Trying to be your own boss nowadays is just as simple as waiting for a friend to pitch you the “work-at-home” and that really great product. What’s left is a burned bridge, lost money, and another lesson learned.
Usually, this article would be about why you should join a network marketing company, or why you shouldn’t. But I decided that I will not sway politics or bias here in any form.
Purely, because this issue does not extend to the network marketing company themselves or the products, but to the vast amount of distributors that come across selling MLM products and opportunities.
So here it goes…
The Beginning of It All
The beginning of 2017, a few days after I came back from China, was months of dreaded work, where a few partners and I ventured up to create the world’s most advanced e-sports arena.
Like all entrepreneurs out there, we hope for the best, but instead, the company started off on the wrong foot. And as partners, I wasn’t doing such a great job.
I had lonely nights, filled with unanswered questions like a first-time entrepreneur would. It caused me to become more desperate as days were passing by, forcing myself to figure out alternatives.
Before it all started…
I lived in a house filled with products that I never heard of, purchased by my mother. Yes, she eventually persuaded me to sell skin care products (after multiple
I had no idea what was network marketing was during that time. What I didn’t like was that my mother purchased so much of the same “branded and unheard of” products.
Because of that, I felt like she was being scammed. She even told me by starting a multi-level marketing (MLM) business, you’re:
- De-risking yourself from large investments when starting a new business.
- Not buying a ton of products to sell (but for use by yourself), because your downlines can order it themselves.
- You don’t have partners to argue with. Only sidelines that help you succeed in the business (kind of a lie).
What I didn’t know was that I had to immerse or brainwash myself into the products and the opportunity. It is so that others can join your business and feel like they are in hope out of the deadly 9-to-5 job.
And, so I did.
The Start to Network Marketing
Like with any network marketing business, a person looking to start one requires a distributor to sign them up. Imaging why I would consider about starting a network marketing company comes down to this:
- I wanted the feeling of being successful like all the hot shot salesmen out there.
- Also, I wanted to make money, enough to support myself.
- During that time, the partnership with my e-sports business went sour, because of different perspectives and lack of power.
- Seeing my mother making 4-figure incomes, and an improvement of health was also the reason why I joined.
Never did I care about selling MLM products, but with all the experiments on how other traditional companies make their products (like harmful ingredients), the presentations I saw and meetings I attended made it even a more persuasive selling point.
MLM products are not magic. They’re only better because their target is with more traditional corporations that have product issues (bad ingredients, hazard products, etc) and are not willing to change because they focus on maximizing their profits.
Gratefully, modern companies have already applied these scientific techniques and are actually cheaper than the MLM variants.
People just need to make money. It’s just what it is.
Time to Make Money?
I remember that day, sitting inside a house, with my laptop on. Learning about the structure of how MLM businesses work. I found out they sell opportunities like it’s a franchise.
Still confused, I was figuring out what the whole point of making presentations was. During that time, my thought was this. How can I make money though?
Never did I think that selling to friends did not work (because you can’t vouch for what you sell), but I knew I hated being sold to.
What made me continue, and not knowing what I was doing consciously, was this. In order to be successful, you must go through the hardships and denials (the shit) when doing business.
Basically what I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk.
Where The Drama Begins
It was not too long ago when I was in the middle of an upline/downline disagreement. I was confronted by the up line, asking whether or not her partners should be in business together.
Mainly because they can’t get along.
To be honest, it really had nothing to do with me. I didn’t sign up to solve office politics. I signed up so I can save myself from misery.
The argument went on and on and on, sidelines were stealing leads from each other, and I was being used for computer help. I debated whether or not I made the right choice.
Halfway through 2017, I found out the water machine I was drinking from for years was purchased by my mom. It was produced and sold by another MLM company.
Inside, I was filled with joy because it was my escape path from all the drama created by the distributors. I even asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”
Switching Network Marketing Companies
That day, I invited YLW (my former best friend) and SZ over my house for a photo shoot.
I took my photo-shooting experience live on Facebook.
During that photo shoot, a distributor of the water machine joined my live video, commented about knowing SZ. During live, I asked SZ if he knew this person.
He said, “Oh. It’s VC.”
It didn’t sound like he was pleased, but weirdly, I gained my trust towards VC, because SZ knew him (we were in the same high school).
I found out 6 months later, VC sold vitamin products from an ex-MLM company in the same high school I was in, swindling other students. Normally, I would have known that it was a red flag. But, as usual, I am not consciously aware of things like this.
Closing the Sale
I was CitiBiking that day, and VC called. Knowing that I was already sold on one of the products and closed on me, fast. Reason being is that:
- My mom was a customer in that MLM company.
- All the time I decided whether or not I should have bought from my mom or from VC.
VC knew what he was doing. So he went ahead and asked about the product I sold. And days after, he purchased what I was selling.
Months after the purchase, he never used it. The reason for his purchase was to make me sign with him and not my mother.
After the purchase, I was added to the Facebook group. Being welcomed with a bunch of likes and comments.
There I was, ditching the first MLM company I joined.
Less Drama, More Brainwashing
Before the product arrived, I started friending the sidelines (what you usually do when you join a new MLM company). My Facebook feed was soon packed with positivity and things I liked to hear.
Some vague examples like:
- 9-to-5 jobs and living paycheck to paycheck sucks.
- McDonald’s and Coca Cola is a death wish.
- “If you want to go fast, go alone (traditional business). If you want to go far, go together (MLM company).”
- Stop consuming [non-MLM product], it’s poison.
The posts made me believe in MLM more, because of my lack of experience in jobs and traditional business ownership.
But it was all because I wasn’t thinking long
I also realized, only my network marketing friends ever liked and commented on my posts. My friends and relatives not doing MLM ignored what I was doing.
During that time, only one friend from my middle school, my in-laws, and my father criticized me. I was told that network marketing is a scam, that MLM isn’t a business, to even the products are a lie.
I took it like they were haters, just blocking what they said.
Dishonesty and Betray of Blind Trust
This was a life turning lesson for me here. For one whole year, I joined two network marketing companies and never turned in a sale. Because of that, I was questioning my distributorship.
I even looked at ways to make income, like investing in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange.
But like always, I feel good helping out others.
Borrowing Money to Sidelines
One day, BM, from the second MLM group messaged me. He said he was short $40 for gas, and asked if I could borrow from him. Usually, I’d say no but because I trusted that group (we call each other, “fam”), I went ahead and Square Cashed the full amount.
For days, I kept pushing him to return the $40. He initially promised that he’d return the money tomorrow. After two weeks, I finally let up, took the issue to the group admins, and had BM kicked out of the MLM group.
But apparently, his up line, AM, decided to take it up to me and asked me why he got kicked out. I blatantly told him that he owed me money I borrowed him, and he never returned it after constantly lying that he was going to.
AM wanted to end the conversation, saying it was no biggie and it’s not my fault. Shortly afterward AM blocked me from his profile. I found out after a few months when I background checked the people in the group.
On that same day, CW helped me recovered my funds, and I had hope once again. BM somehow found his way back into the group, but from that point on, I ignored his messages.
Investing in a Bitcoin scheme
One day, distributors from the same MLM group found a hot new investment opportunity. It filled my Facebook feed, saying you can get a return
It was USI-Tech. I suspected it was a scam, but the people promoting it even recorded demonstrations that they withdrew from the platform.
As an investor noob, I had no idea getting 40% back from an investment was a lot. Some Googling after losing that money allowed me to realize that 10% returns can equate up to millions of dollars.
I was nowhere that amount.
Less than 24 hours left
But, Jacky. I thought you were smarter than that?! Well, when you are desperate, you live like the dead. You completely believe in what they were selling, MLM or not, scam or not. Exactly how people bought into the Bitcoin rush, right before everything started to decline, and the bubble was just about to… pop.
And so I did, being persuaded by VC, on top of wanting to make money, allowed me to sign up and invest exactly 0.06 BTC (worth $946.18) to USI-Tech’s platform.
Less than 24 hours, the Texas State Securities Board sent an Emergency Cease and Desist Order. My investment was lost, and VC, who referred me, withdrew his commission from my sale.
At first, I texted VC and I told him the problem. The conversation ended with him blaming me for investing it in the first place. Well, if it wasn’t for VC trying to make his money back, I would not have invested.
I even told VC it’s not a big of a deal, but deep down I felt like he was full of shit.
I came to realize, he was a known scammer.
Positive Foreign Exchange?
Not too long before I had invested in the Bitcoin scheme, I also decided foreign exchange might also be a good way to make money. I knew the risk was phenomenal, so I didn’t join until later on.
My Facebook feed was filled with forex traders, and BT, the head of the MLM group, decided it was in the groups best interest to partner up with a forex trader company in the same group because of the fakes.
His name was DS. Had years of credibility, proof, etc.
The membership fees were quite high, but I didn’t join until DS announced that he was raising the prices. So I said, why not?
I even asked SP, who was a former affiliate for the company in the MLM group about the service. It was clear he wanted the commission, so I gave it to him.
A few months later…
During the time, I was happy. The profits were rolling in, I already made the membership money back.
DS even went out of his way to provide Myfxbook proof and letting customers know his service isn’t a get rich quick scheme, that on average you get at most is 5% each month. Until February of 2018.
I woke up one morning, with two skipped stop-losses. Losing $3,000 in one night. I was furious. The members were also all over this.
Things got worse from here. DS ran into some personal issues and decided to quit social media. Nobody could find him, I even reached out to his former girlfriend (she was also in the MLM), and she had no idea where he went.
The new members thought he ran away, after losing so much money.
One started rumors that DS took trades from a Forex MLM-company (yeah, it gets crazier), a few emptied their accounts with anger and left, few started a chargeback with their bank, and a group of people wanted to file a lawsuit against him.
For a month, it was crazy.
Eventually, he came back, explained to the group what exactly happened. We all charged against him during that time, largely with our anger and lost money. DS continued defending against himself.
Eventually, he concealed most of the evidence that a bad trade ever happened (or two), deleted messages on the Forex group, and removed the reviews tab from his business page.
But it didn’t matter anymore. What’s done is done. A year later, my profits still were in the negative thousands.
How I Turned Everything Around
After all the lost money, I just assumed that it was my fault. One day, SP added me into a Facebook group. That group was about him selling sales funnels.
I got mad. Mad enough to realize he’s also full of shit and treated me not like a friend, but one of his profit makers.
Late 2018, I decided to go to Las Vegas, where SP lives. I had no intention of visiting him, but somehow, he knew about it on Instagram.
When SP messaged me about why I didn’t tell him about my visit to Las Vegas, I straight out lied to his face saying, “Oh. I thought you don’t live here anymore.”
But he knew that I was bluffing, like how he always was.
I decided to remove myself from all the MLM companies I joined. Removed, blocked, deleted, whatever. Completely denying having any existence, and prepared this long blog post.
That day was a really good day for me.
From that point on, I decided to stay away from people doing network marketing. Not only did I shame myself from thinking they were trustable, but I found out a few more things:
- Desperate people are the easiest to get to. Not only can distributors market you the dream of owning businesses, but they sell them like a nourishing/entrepreneur package.
- Usually, distributors cannot vouch for what they sell. Just like the general rule of why you should never sell to your friends. Likewise, in business, there are only “business friends”.
- Investment and business opportunities should not be taken with a grain of salt. You should not trust what anyone advertises (why people buy MLM products off eBay). Be aware and do research.
- Be hesitant. When in doubt, take a sip for 6 months or more. Don’t throw yourself in the boat waiting to be drowned.
- Deeply know your friends, please. Don’t assume they’re your “family”, and if they do, they’re probably full of shit too.
After all, it’s just another life milestone for me. Especially for the fact that it did take me a whole year to have the courage to write this.
But, until next time.