For an ever increasing number of us, being our own Boss is the dream.

Making your own hours, and working where you want to. The unlimited sick days, or vacation days when you need them.

Sounds almost too good to be true.

For some, it sadly is. The goal of entrepreneurship is a growing one, and some companies prey on it.  Most of these companies ironically mask themselves as socially conscious and diverse but wherever there's a deep need or passion, there will be those trying to exploit it.

So what is Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM)?

Also called direct marketing, home-business franchising, direct sales, network marketing, or affiliate marketing, MLM employees make some  money selling products from the company directly to their friends and family, but in order to thrive, they need to take a cut of the downline associate's sales. You also typically would need to pay a fee or buy products personally to get started.

Essentially, it's a fancy pyramid scheme. If you want to be successful in this type of business, you will be pitching the dream to others. Here's a diagram:

There are many reasons why those in MLM's are not their own bosses. Let's take a look at some.

  1. 99% of those in MLMs do not make any money.  On the flip side,  80% of real startup businesses make it past their first year and 50% are still around after 5 years.
  2. They can't control the quality or price of the products. They don't set the promotions.  This is something business owners can and should do, and something sales people cannot. Working in an MLM is simply working in sales.
  3. Notice how those in MLM's always seem to be recruiting for their team? A huge amount of profits come from their downline. With a legit business, the profits come from your product sales, not relying on others to give you a cut of their sales and signup fees.

If you were reading this thinking about joining an MLM, don't.  If you know someone already in one, get out. Vice wrote a fantastic article detailing how to do so. If you're in an MLM yourself, I hope this article helps you see through the fog and look at your real options.

If the appeal of an MLM is to work from home, have a better work-life balance and have more accessible work, try a website like Weworkremotely. With over 2.5M monthly visitors, it is the #1 destination to find incredible remote jobs. It's where I found my amazing job here at CartKit!

If the appeal of an MLM is to be an entrepreneur, then heck yes, be an entrepreneur!

Entrepreneurship is great, and the rise of being your own boss is incredible, to say the least.  Those in MLM's should be seen as franchisees.  Being in an MLM is about marketing, and recruiting.

Entrepreneurs take an idea and work on solving a problem with their product. With platforms like Shopify, apps like Consistent Cart and Sales Pop, and the sea of product sourcing options at your fingertips, truly starting your own business has never been easier.

Get Started with Shopify and CartKit today!