Why MLMs annoy me...and yet I'm a part of one.
We have all done it. Rolled our eyes and groaned at the cheesy, obvious posts made by women (and men) trying to sell us on their 'pyramid scheme' products. There is nothing that aggravates me more than how flooded my social media has become by MLM marketers. There are people selling cleaning products, makeup, skin care products, jewellery, clothes, food, spices, oils, fitness...and I am one of them.
Strange, right? For me to be writing a blog about this topic all the while being an "online health and fitness coach" myself?
Yes, very strange indeed. So before I go any further, let me give you a brief history of my experience over the past 5 years.
Yes, its been 5 YEARS since I signed up to be a coach with Beachbody. I was 10 months postpartum when I decided to make some life changes. I was unhappy with the last 10 lbs of baby weight I couldn't get rid of, but more than that I was unhappy with the lack of "excitement" I had in my life. I felt caught up in the life of a new mom, and I was bored. My days were spent watching my baby play and giving her the care she needed. At night when she was asleep i'd have a hot bath, a glass or two of wine, and i'd scroll facebook and instagram.
I stopped dead in my scroll one night when I saw a hot young mom standing by her pool behind her mansion, with gorgeous long locks, washboard abs, and a million dollar smile. I instantly wanted her house, her pool, her abs, her LIFE. I wanted to BE HER. So I took the first step. I purchased the workout programs that she was doing at home. I did them for a few months and I got fantastic results. My mood increased. I had more energy. My confidence went through the roof.
People began noticing as I would share my "post work out selfies" and my mirror selfies showing off my new abs. At this point I still had no idea that coaching was even a thing.
A friend reached out and asked me if I wanted to join her "accountability group". She had also started doing the same fitness program I was doing. We figured we could have more fun doing it "virtually" together along with some of the moms in our birth group who had also wanted to lose some weight and feel better in their lives. We already all knew each other. We trusted each other. We spent 9+ months encouraging each other through pregnancy and birth we had all become online "besties". So why not encourage each other through our fitness journeys? We'd each post in our accountability group every day. Pictures and videos started popping up of moms with babies climbing all over them while they awkwardly did downward facing dog and abdominal crunches.
It. Was. Awesome. I fell in love with the community and with the inspiring online environment we had created. I started sharing about it on my Instagram.
At this point I was still not a coach and had no intention of becoming one...until one day my friend, the one who originally started our accountability group, asked me to meet her for lunch to discuss coaching. She wasn't a coach at this point either, and she truly just wanted to discuss the idea of coaching together with me. She spoke with passion about how much more than just a "Beachbody" thing this could be. As coaches, we wouldn't just get women doing Piyo in their basements; we'd help both men and women take control of their health. We'd create a ripple effect that could help decrease the rate of childhood diabetes. We would do our part to fight off an epidemic of obesity that was happening in this world.
It sounded amazing. It sounded like a calling I couldn't ignore.
And with that I became a coach. I had new moms and other young women signing up to work out and join my online accountability groups. Then, those women were also inspired to share the lifestyle with their loved ones...and so my team was starting to grow. It was a beautiful, feeling to know I was actually changing lives. Literally, women had confided in me that they had been close to giving up on themselves. One woman had seen one of my posts while she was in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. She decided to join my fitness group and less than a year later she was coaching women herself and inspiring the world of facebook with her epic dance moves and her newfound love and zest for life. Our accountability group had offered her a connection to women who reminded her of her value and her worth in this world. Being a coach, being a part of the coaching community, hearing from women that I was inspiring- it brought me out of my own dark place while battling postpartum depression. It became a reason to keep battling my own demons; by fighting my own battles and sharing it all publicly I was helping others feel the desire to get through their own tough times. It was now about so much more than fitness. It had developed into my purpose.
And then...the money came! While focusing on sharing my story and helping others my income began to grow. I had created a residual income for myself without even realizing it! First it was small, $50/week, then $200 a week, and then it grew all the way up to sometimes $1000 a week! All while at home with my babies on my mat leave. All while dealing with my own demons from PPD. All while discovering my purpose.
It was magical.
No, not magical.
It was God's way of providing for me and my family while I fulfilled his calling.
But then something happened. It seemed like a "shift" in social media. Being authentic was no longer making people want to join me on the journey to getting fit and living a better lifestyle.
As I scrolled my social media I began to realize that even though I was being myself, it wasn't coming off as 'authentic' anymore because everyone was sharing their stories, and in addition, their products.
Suddenly facebook and instagram became never ending commercial reels. Stay at home moms were all over the place desperately trying to build their online businesses through social media.
Women were no longer reaching out to me when they would relate to what I was posting about. They were too afraid that they'd be instantly bombarded with whatever MLM I was trying to 'scam' them with.
The term 'MLM' became an evil virus-like word that was spreading around social media.
Flash forward to today where everything on social media leads you to a product or service of some sort. You can't even read a seemingly innocent news article about a rescue puppy without realizing halfway through that all along it was 'click bait'.
Women are constantly scoffing at and judging other women who are making an attempt to earn an income through some sort of MLM. But can you blame them when they are constantly being sold to? When online friendships no longer seems sincere? When women are reaching out and 'connecting' with other women in hopes that some income will be produced for them as a result?
So back to the original topic of this post- Why MLMs annoy me...even though I am a part of one.
When reading over the story of how I've built my own MLM business and a residual income that allows me to work primarily from home, maybe you were able to catch onto something. My business thrived before the world of social media became jaded by all of the marketing nonsense that stems from the desperation of sales.
Throughout my time as a Beachbody coach, I've tried very hard to never become desperate about the money. I've always intended that my success be created by the positive feeling I get from helping others. Whenever my human heart was misguided by the temptation of the dollar signs I never got ahead in the end, it only ever stalled my business growth and my ability to reach out and truly connect with others.
With all of this said I want to leave you with this:
Being part of an MLM isn't a bad thing. We need to stop shaming men and women for wanting to create their own income, on their own terms. However, those of us who are involved in multi-level marketing need to be mindful of the reason we do what we do. The sale has got to stop being the priority. We don't deserve the income if what we gain financially from others outweighs the value we offer.
Becoming a coach, joining this MLM, and being a part of the Beachbody community has been life changing for me and my family. Nothing but good has come from it for us personally. I will continue on sharing my life and my personal journey in hopes that I can reach others who need the inspiration in their lives. In 2020 my plan is to continue on with my healthy lifestyle, beginning with Barre Blend- 60 days of affirmations and fitness, and I will always encourage others who are looking for fitness from home to join me. But nothing I'll be posting about will be with the intent to sell you on the company that I am affiliated with. Everyone has their own opinions and preferences in life and its not my desire to change anyone in that way. It is my desire to fulfil my own purpose- which is to help women (and men!) live well, live healthy, and live a life full of positive energy! Cheers to a sparkly brand new decade! I look forward to sharing this crazy rollercoaster ride called life with you all!!