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LarlaB

MLM and women

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We've had the complaining about MLM threads before.... This AM,  I logged onto facebook and saw 3 different people peddling their crap on personal FB pages and just want to yell. I want to be their friends, not held hostage to their 'business' that I have no respect for, to be blunt.

One example?  (She posted with a picture of their inground pool, her pink drink, a book "6 figures in 6 months" and kids playing in the background....implying that MLM made this possible when in reality her DH is the breadwinner and she hasn't worked in 15 years)

If your office doesn’t look like this 
1f60e.png?1f334.png? and you want it to, then we should talk 1f914.png?. I never imagined all those years ago when I walked across the stage at XXX University to receive my Bachelor’s degree that I would end up in Network Marketing 1f937_1f3fc_200d_2640.png??‍♀️. I always wanted to be a “corporate” girl. And I was for many years 1f645_1f3fc_200d_2640.png??‍♀️1f460.png?. I did a couple other Network Marketing gigs while in college where I had to keep inventory on hand (and inevitably I would NOT have what my customer wanted) and book parties 1f92e.png?. I loved the part about meeting new people but hated being away nights and weekends (and the inventory and party part). So when I was first introduced to Plexus I said no thank you 1f3c3_1f3fc_200d_2640.png??‍♀️! But there was a still, small voice in my mind that wouldn’t let me leave it. I secretly watched videos and learned a little more (remember, I have a degree so I’m smart 1f913.png?1f9d0.png?1f602.png?1f602.png?) and decided to give it a try. Did you know that the Plexus compensation plan is unique ONLY to Plexus?!So now here I sit by my pool 2600.png☀️, enjoying my pink drink 1f964.png?, raising our kiddos, getting healthy 1f44a_1f3fb.png??, growing as a leader, helping others 1f917.png?, going on lots of fun trips 1f6f3.png?, partnering with a company that is doing it right 1f947.png? and staring at the email of how much my check was this past month 1f633.png? (the biggest yet)! We are JUST GETTING STARTED 1f92d.png? So, if you want your office to be as enjoyable as mine, let’s talk 1f495.png?
 

Tupperware. Pampered Chef.  Arbonne.  Shaklee.  MaryKay.  Lularoe. They cycle in and cycle out.  Every decade.  But please, MLM people, at least acknowledge that the entire business is built on the model of exploiting a sales team- not representing outstanding, superior or unique products OR building small businesses OR leaders OR doing it right. Yuck.
   
No matter the company (Plexus, OneHope Wine, YoungLiving and on and on and on)  its all the same and annoys me because I feel it preys on the social needs/network, latent insecurity and occasional boredom of SAHM.   That is probably harsh and I need to have more respect.  But it doesn't read as passion or a well-considered, intentional decision of "THIS is what I want to do" with MLM.  It reads as kool-aid euphoria, irrational excitement and happenstance that checks some boxes for a season of life.   Which is fine.  I've seen it 101 times.  I think that's why I get so annoyed- at least some of my friends, I view as otherwise intelligent people and its just shocking to watch them go off the deep end with MLM stuff and expect us to all just go along with it.  I think they just are trying to make the best of wanting something beyond being a SAHM and MLM fits that.   Again, fine. Just show some perspective and acknowledge it is what it is.  No one else pushes products or ways of living like that.   The simple thing is just unfollow on FB or politely decline.  Problem is....I'm struggling with a fundamental lack of respect.

My friend in this example, had a brief career as a commercial real estate agent, had some kiddos, then decided to homeschool and needed a flexible, part time gig.  Enter MLM.  She is not alone.   For me, she has overplayed the hand when she has started subtly comparing her instant 'career' to people who have intentionally built, trained for and invested in a long term plan and implies that MLM is the same thing.  The reality is that her work IS going off on social media about her product to try to snag another customer or downstream representative.  And well, I just don't want to hear it. 

My female friends who are therapists, nurses, teachers, writers, insurance brokers, realtors, research analysts, seminary professors... THEY inspire me with their self-awareness, determination, professionalism, education etc. No boasting, click-bait posts or shrill, manic excitement- it's all pretty mundane, really.  They seem to know what they do is important enough that not everyone can easily do it, or jump in or jump out- because well, they worked so hard to get there. It takes incredible commitment, focus and investment to build a career and/or a business and deserves respect, IMHO.  

Comparing a MLM business to years of training/education/investment and calling them the same thing, is just a crappy thing to do, and disappoints me when my MLM female friends do it.  And they all, inevitably do.  It's not that there is a hierarchy or pecking order.  We all have worth and value and endeavor to contribute to our families and communities.  But selling over hyped vitamins vs working as a therapist?  They should be astute enough to realize how wrong it is to imply comparison. 

I feel like MLM seems to support women and provides flexible jobs for SAHMs.  But really struggle with how that fleshes out.  It provides an instant sales career, sure.  But seems to turn people into robotic, manic sales people who are working the plan, but not really thinking for themselves or representing well.  I'm probably just being smug and overly annoyed. I should be supportive, no questions asked.  

I want to support them as a friend, woman, mother and good human...and as they're reaching for goals.  But turns out, I don't really respect how they are doing the work.  The effort, goals, desires?  Sure.  But the business itself?  Not so much. 

What to do?

 




 

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What to do?  Say no thank you.  It's not like you have to support a woman who works as the checker at the grocery store.  Or who runs a pet store (to use an example of someone with their own business.)  Buy something if you want.  If not, pass the bean dip.  It might work for her.  Or it might not.  If she starts to cross boundaries, call her on it nicely but firmly.  I don't see why it is your business to judge her work anymore than it would be your business to judge the work of any other person you know. 

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The problem I see with my friends/acquaintances who do MLM stuff - it changes the dynamic of the relationship.  My friend who starts selling X product now sees me as a potential customer and not just a friend. And why am I not buying this great product?  Why am I buying my vitamins from Costco or Vitacost or wherever, and not from her?  Why wouldn't I want to use essential oils when she has found them to be life-changing for her family?  

A person who works in a store is in a more passive situation.  Friends who work in grocery or other types of stores aren't posting on facebook urging me to shop there instead of other stores. It's just different, in my experience. The MLM is more of a hard sell.  It's more in your face and personal.  That's been my experience anyway.  I do have a couple of friendly acquaintances who are in MLMs and don't push it.  But most people are so pushy with it.

I think the other thing, though, OP, is the tone of your friend's post coupled with your knowledge of how she really came to have that pool and the ability to sip pink drinks by it. It would annoy me too, and would probably affect our friendship in a negative way.  I think it would be hard to respect someone who blatantly lies about their life as a way to promote their business - which, if I understand your OP, is what your friend is doing.   

 

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The thing that bugs me the most is that I start to lose touch with them. When 9 out of every 10 posts you make on FB are about your MLM product, I'm going to hide you. And then I miss out on the cool stuff you and your kids are up to, which is the part I wanted to see. It's unfortunate.

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MLM's are based on the abuse of social relationships.  That is the fundamental business model.  That, and exploitation of their consultants women.

There is nothing in this model that is worthy of any respect.

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

What to do?  Say no thank you.  It's not like you have to support a woman who works as the checker at the grocery store.  Or who runs a pet store (to use an example of someone with their own business.)  Buy something if you want.  If not, pass the bean dip.  It might work for her.  Or it might not.  If she starts to cross boundaries, call her on it nicely but firmly.  I don't see why it is your business to judge her work anymore than it would be your business to judge the work of any other person you know. 


It's a bit more nuanced than "being nosy and judgemental".   I think it's worth a discussion and consideration beyond simple avoidance

 

38 minutes ago, marbel said:

The problem I see with my friends/acquaintances who do MLM stuff - it changes the dynamic of the relationship.  My friend who starts selling X product now sees me as a potential customer and not just a friend. And why am I not buying this great product?  Why am I buying my vitamins from Costco or Vitacost or wherever, and not from her?  Why wouldn't I want to use essential oils when she has found them to be life-changing for her family?  

A person who works in a store is in a more passive situation.  Friends who work in grocery or other types of stores aren't posting on facebook urging me to shop there instead of other stores. It's just different, in my experience. The MLM is more of a hard sell.  It's more in your face and personal.  That's been my experience anyway.  I do have a couple of friendly acquaintances who are in MLMs and don't push it.  But most people are so pushy with it.

I think the other thing, though, OP, is the tone of your friend's post coupled with your knowledge of how she really came to have that pool and the ability to sip pink drinks by it. It would annoy me too, and would probably affect our friendship in a negative way.  I think it would be hard to respect someone who blatantly lies about their life as a way to promote their business - which, if I understand your OP, is what your friend is doing.   

 

 

Yeah, exactly.  I respect that she is trying to build something, is so motivated and am happy she is excited.   But because it changes the relationship and yes, I know the full story and just hate MLM so much my only choice is to step back.  

It leaves me with a greater loathing of MLM because I've seen this happen so many times- and this is the MLM basic premise! Push the sell to friends and family and take advantage of existing personal relationships.  That is irresponsible business practice when done with full MLM intensity. 

DH & I are both small business owners (together and individually) so I'm more sensitive to claims of MLM=small business.  Given my 10 years of experience, I prefer to NOT do business with friends/family. 

 

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In the past two months, 3 friends have joined MK and DoTerra.  I already have one friend who sells DoTerra and she is *not* in your face about it, so I know it can be done well. She’s proven it.   But these other three, wow.   I don’t know if it’s because it’s new or what, but you’d think they found the holy grail or the fountain of youth.  I’ve left two of their fb groups (was automatically added to them) and the third one posts on her regular fb page.  The other two are starting to post stuff on their regular pages now, to reach those who didn’t get added (or maybe those who left) to the new group.   You know how a lot of people say they don’t like pushy sales people in stores or on a car lot?  Well, how is it that they almost always automatically become one when they get into an mlm?  

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4 minutes ago, LarlaB said:


It's a bit more nuanced than "being nosy and judgemental".   I think it's worth a discussion and consideration beyond simple avoidance

 


 

I agree with you that simple avoidance often doesn't work.  But in practical terms, what can you do about it?  Unless it is an actual pyramid scheme, it isn't against the law.  And your friend obviously didn't ask for your input before she joined the MLM. 

BTW - a very long time ago before I knew what MLMs were (just out of college) - I went to a couple of MLM recruitment meetings.  There were lots of men at these meetings too.  It really depends on what is being sold.  Some products (like make up or household goods) do tend to be more female oriented but not all are.  Oh, and I didn't like their sales pitch and declined to join. 

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22 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I agree with you that simple avoidance often doesn't work.  But in practical terms, what can you do about it?  Unless it is an actual pyramid scheme, it isn't against the law.  And your friend obviously didn't ask for your input before she joined the MLM. 

BTW - a very long time ago before I knew what MLMs were (just out of college) - I went to a couple of MLM recruitment meetings.  There were lots of men at these meetings too.  It really depends on what is being sold.  Some products (like make up or household goods) do tend to be more female oriented but not all are.  Oh, and I didn't like their sales pitch and declined to join. 



Yes, there's little to do that wouldn't rock the boat.  That was the intent of my vent- it's up to me to slowly back away as the only option to keep the friendship.  And I guess my point is that MLM is actually hurting woman, not empowering them.  There isn't an openness or collaborative effort unless you are in xyz MLM company, and no one else 'gets it' if they aren't involved in xyz MLM company.  They have their own business models and practice and lingo, and frankly its more a cult in its extreme forms and that unsettles me.   And should unsettle all of us, and make us reconsider supporting people in these endeavors. 

I'm a small business owner and in an entrepreneurial women's group- and we discuss business, a lot!  Pretty bluntly.  It's not dogma or rhetoric or working a plan.  Its the opposite of MLM and some of the business are quite large (franchising) and all very different.   We are all very strong, opinionated, capable people who are moving & shaking things....its frankly a work of art that we don't yell more.  LOL,  Yet there is an openness, humility and awareness of need- how overwhelming and hard business is- and a collaborative spirit.  You are hustling so hard you don't stop to boast or check how you're doing...just keep going.  

I wish MLM women could see the contrast. 

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I agree with your assessment. But for the people I have known it is often a self limiting endeavor. Most discover with that first year that they aren’t really making loads of money off of it unless they can afford to do it more like a hobby. Of course the sad consequence for some people is that it can actually hurt them financially if they have to buy product and can’t even sell enough to break even. And some do lose friends over it. 

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Oh, but have you been added to one of those "Healthy Living" groups yet?   A FB friend gets all excited about wanting to discuss healthy living with other moms/women, gets a group together and everyone starts chatting about laundry detergent and sunscreen, and then before you know it, they're sharing about their unique, healthy products and putting out sales and deals and then All The Friends are buying up the new cleaning products/make-up/hair care products.  

I've been added to two of these groups now.  

 

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Funny you posted this.  I just decided in the last few days to unfollow anyone who is pushing a MLM. Someone is getting rich but it isn't these friends of mine.  Sadly.

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3 hours ago, wathe said:

MLM's are based on the abuse of social relationships.  That is the fundamental business model.  That, and exploitation of their consultants women.

There is nothing in this model that is worthy of any respect.

 

 

 

It's hard to know who's genuine anymore.  So many people see other people as dollar signs/stepping stones. 

I was at the grocery store this morning and at the checkout there was a display of People magazine with the Pioneer Woman on the cover.   She seemed to have gotten a following for her blog here, before she was famous, and then never showed up again to say hello.   

At the time, I didn't understand the real motivation with people and their blogs and those "giveaways" they'd announce here, but I do now.   But so much of "social media" seems shallow, so the gushing MLM stories like the OP shared don't surprise me.   

It's hard for me to get out to shop so I watch a couple of home shopping channels.  The hosts are always trying to make people think you're  like friends or family to them.  All they have to do is share a few personal stories/photos now and then on their company-related facebook page and people seem to eat it up.     

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24 minutes ago, Laurie said:

It's hard to know who's genuine anymore.  So many people see other people as dollar signs/stepping stones. 

I was at the grocery store this morning and at the checkout there was a display of People magazine with the Pioneer Woman on the cover.   She seemed to have gotten a following for her blog here, before she was famous, and then never showed up again to say hello.   

At the time, I didn't understand the real motivation with people and their blogs and those "giveaways" they'd announce here, but I do now.   But so much of "social media" seems shallow, so the gushing MLM stories like the OP shared don't surprise me.   

It's hard for me to get out to shop so I watch a couple of home shopping channels.  The hosts are always trying to make people think you're  like friends or family to them.  All they have to do is share a few personal stories/photos now and then on their company-related facebook page and people seem to eat it up.     

Ree was here for many many years without pushing any products or even  her blog.  And she did come back to say hi and give an occasional update when there were more of us here who were her internet friends.  I think that is a very unfair assessment. 

 

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Most of my Facebook friends who are involved with an mlm have two Facebook pages. One personal and one for business. It’s a good idea, really. I don’t want to see their constant MLM posts and their mlm customers probably don’t want to see kids’ dance recital pics.  

I am weird about mlm stuff. I’m ok w Tupperware but not Plexus. 

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The reason it seems that women are more susceptible to MLMs as a business option is that women are under-employed. They are SAHMs because they feel it necessary to homeschool or because they can't afford childcare, or they are looking for an easy side hustle to supplement an existing but inadequate income.

I hate MLMs and will shut down any friend or acquaintance who targets me, but I do see how we got here. People believe the lies that MLMs will too easily alleviate some of the economic struggle of 50% of American families.

 

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7 hours ago, LarlaB said:


I want to support them as a friend, woman, mother and good human...and as they're reaching for goals.  But turns out, I don't really respect how they are doing the work.  The effort, goals, desires?  Sure.  But the business itself?  Not so much. 

What to do?

 




 

if you have money to blow, you can buy something that is USEFUL to you, either to use for yourself or as a gift - or not as you choose.

either way, don't feel obligated to purchase something you don't want that is overpriced. (and often of mediocre quality.  if it's decent - it will sell in the marketplace.  e.g. tupperware and discovery toys - love their boomerange links - can now both be purchased other than MLM.)

 

I grew up watching a family member be bailed out by other people -and was even being groomed to bail this person out. . . . it's not doing them any favors.

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I feel like you can't do anything with people directly. When someone's in it, you just have to quietly ignore them... and, if they push too much, draw boundaries.

In a general sense, I feel like the best thing we can do is keep up the conversation about women's lives and the issues around what drives women to MLM's. An expectation that we should "do it all" in terms of earning money and raising kids and running the household. The fact that there are fewer opportunities for women, especially post-motherhood if you leave the workplace for some amount of time. The way that families are struggling in general and hoping for easier ways out.

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27 minutes ago, Farrar said:

 The fact that there are fewer opportunities for women, especially post-motherhood if you leave the workplace for some amount of time. 

it gets down to marketable skills - I know plenty of women with marketable skills who can earn decent money part-time. they can keep their hand in by working as little as one shift a month until they want more hours - but it takes planning.

I know far more who don't have, and never have had, marketable skills.   then they find out how much a family costs, and they want a higher income.

MLM's appeal to people becasue they think they can make a lot of money with very little time.  very few make good money in a mlm - but those at the top keep up the appearance for the mlm to continue to get people in at the bottom.  way too much in common with a pyramid scheme.

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MLMs make me ragey. The amount of guilt involved in trying to sucker more women into your downline is ridiculous. "Oh, don't you want to be able to stay home with your kids every day and only work a few hours a week? Don't you want to support your family financially? Are you afraid of success?" I've (seriously) seen people say things like, "If you don't skip rent this month to buy the <whatever product> starter kit you don't want it badly enough." And the reason people say this stuff, of course, is because they're so desperate to recruit more people in order to finally make some money that all sense of ethics or compassion goes straight out the window. The entire business plan is that the more people you screw over, the more money you make. It's an industry tailor-made for sociopaths.

MLMs might not be illegal, but they should be.

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I wonder if MLM's are different in a small town.  A couple of my friends are casual MLM salespeople, but they've never pressured me, not ever once.  It's completely separate from our friendships.  During the long, cold prairie winters when nothing else is going on, lots of women around here actually enjoy going to a Pampered Chef event and getting free food and then spending the evening talking to their friends ? and maybe buying one item for a gift.  For my friends who do this, it's more just a fun hobby and they earn a little Christmas money.  No guilt, no pressure.

Maybe this is unusual, but I haven't had a bad experience with my friends who do this.  I would never do it myself though.

I remember when Avon was popular when I first began working during college, in 1979.  A woman at my workplace sold Avon products, and I thought it was fun to order a couple of skin care products.

If I felt like I was being pressured, I'd walk away.  

 

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34 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

it gets down to marketable skills - I know plenty of women with marketable skills who can earn decent money part-time. they can keep their hand in by working as little as one shift a month until they want more hours - but it takes planning.

I know far more who don't have, and never have had, marketable skills.   then they find out how much a family costs, and they want a higher income.

MLM's appeal to people becasue they think they can make a lot of money with very little time.  very few make good money in a mlm - but those at the top keep up the appearance for the mlm to continue to get people in at the bottom.  way too much in common with a pyramid scheme.

Are there ways around the fact that our society penalizes moms for staying home with their kids for some amount of time? Yeah, sure. Planning, etc. Finger wag to all of those who didn't do that, I guess. But it doesn't change the fact that it does, including for women with "marketable skills." And this is part of why women get hooked into MLM's more than men.

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2 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I wonder if MLM's are different in a small town.  A couple of my friends are casual MLM salespeople, but they've never pressured me, not ever once.  It's completely separate from our friendships.  During the long, cold prairie winters when nothing else is going on, lots of women around here actually enjoy going to a Pampered Chef event and getting free food and then spending the evening talking to their friends ? and maybe buying one item for a gift.  For my friends who do this, it's more just a fun hobby and they earn a little Christmas money.  No guilt, no pressure.

Maybe this is unusual, but I haven't had a bad experience with my friends who do this.  I would never do it myself though.

I remember when Avon was popular when I first began working during college, in 1979.  A woman at my workplace sold Avon products, and I thought it was fun to order a couple of skin care products.

If I felt like I was being pressured, I'd walk away.  

 

A lot of the issue depends on the model used by the company. My understanding about Avon was that you could be a “casual” Avon rep. You could have one sale a year if that was all you did. 

But many of the current companies expect a very substantial investment from their reps, and the reps are on the hook for tons of merchandise. So, if they start being pissy towards their “friends,” that stress is often part of the reason. 

 

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I have a few FB friends that are in to plexus.  If I see a plexus post I hit snooze for 30 days.....then they get a fresh chance.  Sometimes they only make it a day or.even just hours before.plexus shows up again and I snooze them again.  I  close to just unfriending them but I do/did like the.as people.  I just don't want anyarleting stuff.

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39 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Are there ways around the fact that our society penalizes moms for staying home with their kids for some amount of time? Yeah, sure. Planning, etc. Finger wag to all of those who didn't do that, I guess. But it doesn't change the fact that it does, including for women with "marketable skills." And this is part of why women get hooked into MLM's more than men.

it isn't because they're moms - it's becasue they've been out of the workplace and their skills aren't up to date - or as one woman I know, allowed her license to expire.  and far far too often - don't have a good marketable skill set.  when men are away from their marketable skills - they're penalized too.  (btdt with dh  and unemployment.  he started his own business and makes more than he ever did working for someone else.  same with mary kay.  she was passed over for a man, and opened her own business. made more than she ever would have working for her former employer.)

you should be asking why too many people aren't encouraging their daughters to develop marketable skills that allow them that flexibility -instead of majoring in degrees that pay squat. (I have a long list of degrees I'd never support my children seeking.)   too many don't encourage them to go to college/tech school at all . . .

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Just now, Ottakee said:

I have a few FB friends that are in to plexus.  If I see a plexus post I hit snooze for 30 days.....then they get a fresh chance.  Sometimes they only make it a day or.even just hours before.plexus shows up again and I snooze them again.  I  close to just unfriending them but I do/did like the.as people.  I just don't want anyarleting stuff.

dare I even ask what it is?

 

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4 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

it isn't because they're moms - it's becasue they've been out of the workplace and their skills aren't up to date - or as one woman I know, allowed her license to expire.  and far far too often - don't have a good marketable skill set.  when men are away from their marketable skills - they're penalized too.  (btdt with dh  and unemployment.  he started his own business and makes more than he ever did working for someone else.  same with mary kay.  she was passed over for a man, and opened her own business. made more than she ever would have working for her former employer.)

you should be asking why too many people aren't encouraging their daughters to develop marketable skills that allow them that flexibility -instead of majoring in degrees that pay squat. (I have a long list of degrees I'd never support my children seeking.)   too many don't encourage them to go to college/tech school at all . . .

 

Some of these women don't have marketable skills because they didn't get a college prep education in the first place (not all homes are equal, and neither are public schools), or because they had to go to work right out of high school and couldn't even get vocational or technical training. Some of them who HAD education and skills, lost them not due to negligence or ignorance but because they had to take care of somebody for a long, long time...

We need some reform in education, childcare, elder care, and health care if we want all the women to have the privilege of gaining skills and education, and keeping them up to date.

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4 hours ago, Annie G said:

Most of my Facebook friends who are involved with an mlm have two Facebook pages. One personal and one for business. It’s a good idea, really. I don’t want to see their constant MLM posts and their mlm customers probably don’t want to see kids’ dance recital pics.  

I am weird about mlm stuff. I’m ok w Tupperware but not Plexus. 

 

Mine do too, but there's definitely marketing creep from the one to the other, since their adorable children just love playing with empty essential oil bottles/hiding in 31 totes/helping mommy fill bags with sample-size products for mini-facials.

 

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59 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

it isn't because they're moms - it's becasue they've been out of the workplace and their skills aren't up to date - or as one woman I know, allowed her license to expire.  and far far too often - don't have a good marketable skill set.  when men are away from their marketable skills - they're penalized too.  (btdt with dh  and unemployment.  he started his own business and makes more than he ever did working for someone else.  same with mary kay.  she was passed over for a man, and opened her own business. made more than she ever would have working for her former employer.)

you should be asking why too many people aren't encouraging their daughters to develop marketable skills that allow them that flexibility -instead of majoring in degrees that pay squat. (I have a long list of degrees I'd never support my children seeking.)   too many don't encourage them to go to college/tech school at all . . .

Saying that this has nothing to do with motherhood is so disingenuous though. Biology means that women will be away from the workplace to have babies while men do not have to be to also have babies. If a family hopes to breastfeed or use best practices for newborns, then the mother will take at least a few months of leave. That, in and of itself, hurts women in the workplace. Many woman additionally take longer leave and that's something that is encouraged by our culture, as well as by biology and biological urges. Men are not encouraged to do the same by our culture. In nations with stronger maternity leave, women suffer less in the workplace for leaving for a year or two to have children. In countries where paternity leave is strongly supported, it's even better for both men and women returning to the work force. The high cost of care for newborns and toddlers also strongly encourages a parent to stay home - in many families, because women make less, the economics as well as the cultural expectations mean that women are the ones who stay home.

If you leave the work force to homeschool for a decade or two, then, yeah, you're going to have issues going back because your skills are going to be out of date. But if you leave for a baby for a year or two, then the amount of suffering that many women experience in terms of lost salary and job prospects is simply not on par with the amount of leave they took.

The issues you're talking about are also issues, sure. But they're unrelated to the things I'm saying. Motherhood hurts women. Period. And MLM's prey on that.

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4 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

The reason it seems that women are more susceptible to MLMs as a business option is that women are under-employed. They are SAHMs because they feel it necessary to homeschool or because they can't afford childcare, or they are looking for an easy side hustle to supplement an existing but inadequate income.

 

 

 

The majority of my friends who are SAHM chose it and have a spouse who more ham adequately provides.  A few, had brief careers prior to kids.  And a majority of them, after kids are in high school are bored and lacking direction.  I wouldn’t call that under employed as much as unestablished.

IMHO it’s doablr to start a new career in your 40s and later, but I’m surprised how many of my SAHM friends with college degrees have no desire to take on anything. So it’s side gigs, apparently. 

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Dh and I were invited to a MLM party for a drink made of acai berries.  When we were shown the hereiswhywearesoawesome and youneedtojoinrightnow video, it struck me that the claims of the promised downlines weren't numerically possible.  After 3 or 4 levels you would potentially have x number of people under you.  The number of people in the company projected for the future of the company would have been more than the number of people alive in the United States at the time.  

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I get that a lot of women who get into MLM's are middle class women who don't "need" to do it. But I think this is also tied to cultural messaging. We tell women that you have to do it all - you need to oversee the household, have and raise the children, be involved in their schooling (even if you don't homeschool), and additionally add to the family income. We tell men that they need to provide. And that's it. I think a lot of mothers feel they should be adding to the family income so they get sucked into these things - sometimes because they actually need to provide, but often because they think they should.

I think boredom is also a part of it. But again, I think this is tied to culture. It often makes economic sense for women to leave the workforce for a few years when kids are young. Less expensive than childcare, with much greater benefits to the child. Then it's been three or four or five years and the kids are in preschool or kindergarten but they can't go back easily. No one will hire them. They've completely lost their careers. Which, again, I mean, I know that keeping up with skills is important, but come on. In the vast majority of careers, that amount of time is not going to completely ruin you. It's motherhood that's ruined you. And "connections." So women  are bored. And feel they need to justify continuing to be at home.

MLM's sell a vision that's uniquely appealing to SAHM's - that they can have it all. And they buy into it because all the messaging around us tells us we should be able to manage the house, take care of the kids, and provide for our families. MLM's tell women they can do that and we're primed to believe it.

I think it's saddest when it destroys marriages.

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

A lot of the issue depends on the model used by the company. My understanding about Avon was that you could be a “casual” Avon rep. You could have one sale a year if that was all you did. 

But many of the current companies expect a very substantial investment from their reps, and the reps are on the hook for tons of merchandise. So, if they start being pissy towards their “friends,” that stress is often part of the reason. 

 

 

Like with Lularoe, and how new hunbots have to spend upwards of five grand to join. Which is insane. Who reads that and thinks, "Sure, that seems legit"? And they don't even get to pick what clothes they want! They get a giant box of ugly and they're stuck with it.

Or the "free" leased cars that you have to take over the payments on as soon as your sales drop below a certain (often really high) amount.

It boggles the mind that there are people who can't see they're being ripped off by the vast majority of these companies.

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Quote

get that a lot of women who get into MLM's are middle class women who don't "need" to do it. But I think this is also tied to cultural messaging. We tell women that you have to do it all - you need to oversee the household, have and raise the children, be involved in their schooling (even if you don't homeschool), and additionally add to the family income. We tell men that they need to provide. And that's it. I think a lot of mothers feel they should be adding to the family income so they get sucked into these things - sometimes because they actually need to provide, but often because they think they should.

I totally agree with this. It is something I have been thinking about lately, as my youngest kid gets older and my role as directly necessary SAHM shrinks. It is one factor that makes me a little reluctant to also commit to bring in more income. I think, “yeah, but then I will legit be doing everything.” 

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Ummm . . . is there anyone else who doesn't know anybody who's into MLM? I don't know a single person. And in the past I've only known two, and one was from my childhood. A friend of my parents who I barely remember. The other was a friend of DH's, but that was back in the 1990s. Both were male. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert and live under a rock?

ETA: When I worked there was a woman who sold Avon, but she wasn't pushy at all. She'd leave the books in the break room and if someone wanted anything they'd let her know.

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6 hours ago, Farrar said:

I get that a lot of women who get into MLM's are middle class women who don't "need" to do it. But I think this is also tied to cultural messaging. We tell women that you have to do it all - you need to oversee the household, have and raise the children, be involved in their schooling (even if you don't homeschool), and additionally add to the family income. We tell men that they need to provide. And that's it. I think a lot of mothers feel they should be adding to the family income so they get sucked into these things - sometimes because they actually need to provide, but often because they think they should.

I think boredom is also a part of it. But again, I think this is tied to culture. It often makes economic sense for women to leave the workforce for a few years when kids are young. Less expensive than childcare, with much greater benefits to the child. Then it's been three or four or five years and the kids are in preschool or kindergarten but they can't go back easily. No one will hire them. They've completely lost their careers. Which, again, I mean, I know that keeping up with skills is important, but come on. In the vast majority of careers, that amount of time is not going to completely ruin you. It's motherhood that's ruined you. And "connections." So women  are bored. And feel they need to justify continuing to be at home.

MLM's sell a vision that's uniquely appealing to SAHM's - that they can have it all. And they buy into it because all the messaging around us tells us we should be able to manage the house, take care of the kids, and provide for our families. MLM's tell women they can do that and we're primed to believe it.

I think it's saddest when it destroys marriages.

This!  Plexus is the big thing around here and I am so sick of it.  One who sells it actually said being a "Help meet" to your husband is more than just taking care of the house and kids.  You need to also provide financially.  I have never used Plexus,  but never will because of the aggressive sales tactics the women in my area use.  (I also think their products are way overpriced and that all the special)  They not only try to sell the products, but the opportunity to sell it because I am not doing enough.  "It's so easy to make $500/month"  How many people in MLM's make $500/month?   

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9 hours ago, J-rap said:

I wonder if MLM's are different in a small town.  A couple of my friends are casual MLM salespeople, but they've never pressured me, not ever once.  It's completely separate from our friendships.  During the long, cold prairie winters when nothing else is going on, lots of women around here actually enjoy going to a Pampered Chef event and getting free food and then spending the evening talking to their friends ? and maybe buying one item for a gift.  For my friends who do this, it's more just a fun hobby and they earn a little Christmas money.  No guilt, no pressure.

Maybe this is unusual, but I haven't had a bad experience with my friends who do this.  I would never do it myself though.

I remember when Avon was popular when I first began working during college, in 1979.  A woman at my workplace sold Avon products, and I thought it was fun to order a couple of skin care products.

If I felt like I was being pressured, I'd walk away.  

 

I don't have any friends pushing it to me in person.   Mostly obnoxious FB posts that just fill up my feed.  I am actively unfollowing everyone who has MLM stuff on their feed.  And a few also have really cute kids that I love to see pics of so I miss out on that but oh well.

i love Pampnered Chef and I would like to order a new stone, but I don't know anyone selling it right now.

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Sigh.  It really does make me sad.

In the very early 00s, I did a little Avon. It was nice to get a few bucks to buy my own discounted Avon, lol.  I enjoyed the OCCASIONAL little party.  There were little things that were nice about it, and gave a small break from nothing but chasing toddlers.  There was definitely still pressure from above to be obnoxious, but it wasn't too difficult to ignore those directives. These days, I find MLM practices to be disgusting.  (Interestingly, I don't see it from Avon.)

Look, if I open, say, a used curriculum store, I'm going to want all my homeschool friends to be customers, but there's no way I could bring myself to pressure anyone, let alone friends, to think, because I have 8 copies of... I don't know... WWE, that their family NEEDS WWE, and they'll be stupid and sad without it.  Or that I won't be able to take a cruise if they selfishly refuse to buy it.  

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A lot of this business about motherhood I think is tied up in the idea that unpaid work is without value and how we've structured that into our society.  Caregiving, volunteer work, regular household maintenance - we've really arranged things so that all those things are fi in around paid work, maybe, if you can.  The idea that there might be some people who don't do paid work, that there is a necessity for those kinds of vocations - it's just not really something we accommodate.  We make it difficult financially but also in terms of social role.

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11 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

A lot of this business about motherhood I think is tied up in the idea that unpaid work is without value and how we've structured that into our society.  Caregiving, volunteer work, regular household maintenance - we've really arranged things so that all those things are fi in around paid work, maybe, if you can.  The idea that there might be some people who don't do paid work, that there is a necessity for those kinds of vocations - it's just not really something we accommodate.  We make it difficult financially but also in terms of social role.

I agree.  It makes me sad too, that after I spent my Ds's entire childhood not working outside of the home he would express an opinion like this conversation:

We were talking about a cousin of his close friend (friend is female and 18).  The cousin is 26 and just had her 3rd baby in 4 years.  My son says, 'she just doesn't want to work'.  I stopped and looked at him and said, 'you don't think caring for 3 babies is work?'. He shrugs and says, 'she has never had a job, she keeps having babies so she doesn't have to get a job'.  I was gobsmacked.  

Now he doesn't know this cousin well at all, so I KNOW this attitude is coming from his friend....but his friend is female! I mean, what the heck...

SAHMs should get paid.  Then maybe society would put some value on it. 

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9 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

 

Some of these women don't have marketable skills because they didn't get a college prep education in the first place (not all homes are equal, and neither are public schools), or because they had to go to work right out of high school and couldn't even get vocational or technical training. Some of them who HAD education and skills, lost them not due to negligence or ignorance but because they had to take care of somebody for a long, long time...

<snip>

 

Right. I agree with you.  But there are other reasons.

Some of us have no current marketable skills because the choices we (husband and I) made - with the information we had at the time we made them - left me surprised and unemployable years after we made them.  ETA: I said this wrong. I have loads of skills. I just haven't been paid to use them in 20 years. That's the problem. Not lack of skills, lack of paid employment. 

I worked for 21  years before I had kids. When I left work, and started homeschooling, my life looked like I would never want, or need, to go back to work. Surprise, 20 years later I could use some income and would like to work, but even with a good resume that shows all the skills I've used in both paid and volunteer work and homeschooling, and all the skills classes I've taken recently, my work experience is too out of date. Two temp agencies said "sorry, our clients want someone with more current experience." Other places don't respond, or say "sorry, position has been filled."  

Recently I've met quite a few women in my situation.  We are not "displaced housewives" - we have spouses who are providing, just maybe not quite enough.  (There are programs in my state to help displaced housewives get training, etc.)  

Now I'm going for volunteer work to see if that will lead to something.  Because I know if someone would talk to me, I could get hired for that classroom assistant, or admin, or similar low-level jobs I've been looking at.

ETA: Wanted to add, I don't take it personally.  Why would an employer take a chance on me when they have 10 resumes from people with more recent experience, etc.?  

But it was my choice to stop working for years. I was busy homeschooling, which was also our (husband's and my) choice.  As they say, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, whenever the subject comes up with a young stay-home mom, I encourage them to keep up their skills and keep their hand in employment in some way, just in case. But really I have no one to blame but myself.  It's not society's fault I checked out for 20 years. 

BTW despite being asked, I have not dipped my toes into the MIL world.  :-)

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10 hours ago, J-rap said:

I wonder if MLM's are different in a small town.  A couple of my friends are casual MLM salespeople, but they've never pressured me, not ever once.  It's completely separate from our friendships.  During the long, cold prairie winters when nothing else is going on, lots of women around here actually enjoy going to a Pampered Chef event and getting free food and then spending the evening talking to their friends ? and maybe buying one item for a gift.  For my friends who do this, it's more just a fun hobby and they earn a little Christmas money.  No guilt, no pressure.

Maybe this is unusual, but I haven't had a bad experience with my friends who do this.  I would never do it myself though.

I remember when Avon was popular when I first began working during college, in 1979.  A woman at my workplace sold Avon products, and I thought it was fun to order a couple of skin care products.

If I felt like I was being pressured, I'd walk away.  

 

 

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Yes, it's something we all encounter.

I was enjoying ice cream earlier in the week with my pup at a local hangout and a girl brought me a card from her mom that said "You have a cute outfit. Do you need more? I sell Lularoe." So much for enjoying a peaceful moment. I did have a shirt on from them, but I had paid $5 for it at a garage sale. LOL.

Then a friend on Facebook has been pestering me about her upcoming "cleaning party." Mind you, I am underemployed and living paycheck-to-paycheck. I prefer not to go to something where I am pressured to buy something I can't afford. I really don't want to explain that. So I told her I couldn't come, but then another reminder in Facebook this morning. Sigh.

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

<snip>

SAHMs should get paid.  Then maybe society would put some value on it. 

 

By whom?  

In a way, my husband "pays" me.  I'm sure that sounds terrible.  And I don't mean that I get an allowance or anything like that. But the money he earns is our money, not his alone. I am free to use it for my own needs and some wants, within budget constraints.  So in that respect I am being paid.  

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4 minutes ago, marbel said:

 

By whom?  

In a way, my husband "pays" me.  I'm sure that sounds terrible.  And I don't mean that I get an allowance or anything like that. But the money he earns is our money, not his alone. I am free to use it for my own needs and some wants, within budget constraints.  So in that respect I am being paid.  

 

4 minutes ago, marbel said:

 

By whom?  

In a way, my husband "pays" me.  I'm sure that sounds terrible.  And I don't mean that I get an allowance or anything like that. But the money he earns is our money, not his alone. I am free to use it for my own needs and some wants, within budget constraints.  So in that respect I am being paid.  

I don't know.  I think some country's do pay their SAHMs for a year or so.  And yes, if you SAH and care for your children you are making money or at least saving money.  

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9 minutes ago, marbel said:

 

Right. I agree with you.  But there are other reasons.

Some of us have no current marketable skills because the choices we made - with the information we had at the time we made them - left us surprised and unemployable years after we made them.

I worked for 21  years before I had kids. When I left work, and started homeschooling, my life looked like I would never want, or need, to go back to work. Surprise, 20 years later I could use some income and would like to work, but even with a good resume that shows all the skills I've used in both paid and volunteer work and homeschooling, and all the skills classes I've taken recently, my work experience is too out of date. Two temp agencies said "sorry, our clients want someone with more current experience." Other places don't respond, or say "sorry, position has been filled."  

Recently I've met quite a few women in my situation.  We are not "displaced housewives" - we have spouses who are providing, just maybe not quite enough.  (There are programs in my state to help displaced housewives get training, etc.)  

Now I'm going for volunteer work to see if that will lead to something.  Because I know if someone would talk to me, I could get hired for that classroom assistant, or admin, or similar low-level jobs I've been looking at.

But it was my choice to stop working for years. I was busy homeschooling, which was also our (husband's and my) choice.  As they say, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, whenever the subject comes up with a young stay-home mom, I encourage them to keep up their skills and keep their hand in employment in some way, just in case. But really I have no one to blame but myself.  It's not society's fault I checked out for 20 years. 

BTW despite being asked, I have not dipped my toes into the MIL world.  :-)

I think age is as much the problem as lack of current experience.  Companies are looking for young people that they hope will stick around for a long time to justify the training.  It is short sighted IMO, but I think it is a real thing.  My Dh is 51 now and the job market is not near hat it was for him 20 years ago.  

I am very thankful I took the part time gig (12 hours a week ) 4 years ago which was just cleaning a big house and running errands.  It morphed into 3 plus days a week now of working in his business and I am very thankful to have the income at a point in my life where I need to bui,d up some SS credits.  

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4 minutes ago, marbel said:

 

By whom?  

In a way, my husband "pays" me.  I'm sure that sounds terrible.  And I don't mean that I get an allowance or anything like that. But the money he earns is our money, not his alone. I am free to use it for my own needs and some wants, within budget constraints.  So in that respect I am being paid.  

 

Well, you could build it into the economy in some way.  THat's one of the ideas with UBI.  It's not like the unpaid work that people do isn't part of the economic activity of the country, it just doesn't show up formally - but really, other types of economic activity would be in trouble without it.  So, why would we not give the people doing that work a cut of the economic output in the form of money?  If I am at home because I care for my kids, or maybe work part time later because really, they still need someone with some availability even when they are older, and then because I am caring for parents and ILs, I'm contributing in an important way to society - if I weren't, they'd be more dependent on assistance by social services and probably their care wouldn't be as good - why would I not be given some resources to fill that role?

I'm not sure whether I really support that approach, I'd almost rather try and organize things in such a way that two FT incomes weren't normative or necessary for a family to live off of.  But, that might be more difficult to engineer.

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Argghhh, my FB was going crazy over the last few days bc of some major YL convention/gala/event and evidently one of the moms was being "honored".  This same woman posted about a month ago that her husband was retiring at 39 bc of how well their YL income is.  I think it's great if it worked for them, but I wonder how many people are going to get in trouble financially thinking that they can become independently wealthy selling YL...

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6 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

I don't know.  I think some country's do pay their SAHMs for a year or so.  And yes, if you SAH and care for your children you are making money or at least saving money.  

 

Yes, lots do.  Here in Canada you get about a year altogether, though part of that is parental leave and can be split between both parents as they see fit.  It's done through Employment Insurance and IIRC is about 51% of your income.  Some employers, including the federal government, top it up.  When my eldest was born I was in the army, and I got about 93% of my income - I was actually a little ahead since I didn't have to commute.  My dh took 8 months the same way when #2 was born.

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8 hours ago, Farrar said:

I get that a lot of women who get into MLM's are middle class women who don't "need" to do it. But I think this is also tied to cultural messaging. We tell women that you have to do it all - you need to oversee the household, have and raise the children, be involved in their schooling (even if you don't homeschool), and additionally add to the family income. We tell men that they need to provide. And that's it. I think a lot of mothers feel they should be adding to the family income so they get sucked into these things - sometimes because they actually need to provide, but often because they think they need to. 

I hate this with a fiery passion. I think that if feminists before us had known this is the way it would go, they would have changed strategy somehow. I think wealthy feminists of today don’t have a good handle on this because of nannies and personal chefs and admin assistants. 

About the MLMs, I think consistency is key. I’ve made it my policy to never go to a party or buy an MLM product for my entire adulthood. I always felt that if I bought from one friend I was somehow obligated to buy something from them all, and I wasn’t willing to do that. I have also blocked anyone who makes advertisements on thier FB wall. People catch on without any ill will that I know of. 

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