The Pyromaniac Chef talks about real empowerment and real charity work

 

Concentrate or it might sound like MLMs have a point

 

One of the greatest challenges presented by MLM myths is that they tap into something true. The advice I’ve been given by some very successful people is the same content as on the motivational posts favoured by bots. Something I do to great effect is ensure I surround myself with positive people, particularly at the beginning of a project. My husband, my mum and my best friend are my absolute cheerleaders whereas my mother-in-law is one of life’s worriers and points out everything that could go wrong. Haters gonna hate so keep your distance from them when it comes to being an entrepreneur.

Knowing your why is also vital to success. I run one of the world’s smallest restaurants and the night’s I have bookings, I have a sixteen-hour day. It’s stressful and exhausting but my why carries me through. My reason for why I do what I do is because I’ve been able to avoid putting my son into childcare. The motherhood experience is so personal and I believe there is no universal right way to raise a family but what is essential is to seek out the balance which is right for you. I miss out on some family time at weekends but the compromise is worth it for me for all the midweek trips and adventures I have with my son.

These truths are what make MLMs so insidious. Talk to any small business owner enjoying some success whilst enjoying what they do and there’s a high chance they’ll sound like a bot.

 

So how can you tell a bot from the genuine article

 

In a word, empowerment. My own story could be told to the backdrop of a few violins. My husband got very ill and this hit our finances hard. I was desperate and needed to make money and fast. I opened my restaurant, Gloucester Studio and in the process of becoming stronger and more confident as I began to take control of my life and our financial situation I became empowered.

It’s a journey that the bots like to claim to be on but there’s a crucial difference. I won’t get demoted if I don’t hit some arbitrary target. Empowerment comes from within and can’t be taken away from you. When you’re empowered, you set the rules. My restaurant closes in July and August; my diners sit around a fire pit so it’s a bit hot but also, I don’t want to. It’s the school holidays so I’m busy with my kids. Because my business is actually my own business (there’s a clue in the way I pay tax as a director of the company) not only do I not get penalised but it makes me more successful. A couple of months’ rest means travel and visiting other restaurants. Come September I’m refreshed and inspired for the next ten months of service.

 

Let me shed some tears while I talk about money

 

A recent video from a bot demoted for breaking the rules included a charming reference to losing her stepfather. There has also been a flurry of activity surrounding charitable donations from the top of various pyramids and bots saying how proud they were to be part of such an amazing organisation.

My ill husband is better than he was but it has been a hideous few years. As we began to come out of this my grandad was diagnosed with dementia. His decline has been so fast and I’m not coping. There’s a weight on my chest that sees me endlessly catching my breath as I fight the tears.

The good news is I’m not a bot! The best news is as I run my company as I see fit so in June I’m attempting a gigantean challenge. I want to make £5,000 (that’s diamond studded flappy pigeon level income for those of you who want it in proper figures) for the two dementia charities who have helped my family.

What is exciting about working with a beautiful company like Pyromaniac Chef is that I’m the one who’ll be writing the big juicy cheques. When I hand that money over it won’t be as a result of causing stress and upset to a downline but rather be the result of the parties I’ve thrown and the crowdfunding I’ve done in order to do something productive with the tangle of love and pain that without a project, might actually break me.

So, if I may talk to you from the heart for a moment let me say this. Dementia is a cruel disease but Alzheimer’s Society and Lilian Faithful Homes are doing great work. I’m taking the advice of the late Carrie Fisher and taking my broken heart and turning it into art; I’m writing a book whose proceeds will go to these amazing charities. You have an opportunity to help me reach my goal and in return receive a beautiful book, gorgeous hamper or attend an experience day. See crowdfunder.co.uk/hygge-huts for details.

Thank you.

“The leader stood over all of us saying we had to call someone NOW and talk to them about Forever, and she was standing over us waiting for us to call.” – A new graduate speaks about her experience in Forever Living

Here we go…

Straight after I had graduated from university (STRAIGHT after), my
long-term friend joined Forever and was really excited about it. We
were really close at the time and spent a lot of time together, and I
trusted her completely. Somehow at that time I had never heard about
MLM at all let alone Forever, so it sounded quite good to me. A
business I could do from home while I looked for my first proper job
after uni? Perfect! She took me to the local Business Presentation and
I didn’t understand much of it but it looked super exciting. Lots of
smiley women around, lots of beauty products, it just looked to me
like I could have fun with a brand new friends and get a discount on
some awesome stuff. My friend told me the business training was worth
more than the £200 investment needed anyway and would help me
career-wise too, no matter what area I worked in. It sounds silly, but
this was the first I’d heard of anything like this and I was super
happy to join even though it was a LOT of money on my part-time
waitress wages.

“We had to contact everyone we knew about the company…”

I soon learnt we had to contact everyone we knew about the company and
ask them to join our team, in various scripted ways. I felt really
uncomfortable about this and would have rather sold the products
themselves or got people I didn’t know to join, but I was told it was
the only way, that I need to get motivated, etc. I was given links of
mindset training on Youtube and some motivational books to read very
day when i woke up. I was told to create a dream board of all the
things I wanted in life, and that other people’s opinions shouldn’t
mean more to me than the things on my dream board, so I shouldn’t be
hesitant to talk to anyone about the ‘opportunity’. I struck up a few
conversations with old friends and led them into talking about the
business. I felt deceitful and hoped they wouldn’t think I had only
spoken to them because I wanted them to join (I had in that instance,
but I did care about them too). No one signed up.

After my failure to create a team I was told to go round to the house
of someone who was very successful in Forever. There was a small group
of us newbies there, I was the youngest by a mile. The leader stood
over all of us saying we had to call someone NOW and talk to them
about Forever, and she was standing over us waiting for us to call.
Everyone else picked up their phone. I said I don’t actually call
anyone, I just message (no one I knew at my age randomly phoned their
friends anymore) so it would look weird. She closed off from me and
said I was making excuses, and that she couldn’t stand excuses. I
still didn’t want to call anyone and said I’d rather do things a
different way, and I tried to reassure her I really wanted to make
this work.

“I was already paying out for things I hadn’t expected…”

The leader told me if I really wanted to succeed I’d be at the next
official training event, which was too expensive for me and I didn’t
have transport to get there. I was already paying out for things I
hadn’t expected, having four monthly payments to access training and
so on (QLS group, Forever Knowledge, Forever 360 and Smart Pod). I was
told to ‘buy the ticket now and figure out how to get there later’,
which turned out to be a common phrase I heard a lot. To try to get in
everyone’s good graces again I borrowed money for this training event
(taking four train journeys on my own at the weekend), hoping it would
be enough to get some more help. In my Facebook group women were told
if they didn’t have a sick day off work or leave the kids with a
babysitter in order to attend training events they were losers who
made excuses and wouldn’t succeed. Mums often got stressed out with
the lack of time they now had with their kids but where told to ‘make
your kids the reason to succeed, not your excuse’ and to find them a
babysitter as it would all be worth it when they were living life like
a millionaire.

At the training event the leader came on stage to loads of applause
and cheers, like a celebrity. She told us we need to brand ourselves
and take lots of pictures and make our profiles public so everyone can
see how great our life is and want to join. She said yesterday she
posted about going out somewhere, but she actually didn’t go anywhere-
she took the picture of herself in the car a few days earlier and
posted in when we was still in bed feeling tired and ill, but no one
outside Forever needed to know that. She told us it doesn’t matter how
we feel, we need to make people want our lives, that’s what our job is
now.

By this stage my sponsor was basically unrecognisable from the girl I
once knew. All she talked about was Forever. When someone wasn’t
interested she said to me ‘no just means not right now’ and asked them
again next time she saw them. She gave my sister a face cream which
triggered a big allergic rash and pressurised her to keep using it ‘as
its just the toxins coming out’. My sister pretended she was using it
to shut her up but had to stop as it was so painful. Everyone my
sponsor knew who was not involved with Forever she fell out with as
they were ‘negative’ and she ‘needed only supportive positive people
in her life now’. She had quit her successful, well-paid job and was
staying at home all day, posting a perfect calm ideal life on Facebook
yet being crying and stressed when anyone close to her saw her.

“Only losers are employed…”

The mentality in Forever was that only losers are employed, and that
everyone who is smart and ambitious knows better than to take on a
full-time job. I was shamed into not getting a full-time job and it
got to the point where I saw it as a failure. This lasted four years
while I tried to do MLM alongside minimum wage part time jobs, ruining
my best job prospects straight after graduation, but I knew if I got a
‘proper’ career I would be looked down upon as weak, and I believed
people outside Forever would look down on me as a failure too.

I wanted to keep my work and personal life separate to hang on to the
tiny bit of respect my old friends had for me, but this made me be
seen by my Forever group as someone who was lazy and didn’t want to
work hard for success, which hurt me and make me want to prove myself.
My group had stopped talking to me and my sponsor got stressed and
said we needed to go contact marketing instead. I was told it was fun,
we would meet in the city centre and just be friendly and people would
naturally be curious about the business, that I was being paid to hang
out and shop, essentially. I was excited, thinking this is how I would
get my team without alienating the people close to me. I honestly
believed at that time, thanks to all the training, that recruiting
people was doing them a favour and saving them from their stressful
J.O.B.s which would give them miserable lives. We were told that every
time we didn’t approach someone about the business we were just being
selfish by not helping them, and didn’t we want to help people live to
their full potential? The first place we went was Boots. My sponsor
pointed out a lady looking at the shampoo and told me to go and talk
to her about our shampoo. I was shocked and said I couldn’t just go up
and do that, and that I didn’t know what to say. Suddenly my sponsor
got irate and shouted ‘talk to her NOW! With this attitude you’ll
never make manager!’ She didn’t seem to care that everyone heard us. I
was so embarrassed. The poor lady looked over to us in sheer confusion
and terror. My sponsor tried to carry on arguing, but I’d had enough
and walked out the store in sheer panic. My sponsor and long-term
friend stopped speaking to me after that and seemed to hate me. I
started to feel very humiliated and alone.

“My question kept getting passed between departments…”

I decided I was going to try and work the business online by myself,
and wanted to make a health blog talking about how wonderful our
products were, as I completely believed they were. I couldn’t find any
information about them apart from a short paragraph on the official
website, and needed a lot more information to sell them online
successfully. I messaged head office asking why the honey was so
expensive (even organic raw honey was a quarter of the price), why the
tea bags were so expensive, and so on. I honestly believed there was a
reason, and was excited to be able to explain it to people. My
question kept getting passed between departments and finally I
received a reply with a standard blurb about the products. I replied
back repeating my question about the difference in price, I wanted to
know why it was so much higher, what the quality differences were. The
answer was just that it was ‘high quality’. My emails were ignored
after that. I started I worry that the prices were inflated with no
reason. At this point a cloud of panic set in as I started to wonder
if I’d been duped all along. I was scared the dreams of a perfect life
and success I’d built up in my head were not going to happen after
all, and that the time I had spent on the company had been wasted when
I should have got a ‘real job’ after graduation as I’d planned and
studied for. This was a really horrible feeling and I tried to push it
away.

“I was terrified to think
anything negative or feel negative incase it made the thought real.”

 
I quit Forever but still felt MLM was the answer and didn’t want to
admit I had gone down the wrong path after all. I joined a couple of
other companies but after the initial excitement at everyone being
nice to me because I was new and trying out the products, they all
worked exactly the same underneath. I kept wasting my days at home by
myself watching mindset videos all day on Youtube as I kept being told
mindset was the reason I wasn’t succeeding. Everyone was talking about
the Secret and the Law of Attraction, and that the thoughts you have
control your life and create your reality. I was terrified to think
anything negative or feel negative incase it made the thought real. I
was told if you think you aren’t going to make it, then you won’t make
it, and for instance if you wake up and feel sad, it will cause sad
energy to be attracted to you and something bad will happen to cause
more sadness, so you had to be careful and always watch your thoughts.
You always had to remain grateful, patient and positive and to believe
you are already living your dream life right now, which will make it
more likely to happen. I couldn’t air any doubts with anyone otherwise
I was labelled as negative and causing my own problems.

I was tired out and had no friends left both inside and outside MLM
groups as I hadn’t been successful, and felt both groups saw me as a
failure in life. I had no money whatsoever (not even enough to buy a
bag of crisps on a whim) though I felt I was working every second of
every day and felt like a total loser, which hurt me as I was
naturally very ambitious and sociable with big plans for my life, and
had graduated with so much hope for my future. I also felt I couldn’t
admit I was lonely or poor as it would attract more loneliness and
lack of money to me, and that I needed to have an ‘abundance mindset’
and to carry on working hard. I believed success was always just
around the corner and soon I’d have my ideal life, friends again, a
business of my own and regular travel, like all the others I saw on
social media who were doing MLM. I honestly didn’t understand why I
hadn’t made it like they had, although from the outside maybe it
looked like I had too, due to all my inspirational posts.

If I just had a cup of tea for 5 mins I felt guilty as I should be
‘working’, and I didn’t want to go out and enjoy myself as I thought
this would mean I was being lazy and not working on my dreams hard
enough. I lost contact with almost everyone but thought it would all
be worth it one day. To cut a long story short, with absolutely no
exaggeration, this led to me having a full-blown panic attack as I
couldn’t stop the negative thoughts and was terrified I was making
them real. I then ended up having panic attacks every week. I
collapsed on the floor, felt like I couldn’t breathe and honestly
thought I would faint or die. I was exhausted and thought I was
actually going crazy. I developed obsessive compulsive disorder to try
and ‘control’ my thoughts and to stop bad things happening. My
boyfriend was very supportive and told me I needed to relax and get
away from all the stress and find a job so I could make regular money
and meet people again.

I took a small job at the local college and with the wages I earned we
went on our first holiday in years. Getting out the house and feeling
like I had a normal life, slowly I started to recover, although it
took about 2 years in full for the anxiety and OCD to completely
simmer down. I was worried because I had no job experience in the
subject I had graduated in and didn’t know how to explain to employers
what I had been doing all this time, so I was convinced I wouldn’t get
a job in the field I wanted anymore. After all my studying and
ambition I was devastated I had wasted my twenties, alienating my
friends, having no money to do the travelling I wanted and looking
lazy on my CV.

“My friend is still in Forever and becoming increasinly unhinged…”

It’s now a few years later, and my heart goes out to those in MLMs. My
friend is still in Forever and is becoming increasingly unhinged
(whenever I see her, which is rare, she seems to start screaming or
crying about something and is very controlling of those she knows,
despite her life looking successful, luxurious and happy on social
media). She is retraining to be a life coach. My cousin, who joined
Forever initially with no success, has been in about 4 different MLMs.
Before all this she started off trying to get her own business in
accounting set up, which had been going well, and stopped that for
success in MLM, which has still never come. If you saw any of these
people on Facebook you’d think they were rich and happy with loads of
friends and not a care in the world, but I know they are struggling
desperately with money and spend all day inside the house, alone,
working on their ‘mindset’ and making the perfect posts for social
media, which never get any interaction.

If only I could go back in time and get a full-time job straight out
of uni, but at last I’m here now (yes, in the industry I always
wanted- turns out my detour into MLM didn’t affect my employment
prospects as much as I dreaded as luckily people seem to assume I was
just travelling and taking it easy in my early twenties- thank god
they don’t know I was actually being brainwashed). I took about a 6
year detour until I had the confidence to go for my ideal job and now
I’m where I should be. Don’t get sucked in to the hype, if you want a
great life go for your dream career at last or set up your own
business yourself and you’ll make it with far less money and time you
would have wasted in an MLM.

*

Wow.  What a powerful and enraging story.  Thank you so much for sharing with us.

“After nearly seventeen years in the hair and beauty industry I have been approached by ‘reps’ for pretty much every MLM company going…” Guest Post

This is a guest post written by one of our favourite #manhuns, Andrew Rowe-Henney.  You can check out his skincare business here

 

After nearly seventeen years in the hair and beauty industry I have been approached by ‘reps’ for pretty much every MLM company going. All offering me the same dream that they offer many people, which is apparent long term financial freedom and escaping the ‘rat race’. Here is where they fall down in establishing any major foothold in my profession. A survey carried out by City and Guilds in 2008 found beauty therapists and hairdressers were the two happiest professions in Britain. So creating an escape for people to run to does not really work.

 

The main issue that any kind of MLM business selling in or to my industry faces is lack of knowledge.

 

When you are trying to sell moisturiser to a beauty therapist or conditioner to a hairdresser, you better know your stuff. Some people do think they know their stuff and approach someone like myself, leading to an often harsh sounding rebuttal. Because they have been told their moisturiser is scientifically the best thing out there and people will be snatching it out of their hands and throwing money in their face, they truly believe this. I have the benefit of years of training, experience and sound knowledge of cosmetic chemistry and biology to challenge the claims made by these companies. Even companies I sometimes deal with that are not MLM’s, make me roll my eyes sometimes with cleverly worded advertising. It is not unique to that industry but, in my opinion, it is by far the overriding factor in making people believe they are entering a solid business ‘franchise’.

 

I recently had a message from someone trying to recruit me.

 

I recently had a message from someone trying to recruit me. She was a school friend and wanted to come and see me when I had some free time (actually not a friend as such, but in my year and dated my cousin kind of friend. One you would not pass in the street, but one you would not get a nice birthday card for either). This was not to catch up on old times, it was because she had discovered this wonderful bunch of products. I did not share her enthusiasm for these products. I normally just ignore messages from this kind of business, as I find engaging in conversation about the scientific merit of their products claims can be confusing for the representative as they have had ‘training’ in the product, but understand little of the science, which in itself can be presented by the company in a very biased format and without links to external studies which verify the claims. The company in question sold a multitude of cosmetic products and their star product was a ‘Galvanic Spa machine’ which this representative had been ‘trained to use’ (more on that later). Understanding a great deal about galvanic current used for cosmetic purposes, I decided to respond with why I thought her company’s machine was comparable to one which was £220 cheaper and offered not a sufficient level of controllable and ‘true’ galvanic current to make any real difference. I also stated I used the world’s largest salon skin care brand which is part owned by the world’s third largest company, meaning I was happy with the level of research that goes into the products I use and retail. This was enough to dissuade her from contacting me about joining her any further.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE

 

I would say the biggest disappointment for me was discovering she (at the time) did not have professional liability insurance. You see when you go into a salon or have someone visit your home to perform a treatment, they will be insured with a policy from a specialist insurer or insured through a trade body like the one I am a member of. Specifically my trade body BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy And Cosmetology) will require submission of certificates from a recognised educator working under an approved framework (City & Guilds, VTCT etc.). There are many insurers who require this and who will not insure non-qualified practitioners.

 

 

If you go into a store like Superdrug, for example, they have insurance that covers them for what they do. You are the person picking something up off the shelf, therefore it is your responsibility to check ingredients for any allergens that are specific to you. These products will also have legal notices printed on them advising against use if you have specific conditions and notices if you require a sensitivity test (like with hair colour products). That is how standard high street retail of products work.

 

THE RULES FOR SALON-ONLY PRODUCTS

 

When we look at salon only products a different set of rules comes into play. I am responsible for checking allergens, I am responsible for contraindications to use (like salicylic acid during pregnancy), it is me who is responsible for checking professional only products are suitable for use. Unfortunately, my industry is largely unregulated and as such anyone can pop up in a shop and call themselves a beauty therapist or hairdresser. Some councils are now moving to combat this by making sure people have licences for treatments like massage, but it is still not getting to where it needs to be. The problem of MLM companies advocating those without qualifications both perform and recommend products only complicates the matter. Remember that the MLM representative is advising you from the point of a business now. In this circumstance they are not your friend offering their opinion on a moisturiser they like, they are advising your purchase from them in their capacity as a ‘trained’ individual.

 

 

Remember the second someone is recommending you something or performing a treatment on you, they are declaring that they are qualified to do so and as such should provide you with proof of qualifications and, importantly, proof of insurance. If they do not have either, please be sensible and refuse their advice.

 

To the people who think it is ok to inbox me with these offers;

 

I have years of practical experience, backed up by extensive education in my field, including qualifications in anatomy and physiology and many CPD hours each year. I am a member of a professional trade body and I am qualified and insured to provide each treatment I perform. Please do not compare three hours of ‘training’ to this and consider yourself a professional. I quite frankly find it insulting. If you truly wish to enter the field as a professional, please seek out your local careers office or college who will advise you on which path of training is best for you. It is not too late, or indeed too early to leave MLM behind.

Thanks very much for sharing this post with us, Andrew.  You make a compelling case for men and women to use professional, trained beauty therapists.

Get your 2017 MLM-free summer shopping here!

Grab a glass of prosecco, put your feet up & enjoy our latest MLM-free shopping guide.  We have an eclectic bunch of vendors, selling everything from farm machinery, hand-cut jewellery, to offering HR services.  Check it out and know that none of them will try & recruit you to their team! 100% #lossbabe free.

 

starsandscarsbanner

Hand-cut and designed jewellery

 

 

 

sussexzest

Ethical, MLM-free personal trainer

 

 

 

rainbow

Gorgeous hand made glass objects

 

 

 

valentina

Original & adorable hand-made bears for babies

 

 

annata

Stylish and vintage stationery

 

 

halohairoxford

Exceptional hair salon in Oxford

 

 

 

littlebowbee

Bows!

 

 

 

WW-Intimate-Wax-Perfect-WEB

Just in time for summer! Intimate waxing services

 

 

 

croneandcrane

Rich and beautiful vintage clothes

 

 

 

carpediem

Need some pampering? check out Carpe Diem mobile spa

 

 

 

MKH

We’ve got your farming needs covered

 

 

 

spinsonic

Wanna hula? love hoops? check us out

 

 

 

icanplaysport

Teaching kids sports skills – from 4 to 7 years of age

 

 

 

hollyjewellery

Holly makes lovely jewellery in precious metals

 

 

 

sensaround

A social enterprise helping people lead healthier lives through using their senses

 

 

 

tread the boards

A theatre school in York

 

 

 

marthasbow

One of our original viestars, Martha sells bows for little girls and boys!

 

 

 

hrsolutions

Need HR help? click here.

 

 

 

doodlepipdog-e1461318767848

Hand made wear for dogs that’s MLM-free

 

 

 

chippenhamdogwalker

Chippenham dog walkers for walking your BFF

 

 

 

360pole

Pole dancing keeps you fit and also, it’s really sexy

 

 

 

helpingbare

Does a loved one need some help around the house? Click here

 

 

revolingerie

We love lingerie. Pretty. PRETTY

#Stealthbots: All the ways “social selling” bots try to invade Facebook groups, brought to you by The Motherload – and us.

This is the first post of a continuing series about the latest ways MLM bots try to inveigle their way into your Facebook groups, your baby groups, your business groups, or whatever.  We’ve also had some help from @WorcestershireMums as well.   We’re doing this for 2 reasons: 1. to give all of you the heads-up about the new, woman-targeting scams heading your way and 2. for any groups out there, to give YOU the heads-up about the new tactics being used to get into your group.

To join or read more from The Motherload, click here or join their Facebook group here

 

Stealth bots 1: Pearl “parties”

 

pearl

Currently showing live on an FB page near you, someone opens an oyster and pries out a pearl for someone else to much screaming and eeking. No, we don’t get it either.  Some Pearl businesses are MLM, some aren’t, it depends on the company.  The idea seems to be that you buy oysters, and then they get opened live, and then you make jewellery out of them which seems really time consuming and pointless to us but hey.  Anyway, the women who join these businesses are desperately trying to infiltrate groups as we write.  As with any MLM, we recommend avoiding them.

 

Stealth Bot 2: “Lockeys Little Boutique” tries to claim it’s not an MLM….except it is.

 

It’s an MLM.  Appears to be UK-based.  Sells cheap off-brand knockoffs – did a google image search on one of their frocks and you can buy it WITHOUT joining an MLM at other online retailers at a cheaper price.  Hard to see what the draw is.  Has the usual spiel about “joining us” & buying a ‘business starter pack’ which, no doubt, is probably how they make their money.  Women who do join should know they are competing directly with other retailers who are online and who may be cheaper.    Status: stealthbotting everywhere

lockeys1lockeys2

 

Stealthbot 3: “I’m just pretending all innocent like to ask for advice about my little home business that’s really an MLM & will be mortally offended if you point out that’s exactly what I’m doing” Bot

 

kaykate1

kaykate2kaykate3kaykate3a

yeah yeah yeah.  We’ve heard it all before.

And finally:

 

Stealthbot 4: “Swap your doctor-prescribed evidence-based medicines for jelly from an MLM bee’s arse”

 

A mother’s group had a thread on depression.  Here’s the response by an MLM bot – we find the medical claims of MLM bots particularly infuriating because they are deliberately targeting vulnerable people.

InkedInkedworcestershire3_LI

worcestershire4

worcestershire5

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“I put the whole lot on eBay. It must’ve been worth several hundreds of pounds, and I got about £30 back.” Today: Usborne & Forever Living ex-bots speak

 

In this post, we’re combining 2 stories from some of the women who have come to us.  The first story is from someone in Usborne books, and the second is from an ex-rep of Forever Living.  Read on…

Back in 2013, I had a little part-time business selling gift baskets & pamper hampers, which I used to sell at craft fairs, community events, etc. Whilst at one, I met an Usborne seller, who was keen to tell me about the benefits of working for them & that I could do it alongside my full-time job and part-time biz. I had no experience of MLMs, but have always loved books, and thinking this was a long established, reputable firm, I signed up.

 

I got a few orders from friends & family, but could not do school events, coffee mornings etc due to my f/t job. I tried numerous times to book into local weekend events, but most times, my manager or one of her friends had got there first. I started to struggle, but then got offered (and pretty much told to take) a summer fete at the nursery half a mile from my house. I was delighted and put everything into making it a great event. When it came around, it was a burning hot day & I was based outside. People kept coming to look at the books, but no-one was interested in buying, which was pretty depressing. I then got told by someone that worked there that the manager’s friend had been in that week and secured a several hundred pound order – hence no-one wanting to buy!

 

A few months later, the manager asked me to cover another event for her as she’d double booked, and yep, similar thing happened. Eventually, after months of battling to try & get orders from my locality, I decided to quit. I tried selling my stock at a discounted rate to other sellers, including my manager, but all said they didn’t need it. So, wanting rid, I put the whole lot on eBay. It must’ve been worth several hundreds of pounds, and I got about £30 back. And who bought it? Yep, the manager who didn’t need anything.

 

So yes I was naive, but even with a decent biz brain & lots of motivation, all I did was lose money. The obsession, as with all these companies was recruit, recruit, recruit, but there was no way I would rip friends off, so I lost out. Moral of the story is don’t assume that these long-running companies have any more integrity than the Youniques and Juice Plus Types, because in my experience, they don’t xx.

 

The End.

 

“She wanted me to register my husband as an FBO in order to get the 2cc’s she needed to obtain her promotion and she would pay me and transfer the £199 it would cost to do that.”

 

Hiiiiiiiii Huuuun!
So, just over a year ago I became a victim of the fucking shit “company” known as Forever Living so I thought I would share my (fairly long) story with you. Sorry!!!

 

Having sat on my ass enjoying the high life for approximately 8 months longer than my husband ideally wanted, my sister in law told me about this”ammmmaaaaazzzzzziiinnnngggggg” business opportunity. Fuckever Living as it’s known in my household.
At £199 to initially start up the alarm bells were already starting to ring but being family, I didn’t feel I could back out.

Endless bullshit you tube training video later I was even more dubious – I actually think I’m a fairly happy person 80% of the time and don’t need to watch “the secret” every morning at 6am, I mean Jesus, I have two kids and a husband that require dressing and feeding – who seriously has time for that shit?????
My area was new to FL so I found it pretty easy to sell the products and done pretty well within the first 4 weeks and got myself a “promotion” to supervisor.
I was always a little aware of the ‘higher archly’, being my manager and golden sodding eagle or whatever she was because frankly I thought she was a patronising twat, so I never ever posted anything on the “secret” groups. I was never congratulated for making them shit loads of money because it was made quite aware to me that my face and my Facebook profile didn’t fit and/or meet requirement. (Sometimes I just wanted to tell the world what a fucking shite day I was having!!!!!!!!!!)

I did however enter the every single incentive they did (who doesn’t like a freebie) and never got a single thing.
So I kept a suspiciously close eye on these “amaaaaazzzzing incentives” and found one that I knew I would qualify for:
If you earned 12 cc’s before the 15th of the month you would be taken on a log cabin retreat. I knew that I had managed to do that and low and behold after several messages to the “senior manager” the trip was “postponed due to illness”. I then started messaging other fbo’s who I didn’t know to find out whether they had received their “prize” and guess what NOPE!!!

A week later another bogus incentive for a spa weekend presented itself via FB and so I commented on it telling everyone not to waste there damn energy and for the love of god go and spend some time with their families.
Obviously, after that I had an email from a forever “official” and a few pushed off messages from my team manager (ignored).
After that I pretty much sacked it off until I had a phone call from my then assistant manager ask me for a HUGE favour….
She wanted me to register my husband as an FBO in order to get the 2cc’s she needed to obtain her promotion and she would pay me and transfer the £199 it would cost to do that.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – NO!!!!!

The day after that I cancelled my registration with them and now continually spam the sites & pages until I get thrown off of them.
Dickheads, all them!

It’s a war on the internetz

This post was written by one of our supporters.

The other day I witnessed an interesting exchange in the comments section of a Juice Plus sponsored post.

A critic posted a link to the Juice Plus wikipedia page and a distributor responded with “Wikipedia is just a load of crap made up by anyone”.

I am not at all surprised she reacted like that because the Wikipedia page on Juice Plus is negative from start to finish.

Firstly it describes the product as a generic “fortified” dietary supplement.  Fortified means synthetic vitamins have been added.  The page even discloses which pharmaceutical company manufactures these added vitamins.  This goes against JP’s 100% natural whole food claim.

Then in exhaustive detail it shines a very negative light on the scientific research into Juice Plus.  This includes where relevant, the poor design, lack of controls, the small sample sizes, also the fact that most of the studies were conducted by the company themselves and not independently as is commonly claimed.

————

So why doesn’t the Juice Plus company just go and change the Wikipedia entry and put the record straight?

Well they tried.  They tried pretty damn hard actually.

Wikipedia has a system where page content is discussed in a separate page and any changes must be supported with good argument and the necessary evidence.  As you can guess, company representatives were straight away trying to edit the page to make it more favourable.

They had a Juice Plus “medical professional” come in to try to bring credibility to the product but his approach was questionable.

“I am willing to lend my considerable and respected expertise to cleaning up this site and, consequently, will remove this page’s flawed reasoning and present this product in a much better light”

Wikipedia responded…

“The Wikipedia community has no idea who you are in reality. You are entitled to post information regardless of your true identity, but it is no less likely to be edited simply because you claim to be an authority. I refer you to the following page regarding Appeal to Authority.”

And,

“Expert opinions are NOT brought forth with claims of notability, but citations of sources and clear, coherent, and neutral statements of what is true.”

Then other ‘possible’ company representatives appeared who tried to destroy the credibility of the article, the Wikipedia editors, and particularly the reputation of the sources who were against Juice Plus.  It’s difficult to summarise so much content (the archives are massive) but generally it was a lot of personal attacks and not much arguing against the page content.

The exchanges continued back and forth for months and it soon became obvious that there were only harsh critics on one side and JP distributors and other representatives arguing on the other side.  Not much was actually happening.

The critics had convincing arguments supported by solid evidence and the JP side seemed unable to dispute it.

Then a year later in 2007 something quite unusual happened.  NSA (the manufacturer of Juice Plus) got involved and made an official statement on the discussion page (Archive 6).  In this statement they attack the credibility of one of the main wikipedia contributors.

“We are convinced that this contributor is a detractor with competitive ties who is hiding behind the anonymity of Wikipedia in an effort to use the site for commercial advantage”

So here you have the actual manufacturer of Juice Plus making an accusation like this without providing ANY accompanying evidence.

The accused contributor responded with,

“I am extremely shocked that an official representative of the company that markets Juice Plus would include unwarranted personal attacks and libelous COI (conflict of interest) accusations in their debut on this page. I will remind this user that WP:NPA (no personal attacks) is a cardinal rule of Wikipedia”

A moderator added,

“I can understand your consternation for this blockable offense. If it occurs again, take it to the noticeboard”

NSA were quite simply shot down in flames.

In the following years and up to present day, the conflict seems to have died down.  Perhaps the company have given up trying to make the page more favourable and accept that everything on the Wikipedia page is proven undeniable fact.

All discussion archives can be found through this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Juice_Plus

VALENTUS. We give you the skinny on this allegedly ‘skinny’ coffee.

The Ugly Decaffeinated Truth

 

 

Most of us by now will have had the misfortune to encounter one or two of the Valentus crew.  Goals are being #smashed, promotions #nailed, babes being #boss.  Although allegedly in ‘pre-launch’, the product is out there and teams are growing at an enormous and frankly frightening & unsustainable rate.  So we thought it was time to take a good look at Valentus – at the company, the product and the compensation plan and to try to get to the truth behind the over-excited Facebook ‘lives’, the ‘Double Diamond’ promotions, the blurred-out bonuses and the TOTES AMAZEBALLS weight loss products.

 

Let’s start with the Company:

 

It launched in 2014 and the CEO is Dave Jordan, a network marketing veteran who has clearly honed his skills in a number of MLMs, usually moving on to the next just before companies have folded.  Timing is everything, people!  Dave is a expert in lead-generation and recruitment tactics, which is why it is hardly surprising that Valentus is all about recruitment.  Bots talk about Valentus being an ‘established, global business’ but facts about the real size & reach of the business seem pretty hard to find.

 

 

The Product:

 

The star in the Valentus universe is the Prevail SlimRoast Coffee.  It’s a coffee that you drink to make you lose weight.  Cards-on-the-table time: I loathe weight-loss gimmicks like this.  MLMs deliberately target the things most women are socially conditioned to want most of all: friendship, health, beauty and most of all, weight-loss.  Almost every MLM has some kind of weight-loss programme that they use as a hook.  These are generally unproven, short-term, unsustainable & unhealthy, both for the mind and for the body.  And yet we want to believe that just by sipping a cup of magic coffee every day we will miraculously turn into Kate Moss and be so much happier and more valued as a human being.  Anyone selling these kind of false promises and trading on the pressure women are already under to look thinner/younger/more beautiful deserves a special place in feminist hell.

 

Anyway, having got that off my chest, let’s look at the SlimRoast claims & reality.  Here’s the Valentus claim:

 

Formulated with natural appetite suppressants, feel good ingredients and detox components SlimROAST is a great addition to your weight management program. Not only will you find managing your weight with SlimROAST will produce exciting results, but you will love the taste of this delicious Italian dark roast coffee.

 

Now let’s turn to a qualified Nutritionist to debunk some of that.  It’s worth reading all of Abby Langer’s review as she tears the claims to shreds (https://abbylangernutrition.com/slimroast/) but here’s a few highlights:

 

 

Valentus SlimRoast has zero research proving it works. Testimonials don’t count.

 

SlimRoast contains mostly unproven ingredients that likely don’t work – together, or separately – to promote weight loss.

 

It’s pretty physiologically impossible to take a supplement and lose weight just from that, without any changes to your diet or activity. So testimonials that make that claim are probably not legit. I promise – when scientists find the magic ingredient that makes people lose weight while they sit on their ass, I’ll let you know. For now though – you’ll need to do the work. Sorry!

 

Compensation Package:

 

‘Eeeeeek!  It’s the best compensation package of any MLM EVER!’

 

Claims like this combined with blurred-out photos of allegedly ENORMOUS 5 & 6-figure incomes certainly implies that within a very short space of time you will be raking in the money.

 

Here’s the nasty truth.  Once again, it’s all about recruitment and about the bot being the customer.

 

  1. Success depends on bots committing to a monthly auto-shipment of product and in turn recruiting others to do likewise
  2. You cannot progress without signing up to automatically buy over £100 worth of product per month and building a team of other people doing likewise.
  3. You also get paid an additional commission bonus for every new member you sign up
  4. There is minimal information about retailing on the Valentus website and little reward for retailing in the compensation plan. It’s all about autoship and recruitment.

 

Massive red flags here: this emphasis on autoship/recruitment places Valentus on very rocky ground.  In fact, people have analysed the Valentus compensation structure and found it almost identical to Vemma’s – that’s right, the ‘Energy Drink’ MLM that was condemned as a pyramid scheme by the FTC because of its emphasis on recruitment/autoship.  Bar a small handful at the top, most affiliates lost money in Vemma.  Read this for more information on the Vemma case: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/08/ftc-acts-halt-vemma-alleged-pyramid-scheme

 

Conclusion:

 

Stay away.  Don’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

 

This is a pyramid scheme with very little pretense to even try to dress it up with product & retail.  It’s growing rapidly in the UK right now but unless you are one of the top bots, you’ll be paying in your £100 per month and losing money (but not the promised weight!).

 

If you need proof that is a pyramid scheme, we have a recording of one of the top UK bots in a Facebook Live actually stating that you don’t need to sell product at all to succeed.  This is illegal.  This makes Valentus a full-on, undeniable pyramid scheme.  Like all such schemes, one of two things will happen:

 

  1. The authorities will catch up with Valentus, fine it and shut it down.
  2. The scheme will collapse.

 

Either of those end-games are bad news for 95% of scheme members.  They will lose their money.  And those at the top who are boasting about their wealth and recruiting more people in everyday are both immoral and –  in some cases – breaking the law.

 

We’re watching you, Valentus.