Six Reasons Not to do Direct Selling: A Plea to a Tempted Friend

I understand why you would consider joining a direct selling, network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM) organisation. You might be offered a cheap start-up ‘kit’ and you might even like the look of the candles, make-up, jewellery, beauty or cleaning products that you’d be selling. I’m sure that you’re thrilled by the potential financial benefits.

But, here are six very good reasons why you shouldn’t do it:

Reason 1 – It could be a cleverly disguised pyramid scheme

I know that the enormously persuasive, seemingly rich and successful direct selling top dog says that they aren’t ‘pyramid selling’. But, [some of] the companies are doing something very similar to pyramid selling (which is illegal). Maybe their company is different, but maybe it’s not.

And if you do decide to gamble with your precious time, please don’t ask me to do the same.

Reason 2 – It might be a recruitment based pyramid scheme

When you ask if I’d be interested in joining your scheme too, I will know that one of your main objectives is to get as many people as you can to join in your dubious enterprise.

If I did sign up, then you might get a percentage from my sales. The person that persuaded you to be part of the scheme will get a percentage from both your sales and my sales. The person that persuaded them to join up will get a percentage of all our sales.

Even if you don’t call it a pyramid, it sounds like a pyramid to me. I don’t want to be at the bottom of a pyramid with people higher up that pyramid making money from my hard work.

I don’t want you to call me and tell me that you thought I’d be interested in a unique and easy opportunity to make money from home and work my own hours whilst making more money than I’d dreamt possible – I just won’t believe you. I believe that people need to work hard and have a great product to sell in order to make money.

Reason 3 – The ‘opportunity’ might be based on selling products but the products are sometimes pretty rubbish

Really look at the products, are they really the items that you would choose in the shop above all the others? Are you comfortable telling other people that these products are definitely the ones that they should buy?

Your friends and family don’t want to say no: they care about you, they want you to succeed and to make money, but they don’t want to buy expensive stuff that they don’t need.

Generally, I know what products I like. I don’t mind you suggesting products that you’ve actually tried but I also like going shopping and choosing for myself. And if I don’t fancy going shopping, I’m quite good at doing it online these days.

Reason 4 – They’re likely to train and encourage you to be pushy in your sales techniques

It’s exceptionally hard to say no to some direct sales people. They are trained to near harass their targets and they don’t take no for an answer. If you put me in that situation then I will be embarrassed.

I don’t want my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds blitzed with persuasive posts promoting self-proclaimed revolutionary, cheaply branded products and I know that many of the photographs and improbable testimonials that are posted come from further up the chain (or pyramid).

I will not want to have a party to sell your stuff. At a party I drink Prosecco or gin and tonic, I eat cake or canapés, listen to music, dance, get entertained and socialise. I won’t be interested in you demonstrating your products to my friends, persuading people to spend as much money as possible and getting people to say yes to having a similar party. Not even if you provide a ‘host gift’: it’s probably not worth the effort.

Please listen when I try to explain that I’m not interested.

Reason 5 – I understand that trying to work when you have other commitments is hard, but this might not be the best solution

You need to make money, nursery fees are astronomically high, decent part time jobs are as rare as rocking horse poo, you want to feel challenged, you want to have a career and work the hours that you choose.

And the company that you’ve chosen probably sounds really credible. Some of the direct selling organisations might even incentivise you with products, a car, or even a holiday (which might or might not be an opportunity for your chiefs to hold you captive and brainwash you face-to-face).

But, do your research, MLM-the has calculated that in both recruitment and product based MLMs, over 99% of all participants lose money after subtracting all expenses. What if they are correct?

Reason 6 – I have a better idea

Please don’t make yourself miserable by working your socks off for very little (or no) financial gain. You’re energetic, ambitious and entrepreneurial, why don’t you start your own business instead? You can do it!

I don’t want to buy your everlasting mascara, special miracle weight-loss detoxing teabags or cleaning cloths containing gold, nor do I want to join your empire. However, I will brainstorm exciting business ideas with you. I will help you write a business plan, put you in touch with my accountant and give you the details of local organisations who will offer you advice and access to courses in marketing, book-keeping and website design.

It doesn’t have to be hard, your business doesn’t have to have to set the world on fire – but this my friend, is how you can be sure to fulfil your significant potential, take control of your life, put food on your table and pay your bills.


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