READ: Forever Living’s Plans for 2017…recruiting, recruiting, recruiting

#foreverbring it

Here’s the latest leak from our #foreverliving spies & agents.  2017 is here, and guess what! Forever living has a new incentive!  READ ON:

 

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We did a comparison of how often the phrase ‘team/team building’ ‘recruitment’ ‘products’ and ‘sales’ were mentioned in this literature.  We believe it’s an indication of where #flpuk’s priorities lie.

Highest- mentioned phrases:

Team/team building = 6 mentions

Second highest mentioned phrases:

Recruit/recruitment = 2 mentions


Retail sales were mentioned once

There were zero mentions of the products.


Is Nuskin AP24 Tooth Paste as natural as it claims? Our ingredients expert weighs in

One of our viestars has had a lot of experience looking into product ingredients due to her health issues, and she’s agreed to help us out by analyzing some of the claims made by MLM products.  Thanks, M.P! Read on…

 

Nuskin AP24 Toothpaste.

 

Ingredients

Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Glycerin,  Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, PEG-12, Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Dimethicone, Poloxamer 338, Poloxamer 407, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Oxide, Flavor, BHT, CI 77891, Limonene.

 

Here are the most common dangerous ingredients in NUSKIN AP24

Aluminum Hydroxide

Aluminum is a naturally occurring mineral. Aluminum hydroxide is an antacid.Aluminum hydroxide is used to treat symptoms of increased stomach acid, such as heartburn, upset stomach, sour stomach, or acid indigestion. Aluminum hydroxide is also used to reduce phosphate levels in people with certain kidney conditions.

CI 77891 – is the chemical name for Titanium Dioxide

Sneaky of Nu skin !! as most people with an allergy or skin irritant will only know it as Titanium Dioxide though it’s usually found in white paint. When added to toothpaste, titanium dioxide has the safe effect on your teeth as it does on walls – it keeps them nice and white (for a few hours, at least!).Which is where some people may see a whitening difference Ingesting titanium dioxide won’t hurt you, but it isn’t recommended  either

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Sulfate

Added as a detergent and cleansing agent, sodium laurel sulfate and its cousin sodium laureth sulfate pose a wide range of potential health risks. On its own, sodium laurel sulfate can damage eyes, irritate skin and lead to labored breathing. Can cause headaches, dizziness

In the cleaning industry, SLS is used in products such as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps SLS is used for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin.

Also found in most shampoos including “no tears” baby shampoos, SLS can keep children’s eyes from developing properly, can cause cataracts in adults, can retard healing, and can impair hair growth.

 Sodium saccharin

is the solid form of the artificial sweetener saccharin.Saccharin is non-nutritive and is used to add sweetness to beverages and foods !!!

Now whilst you can find all of the above in other tooth pastes they are not claiming they will take you 5 shades lighter and are a fraction of the cost.

Personally as I have skin problems I won’t use anything with SLS & if you have any skin complaints at all I would advise you to check all your products.

 

 

After researching all of the above I decided to give some people a call enquiring on the NUSKIN tooth paste

 

1 – Beauty Salon

 

Girl on the phone said she didn’t know anything about the ingredients, but could guarantee it would whiten my teeth, I asked her shouldn’t she know what she was selling as I had looked at the ingredients and some were harmful, she said she would get the salon manager to call me back! Still waiting

 

2 – Beauty Salon 2

 

This salon claimed they were skin experts, spoke to the manager, who told me that they had has 100% positive feedback, I told her I had Eczema and other skin complaints, she assured me that the tooth paste would be safe, when I asked about the SLS – Sodium Laurel Sulphate being a well know skin irritant and is on the top 5 toxic ingredients and a skin expert she should know this, she then told me maybe the product wasn’t for me and hung up

 

3- Facebook

I PM ‘d a girl on Facebook asking how much the tooth paste was and the benefits, she told me that the cheapest way for me to get the product was to sign up to NUSKIN & then my friends could benefit to, I went back saying I just wanted to know what was in it, she sent me a full list of ingredients, no explanation, and again I could save 25% by joining her team. I didn’t reply for a day or two, but she messaged me both days asking if I wanted to be signed up and save me money and I could work from home and earn money Is this a pyramid scheme? – No its Multi-Level Marketing.

I asked her what training she had had from NUSKIN regarding product knowledge and what they were actually selling. She told me that they got full support, when I challenged her on the ingredients and sent the the dangers of SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulpahate) she blocked me!

We interview Jane Cunningham, aka British Beauty Blogger, about MLMs, makeup, & her career as a beauty writer.

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Thank you very much for agreeing to join us for a Q&A – we know how busy you are! Could you start by telling us a little bit about your professional background as a beauty writer and why you started your blog?

Thanks for inviting me! I was a beauty writer for print for many years working on titles such as The Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Express and Metro. I started following blogs – Temptalia and Blogdorf Goodman in particular – and was absolutely fascinated by them. I saw a feature pop up in the New York Times about how blogging was the new ‘thing’ and thought, I can do that! So, I did. I really had no idea quite how it would go or whether it would be a ‘thing’ in the UK too, so it took many years before I had the courage to ditch print altogether. It did offer me an environment that was unedited so I could say what I really think about an industry that on the one hand adores women and yet on the other, is prepared to rinse them for every penny without even a backward glance! Don’t start me!

You are known for your honesty & directness when reviewing brands and products. What prompted your powerful video directed at MLMs – it seemed like the pressure had been building for a while?

As a blogger, I get contacted a lot by MLMs – mainly Younique, I must admit, and that has died off now but at one point it was every day, and I think my frustration comes from knowing that not one single one of the people who contacted me had a clue that everyone else was contacting me. I think there must have been some kind of guideline from the brand on contacting bloggers and how to do so, resulting in a flooded in-box. I’m not frustrated by it (I always speak passionately about beauty!) but I’m sad for the people who have such hopes for it, when statistics clearly show that ‘getting rich’ happens to very, very few. 

How did your followers react to your post? We know that it was very widely viewed and shared, so I’m assuming that what you said resonated with a lot of people!

 

I feel really lucky with my readers – because I’m prepared to be direct, they often are too. I felt they shared my frustration with a model that doesn’t work for many women (and men).

You mentioned in your video that you were bombarded by requests from MLM representatives – much like we all are on social media – have you had any response from the MLM companies/representatives since the video?

Nope! But then, I wouldn’t expect to – people are good at ignoring what they don’t want to see or hear. Although saying that, my FB Live channel is small because it’s fairly new (I swapped from Periscope to FB) and it does somehow seem that the brands I don’t particularly want to see it always end up seeing it! I don’t know how that happens! 

You were very clear about advising people against joining MLMs. We get angry when MLMs state that they ‘empower’ women as we feel that they exploit them. Does your exposure to them back that up?

Really, that whole empowerment thing is silly. If anything, it’s alienating. Nobody wants to hang out with you if they think you’re going to try and sell them something. I had an awful experience with an MLM brand (before I had my blog) and I invited some friends (as a favour to another friend) to a ‘beauty party’ but had said to the person doing the party, please DO NOT go through the whole thing for hours – these are women who can choose their own beauty products with very little persuasion, so no hard sell.

An HOUR AND A HALF later we were all still sitting there in excruciating silence listening to someone who literally couldn’t deviate from the required speech. It was awful. My friends were cross with me for nearly boring them to death for over an hour, felt they had to buy something just to get away, and I was cross with the friend who I did the favour to who in turn was furious with the poor woman who presented the brand. Nobody came out of that experience happy. And that’s what happens.

Out of desperation, people who work for MLMs start off so optimistic and think everyone will share their passion, and apply pressure to friends and family, who comply out of kindness and then it just ends up a mess. The person working for the MLM brand ends up at the hard end of a lot of bad feeling (and being blocked on Facebook!) and that’s not good for self-esteem and certainly not empowering! Beauty can be truly for the good – it can be empowering, it can be so helpful and it can be an absolute joy but MLMs somehow mood-hoover all the good things to leave a joyless and awkward experience.

I’ve seen a lot of bad feeling on line towards women in the lower chains of MLMs. On the one hand, it’s so unfair – they’re genuinely trying to make a little money to support themselves or their families and yet on the other, they’re targeting other women who need their money to support themselves or their families. It’s basically a shifting of money in an environment where that money is hard earned and precious in the first place. I find it hard to condemn anyone who falls for the stories of ‘the dream’, I see how and why it happens but also I see why people get angry when they’re ‘targeted’. 

Finally, we have to ask you for your thoughts on the news that Coty Inc. has purchased a stake in Younique. What do you think this will mean for both companies?

Brands do strange things. Behind the scenes, corporate beauty world is shark infested. It could be that they lose sales from one or several of their key brands to Younique, so buying it to kill it stone dead longer term makes sense if that’s the case, or they could be looking to bring other brands into the model. Mascara is a weird thing – L’Oreal has the patents to most decent mascaras (which is why it’s hard to find really good mascara outside of that stable) so it might even be a patent issue. You just never know. But I do know that it looks like a statement of MLM approval which isn’t the best thing, in my view, for consumers. Just go to Boots! You don’t need to rock up to anyone’s ‘party’ to be sold an overpriced mascara, or even to wait five days for delivery when you can go to the shops or even on line and have it immediately. *bangs head on desk* !! 

We’re big fans of your MUR Fortune Favours The Brave palette – any more collaborations coming our way?

Thank you! No, I don’t have any further plans for makeup collaborations, but I have a few beauty boxes that I’m finalising now for this year. I don’t plan too far ahead on Britishbeautyblogger – beauty world moves very quickly, as do trends, so I’m a commitment-phobe and hesitant to lock down with anyone long term. 

Thank you so very much for your time and your expert input.

You can find Jane’s blog here

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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.

The Timeless Vie™ Inaugural 2016 Belated Xmas Shopping Guide – 100% MLM free!!!!

Better late than never, right viestars?

Here’s our list of network-marketing free businesses run by our fabulous viestars and manhuns.  Go, shop, enjoy and know you are putting pounds into the hands of good people, not multizillionaires from Utah.  YAY!

Looking for bespoke wooden boxes, trunks or chests? Click here.

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Someone you know a fitness fiend?  Get them personal training for Chrissy!

 

What could be more magical than a magical Santa Selfie??

 

OR…some gorg baby and toddler organic leggings?

 

How about some handmade, hand-drawn jewellery?

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Beautiful & original silver pieces?

 

Hand-made carpet bags? COME ON. BUY these right now.

 

This vie-mum has steadfastly refused to join an MLM, and she makes these

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Someone you love want some contouring?

 

Hula hoops and hoop wear, hula your way to Chrissy cheer – check it out

 

Accessories for your dog BFF

Perhaps a spa gift, a pamper, a preen. Xmas is your time to sheen

 

And at the end, a set of professional photos to capture the Xmas spend…(just kidding)

 

 

“But why aren’t you balanced? What about all the positive stories about incredibly rich (insert name here) MLMers?” In this post, we explain why ‘balance’ is bullshit when it comes to network marketing, and so is attempting to be unbiased.

We get it regularly.

However I do worry that it (Timeless Vie) doesn’t provide a balanced view; there are no positive stories.

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On the face of it, that seems a completely reasonable point.

That’s what proper journalists would do, right?

They’d have the sad story and then the happy story so you, the reader, got both sides of the issue.   And what would you think? You’d probably think there’s a 50% chance you could be wealthy in an MLM, and a 50% chance you’d fail.   Fair.  Balanced.

Except….acccording to this study, approximately 99% of people lose money.

If most people lose money, is it really fair and balanced to have 1 story for and 1 against?  Wouldn’t a really balanced piece of writing about MLMs have 99 stories of failure vs 1 story of success?  Wouldn’t that be more accurate?  And wouldn’t a really balanced piece point out that the 1 person who succeeded did so because of all the people that failed?

The idea of ‘false balance’ in journalism has been around for a while, but none of us connected the issue to the debate over MLM until one of us talked to a journalist in New Zealand.  He was interested in what we were doing, and the feminist stance we were taking, and he pointed out that ‘false balance’ could be a problem when it came to issues like MLM.   Read this, about the climate change science and false balance.

And this.

The idea is this: that by presenting both sides of a story and giving each equal weight, journalists inadvertently give people the impression that both sides are equally valid.   They aren’t.

On one side, we have an industry that is making lots and lots of money by selling women false hope, that allows reps to make false health claims, that says one thing in public and another in private (we have so much evidence of this at this point it’s not funny), that in some cases refuses to divulge how much money women will really make, and is largely ignored by government.     For ‘positive’ stories you only have to go to the websites of the Direct Sales Association, Arbonne, Younique etc.

On the other side, there’s us.  We are making exactly zero money from doing this.  We have jobs, families, we do this in what spare time we have.    We’ve researched.  We’ve talked to victims.  We really care about them.  We’ve tried to get answers from the DSA, MLM companies and government, and have discovered that there’s a huge information gap about what effects MLMs really have.

If we were to do positive stories, we’d be giving our readers the impression we think MLM is a valid business model, when all evidence we’ve found so far indicates it’s not.  Would that really be the right thing to do?

This is why we don’t do “balanced” stories about MLM.

Because what matters is the truth.

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READ: “I did research but I let my heart overtake my head…” a new story from an ex-Younique bot

I’m a 29 year old law student.. yep in 3rd year.. graduating in June and I got sucked in .. big time by younique.   I did research but I let my heart overtake my head and now I’m in debt and feeling like I’ve failed..

From the off my wife to be thought it was a cult and tbh she was right … but I was too invested money and pride wise to admit it.. Younique came with instant friends and lovely make up .. little did I know I’d be traveling to Birmingham and pay for what essentially a marketing/brainwashing event.. Yet I ploughed on via FB and home parties and leaflet drops and made nothing .. I did all the self development = aggressive bullshit which soul destroys you and followed the training to the letter .. yep a ready made younique bot.

Tonight I got a message confirming it all my upline – telling me I’m about to suspend and that I need £150 of products to stay active! This is after purchasing stock off other presenters/eBay.. getting a card reader and by traveling 50 miles to do a party that no one spent a penny on.

I’ve felt under constant pressure and like I couldn’t escape for a while and now I’ve cracked! I’m feeling ashamed, worthless, failure and am bloody sick of self development bullshit! I think going from a kid with very few G.C.S.Es to graduating law school in a matter of months is self developed .

Please share my story so others don’t get sucked in and they don’t get emotionally and mentally damaged!

Omg I’m so sorry xxx we are here if you need to vent. Does your wife know?

-Timeless Vie

Thank you so much x yeah she’s been fantastic .. even though I’ve had chemo this year I thought I could change things by doing younique but I’ve finally broke free xx

Also can you let people know that when you decide to leave the emotional blackmail piles on x

We asked Em for an example of the kind of emotional blackmail and she sent us this screenshot:

lawstudent_ink_ink_li

 

 

We’re going to do something a bit different with this story.   Our informer gave us access to the training she was given by her upline before she quit, and we’ve spent a bit of time downloading, screenshotting and ripping vids.   What we’ve found is very interesting, we think.

So far we’ve found:

  • A video that tells Younique bots to hold ‘fundraisers’ as a way to create more customers
  • A video that tells Younique bots to say that Younique products are cruelty-free, even though they have no CF certification
  • As above, same for vegan, etc.
  • A video that implies Younique bots have to spend $125 USD every 3 months to stay active.
  • A shitload of scripts about how to approach different kinds of people.
  • A motherload of info about how to build a ‘team’ and an acknowledgement that to make real money, you need a multitude of mini-bots to live off.

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The UK organisation that helps “Work from Home” #MLM schemes target UK university students

It’s called the DSA, or “Direct Sales Association”.  It’s members include Forever Living, Herbalife, etc. etc.   It also lobbies the UK government.  We  first mentioned the DSA here

and here.

So the reason we’re telling you about it (again) is because YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THIS. Their strategy, since 2012, is to target students at colleges and universities and encourage them to join MLMs.    See below:

1

Here is the DSA 2012 AGM booklet we got this information from. This is no longer available on the DSA website.

And then in 2013:

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2013 DSA AGM booklet. This has also been removed from the DSA website.

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So let’s recap, for those of you with bad eyesight or who can’t be arsed reading screenshots:

In 2012:

  • The DSA (made up of Forever Living, Herbalife, etc) decided to become BFFs with universities in the UK.
  • They were hoping to get invited to job fairs and make presentations to students about how amazeballs Forever Living etc are.  Rather than, say, a real job.

in 2013:

  • Continued “outreach” to universities.  BRING US YOUR YOUNG AND CLUELESS, YEARING TO MAKE MONEY.
  • Result: 25% increase in under -25s joining MLMs.

 

What the actual FUCK.

The younger the people are who get into “network marketing”, especially full time, the harder it is for them to leave and join the actual world of work and business. It’s not only the potential money they lose; it’s also the years they could be building real careers, or true businesses.     Being a “vice president” for, say, Ariix means exactly zip in the real world.   It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard for full-on multi-level marketing people to get out of MLM.  “Black Status Younique Presenter” is not going to get you a management-level job in a proper company.

Get the word out.  If you are a student, or know students, warn them. And if you see these companies at a university job fair, let us know so we can call it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I realised that to get to a higher level in the company, it was necessary to recruit people that you knew were going to fail. ..” A new informer, and single mum, from Forever Living tells her story

This particular tale of woe began in February 2014. I was in year two of my university degree, working part time and had become a single parent a couple of months before. I had a random message on facebook from a good friend and former colleague of mine asking me to host a party for her, as she had just started selling a line of beauty/nutrition products. As a former beautician and sports enthusiast, this seemed like a great idea.

Well, out came the famous green table cloth, aloe vera shots and free facials, much to the distress of my younger brother and a male friend who were the only ones to attend! Out of embarrassment at the poor turn out, I listened to the sale pitches, plastered face masks on my brother and dear friend (Note: face masks and beards don’t get along…) and purchased a clean nine.

I completed the programme, and naively believed that it had done me a lot of good as not surprisingly, glugging down laxatives and water for nine days, and consuming meals and shakes that only add up to just over half of your daily calorie allowance per day makes you lose weight!

The friend I had purchased the clean nine from then got on to the classic recruitment pitches. I was an obvious target retrospectively, I had worked with her doing beauty and sports massage therapy some years ago. As I knew she was a fairly successful business woman prior to Forever living, I trusted her. There was of course the added bonus that I would be selling products alongside a good friend. I signed up, parted with my £200 and eagerly awaited the arrival of my box of aloe vera everything.

In my first month, with only two weeks after I joined to make the fabled “4cc” I did 7.5cc in personal sales (rather a lot, in pounds sterling, but I can’t remember how the forever monopoly money translates into actual currency!) I say this not as a boast, I’m not proud I made my friends drink aloe vera gloop to prove how much they truly loved me, but because I want to outline the fact that I am a capable seller and my dislike of this business isn’t down to being bitter because I couldn’t sell anything.

The business model sets you up for failure. (because it’s not a business – Timeless Vie)

I began my recruitment pitches, discovered I was actually pretty good at it and ended up with a team of over 20 people. I got to supervisor level, went to success day, and was stood up to be applauded for my efforts like a small child. I got a badge too. Cool.

Where did it go wrong, I hear you cry?! Well, I always questioned some of the business practices. The first being “PUPP boxes” in which you deliver free products for your friends/neighbours/second cousin’s dog to try and hope to God they don’t use them all or never give them back. Having had a small business before I felt this was a ridiculous idea and simply a way for the people up the line/*cough* PYRAMID to get more money out of you.

The second was the use of “case credit” value attached to products. I felt this was a very clever mechanism to encourage people to forget they are spending actual real money, and get them into buying products to score “points” to get them up the recruitment ladder. The fake it till you make it thing really bugged me too. Horrible deceptive practice. I tried to advise my team to keep records of their incomings and outgoings because I genuinely didn’t want them to lose money. I also discouraged buying products unless they were attached to a genuine customer order. Little did I know, this would be of no help whatsoever in this kind of marketing structure and social environment.

The big issues with the company, however, surfaced when I started to see my friends fail. I remember seeing one of them sat in a pub with all her products around her, with no interest at all. She left having wasted her time and money, feeling totally depressed and deflated because of me. That didn’t feel good.

I saw people I cared about trying to sell products in a saturated market place, getting nowhere. I realised that to get to a higher level in the company, it was necessary to recruit people that you knew were going to fail. Not cool. It was at this point I looked at my own books, despite meeting with sales targets every month since I began and not over spending on products I was at a £300 loss myself.

There were several factors at play, such as cost of postage which forever charges on all web orders, cost of travel to deliver them, marketing materials, websites such as ‘forever 360’ alongside ‘forever knowledge’ and ‘QLS’ training materials. It all built up and blew the feeble commission percentage out the water pretty fast. This had been a total obsession for eight months of my life but my eyes were open. I began watching back videos of the leaders of the business, with a more critical eye and realised how full of rubbish it all was.

I have seen more drawbacks from buying into this ‘business’ than I could count. I saw one lady outside at a success day who had just got off the phone from paying a credit card bill because she had bought her way to ‘supervisor’ level and was still paying off the costs. The social pressure to get sales is that intense she was prepared to put herself into debt just to get a pin badge and certificate. She wasn’t the only one. I’ve experienced immense pressure from uplines, who are no doubt desperate to pay off their own bills, to buy product and sell it on later to get ccs. I’ve seen women back biting and treading on each other like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen worse when people leave. It creates a massive blame culture which isn’t unique to forever living, but to the marketing structure it uses and the psychological techniques it implements. It’s ugly.

All I can say is, if you are involved in any MLM, even if you are not prepared to leave. Please be critical and cautious. They tell you to remain positive because if you don’t, you’ll open your eyes and realise you’ve lost friends and money. Many people in MLM are talented, hardworking people and these skills are transferrable to valid business ventures in which you take home the profit and use your talent. There is no way I’d be prepared to face that kind of pressure, stay on my phone 24 hours a day and peddle a product I make nothing out of but lost friends and an empty pocket ever again.

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

by Kathryn Minchew, Pyromaniac Chef

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

 

  • Posting on Facebook groups

 

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

 

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

 

  • My wonderful life as seen on Instagram

 

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

 

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

 

  • Be my friend

 

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

 

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

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