This is going to be a bit controversial and I know some feelings will be hurt. Honestly, my goal here isn't to upset anyone but to bring attention to a really important thing that so many people struggle with. I want to talk about multi-level marketing, or as it's commonly known; MLM.
Multi-level marketing is a business model where a brand "hires" consultants to distribute their products. The problem with multi-level marketing is that the job is entirely commission based and people are losing money. Many of these companies have rules about how much a consultant must sell to stay on board and require these consultants to carry inventory. Basically, people invest their own money into the business and hope they can convince their family and friends to buy enough products.
Another strong aspect of MLM is recruitment. A significant portion of a consultant's income is expected to come in the form of recruiting friends and family to also sell products. Moms dominate a significant chunk of the individuals who work for these companies.
This article isn't going to be about the practices of multi-level marketing. This article is simply a request. A request that consultants for these companies stop preying on moms. Moms are a common and often easy target for consultants. There are two ways they attack moms and I want to discuss both of them.
1. "Join my team"
This is probably the most typical thing. Moms are great targets for the recruitment side of the business. Why? It's simple. MLMs promise to give moms the best of both worlds. They promise you'll be able to stay home with your babies and never miss a moment while still generating income to support your family.
MLM consultants will go after the mom who is getting close to the end of maternity leave and feeling sad about needing to return to work. "What if you didn't have to?" They'll also prey on the mom who is trying to make it work as a stay-at-home mom already. "What if you could make some money to help out with finances without getting a job? Wouldn't that relieve some stress?"
It's all too common and it's truly disturbing. The reality is most people will not become wildly successful in direct sales. You're lucky if you make anything and you stand a very good chance of losing money. The stay-at-home mom you attack often has a very delicate budget in the balance to allow it to work. When you prey on her, you put it all in jeopardy.
When I decided to tackle this subject, I reached out to some women to get their thoughts on the subject. One mom told me, "My husband and I got suckered into (company name) years ago when my oldest son was a baby. The "friends" that talked us into joining totally preyed on my desire to be a stay at home mom. They quit speaking to us when we realized it wasn't for us."
Another said, "They 100% target moms. The posts are ALWAYS saying things like, “I get to be a stay at home mom and make money!” It’s awful."
Please, stop this. Stop manipulating vulnerable women facing some of the toughest choices they'll have to make. Stop dangling this idea of an ideal world in front of them that is NOT easily attainable and is downright impossible for many.
2. "I can help you."
Social media is heavily saturated with the "business posts" of MLM sales people. We are all used to the occasional annoying inbox about products or "teams" but you're not imagining it if you've noticed a huge increase in these messages postpartum.
What do all new moms have in common? We're tired, we're adjusting to a new body, and we're stressed. New moms are a huge target for sales, especially those related to weight loss products and programs. I'm just going to say it, if you decide to message a new mom who is struggling with her postpartum body and offer her weight loss products, you need to assess your life.
These posts and messages are at best, annoying and at worst, harassment. So stop. Stop trying to profit off a new mother's vulnerability. Stop implying that the postpartum body is something to be ashamed of.
If you're a new mom who is feeling pressured, you're definitely not alone. Research everything and make informed decisions. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with taking some risks but make sure you know exactly what your risk and chance for reward will be.