of free Coke (the soda), table tennis, and trendy open collaboration space (that no one likes, except you bosses that have an office and think they are a good idea!) can cover up a miserable place to be.
We get through the day clock watching as if it was an Olympic sport until we can get the hell out of there. We step into our car sanctuary where we can control the temperature (unlike in the conference room) or hop onto the metro, earbuds in silencing out the world, listening to the Hamilton soundtrack in peace thinking about if only duels still took place... Heading to our comfy home to ditch the scratchy power suit surrounded by people and pets that get and love us.
Tomorrow we do it all again, living our own version of Groundhog Day.
The Dream Of MLMs
What if there was another way?
Multi-level Marketing companies tap into a need people have, especially women and give them something they aren't getting in today's or yesterday's (MLMs have been around a long time) workplaces.
MLMs provide a sense of purpose, community, support, development, achievement, with the freedom and flexibility to work wherever and however you want. You're your own boss and can diffuse essential oils all day in your space, and no one cares.
Here's what some in Direct Sales have to say about it:
The ability to have control of your work and time makes MLMs very attractive to some. Even if they aren't making bags of money, they just may be getting rich in other ways.
If you're a boss or co-worker and have people on your team who are part of a direct sales company, realize, they haven't lost it. There's probably something missing, or they need in their current work. Ask them why they do it? What do they like about it? Take that info and think about what changes you can make to your workplace to provide the support, create the environment, and experience people are looking for.
Seriously, Why Do People Join and Are They All That? My Year In An MLM
As a multi-passionate, lifelong learner of all things with a curiosity around people, behaviors, and motivations I have been fascinated for years about direct sales business models, systems, and processes.
I did the unthinkable for a nice, smart, highly educated, successful woman of the world. I joined an MLM. I reached the company and its leadership before diving in, and I used the products.
I spent a year in the MLM learning all about the industry, getting some amazing personal development, and making some lifelong friends along the way.
There are things I really liked about it and others not so much. If curious or considering joining a direct marketing biz/MLM I put together my Top 5 Things To Love About Direct Sales. You can get it below.
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Because references to a researcher is like fries without ketchup and not enough credit is given, numbers on Direct Marketing & Quotes from: