A few weeks ago I saw a meme/video on Facebook that poked fun at the amount of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or Direct Sales companies. The gist of it was that people are so sick and tired of being invited to Facebook events, and added to groups of their friends who have taken the brave step to host a show or sign up to sell a product they love and believe in. These range from Stella & Dot, Younique, DotTerra and Beachbody. I myself am an Associate Stylist for Stella & Dot and have many friends and family members who represent other brands.
The real problem I had was not the video itself, but all the comments associated with the video. These ranged from positive to negative comments, but the ones that truly got to me were the mean, hateful and down right rude comments. Seriously, people need to learn the old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Even on the internet. Everyone has a little more courage behind a screen and most would never say those comments to a person’s face.
I wanted to write a little plug for all those who have made the decision to sign up with a company, and for all those who fully support them. Direct sales companies have a very negative view to the general public. Pyramid schemes sound so negative. I was looking for some funny memes to add to this and typed in multi level marketing meme…almost 90% of what I saw was negative. I figure it’s time to break my silence and give you the flip side of a direct sales company, from someone who was that person ignoring the requests to join groups, declining invitations to host and had thoughts similar to “why would I pay for something I could by elsewhere, just so you get to make more money?”
Stella & Dot is the second direct sales company I joined, and I use that lightly. I don’t count my week long, very poor decision to sign up for Mary Kay. The pitch got me and it was hard to say no. I can laugh now, but LBH, to sell MK you have to like doing makeup, or at least be good at it…which I am neither! But hey I received a ton of goodies that I used, so at least there’s that.
I was VERY hesitant to sign up for S&D, and Brian was even more against the notion (seeing how terribly the whole MK thing went). We had a long sit down about my decision and made a spreadsheet (I know, shocker right??) of the potential cost, my goals, where I wanted to be within the company and how I would achieve that. My upline, who is the bomb.com BTW and an old Chi O friend, messaged me multiple times for about 2 months dangling more carrots with each message 😉. Still, even though I loved the products and saw the potential, I struggled to pull the trigger. This is WAY out of my comfort zone and would challenge me in ways I wasn’t sure I would enjoy.
During the time I was considering signing up, we were going through some major changes as a family. We recently welcomed Carson into the world, I quit my full-time job to stay at home…oh and there was that cross-country move we were making. Starting this adventure would mean having to be social! And talk to people I didn’t know! (My introverted-self is sweating right now just thinking about it. ha) But seriously, it was the one thing that was holding me back. Could I actually do it? Could I ask my friends to host? My family to host? My facebook “friends”? People I hadn’t talked to in years? I still feel this way, even with strangers. Then you realize that I wouldn’t be doing my job, I wouldn’t be growing and challenging myself as planned. So I did. And continue to do.
Every person who begins a direct sales position has these questions go through their head, and ultimately has to decide how important their “why” is. If your why is important, then you just do it. If people say no, who cares. Move on. No harm done. Now this took me a long time to learn and be okay with. If you read my previous post about personality profiles, you will know I am a chameleon. Pleasing others is my number one goal in life. When I approach people with the opportunity to host or join, I want them to see the joy that I have experienced with this group of women I am now connected with. And when they say “not now” or “no thanks”, I feel like I have offended them…even though there is absolutely no reason to feel that way!
Once you join a direct sales company, you go through a paradigm shift. Mine went from “why would I give this person money?” to “I would love to support you get closer to your why”. The tribe that I am connected with are my best cheerleaders (and yes I acknowledge that they want me to do well, so they in turn make more money, etc. but it’s not even about that anymore). They are there to help me problem solve my struggles, to help me overcome my introverted-ness, to make me feel the fear and do it anyway, to change me for the better, to help me grow in confidence. We all share our dreams, our why, our goals with each other. We work as a team to empower each other and to do our best to help others achieve those goals.
It isn’t all about the money, that is nice, and the jewels are nice, too. But being a stay at home mom prior to signing up, I felt lost. I felt that my worth had diminished a bit, since I wasn’t working and having daily challenges. I wasn’t making and surpassing goals. It was a weird feeling for me, and I wasn’t sure why I didn’t feel okay with it.
Brian has been the best support system in this crazy few 8 months (and the best business agent. ha. And he was totally okay with me “just” being a stay at home mom, I say that lightly as we know SAHMs work hard, as do working mothers). He has reached out to his friends on my behalf. He has hosted his own show to make sure his buddies were being good hubbies and boyfriends. He has shared my posts on his page. He has been okay with me memorizing our credit card number 🙈. He is my biggest support.
But in the end I do this for me. It is a chance for me to have a schedule, to feel normal, to set monthly goals (and crush them!), to live uncomfortable, to grow my confidence, to help out financially (California is heck’a expensive!!), to have fun. It’s my way of providing for my family, focusing on me first (it’s all about that self-care!) and channeling that energy and feelings of accomplishment into my life as a wife and mother. I get to meet new women who I help have a fun girl’s night in and foster/strengthen relationships with their friends. I get to introduce women to something that might be life-changing for them. I get to help someone find purpose.
I know the multiple invites and number of companies out there will continue to grow, but before you roll your eyes and laugh at another group, remember that we are people, too. That the hesitation and fear we have to send the invite is HUGE. That the negative perception about our company is recognized, but we are working to change that. That we are just women and men who are trying something new, who are tired of working a 9-5 job, who are not entirely in it for the money, or who may be in it for the money.
I am a women who wants to stay home and raise her children, at the expense of growing my career as a social worker, and also realizes that I have found something that can help ease the burden my husband feels every months-end we sit down and figure out why we went over budget again. I am someone who has reached out to close friends and family, to “friends”, to people I have never met prior to the night of the show, and to those I meet virtually through my shows. Everyone’s why is different and until you fully understand that, simply reply with “no thanks”, “not now”, or “that sounds amazing”.
We understand the negative aspects of our chosen business model, one would be naive to say they had no idea. We realize it can be repetitive, but common courtesy is appreciated. If you get added to a group or event and don’t wish to be in it, simply leave the group. No hard feelings either way, and most of my hostesses acknowledge that with their first posts. They are inviting those they feel would absolutely love the products and need a reason to treat themselves.
I have a few thank you’s to give and I won’t name names, as I will likely forget some and would feel terrible (cue Chameleon traits!), so I figured I’d end it like this:
To all those I have bugged with multiple Facebook messages, texts, emails, phone calls, and posts, THANK YOU. You are what makes my business work. For all those who have shared my posts or liked my posts, THANK YOU. You are what spreads my business to new people. To those of you who have purchased from me or hosted, THANK YOU. You are what gets me closer to my monthly goals, and closer to my updated why (ask me if you’d like to know!) Thank you all for the support as I continue with this crazy adventure. If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask. I’d love to chat.
And as always, thanks for reading!