What is MLM and How Do You Know When to Leave?
Most of us are aware how multi-level marketing (MLM) works - product sales lead to money, giving you a path to recruit new people who will, in turn, make sales and earn money for you.
The hierarchy of such a business is a pyramid where you start at the bottom and sales trickle up to your "uplines."
With all the glitz and glamour associated with the MLM and the promise of a great life ahead of you, it’s easy to fall prey to such a marketing scheme and business venture.
Let’s say that you have been enticed to join the bandwagon and bring in new people, securing a good, prosperous future through direct sales.
For the first few months, you were eager to learn and doing your best to work your way up to the top. After a few months, however, it was clear that you were misled and you begin to see the truth rearing its ugly head.
If you are someone who has recently ventured into MLM, it’s best to be wary of what you’ve gotten into and see if it works for you. Even if you are good at direct sales, it doesn't mean the company or type of business is right for you.
In this article, you will learn what is MLM, and four telltale signs that it’s time to leave the MLM you are in.
Table of Contents
What Is MLM (Multilevel Marketing) Business?
You might be familiar with how a multi-level marketing business works.
Some might call it network marketing, referral marketing, or pyramid selling – but it’s all the same.
It entails a system of selling goods or services through a network of distributors. The rule of thumb in the multilevel marketing business is to ensure that existing distributors recruit new sellers. (1)
Through this, the network of of people at home making sales with pyramid scheme products keeps on expanding. The earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.
Sometimes, however, it’s not obvious what is MLM until you’re already in, and even then, the recruits who recruited you are often going to try convincing you to stay because you put money in their pocket. That’s the ugly truth.
Let’s start by getting something straight: confiding in your higher ups about your desire to leave the MLM is the wrong move. Saying no to an MLM is always the hardest part. No matter how friendly they are, their goals are not the same as yours and they’ll feed you promises and information to make you – one of their recruits who puts money in their pocket – stay.
Telltale Signs It's Time to Leave Your Job With the MLM Company
While there are many warning signs you might be wary of when joining an MLM, sometimes the program checks out and you join anyway.
Maybe you didn’t know that joining a multilevel marketing company was bad in the first place and you’ve been suckered into wasting money by buying inventory and carrying debt so your uplines can make LOTS of money without having to make sales.
First and foremost, you should always follow your gut. If you don’t feel good about making an investment, you may have picked up on a warning sign without realizing it.
By listening to your gut feeling, you can help your brain rationally work its way through red flags, navigating the tricky world of netowork marketing schemes.
The companies promise people they can work from home and make money beyond their wildest imagination, but these sales don’t always come through. When the recruits start to catch wind of this, they start to make claims that these people aren’t following the process, they don’t have the right money mindset… The list can go on.
The same goes for deciding when to leave – if you are ready to leave, then keep the knowledge to yourself and get out as soon as possible. Your uplines will try to convince you to stay to retain the money you bring in for them, often turning to guilt as a conversational tool and telling you they rely on you being in the company.
Below are four telltale signs that indicate your network marketing company is not for you. While there are many other red flags you can consider, these four are the most common signs that its time to leave:
1.Time and Effort with Minimal Results
What is MLM business without a little time and effort? When you first joined the business, you were initially informed that you could work your business around your family and private life all while selling so you could make money from harmless products on your own terms. You were made to believe that your great efforts would pay off in due time, almost guaranteed.
After a few months, however, the company demanded a considerable amount of your time, trying to make you sell more products and services and recruit more people. Not only did it become extremely time-consuming, but it took a lot of effort to distribute promotional materials, attend direct selling sessions, create a small direct sales plan, and meet up with prospective clients.
Both time and effort have taken a toll on your personal life. Sure, it’s understandable when you think about how much time and effort it takes to succeed.
What if after all this, you still see no – or very little – results from your hard work?
If you feel like your efforts to make sales and earn money are in vain, it’s a telltale sign that the MLM company is not the right company for you.
- Mindset as a Form of Victim-Blaming
Another common problem with this type of company is that recruits are often asked to attend seminars, employ webinars, and read books to help them achieve success in the business.
Most of these resources lean towards having the right mindset and focusing on success. These are supposed to help you achieve the “money mindset” or outlook in life – and then success will come, right?
The problem is that, after having gone through the first telltale sign (putting in too much time and effort for minimal results), this mindset becomes of a form of blame.
If you ever try to ask why you aren’t achieving success, you won’t get real information. You’ll start hearing a defense made in blame: you aren’t earning much because you don’t have the right mindset; you aren’t good enough; you aren’t patient enough.
This can really drag down your self-confidence. You will find later, after you’ve successfully left the MLM business, that the problem was never with you but with how the MLM scheme was structured.
If you uplines are persistent in blaming you for poor results after you’ve exerted what you consider to be too much time and effort, it’s about time you leave.
- The Downsides of LOA
You may have heard of LOA, or the Law of Attraction before. This concept delves into the power of the mind, telling you that what you think is what you will attract and manifest in your life.
While LOA is a new-age concept, it is not being employed in most MLM company schemes. These companies will tell you that you need to have the company perfect mindset and a positive outlook in life. It is often used in money making pyramid models to help encourage the onboarding of new recruits.
They will tell you that you need to “visualize” financial independence by earning a lot of money.
The LOA concept can be helpful in real life, but it cannot be considered the absolute truth. Your outlook has a lot to do with it, but if how you are going about things is flawed, you’ll struggle to get the results you want.
The problem is that most MLM company schemes tend to use LOA in an idealistic way, deviating from this reality. This way, if something goes wrong, they can blame it on your way of thinking, rather than taking any responsibility for poor earnings.
If your MLM company puts a big focus on LOA without a realistic approach towards success, you should think twice about staying.
- Skepticism Among Family and Friends
Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to your friends and family.
One of the major drawbacks to learning what is MLM – and eventually joining the MLM business – is that you tend to isolate yourself from your peers on your journey to make money.
Your friends and family are concerned about your wellbeing, what you invest in, and how you may potentially end up being on the losing team.
Chances are, they have friends and colleagues who are in the same industry and have unfortunately failed and lost a significant amount of money.
From an outside perspective, your peers, friends, and family tend to be much more rational in their judgement than the uplines who have been brainwashed into mindlessly and aggressively recruiting so they can make enough money to run ahead of the boulder of debt.
If your friends and family object to your new MLM business opportunities and you cannot defend your reasoning, this might be a telltale sign that you are in the wrong place.
The problem with this is that your uplines and colleagues in the MLM company counsel and encourage you to brush off these concerns, saying that these people who you value in your life are going against your networking and want to see you fail.
This is far from the truth, and listening to these faulty business claims is a terrible choice that can harm your relationships.
If you are experiencing this, it’s best to start the process of leaving the MLM business for good.
Alternatives to MLM and Network Marketing Sales
If you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time, you know that I review MLM schemes, courses, and plenty of other “work from home” business programs that promise to make moeny for you.
Trust me when I say there are plenty of other alternatives to an MLM company that doesn’t shame you for not meeting sales quotas and don’t make you feel like you’re trapped in a money cult.
I know, I’ve been there. It’s difficult to leave an MLM company once you’ve joined because you always feel like you’re giving something up.
Just remember that you’re not losing out on anything by leaving the company – there are better, more successful, and more fulfilling work from home business possibilities out there.
You might just find something that works for you, too. Something much more legitimate than your current MLM.
- Ike Ikokwu, 8 Tips to Avoid Investing in a Ponzi Scheme, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/8-tips-to-avoid-investing_b_1837202
I buy and review courses so you don’t have to. Sometimes, I even find courses that are legitimate and worthwhile; and that’s how I accidentally came across one that led me to building a 6-figure business in a little under 5 years. Now, I still review courses because it’s my favorite hobby. 🙂 Learn more about me here.