The Real Deal (or is it) with MLMs

This week you have seen several of your friends and high school acquaintances post pictures of their new entrepreneur, #girlboss business on Facebook. If she was really motivated she probably contacted you with a personal PM to introduce the company or business opportunity. Depending on your past experiences with multi-level marketing (MLMs) you may have immediately clicked delete or considered her invite. Either way you most likely didn’t respond back or at least not yet.

I’m a numbers girl and have always wanted to start my own business.  From owning a resort in Thailand to starting an International school, I’ve pretty much had a new dream and vision of business ownership every month. The mission behind the business and of course the profit were my two biggest motivators. I wanted to impact people and to see them reach their God given potential, yet knew that a successful business had to make a profit or it cannot fulfill the primary goal. When I got married to a man pursuing a medical career, my vision for starting a business was put on hold. We would be moving a year after marriage and then four years after medical school and then mostly likely a few years after residency. From a few successful business leaders, I was told that I need give my business five years to really get started. They say it takes time and money.  I was lacking time in one location. It never crossed my mind at the time, but most MLMs are mobile, allowing you to work from home, even if your home changes cities frequently.

Over the past couple of years back in the US, I had seen the same Facebook posts and advertising from my girl boss friends. Sales has never been my thing for sure and then I was reminded of family members who tried a few pyramid schemes back-in-the-day that didn’t really go anywhere or make a profit, so I was pretty turned off by direct sales.

Do your friends really make a profit or are they just trying to reel you in to some scam so they can finally break even?

In attempts to be fairly unbiased (full disclosure I am a consultant for Beautycounter) I wanted to present the start-up cost and potential for profit for a few companies that show up on my newsfeed frequently.  Whether it’s a “real deal” or “no deal”, I’m leaving it up to you to evaluate.

*Most of the companies below offer starting bonuses and ways to earn free products that are not included in the below charts. If you are more interested, I can put you in contact with a consultant and they can layout those opportunities.

I downloaded each company’s compensation plans from their website and talked to at least one representative from each, before filling in the charts below.  So for all of you visual learners ZOOM in (this size is as large as the website will allow). Also, feel free to contact me for help in figuring out your business plan, if numbers are not your thing.

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 9.04.05 PM

However, I do have a few suggestions if you are considering adding #girlboss to your Instagram in 2018:

  • What are you currently passionate about? Don’t try to create a need but meet a need that is already there. (Example: The FDA doesn’t regulate harmful chemicals in our personal care products. Beautycounter provides one solution to safer personal care products while going beyond current industry standards with their Never List (never using over 1500 harmful or questionable ingredients) and doing their best to choose ingredients with no risk to health by sourcing responsibly.)
  • Consider how long it would take you to make a profit if you had no one join your team? The higher % off personal sales means you are making the profit from the mark-up and not the corporate office. A higher % off personal sales also means your able to make the same profit with less monthly sales than another company with lower percentage off personal sales. *Mark-up is where profit is made. Target for example has a 46% mark-up according to http://on.mktw.net/14C1SW8
  • Apart from a start-up fee, you should not be paying the company to sell their products. If your required to make a minimum purchase of product at start up or per month be cautious, unless you are in it just for the product discount and not for profit.
  • Bonuses: Look for cash bonuses that way you can choose if you use your income to pay your mortage or reinvest in product.
  • I noticed while reading through compensation plans that if there was more than a 1 page document, the compensation plan was a bit hard to follow. This made me leery that I would not be able to calculate my profit on my own each month…a girl’s got to know how much she is making.
  • How much do you have to pay the company to run your business with full resources to training material? (Think: monthly cost taken from your profit for website or product purchases)
  • Most importantly would you have access to the product training needed to serve your clients? Are you providing a safe, quality product? (Example: Beautycounter offers product training for every product and a list of the source of the ingredients which helps clients with allergies)
  • How would your team help you grow in your business skills? (Example: I’m on a team of professional bloggers, make-up artists, nutritionists, and aestheticians whose background knowledge provides insight on a daily basis through our FB group.)
  • Lastly find out how many consultants are in your area and in the US total. When consultants overlap the profit margins per consultant decrease.

From my personal experience, I’ve enjoyed being a #girlboss. Being able to combine my desire to educate with my desire to help people feel wonderful in their own skin was the perfect fit as I transitioned to staying at home with my daughter. For over 10 years I worked in a grassroots ministry and Beautycounter (a Corp B) being a company that is just under 5 years old, hits my button for being part of a movement of change.  I look forward to my daughter’s future, where product labels on food and personal care products are easy to read and there are bans on hormone disrupting ingredients in their shampoos and soaps. I picture myself as a grandmother telling my grandchildren how I was part of a company that led the research, which brought about bans on ingredients linked to pregnancy complications, obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, and hormone-related cancers while providing their grandfather and I with some income as he pursued his medical career.

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Most people by the time they are 30 years old have graduated college and been established in their career or hometown for a few years, but that isn’t my adulting story. Living a nontraditional life I have learned a lot of maybe not so random skills, which has lead me to start this blog. I love helping women and their family find safer solutions to the not so regulated personal care industry, staying at home with Evelyn Paige, and dreaming with my husband.

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