They are invading our timelines with the exuberant selfies showing all of the “free time” they have thanks to the many blessings of their direct sales company. They’ll slide into your private messages with a “Hey girl!” where you think you’re about to connect with an old friend only to learn you’re getting the same copy and paste message sent to hundreds of other people. You can’t walk through a bridal expo without being assaulted with lose weight now! Make up that can outlast a nuclear blast! Here is this magic potion that is 100% guaranteed to cure you of that pesky acne!*
(*hormonal acne sufferers need not apply)
We smile. We nod. We halfheartedly hit that “maybe attending” button your blast Facebook party invite. Maybe we’ll buy, but here are a few things we wish we could tell you.
1. We really, truly want you to do well.
Whatever you do to make a living, I want you to be happy. I want you to find fulfillment, a healthy work/life balance and have joy in whatever you devote your waking hours to. Life is far too short to do things that make you miserable and if your Facebook party makes the difference between your kid doing that awesome extracurricular activity and not, by all means—you do you! Real friends won’t tear you down, won’t make fun of you or be unkind. We love you! We’re proud of you and understand your “why.” And we want to support you in the ways that we can, but…
2. We really wish you would respect our “no.”
Going through the product sales pitch almost always evolves into a “You’d be so great at this, why don’t you join our team?” And we’ll smile, and politely say no thank you. Our go to excuse is often “We don’t have time” because our culture does not accept “No” as a complete sentence and we idolize busy-ness. We have to rationalize and explain our reasoning and hope it’s enough. But please, don’t use our “no” as an opportunity to criticize our life. “I don’t have time” does not invite you in to tear into my daily schedule and say “Well, you’re on Facebook right now so imagine how much money you can be making during that Facebook time!” I enjoy capping off my evening lounging in my Lularoe leggings flipping through social media looking at cat pictures and browsing Reddit. I don’t need to make money every hour of the day.
3. Some of us actually like our 8 to 5 jobs.
I’ve worked at my company for almost five years now. And I love it. I love what I do, and the people I work with. The environment I work in could not be emulated in house parties, Facebook groups, one on ones or through daily sales Facebook updates. I have no aspiration to quit my day job to go into sales. I have no aspiration to “retire at 30!” The amount of money I could potentially make does not offset the evening hours I would have to sacrifice to make the investment worthwhile.
4. It’s really weird when you come out of the woodwork.
We’ve probably all had it happen. You feel your phone buzz, maybe a ping! and you have a Facebook message. Someone wants to TALK to you! But wait, it’s someone you’ve literally not talked to since high school (and that was ten years ago) starting out with that generic “Hey girl! How are you doing?” Does this girl not remember calling me fat in sophomore year? You send back a tentative “Hey, I’m good, how are you?” With an impressive rapid fire response time you get, “I’m good! Hey, have you considered…” and then boom. That copy paste message I mention before. It’s really weird, and we see right through you.
5. It’s misleading when you’re not honest with us.
So you claim you make $500 for one hour’s work. It sounds awesome on paper, and it’s a great talking point, but it’s misleading when you omit many important details. You don’t explain the hours of preparation you put into it: the phone calls, the emails, the follow ups, the Facebook messages, the organizing, the buying merchandise, office expenses, the travel time, the training—it all adds up really fast, and paints a vividly different picture than the $500/hour claim.
6. We’re cautious and defensive because many of us have been taken advantage of before.
We have had friends exploit us, use us and then convenient disappear and drop off the radar when we aren’t a source of income for them. We’ve been lured in as young, fresh high school graduates with the promise of $15/hour with no experience necessary only to find ourselves in weird group interviews where you’re not allowed to ask questions. We’ve had people we were close to get really, really pushy and become upset when we don’t support them. You may very well not relate to any of these issues, but others we have encountered way before you have left a sour taste in our mouth. It’s not fair to you, but it’s our experience.
7. Some of the practices you do are really, really weird.
I see you posting on Facebook advertising your products and when someone asks a simple, generic question and it’s always “I PM’d you!” What you don’t know is getting thrust into a one on one private conversations like this can be very uncomfortable and place extra pressure on us. Why not just answer these generic questions where everyone can see? Also, what’s the deal with the emoji BINGO? I’ve seen posts with as many as 30 unique emojis attached to them. Or how about asking people if they want to lose weight, fix their skin blemishes, or tone their stomachs with magic unicorn dust laced cling wrap? Or taking selfies with a half full of $100 bills (conveniently around tax refund time…) Like, it’s really really weird.
8. You need to be honest about your health claims.
Many of the products boast about how their products are good for improving health. These companies slap “all natural!” or “organic!” or “plant based!” front and center under the guise that “natural/organic/plant based” is a synonym for “safe.” It does not absolve you of the real, legitimate risks and dangers that your products may have. Essential oils can be dangerous and should not be used with reckless abandon just because they are “natural”. Taking supplements have dangers. Exercise plans have risks. And you are putting your customers at risk by throwing out blanket statements about how your products are good/safe for everyone.
So, my dear friend, keep inviting me to your parties because odds are I will buy something. Post your cute, adorable selfies with your products. Keep on keeping on, get yourself that extra money that cushions you between pay days. I never want to rain on anyone’s parade when they are trying to better their lives. But remember the human on the other side of the wallet. Don’t let your business come between you and your relationships.