MLM Recruiting Lies

If you’ve spent any time in or around Mary Kay (or any other mutli-level marketing company, for that matter), you’re familiar with the recruiting lies that are told. There are plenty of scripts that are used to mislead, and there are earnings claims that make it seem like ANYONE can make lots of money if only they’re willing to work hard enough. If you’ve spent time around Pink Truth, you know that more than 99% of people lose money in MLM, and for the few that do make money, they’re lucky to make minimum wage.

The whole goal with recruiting into an MLM is to make an alluring picture of the income you *could* make, and draw attention away from the flawed structure and the almost guaranteed loss of money. Among the lies that are commonly told:

  • Residual income – You can make money on an ongoing basis from people you recruit. This expands your earning power beyond your personal efforts. You’re no longer a wage slave in corporate America.
  • Continuous income (without continuous work) – Our products are consumable! Your customers will need to purchase them again and again. You will keep making sales after that initial selling appointment… with virtually no work on your part!
  • Unlimited earning potential – You can make much more than your current profession! Just look at those at the top of the pyramid, who are making tens of thousands of dollars a month. (They will show you how easy it is if you recruit five people, and they each recruit five, and the chain keeps going.)
  • Early retirement – You (or your spouse!) can retire now from your profession, and you will have this continuous income stream from the people in your sales organization. You are set for life!
  • Freedom and flexibility – You are no longer constrained by a job. Your time is yours! You have no boss! You work when and how you want to. You can be at home with your children instead of working. You can travel whenever you like.
  • Security – In an uncertain economy (inflation, downsizing, wage stagnation), you are protected from all of that. You are self-sufficient and control your own financial destiny.
  • Low risk – The initial investment is low and there is a money back guarantee. You have almost no risk!
  • Anyone can do it – You don’t need any special skills. Anyone can succeed if they’re willing to work hard.

We all recognize the lies. You’re not retired, you’re CONSTANTLY working in MLM. No matter how much work you do, or how well you follow all the instructions, you still don’t have a reasonable chance of making a viable, full-time income. You will work many hours, doing many undesirable things (cold calling, stalking people in Target, attending networking events, approaching strangers at Starbucks), and you still won’t turn a profit. The big money is achieved by almost no one. Only the select few at the very top of the pyramid make the executive income that you’re shown, and you have almost no chance of making it there.

38 Comments

  1. TitoBandito

    I updated the R+F wiki page to include the below from the 2016 income disclosure statement. I also put something that was more opinion based but still accurate as the last sentence. That last sentence was “edited” away by someone in less than 24 hours. So this company in particular spends a lot of time and money scrubbing the internent of the truth. But the below sentence has been up for a month, and will stay because it is 100% accurate and linked to their own disclousre:

    Per the 2016 Income-Disclosure agreement, 90% of consultants earn less than $200 per month and 96% of the consultants earned less $500 per month. It should also be noted that there 125,348 consultants (representing 44% of all recruits) that recorded zero earnings and are no longer considered active independent consultants.[8]

    1. TBnoMKforME

      I’ve lurked the site for quite some time but I think this is my first comment. I checked out the R+F Wiki page and found some interesting links in the footnotes at the bottom. If you haven’t, check out the “John Oliver shreds MLMs” (warning, adult language…the Brits can get away with much more on tv than we can). It’s awesome, and at one point he had a clip of an interview (not sure who with) where the guy said something telling (paraphrased): “Say that for any particular MLM, each seller just needs to recruit five people beneath he/she, then that lower level needs only five recruits, and likewise down the levels…it could only last 14 cycles because at that point the structure will have exhausted the entirety of the Eath’s population.”

      Wow.

  2. Formykids

    Even if you look at the top top earners in MK, those 10-12 NSDs in inner circle, making between $360,00 and $600,000 per year(before expenses), and compare that to the top 10-12 earners in any other legit 4 billion dollar company, I think you will find that these ladies make well below their counterparts in these other companies. How is that empowering women? Undervalued and underpaid at every level of the pyramid….even at the top(note: I have no sympathy for the predators at the top of the pyramid….just sayin….)

  3. TitoBandito

    To expand on the above – The 125,348 consultants that signed up, purchased a kit (say $699 for their middle of the road starter kit) and are no longer active represent $87,618,252 of revenue for RF corporate. That is just from the 1st time kit purchase. That is money sucked out of the economy and dumped into Drs Rodan and Fields pockets. What a waste. You can get the same results with a bar of Dove soap and a good nights sleep.

  4. pinkvictim

    Revenues from initial MKult victims are incredible. In 2006, in a letter to the FTC (in support of excluding MLM from the FTC’s proposed “Business Opportunity” rule), MKult admitted to scamming 40,000 new recruits a month. At that time, they had 700,000 victims in the US. The current victim number runs about 600,000. By conservative guesstimate, I am going to say there are now about 32,000 victims scammed each month. $100 to join = $3,200,000/month or $38,400,000 per year on starter kits.

    Now, by statements on several NSD’s sites and training materials, the average initial purchase by a new victim is $1,000 (Either this number is total BS or it supplied directly to them my MKorpse). 32,000/month x $1,000 = $32,000,000/month or $384,000,000 per year.

    So, just from new recruits MKorpse is taking in an estimated $422,400,000 a year. That’s about 14% of annual revenue.

    One step further, and I’ll wrap it up for the day.

    By the same 2006 letter to the FTC, first year victim churn is about 68%. So, of the 384K original victims, 122,880 will go on to a second year. SD’s constantly push the “Star” order (“Stars Drive Cars!”) of at least $600 a month (You’ll get a sparkly Chinese bracelet that cost MKorps about $0.50!). If those 122,880 only last another 6 months, they will purchased another $3600. Some easy multiplication followed by some addition and you can see that MKorpse, on average, rakes in $864,768,000 from new victims within 18 months.

    99% of those victims will never make a profit. MKult impoverishes women’s lives. MKorpse only enriches themselves.

    1. TitoBandito

      Pinkvictim – The above math is excellent, thank you for sharing. Now, MK is one of the biggest MLM’s there so these numbers highlight the worst of the worst. But let’s say that there are 20 other MLM’s that are about half the size of MK in terms of recruitment. Using those numbers as estimates – there is nearly 9 BILLION dollars sucked out of the economy each year from (mostly) woman that are trying to improve their standing in life and believe a pile of lies.

      9 BILLLION DOLLARS!!! That is the true MLM cost to society every year. It is time for this to stop

      1. MLM Radar

        Unfortunately, the scammers who raked in that windfall have kept a bunch of congressional lobbyists very well paid. They succeeded in blocking most legislation that would have questioned the integrity of Direct Sales companies, and blocked the requirement for privately held MLMs to release Earnings Representation disclosures.

        1. BestDecision

          Really? That might be the case now, but it wasn’t at the time I resigned. It’s actually surprising to be higher when recruiting has been down for about 8 years now. Interesting!

          1. pinkvictim

            You know, I never cf’d the initial purchase amount with time in MKult (thus year of initial purchase) to account for inflation adjusted dollars… interesting thought.

  5. Lazy Gardens

    Residual income – You can make money on an ongoing basis from people you recruit.

    True “residual income” doesn’t require ongoing work – Mikey of cereal commercial fame did a day or two of filming and collected residual income until well after college.

    True “residual income” also doesn’t require continual payments to the company to stay alive. In MLMs, if you stop buying, they stop paying you for the recruits you brought them

  6. TitoBandito

    Lazy – You are correct. The idea of residual income in any MLM has become distorted to mean “You get a check every month as long as you keep spending” Which is the mathematically equivalent of spending $1.00 to make 25 cents. What a deal!!!

  7. QueenOfTheTanned

    I shudder to think what LuLaRoe is making on THEIR starter kits! Isn’t the average start-up on LLR around $5000? And they have women WAITING weeks to onboard! I have a dear friend right now sitting on a pile of all knit nightmare and things aren’t looking very good for her right now. πŸ™

    1. Neverpink

      Last I saw on the LLR FB group, the onboarding wait time has been drastically reduced to 2 weeks or less. Many speculate it’s slowed so much that onboarding may only take a week or less, though LLR Home Office is making it sound like the 2 weeks is a “minimum”.

      Because, guess what, they’re offering “Quebie Training” and “homework” now! Cough up 50 names as part of your first assignment.

      Gag.

  8. pinkvictim

    About 6-8 months ago, LLR was touting 500 onboards per DAY. That’s $2,500,000 per day… $75,000,000 per month!! They were definitely not able to sustain that, but if they had, they would have been pulling in $900,000,000 a year just on initial purchase packages.

    You just know Mark and DeAnne have made 10’s of millions of dollars on the backs of women who have been deluded into parting with money they most likely could not afford to lose.

    They are human garbage.

    1. raisinberry

      And this is the kicker…the GRAND LIE.
      They represent that they started these opportunities to enrich women entrepreneurs and give them a matchless future…and the whole time they knew they were suckering them and separating them from any viable financial security. And because of the elaborate con, it will take the average starry eyed hopeful a few years to figure it out…while she decimates her savings.

      I honestly can’t even think of the words that describe this kind of financial predator.

  9. Blah123456

    I know I won’t be popular opinion but….i freaking love lularoe clothes. My favorites are the leggings, cassie skirts, and Lola skirts. I’ve never had a bad experience. As for Rodan and fields….no they aren’t the same as a dove bar of soap. They actually have alot of chemicals (retinol, hydroquinone for example) and those chemicals may help you, depending on what you want. You can buy otc cosmetics that contain certain amounts of retinol. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s not advised to use those chemicals. However, you would be safe with the dove bar of soap. Just putting that out there, in case someone reading thinks Rodan and Fields is literally just bottles of nothing…their products are on the high end however they are legit products, and not crap. I work for a dermatologist and we get alot of people who want to use Rodan and Fields, so, that’s my source.

        1. Lazy Gardens

          Neverpink … The inventors of the Rodan and Fields products sold the rights to the name and the formulas. That company took it MLM because that’s where the money is.

          It’s effective stuff, just overpriced compared to similar formulas (now that the patents have expired)

          1. Blah123456

            I’m not sure if that’s correct. Katie and Kathy (the dermatologists/inventors) still own Rodan and fields. They also created proactiv, which was a huge success due to infomercials. Rodan and Fields was originally dept store, but Katie and Kathy saw that direct sales was becoming a huge opp due to the internet and social media, so they went that route. The products are legit and effective, for sure. We have alot of clients at my work that inquire about it and want to purchase the regimens. My boss (dermatologist) recommends it highly, except for pregnant and breastfeeding clients.

            1. Blah123456

              Rodan and Fields is the mlm line, but proactiv is not. They also have a third brand, I can’t think of the name. X out I think it’s called. It’s also promoted via infomercials. We have proactiv and x out in my home, for the acne skin. Myself, I use Rodan and Fields, and also some rx from my employer.

    1. MLM Radar

      If you like the products and are willing to pay the price, that’s fine. It also makes you a very rare person. Most folks look at price vs quality and decide they can get a lot more satisfaction at a lot lower price somewhere else.

      We’ve known all sorts of people who thought they could succeed by just selling the products. Sadly, that only works until you’ve tried to sell to all your friends and family, which takes about 3 months. After then you’re left with selling to strangers, which is next to impossible when you can’t advertise and can’t open a retail store.

      The biggest complaint against the MLMs isn’t the uncertain product quality and high prices (which are necessary to pay the multiple commission levels). It’s the marketing methods. You’re strong-armed into recruiting your customers immediately, so you never have the chance to build a customer base. You’re told you can make a profit by selling to yourself (Amway did this), which makes absolutely no sense. You’re pressured to buy a large inventory, or to subscribe to big monthly shipments to get a “discount.”

      Still, there are a lot of companies that make a fortune because customers believe the illusion that high prices means high quality. So go ahead and enjoy the LLR clothes… until they quickly fall apart. And enjoy whatever you buy from R&F until you start noticing you can get products just as good elsewhere for a fraction of the cost.

      1. Blah123456

        My lularoe has never fallen apart….been buying for 3 years now I think? Maybe longer. I buy from multiple consultants, never had an issue at all. I wouldn’t buy Rodan and Fields off eBay or wherever, just from consultants websites, otherwise if you do have a problem, you can’t get refund or exchange. My husband loved proactiv back in the day. They really are good products, whether sold by tv or however. Mary kay has good products, too. But I despise how some of the directors force religion.

    2. TitoBandito

      Sassy – You are a unicorn, someone that thinks the products are good enough to warrant spending a small fortune. Please give me your email, my (now ex) wife sells this garbage and she would kill to have a real life customer like you. There are just very few people not affiliated with RF that buy these over priced lotions and potions, ask me how I know!!

        1. TitoBandito

          In classic MLM move, you can’t buy Lash Boost on it’s own anymore. That’s their best product, so like classic greedy MLM…YOu can only buy Lash Boost as part of a bundle now.

          So now you have to spend $300 and get a bunch of creams you don’t want. If you want lash boost on its own, try ebay. I would never darken these pages by promoting my ex-wife’s website

          1. Blah123456

            Lol! I will need my redefine regimen anyway, so no prob for me. I would never buy Rodan and Fields from eBay. You wouldn’t get your guarantee anymore, and that’s important to me, for anything I put on my skin. I might just be on the safe paranoid side though, since I work for a dermatologist. I will just order from my regular consultant.

  10. Blah123456

    Just went to see the prices for the lash boost on eBay for kicks. $170-200++. Good gravy!!! I pay $150 and I get free shipping AND I get the peace of mind of safe not old, 100% guarantee. Crazy!

    1. MLM Radar

      You’re willing to pay $150 for THAT???? You must have money to burn and then some.

      About those LLR leggings: If I had enough cash to frequently replace high-priced leggings, I’d probably think the quality was just fine too. Then again, I can think of lots of other things I’d buy before leggings.

      One thing’s for sure. You didn’t get that much disposable cash from selling or recruiting for an MLM.

      Oh well, I’ve heard enough here. When money grows on trees, quality and value don’t matter much. Enjoy your overpriced MLM goodies.

      1. Blah123456

        I’m a manager of a successful derm office, but money to burn or not, I do enjoy certain things. I also love to shop at target and Costco. I hate wal mart. They do not pay their people worth a damn. All my lularoe has been great. I’m currently wearing some from 3 years ago lol. Why are you so mad that people like to buy products? Or are you mad that people have money to burn? And yes lash boost is amazing. I highly recommend it. I’m done here too, your attitude is pretty immature.

        1. TRACY

          I’m personally not “mad the people like to buy products.” I’m mad that these MLMs recruit people with lies. Billions of dollars are put into these scam companies each year by consumers who have been told they have a shot of making money, when the truth is that 99% will lose money. The lies upset me.

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