Party Plan or MLM businesses can be a good way to make a part time income. It takes lots of time, and often a considerable financial investment to be successful. I speak from experience. I have sold Mary Kay, and Tupperware in hopes of cashing in on the unlimited financial rewards I was promised. I have also been an Arbonne, Creative thinking, and Melaleuca aka mom team “consultant” simply for the benefit of receiving the discount.
Let me start by saying I know a few people who make quite a bit of money selling Mary Kay. I also need to say that building a Mary Kay business takes a lot of time and a bit of money. Many Mary Kay Team distributors are not interested in what you sell. They are more interested in what you buy. Granted due to my youth and vulnerability at the time, I had an awful experience. I was pushed to get a loan to buy an obscene amount of product. I knew I could not get a loan so my distributor found a ‘loan’ for me. I paid it the best I could although I was having trouble selling, and eventually had a skin reaction to the makeup. The something unexpected happened. My distributor’s father passed away, and I got a letter asking me to pay the loan back to his estate. “Ohhh, that’s why the loan was so easy,” I thought. I packed up the remainder of my product and sent it to them instead. Recently, I spoke someone who had been successful as a Mary Kay consultant, and later had an impressive sales team and car. A year after she gave it up to spend more time with her kids, she made the realization that besides the vehicle, she barely made enough money to pay for her childcare. Her financial situation was no better selling this product than it was when she stopped.
Tupperware is actually a pretty good business. I even went as far as having my own sales team. The problem is that everyone knows Tupperware is a good business. Poll some of your friends and family and you will find that everyone you know, knows, or deals with a Tupperware consultant. So if you were going to sell Tupperware, to who would you sell it? This business is about as oversaturated as a business can get. I have had the experiences of doing a full 90 minute presentation to have most of the guests say to me that they only came to be polite. They felt obliged to buy from so and so.
The other problem I have with Tupperware is the way they overstate sales. The next time you are dragged to a Tupperware rally, and they call everyone onto stage who has made $400.00 or more that week, stand up and ask to see their commission check. After paying for Party Supplies, gifts, samples and giving Tupperware their share, they will be lucky if they made $100.00. Then ask them how many hours they worked. Chances are they made less than minimum wage.
As for my other experiences, all I can say is I knew better than to buy the hype. I joined the other MLM companies because I liked the product and wanted a discount. Although I was upfront with my directors about my intent, they signed me up anyway. Although they knew I was not going to purchase more than I needed, they never failed to call me monthly pressuring me to buy product to sell to make their numbers look a little better. I don’t even bother with the product discount option anymore.
If you are considering selling an MLM based product, be aware of the following:
1: Amount of sales does not equal amount of income. Income is less than half.
2. Pressure you to stock more product than you KNOW you can sell.
3. Pressure to purchase extra product to meet a minimum sales number or to get a prize
4. People signing you up just for the ‘discount” If you do this, be firm about your intentions.
5. Watch out for monthly sales minimums
6. Companies that limit your ability to market on the internet or otherwise.
7. Companies that are more interested in signing people up than selling the product.
8. Pushing you to take the company car before you have proven to yourself that you can maintain your sales level. You will find yourself buying extra products to keep the vehicle.
9. Meeting that seems cultish. Watch out for comments like “If your friends (or family) don’t support you in this then they are really true friends. (I have even heard “this persons spouse was threatened by his/ her business success, so they left them”.)
10. Any unrealistic or exaggerated claims of wealth
My goal here is not to discourage you from working with a direct sales or MLM type business. My goal is to make you aware of the pitfalls that will ensure failure in your business.