SHEER NONSENSE – LIPSENSE

by Anne Onymous, across the pond

 

If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram lately, and not living under  a rock, you’ve probably heard of LipSense — an amazing smudge-proof, long-lasting liquid lipstick. This stuff actually works.

LipSense

 

I first encountered LipSense last year, when a young friend added me to her new LipSense group on Facebook. I don’t normally like people adding me to groups unasked, so I was about to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’, but then I looked a little closer, and went ‘Oooooh … weeeeeell, maybe I’ll give this stuff a try.’

 

I ordered some LipSense from her, and was sunk. It works. For me, it lasts well over 12 hours. Over 70 colors! Heaps of different glosses (which are part of the ‘system’). You apply the color in three layers (topped by gloss), so you can use a different LipSense color for each layer, and create your own custom colors. That bit is pretty cool.

 

I quickly became a bit obsessed with the stuff, and after a few months of buying more colors, and wearing it, I started to think about signing up. Unfortunately, at that time, there weren’t any blogs, articles or videos that were critical of SeneGence (it trades as SheerSense in the UK), but I did research it as best I could. I had never been in an MLM before (and was generally anti-MLM, with good cause), but despite this, and feeling that it was all a bit cult-ish, I decided to sign up. I’ll trust my gut next time.

 

Now, I’m writing this blog post for Timeless Vie, so you know things didn’t turn out well. I have been a distributor for nearly a year, have around 80 happy customers, but will be lucky to break even. I will not be renewing my membership once it runs out.

 

I don’t even know where to start describing the problems with this company. TLDR: My basic advice is, if you want to use LipSense, go for it, it’s good stuff — but be a customer. Don’t sign up as a distributor.

 

SeneGence was started in 1999 by an American women, Joni Rogers-Kante. She was a high-level consultant with Mary Kay (see the excellent blog Pink Truth for the low-down on MK). She basically duplicated the Mary Kay set-up into SeneGence. Even their annual ‘rah-rah-rah-go-team conferences’ are both called Seminar. Almost everything on the Pink Truth site also applies to SeneGence.

 

It’s currently in very early stages in the UK — in February 2017, one UK distributor said there were only around 200 distributors. The official SheerSense Facebook Page doesn’t seem to have a great deal of activity at the moment.

 

In North America they have roughly 160,000 distributors at the moment, and are approaching saturation level in some states (SeneGence claims there’s ‘no such thing as saturation’, which is laughable). In the States, many distributors are now unable to sell their product, as demand has waned, and are discounting heavily to try to recoup some of their outlay.

 

They say that you can join as a ‘personal shopper’, or decide to sell, but really, they’re expecting that you will always eventually end up selling. You will definitely lose money if you sign up as a personal shopper. The discount you receive will probably only be 20%, unless you order heaps — over £199 in a month (and this discount is reset at the start of each month). This minor discount will be wiped out by the steep postage and handling costs they whack onto every order.

 

For starters, the Distributor Application Fee (£85) isn’t a one-off cost — there’s an additional £39 annual fee. Not all uplines clearly state — or even realize — that there’s an annual membership fee.

To make money in this business (and most of us don’t, even with a downline) you really need to be prepared to ‘hustle’ constantly, be on social media almost constantly, push sales, work long hours, and build a significant downline. It’s hard work.

All the usual MLM stuff applies. Here’s a quick run down.

All hail Joni

There is near-religious adoration of the founder, Joni Rogers-Kante. She is very Christian and right-wing (her husband, Bennie Kante, was the biggest Oklahoman donor to Trump’s inauguration fund, and I assume she has similar loyalties). Distributors treat anything she says with utter reverence.

LipSense and Jesus

In America, the company has a very Christian vibe. It’s big in Texas and Utah and among Mormons . At least the religious aspect is not so obvious in the other countries where SeneGence operates (Canada, Australia, the UK, Indonesia, Brazil, Poland, and Switzerland, at the moment).

Never be negative!

All the ‘always think positive’ crap. Anything that doesn’t work well is your fault — you were thinking negatively, limiting yourself, not hustling hard enough, not keeping going against the odds, giving up, not ‘Wowing’ random people in the street with your stripes, not following the rules (oh, the rules — so many rules). Never say anything negative, ever! Right in line with cult behaviour.

Stripes

Old fashioned. In a bad way.

The cringe-worthy amateur design. Some of us ‘rebel’ distributors remove the labels, apart from the color name stickers. They look so much nicer that way! The appalling old-fashioned, clunky website (the ‘Back Office’ area for distributors is particularly bad). Their logo, packaging, corporate publications, and advertising material have this 1990s amateur feel. If you want to sell that 3-in-1 Cleaner for £30, it ought to look like it’s worth that much!

SeneGence-products

Filling the debt wagon

 

The push to front load is not good. SeneGence’s income is based on sales to distributors, not to customers, and so of course they push you to buy heaps. Mary Kay and SeneGence both say ‘You can’t sell from an empty wagon’, in exactly the same words. SeneGence covers its legal backside by stating:

‘… the SeneGence program is based on sales at retail and not on the stockpiling of products.’

(Distributor Policies and Procedures (P&P), Section 8:B)

 

But the distributor groups include regular exhortations to front load:

FrontLoading

 

Impossible income

 

I won’t go into the details of the math behind how you can’t make money at this game. There are high fees for postage and handling. You have to order a certain amount to stay in the game as an active distributor. Your customers will quite quickly have enough colors, and not be ordering all the time. Any downlines you have are in competition with you. You have to ‘pay to play’ to earn any commission income (ie you have to place an order that month at a certain level, amounting to hundreds of pounds, to earn any monthly commission from your downline) … trust me, like for any MLM, it ain’t gonna work.

 

Nothing doing

 

In the last few years, SeneGence has had massive growth, especially in North America, due in large part to LipSense hitting social media in a big way. If you search for ‘LipSense’ on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram in particular, you will be swamped. They had a huge influx of distributors, and then sold out of all their products (in the USA, especially — other countries also suffered, but to a lesser degree). They had NOTHING. And they don’t just sell LipSense. There’s heaps of other cosmetics (also long-lasting and smudge-proof), and a whole overpriced skin care range. Everything was out of stock. Many products are still out of stock.

 

With NOTHING in the warehouse for distributors to purchase, they kept on taking sign-ups. Which, to my mind, defines a pyramid scheme. The company was making so much off sign-up fees that it didn’t matter to them that their new recruits had nothing to sell. Then they suddenly cut the color range from over 70 colors to 36 (when we lamented the loss of favourite colors, we were told to ‘Get a new favorite’). And instead of focussing on just making more LipSense, which is what our customers mostly want, they brought out new products. Perfumes, for heaven’s sake! Sun screen! Why didn’t they focus all their energies on just producing more of what we actually wanted and needed?

 

The stockpiling that American distributors in particular did during the ‘Out of Stock Crisis’ is horrifying … one color would come in, and it would be sold out within three minutes. Distributors would be buying vast amounts at once (like 20 tubes of one color) to be able to trade/swap for other colors with other distributors (swapping between distributors is allowed, while selling between distributors is against Compliance).

 

The company has never applied order limits (for example, limiting orders to only 5 tubes of one color at a time). Many distributors are now dumping their stock at massively reduced prices, in going out of business sales, to try to claw their way out of debt and just get rid of the stuff. Customers are starting to expect below-wholesale prices, which only makes things harder for us, as there’s no way we can sell at retail and recoup our costs of buying the stock in the first place.

 

Run not your own business

 

The reality is you do not own your own business at all. They pull the strings. They can forbid you from doing something that they don’t like. The Policies and Procedures (P&P) rules are quite restrictive and often unclear, and it’s all too easy to fall foul of them.

 

There are also hefty associated costs. We also have to print all marketing materials, business cards, flyers, posters, purchase tester products and disposable tester wands and so on ourselves. We have to bear the cost of providing hostess discounts and gifts at product parties. The starter kit doesn’t include any samples of actual product. You also have to handle all packaging, shipping, and returns, and ship out orders (many newer MLMs now handle all this for you, and you never have to handle stock or orders at all). It’s all part of ‘having your own business’ as they so noisily proclaim. You don’t.

 

SenePolice

 

Most of the management of LipSense downlines is done on Facebook, in large secret or closed groups. There are groups for graphics, groups about how to use social media (the company is clueless), and then the huge upline groups run by the Princesses and up (yes, princesses. I’ll get to them in a minute). These groups are great for the ‘Kool Aid drinkers’, but not for any distributor who has legitimate questions or criticisms of anything, finds that some products aren’t working as advertised, or, heaven forbid, doesn’t like one of the products. That sort of ‘disloyalty’ isn’t allowed.

 

The very large ‘SeneSisterhood’ groups quickly turn into mean girl clubs, with bullying, and people reporting each other to the SeneGence Compliance or Legal sections, when they see people doing anything against the standard P&P. Any distributor can be Compliance Police, and snitch on you. In fact, emails from Compliance are about the only quick response from SeneGence you’ll ever get. The company is infamous for not bothering to reply to most other emails or phone calls.

 

You’re not supposed to discount products by more than 15% — if you do, the secret Compliance Police will report you. Selling on any website with a checkout system, like eBay? You’ll be reported. Sell a tube of LipSense to another distributor? You’re in trouble. And there’s heaps of other ways you can overstep the mark.

 

The ‘sisterhood’ sort of language that’s used burns me up. Maybe it’s my age (I’m in my 40s), but all the ‘hun, bae, babe, girlboss’ sort of talk just feels demeaning and dismissive to me. I hate that when I have a serious problem, my Crown Princess will just say, in effect ‘Just be positive, hun’. Does. Not. Cut. It.

 

Who wants to be royal

 

One of the biggest turn-offs for me is the ranking system. It’s based on royalty, and prom queens. If you rise through the SeneGence ranks, you become a Maiden, and higher ranks include Lady, Duchess, Princess, Crown Princess, or even a Queen. What, are we all 14?

 

They wear ballgowns at special events, and wearing ‘SeneBlue’ (royal blue, their official color) is ‘strongly recommended’ at all SeneGence events, especially Seminar, their annual ‘re-indoctrination’ hypefest. They hand out tiaras and sashes, and it’s all damned beauty pageant demeaning. It takes feminism back to 1917. For a company that claims to be ‘empowering women’, they have a weird way of showing it.

 

They shower flowers, trips and gifts on their highest ranked distributors. The vast unwashed masses of distributors get pathetic 1¢ plastic ‘gems’, made in China, as recognition on reaching various milestones. Here’s a crazy idea — give those of us who advance and do well (despite the awful odds) something like increased commissions, or free shipping?

 

Spin a yarn

 

SeneGence HQ has taken to telling what seem to be out and out lies, and is losing the trust of many of its long-term distributors. They claim they had a ‘warehouse robbery’, with thieves stealing masses of LipSense. We can’t find any police or newspaper reports to this effect.

 

They cut heaps of red and orange colors from their range, claiming that there was a worldwide shortage of red pigments in the cosmetic industry. Any other cosmetic companies or industry bodies claiming this? Nope. The only thing I could discover was that cosmetic red pigments recently got more expensive.

 

They say they will buy back your products if you decide to leave — the reality is they’ll buy back 30% of your last order (as you have to tick a box vowing that you’ve sold 70% of your previous order), and they charge a restocking fee.

 

They claim that their expensive skin care is their biggest seller. Well, maybe it sells well to distributors who are trying to get their Points Values up each month, as the stuff is so expensive, but in a year as a distributor, I’ve sold one tub of moisturizer (and not for want of trying), and over $12,000 of LipSense and gloss to customers. The other distributors I know have similar stories to tell.

 

They change how they apply their own policies and procedures, seemingly at random. They ignore well-meaning advice on how to improve things. They treat some distributors very shabbily indeed. Many of us have ‘lost faith’. This company isn’t listening, and can’t be trusted.

 

Not so unique

 

The LipSense patent runs out in April 2018. There are other long-lasting lipsticks out there that are much cheaper and aren’t that bad. More are coming out. The patented formula will be public in less than a year, so expect to see even more LipSense-like lippies out there. I’m betting that SeneGence will suddenly bring out a ‘new improved alcohol-free formula’ around the time the patent expires. Bet you anything.

 

Many of us feel that if SeneGence continues as is it going now, it will crash and burn. The leadership has consistently ignored advice on how to improve their running, for years.

 

To read more stories from real distributors, visit the Crownless Princesses blog.

 

For the SeneGence apologists among you

 

I am an experienced small business owner, running my own business for over 13 years. I did work hard at this. I am not a bully or a crybaby. I didn’t expect it to be easy. I did read the P&P before I signed up. I did the ‘Wow-ing’ and attended trainings, approached strangers, held open houses and parties, got all the gear, the whole nine yards. I really tried to make this work.

 

My upline was good and supportive (although she quit even before I did). I had several downlines, and gave them all the support they could need, and they all quit before I did. I have around 80 customers, and regular sales, and am still thousands away from breaking even. I still like LipSense and many of the other cosmetics, and still use them. But I should have stayed a customer.

 

If you still want to sign up, after reading all this, please don’t front load, only place orders as you receive them from customers. Be cautious and conservative in what you order. Be sceptical and don’t buy stock on credit. Don’t drink the Kool Aid. Be careful out there.

 

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Guest Post: NU SKIN COMMISSION BREAKDOWN

This post is written by John Evans of Juice Plus Lies exposed.  Many thanks for contributing this post, John!

Nu Skin Commission Breakdown.


Nu Skin is a well established MLM selling a range of wellness and beauty products.  In 2015, Nu Skin released a complete breakdown of their commission payments to their “Leaders”.

I assume that this document hasn’t been independently verified but it’s the best we’ve got so let’s take a look at the statistics.

So in 2015, $125,025,130 is the total value of all commission payments to distributors.

Number of Distributors.

Total – 154,020
Active – 55,170
Inactive – 98,850

An active rep is defined in this document as a “Distributor who placed an order for products, promotional materials or services during the most recent three-month period”

Only 35% of the total number of distributors met this criteria.

————–

Out of these active distributors (55,1670), only 18.63% (10,278) actually earned a commission check.

The average commission paid to these 10,278 active distributors was only $188.85 per month or $2,216.16 per year.

This means that out of all 154,020 distributors.  The average earning per distributor was $67 per month.

————–

Let’s look at the breakdown of the different promotional levels.

There were 132 top level distributors.  These Blue Diamond leaders apparently earned an average of $42,231 per month or $506,772 per year.  The top level make up 66 million of the entire 125 million dollars.  This means that over 50 percent of the entire commissions were paid to the just the top level.

MLM distributors are constantly insulting this mischaracterised concept of a J.O.B, where you spend your hours slaving for some boss upstairs who doesn’t appreciate you and makes loads of money off your back.  Well from Nu Skin’s report it actually looks like they fit this description a lot better.

Out of 154,020 distributors, 53.5% of the total paid commissions went to just 132 people.

—————–

Below is the rest of the table of levels broken down into average earnings.

132 Blue Diamond – Average $42,231 per month / $506,772 per year = $66,893,904

83 Diamond – Average $8,310 per month / $99,720 per year = $8,276,760

104 Emerald – Average $4,894 per month / $58,728 per year = $6,107,712

237 Ruby – Average $2,520 per month / $30,240 per year = $7,166,880

485 Lapis – Average $1,471 per month / $17,652 per year = $8,561,220

684 Gold – Average $923 per month / $11,076 per year = $7,575,984

2,747 Executive – Average $492 per month / $5,904 per year = $16,218,288

132 Provisional Executive – Average $48 per month / $576 per year = $76,032

977 Qualifying Executive – $106 per month / $1,272 per year = $1,242,744

4,689 Non-Executive (earning a check) – $37 per month / $444 per year = $2,081,916

—————-

This data tells us that 9,714 out of the 10,278 active distributors earned $1,471 or less per month, so that’s a whopping 95% of all paid distributors.

But even more alarmingly, 45% of these active distributors, the 4,689 non-executives, earned an average of $37 a month! 

—————-

In summary.

2015 was a bad year to be a Nu Skin distributor, you had a 6.6% of earning anything at all.  If you did get lucky enough to be in this 6.6% then you were 95% likely to have earned less than $1,471 per month.  Or worse still you had a 45% chance of earning an average of 37 dollars per month.

Based on these statistics it is absolutely shocking how the average Nu Skin distributor portrays this job opportunity.  But this will be the subject of another article.

This guest post is by the owner of Sussex Zest.  You can find her on Facebook here.

 

This blog is possibly going to upset some people,  some people close to me even.  But you know what? I am upset!  I am upset because once I again I have received a Facebook message that begins:

 
I’ve just started my own business in the last few months working with a multi billion pound Health & Wellbeing Company promoting products for all the family.
I’m working on getting the products ‘out there’ and as your business is also in this sector….”

 

Yes almost two years ago (with daughters aged 3 and 5) I opened a business, a fitness and Personal Training studio.  I did it because I genuinely believe there is a need for such a product in my area.  I achieved it by writing a comprehensive business plan which I took to the bank and borrowed a large sum (secured against our house).  And that was just the beginning of working my butt off.  I’ve built, I’ve cleaned, and I’ve spent many an early hour staring at my bedrooms ceiling with my brain refusing to stop asking itself circular questions.  Do you see where I am going here?  To compare our ‘businesses’ is incorrect and borderline insulting.

 

Owning and managing a business means there might be times your husband finds you in tears on the kitchen floor when lease negotiations fall apart the week before signing.  It’s about the hours spent sweating trying to nail that one bit of choreography, it’s about some days starting at 06.00 finishing at 22.00, it is about a constant juggle of paperwork – planning, accounts, marketing but somehow walking onto that studio floor shining, and making your client feel like the most important person in the world – BECAUSE THEY ARE!

 

BUT BUT BUT owning and managing a business is also about the look on your client’s face when they realise that 4 weeks ago they couldn’t do what they are doing now.  It’s when you get a text on a Saturday afternoon saying ‘I’m wearing that dress at my friends wedding and I feel great,’ it’s when a toddler peers though the windows and sees people exercising but more importantly having fun doing it and it’s about those 5 minutes at the end of a busy day looking around at what you’ve created and thinking ‘yes, I made this’.

 

To me it’s never about approaching often vulnerable acquaintances (the mother who doesn’t feel ready to return to work, the friend who is unhappy with their weight) and presenting them with a non-descript ‘business opportunity’ or quick fix solution.  It is not about cryptic messages on social media (dm me), faux aspirational memes or ‘faking it till you make it’. 

 

It’s so very prevelant in fitness (and with parents of young children – yay I get double the fun) and I understand this – really I do – that fitness can be a tough industry to earn a living in.  There are many hidden costs – licenses, insurance, music, licesnes to play your music (yes) and of course the ‘on the floor’ hours are only the tip of the iceberg of your working day.  For each hour you train there are many more spent marketing, learning choreography, reading….which is why the idea of a residual income could be tempting.

 

But FITNESS colleagues I ask you this – do you hand on heart believe in the products you are selling, endorsing or recruiting others to sell?  You made the time and invested in yourself, often as an adult – as a career change, studying hard to gain qualifications in sports nutrition, to memorise the anatomy of the human body, and much more ongoing further education.  You are a professional. Never stop believing that and that you have so so much to offer.

 

We have a nationwide health crisis with increasing ever increasing rates of obesity and associated illnesses.  What individuals need right now is not quick fixes.  It is not diet shakes,  vegetables made into capsules, coffee with added mushrooms, 9 day detoxes and so on.

 

They need fitness professionals who are passionate about what they do, but are empathetic and meet them where they are now.  It is about the fitness industry using evidence based information and research to create individualised, appropriate and enoyajable fitness and nutrition strategies.  And they need their friends and colleagues support them through any lifestyle changes with no business agenda.

 


 

Many thanks to Samantha for writing this post and for being an ethical and honest fitness trainer.  If you’re looking for someone who will not spam you with overpriced multi-level marketing products, Samantha’s your go-to.

Three ways MLMs are piggybacking on legitimate business tactics and why it doesn’t work.

by Kathryn Minchew, Pyromaniac Chef

Check out Kathryn’s business here. Her website makes us hungry.

 

  • Posting on Facebook groups

 

When you are a genuine business owner, Facebook groups embrace you. I have shared stories about my restaurant in a Kota hut in Kota hut owner groups and have received wonderful feedback. Then, when I have had something to sell (such as my cook book inspired by my Kota hut) I have received an enthusiastic response (since I have built up a relationship and of course, my product is new and interesting). I belong to a group that shares PR ideas and I was so impressed with one woman’s approach that I immediately supported her crowdfunding campaign for a children’s novel. People get excited about passionate people sharing their story when it is within a subject area which interests them.

 

But in an MLM it is not your story.  No matter how passionate the individual, it is still a script. A story being regurgitated from marketing packs and conferences.

 

  • My wonderful life as seen on Instagram

 

Of course my Instagram shows a highly edited version of my life but it is still true. The cute wooden building in a garden is my restaurant in my garden. The smoker and the pistachio Kitchenaid are how I cook. Do my kids get frozen pizza now and then? Sure they do but I don’t show it because it’s not what my business is about. An edited business profile is about communicating what I want to discuss (food, fire and hygge) in order that people gain an impression of my business that is ultimately realistic. I sell food, fire and hygge products and services; I don’t sell frozen pizza.

 

But in an MLM the editing is about creating a version of a life which misleads. Far from seeking to zone in on a core message based on business reality, they are portraying a fake version of events. I get tagged in images of people in my restaurant or my candles in their home; MLMs have to tag themselves.

 

  • Be my friend

 

I add loads of people on my social media accounts. How else do you build up your online network? I talk to them and some become customers and some become suppliers. I have a lovely story about how this works. I posted a picture of a cup of coffee which attracted a like and a follow from a coffee supplier, I looked at them and liked what they did so started buying my coffee from them. Then they liked everything I posted about coffee. Another of their customers saw this and wondered who I was so looked at my profile. They then booked into my restaurant. I only know this story because I was giving my little talk during the coffee part of the meal and the man in question said the reason they’d come was because if I was smart enough to get my coffee from that supplier, I must be pretty good. That is how networking works. We build trust.

 

But an MLM has closed off 50% of what makes business flow. You can’t do something for another person (no, selling me an “opportunity” is not something for me), you can only sell. If you cannot offer someone something, how can you expect to develop a relationship with them?

Thanks, Kathryn, for sharing your insights with us.  If you are a business owner,  and would like to be featured on the blog, drop us a line. 

It’s Not About You.

A guest post from a supporter:

 

It’s not about you.

 

This is a reply to all the bots out there who complain, ‘you are picking on me, it’s bullying, you are jealous haters’ etc, from Timeless Vie to Botwatch to Ethan Vanderbuilt to every other anti-MLM campaign out there.

It’s not about you.

Let us be crystal clear.

It’s not about you, though  its easy to see why you might think our campaign is about you. The MLM, your upline, your trainers, they all gave you the same message, ‘its about you, if you fail it’s because of something you didn’t do.’

This is not true.

However we understand it might be an easy mistake to make.

We know that your training encourages you to put yourself out there, we see your Facebook where you have reinvented yourself as a public figure, we see your carefully curated image with absolutely no negativity, making it look as if you were fabulously successful.

We see you putting your kids out there too, as part of your brand, seriously compromising you and your family’s privacy! Because hey, the business is the most important thing isn’t it? We see you with your carefully crafted prose and artful photography, to make it look as if you have a lifestyle that isn’t really yours.

We see that sometimes you write things creatively, (we would say deceptively), in order that your potential downline would assume that something was true, when it wasn’t, that the car in the car dealership was yours, that the trappings of wealth that you told them they could have if only they joined you wasn’t really leased or rented. We know how rife this is, we get messages every week, ‘my friend is renting a house but her downline thinks its hers.’ ‘This isn’t her car.’ ‘Her husband pays for everything.’ ‘They were already wealthy.’ ‘She bought her promotion.’ ‘I am so angry, that’s not her kitchen, but she acts as if it is, check out this YT video’

But hey, it’s okay if my downline thinks I own this house and car, you say to yourself. You didn’t lie, did you? You never ACTUALLY said that. If they assume, then the fault is on them, right?

Back to the subject. It’s not about you, it isn’t and it never was.

We’re not interested in attacking you, we would embrace you with open arms and comfort and support you too, should you come to your senses, just like your downline who left.

We know you have been coached to think your downline were bitter and lazy and had failed. Even so,  we would support you. After all we have seen you in your training videos, looking more exhausted and stressed as the months passed. We saw you desperately put a positive spin on your downline leaving. We heard you mumble through a training at 3am. We feel for you too. So should this shitshow that you are in crumble to dust and you can bo longer do it, we will be there for you.

We never ‘attacked your business’. Because we don’t even think MLM is a business, it’s a game, a slight of hand trick, a scheme, a racket, where recruits are drawn in with illusions and deception.

But this still isn’t about you, it’s about the actions of victims who are caught up in MLM schemes. The actions of the owners of these schemes. The actions of the trainers. We raise the awareness of these actions that are used to deceive people and draw them in and take their money. We share your trainers’ scripts, we use parody and satire, because we want to educate without resorting to personal attacks. If your actions are raised and criticised then this is not a personal attack on you, it is a criticism of your actions, which you used to deceive people into signing up.

We are only interested in truth.

Not spin, not illusion, only truth. And because MLM does not share the truth, then we will do it.  Does the truth hurt you?  Stay with that feeling, and if you can, think about why that might be.

It’s not about you.  But if you come to us for help, we promise to support you.

FIGHT CLUB: MLM vs Real Actual Business – a Guest Post

This guest post was written by one of our supporters, who compared her real job with a real USA-based business to an MLM.   Thank you so much for talking the time to write this for us, Anonymous!

 

Why won’t forever living employ you?

 

I work for a multi-billion Dollar American company.

Forever living is a multi-billion dollar American company (allegedly)

My company manufactures consumer products, and my role is to sell those products to customers.

Forever living manufacturer consumer products, your role is to sell those products to customers.

In my company there are 50 people in the UK that have the same role as me.

In Forever Living there are over 14,000 people in the UK that have the same role as you.

I have a signed work contract that sets out my terms of my employment.

Forever living won’t give you a contract of employment.

I have to travel for my work; I’m given a company car, and a company credit card to pay for fuel.

When you sign up for forever living you don’t get a company car, they don’t pay for your fuel.

I need product samples to give to customers. I am given samples as and when I need, always free of charge.

Forever living doesn’t provide you with samples.

 

 


 

 

I get a monthly supply of my company’s products given to me for free. Sometimes I give these away  to friends and family, sometimes I use these products myself.  I can also choose not to take these free products and instead have the equivalent value added to my monthly pay.

 

Again, forever doesn’t give you any free products.

 

I need to be trained on my product line in order to sell these products to my customers. My company schedules training during the week, books for and pays for hotels and all expenses when I  am away from home, and also offers free online courses I can take to help improve my skills.

 

Forever living makes you pay for training days, holds these days during unsociable hours such asevenings and weekends, doesn’t pay for your travel, accommodation or food.

 

My work recognises that in order for me to be successful I need to have a good work life balance, so they give me flexible working hours, 25 days a year holiday, plus paid sick leave. I can also trade in a portion of my salary for additional holiday days should I so desire.

 

Forever living doesn’t employ you.  You don’t get holiday days or sick days.

 

My company provides me with monthly pension contributions and private healthcare cover.

 

Forever living does not give you monthly pension contributions or healthcare cover.

 

Whilst I travel to see clients my office is based from home.  My company pays me a small amount each month to cover my increased electricity costs.

 

Forever living doesn’t provide you with any contributions to help cover your costs.

 

In order to do my job I need a phone, laptop, tablet, printer and general office supplies. My company  provides these to me free of charge. If I run out of supplies I use my company credit card to buy more.

 

Forever living doesn’t give you any equipment to do your job. They won’t reimburse you for any costs.

 

My company pays me a monthly basic salary, even if I haven’t hit my bonus targets.

 

Forever living doesn’t pay you a basic salary.

 

Because I have a contractual agreement I am protected by law from unfair dismissal and discrimination.

 

Forever living does not provide you with a contract of employment; you have no legal rights that  employment law provides you.

 

I didn’t have to pay to join my company.

 

How much has it cost you to join forever living?

 

I work for a multi-billion dollar American company.

 

Forever Living is a multi-billion dollar American company.

 

So why won’t forever living employ you?

 

Forever living doesn’t employ you because you are the customer, not the employee, not the  business owner. They don’t want you to recruit people to join their business; they want to expand  their customer base.

 

The company I work for pays me and give me a multitude of real benefits because I provide value to  them over what I’m paid. It’s cost effective for them to employ me because of the return of  investment I will provide.

 

Forever living and any other MLM company’s route to market is a lot different. They don’t retail  their products in store, or online because this would involve them entering a saturated market, thus  having to incur large business costs such as marketing, paying salaries, product testing and cost them  further by having to have a reduced wholesale price so that stores can retail their products at the  appropriate market rate.

 

By making you buy their products just to join the company they can quickly and for a very low cost  create thousands of customers with an astronomically high lifetime value.  If you’re in an MLM it’s  very likely that you have a small customer base, if you have one at all, and you find it very hard to  sell large quantities of your stock. So to keep sales flowing they get you ‘recruit’ more people into joining the business. How are people recruited? Is it by way of entry exam, or qualification? No, they  have to buy £200 worth of forever living stock. Added to that you need to personally purchase £160  pounds of stock a month to stay part of the ‘business’ and you’re quickly your own best customer,  and for very little outlet cost forever living has made a large and substantial profit.

 

But, you may say, I earn commission of the sales that I make. I can work whatever hours I want. My  earnings are unlimited with Forever Living.

 

The reality? You might earn a couple of pounds from selling some aloe-vera gel. You can choose to  only try and sell that gel by posting on facebook between 10-11am every Tuesday, and you could  potentially sell a bottle of aloe-vera gel to every human being on this planet. The reality is that  selling is hard. Selling in a saturated market is hard. Selling a £20 bottle of aloe is hard. Without  taking into account the outlay of personally purchasing the products, the training, the fuel, postage  and other costs you stand to either make a very small amount of money  or, like 99.9% of people  that ‘join’ a multi-level marketing company, you will make nothing or lose money.

So, if you work for a multi-billion, cash rich, debt free company shouldn’t you expect a little more for  your time than a couple of quid for selling a bottle of aloe?

If you work for a multi-billion dollar, cash rich, debt free company, ask yourself what they’re providing you.

 Ask yourself how they became a multi-billion dollar company.

 

 

Ask yourself, why don’t forever living employ me?