How I avoided becoming a victim of MLM

I am so disappointed. At how morally unsound some people can be. But putting my emotions aside, I would like to share my story on how I was a potential victim of a scheme by X.

The story goes…

I was asked out by an acquaintance for coffee last week. It was quite queer that he wanted to meet for coffee, but he told me he was involved in a travel project and wanted to get my input on it’s viability.

So well.. I said yes. I had the time to spare after work today, and it was rather near my workplace. I thought it would be nice to see an old acquaintance as well.

But for him, his intentions were different.

For all the wrong reasons.

To cut the long story short, he did not meet me with the intention to share an idea with me.

In fact, he met with me because he wanted to sell me a package. A very nicely packaged but dubious package.

I don’t blame him, because I know very well how these Pyramid/Multi-Level Marketing companies work.

They paint you a beautiful picture of how much you can earn in cash, how easy it is for you to do it part-time, how effortless it will be with their guidance, and how it is NOT their intention for you to buy ANYTHING from them.

This will be their promise to you:

I am not talking to you with the intention of getting you to buy ANYTHING. All I want is to share the good news with you.

But all this. Is bullshit.

Because at the end of all the fluff, maybe even some “professional” videos, collateral, and news-related backing, they will ask you this question,

“Are you willing to buy in?”

What they want, is your money.

It’s obvious.

But when you ask or probe more into the issue, they will tell you how it’s just a one-off thing, a form of commitment, everything will be waived off, you are definitely going to get back your capital…

It’s bullshit. Pure. Utter. Bullshit.

MLM has created loads of controversy in the market over the years. They are usually used as a “sales” technique to cover a very obvious “scam”.

The company will recruit individuals, who act as their arms to reach more individuals, and give them a “premium” if they continue selling the package to their friends/families/etc.

It creates a domino effect where friends start cheating one another to save themselves and to recover their initial investment.

The pioneer batch will be great at convincing people and to create a very opportunistic perspective in the minds of their “targets”. They will be the ones making ALL the money*, while you at the bottom, are slogging your guts out.

*You CAN earn money with MLM. I’m not saying you can’t. All I’m saying is that you have to be on top in order to get all the cash.

At the bottom?? Where you will be when recruited under these people?? You are going to get NOTHING. Very little at the most. Peanuts.

Read here.

I will not elaborate much about it, but you can read more about it here. Others have written extensively about these scams and the facts are clear. Their salesmen will win you over with charm, charisma and vague answers.

But this is not my aim today, to slam the company, or to defame that acquaintance of mine. Or that “friend” he brought along who did all the talking.

I am writing this to warn my friends, my readers, about this “scam”.

So if you are called up/contacted by someone who wants to discuss and “business idea” with you, take it with a grain of salt.

It doesn’t matter if the platform is through Facebook, LinkedIn, SMS, WhatsApp etc, the advance is always the same. To invite you out for a “discussion”.

I wasted an hour of my time just listening to them drone on about the “cost savings” and how the idea was just “perfect”.

Admittedly I stayed on, listened and showed interest, because I wanted to know what is it that they would do to convince me. What lengths they would go to do so. And what their structure and strategy was.

And boy, they did try. I’d give them that.

But they didn’t succeed. I am not a sucker.

This incident made it so salient to me, the fact that the people around me are engaging in such fraudulent activities. And in order to get themselves out of the situation they were roped in, they are willing to use their “friends”,  and to victimise others.

I find that disgusting, repulsive and abhorrent.

Which is why I am writing this post, and to let the people around me know about this prevalent scam that is going about. So beware guys, know your facts, and keep your money.

I just wanted to share a few tips, on how NOT to fall into the trap, and to see through the rainbows and that pot of “gold” in their immoral sham:

1. Be wary of strangers you meet

Yes, your parents probably warned you about this when you were a kid. And they did so for good reasons.

If you meet a friend for a “discussion” and there is another person present before you arrive… Beware. They are likely working together to get YOU to buy in on the package.

If your friend isn’t the one speaking, and passes you on to his “friend”… Then you know you have a problem. Quite likely this dude is the “salesman” while your friend is just in-charge of bringing in his “connections and acquaintances”.



If you are really interested in signing up with the MLM (something I strongly advise AGAINST)…


And no. I do not mean generic info like “How much can I earn? How much work does it take?” etc.

I mean asking about the CONTRACT you are legally binding yourself to right after you “buy in” and make payment.

Check their terms and conditions, do not just take their word for granted. Why? Because it is not stated in black and white.

If anything goes wrong, words are easy to twist (trust me they will), but whatever is stated on paper/contract HOLDS.

Never pay before looking at the actual terms and conditions and just TRUSTING their word for it.

But the best way would be to steer clear of this sham (IMO) because it is immoral and the only way for you to make it big would be to trample on the trust of many others.

3. Never trust people with money on the first meeting (or second, or third…)

This would not be a problem if you follow tip 2 above. Always take a HARD copy of the terms and conditions. Go home, read it through, and then decide if you really want to be a part of them.

My gut feeling is that you will not.

Because hidden under all the glitz and glamour are terms and conditions that are almost IMPOSSIBLE to fulfil. (Like signing 30 clients before you can get your first “cashback” etc)

4. Know your FACTS, do your homework, GO ONLINE.

Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer BEWARE.

Use. The. Freaking. Internet.


Research the company. Know what others are saying about them. Check if they are featured by respected news sites (Huffington Post/The New York Times etc).

If nothing is being said about them, and if the negatives trump the positives… You should know what to do.

No matter how hard they try to convince you that the company is “small, starting up, “everyone has bad things said about them” etc…”


More often than not, there is a REASON why bad word-of-mouth spreads. If there is nothing valid/valuable for their company to be targeted, why be so wary about you reading up and finding out more?

Trust me. They will be wary. Just say “I will check up more on the Internet”, and I ASSURE you, they will come up with a truckload of excuses to convince you otherwise.

5. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

For me, this is the BEST way to determine whether a deal is good, or not.

Salesmen will sell you a fluffy idea of how you can do practically NOTHING and have MONEY fall in your pockets.

But honestly speaking… If that could really happen, don’t you think everyone would already be on the bandwagon and that one day the world will run out of cash?

Everything has it’s limitations.

The earth is running out of land, clean air, food and water. The same goes with MONEY. There is only so much money that can go around the world.

If you believe that you can really sit back, kick off your shoes, and get filthy rich overnight…

I’m sorry to burst your bubble.

But that’s not going to happen.

Even with MLM, you can only get rich if you are at the VERY TOP. And in order to get there, you are going to have to work hard.

Do you think it is that easy for salesmen to convince people to buy in on such a sham?

NO. It isn’t.

And their work, is hard work.

If you can’t bring yourself to find hours trying to get a client, or bear the thought of quantifying relationships and treating your friends/acquaintances like cash cows.

MLM is NOT for you.

Go out there, find something you love, something morally upright and something that doesn’t compromise on your integrity. Start from there and work on making money.

Do not be a fool and wait for money to fall in your lap when you do NOTHING about your dreams and aspirations.

Stop letting MLM companies leverage on the ideal of “getting rich without working for it”.

It sounds good, but is a whole load of bullshit for most of the part.

And now, I end my post, and my friendship/acquaintanceship with that dude who quantified our relationship.

I hope none of you reading this will fall prey to this scam.

All the best people, watch out for MLMs!


Add yours →

  1. Funny how this may sound. I won’t debate here cos your comment box have been debatable over this issue.

    Maybe you should check out websites like this:

    read books by robert kiyosaki. And know what is ernst and young awards and recognition . Read Forbes magazines. Since aftetall you are a SMU business students. Sad truth you are no utilizing it.

    • 1. What is Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Pyramid Selling?

      A Multi-Level Marketing or Pyramid Selling scheme will typically require participants to pay an upfront charge. In return, the participants are promised financial rewards for each additional participant recruited, as well as all new participants who are in turn brought in by their recruits – hence the pyramid-like structure.

      As more salespersons are recruited, participants hope to recover their upfront charges and earn sizeable profits. However, such a pyramid schemes will eventually collapse when they run out of new recruits, resulting in those salespersons at the bottom of the pyramid losing all their upfront charges.

    • Did you even read the content in the link you posted? Sad.

      • Or did she even read y0ur inf0-rich article. I guess n0t 0r maybe she is 0ne 0f those trying very hard t0 get back what she “invested”, and reading y0ur article waked her up t0 reality but she prefers t0 stay in her dreams.

    • Emma your english also very power hor. Keep your magazines and books (and well for that matter, truth) to yourself, thanks.

    • Emma your English also very powerful hor. Keep the magazines, books and, for that matter, the truth on whatever “business” you have, to yourself. Thanks. The sad truth is not that the writer is not utilising her school-given knowledge, but the fact that schemes like MLM exist in the first place.

  2. I guess it is all come down to how professional the person is in each market place. The way professional prospecting is different from newbie. Just like blogging , the professional blogger just like yourself write about on a product with personal opinion together with informed choice decision for your audience so that the audience benefit by reading the blog post. That is audience benefit in mind at the first place. Win- Win situation for you to have more traffic as well since people who will share your blog post and comments. While newbie look for a way to make quick money by blogging how good the product is without finding out what audience might be interested in. Example: Newbie catch the fish by grasp by the neck of the fish and tell the fish you need to eat this bait. Professional find out what the fish like to eat, then they put the bait on the hook and wait for the fish to bite. Humans are creature of emotion, not logic. I guess you had met with a newbie who is after me, me , me …

  3. I’ll never understand why people get so defensive over other people’s point of view, this whole “release-shell-and-counter-attack” mentality is exactly what deterred me from joining a MLM which was portrayed to be reputable and.. yadah yadah yadah.

    People are entitled to their own point of views and how they perceive things are entirely up to them, we don’t have to be slamming people just because they don’t align with whatever your upline says, right? Now to make it clear, I’m not saying that MLM isn’t good. Like what the author says, it’s probably fruitful if you spend ALOT OF TIME doing it, plus you probably need to reach out to your friends, families, colleagues, son’s teacher, childcare teacher, friend of friends to try and sell them this idea.

    That’s the problem, really. Meeting up with an old friend whom you’ve never spoken to or met in years, but the purpose isn’t to catch up, but rather to sell them a product. What type of a friend does that? To each his own on this topic.

    My views are really simple, if you start in the MLM, how often do they tell you to purchase this product, that product, try this, try that, to be a living example and walking ambassador of the product? If we really didn’t need to work to earn money, why are we investing so much time, and money when WE NEED that money?

    How long does it take for you to recover your investments? I doubt it’s anywhere between 2-3years because, every time something new comes along, who’s going to be the first few guinea pigs to be walking ambassadors? You. So, how does that play into a lifetime of financial freedom and earning compounding passive income doing nothing? I see “leaders” working 7 days a week “sharing” about the benefits of their products and so on…….. When does the work stop?

    P.S Be nice to the author, she’s brave enough to voice out her views on something that does not align with her principals. Ask yourselves how many of you are willing to voice out opinions even, or suffer in silence and hammer people who do voice their opinions behind a fabricated internet persona.

  4. I think there are some holes on what you had posted,, please be careful on the facts or opinion you released,,,not all MLM requires for not doing anythi ng other would require you strive hard…yes..90 percent fails for these business and ten percent do not earn much,,,but you cant stop people to day not to grab such crap,,,its because money matters…..its up to you,,,if you brag….just select which way to go/…thank you!!!

  5. Dear wanna be famous and trying so hard Shanice LIM

    NICE posting you got so many people noticing you now. Whatever you are blogging here sounds like an insurance company or property agent are doing for recruiting.

    I know you are busy being wanting to be famous and letting people notice you, I appreciate your time to finish reading this posting.

    I hate MLM too as they are spoiling the networking industry by making people like you feel that networking is just a for them to earn your commission thru you buying stuff from them.

    Anyway think about it MLM agents earn big bucks thru sales commission and team sales and the directors and team leader earn the most. Doesn’t this sounds like a normal retail shop where the shop manager must meet a quota for extra bucks and the normal worker got extra commission on the amount of things they sell?? And the founder or the director of the certain brands earn the most??

    This is how businesses are run out there now, either you be an business owner or an slave working for them.


    • Obviously you don’t read much… If not you’d know that insurance companies are actually excluded in the law passed on MLMs.

      Thanks for your snark comments and I am so sorry to know that you are either a slave driver or a slave in this “practical” world.

      You have my deepest condolences. Take care my IG follower.

      • Ur IG follower June 17, 2014 — 2:54 am

        Dear “ATTENTION SEEKER” Shanice

        Thanks for taking your time that is just worth less then 10 bucks per hour or perhaps maybe lesser than that to write the reply.

        No worries I can’t probably be changing your mindset thru a posting and it is not my duty to change it because you are not some one important to me.

        Anyway as long as I know I am doing better than YOU or even living a better life at the similar age as you and laughing at people like you secretly in my heart I am happy enough.

        The world need people like you in order for a run the country or the society to run. If not there wouldn’t be any toilet cleaner or maids or what so ever in this world. Neverless stay with this old thinking but at the same time go do whatever you want.

        Why am I even here the first place to do all this posting. I own a business and lots of properties while you just own this blog.

        Wish you good luck and stay as the 80% or the human race. Lastly and once again appreciate to have people like you.

        Ur IG FOLLOWER…


        I never needed your “help” in changing my mindset so do not act so magnanimous and appear as though it is your duty to do so.

        I’m glad you are very happy and proud with the way you live but I do not give a shit. So please stop showing off your “prowess” when you haven’t even showed a glimpse of your face online. Such a “keyboard warrior” and empty vessel making a hell lot of noise on the Internet.

        Maids and toilet cleaners… Wow. You are quite a dick and being pretty rude to them don’t you think? Please keep your manners in check. Of course, that’s if you have any at all.

        Congratulations on owning many businesses. Must be easy to show off in a virtual world where you have to prove and answer to nothing.

        Your snide remarks are poorly written and an absolute pain to read. Also, they are completely irrelevant to the topic. So if you continue making personal attacks like this, please don’t expect to see your comments being approved again.

        If you have the guts, take it to me personally and we can talk on a public/virtual space to your liking. Otherwise, be silent and fuck off from my life.


    • Does definitely sounds brain washed

      So the entire world is just two breed of people? Kings and slaves ?

      Every strategy has pro and con
      Business structure aside I have known restaurant owners that never been to any business schools and still are millionaires

      I would not waste time talking to someone who’s already brain washed

      Its just like how Isis recruits
      Sell you all the grievance hatred and why you are permitted/should to do this and that as well

      Anyway everyone are entitled to their views we can argue till the cows go home and this thing will not have an end

      One thing for sure is do not do onto others what you do not want others do onto you

      Would you like getting conned out to meet someone to turn out to be another agenda ?

      Why did that friend need to have a false pretext to ask someone out if it is such a great deal?

    • Man this is real life online bullying here lol IG follower why do you even follow and be a hater? Because you’re just not good enough? Whoops!!
      Break break
      Shanice, appreciate your effort on explaining about MLM and I reckon there are plenty of people these days who ALWAYS fall for it. I agree with your opinion and to me, MLM is where a company hire their sales recruits without paying them a basic but a commission. It’s worst than a proper sales executive job in fact! Cheers!

  6. MLM is just marketing . I’m a happy networker as I did not promote product and my friends is asking for it. I did not recruit and people say want to join me. Family n relative say I bring values to people life – true story as it happen on me :)

  7. Funny…. I have helped many of my friends save and earn good additional income working from home and they all thank me constantly for sharing the opportunity with them!!!

    I guess it depends on the Company and the intention of the person sharing huh?

  8. Shanice, you’re as smart as you are cute! This post is exactly correct. Tommy, Shandra, John, IG, it is incorrect to say that with hard work you can make a lot of money in MLM. There is a mathematical paradigm at work here. It is built into the model and ensures that the money flows upward. But the real question is, “where does the money come from?” Well universally it comes from the new participants (rather than non participants) that are buying product, paying fees, and buying leads, “tools for success.” (Does this sound familiar: “if you want to have what I have, you need to do what I do”?) MLM is about dreams, relationships, and networking. Real business is about markets, supply and demand, expenses and revenues.

    But the real value to what you’re saying, Shanice, is two solid business principles. The first is that Business is about making money. A business relationship can be described as “profitable”, a personal friendship never should. And the second is due dilligence. Due diligence in this area financial disclosures from the distributors. Of course the company is making money, you want to know if the distributors are making money. The person who recruited you says she is a small business owner? Have her show you her company’s financial statements. I’ll bet that she doesn’t have any, and if she does, they either show a loss or don’t track expenses properly.

    But at the end of the day, I share your feeling because these people find out what you value, then promise you that, then take your money. And think about it, if you do make money, it will be taken directly from the people to whom you promise the moon. So even if you get rich (you won’t!) you will still have not created any value. And in my view, that is not a good use of time which is the most precious resource of all.

  9. I have to agree with you.. previously my friend was asking me to join a network selling aromatheraphy products. I kept asking her, how do I sell this product? She says, just ask your friends and family to join -_- heng ah I didn’t join. Keep up the good work. I should have created a blog entry just like yours. There’s very few articles on this.

  10. Ex Worldventures Member June 17, 2014 — 12:36 pm

    I joined Worldventures and left. Leaving was the best decision I ever made.

    There are many people inside stuck for years and not making money. But because of face they refuse to leave. How to leave when you told all your friends this is the best thing since sliced bread? Very lao kui you know.

    People who announced retirement crawled back to teaching tuition quietly. Rank promoted to director and marketing director but 1 year later left with no more downlines. Lots of politics and quarrels because of location rental. Monthly fees for renting a ulu place in Kreta Ayer. These are the stories they don’t tell people.

  11. A lot of faithless MLMs here, eh?

    Work hard, network well, build relationships, sleep easy: the constitution of perhaps every cornerstone of every persons’s sincere desire when working.

    God put everyone here for a purpose. Don’t be stepping on toilet cleaners and maids, IG Follower. You have every collateral right to vye to be in the 20% top income bracket. Money does not equate to manners and self-righteousness above others, though. Shanice said her peace of MLM being an moral/ethics issue; if you’re typing with a trigger finger, IG Follower, you just shot yourself in the foot.

  12. It is very obvious that the respondents to this blog can be split into 2 distinct groups. 1 who never work in a MLM or have worked in a MLM but did not like it and the other group is those who have worked or currently working in a MLM. It is very clear. I just wanna sound out that it is human nature to protect their ‘packs’ or interest group. It is nature.

    To the writer of this blog, I agree with you on this matter. I have met too many friends who have worked or not have worked with the same conclusion that MLM really sucks. One common trend of those who joined these companies or a common trait they have is that they have no other choice. Meaning,they are unable to alleviate their earning power for some reason and therefore experimenting with such business.

    My comments content is solely based on observation and my own feelings. For those going against my comments are pretty much dumb because this are my opinions and my beliefs,not yours.

    I believe if you are earning a well-leveled income,sufficient for your needs and certain wants, i believe you would not care a SHIT about MLM. To those supporting MLM, i know you have your reasons but you have to accept that the stigma will stick on you. Instead of Bullcrapping here about the benefits and bla3,Go out there and change people minds instead. But most likely,you cant because thats what MLM is(thats what i think and thus not factual)

    To those supporting MLM, good luck :)

  13. Is it Organo Gold? What are your thoughts on this company?

  14. Hi Shanice, this is a rather interesting post. I perfectly understand your frustration cause I’ve been in that situation before but I still feel there are merits to the network marketing business model.

    Firstly, I think it is only fair to not confuse pyramid schemes and multi-level or network marketing. Pyramid schemes do not involve an exchange of products and are illegal. Network marketing, on the other hand, involves an exchange of products and is actually a growing business model because word of mouth is more effective than spamming advertisements in your face. You would buy a product because a trusted friend used it and

    Now, I agree with the general idea that if you get in early into the business as a network marketer, there is a huge upside to your earnings. But it is also possible to earn more than the person who recruited you. That is dependent on many factors – obviously if the product is as good as they claim to be, it is easier to convince people when you believe in it. Then there is also the compensation plan. There are so many products out there sold under the network marketing model: Herbalife, Usana, Coslab used to have a network marketing arm, etc. But they all differ in generosity in terms of the compensation plan and as with all compensation plans that are not designed properly, they encourage undesirable behaviour.

    And because there are even more people who think this is a get rich quick scheme, they pressure their friends and family into buying the products because they simply have no other audience to sell them to. Just like any business start ups, you sell to people around you and rely on word of mouth to promote your business. Even insurance agents do that when they’re new too, and risk having friends avoid them like the plague. If a product or service is really good, people can see for themselves with time and the same goes for network marketing companies. Not all of them are bad. If you can’t make your sales with network marketing, what makes you think it will be any easier when you start up your own business with heaps of overheads to pay?

    We are also in pyramid schemes everyday – every company is a pyramid scheme, the one at the top earns the most and earns on the backs of the ones working below them. The newbies work their bums off and get paid peanuts, but continue on anyway because they are sold the idea that if you work hard and long enough, you will reach the top and earn the big bucks!

    I think what you don’t like is people not being honest with their intention and cheating you into listening something they know might not be interested in. If your friend had been honest right from the start and you had been given the freedom to choose whether to give that a chance, you wouldn’t be feeling sore about it. Professional network marketers wouldn’t be selling you something they know you don’t see a benefit in. They don’t need someone who feels negative about their products to be spreading negative word-of-mouth for them. Like what a few commenters have said before, your friend was probably a newbie who didn’t even believe in his own decision and was desperate to get old friends in to salvage his investment.

    • Sorry, my last sentence in the second para was cut off for some reason.

      *You would buy a product because a trusted friend used it and could tell you how and why it works for him/her and you’d be able to relate to it better than some Hollywood celebrity telling you how good it is. And you’d never know if it’s true until you buy it because they are paid to say good things about it.

      Hope you’re having a good day Shanice

  15. Sophia, you know the MLM defense well; you articulated it as well as I’ve ever heard it said. Reapectfully, i think youre wrong on a few pointa. The fact that businesses are hierarchical does not mean they are pyramidal. The distinction is where the money comes from. In real businesses the majority of revenue comes from people outside the company. In an MLM the majority of the revenue comes from the company’s own distributors.

    You can start your own real business by identifying demand in the market and supplying it, keeping track of costs and revenues. These market basics are all ignored by MLM because (and understanding this is the key to building a large downline) you’re not selling a product, you’re selling “the dream”. The dream of more time, more money, etc. The dream is easy to sell. Once someone has mentally bought the dream, they spend a little money for a startup kit. And then they start buying the products. Then they realize that selling products is hard, but if they can sell the dream then another person will buy the products to get the dream. That’s how the endless chain grows, that is how the corporate parent company makes money, and that is why this model adds no value to the marketplace. The product is simply the vehicle for the money transfer.

    • Hey Travis,
      Exactly to your point. The Traditional business model is all about profit and loss right? Create a product, identify the market, create demands, Distribute, Sell, and repeat. The business owners multiply the revenues by leveraging on investors and shares and they become a dominating force. So who is at the end of the chain? consumers?
      Most successful business out there, rarely works on B2C model, It is the B2B that create volume, because that is just what the now economy of the world demands.
      This era of fast information and huge globalization have put all the rules of market demand and supply that stems from the industrial era strangely out of place. So why stick to it? why making the relative an absolute?
      The way i see it, direct selling is going to be the next solution to an already saturated economy. We just need a revolution and turn the wheel to stop those who are on top leveraging on us without ever sharing their profits :)

    • Deh. Hierarchy and pyramid same laaaa. As i mentioned before, the product is good and value for money,go buy. No good, walk away. If this person is excited about the products and want to sell, go ahead. Did you know for some compensation plans the downline gets the most and the higher tier gets less and less. No doubt there are many of distributors: little becomes much. People on top dont need to eat? Look at conventional businesses. Those using Iphone. Ever heard of Foxconn? The business ideas are all beautiful, its the greed of some people that spoils the beauty of it.

  16. Fk MLM… Here is the number 1 argument for you chimps… What kind of company/business would “hire” (recruit) or, as I shall put it, PREY ON and attempt to convince a LARGE amount of the following to part with a significant amount of money AND time:
    -Uneducated/ Unrelated Qualifications
    -The youth (Below 21) and the older (Over 40)
    -Generally people that are easily misled and hold the belief that the possibility of “getting rich quick” is real and will happen to them.

    Ha Ha… Lots of people said it again and again… MLM types are just sad and angry cunts that argue in circles… I love going to their meetings and embarrassing the cunts… They are SO EMBARRASSED when I say…””MLM? You’re doing MLM now? PYRAMID SCHEME?”” Lmao… They’ll be like… “”Shhh!!! Shhhhh!!!!”” Hahahaha…

    Even better is spilling your water on all their retarded diagrams that they love to draw “on-the-spot” for your viewing pleasure… Crap diagrams… Waste of paper… Anyway… What kind of salesman/investment broker doesn’t have all the necessary need-knows ready on hand to quash your fears…? Compared with “”It’s the next big thing!”” kind of promises… What a laugh…

    I love the finale… Where I tell them to whip out their phones… And delete my number… Grab their shit… And get back to their “Office”… Unless they wanna get hurt… :)

    Lol… Alright keyboard kings… Smash away at your keyboards… Get a real fking job… In a real fking industry… And stop dressing like used-car salesmen…

  17. Previously, I was also thinking of joining MLM but I had deep thought of it before I will commit to it.

    We talk about business perspective. MLM is multi level marketing which is another method of marketing. So a MLM is using levels to do their sales. The top level always gets the most while the lower level will struggle. Different MLM companies use different strategies but still same concept of multi level. There are some which allows lower level to go up and earns more than the up line or level.

    I would see a sales representive of MLM is equivalent to a salesman of a company or retail shop. I use a salesman perspective first then a retail shop. In normal business model, a company will employ salesmen to market their products. How many salesmen can a company employ depends on the financial strength. A big company can have more salesmen than small company. We talk about big company, how many salesmen will they employ in Singapore market? Will 100 salesmen enough for the big company to market or sell their products? How about 1000 salesmen? As a businessmen, they talk about productivity. Will 100 salesmen less productive in producing enough sales in Singapore for the company than having 1000 salesmen? Will having more salesmen more benefit to company? The businessman will want to know the ratio of cost for employing salesmen and sales they generate for the company. 1000 salesmen might generate more sales but the ratio to cost might not be better than lesser salesmen.

    You could argue that MLM companies do not need cost to employ more salesman. Yes, MLM companies do not need to pay salary for the salesmen. That is the advantage of using MLM to do business. Therefore, MLM company do not mind having more salesmen as they do not pay salary. So the point is having more sales representitives in MLM, will the sales representives have enough sales to survive? Why would I ask?

    Imagine you in top 1st level and you have 12 members under you at 2nd level and each members in 2nd level also have 12 members under them at 3rd level. Let say if you got to 3 levels members. If each members under you earn $100 each month for you then you will get 1884 members multiply by $100, and you will get $188400 per month. Wow! That is good money! It is good money if you can be in top level or you can gather enough members under you as the example. What if you are in not in top level or cannot get enough members?

    In reality, the network is more complicated and you are in lower level. The market is saturated or flooded with your own marketing members from same company. If someone from the same company has 5th levels under him. Do you know how many people under him? 22620 members under him. And if there are a few members who are successful as him, wouldn’t the market is flooded with your own members. How to survive if the market has more sales representitives than required? Where are you going to find sales in such a small market like Singapore. Therefore, they have to expand to other countries to get more customers. Now, we are talking about one company. There are other MLM companies so would not it be very competitives to do sales in MLM?

    From this example, what I would like to stress is that it is not logical to have more sales staffs. This is what happen to MLM but not traditional company model where they have enough sales representitives to cover the market. Another example using retail line. Imagine, you get a franchise like Macdonald and let you operate in a shopping mall, how many Macdonald store will you open in a shopping mall? 10 stores? 100 stores? Why most shopping mall has only 1 stores instead of more than 1? It is because of the market. There is a limit of people in the mall which is the market for the Macdonald. By opening more stores, you still cannot get all the customers and you also create your own competition and the revenue will also decrease due to higher operating cost too. There are also other stores like Burger King or etc, which are competitors.

    Therefore, the system for MLM will fail as there are so many sales representitives been recruited but there are only such a small market like Singapore. I will not say all will failed to earn but only a small handsome of people will success. Therefore, the failure rate is high. I am not afraid of failure but it is the system which will fail as more sales people than require. This is logical thinking. I am not against MLM but just use business point to think.

  18. Hi Shanice, thank you so much for willing to do such a courageous act. i myself had joined 2 MLM companies before and I shall not mention the name. One is rather big and another is just a brand new company. In both companies, I do not find myself happy because Im in the same situation as you – IT IS contradicting with my own ethics and values. I kept forcing myself to tell my friends how good is the company and product, which most of the time I am not willing to do so but I forced to because of the typical kiasu and lose face issue after seeing how many those TOP people succeed. Do let the Malaysians know as well because over here these MLM companies is growing really big and yes, i do admit some of the big ones are legal (Amway is already in the industry too long anyway, so i don’t think people will join because the down lines are too distributed to earn any profit, mostly people only buy their products now) but there are alot more new ones like the Worldventure which one of the commenters mentioned before. Again, thank you for voicing out the issue because many of us experienced this kind of situation but didnt dare to voice out. =)

  19. Haha of course the top earner makes more cuz they worked for it. Just like your manager at walmart makes more then you. You have to work your butt off just like any business you start lol. If anyone tells you it’s an easy thing or a get rich quick that’s a red flag. You can make good money doing mlm but you have to WORK. And it’s too bad that people give a sour taste to so many that trick others going to lunch. Those people don’t know what they are doing. Sorry that happened to you. Network marketing can be a beautiful thing if you find something you are passionate about.

  20. I agree that in any job or work, we got to work hard.

    Insurance industry is also a MLM system but they are different because they focus on products.

    The issue with other MLM companies is they focus on people than products. They entice people to get in by greed rather than the products.

    They will introduce the easy to get rich concept. Once get into the system, the system will let they promote quite fast to let the new comers to show others how easy to do the business and get rich. But once they are promoted to a certain level, they will have difficulty to promote to further level. They will get stuck to that level because they have hard time for their lower level to get more people to join in and they could not tell others that the system is not good as they had been telling people how good the system is! And they will insist that the system work and they will show people that they are enjoying the fruits from the system or else how they can attract people to get in the system! That’s why people say MLM con people to get in. This is an ethic issue.

    How I know? I have relatives showing me how much they earn and the free trips they get for doing the MLM in the initial stage but after they get to a certain level, they cannot further anymore and they didn’t get the free trips anymore as it is more difficult to go higher level. But they still insist that the system works.

    They also keep buying the products for their own as they need to keep a certain quota of sales to maintain the level that they are in! In other words, they are buying their level. They will drop to lower level if they cannot maintain the sales quota. So is this a good system? It is for you to justify. Does insurance industry do that? No!

    If a business just focus in getting people to get in to sell, the system will fail. As mention before, too many sales people than require to get enough sales to survive. But why INSURANCE can, because they focus on products.

    My intention is to share with people to be cautious on the system only just like Shanice intention. There is no quick and easy way to get rich which include MLM system. Just be cautious.

    Shanice, thank you for your good intentions to cautious people!

  21. I agree to a certain extent. There are many MLM companies that are reputable, it solely depends on the person building the business and the type of determination and focus they have to do it.

  22. Hey Shaniece,

    I was part of company X and everything you’re saying is correct. Hopefully you’re blog can help people from joining this scam. Thank you.

  23. Thanks for all your advice Shanice! After reading up about World Ventures, there is no way in hell I’m joining them. So much for ‘sharing the good news’… lol. Going to turn down those those pesky acquaintances of mine after reading your article and a few more I found. Useful read for everyone:

  24. Thank you for your post, we need more vigilante like you.

  25. To me, MLM is like a certain religion. Believers will try to talk about its greatness and get others’ buy in and join them, while non-believers will try to shun it and avoid, until their minds got overpowered. The marketing strategies employed in both are just too similar to me, especially with those “motivating camps” they get you to sign up for.

  26. anyone cre to meet up for coffee? I have an interesting business proposal to share with you…but first let me show you all my fancy cars parked outside Leng Kee…bahahaha

  27. Hi Shanice,

    Really thank you for writing this post even though its quite long ago already. I’m a financial blogger and saw your post so shared it on my FB page yesterday. I think you should have got quite a bit of traffic now. Its a good post :)

  28. “All I want is to share the good news with you” sounds like a Christian trying to share gospel, just that they really mean it.

  29. I have been there, meeting friends to discuss on opportunities and enrolled myself in one company as well. But at the end of the day it’s all down to approach as well as how you go about doing your ‘work’. Author made her point and her peace, and we should respect that no matter you are for or against her standpoint. There is no point being hostile just to bring her down to prove yourself right.

    Fact is, money CAN be made in MLM. I’ve seen it and the amount of work someone put in was immense it resulted in a very quick result. One way they approach is to join a team of like-minded individuals, finding a bond and then working hard towards a common goal and making money at the end of the day. Making money generally drives everyone and of course you have to reach out and convince people to buy. That in itself is the nature of business. However I myself did not pursue that line, but solely to buy the products at a cheaper price for my family and myself. Im not pro MLM nor anti, but I don’t regret not pursuing it.

    Ethical issues are sensitive, but it’s all down to individual perception of whether the ways to engage and rope in members are practical and ethical. Entirely, your fate is in your hands and how you strive towards your goals. With the author saying for you not to join MLM, would you just blindly follow? I think not. For she has said that she doesn’t like the intentions behind the facade of just ‘meeting up’. But what if, you find a group of friends who like doing MLM, you accept them as they are but maybe you just won’t join then. But alas, we as humans are fickle minded, and we take negative things from everything.

    On the whole, I side the author and I agree with her standpoint as it’s similar to mine. However, It all comes down to whether you want to accept the points the Author has brought up. Article is well written and I salute you for having the courage to speak up, albeith more than a year ago (:

  30. Freddy Notmyrealname June 17, 2015 — 2:16 pm

    Hi Shanice,

    I came across your post today and I read every single word you said.
    I envy your courage to say “no” to these people promoting their packages, be it your acquaintance or not.
    Maybe it’s just me who likes to hear “good things” and instantly fell into the trap.

    As of today i have joined 8 MLM companies, some of them still exists, others gone while a few restarted and renamed their company.
    Though i am no longer a member and never will become a future member of any MLM company, I am so angry at myself for being so foolish. Perhaps i was too naive to think that my acquaintances would “trick” me. It took me some time to open my eyes and when i did, reality hits hard.

    My purpose in writing this comment is to show how much i agree to your statement and how i wish i’ve read your post before making my life miserable.
    Perhaps nature wants me learn the hard way.

    It still hurts to know people still doing MLM with their hidden agenda. I honestly just want to thank you for coming up with this post. It enlightened my heart a bit, although it won’t change the past. Hopefully more people read this before becoming a “victim”. God bless, Shanice.

  31. Very nicely written. How i wish the internet had more information 12 years ago. Nonetheless I am a partner in my own firm and have been “kindly asked” by people from the mlm industry for meet ups over coffee on the pretence of giving us business.
    Its good to network, its bad to cheat peoples time.

  32. Speaking the truth, I dislike MLM also..
    But, dude, you are nothing more like those criticize cleaner job .. It doesn’t mean it hurt you and u have the right to criticize it all negatively and promote flawless information to others.. Every job have their purpose to serve in this community, If they didnt join, and come to compete for ur current job and perform even better, how do you feel? There’s tons to say but keep it short, ‘You are skeptical, but not that smart, try to see from both side or even put urself in their shoes.”

    • I despise cleaners? It’s not even a fair comparison lol. Cleaners don’t step over their friends and family. I have utmost respect for them in fact. I despise MLM-ers who go around MASKING their intentions when meeting up with their friends. That is all. Please rethink your analogy before making a comment. Thanks.

  33. MLM is not necessarily bad and having a friend that works with them is also not necessarily bad. MLM do “brainwash” people and instill them with dreams and motivation and that’s why they’re trying so hard so as to instantly promote their product over stranger etc. My mom used to work for some MLM but it was SO HARD to get to the top (seriously it’s like the top stays or even move down and the bottom doesn’t move up). Some sales are maybe just very annoying to begin with BUT if they’re from a reputable companies (say Herbalife) and you like the product, they might have a discount (at least in my country they give discounts) and you should maximize on that.

  34. Hi Shanice, good on you to share your experiences about the ‘tactics’ used by ‘friends’ that fall into the MLM trap. Here’s a very good read to show you the truth about how low a probability you have to actually earn anything through the major MLM’s. The sad thing is that most people that get recruited into MLM’s are easily sold the dream of “Hope”. The reality is that your chance of making any meaningful money in an MLM as as good as winning a lottery.

    Do have a read through this, you’ll find it enlightening – hopefully this will make the next MLM hopeful think twice about joining:


  35. Being doubtful even before letting somebody speak is really unfair I think. MLM has worked out for some people and did not for others. It all comes down to how well you can the job and whether it is at the right time or not. You said you have decided to spend more time to see what lengths your friend is willing to go through to convince you but you haven’t actually mentioned what it was he said that made you detest it so much. You said it was bullshit and MLM is not for anyone. You really need to be able to explain why before making such claims.

    I personally detest sleazy salespeople from MLM too because of the way they sugarcoat their awful packages or products. Although people should be more aware of the way they conduct their business, there is no reason to deliberately attack them because what they’re doing isn’t wrong. Unethical perhaps, but not wrong.

  36. I love your post, Shanice. Thanks!
    I’ve had many friends approach me over coffee for some “exciting business prospect”, and I never once fall for it.

    I have this single “two cents” to share. Many pep-talkers like to mention that if mlm is a pyramid, so is any other conventional business, say Dell, Facebook, Google. All these have CEO at the top, directors lower down, managers lower down still, and eventually engineers / technicians. If mlm is a pyramid scheme, so are these entities. Well, this is just some pretty cunning twist of words. For conventional companies, there is someone controlling the knob of recruitment. When a company has hired enough, they’d turn it off. For mlmers, there is no one controlling it! You’d keep on recruiting, to the level of “recruiting your enemies”. Hehhehheh… They all live with the fallacy that the world’s population is infinite… sigh!

    Next, it’s not entirely accurate to say that all mlmers are bad outright. I have a friend, who has utter trust on some mlm product, and she really sells it as a side job. She’d just say “if you like the product, please buy it from me!” She never wants to recruit you, and she never sells you the “hope”. It is actually this kind of people who keep some big mlm companies from being successfully prosecuted. Perhaps you want to glance through “FTC vs Amway” back in the 70’s.
    But wait a second…! If my friend is neither selling the “hope” nor recruiting anyone, then she’s not an mlmer, right?! Hmm… I’m contradicting myself.

    Anyway, I’ve been doing my bit to instill this mlm awareness among my friends for more than ten years, and I love this site:
    It’s an excellent site, and it’s written more than ten years ago, if my memory serves me correctly.

  37. The term MLM is actually illegal in Spore. There are however reputable direct sales companies in spore that have been accredited by CASE spore. That said, I do agree that this industry is largely misunderstood due to the ways some of their distributors conduct themselves. Parties should do their due diligence & homework before jumping to any conclusions as to whether it is good or bad. Here’s the link to the list of accredited companies.

  38. Hi Shanice,
    Nice to Meet you,Im one of the MLM company,from my point of view, MLM is not bad as you think, is the people that force people to join.I never do that,it will break my friendship, my family,etc.
    But if they are interested on. I only share to them.

    That friend of your is just too much, if the appointment to meet for coffee, DON’T chat about business.

    I do support you, cause i seen many people that they set up appointment for coffee,but they just start discussion on they business.

    Hope you understand, is not to offence, I just sharing my view.

  39. Hi Shanice,

    Good post you’ve made.

    In such a modern and educated age it is extremely unsettling to see that there are still people out there who would fall for the obvious pyramid scams. Legitimate MLMs are focused on products and tend to reward their assosciates mostly based on commission by their own sales. Pyramid schemes on the other hand have their objectives set on increasing their staff size without an actual reason; they rank the newcomers directly below the person that referred them and this definitely comes with the promise that they too, will get to establish a huge following under them and leech off their earnings with minimal effort. Sounds perfect on paper (for which they love to draw that pyramid flowchart), but put some brain into it, and truth will come to light.

    A standard business works on a demand and supply model where the products meet the actual needs of the market and hence generating sales, and with it, revenue. MLMs operate by spreading word and sales through an ever growing supply of salespersons, all of whom try their best to get the product sold, hence also generating sales and revenue. Here’s the fun part; both examples above at the very end rely on their products to cash in, but what if the product was a scam/doesn’t exist? Well, this is what happens: they sell promises and dreams; albeit with a buy-in cost. Pay $1000 now, then refer a few associates who will in turn refer their associates into the company and never have to work again from an endless stream of referrals that expands exponentially? Anyone dumb enough to throw money into that deserves to not have it back. The buy-in is what keeps the scam going and funds their operational costs from the budget offices to the ironically classy suits that those higher up in the chain are so fond of wearing. So with the promise of an unlimited revenue stream from an exponentially increasing amount of minions hired by minions, how does one not stand to earn? The truth is that the market of numbnuts willing to sign up is limited, theorised growth will hit its peak, and the company will then implode. All those that have earned anything out of it are but a tiny % at the top of the pyramid. So where does that leave the numbnut? Oh, nothing much, just a $1000 poorer.

    Not trying to defend MLMs here when distinguishing between the two, but just pointing out the not-so-obvious-to-some facts. Multi-Level Marketing actually exists as a legitimate strategy for one to earn bucks if they’re willing to put in effort; but to what degree one may ask? So far all I’ve seen from so-called friends and family that come to me with a product/idea that somehow is supposed to add value to my life, and they HARDSELL it to me regardless of my interest. Doesn’t take a genius to realise that they weren’t actually trying to “catch up with times” in the midst of their busy schedule trying to net in more chumps. Besides, if the product is really as good as they claim, the company (unless just starting out) should be able to afford better forms of advertising rather than by word of mouth. The cutting of costs to such an extent seems to me, as an owner of a small business and full-time student, utterly disgusting and unprofessional. Brand image is an important thing, and using MLM as a permanent means to advertise is product is akin to smearing shit all over that business logo. It really looks that bad.

    Once again, I’d like to thank Shanice for this great article; ignore the wails of those salty scrubs who have got themselves caught up in the mess, they are just trying to comfort themselves there by masking their bad experiences with poorly crafted argumenta ad hominem.


  40. Good job on nailing the issue right on the head. I have personally always felt that MLM is a tool to utilise your personal relationships to earn money for yourself which to me ethically isn’t right.
    Very well articulated article with valid points made.
    I think a lot of the negative remarks are just people refusing to see the naked truth staring at them so starkly.
    I guess the age old adage always rings true if its too good to be true, it probably is!
    On a side note : the author did expressedly state that this blog entry is her personal opinion at the start of the article so no reason to get your undies in a bunch. If you don’t agree then don’t read the blog post its that simple!

  41. somehow i read something similar today. But i think i read yours earlier

  42. Yes. It’s real. That’s time I was looking for job with decent earning income and found the ads but it’s so weird about the detail that not very clearly what job is about. I decided to call and text that I want to have a appointment for job interview then next day I went to somewhere in center (I can’t expose where the place). I found a place look like you see upstair like massage shop something, I go up and saw the gentlemen greet and asked me to sit and wait for my turn. I’m so shocked to see so many youngsters in the company, I wondered why they get into so much because maybe better income for them to provide their expense with no doubts: Young man called my turn out and prepared for my interview . Talk talk talk and suddenly show me magic things like water turns into black ink “i was like huh what is it” . Showed me about policy , the things like medicine I don’t understand . Suddenly the boss but his face got scars I doubted that he commuted crime before or what. He greeted with nice tone, I was startled and confused and he talked about commission and buying policy. Then he asked whether I wanna join or not. I end up “sorry, I need to think first ,excuse me I got to go for family outing. He let me go and I was like “phew” and thinking ” what the weird company and look like mastermind has been brainwashing all the youngsters who was dumb or airhead.” Please think of your love ones and find the jobs that you should like to purse your goals .

    Anyways, your story is been nice enough to remind all the love ones . Thanks

3 Pingbacks

  1. How To Avoid Becoming a Victim of MLM – Rilek1Corner ::What matters to Singapore Malays & Singapore Muslims::
  2. A Summary of 2014 | Shanice Lim's Blog
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