Pontifications · Rants

Be an Entrepreneur, Not a Shill

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As a stay at home mom, I don’t miss the 9 to 5 style of work. But earning a paycheck is marvelous because ‘just‘ taking care of the kids doesn’t bring the same 21st century rewards as being an active greenback contributor to the household. I am pretty certain this is a similar motivation many domestic engineers, male or female, have when they fall prey to the trance-inducing allure of multi-level marketing schemes. And I have a beef with that and I’m going to ‘splain it.

WAIT! Before you read any farther, this is one of those posts that will butthurt some people. You are warned. This isn’t about any specific person but about the growing problem across my friend’s list — People are falling for the trap of multi-level marketing like flies. I am not against ANY of you creating a business. I am not against any successes you may have in life. But I am seriously against multi-level marketing in all its facets because it is designed to fail.

Now, because I’m lambasting this I have to be totally clean about it. I did indeed ‘try’ multi-level marketing in college — I once bought into network sales pitch to sell sex toys and adult novelty items to mostly hysterical women celebrating or shock jocking their friends/relatives/co workers. I was too green in the world of adult-stuff (although not content) to really sell the products in person and was informed by my friends I’d been taken rather quickly. I was upset when I really dug around and looked — my venture was $250 dollar ‘Oops’ but I learned my lesson the first time around and I didn’t even annoy my friends to buy crap from me, so I came out of it relatively unscathed. All because someone I trusted (who has a degree in marketing) told me to look at what I’d gotten into and I actually took their advice. I was really upset with myself but I learned from what had happened.

What bothers me is that this is not a cycle I see stopping for a lot of people. I see it growing and I see people losing time, money, and their own effort on several of these types of product/sales scams. All that blood-sweat-tears and such could go to their actual creative endeavours, but it doesn’t. A new sucker born is born every second and some just never get the memo. Others hold onto the ‘dream’ promised to them by another salesperson instead of just letting it die. It is literally no wonder people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to shill products in an attempt to be part of an ‘easy‘ business plan and ‘team’. And I know someone, somewhere, is going to be infinitely offended I said all this because they are ‘SO HAPPY’ to be a salesperson for ‘PRODUCTS THEY LOVE’. Seriously, listen to yourself. Real work-a-day salespeople don’t sound so desperate and culty about the shit they hawk unless they’re a con-artist selling you lotion at the mall.

Here’s a newsflash: The rave reviews from fellow salespeople; credulous customers trying to ‘be involved’; the photoshoots done with poor consistency; the dismal silence when it all comes crashing down and you’ve spent a lot of money, time, and effort in a closed system. You’d get more mileage investing in a lot of other things. You can say whatever you want but the vast majority of us recognize a scheme you got suckered into. It’s not new or edgy. It’s the same fucking thing. Buy shit. Buy it. BUY IT ALL. And, hey, are you interested in this great money making opportunity, too?

There. Is. No. Substance. This isn’t about your products. It’s about your greed. That’s what sells people into buying this shit in the first place.

Buying into a tiered/pyramid marketing scheme presents, right out of the gate, a lot of problems.

1.) You are trapped in the finite product pool provided to you by a singular entity.
2.) You are trapped by the changing of the guard as products are discontinued or replaced.
3.) Your market is oversaturated with novice salespeople and sustains itself on people who don’t understand market or economics or the reasons why multi-level marketing fails people with grueling regularity. It’s billed to you as wildly successful but only because a lot of people fail… are you listening?
4.) Your sales and recruited salespeople cannibalize each other. It’s not for a ‘lack of effort’ on well intended salespeople, it’s because you have no protection from there being a gluttony of competition and saturation of supply compared to the demand. If you live in a neighborhood where you sell this and the ‘opportunity’ to become a salesperson you are literally cutting off your own hand in the economic game. There are reasons there can’t be 5 or 6 of the same food franchise within X distance (including discrepancies for population load) before the service provided begins to cannibalize on the bottom line of each of the shops until none of them can sustain themselves. Just like why a local store doesn’t hire too many salespeople on its shopping floor – if everyone was a salesperson trying to sell stuff at JCPenny’s or Kohl’s then they become the target to sell to.
5.) The point of any multi-level marketing scheme is NOT to sell products, that’s the shield that keeps it legal even if the products are ‘good’. The point is to lure people into the idea of making money and scalping them while getting them to scalp the people they know. The cycle is vicious and ends poorly.
6.) The tiered or ‘pyramid’s scheming with kickbacks cannot work. It is flawed by design. The numbers don’t work out no matter how you try to play it — and the only reason Multi-level marketing is legal is because people feel less gypped when they get a bottle of face wash or a salad spinner at a premium while feeling the exclusiveness of being ‘part’ of something that could make them money.
READ MORE HERE: What’s wrong with multi-level marketing?

Today you’re also facing the gargantuan problem of the internet’s already huge marketplace. I can find exceptional good indy makeup that adheres to traditional marketing methods and affiliations without any investment, and well reviewed household whatnots and kitchen gadgets with real world reviews — even by people given free products! — that are brutally honest. And, yes, affiliated marketing is far more legitimate if it is done with companies like Amazon or Ebay by defacto — they pay set commissions for leading customers to products, you work directly with the company not a ‘team’ or ‘matrix’, and you don’t have to pay to be involved. Your reviews are your effort and your mouthpiece. You are paid for that if a customer decides to purchase but they can also circumvent you and just buy direct, too, in another vetted format. They are a sustainable form of marketing/advertising without the ‘gotcha’ of MLMs, which are scams by comparison. Look here for a breakdown comparison here:  Difference between affiliate marketing and MLM And another here: Quora Answers Or google for yourself.

When involving yourself with a smarmy marketing tactics of MLM’s, that rubbed one off from illegal pyramid scheming, this entire thing is both disingenuous and unsettling.

Look, nobody wants to be sold on a product or ‘business venture’ that only deepens the stranglehold a shill-breeding company has on friends or family. I won’t leave my position as ‘mom’ to focus on just hawking the latest marketing scheme products. I wouldn’t want to drive all my friends to grimace every single time I post for the cult like association of a bunch of other gullible people.

If I want to buy something you’ve got it has to be coming from a part of you. Wanna review products for stuff you owned and get an honest commission on the sale direct from a company you don’t need to buy into affilations with? Wanna warn me this other BS out there is dangerous? Wanna have a conversation about real world products? Wanna make jewelry? Wanna paint/draw/doodle and sell it? Wanna sell any product or service without the bullshit? FantasticNobody should put on the bad car-salesman version of themself in order to get their shit sold. I want you to succeed but I don’t want predatory business practices that are designed to ultimately fail the vast majority of people who invest in them to profit from you and your loved ones.

This breed of ‘entrepreneurs’ out there makes my toes curl. It’s not that all of their stuff is bad (although a shit ton of it is) but that marketing strategy is dying for a much less confrontational and slimy format. The constant level of shilling needs to die for the harm, credulity, and bad business it breeds among people. There’s a point where consistently glowing reviews of the same thing is not only redundant but reads as fake as it is. How do you not see that while you are participating in the situation? Take a long, hard look at multi-level marketing before you get your panties in a wad over what I have to say — far too many of you are turning this shit into a religion. I snarl every time I’m messaged and targeted to be involved with products done through tiered marketing schemes that regularly turn friends on friends for a price tag. Not because I dislike my friends but because of where they are being led.

All this said, I like buying products from people who make stuff and share their wares or even take a cut as an affiliate for honest-to-goodness content and are paid for their effort. The pressure to be ‘one’ of the marketing gurus for a company that builds on the bodies of its salespeople is not how you make enough money to vacation five months out of a year. Stop being a paid-in sacrifice. I want to play with people that have mobility and feel value in their work, not in their company’s mantra. I want them to retain their integrity. And I want people to stop behaving like fucking robots while they sell their soul to some jack-off company and it’s cheap bullshit.

Be an Entrepreneur, Not a Shill.

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