Raffle Tickets, Multi-Level Marketing, and Stuff (7QT)

— 1 —

This very funny satirical essay explains why you should not read parenting books, and also why I was mostly crazy for the first year or two or three of parenthood.

— 2 —

Pat had a nice talk with the neighbor, who said he will put up his scary dog in the house any time we ask.  So it looks like we won’t have to shell out $1,000+ to fortify our fence.  Yay!

No longer the problem it once was.

No longer the problem it once was.

— 3 —

More clothes for me!

— 4 —

Kidding.

— 5 —

Slow idea day.

Oh, here’s something: We are volunteering for a fundraiser for Girl 1’s school.  It will keep us busy most of today and tomorrow.

Each family was given $100 worth of raffle tickets to sell, and I sold none.  Didn’t even try.  I bought a few from a friend, who is trying to sell a lot.  I just hate selling things.  And I refuse to buy the $100 worth myself just out of guilt.  I’ll gladly pay as much tuition as I can afford and volunteer and do whatever else, but I balk at raffle tickets.   And Pat was all about returning them unsold, because he feels 0% guilt about things like this and enjoys being a bit of a bada** about it.

But speaking of selling stuff:

— 6 —

Mariann wrote an interesting post ranting about people who do multi-level marketing “businesses” (Arbonne, Mary Kay, Thirty-One Gifts, Lia Sophia, etc.) and pressure her into buying.  I really dislike the marketing tactics I’ve seen with these companies.  I especially dislike the way it’s not enough just to sell the stuff, you have to get other people selling it too.

What I want to know is: has anyone out there reading this made money in this type of business?  Enough to cover the costs of all the stuff you have to buy and then some?  And with the time you have to put into it, what do you average earning per hour?  I don’t know if anyone wants to share, but I really want to know.

— 7 —

Whew!  Made it to #7.  Thanks for sticking with me.  Have a great weekend!

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25 thoughts on “Raffle Tickets, Multi-Level Marketing, and Stuff (7QT)

  1. My MIL knows a woman who sold Arbonne very successfully two years ago. She was making six figures with it; however, she was EXTREMELY dedicated to the program (and got lots of people started on selling). I think she’s pretty burnt out from it now though.

  2. Regarding #1: I HATE parenting books. I lost hours of sleep AFTER reading them! It was awful. Before reading them, I assumed everythign would be fine. Max would occasionally cry, occasionally wake up in the night, and have normal-baby needs. I would respond to those needs, find myself occasionally tired, occasionally up at night, etc. Worst case scenarios would include responding very often to his needs, being constantly tired and frequently up at night. But that happens, and of course it is temporary. Right?
    Well, NOT IF YOU READ PARENTING BOOKS. I cannot tell you how many times I read that something I was doing now could affect Max for the rest of his life. One tiny “mistake” one random Wednesday could be the reason why he didn’t live a normal life. And then of course, each book contradicts the other, so that by the end you are so confused that you have no idea what to do, but are somehow convinced that anything you do is wrong.
    Lest you think I’m exaggerating, I still remember a line from a certain baby book that I read to my mom one day. The chapter opened with the mom, Amy, bringing Baby Julia to the “expert”. It talked about how Baby Julia had cried for 6 weeks straight (those books also make it seem like every infant will have colic), and that the mom looked down at the baby and said, “Julia, please don’t KILL me!” The implication being that I should be prepared to fear for my life if I have a child? That my child will be so miserable, and make me so miserable, that I will not know if I can physically make it to the next day? That they might have to list my cause of death as “cranky child/did not listen to the experts”? Anyway, at some point I rolled my eyes and threw them all in the trash can. Despite the fact that some of those books do occasionally have some good tips, it’s so shrouded in this high, panic-inducing drama, that it’s just not worth it.
    Sorry for the novel!

  3. #6. Oooooh #6. I went to an introductory meeting once for Arbonne, dragged there by a friend. It almost felt cult-like, pyramid scheme-ish. I’m not a fan of the marketing aspect. I’ve not tried the products, and though I know a lot of people rave about them, I still have to stop myself from rolling my eyes. I’m horrible.

  4. I applaud you for re-posting Mariann’s great piece! I agree with everything she said, but unfortunately pretty much everyone I know is selling something. I know they’re really trying to help their family and I don’t want to put them down for that… I but I also believe it’s a borderline Ponzi scheme and that these companies prey on stay-at-home moms who are in difficult situations. I only know one person who does really well through selling Arbonne, but she does so through incessant soliciting and pressuring of absolutely everyone she knows. Frankly, I’ve lost all respect for her.

  5. Thanks for sharing the parenting article; with my baby coming this Fall and me feeling like I have so much to learn, I’m slowly realizing how freeing it is to ignore most of the books out there! I briefly discerned Arbonne about a month ago, but didn’t feel comfy with the aspect that seems to involve getting more people to sell the products with you than to buy them–I know I’d exhaust potential buyers quickly, and didn’t really love the idea of constantly hitting up my friends. It seems like people can do well with that sort of marketing, but I’m pretty sure now that it’s not for me. Have a good weekend, Laura! I haven’t visited in a while, by the way–I love the new blog design!

  6. Thanks for the shout-out Laura! It’s funny, I guess I only thought a handful of my close friends read my blog, and that post went crazy … Haha! The one time I get really really snarky, go figure! I’m glad people are not as snarky as I am, and seem to have receive my “rant” well 🙂

  7. Ooh, glad you reminded me: does anyone want to buy raffle tickets? It is a fundraiser for Girl 1’s school. They are $100 each and the winner gets $102. The winning number is selected at random so your chances don’t go down if we sell all the tickets.
    The winning number will be announced at my grandmother’s Annual Shoe Leather Stew party on Christmas day. The best part? Even if you don’t win the first time you can high-tail it up to the Possum Lodge to see if you’ve won the consolation prize: a 25 gallon drum of lard and 6 live chickens! Also the winner gets to stay in the Roadkill Suite, which I’d the only room with heat…

    On top of all that, you’re also supporting a good cause!

    Soooo, how many tickets can I put you down for?

  8. I’m generally not a fan of MLM’s.. Although, I must admit that I started with Melaleuca when my oldest was only 7 months old (10 1/2 years ago now) and I worked pretty hard for about 1 year and I now make enough in “residual income” to pay for the products I have to buy every month. I haven’t worked the business in like 8 years, I’m pretty sure my current friends don’t even know that technically I “do” Melaleuca and I would have cancelled my account iwth the company long ago except for the fact that I got lucky and was able to make enough to pay for my products, so I basically get my products for free.

    Anyway, I don’t think MLM’s are bad. It’s basically just selling stuff and some people are good at selling stuff and other’s aren’t. I don’t think it’s any worse of a job than say a car salesman or whatever, except the difference is that people who looking to buy cars contact the salesman while the person with the MLM has to go out and find customers..which is annoying. The trick is to find people who genuinely are interested in your product and want to buy, instead of people you just guilt-trip into helping you as a SAHM.

    I have lots of friends who are in various home companies, and honestly none of them are really pushy. In fact, they barely even talk about their business.

    I read that article you posted and I think it was too harsh on moms who do the MLM. I think those MLM’s appeal to mom’s so much precisely because you don’t have to put your kid in child care, and unless a mom has family members who will babysit for free, paying for childcare can quickly eat up your profits from working, especially part-time work (where you aren’t getting benefits or child-care discounts for full-time work) I can see how the home parties and selling stuff appeals to moms due to the flexible schedule and they can work around their husband’s schedule, etc.

    I’ve been to several home parties (doTerra, Pampered Chef, Scentsy) and honestly NOT bought ANYTHING and NEVER made to feel guilty about not buying. Of course, maybe I’m just immune to guilt and really don’t care what other people think. I just went for the free food and fun girl’s night out and it was fun, but I didn’t feel pressure to buy and didn’t.

    Anyway, this is super long..so sorry. My point is, I think those types of things can work for certain moms who have that “personality” just like certain people make goods salespeople and others don’t.

    • Hi Amelia, That’s so interesting. It seems that success with MLM requires (a) sales talent and (b) the right choice of product, i.e. something the people you know will WANT to buy. If one or both of these is missing, people resort to pressure tactics. And that gives the whole thing a bad name. And I totally agree re: the childcare dilemma. I left a comment on Mariann’s blog saying (I think) as much. So hard to find something where childcare doesn’t eat up your earnings. And you don’t want to just go with whatever is the cheapest childcare either! Obviously!! It does seem like some of these companies (Arbonne is the one I’m familiar with) makes some wildly unrealistic claims to get people to sell their stuff.

  9. #1-I loved that essay- too funny. And I think the best parenting advice I’ve heard is: if it works, do it!
    #5-I shudder at the thought of selling things, even if it’s for a good cause!

  10. Regarding #6 I sold lia sophia jewelry for 6 years and have been out of it now for 3 years. There are really 2 different type of mlms. The home party business like lia, pampered chef, etc is a type of sales where most anyone can start a business for under $200 and earn money right away, assuming they keep their expenses in check and don’t go crazy buying product. Sales reps are able to earn some extra cash without “recruiting” anyone into the business.

    The second type is like Arbonne or Meleluca, etc where products ( usually disposable or renewable products like makeup, cleaning products, vitamins etc) are sold by a rep and the rep does earn a very small commission, however no significant earnings are made until other people are signed up to sell on their team. Usually the start up cost is higher and reps may be required to stock their product for their customers and its much harder to make money in this type of business.

    When I started lia sophia I set a goal of earning $6000 before expenses, and I earned 8000, with about $1500 put back into the business, including a purchase of a computer. I did not recruit anyone in that first year. As I kept selling I did end up growing a small sales team. and In my best year I earned just over 30K. I was required to train my sales team and one of the first things I did was try to teach each rep how to earn money without recruiting anyone and how to keep their expenses in check. When I was managing my sales team we had sales quotas that we were required to hit as a team and by late 2008/ 2009 the economic environment had changed significantly and direct sales became a much harder business to be in.

    I have also tried Mary Kay and Meleluca, I lost money with meleluca and came out even with Mary Kay. My experience as a manager in lia showed me that most of my team members had no intention of ever growing a sales team, they were just selling either to cover their jewelry habit or as an extra stream of income for their family. about 3 or 4 hundred dollars a month.

  11. I never reply to things like this, but after seeing Kim’s comments that mentioned my company, Arbonne, in as second and “no so good” type of MLM company, I really had to address a few things:
    1) The start up cost for Arbonne is $79, which is obviously significantly less than the $200 she paid for Lia Sophia.
    2) The commission for Arbonne is 35%, whereas it’s only 30% for Lia Sophia (or so I have found doing very non-professional Googling, so it could be incorrect). With Arbonne, just as with Lia Sophia, anyone can sell the products and make extra cash (and at 35%, apparently they can make more than with Lia Sophia’s 30%) without recruiting someone into the business. In that sense, almost every MLM company is alike.
    3) With BOTH Lia Sophia and Arbonne and probably most MLM companies, no one earns significant earnings until they build a team.
    4) Arbonne does not require their consultants to carry stock. There is also no monthly minimum that you have to personally order.
    5) It is not harder to make money in this company for those reasons.

    People’s opinions and comments about MLM’s and specific MLM companies, whether they like them or not, etc – that doesn’t bother me, because I have seen people take the exact same company, products, compensation plan, etc and have completely different results. One person can be very successful, the other person not able to even book a party. So I think it depends on the PERSON and the way they choose to represent themselves and market themselves, not the company. What does bother me is that my specific company was referenced by someone who gave wrong information. Please, please do not do this. It’s incorrect and is therefore unfair. Lump everyone together if you want to, but don’t mention specific companies unless you know what you’re talking about:)

    ALL of that said, I am making a very significant income (that grows every month) in Arbonne after having been in the business for 7 months. My husband and I are living COMPLETELY off of my income (including a high mortgage, groceries, and all bills) and I am in qualification for the third level of management. I have my own parties and people re-booking parties on a 60 day basis because they DO have fun, and I have a team who I’m training to do exactly what I’ve done and THEY are having fun! It makes sense that if you’re helping a company grow by teaching other people how to sell their products, they should pay you and pay you well. You’re a BIG component to getting their product out there. So it’s not a scheme, and it isn’t a pyramid. If anything, it is the most fair business compensation plan out there, because anyone can go to the top. With a “regular” company, you have the few people at the top, the people below them, the people below them, and the many people below them. EVERYONE is clamoring for the top spots, and only a few people can get it. That seems more unfair to me than MLM, where everyone starts at the same place and can end up at the same place.

    If someone chooses to be pushy, whiney, victim-like, hound-like, inconsiderate of others, disrespectful, greedy, selfish, and/or arrogant, that is a reflection of that person and that person alone. It has nothing to do with the company. I hate that people take something good like Arbonne and mis-represent the company, and themselves, as anything other than classy and relational. I apologize to everyone reading this post (if you still are!) for anyone in Arbonne or any other MLM business who has ever made you feel anything other than respected and loved. Know that it is a reflection of that individual, and not of the company at large.

    • Hi LB, Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I read it all and am glad to have more information. I’m really glad you’ve done so well with Arbonne and I wish you continued success!

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