Multi-Level Marketing as an Alternative Income Source

There are a ton of different ways to make money outside of a 9-5. Now, more than ever, people are taking advantage of these non-traditional avenues. A popular avenue that I’m sure you have noticed is multi-level marketing. For those of you not familiar with that term, I’m referring to all the companies like MaryKay, BeachBody, LuluRoe, LipSense and many others. It seems that our social media platforms are becoming more and more filled with our friends selling products for these companies. So, I wanted to dedicate a little mini-series on multi-level marketing as a means to a non-traditional income. To ensure that you get a completely un-bias opinion, the following 2 blog posts will be written by guest bloggers who are actually involved in MLM. One, who just started a few months ago, and one who is quite seasoned, being in the game for a few years.

I’m a huge proponent of finding alternative (as in non-9-5) means to make money. Most alternatives typically provide you with a lot more flexibility to design your lifestyle. When it comes to MLM, I would say I have a pretty neutral outlook on them. While I personally don’t feel inspired to do MLM, it could definitely be an excellent path for many people. As with anything, it’s important to do research and ask the right questions before jumping into something. Here are some points I believe are important to keep in mind before jumping in:

  • You’re still technically working for someone else, it’s someone else’s product that you’re selling, not yours. While you are, in a sense, your own boss because no one will force you to hit a certain quota, you’re not the owner of the business and your profits don’t go 100% to you

  • There are more effective, cheaper methods to getting your product out there. In recent years, marketing has evolved rapidly in the digital realm. As a digital marketer, I find that using people to market your product as done in multi-level marketing is quite inefficient compared to some of the new marketing tactics now available

  • You will not get rich quick. While you can become wealthy, it will not come quickly. Quitting your 9-5 is definitely in the realm of possibilities, but it will take longer than just a few months. As with anything else, it will take time, a lot of hard work, and immense dedication to become successful in this endeavor.

  • It’s not passive income. While it might be semi-passive income, it’s not completely passive because you have to continuously work at it. Even if you have enough regular customers that you don’t have to actively sell to, you still have to actively grow and mentor your team.

If it seems like I’m not a fan of MLM, I hope I haven’t lost you yet, because there are a lot of positives.

  • It’s a great way to get sales experience. I firmly believe that everyone should get some sales experience. Even if you never go into sales, you still need to be able to sell yourself in an interview. Or if you own a business, you’ll need to be able to sell your product/service/ideas/etc. Regardless of your situation, sales is a fantastic tool to have mastered and MLM is a way to master that skill right away.

  • If you really have no interest in creating your own product or service, but still want to break-free of the 9-5, this is a fantastic alternative. You have a product already created for you, now you just have to sell it!

  • It gives you the opportunity to manage and mentor a team without having to first climb the corporate ladder. I know people who were well into their 40s before having any direct reports. MLM is a great way to fast-track your development as a mentor.

So, how should you go about deciding if MLM is right for you? Answer the following questions:

  • Do you love the product? Make sure to deeply investigate and test the products to make sure you truly love the products. It’s a lot easier to sell something that you love and actually use yourself. It’s also important to make sure the products are within your ethical limits. If you’re a vegan, it would royally suck to find out you’re selling make-up that’s not cruelty free.

  • What’s the investment and what’s the risk? Do you have to buy the products before-hand? Do you have to pay a fee? Make sure you know all the financials before getting involved. And if there is an investment, make sure to develop a plan to make up your ROI as quickly as possible.

  • Do you understand how you will be compensated? Is the rewards/pay system easy to understand? If it has to be explained to multiple times, and is super confusing, that’s a red flag. Try explaining the compensation plan to someone else, if you can’t then you probably don’t understand it very well.

At the end of the day, make sure you’re doing what you love and focusing on how to best serve others. The money will follow.

If you’re deciding on joining a MLM, I hope you found this helpful! Stay tuned for next week’s post by guest blogger, Caroline Hutchison, LipSense Consultant. I’m super excited that she’s guest blogging because we had really good times in college and she’s doing some awesome things with her business. AND I’m obsessed with my new Roseberry (cruelty-free) lipstick ;)