Having read a few other posts on MLM on this forum I think I better start this off by saying YES I am involved with MLM, yes it works for me and YES I earn good money from it. I joined Annique (a South African Rooibos brand) many years ago and started out my 'business' focusing only on product sales and not believeing in the 'system' (a term which after numerous run ins with other opportuity offering companies I have come to dislike). For me it was about the product and how the quality and pruicing far outweighed the need to recruit people.
The common misconception about multi-level marketing plans (MLM) is that they are pyramid schemes. Granted in the past we (the greater population) have been burned by pyramid schemes and get-rich-quick offers, however, it took me 5 years to realize that MLM could actually boost my business and the fears that new 'consultants' would steal my opportunities to generate sales were dispelled.
As with anything - practice makes prefect. So if you apply the right amount of time to this venture it WILL Pay off. You cannot sit back and wait for your downline to do all the work for you. A reputable MLM company should be offering continual training which you should be attending and/or passing onto your team. By selecting hard-working individuals to join your team, the opportunity to grow increases.
The Direct Selling Association of South Africa reports the following about direct selling (under which MLM falls) :
"In South Africa, 1.11 million direct sellers were involved in the industry with annual sales increasing to R 6,34-billion in 2009 (annual reported figures July 2010). The industry currently provides full-time employment for over 3,600 people in South Africa.
Direct selling provides important benefits to individuals who desire an opportunity to earn an income and build a business of their own; to consumers who enjoy an alternative to shopping centers, department stores or the like; and to the consumer products market.
It offers an alternative to traditional employment for those who desire a flexible income earning opportunity to supplement their household income, or whose responsibilities or circumstances do not allow for regular part-time or full time employment. In many cases, direct selling opportunities develop into a fulfilling career for those who achieve success and choose to pursue their independent direct selling business on a full time basis."
How does one know which company to choose? Ask yourself this when considering any direct selling or MLM structure:
* Am I required to pay anything to join? Generally there will always be a registration process and a minimum purchase requirement. If you are required to pay R1000's up front and receive nothing from it then question the validity of the offer
* Is the company reputable? Visit the DSA SA website on www.dsasa.co.za and confirm whether the company is in fact registered as a direct selling company in South Africa. Take the time to do some market research on the company and ask around. The prospective company should also be open about the business opportunity from first contact. If the company is evasive about the products or business opportunity then ensure you do some more research before signing into anything.
* Is the company offering high quality products and or services that your clients will enjoy using? Again do some market research. You don't want to invest in 'stock' that the public will not be open to purchasing? At this point you should also be asking yourself whether you are taking up this opportunity because you believe in the product and would be comfortable marketing this to your friends and family. If you'd be embarrassed about this with those closest to you, how on earth can you expect new customers, clients and prospective consultants to 'buy into the concept.
* Will I be limited in terms of who I may sell to? All direct selling companies will have a code of ethics and terms and conditions to joining their system. Request a copy of these before signing up. READ THE FINE PRINT - you never know what may be hidden in there.
* How do I know this is not a pyramid scheme or any other illegal system? Aside from checking up on the company's history, one big clue here is that all purchases, statements, invoices, sales reports etc should come directly form the company. You should never be requested to pay an amount directly to an individual nor should you be expected to recruit new members and take payment from them. A MLM business is an investment and should be treated as such so make sure you do your homework before handing over any monies.
* Will I make large sums of money immediately? The answer to this lies in how much time to dedicate to the new business - from training to selling. A realist would understand that nothing is for nothing today so ensure you get the training you require, use the products yourself and then set aside a set amount of time per day (or week) to this new business and ensure you get a return on your investment.
On a personal note - had I not been so afraid of the MLM system my business would have grown a lot quicker over the years. With the right amount of effort anything can work so invest your money wisely when looking at an additional income opportunity, and more importantly go into the opportunity with the right frame of mind. We cannot blame a business model for not working if we did not apply the right amount of energy and ethic to it