The irony of all ironies is how long I’ve had this post written in my head. As a work at home mom, whenever I have a spare minute, I switch modes from my House/Family To Do list to my Work To Do list.
This blog is marked in my luxury category right alongside taking a solo trip to Target and getting my hair cut. Those outings don’t happen as often as I’d like and neither do these posts.
However, I got some time away today and I want to address 2 major topics.
1) MLMs aren’t pyramid schemes despite how much people love to hate them.
2) Work at home moms shouldn’t be getting eye rolls. They should be getting big old high fives. I’ll tell you why later.
Let’s tackle #1 first. I
think know that the public consensus is that Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies are unethical scams and you should run from them as fast as you can.
The following has happened to me more than a few times. Well-meaning person: “Are you a stay at home mom or do you work?” Me: “Yes and yes. I am home with my kids full time. I also teach free workshops about essential oils. Why you want to use them, how to use them and how to do so safely.” Well-meaning person: “How do you get paid?” Me: “When people purchase their starter kits and enter my referral number.” Well-meaning person: “Oh, it’s a pyramid scheme.” Insert fake smile here.
Multi-level marketing is not a pyramid scheme. According to our friend, Wikipedia, a pyramid scheme (which is illegal to do in the United States) involves recruiting members with a promise that once they’ve recruited others, they will be rewarded with money or services.
I’ve never once told someone to give me their money and then they would receive their essential oils or a check once they recruited 2 more people. In fact, I assure people that the distributor status doesn’t require anything of them at all. The opportunity is there with zero obligation.
The other comment I get a lot is that the price of the product is inflated because the company has to pay a percentage to all of the distributors. This just simply isn’t true either. The price of the product is the price of the product that the company has determined is fair. The money to pay the distributors comes from the budget that they’re not spending on Sales and Marketing departments.
Advertising campaigns can cost millions of dollars. Are you more likely to purchase a product from watching a commercial or because your sweet Aunt Susie used it, loved it and shared it with you on her old gingham couch that you napped on as a child? It’s actually pretty brilliant. I think the haters are just mad because they didn’t come up with the idea first.
Now for #2. Momming is hard, guys. It’s hard enough without a side hustle but a lot of women are like me. Yes, they want to be home. Yes, they want to be with their kids *almost* all the time. But they also want to use their other skills in a tangible way. They want to provide supplemental income without sacrificing time with their family. They want to buy their beloved product at a discount and cover their own purchases because they believe in it and want it in their home.
You know when we’re working? At naptime. After the kids are in bed. In the early morning hours. Maybe we’re answering emails while the kids are eating dinner. Maybe we’re paying for babysitters out of our profits. It’s a grind and definitely not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a work your butt off behind the scenes when you could be watching TV because the kids are asleep scheme.
Not only that, it takes some serious skills to run and organize a home while loving and raising littles from bell to bell. Being able to run a profitable home business on top of that is nearing Superwoman status. I find that during the times that my business has grown significantly, my kids took far less baths and ate a lot more Chick-Fil-A. During the times when I neglect my business a bit, my kids are living on fruits and veggies and my house is spotless. Just as in anything, it’s a balance.
Here’s something else I’d love for people to consider. Did you ever wonder why so many of these women are giving up every second of their very limited free time to work their business? It’s not because they want to guilt their friend into buying a crappy product so they can make a measly $25 check. I promise you. It’s because they used the product, they loved the product, and they want the people they care about to have it in their homes, too. I’m not making this up.
Think about a work at home mom that you know who does MLM as her business. Shoot her a message and ask her if she would keep using the product if the company stopped offering the business opportunity. My guess would be an enthusiastic yes 10 out of 10 times.
Here are a few quick numbers for you. 2017 was a $167 billion dollar year globally for all MLMs. More than 38 million people in the U.S. are involved in direct marketing this year. That’s probably why you could personally name 5 or more people selling several different products. 77% of these are women and 1 out of every 5 of them is grossing 6 figures annually.
More than 16 million people are making a salary large enough to allow them to stay home and make their own schedule. Kids. Vacations. Doctors appointments. Pets. Unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. Not an issue. What freedom!
Also, despite what most people think, the vast majority of these companies are selling extremely high quality products. Pampered Chef, Arbonne, Plexus, Noonday, and obviously Young Living.
When I first started using my beloved essential oils, I had a serious need and they filled them. I looked my friend square in the eye on the night that I ordered my first kit and said, “I will never sell these oils.” And I didn’t. For a whole year, I just used them and loved them.
As time went by, I told a few family members and friends about what I was using them for and how they were working. A couple people asked me to host a workshop and that got the ball rolling. For about 4 years I had enough people on my team to cover my order each month. That was good enough for me. Especially because I had 3 children in those 4 years.
Around year 5, the friend who taught my first class came to my house to give me a gift and she looked around and saw my Young Living products everywhere. She told me I was doing half the “job” simply by using them for every dang thing. I decided to stop using my kids as my excuse and start using them as my why. Now I’m hustling a little harder on the side and am slowly but surely creeping my way up the ladder.
Here are just a few of the reasons I love MLM:
In the beginning, you’re paid based on how hard you work. Or don’t work. As an intrinsically motivated individual, I love this model.
The average traditional business won’t turn a profit until its 7th year. A distributor can turn a profit on day 1.
Once I hit a certain rank, I can will my checks to my family. I’ve also added my husband’s name as a co-applicant. If I got hit by a train tomorrow, he would keep receiving checks.
Along those lines, I could stop working tomorrow and the money would keep coming forever as long as my team kept growing.
And there’s no income cap. Debra Raybern, who wrote one of my favorite books, is making well over $2 million/year with YL and growing. Obviously this is the exception and not the rule but you get the point.
Before you brace yourself for the sales pitch, I’m not here to convince you to become a MLM distributor or even to begin using essential oils. I have simply been wanting to shed some light on the subject from the inside. If you and I are friends and you do not want to learn about essential oils, we can still be friends. I am not hanging out with you just because I want you to purchase from my company. I also don’t make new friends with the idea that they’ll be a future prospect. There are more of us out there that think like this than you realize.
As I come up on year 6 with Young Living, I can’t imagine not continuing to teach and share what I know. I have had the privilege of helping too many people experience major health improvements and successes to stop now. But from time to time, I get discouraged by the naysayers and have to refocus. So I ask this of you…
The next time you see a FB post from a work at home mom, will you resist the eye roll? Pause briefly and think about the long hours and the hustle that she’s pulling off when nobody is watching. Consider that just maybe her motivation comes from a good place. A place from truly wanting to share about an amazing product that has changed her life. A place from thinking your family could be blessed by the supplemental income, too. A place where she would seriously love “working” with a good friend. I am that mom and those are the things that I think.
So let’s give those moms a polite, “No thanks,” but then a hearty high five and a “But good job! I know you’re working so hard to stay home with your kids and work a job that you really love and believe in.” It would make a world of difference to us. ❤