Why I Won’t Join Your Pyramid Scheme

About ten years ago when I was 21 a lady in my office came around to invite several of us to a jewelry party. Several months before this I’d worked in a jewelry store and loved it. So, when she told me that she made so much extra cash doing something she already loved, I was very interested. After all, I knew a little about jewelry and selling it. 

A few months later I owned $1300 of costume jewelry. I put it all on my very first credit card then struggled under the payments. Turned out most people in my social circle didn’t care for costume jewelry. The emails and phone calls from those above me were relentless. Eventually the lady who recruited me dropped out of the pyramid because she too couldn’t keep up. 

I never sold a damn piece. $1300 just gone. 

(And full disclosure, this company is still very operational and has been for decades. And there are reps who swear by it. So, bear that in mind.)

photo credit: pexels.com

So, when I get dm’s and emails about the various internet based beauty and “health” products out there, I always turn them down. Whether you call yourself a rep, an associate, a presenter, or “someone just like you who decided to make money on the side doing what I love!”, I’m not interested and I’m not going to be interested.

It goes beyond just one bad experience with a “multilevel marketing plan”, (which is just a slightly more legal form of a pyramid scheme). Many of these messages I get tempt me with products for a discounted rate or free products altogether, if I’ll do a full review or look with them. And while you may see me doing reviews and posts for other brands whom I’ve been very privileged to work with, I won’t do it for an MMP. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t trust the companies and I don’t feel comfortable talking about products from pyramid schemes. 

The lady who recruited me for the jewelry scheme was miserable and hated talking to me about my failures with the business because she knew she was in part responsible for it. She lied about how great things were going in order to recruit me. And she’d gotten in deeper than I had. While I chose the cheapest entry package, she’d allowed another woman to recruit her at a higher level. She’d purchased $3000 worth of costume jewelry. She sold maybe $500 of it by the end. 

It’s lonely at the bottom of the pyramid scheme. (photo credit: pexels.com)

But, when she recruited me I didn’t get that story. Instead she showed me her fancy bag, she laughed about an upcoming convention in Florida at a gorgeous resort and how much fun it was going to be (if she recruited five more people and paid to go). She openly lied about how much she was making. And when I joined and went to my first meeting, I was instructed to do the same. 

Push the image of success, even if you will never attain it

And when I see the posts on Instagram that show *stolen* photos of glamorous resorts, or expensive shoes, or side by side comparisons of someone (who is not the salesperson) who lost a dramatic amount of weight all thanks to this pill/wrap, and the caption is, “I love how I can live more/do more/be more thanks to bla bla bla…”, I want to throw my phone. Because it’s the same thing: lying about personal success so you can recruit people to hopefully attain the success you are currently lying about. 

“This could be you!” But, it very likely won’t be. (photo credit: pexels.com)

Does every rep do this? No, I don’t think so. I know a few individuals who very earnestly love their product(s) and use it every day, regardless of how many people they may or may not recruit. But, it’s been my experience that these people are the minority.

My grandmother was a Mary Kay rep for years during the 80’s and 90’s. Her vanity was covered in that perfect Mary Kay pink and every bit of makeup she owned was Mary Kay. She was good at it. She must’ve been to do it for so long. But, Mary Kay was different. The culture was different. The time was different. My grandmother never lied because she didnt have to. She had a vibrant personality, she was funny and charming, she was beautiful, and she sold products that really were good products. So, they largely sold themselves.

She was a natural saleswoman. She just had that sparkle, so she didn’t have to fluff her numbers or steal photos or pretend to be something she wasn’t. She was just like you. Middle aged, middle class, church on Sunday. She just looked fabulous doing it. And that authenticity is what sold her products for her. 

Some people just have the gift. (photo credit: pexels.com)

And that brings me back to another reason I won’t join your MMP.  It’s the same reason I could never be a car salesperson. I don’t feel comfortable convincing people to buy things. And here’s where I know someone will say, “But, you get sent free products all the time and you talk about those!!” I do. But, here’s where it’s different:

If I’m sent something for free to try out and do a review on, that’s it. I don’t have to ask anyone to join, I’m not trying to make money, I’m not required to do anything other than try it out and put it out there that I tried it.

If what reps for MMP’s do is act as salespeople, then what I’m doing is acting as an advertisement. I’m not selling Loreal Revitalift to you. Whether you buy it or not is none of my concern. I’m just showing it to you and giving my honest opinion of it. That’s it.

One is sales. One is advertising. And they are two different beasts that require different personalities and skills. And I just don’t have the personality or the drive for sales. I don’t enjoy sales. I enjoy the creative aspect of advertising and at the end of the day, what anyone chooses to do based on a review I give or on my original photos is up to them; not me. 

photo credit: pexels.com


I’m not going to join your team. I’m not going to try your products so hopefully one of my 3000 Instagram followers will join your team. It’s not personal. It’s just I am not the person for the job. And if your products really do work and you really are making bank, I’m happy for you. I don’t wish ill on anyone. But, if I ignore your messages or block you because you keep messaging me about your MMP, at least now you’ll know why.

It’s not personal. It’s business. And while it may be a business that works for you, it will never work for me. 

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