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.

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“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

How Mormons, network marketing & social media combine to sell women a false dream

 

I’ve been trying to write this post for months now, but every time I’d get close I felt like the subject matter – women, mothers, feminism, multi-level marketing was so huge and amorphous that I’d give up, defeated, not knowing where to start.  So,  I was pathetically grateful when Kate Dyson of The Motherload agreed to join me in tackling this subject and wrote her post, “Is Network Marketing a Cult for Mums”.   You can read it here.  Between the two of us, we’ve tried to split the issue up into the most important parts that we think need to be highlighted.

 

I remember when my daughter was first born.  Up until then, she’d been an abstract idea in my mind, not quite real.  Then she was born, and I fell in love with her.   For the first years of her life I decided I wanted to be with her as much as possible, helped by the fact I couldn’t earn enough money to pay for childcare and a heap of hormones.    I did other things: worked part time in a shop, wrote a screenplay, to make money where I could.

 

It became clear very quickly that if you’re a woman who wants to stay home with your kids that not many mainstream political or activist groups will support you.   That choice makes you a ‘traditional’ woman (even if you’re not) – I’m not, and I felt no similarities between why I wanted to stay home and why the conservative religious groups who appeared to support women like me thought I should.  You don’t speak for me, I’d think. I WANT to earn my own money.   But most feminist-oriented groups supported better childcare not the option to stay home.   Which left me and many women like me in a bind.  We needed to invent our own ways.

 

So, we did.  Many of my friends became “mumpreneurs’ and tried to start businesses that fit in around their kids, with varying levels of success. Others gave up and went back to their jobs, signing their children onto endless childcare waitlists and in some cases, having to accept sub-standard care.  For the rest of us, the only money-making ‘opportunities’ that seemed flexible & available to women like us were in pyramid form: Stella & Dot, Younique, LulaRoe, or many others.

 

I was invited to a Stella & Dot party and out of obligation bought a necklace.  I went through a huge Stella & Dot phase.  “It’s to help out (insert name of fellow SAHM here)” I told my husband, convincing myself I was doing a good deed, helping a fellow Mum make money while staying home with her kids.  Really, I just liked spending money and getting out of the house.  However, like a lot of MLM products, the expensive jewellery didn’t live up to the hype.  Within weeks something I’d paid 100 dollars for was chipping and flaking.  For the first time I wondered how legit this ‘business’ really was.   I’d been told the jewellery was of high quality, but it clearly wasn’t.

 

Before long my SAHM friends were bailing on Stella & Dot and moving onto another MLM, a pattern that turned out to be typical.  One of them hounded me for weeks to have a party for my friends – I thought about it but something about the way she talked put me off.  I now know, thanks to the stories and research we’ve done in Timeless Vie, that her approach was scripted – she claimed she only had a certain number of ‘spots available’ and I had to book now to ensure she was available.  This pressure tactic, I have learned, is typical of MLM bots.  They don’t want to give you too much time to think.  Not long after I backed out I learned she had dropped out.  I still hope she didn’t lose too much money.  She had 3 kids.

 

The more we’ve learned about MLM, the darker it is, and the harder it is not to come to the conclusion that the whole thing is deliberate: the targeting of mothers, the refusal to investigate the industry by government, the smoke & mirrors that make it so difficult to find out how much women ACTUALLY earn.

 

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE MORMONS.

 

I really, really, REALLY don’t want to talk about the Mormons.

It’s not an anti-religious thing for me.  I really could not care less what or who people worship.

But when it’s obvious many MLMs are set up in Utah and run by people who appear to be devout Mormons well then WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS.  It is time to talk about the massive, Mormon-shaped elephant in the room.

 

First, let’s start with this: that there are so many MLM companies in Utah that they have started their OWN “Direct Sales Association”.  Some of our fave MLMs like Younique, Maelle & Ariix have won awards there.

 

These MLMs talk the language of female empowerment, of spiritual enlightenment, but are they really interested in empowering women?  For a start, there’s the Mormon religion itself.   We discussed this previously here in a blog about the founders of Younique.  First, a note: I do not claim to know how all Mormons believe or feel, because like any religious community I’m sure there’s a wide range of belief and faith.

 

That said, there are very clear, very traditional gender roles encouraged in the Mormon church, and arguably that’s part of the reason why MLMs are so encouraged – because they allow women to ‘stay home’ in their traditional roles while appearing to be ‘making money’.    I say “appearing to be” deliberately because there is very little independent data to prove they actually ARE making money.

 

It’s not like the IMF (the International Monetary Fund) is screaming from the rooftops about how amazing MLM companies are for women.  They’re not.  They think we need better childcare, they think that women are suffering from economic inequality, and they think these issues are ECONOMIC issues that are holding everyone back.  If the founders of MLMs want to empower women economically, why don’t they join hands with labour groups, feminist groups, etc to fight for better childcare? More flexible jobs? You know why.

 

The other thing? One of the questions we have is where all the money is going and whether it’s going to fund the LDS churches’ political activities, many of which might be opposed to the economic empowerment of women outside of traditional gender roles.

 

THE EMPOWERED YOUNIQUE PRESENTERS OF STOKE-ON-TRENT

 

Let’s take Younique as an example.  Younique aims to validate, empower, and uplift women.  Maybe they do, but again, there’s no real data to prove this claim one way or the other.  So I decided to have a crack at it.

 

I don’t have a lot of time, I work and have a family,  so I decided to work with what is publically available.  The rest of the TV team suggested I  concentrate on a part of the UK that’s more economically deprived and appears to have a large number of MLM schemes in operation: Stoke-on-Trent.   Stoke-on-Trent has a pretty high number of people on benefits and a very high number of people who have been forced to declare bankruptcy, compared to the rest of the UK.

 

THE DATA

 

Using Younique’s presenter map, I worked out roughly how many Younique presenters there were in the area.  Note: since “Stoke-on-Trent” doesn’t have clear boundaries on the Younique map I just picked out women roughly in and around Stoke.

 

Total number of Younique bots: 52.   Of these, 2 were Green Status (elite), 4 were Pink, 13 were Yellow, and 33 were White, the lowest status.

 

To maintain White Status, a presenter has to generate $125 USD every 3 months in “personal retail sales” to stay active.   125 USD according to the Travelex Currency exchange website on 22 April 2017 is £88.88.  For Yellow Status a presenter must have generated $1000 USD, which = £711 pounds.   For pink, it’s all that plus £177.75 PLUS sponsoring 1 white status presenter.   For Green it’s £355.50 plus sponsoring 3 white status presenters.  Note: there’s much more to the plan than this, this is just the basics. Note: “sponsoring” = “recruiting” women into their team.   We made a video about that here:

 

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftimelessvie%2Fvideos%2F1725687821035572%2F&show_text=0&width=400“>Younique Recruiting Video

 

All the Younique Presenters are women.

All can recruit or sell from anywhere.

Most of them were White Status, which is the lowest status at the bottom of the triangle.

 

Here’s how Younique’s empowerment plan was working:

 

I figured out the total amount paid into Younique by the 52 presenters came to at least £17,186.04.  That includes £69 for the presenter kit.  Reminder: this is in a deprived area.  We can’t be sure where much of this money is going, or how much of it is from presenters themselves rather than actual sales,  but we are fairly sure much of the money flowing OUT of Stoke-on-Trent to people higher up the Younique compensation plan.

 

The total amount paid by White Status presenters for starter kits is: £2277.  To stay active for 3 months it’s £2933.04 for a total of £5210.04.  I decided to concentrate on White Status presenters as they are a. the most common and b. the ‘bottom’ of the MLM triangle so more representative of a typical rep.

 

Then, I searched up each presenter on Facebook to see what I could discover about their success or failure from social media.  Blank spaces mean I couldn’t find any info.

 

Presenter Name Starter Kit minium £ to stay active Comments Extra Comments
Presenter 1 69 88.88
Presenter 2 69 88.88
Presenter 3 69 88.88 downline to StokeonTrent Yellow Status presenter, does not appear to be active
Presenter 4 69 88.88
Presenter 5 69 88.88
Presenter 6 69 88.88
Presenter 7 69 88.88
Presenter 8 69 88.88 Has younique FB profile (Presenter 8 younique) with 184 friends. Very few likes or responses.  All the likes are from other younique presenters in other countries.
Presenter 9 69 88.88
Presenter 10 69 88.88
Presenter 11 69 88.88 friends with Stokeontrent Green Status Presenter.  Has a facebook group called Presenter11makeup by younique with 154 members.  Seems to be recruiting etc back in Poland.  Runs raffles to get rid of makeup.  She sells raffle tickets for 2 pounds each to people saying they can ‘win’ 100 pounds of younique makeup.   For one raffle she sold 8 tickets = 16 pounds which means a loss of 70 pounds on the makeup.
Presenter 12 69 88.88
Presenter 13 69 88.88 has FB group with 16 members.  Shows Younique Makeup as “free” then a link to her online shopping party.  No response, though 8 people have seen it.  No responses or likes to any of her posts.
Presenter 14 69 88.88 has fb page with 18 likes. Endless posts, no comments likes or shares.
Presenter 15 69 88.88
Presenter 16 69 88.88
Presenter 17 69 88.88 friends with elite green status younique member
Presenter 18 69 88.88 has FB page with 13 likes.  Also has a closed group with 65 members for younique selling
Presenter 19 69 88.88
Presenter 20 69 88.88
Presenter 21 69 88.88 Presenter 21 had an online party and made 151.00 pts.  The only contributor to the party was Presenter 21.  At this level Presenter 21 wouldn’t have made any money at all as party points don’t count until 200 pt. Has been trying to recruit since Jan 2017, no takers, no likes on her posts etc.  on FB.   Has a FB page with 21 likes.  Posting about 79 pound younique products with no likes or takers.  Lives and videos with only a few views.  Has been trying to get to yellow status since she re-joined in January, still hasn’t managed it, still posting up a storm in April. 2x 102 pounds to stay active = 204 pounds she’s spent to stay in at LEAST.
Presenter 22 69 88.88
Presenter 23 69 88.88
Presenter 24 69 88.88 has facebook page, 40 people have liked it.  Attempts to recruit etc. no response.
Presenter 25 69 88.88
Presenter 26 69 88.88
Presenter 27 69 88.88 14 likes of her page.  Last post asked people to comment if they wanted a free liquid foundation.  No one commented.  She had an online party and made 44.00 pts, which means she would have made nothing.  The only person who contributed was Presenter 27 – herself.  Has been active since at least feb.
Presenter 28 69 88.88
Presenter 29 69 88.88 had a younique kudos party, made 144.00 pts, which is not enough to have received rewards.  The only contributor (buyer)was the Presenter herself.  She had other parties with the following results: party 2: 177.00 pts contributor: Presenter 29.
Presenter 30 69 88.88 just made yellow status.  50 likes of FB page. Posts regularly, the only likes are from herself and another white status younique presenter.  Naturally beautiful Yellow status means has generated at least £711
Presenter 31 69 88.88
Presenter 32 69 88.88
Presenter 33 69 88.88 likes Sharlie Melly, a black status elite presenter living in Spain.   Trying to sell younique on her personal FB page. No comments or likes. Started in august 2014 and still only white presenter.
totals 2277 2933.04

 

I think this table speaks for itself.

Question: Does a struggling area like Stoke really need 52 Younique sellers?

 

Even if the women try to recruit and sell to other areas that aren’t doing as badly, they’re still competing against all the women already doing the same thing in those areas.  This seems like a pretty impossible, not very empowering task.  Even Younique admits this in teeny tiny letters on their website.

 

From Younique:

The recruitment and sales figures posted here are achieved only by approximately less than the top 0.02 % of Presenters.

There is no guarantee of success for any Younique Presenter. The final success or failure of any Younique Presenter will likely be a function of such Presenter’s individual talents and effort as well as factors outside of the Presenter’s control such as luck and macro-economic conditions. (like living in a poorer area called Stoke-On-Trent – Timeless Vie).  Younique makes no guarantee, promise or any representation that a Presenter will obtain success, profit or income. Becoming a Younique Presenter involves business and financial risk. It is possible that a Presenter will lose money in conjunction with participating as a Presenter.

 

And there you have it, in black and white, from Younique themselves.   But this is not the dream sold to women trying to stay home or make extra money around their families.  This fact is hidden under layer after layer of memes, tweets, and other social media guff about how amazing the Younique opportunity is.

 

I believe, like Kate Dyson, that network marketing has fuck all to do with empowering women and everything to do with selling them a load of bollocks so they part with their money.   Women spending their time, energy & talents on network marketing schemes don’t have the time, money or energy to push for better childcare, better work status, or their own businesses.  I would argue that MLMs funnel a lot of women’s talent away from economic empowerment towards endlessly striving for an impossible goal.  0.02%, people.  0.02% chance she’ll hit the top of that Younique leaderboard.  It’s a game.  It’s pay-to-play.  Like gambling.

 

Since I founded Timeless Vie, we’ve received PM after PM from women desperate to tell us their stories of exploitation in MLM.  Their side is often ignored.  It shouldn’t be.

Because of them, we’ve started our MLM-free logo campaign, which the Motherload, Mrs Gloss & the Goss & WorcestershireMums have joined so far (along with others).

 

We will continue to fight for more transparency from the MLM industry and more independent data about the true outcomes for women.

Crypto Currency Schemes – the gold rush of online scams

 

We’ve all seen the facebook posts alerting us to various crypto currency schemes which will make our fortune if we only get in early: e-dinar coin, onecoin, s-coin, leocoin, GCCCoin… etc etc. We’ve been reminded that if we had invested $0.01 in bitcoin 7 years ago we’d be multi-millionaires now and that this scheme and this ‘coin’ can do the same for us so JOIN MY TEAM HUN! SIGN HERE!

The trouble is, they’re scams.

The crypto currency market has a few things going for it that make it the perfect subject for a scam:

  1. It’s buzzy, exciting and there are proven examples of people having made a killing previously (bitcoin)
  2. It’s pretty complicated to understand unless you are an expert with lots of crypto-trading experience. The schemes play on this (like MLM comp-plans!) by using deliberately oblique and technical terms. They’re not targeting experts who would ask tricky questions & see right through them, rather they’re aiming to befuddle the average person
  3. Crypto currency markets are not regulated – it’s like the Wild West out there
  4. There’s no physical product, so no investment required by the scheme founders in stock, warehousing, shipping etc. No, it’s just imaginary unicorn ‘coins’
IMG_5763
Yay huns! Magic Unicorn Money!

Most of the schemes have all the hallmarks of a classic ponzi pyramid: the returns & bonuses of existing scheme members are funded entirely by new members paying into the scheme – in this case ‘buying’ ‘coins’. The returns being promised are RIDICULOUSLY high – 21% growth per month for e-dinar for example. This alone should set alarm bells ringing. The crypto-trading average is about 3-5%, if you are an experienced trader who is having a great run of luck.

And then in true MLM style, you are incentivized to recruit. Gotta keep that money coming in!

To our knowledge, the e-dinar coin scam has at least one convicted fraudster behind it, and has already left a first wave of investors with coins devalued and worth around 10% of the value originally invested. E-dinar also uses paid-for advertising & fakery to make it appear that they have been positively written about in the business press (they absolutely haven’t).

So where does this all leave our enthusiastic facebook recruiters?

Well firstly, if you are recruiting into one of these schemes you are stealing. Morally it’s a simple as that. The people underneath you are paying for any money that you make.

Secondly, these e-dinar coins that you’ve been buying for $1 are worth a fraction of that on the open market. And the value has been steadily collapsing since the currency launched. Outside of the scheme, there is no way you can recoup your investment. So you need to trade within the scheme… or convince your downline to buy them off you so they take the hit. Again: if you do that, you are stealing.

Thirdly, if you do try to withdraw your unicorn coins, don’t be surprised if it’s difficult to do so. There might be a ‘problem’ with your e-wallet. A ‘security breach’ maybe. Or a ‘software update’ might take the site down if large numbers are trying to withdraw. That’s because your money isn’t there. It doesn’t exist. It’s crypto smoke & mirrors and the scheme organisers will stall and lie and stall and lie to try to postpone suspicion.

There are hints already that the e-dinar fraudsters are getting ready to cut & run: terms & conditions are being changed so that it’s almost impossible to make the promised 21% return (leave your computer running 24/7?) and team leaders desperately trying to off-load currency & cut their losses whilst ostensibly trying to maintain the appearance that EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE HUN.

And finally, because the crypto currency market isn’t FSA regulated, you won’t be getting your money back. And neither will the people you recruited.

 

 

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.

#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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