Pod person here checking in. My husband and I joined our second MLM company in 95. We worked it full-time for about 2 years. We traveled a lot, spent a lot of time sending things out and talking on the phone. We purposely didn’t prospect any of our family and friends. We would tell them about what we were doing when asked, but never brought it up on our own. We never asked them to listen to tapes or attend a meeting or meet our upline. We wanted to keep friendships separate from the business.
When we reached a fairly high level in the company, we knew we had to make a choice. We could continue working it and make a ridculous amount of money. But we knew from meeting the other people in our company who made ridiculous amounts of money that something strange happened to them along the way. They were so involved they couldn’t talk about anything else. Their entire lives revolved around training meetings and conventions and building their downlines. We did know several that made quite a bit more than 30K a month.
My husband and I really didn’t want to turn into pod people, we just wanted a nice stream of residual income so we could do what we wanted to for the rest of our lives. The way the compensation plan is set up, we have been able to “retire.” We haven’t attended any meetings, talked to any prospects, haven’t done a thing for almost 10 years now. In order for us to remain “active” and get weekly commission checks we have to order $150 of products each month, but that isn’t a problem. We really do love and use the products and we give our families products as they use them also. Our income has remained constant, and we make a enough to not have to work at anything else. My husband plays golf every day weather permits, and I am now involved in raising money for equine and horseracing related charities. We both spend our days doing what we want to do. MLM has enabled us to do that, so I can’t think badly of the entire industry.
I think there are more bad companies than good ones out there. But there are some good companies and if approached right it can be a good way to make money.
And in a strange twist, when our friends saw that we were able to completely stop working, and pay-off our home, and have money for investments (if the company should go under for some reason, we are now at a point the investment income will cover us so we don’t have to worry about that anymore) and long vacations, several of them were mad at us for not talking them into joining when we joined. We purposely didn’t want friendships to end because we bothered them with the MLM stuff. Instead a couple of friendships ended because we didn’t do that. They were convinced if they had gotten in when we did, all the money would have floated up to them too. They felt we were selfish by not “sharing” what we were doing. I don’ t think they ever realized how hard we worked those first two years. We didn’t get in on the bottom level of a new company, money didn’t just float up to us. We can only laugh at that, figuring they weren’t that good of friends anyway to be mad at us for not hassling them to sign up.
And because we never talk about MLM, many new acquaintances think we must be doing something illegal since neither of us have jobs or talk about where our money comes from. The biggest draw-back I have found in making money through MLM is that when you meet someone new and they ask what you do for a living. When I used to say MLM or network marketing, people would excuse themselves very quickly, afraid I would prospect them. After a while I learned to say “direct sales” so people wouldn’t want to run from me.
For us, they key was finding a company that had superior, consumable products. We never tried to talk our family and friends into the business side, but we have talked to them about using the products if we really felt they would benefit. We do have many friends who buy the products, but not from us. We tell them to just order directly from the company, still not wanting to make money off of our friends, but wanting them to have the health benefits the products offer.
So back to your question of whether all MLM companies have creepy pod people. From my experience, yes, they all do. But you don’t have to become one of them to be able to make a good income. I am quite sure my husband and I are the exception to the rule, but it is possible.
And I would have to say our experience was a positive one. We first got involved because we both like the idea of “owning” our lives. We chose who we worked with, where we would go. We have met wonderful people all around the country. I am 41 and my husband is 55. And this is not something I would expect sympathy for, but the only draw back now is that none of our friends our age are retired yet, so we don’t know many people who can take the time off to travel with us. So we find a destination that has a golf course and a racetrack and make new friends on our trips.
For us, MLM was a way for us to achieve the lifestyle we wanted. And using what I learned from MLM, I now have many skills that help me with my fund-raising for charities. Fund raising is all about networking, and “no” doesn’t phase me, I just move on to the next person. I feel so fortunate that I am now at a plalce in life I can help others. I really don’t see another way I could be in the position I am in now if it weren’t for MLM.