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recently happened across a Scary Mommy
article that struck a chord with me. It was about the onslaught of new multi-level marketing companies that have
recently hit the market, and how plenty of people (mostly women) are latching
onto these companies and going full force into building up their own
too often at the cost of their friendships.
admit, it resonated with me. Because the truth is, as much as I care about my friends, it really bums me out when someone I have known and loved for years takes on
one of these ventures, and that suddenly becomes all they ever talk about.
doesn't really matter what the product is—3D Lashes, Arbonne Skincare,
doTerra Oils—the enthusiasm of those entering into these ventures is almost
always the same. And
I find myself almost immediately mourning what our friendship once was.
the thing: I love my friends. I support them. And I want, more than anything,
for them to be happy and successful. But when it comes to these multi-level marketing companies, it seems that all
too often the rally cry becomes to "sell, sell, sell," and those who have
become invested lose sight of what their relationships looked like before they became
so focused on climbing to the top.
There is always a risk of losing your friendships when you start trying to convert those friendships into clients, and so how you do that matters.
all known somebody who has entered into these ventures and become a pod version
of their former selves. Suddenly, every other Facebook post they share is about
their new business, and every conversation they have is driven back to what
they hope to sell. Mention a cough your child has, and they tell you about the
oil they have to cure it. Show up with a single blemish on your skin, and they
pull you aside and tell you about the cream they have to make it go away.
Complain about being on a tight budget for the month, and they try to sell you
on joining their team; selling underneath them and working your own way up that
same ladder towards financial freedom.
you've found something you love and are excited about, I'm excited for you! But
tell me about it once and then trust that if I'm interested, I'll come to you.
And don't—no matter what you do—allow what you are selling to become your
identity or put me in the awkward position of having to explain why my budget
is just a little too tight to have to buy into your "super awesome, life-changing product." Because that's just a buzzkill for us both.
And it's not an open invitation for you to start pushing for me to join your team as a
means of expanding that budget.
known people who have found success in these ventures, and I've been happy for
them, but it often seems as though that success comes at a cost. Their single-minded
focus has them seeing dollar signs in every interaction they have, losing
sight of what their friendships and relationships used to be about, before they
became transfixed on making it to the next tier.
isn't to say it happens to everyone who signs on to sell Young Living oils or
schlep Beach Body products, but it does happen—more than I think anyone
really wants to admit.
Your friends start to think you care more about selling to them than actually being a part of their lives.
On the flip side is those who don't make it up that ladder, the ones who invest
and strive, but never really find the success they were originally promised. It's an
unfortunate byproduct of these industries that rely on market saturation, constantly
recruiting new sales people, usually friends of friends of friends, until
everyone has heard of their product, and there are more people selling than
industry where the sales staff is often the company's best customers.
sad truth is, for everyone I have ever known who has been successful in these ventures, I have known three or four more people who have lost money and faced the defeat of
never reaching the goals they initially set out to meet. These are people who find
themselves left with product they can't sell and a team beneath them they can
no longer motivate.
get me wrong, some of these products absolutely have value. I am personally a
big fan of the Arbonne skincare line, and I will forever swear that their
sunless tanner is the best I have ever tried. But I know more people selling
Arbonne than I can count, making it difficult to even know who to support when
I have the funds to splurge.
get why people sign on for these ventures. They like the product, they see a
way to make additional money, and they want the discount that accompanies
joining the sales team. Really and truly, I get it. But there is always a risk
of losing your friendships when you start trying to convert those friendships
into clients, and so how you do that matters. Which means:
1.Don't auto add friends to groups
This seems to be the latest tactic
pushed by these companies: auto adding every friend you have to Facebook
groups without their request or permission. I have personally been auto added
to six different Jamberry groups in the last six months alone. The first was fun
enough. I participated and even hit my friend up for a sample. But by the time
that sixth group add came along, featuring many of the same games as
the first, and blowing up my newsfeed with the same notifications and updates, I
was just annoyed.
I was stuck in the awkward position of either removing myself
from the group (which somehow felt like a mean thing to do) or enduring several
days of notifications about a product I already knew I didn't want. Don't put
your friends in the position of having to opt out of something they never
requested being a part of in the first place. Instead, make a single
announcement; let people know what you are doing, absolutely, but then allow
them to come to you. And remember that there is a strong likelihood they have
already heard about the product from someone who
2.Don't let the product become your life
When you are
excited about something, it makes sense that it may be constantly on your mind.
Mothers do this when they have children, and people newly in love are guilty of
regularly talking about their relationship. The difference is, those people are
genuinely sharing their happiness, with nothing more to gain than allowing you
to bask in that happiness with them. But when you are veering every single
conversation you have back to your new business venture, even when it is in a
positive and glowing way, there is an ulterior motive there. You have something
to gain by hyping up your business. And people know that, which makes the entire
conversation feel less sincere and genuine. It also makes your friends start to
think you care more about selling to them than actually being a part of their
3.Don't push people to join your team
One of the biggest components of
success in multi-level marketing companies is building
up a team of people selling beneath you. In nearly all of these companies,
that is how you advance to the next level or tier, by increasing your own
commission along the way. The problem is, not everyone wants to sell your
product. And even more importantly, not everyone will be successful doing so.
So when you are striving to bring people in beneath you, there is a decent
chance you may be asking them to invest time and money into something they will
never see a payout from. And at some point, you have to ask yourself if you're
willing to be a catalyst to that. Instead of putting in the hard sale for
people to join you, trust that your friends know what you are doing, and that
they will come to you with questions about joining your team if they are
realize that these tips are probably in direct opposition to those most of
these companies likely provide to their sales people for achieving success, and
perhaps that is the crux of the problem. Very few employment opportunities put
you in the position of having to aggressively convert your friends into
clients, but for those that do, you run the risk of losing sight of your
friendships in your drive toward success.
which point, you have to ask yourself what's more important: The people you
care about, or the success you have your sights on?