A Word on Multi-Level Marketing Businesses

First off . . . I hate marketing and selling things. This is why job interviews make me feel nauseated and why all my past endeavors at selling Avon and every other direct sales products have fallen flat in a matter of weeks. I hate feeling artificial. I hate bothering and pressuring people. I hate stressing over numbers and impressions. I hate pretending to care about things I’m not actually passionate about.

So when a trusted close friend from our church asked me if I’d ever thought about selling essential oils over a year ago, I turned her down. And whenever the thought did come up in the time since then (over and over) I kept saying No, mostly because of the taboo of multi-level marketing businesses but also because I couldn’t justify it financially. And of course, we’ve all probably experienced those obnoxious or outright hurtful interactions with friends who have tried to leverage our circumstances/relationships for financial gain. I figured if I said Yes, I’d have to become that type of person.

But I have used essential oils for a few years now, bought from various companies. I’ve saved money with them by creating my own cleaning products, skin care products, and perfumes, and by diffusing them instead of burning candles (which are incredibly toxic unless you can afford the fancy soy ones made with natural fragrance and special wicks, and I certainly can’t justify doing that regularly). I smelled peppermint oil straight from the bottle to help hold down my lunch when I had severe pregnancy nausea. I put tea tree oil in my moisturizer to clear hormonal acne. I rubbed a focus blend on my wrists and temples to keep the “sleepies” away during finals week in college.

I definitely plan on continuing to use oils. And if I’m already planning to buy them, and already planning on talking about them and showing others how to use them (because this is what we do with products we love) then why not get compensated for what I already would be doing? So I did more research, and once I felt that the pros legitimately outweighed the cons, I told my friend Yes.

Here’s what I had to get around mentally in order to say Yes:

  • I don’t have to sell products I don’t care about.
  • I don’t have to ever maneuver an organic conversation into a sleazy sales pitch.
  • I don’t have to cold-call anyone, slide into their inbox, or knock on their door.
  • I don’t have to set big goals, because the reality is that most distributors will not make enough profit to quit their day job. I can try to make enough to be reimbursed for the products I love and buy for myself, and be content with that.
  • I don’t have to believe the lie that direct-selling businesses are inherently a dirty thing, because the truth is that we market the products we love all the time . . . but most companies aren’t paying us for that exposure. Some of them do, however, because they realize it’s one of the most common and effective forms of marketing. For some reason we look down on those companies instead of the ones that keep all the profit to themselves. And we look down on the people who think it wouldn’t be half bad to get compensated for what they give to a company by using, loving, and sharing their products.

So there it is – the post/announcement I really didn’t want to write. I hope it doesn’t make you think ill of me, but at the same time I’m learning not to care about that as much as I once did. All we can do is do what we think is best, explain ourselves if we so choose, and then let the chips fall where they may.

Grace and peace,


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