For many years I’ve used the faithful and trustworthy words of Money Saving Expert to help guide me in the right direction when it comes to money advice. They’re full to the brim with money making and money saving tips but they’ve just smashed my trust in them to smithereens after a recent post published about ways to make money.
Oh Money Saving Expert, How You’ve Disappointed Me!
Being part of the UK Money Bloggers and always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to earn cash, I was interested to see what Money Saving Expert had included in their post Boost Your Income: 70 ways to earn extra cash. I was alerted to the post in a blogging community group by Emma from EmmaDrew.info and what grabbed my attention most was that they’d included FOUR different MLM companies within the same post.
Now, if you know me you’ll know that after being sucked into multiple MLM’s that they’re not exactly top of my list as ways to earn money.
Yes, Even Avon Is An MLM
Now, when most people think of MLM they think of the more recent companies such as Younique, Juice Plus, Forever Living and NuSkin. In fact MLMs or Multi-Level Marketing (aka Network Marketing) companies have been around for years. Your mum has probably even done them when you were a kid.
Listed in the article are four of the oldest ones in the biz, well at least in the UK. The Body Shop at Home, Ann Summers, PartyLite and Avon. These companies barely get a blink when they’re mentioned because they’re much more of a “household name” and the pushy sales tactics didn’t really emerge until the rise of the modern day MLM.
What Is An MLM?
MLMs are companies who have a product to sell but rather than doing it in a shop they pay people a % of the sales to do it for them. Normally it costs the representative to join these companies which comes as a “Starter Fee” or an “Admin Fee”. The larger fees tend to come with a kit such as Younique or Forever Living, the smaller signups tend to be a “free” website or admin set up such as Juice Plus and Avon.
Yes, there is a sign-up fee with Avon. They tend to take it out of your first month or two orders and you’re contracted to pay it so if you don’t make anything then you still have to pay it. I know this, this happened to me. I tried Avon when Eban was born and after my first month I actually ended up owing them money.
Sneaky Reps & False Promises
My experience with Avon and owing them money was due to a sneaky rep who failed to deliver all the information to me before I signed on the dotted line. Things such as buying catalogues (before they copied other MLMs and used online ordering), buying order forms and other “marketing materials”. Now I should have known that I wouldn’t get these things included but it didn’t occur to a sleep-deprived early 20-something new mother so desperate to top up the household income.
This wasn’t the only time I’d been bitten, luckily when I went down the Ann Summers route I asked all the questions I needed to and the rep who signed me up left with me feeling confident. Until I read the welcome pack which told me that any hostess offer, you know the one where you get 10-15% off for hosting, actually came out of MY profit. It wasn’t offered by the company. I phoned up and cancelled within the hour.
A lot of reps do this though. Make £500 a month just being on Facebook! In fact, these claims are illegal and they’re not allowed to tell you how much you can make or how much they make – this is why their payday posts have the amount covered up.
Why I Think MSE Are Wrong To Include Them
Most of the time people who sign up to an MLM don’t make anything. Once they take in to account their sign up fee, business cards, website vanity URL (which they’re encouraged to buy), marketing materials such as catalogues, banners, car stickers, flyers and such, then they’re in the red.
In some companies they’re encouraged to buy in stock to have on hand, to host parties, to sell at local fair stalls and badger their friends at work showing them samples – samples they’ve had to make themselves out of their own pocket.
Women (and men) have gone into serious debt by following the recommendations of their uplines that they have to spend if they want to succeed. My good blogging friend Elle Beau actually used her college book money and emergency credit card to buy in Younique bundles after being told to by her uplines. A thing she couldn’t afford to do.
While I was with Younique I was encouraged to buy 10, yes TEN, of the monthly Kudos bundles each month so I’d easily hit targets, have them on hand to sell and made sure I had them before they sold out. Some of these bundles were over £100…that’s £1000 they expected me to spend with no guarantee of a return. I wasn’t that stupid, luckily.
Yes, some people do well. Yes, you might make back your investment but at the same time, there is no guarantee that anyone will buy from you. Especially from these over-populated MLMs. It’s this reason that I feel MSE are WRONG to include them in their post and I think it’s irresponsible of them to have done so.
Party Planning Is Dead
There was a time when people loved gathering around at a friend’s house to check out the latest lingerie and toys from Ann Summers. When it was a fun night and much easier to order via a party than go to a local shop – as they didn’t exist.
Now people don’t want to wait a week for their orders, they don’t want people knowing what they’ve ordered and it’s much quicker to order online with next day delivery. Plus it means you don’t have to leave the house or feel pressured to buy just to “get your friend the reward”.
Even online party planning. I’ve held many parties and people just aren’t interested. They don’t want to buy things before they’ve tried them or if they do then there is always a rep or ex-customer selling off products on the local Facebook groups for cheaper.
Ways To Earn Extra Cash
Now don’t get me wrong, they have listed many great ways to earn some extra cash – especially in time for Christmas. But the choice to include such deceitful companies makes me automatic distrust them for their reliability. Even more so when they place an * next to the links which tell you that they are earning from having those links in that post.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand sites having to earn through affiliation, it’s how I run this site. It does make me wonder if the editor only included these companies because MSE will make money for them being there and clicked?!
So there is my two cents on why Money Saving Expert have seriously disappointed me with a recent post. A highly trusted website shouldn’t be promoting these companies when many of their readers might be in such a desperate situation that they go for it and end up even worse. It can happen to anyone and has happened to many.
So MSE, if you happen to read this then please edit your article to at least include a disclosure that these companies cost to join and that the chances of losing money are much higher than actually making any money – just look at posts on you’re own forum: