It seems that mums these days are being bombarded on a daily basis with offers to join multi-level-marketing businesses. I am not here to talk them down or to warn anyone away from signing up with one. In fact, I have looked closely at a few of them myself. But they are not for everybody, and I’ve decided that that model is most definitely not for me.
Honestly, I think I would fail dismally at it. For two main reasons.
Because I’m a control freak. And because I’m an introvert.
I want control over my brand and it’s messaging.
I can operate my business in a way that feels authentic to me. I’m not dictated to, or tied to any particular terms with any large company. If I work for an MLM then I wouldn’t have control over how I brand myself and my products. I have full creative licence and I can take my business in any direction I want to. Say if I was to spend the months and months building up an MLM business, recruiting my little butt of and building a team, convincing my friends to buy my products and hope for repeat business. Then imagine if that company suddenly started having their products made overseas, or in a way that didn’t align with my values, then I wouldn’t have any control over that. I would have to give up that business and start from scratch again.
I want control over what I sell.
There is no one else offering exactly what I offer. No one in the world has exactly the same service or product as me. In an MLM business there are most likely many others offering literally the exact same product. For me, my satisfaction comes from developing really unique products and services that I feel so passionately proud of because I’ve created it. Everything I’ve created has been like another one of my children. That can be challenging in itself, but if I was in a MLM business there could be certain products that the company has that I don’t completely love. Selling them would feel really disingenuous to me.
When it’s your own ‘thing’ that you’re sharing with the world then you can hand-on-heart tell people exactly where it comes from and how it’s made. Say if there was some dodgy media around a particular MLM product, I would hate finding myself having to answer to people about it when I actually have no control over how the company operates. I remember when the new model Thermomix came out. The consultants had recent customers feeling very upset, when in fact those consultants had been given zero notice of the new model coming out. I am WAY to much of a control freak to be able to operate like that. I had a dear friend who was doing really well with a party-plan style business, but then suddenly they went belly-up! She was left out of pocket and with unfilled customer orders. Luckily for her she didn’t lose as much as so many others did.
I want control over how much I sell it for.
I would hate being told how much to sell my stuff for. Having a quiet week? I can have a snap sale whenever I want. I can advertise wherever I like. I can even give away my services whenever I like because I know someone who needs my help and can’t afford it. I can do that because it’s mine, and my choice.
I want the profits!
It would bother me way too much that so much of the profits are going straight to multi-national corporations. My clients pay me directly. They dont pay a big company who then passes along my little slice. Every single cent of my profit goes into my pocket and to my family. My products aren’t overpriced because there are not layers and layers of commissions and people who need to get their percentage. There’s just me. I can discount my products or increase my pricing whenever I like, and the only person who’s profit margin is affected is mine.
All the people.
I’m a natural introvert, which means I would struggle with the community based aspect of MLM. Networking is challenging for me. Reaching out, recruiting downlines and attending big, loud expos is not my thing. Being in big groups of people and doing small-talk drains my energy. Extroverts thrive in that environment, but for many who have tried MLM and not succeeded, I think it’s often because they found that part of it too overwhelming.
I choose who I work with.
I can bring on staff when I need to, that I can teach and develop them to do things the way I need. I can have a tiny little team and still make great money. One of my biggest fears in doing MLM was that I’d alienate my friends. It doesn’t happen for everybody, but I know that for some people it has. Their own friends have dropped off and they’ve formed new friendships within the MLM business. For me it’d feel strange, like they’re my friend but also they’re making money from having recruited me into this thing. Say if I were to decide it’s not for me and pull out I wonder what that then means for the friendship. I prefer to keep my friendships as quite seperate to my business. (That being said, my best friend is my VA – but she has her own business and I have mine. I pay for a service. No one is making money from each other.)
My growth is not limited.
At any point I could sell my business, or even franchise it if I want to. I’m working to grow MY brand, not someone else’s. In an MLM business you learn sales and marketing and recruitment tactics for that particular product. You might be a ’sole trader’ but I don’t believe you really get an opportunity to learn about business. To be able to say in your resume that you built a bonafide business from scratch, is incredibly valuable. It takes work, dedication and a heap of self-belief, but it’s not as hard as so many think.
Women are starting amazing businesses based on incredible concepts, left right and centre. It’s an exciting time. Joining an MLM is absolutely a valid option, but it’s not the only option. If you have admin skills and a desire to help people, you could very easily do what I do and build a thriving business creating gorgeous resumes for people. (Resume School opens on 1st October. Find out more here.)
If you’re a fellow control freak, a fellow introvert, or just want some help getting your home-based business idea off the ground, I’d love to work with you in Biz Mum Bootcamp. If you just want a traditional J.O.B, then Back to Work Bootcamp is the place to be.
Please know that this is purely my own account and my own thought processes around a business structure that works for me. Opinions are a very personal thing, and I’m purely sharing the spirit of sharing. Good vibes only as always!
Much love, Carlie xx