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GOLD! MLM Debate

Vigilante

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I pretty much think that Shaklee and Amway wrecked people's PERCEPTIONS of what MLM products are. Cultlike practices kind of have a tendency to make me not want to consider MLM products as legit business organizations, but as I looked through my own list above there are some pretty decent MLM products out there.
 

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DeskSnacker

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MLM is a scam. There's not a single MLM company out there that sells a product that's a good value. They make a lot of money (for the founders), but only provide value to the owner's lives - taking it from everyone else's (including 90% of the recruits selling it for them). Is this business model worth your integrity?
That is simply not true. I'll bet the people that purchased their product found value. You named some great companies, like Avon for example who have repeat buyers. Clearly, these buyers are finding value in what they're purchasing as they keep coming back for more.

As far as "mediocre product" with "fake research", this is such a generalization about the world of products, it cannot even be responded to except that you're approaching life with a Negative Nancy attitude. Seriously, if you think the world is possible, then it is. I suppose I just have a more positive outlook on life than your outlook on business. I can't believe you said "force each person...then teach them how to scam their friends and family." Entering business is a choice and nobody is getting scammed. Haven't you ever noticed the enthusiasm of the Mary Kay ladies? Maybe purchasing the products you mentioned isn't your thing, but it is clearly thousands of repeat buyers route to happiness.
 

CPisHere

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That is simply not true. I'll bet the people that purchased their product found value. You named some great companies, like Avon for example who have repeat buyers. Clearly, these buyers are finding value in what they're purchasing as they keep coming back for more.

As far as "mediocre product" with "fake research", this is such a generalization about the world of products, it cannot even be responded to except that you're approaching life with a Negative Nancy attitude. Seriously, if you think the world is possible, then it is. I suppose I just have a more positive outlook on life than your outlook on business. I can't believe you said "force each person...then teach them how to scam their friends and family." Entering business is a choice and nobody is getting scammed. Haven't you ever noticed the enthusiasm of the Mary Kay ladies? Maybe purchasing the products you mentioned isn't your thing, but it is clearly thousands of repeat buyers route to happiness.
I fully expected some backlash, but my opinion stands. Of course it is a generalization, and there may be one product that is an exception, but the exception proves the rule, not vice-versa.

Due to the compensation structure, products sold through MLM companies have to be extremely marked up, which is why you can almost always find a similarly-effective product for much less money. That doesn't mean that nobody perceives value, surely any time you sell something somebody perceives value, just that this perception is fueled by misleading or flat out false claims made by family/friends to convince you.

"Negative Nancy attitude"... now that sounds like something a MLM taught you to say. I'm not negative, far from it. I simply see through the charade and chose not to participate.
 

arpeggiomeister

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I pretty much think that Shaklee and Amway wrecked people's PERCEPTIONS of what MLM products are. Cultlike practices kind of have a tendency to make me not want to consider MLM products as legit business organizations, but as I looked through my own list above there are some pretty decent MLM products out there.
This is one of the main problems with the business. Essentially there is a very low bar for entry. You can get involved from anywhere from $100 or less to a couple thousand. You can not get a franchise for McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or even Subway for such a paltry amount.

While this is one of the main attractions to MLM it is also one of the main nemesis' as well. Low bar of entry means you will get all kinds of characters, many of which know absolutely nothing about marketing. I am no expert on marketing, but when I got involved in MLM I at least went out and got some books in an attempt to understand what I was getting involved with. I must must have at least 50 books on sales and marketing.

One thing I have learned from all of these books is that if you do not believe in the product you are selling you are up a creek before you even start. This is where I have fallen short. That is not to say there are no legitimate products out there. Tupperware and Avon are a couple of good mentions. They are household names and very few people I know of think of them as scams. Problem is I can't picture myself selling either Tupperware or Avon. (do they have make up to make my beard look younger... lol)

A company called Emerald Passport was very intriguing to me but fell short. They were selling health and wealth information. I believe very strongly in financial education. I am a big fan of the Rich Dad Poor Dad company even though Robert has been caught in some unflattery interviews about high pressure sales pitch seminars. His game Cash Flow 101 and 202 helped me to view money in a way I never saw it before. The game was very expensive (I think I paid $200 for both or somewhere around that). The lessons I learned from it were invaluable though. I would have gladly paid over a thousand dollars. Others may agree or disagree, but knowing what impact this game had on me I would gladly join an MLM pushing a product like this. That is what I thought EMI was going to be. Unfortunately they not only cost several times more than the Cash Flow game, their info was lackluster.

To this day I am intrigued with the idea and have thought about trying to create it myself but i face several problems in doing so:

  1. Copyrighted Material: Robert's cash flow diagrams of the rich vs. the poor had an impact on me like no other. I have a bookshelf full of books trying to teach me this same info but it never clicked until I saw this diagram. I would have to reinvent the wheel to demonastrate this info without violating copyrighted material and would risk falling short like many other authors. (Robert G Allen and Wade Cook come to mind. I sort of got the message with Wade, but not fully)
    Compensation Structure: I like the simplicity of an Aussie 2 up for it would be easy to program but their is a lot of complaints in the networking community that you do not build a dependable downline thus increasing attrition rates. I thought of a 3 level deep traditional pyramid but it doesn't have quite the same wow factor unless the price is really jacked up.
    Value: The people that buy into this thing must walk away feeling the same way I felt about the game Cash Flow. I do not feel I got ripped off. I paid a high price for a silly board game but I feel strongly that what I learned from it was worth every penny. I could not possibly go through with this unless people would feel the same way about this product. Based on the nature of the MLM structure over 90% are not going to make a dime from the MLM, and if that 90% does not get something of value I have no interest in doing this.

    This is a Fastlane idea because I would own it, not join it. I have sat on the fence with it because I am not sure that I can solve the aforementioned problems, and even if I did, people would accuse me of being a con-artist or crook simply because their is a large group of people that foam at the mouth at the mere mention of MLM. Ethics are important to me. I would only do it if I felt I was truly helping people.

    Excuse the long rant, but I think too many people automatically condemn MLM without knowing jack about it. There are good companies out there but the bad ones far outnumber the good. (at least from my experience) MLMs are very low cost to set up (compared to traditional businesses) and low cost to join. They offer a high amount of leveraged unparalleled by virtually any other source. (If you are the creator you can build a multi-million dollar fortune from just a few thousand dollars, even real estate has trouble competing with that... ...and there is tons of leverage in real estate)

    For all of you folks bashing MLM, in general I share your sentiments, but I would tell you to keep an open mind. In my quest for financial freedom I have looked into everything from real estate to stocks to professional sports gambling, and the list goes on. I have found all of them to be legitimate paths to financial freedom. MLM is another path. Like all paths it has its pros and cons.

    This site is focused on mostly up and coming entreprenuers. In all of my studies nothing else comes close to this path as far as potential. The downside is that it has the highest cost of entry. I am not referring to money, but creativity, ingenuity, marketing skills, etc. (Process) If you have what it takes to build a Fastlane style of business there is nothing else available that will come close as far as potential is concerned.
 

DeskSnacker

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"Negative Nancy attitude"... now that sounds like something a MLM taught you to say. I'm not negative, far from it. I simply see through the charade and chose not to participate.
Nope, Negative Nancy is the label I've always given to anyone who is a pessemist. Usually people with this attitude get depressed a lot and don't trust other people. Because I'm the opposite, it's hard for me to understand people like that. I prefer a smile every day.

You're seeing through the charade you say and choosing not to participate. So...why are you in this forum then? Sounds like participation to me. And sounds like a Sidewalker.
 

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If you wanted to found an MLM company; do they still work?
I wanted to see what the opinions are on the MLM business model from the perspective of the MLM company. Yes starting an MLM is fastlane, but is it still as viable a model than in years past. Did the internet kill the MLM model from a startup perspective? The larger companies seem to be doing very well...but are they actually selling many products to anyone other than the people who are signing up to sell them? Im not in MLM so im sure there are some companies that dont frontload you. It seems that ecommerce would have put a major dent in their sales. Is it still a viable model to pursue, and company to start, without implementing the shady tactics? In short, with the internet is there any reason for MLM's to still exist and it is possible for them to prosper?
 

CPisHere

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Nope, Negative Nancy is the label I've always given to anyone who is a pessemist. Usually people with this attitude get depressed a lot and don't trust other people. Because I'm the opposite, it's hard for me to understand people like that. I prefer a smile every day.

You're seeing through the charade you say and choosing not to participate. So...why are you in this forum then? Sounds like participation to me. And sounds like a Sidewalker.
This forum isn't dedicated to MLM companies - it's dedicated to the fastlane via BUSINESS. I own and operate a business that I hope to make fastlane, but will never engage in MLM activities.

I am an optimist, but if you were in prison getting raped, I doubt you'd be smiling. At some point, you need to look at reality and say - "Hey, this situation sucks. I don't want any part of it." That wouldn't make you a pessimist, it would make you capable of rational thought.
 

BobbySoFamous

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I think the main problem (both tactically and morally) is that in MLM you don't provide value. You don't bring anything to anyone. Sure there's always some sort of product, but no one gets rich selling the products. You get rich getting a big "downstream" of new suckers to pay the upfront fees to join. It's a big pyramid scheme that relies on other dumber people below you to keep shoveling money onto the pyramid.
 

Kak

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A job is somehow a socially acceptable pyramid scheme. There is no difference.

Mlm is just a job without structure.

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Kak

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A job is also a promise of money until you get paid.

Most mlm companies have a contractual obligation to pay for performance just like a job....

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Yussef

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I know better than to argue the point with anyone here. I think the MLM is better than being a corporate slave. and the enviroment of people wanting to help each other is a lot better than corporate slavery also. So its a step in the right direction.

And I know I am still a corporate slave to amway. But the enviroment is a t least one I can thrive in. An enviroment that my current corporatie employer has left behind in favor of the throw the guy under you under the bus enviroment.

As I have stated this is an exercise in NETWORKING and at the same time make a profit. Big or small. That is the more important point.

I find people find me online as maybe argumentative or brash or unrefined or whatever but in real life most people like me. Its weird that way which is why I chose to exercise my networking as I have little in the way of doing that in the real world. The virtual world allows us that extra bit of anonymity to be a little more bold than we normally would in the real world or a little more anonymous too. And I need practice there . this is not and end but a means.

As you yourself have stated MJ you were in MLM yourself. Aside form the fact that it did not make the millions you had hoped for. (I am only working to replace my fiance's income which is half of mine at my JOB) can you honestly say you LEARNED nothing from the experience about interacting in the real world doing MLM?


Not sure if this belongs in this thread as it is way off the topic of links to fastlane businesses LOL

Good Luck. Hate to quote a cliche but sometime the situation just begs for it...Experience is the best teacher in some cases.
 

ClintonSkakun

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Good Luck. Hate to quote a cliche but sometime the situation just begs for it...Experience is the best teacher in some cases.
I'm glad I never totally sold out to any of these companies. I've seen a lot seminars and talks in this industry and been a part of these companies for a few years in the past. The people mean well, but everyone is totally in the dark about how much work it takes to be successful in a company like this. Once you've become successful you still have to carry the brand of the company, you give up a lot of control. I just can't be apart of any type of networking marketing, mlm structure.

Another problem with most MLMs is that it's filled with people who know little or nothing about business and just feed into the "wow let's get rich" idea they're fed. Yes, it's simple to just get 3 people to find 3 people and so on, until you're bathing in cash. The problem is, the amount of work it takes to find those "3 people" that will do the same as you is extremely hard. And if you're going to put that amount of work into something, put it into your own brand. Not someone else's that you have no control over.

Crunching numbers is fairly simple. Whether it's "let's find 100 people to join this MLM" or "Let's find 100 paying customers to join the service I built." We need to look at other things than "let's just get rich" because that takes the focus off of actually getting rich.

It's true, experience is the best teacher. Once I read MJ's book for the first time little over a year ago, I stopped all that crap and started spending more time on my own projects.

Here's what we need to do. Let's get rich, but let's find needs to fill that people will pay to have met and build brands around solving those needs. This is my plan. Not cold calling or bugging your "warm market" to join you in business. There're a million things wrong with that. And after having the experience of taking the wrong paths, being young and stupid, I think I'm starting to see the clear. It's very possible I'm going to start something this year that turns into something bigger down the road.

I'm going to shake the dust out of my brain and read MJ's book again this year to refresh everything I know.
 

Kak

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An MLM is a legal way to have employees for less than minimum wage.

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Jill

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Interesting read, from a sociological, philosophical and psychological perspective. There is a lot of vitriolic sentiment expressed in this thread that I would assume is the result of personal failure (or other negative experience). A casual observer would seldom state such absolutes (all MLMs, None have good products, all scams, crooks, etc) in his argument unless he's just ignorant or a dick. For future reference, you might want to soften your words, as this type of rhetoric tends to drain one's arguments of any shred of credibility.

If you'll take note of MJ's comments, as well as a few others, he acknowledges the other person's good impressions, without compromising his own position. But he doesn't come across sounding like an arrogant bully.

Just an observation. Take it or leave it. :smxA:
 

CPisHere

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Interesting read, from a sociological, philosophical and psychological perspective. There is a lot of vitriolic sentiment expressed in this thread that I would assume is the result of personal failure (or other negative experience). A casual observer would seldom state such absolutes (all MLMs, None have good products, all scams, crooks, etc) in his argument unless he's just ignorant or a dick. For future reference, you might want to soften your words, as this type of rhetoric tends to drain one's arguments of any shred of credibility.

If you'll take note of MJ's comments, as well as a few others, he acknowledges the other person's good impressions, without compromising his own position. But he doesn't come across sounding like an arrogant bully.

Just an observation. Take it or leave it. :smxA:
I probably fall into this camp... Okay not probably - definitely. I admit I was stirring the pot a bit by being extreme.

I do believe that the structure of MLM's makes them more likely to utilize poor ethics, but it's certainly not every single one.

In fact, since my original post my wife and I joined Melaluca, which is a MLM company (we don't sell it - just buy the products), and my wife also happily bought some stuff from a Pampered Chef party. Both of these companies provide good products for a fair price.

So I'm not completely against MLM's. I have no interest in selling their products personally for the reasons that MJ pointed out in the book, but when the products are worth it I have no problem buying them.
 

cashflow3000

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I've said this before but it is worth repeating.

There are 2 significant problems with nearly all MLMs.

1. They are promoting a business opportunity to people who have no business skills or business ownership experience.

2. Their products are over priced to support their pay plan.

#1 is what leads to so many MLM'ers failing.
#2 is why most MLMs have few (if any) retail customers.
 

MJ DeMarco

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There are 2 significant problems with nearly all MLMs.

1. They are promoting a business opportunity to people who have no business skills or business ownership experience.

2. Their products are over priced to support their pay plan.
Bingo.

A casual observer would seldom state such absolutes
There are no absolutes -- there are exceptions to everything. There are rich MLMers. There are rich people with jobs. There are rich lottery players. I like to think in terms of probabilities ... if a passionate Fastlaner might get rich at an odds rate of 1 in 50, a passionate MLMer might get rich in 1 in 1,000. Both events occur.


Both of these companies provide good products for a fair price.
For any MLM to grow and survive, they really need to have products that work exceptionally well, and frankly, many of them do.
 

^eagle^

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Bingo.



There are no absolutes -- there are exceptions to everything. There are rich MLMers. There are rich people with jobs. There are rich lottery players. I like to think in terms of probabilities ... if a passionate Fastlaner might get rich at an odds rate of 1 in 50, a passionate MLMer might get rich in 1 in 1,000. Both events occur.




For any MLM to grow and survive, they really need to have products that work exceptionally well, and frankly, many of them do.
MLMs can provide education and training to run a business at a fraction of the price of a college course. It's entirely up to you how to build an MLm. Nobody will fire you for not working it. Same with a fastlane business. I'm getting quite an education by participating and at the same time working on a truly "fastlane" business. I'm living by the motto," Do as I do and not as I say." and once again i reiterate ..... MJ participated in 5 to 6 MLMs in his quest for riches. Must have learned something there. Something I am definitely learning now.

Just like how you ate ramen noodles and tuna but now are espousing a healthy diet. Sounds kinda Guruish. I'm hankering for a PB and J now so I'll Quit here. LOL.
 

MJ DeMarco

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MJ participated in 5 to 6 MLMs
It was 4.

Must have learned something there.
Yea, I don't work for $3.09 an hour and Ill never participate in another one again. (I think they call "experience" wisdom, ey?)

Just like how you ate ramen noodles and tuna
I couldn't afford *real* food, as opposed to starving, I'll take the Ramen. I still eat tuna, and would consider that in the healthy category.

Sounds kinda Guruish.
Whatever. Keep selling Amway champ; sounds like you gotta real winner there. Now there's a LOL.
 

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JEdwards

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It was 4.

Yea, I don't work for $3.09 an hour and Ill never participate in another one again. (I think they call experience wisdom, ey?)

I couldn't afford *real* food, as opposed to starving, I'll take the Ramen. I still eat tuna, and would consider that in the healthy category.

Whatever. Keep selling Amway champ; sounds like you gotta real winner there. Now there's a LOL.
I was about to write, Yea, MJ decided it was a waste of time.

Eagles fiance is on unemployment for 99 weeks.. and from his post below, he is waiting to get fired so he can get his 99 weeks, seems like a great time when you can build a real MLM business.

Seems to me he is a real winner all the way around.


Now we get 99 weeks of income while she builds her business full time. And I do not feel one bit guilty about it nor do I fear any karma. As My current employer is doing the same thing right now. I cant wait til she frees me. And in the meantime In addition to helping her business I am selling one and building another in forex, So don't give me any crap about being Greedy and lazy.
 

^eagle^

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Once again Fractal thinking. Experience may have taught you that you only eanred $3.08 per hour but what networking did you get? And As I have said this is my FIANCE's business. Not mine. I'm closing a deal on a B&M business and working on what I truly want to do and figuring out how to add value to others in the process and then teach them what I did as opposed to what they OUGHT to do. and make Millions off of the OUGHT. Plus I work 50 Hours a week at HARD manual labor that most of you couldn't even walk and keep pace with me let alone actually do the work.

I' Like Amway Products. They have a 50+year track history and are getting better everyday. Are they a perfect business Model? No absoultely not. Melaleuca is a better model but Amways products are better.

As for me and my Work ethic. I would work circles around you. I just don't have the education. MLM is helping me to "deprogram" My employment mentality. My indoctrination from 14 years of bullshit college. Once again The map is not the territory.\
 

^eagle^

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https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/mindset-motivation/38411-commandment-entry-clarification.html

I like this post. It clearly states the importance of the "commandment of entry" Which I am in agreement with. MLM is easy to enter but HARD to work out. IMO MLM only violates the commandment of control. But In reality you are at the mercy of your government so control becomes and illusion.

I'm Willing to take the heat here Only because I see hypocracy. None different than Suze Orman. Which I know MJ hates. But I reallly think this is important and needs to be discussed.

Is Another's "experience" really beneficial? MJ says MLM's are bad but fractal thinking tells me he used them to get where he is whether consciously or unconsciously. MLMs and all the seminars and experience have certainly taught him something. You mean to say I am to follow MJ unquestioningly in a 300+ page book and get all the answers? the taxcode alone is over 80K pages! Plus I have a few dependents in the mix that foil the $300 a month apartment and ramen noodle plan.

Not saying what MJ has is bad. But is it right for everyone? We all have different experiences. We all have different reference that coallece into our thought patterns. IF I am one millimeter off my target that is 500 yards away I could miss the mark completely.

Thats the point i'm trying to get across. And BTW if you want my fiance to have a nice dress to wear for the next function I'd appreciate a click and registration below.
vvvvvvvvvv

So I get Hammered for questioning the great and omicient MJ? As much respect I have for you MJ Because I have learned a lot It's not a one size fits all. That's what I'm saying. I'm asking, "what did you do?" as opposed to "What should I ought to do?"

Is this a bad thing? Honestly I don't know because I haven't made my first million.

vvvvvvvvvvvv
 
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Likwid24

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As for me and my Work ethic. I would work circles around you. I just don't have the education.
Huh? LOL

MJ - Let him learn for himself about MLM. Anyone who gets into it for the first time says the same exact thing. They argue with anyone who tells them it's bogus and they think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. After you try it out once or twice or even the third time (hoping that this one is different), you realize what a mistake it was and what a waste of time.

For me, the couple that I got into were a learning experience, although not the best. Looking back on it, I feel that it was more negative than it was positive. I felt like I burnt some bridges by annoying people to "get in on this great new product". Then felt bad for the people that into it.

IMO mlm is just a way for the people who created it to make money. Everyone else is just a sucker along for the ride.

I did have a friend that was making over 3k a week with Mona-vie. His whole life was Mona-vie. He wore t-shirts, had stickers all over his car and it was the only thing he ever talked about. Needless to say, he lost many friends and after the everyone in his down line started bailing out, he was back down to making nothing. I'm sure if you ask him now, he'll tell you he regrets ever getting involved even after making all that money.

My suggestion is to try it out and see for yourself then come back here in a few months and tell us how you feel. And be Honest.
 

Vigilante

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I avoid people that are involved in MLM.

People that think they started a "business" by shilling other people's shit, and recruiting other people to shill other people's shit... want to waste my time.

I'm not throwing a book party for you, I'm not interested in the shit you're hocking, and a month from now when you still have no money I am not interested in being your career counselor.

Over the years I have had a dozen+ friends involved in one MLM or another. None of them have ever made any real money.

MLM preys on people that know there's a better way than the 9 to 5 and are hoping someone hands them a magic potion to sell to get there.

Listen... if there WAS a magic potion, I WOULD BE SELLING IT. There's no easy way to the fast lane by hawking someone else's dream. You're just a pawn on someone else's chess board.

(not that I have strong feelings on MLM or anything...)
 

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@vigilante. I'm sure you do. and I wouldnt even think of approaching you now as that would be a waste of my time. But if we were close friends I'm sure you wouldn't mind being a customer of mine. And if not that's Ok too. see how hard was that. Now I just network some more. Which is the REALLY hard part of MLM. But I'm learning. I'm not here to sell everyone on MLM. But if you have a solid network then why not? And even if you don't you can learn how. That is the key element I'm walking way with. As I have stated numerous times on this tread. It's a means to me. Not an end. But the momonet anyone hears MLM their mind snaps shut because of some douche bag that hounds them day and night to join. Real MLM doesn't work that way. It's about networking and making new friends. I don't bug my family about what I do. I ask them onceand either get a customer, a go-getter or a no thank you. The hard part is the no thank yous becaue of the employee mentality instilled in us. Particularily Anglo saxon Americans.

Gotta hit he sack as my forex account is up another couple of points. Live long and prosper my friends.
 

Vigilante

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See... here is where we disagree. If we were close friends, I would resent you using that to try and sell me something. I get two approaches all the time...

1. wanna be entrepreneur MLM rookies who see a guy like me as their meal ticket. They're taught to look for people like me, and try and recruit me. Theory goes if they get ME, then they will be on easy street as I can sell ice to eskimos.

2. wanna sell me their products.

MLM imposes on friendships. I have a solid network... and I am not going to jeopardize that by trying to have a casual conversation with them that transitions into a scripted sales pitch.

In my opinion, it is worse than a cold call out of the blue from someone that you don't know. People feel obligated to buy things, host things, and promote things they are not interested in because a friend or family member wants to use the relationship for financial gain.

It's unseemly. It's awkward. The recipients of the pitch for the most part are put into a difficult situation.

People who used to like you will avoid you, because you want to sell them something. Doesn't that make you uneasy?
 

Likwid24

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MLM imposes on friendships.
This is very true. I'm telling you, he's only going to learn by doing it himself. He'll argue till the death but when all is said and done he'll realize that it was a mistake and hopefully never do it again. You live you learn. I'm sure you learned at one point as did MJ and myself. Anyone I've ever know that has tried it will never try it again. I've known many many people who have done it, some of them semi successfully and even with that, that will still never do it again.


But the momonet anyone hears MLM their mind snaps shut because of some douche bag that hounds them day and night to join. Real MLM doesn't work that way. It's about networking and making new friends.
One day you'll be that guy
 

ashj1893

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So....yea long story short...MLM is not a real business model...much like Affiliate Marketing...
 

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