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May 31, 2017 38 mins

Multi Level Marketing business ventures like LuLaRoe and ItWorks are getting more popular, especially with women. Can selling leggings on Facebook really be a good way to make money or is it all a scam?

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Emily, and this is Bridget and this
is this stuff Mom never told you. And today we've
got a hot topic that I have been speaking out over.

So let me take you back first. Let me tell
you this. So I my very best friend on the planet,
who I grew up across the street from, who I've
been best pals with since like three years old. Um.
She surprised me this past holiday season when I was
home for the holidays. We had dinner together and she said, Hey,
did you see that I started a business? I said, no,

I missed that. She Um. She and I took very
different paths after college, and she has just been crushing
it on Um a corporate level in terms of like
rising in the rank. She just got her business degree.
She's lives near Um, the Connecticut town where we grew up.
She's like one of those twenty somethings that buys her
first house before like the age of and I'm one

of those people who's like renting friends that I require
living in a city where I don't need to own
a car. So our lives look very different. And I
was surprised to hear that she started business. She started
telling me about it and she, like so many women,
is selling lu lu row lu lu row if you
haven't heard of them yet, they are a multi level
marketing company that sells is sort of known for their

signature quote buttery soft leggings, which I'm not gonna lie,
I have a pair of. Christine has gifted me a
few different items over the over the years now not
even years months that she's been doing this. So what happens?
What happens with my best gal pal for life tells
me that she's involved in a MLM multi level marketing company.

I get very protective, I get very defensive, and I'm like,
what is this thing? And as someone who bootstrap my
own business, I'm very curious about how this works. And
so I go home after that break, that holiday break,
and Brad's like laughing as I'm watching YouTube YouTube video
about lu laar row, and there are like hundreds of

thousands of lu lu ro distributors on YouTube talking about
how to make it and how to do this right
and how you know why lu lu row is a
scam and why lulu row is amazing. They're very very
polarized feelings out there on the interwebs, and I like
watched countless hours of these testimonial videos and like individual women,
and I went deeper and deeper into this issue, and

Brad's like he would like come home and be like,
are you still watching videos? And it's a little embarrassing.
But what we want to unpack today is the facts
that we found about not just lu lu Ro, but
multi level marketing companies more broadly. And they're more sinister sister,
kind of struck her cousin whatever you might call it,

the good old fashioned pyramid scheme because, as it turns out,
some some facts, some research, and I can't say that
this is like fully credible because it's not very public
in terms of how they gain their numbers, but some
industry reports have shown that seventy six percent of multi
level marketing UH distributors are women. And so I think

in this industry, which is banking it. By the way,
this is a larger than you might think industry because
they did thirty six billion dollars in revenues according to
some industry reports. Um, you know, it's important to understand
how it works, Mary Kay, herbal Life, you know, new Skin, whatever.

These different multi level marketing companies are, how they fit
into women's lives and entrepreneurship and whether or not it's
a good thing. Now you might be able to tell already.
I have some feels about this, and I wanted to
be valid, right. I don't want to just I want

to support my my best scalpal, and I want to
champion her and and sheer lead all women bosses out there.
But I also am very skeptical. And let me tell you,
the research we did in preparation for this did not
leave me feeling less skeptical. Well, I can tell you
some personal research I've done on Lularo leggings, which is
that I bought a pair of their buttery soft lagging.
Tell me how you bought it. Did you buy it

on Facebook? Yes? I bought it on Facebook because the
way that they sell is through weird Facebook, and you can't.
That's why it's such a problem, because you can't. Actually,
it's hard to return when you buy something that's effective,
it's hard to return it because you disclaimer, I don't
really know where you bought it from, even um so,
I were their leggings out, you know, out and about
in my day. Um Lord knows how long this was

the case for. But I sit down on a bench
and I realized my whole butt was out and that
they had totally ripped down the middle like a paper bag.
I have so like, probably for hours throughout the day,
I'm just walking around the start button. Nobody stopped you,
Nobody said a thing, and it wasn't. I sat on

a cold bench and even then I was like, man
is the cold bench? And I was like, wait, my
budget and it even showing for hours. And there are
a lot of reports about um lu lar Row being
a little bit defective and having some issues with not
making returns easy um but I also want to acknowledge
like product quality aside, like there are big issues with

multi level marketing. And let's just define our terms here
for a second, because there is a distinct difference between
multi level marketing companies and pyramid schemes, the most obvious
difference of which is legality. Pyramid schemes are fully illegal,
so it's up to the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission,

to determine what is and what is not a pyramid scheme.
But in recent years they have not, probably because who
has the bandwidth and maybe they don't have the funding,
and maybe they aren't supported by the budget, but they
have not taken a very active role in cracking down
on any companies that are deemed pyramid schemes, So they
like have not really done that part of their job.

And even the ones that are like pretty clearly pyramid schemes,
they don't they don't actually call them pyramid seas and
them well, I mean it's interesting because John Oliver did
a really great expose on uh, pyramid schemes in the
United States, which I highly recommend you watch, pause this
and go watch it right now. It's in the show
notes where he unpacks like why pyramid schemes are so detrimental.

And here's the thing, right, so a pyramid scheme is
and there are some out there and and some that
are out there. By the way, my main beef here
that really gets me fired up is the fact that
there are there's like a well known sect of pyramid
schemes out there called women Helping Women or women in

Powering women and they're again capitalizing on feminism in the
most awful exploit of web. So what has it? And
I mean, there isn't a lot out there on the
web because it's totally illegal that you join a Lotus
Circle or a Rose circle or some sort of circle.

They have a lot of imagery. It's very cult like
and how they prey on people who are somewhat desperate,
somewhat without option, somewhat isolated, and are looking for community
that is very very much about support and emotional friendship
as much as it is about business. And they say, okay,
you're in a level one. You're a level one Lotus

Circle member. That means you give five thousand dollars in
cash or maybe it's five in cash to the women
on level two and you're gonna bless them with this.
It's sort of like it evokes some of the ways
in which the church structure has what are they called
tidings or tive t. It's a hard word to say,

so it's kind of it evokes that emotional feeling of
like you're paying it forward, and here's why you're paying
it for it because once you're in the circle, then
the women who come after you pay you and it's
just cash money, Okay, it's like, if you support women,
here's how your donation will go to support women. That
that makes me so sad, because I mean, I'm definitely thinking,

as you're describing this to me, who would ever do that?
But it's people who are desperate. They don't feel like
they have other options, and so in my mind are like,
here's the promise, here's the promise, right, because what's in
it for me is made very clear to them. They say,
there's only three levels, or there's only five levels. So
in just five rounds of recruitment, which is your job,
by the way, to get your next people to pay

you five K and to join the circle of sisterhood,
you know what I mean? They really, they really use
these psychological tricks around community sisterhood, feminism, women supporting women
to say here's how it works, and like to kind
of press sure you in. Once you're in the circle,
you move up, and when you move into the circle,
five thousand turns to ten thousand, ten thousand turns to fifty.

And then when you're in the middle, your turn is up.
You leave the circle and it's done. But guess what
happens before anyone gets in the middle. Those women disappear
like this is full on fraud, total fraud, and the
people who lose out are like economically like, um not,
I don't want to say poor because they've got five
cake stick around, but like they're vulnerable, they're week Sometimes

they go into debt for this often like I don't
have access to money because my husband is the breadwinner,
and so this is my way to get that you know,
f off fund if I need it. That is the
worst of the worst, and it's it has to be
said that that's full on illegal because a pyramid scheme
is defined in by the FTC as a company or

organization that doesn't actually have a product or service in
the selling. They're not, so they're not flaging. It's what
I think is so interesting is that even though a
pyramid scheme and mL MLM are different, there's some of
the same hallmarks, like that very not maybe CULTI is

too strong, but that very like totally enticing language. It's
like really praise on women who want a certain kind
of life. And I think that that's what I find.
I mean, honestly, in doing research for the show, I
totally got how people would be enticed by some of
the language they use on these on these pitch sides. Yeah,
and you know, it's important to say that a lot

of these are not women solely focused, like I think
mary Kay comes to mind is one of the oldest,
longest standing MLMs, UM focusing on women, and there's a
lot of women involved because this has to do with
beauty products and um and health products like Herbal Life
or it works, but Herbal Life like recruits dudes too.
But because of the bulk of women involved in this industry,

and I think it's actually having a resurgence right definitely
is UM the message of feminism is coming in, like
they're using feminism just like some companies are to prey
on women who are going to be guilted into helping
other women. Yeah, there's a commercial on TV right now
for mary Kay where it's a black woman and she's
singing along to like a mary Kay like song parody

of the song UM I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor,
which you know, was like a feminist anthem, and it's like,
you know, I used to be in an office and
I was horrified. I'm sure that's the thing. So this
is part of I think as a entrepreneur, I also
cringe at because it's saying, Oh, you're one of those

lame nine to five rs with like benefits and like
come be a driver for uber or lip like come
be you know the giga connage we're gonna talk about
in another episode. But I mean, this is saying the
cool thing to be right now is a hashtag girl boss.
So here we go full circle on girl boss, except

this is righting on women to enter pyramid schemes or
MLMs that are comparable too. And now there are m
LM slangers on this podcast. I am sure of it
because there's so many of us. Prove me wrong, ladies,
like please tell me I am wrong, and please tell
me about your success stories because I need some hope
after doing diving into this. Because here's the deal. M

l m s are legal, or at least haven't been
cracked down many of them, most of them because technically speaking,
they are providing a retail product or service technically to
people outside of the institution. So a pyramid scheme, the
only person paying money, the only exchange of goods and

services is within the organizational structure, and there's no value
going down the pyramid. It's like there's money going up
and flowing up or to the inside of the lotus circle,
whatever you want to call it, but there's no value
being delivered. Whereas lu lu row and it works. They
have products that they're delivering, right, And so I think
at this shi that I found really helpful and the

research was this idea that if if the only, if
there's not incentive to sell things to people outside, right,
the only person buying Herbal Life is the Herbal Life salesperson.
But bridget it gets more complicated. So the price of membership,
the price of becoming a licensed distributor, or whatever you

want to whatever they might call it. The barrier to
entry is typically a certain amount of stuff that you
have to buy from h Q. So so you're an
independent distributor, you have to buy x dollars of leggings
a month to have the privilege to sell as a distributor,
otherwise you have to quit. That is where this gets

much closer to being a pyramid scheme because who's the
main consumer. It's other distributors. Now, if that distributor is
selling leggings outside of the outside of the company, great,
right there, That is like being a franchise owner. But
if the main return on investment for the individual distributor
actually comes from the financial incentives that many of these

companies give to people for recruiting more executors. Then that
has all the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme because I
think I think it's like you are then responsible not
for selling leggings or jewelry or whatever, you're also responsible
for getting other people to sell it, which is to me,
is like it's like if you work for an organization

and the idea that like part of your job would
be to recruit others to also work for that organization,
that would be that would feel really weird. It's weird
because that's happening. So I've seen that happen at very
many legit companies too, So I mean I have to
sort of play Devil's advocate here because it's a very
competitive talent market right now, especially in the high tech
space a skilled labor force. So I've seen lots of

legit companies say you get five dollars cash when you
recruit a talent, right, So I think it's fine to
have it, have it be incentivized, but have it to
have it to bake it into part of and that
part of the business model. I think, so or that
would be like a huge weird red flag to me,
like it's part of my job that I have to
like bring a friend into this organization like that to

me sounds like it would be really red flag. Yeah.
And I don't even like the referral fees that are
in the coaching world and that like I stay away
from that because that makes more sense to me where
it's like if you refer someone you get X amount
of money. Yeah, I don't know, but you're not like
employed by the cor So the thing that's really troubling
about that set up. Where this gets troubling is when

when distributors make a percentage off of what the distributors
that they brought in make. Does that make sense? But
like part of your profit is if the bigger you
grow your team below you, the more money that you're
bringing in, regardless of how much they're making. So there
are some people who are in early. This is the
trick with with it works herbal life um lu la row.

The women who were in early did make some money
are probably still making some money. And the later you
enter the scheme or the later you're entering the MLM,
the further down on the sort of pyramid one might
say that you are the less likelihood that you are
to turn a profit. So it becomes this. If you
you've seen this ladies on your on your Facebook, all

the distributors, and I've got a lot of them in
my network. Like, I'm not trying to throw a shade here,
because there's no shame in the side hustle game, and
there's no shame in wanting to bring in some extra revenue, right,
get your money. But when you're seeing you know, hey,
mom's do you want to make a little extra coin
without having to leave your kid? You know? Do you

want to if I could, if I told you that
I had an opportunity for you where you could bring
in five one thousand, five thousand dollars a month without
leaving your kitchen table, wouldn't you jump at that? But
I mean that's what that's why I find so infuriating
about this is that one that of course that sounds
too good to be true, right, good old saying, OK,
if it's if it takes to it probably is. And

then too, it's the way they prey on people who
you know, for whom working at a nine to five,
going to an office everything would be bad thing. But yeah,
but for people like say at home moms, where that
would be people who have kids will be difficult. It's
difficult to arrange, you know, to go out and do
you know, work in an office or work at a
store a few day. But selling people who already have

somewhat more limited options this perfect thing that's going to
allow them to like take their finances into their own
hands and be independent women and also not leave their kids.
That sounds amazing, but it also capitalizes on a little
bit of desperation exactly. And disagree with me. I'm interested
in those who want to prove me wrong, and I really,
really genuinely want to get to the root of this.

But the some of the research that John Oliver's brilliant
journalistic team pulled out really stuck with me. They looked
into the income statements that were published by New Skin Enterprises,
which is one of these MLMs, and what they what
they cited it in that John Oliver segment was that
three percent of distributors made no money at all. And

this is a legal multi level marketing situation. This is
not a illegal pyramid scheme. But the question is are
the rewards really there for the majority of people who
work for your company. Of the people working for you
don't make any money like, how is that not? I
don't want to call it a scam, but it's totally

like like, I don't how do you really feel? Yeah,
I mean I'm trying to hold back because I don't
want to be like, well, that sounds like an outright scam,
but like, how like when you when you see those
figures of how many people are making nothing, that's absurd
to me. And then there's there are the exceptional cases
that are very persuasive. You know. I talked to my friend,
my best pal from home, and I said, how you

know what brought you into this? She's an accountant, she's
a smart woman. And I'm not saying that anyone who's
in this is not it's not totally with it. It's
not eyes are wide open for these distributors. And I
said to her, I said, tell me why this is legit.
I thought this was kind of a scam. And she says, well,
my cousin's making bank doing it. And see, that's what

I think is anecdotal and everyone can point to someone
else of being like, oh, well, my my sister's my
sister's friend is doing great, like she you know, it's
like it's so anecdotal. And it's like those anecdotal case
studies are the ones that really so you can see.
You can read a million articles about how people are
getting scam any money and then and then what it

turns into is shame. So if you're not making money,
there's something wrong with you, right, and that pressure, that
shame is what I mean. There's just so many things
about this that feels like it's like these models are
praying on women who are desperate to enter the workforce
that does not allow them to because of our backwards

laws in this country about making it so hard for
working women or low income women to even find the
sort of affordable childcare that they need to be an
active member of our economy or have for rental leave
policy is like, it's so easy to see how this
actually impacts low income women totally. And I think like, like,
in doing research for this episode, we watched this clip

of a woman who opened her garage and it was
boxes and boxes and boxes of unsold mary kay, And
something about that image just stuck with me of like
how shameful that must be. And then when you're always
hearing these anecdotes about someone's sister who made bank, it's
like how that would become this I'm doing this wrong.
I'm doing it wrong. You can really like internalize it

and turn that tournos feelings inward and then like not
want of telling anybody, and like it seems like a
lot of these companies really incentivized staying in even once
you know it's a bad idea. So even though you
have a garage full of mary Kay that's unsold, they
make it financially difficult to get out. And I bet
I could see how it's pretty easy for to just
be this like shameful thing that you can't get out

of until you run out of money. Okay, so let's
take a quick break so we can cool down a
little bit, and then I want to also address when
you come back, how good people get into MLM's and
why it's not you know, why it might be an
empowering path for some and and look at how to
gauge your options wisely. So we'll be right back afterward

from our sponsors. And we're back and we're talking through
the intricacies the complications of and the potential um fast
renaissance and rise, but also perhaps to demise of the

MLM and or pyramid scheme space right now. So I
want to put ourselves bridget in the shoes of my friend,
my bestie for life, who said this is an option
for me. He said, I'm going in with this eyes
wide open. You know, I am. She is not in
a financially desperate position, She does not have children, and
she joined this as a way to explore supplementary income.

And there is a case to be made. And you know,
there are a few articles out there, this one perhaps
in Forbes by Robert Laura, who says, you know, would
you join a multilevel marketing company for retirement income? Would
you do this for a little extra cash on the side,
if if the side hustle is very much an option
for you, and not I need to pay my rent

with my MLM income. And I think there's a case
to be made for some people that that's not a
terrible option because the risks outweigh the rewards. The rewards
are fine, like they can handle the risk. And honestly,
like I know, I don't at least mentioned this before,
but I really would love to hear the stories of
women out there who are you know, like, oh, I
mean my retirement savings are doing it I this has

been great for me, Like, I want to know what
that looks like, what a success with selling luluro look like? Yeah,
because those stories are few and far between the research
and the journalism on this. But I did you know
again to psyche that John Oliver segment. I did find
that a lot of women who get into this have
to make a really tough choice, and that choice is

I'm not winning at this game unless I bring others
that I love, like my friends, my network, my church,
my friend, my family, my my community into this with me.
That is the avenue to success. Am I willing to
sell them on what is not working for me in
order to make it work for me? And then what
ends up happening is people are like breaking friendships over this.

People are like not talking to family after this, because
if you're winning, it might mean that someone else below you. Um,
that's so interesting. And there's this there's this website called
Pink Truth dot com. It's basically an open form for
women who sell Mary Kay to talk about their experiences,
to share, you know, basically share the truth about it.

And one of the things I found so interesting is
that someone on this website says that Mary kay understand
ends that getting husbands to buy into the idea of
Mary kay Um when their wife is pretty much guaranteed
to lose money is key. So they actually have this
letter that's like that, it's like a form letter that
you would their husbands where it's like, thank you so
much for sharing white your name here with with us

as she goes on this journey to like help improve
women's skincare and selp this team, and it's like that.
It's so interesting to me how selling your friends and family,
even if you're not selling them on like joy a
company with you or the product, selling them that this
is going to be a good move is like baked,
you know, to the program. You know why they have
to do that because so many people like us are

like this, don't do it because they know as soon
as your friend probably knew as soon as she was
like she did, I'm selling that you were going to
be like judging? Are you? And You're They're like, this
is my bestie. I don't want to be judging, right.
I want to be curious and I want to be
a geek and I do my homework. So and I'm
gonna watch ten YouTube videos like ten come on ten

hours of so I'm I'm unfortunately, like most of the
news is not good on these things. And there's an
element to this that is especially troubling in my opinion,
because it actually it borders not just on cultiness, it
borders on capitalizing on people's spiritual belief in their ability

to succeed. Definitely. So the founders of Lularo are Mormons.
And so something that I found that was very interesting
in this research is that a lot of for a
lot of Mormon women, Mormon women are a lot less
likely to work outside of the home. So I was
reading in this specific Standard article, UM it says the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints often encourages
mothers to stay home with their children, and as a result,

Mormon women are less likely to work from home than
your average than their average American counterparts, Mormon women are
more likely to do to work part time and more
to identify themselves as housewives. And so you could really
see how if you are a Mormon woman, um, you
are more likely to be a housewife and stay at
home mom. That this kind of work that allows you
to stay in your house and not leave your kids
would be very very appealing. It's less shameful than saying

I'm I'm you know, poor me, I have to go
to work every day. Totally. And it actually says here
in Christianity today that MLMs are regarded by conservative Christians
as more more honorable option for women than normal part
part time or full time work. And so basically like
if you were going to work in a bank or
a clothing store at them all, somehow that is seen

as less saying like maybe your husband doesn't make enough
money take care of you, but if you're doing an
MLM from home and how that's yeah, that's more. That's more, okay, Yeah,
And I mean there's a lot baked into this around
shame and women's you know, ideal roles either in the
home or outside of the home. Um. And I think

what's interesting is these MLMs and also pyramid schemes like
women helping women really like rely on selling you on
the commune totally like that that more out in the
research so much like you've had these women who were
either stay at home moms or they were moving across

the country for um, you know, school or other kinds
of programs where they felt like they didn't have that
sort of like woman bonding community. And as you know
from an earlier episode, friends are important that you have
to have friends in your life, like that is a
proven thing that helps us psychologically live our lives. And
so they basically got involved in these in mlm s
because it gave them that outlet for you know, adult

interaction with that they weren't getting otherwise. Like you know, well,
you know where else you get that typically is in
your organized religion, right, I mean, that's one of the
huge hallmarks of organized religion in this country, especially as
many different churches and synagogues and organized religion communities are
you know, having trouble with recruitment into like with the

millennial generation in particular. This is filling the void. This
is stepping in as an alternative, but doing so with
the same tools and tactics all the way up to tithing, right,
Like it's the same exact model um and and follow
through with the spiritual component of you have to believe
it to see it or to be it, you know

what I mean. Like a lot of the YouTube testimonial
and man, I fell down a rabbit hole that I'm
not proud of, Like I mean spent like all night
one night watching there were women who are crying on
their YouTube videos because they are communicating on YouTube. They're
like they're talking to one another and finding support in
the YouTube community, saying I know that I can do this.

I know that I have what it takes. I know
that I have to put in my time and build
my network. But I'm just, you know, I'm failing. And
this shame of warehousing or garage status is John Oliver's
Peace sort of pointed to women who have you know,
are literally stockpiling warehousing in their houses. They feel like
they're just not believing in themselves enough, or that's what

they're being taught by some people. And I think you're
you hit right on the head where you kind of
identity five that these are the same hallmarks of organized
religion is guilt. You know, that's literally we're a little
biased when religion. The first thing that comes up in
my head is guilt. Um. But yeah, I mean when
you even look at the you know, rhetoric of their pitches,

it's so it's reminds me so much of reading like
you know, Bible study right quotes where it's like on
the one hand very inspiring, like this can change your work,
you can pay off debt, you can empower women, and
you can be your own boss. You can live for me.
There's this awesome article that I highly recommend reading too
for the geeks out there like me who are just
like you know, dying to know everything about this industry.
That I thought there was a very level handed case

made in Christianity today. Um about thirty one what's it
called thirty one gifts? Gifts? Thirty one Gifts is like
a purse ish company that brought in six hundred forty
three million last year, which is more than vera Bradley. Okay,
Like these are big companies, bigger than household names. And
the article is called the Divine and Rise of Multi

Level Marketing and they, you know, there's through two reporters
with bylines here Kate Shalnott, Hannah Anderson really take a
deep look at how these are nothing to scoff at,
Like these are companies who are killing it and it's
coming to a church near you. They talk about how
Christian women in particular, um that network through your church

and become instrumental for distributors. That makes me want to
throw up that. I mean, I just feel like it's
really taking this thing that like should be a sacred
network that you have and being like, oh, here's how
you can monetize that network, sell and sell. Like and
it's like I think about the church that I grew
up in, where it's like so many sweet little old
ladies who like if I came to them and was like,

can you buy this thing? They would totally would do
it exactly. It's like, you know, I just think like that,
like it's it's it's in my mind, it's perverting something
that I think should be very very pure and then
like not that that's the only way that those pure things. Yeah,
and I think it's also in this great article for

Christianity today, they talked about how this is spoiling the
relationships of many people who are in the same religious groups.
So this this can have negative consequences beyond financial risk,
It can have negative consequences when it comes to your
individual relationships. So it's not good. Ladies like I am
not convinced and I am open minded. I swear to you,

I really want to hear both sides of this argument.
But when I'm looking out there for credible journalistic sources.
There's almost no one other than the occasional um occasional
like self published medium post about why this is a
good thing. So when we come back from this break,
we're going to talk about how to keep your eyes
wide open when you are approached with an opportunity to

pay off debt and be your own boss and empower
women and change your life that could be. So it's
it's too good to be true, and in fact, that
is what we are saying. So we'll be right back
in just a second. So I know that we've just

spent a lot of time raining on the MLM parade,
but we wanted to also give some advice for folks
who do want to have a side hustle. Because there's
nothing wrong with wanting to make you know, extra money,
for wanting to have an outlet. You know, that's a
good thing. Like we don't want to you know, trash
that that's great. So one thing that I cannot cannot
cannot stress enough is be cautious with your side hustle.

Right like, do your due diligence, Google YouTube, check out
the Better Business Bureau, right like, get a good sampling
of stories and people's experiences with whatever organization you're about
to do, just like anything else, right, like which I
recommend all job seekers to do any deformer employees, talk
to current employees totally, and like, you know, don't just
rely on the person that's like trying to bring you

in to be forthright with you about what the vibe
is on this situation. And I think at the same
time that we're railing against these companies, we also want
to make it clear that we are not railing against
the women who are in the thick of it and
who are trying to recruit, because we get it, you're
dealing with a tough financial choice and that is the

avenue to success in MLMs and pyramid schemes. And so
you know, I have a lot of I think my
my personal feelings towards women in these feelings, like in
these um structures, is more one of empathy and like, man,
I'm sorry that this is what you're trying to hawk
right now, I'm not gonna buy sorry, how can I

help otherwise? How can you we get you a job
that's different. It's like I hate the don't hate the player,
hate the game, don't hate the women who are doing
this right, like we get it, we get it, just
like everybody is different from their job title. I know
that's hard to remember in America, Like you are not
your job. Like shout out to the women who are

n m l ms or who have gotten out of
m l m s or thinking about getting into m
l m s. I think you are worthy of like
love and belonging and connection and support and a living
wage without being a part of an m l M.
That's just my philosophy there. And then the other thing
to keep in mind is that they're not all created equal,
not all m lms or pyramid schemes, not all pyramids games,
all pyramids schemes are illegal, so they're not all as

restrictive as one another. So look into Lulu Ro's very
rapidly changing policies on returns, like how much money will
you get back if you stockpile and need to get out?
Like what is the actual amount of risk that you're
taking on? Some are more like a traditional franchise model,
like selling a subway sandwich and paying subway headquarters for

the napkins every month that you need to have because
they only let you have their expensive napkins. Also just
an fy I, if you're going to wear those leggings,
be sure to wear full butt underwear if you're going
to be in public. That's just a little from me.
You're you know what's freaking me out because I think
one of the things I stumbled upon while is doing
my lu lar Ro research was a podcast in which

they were literally having the same kind of leggings, the
leggings like exposing someone's ass like it was all out,
full full. I'm not the only one that has happened.
Now google it. Yeah yeah, yeah, So I mean we
could do a whole episode on leggings. We could doing it.
It's happening, Yeah, go ahead. So yeah, just another in

addition to the leggings, an underwear thing. You know, it's
too good to be true, probably is, right, Like if
someone is selling you this idea that you can work
from home, make your own schedule, be your own boss,
pay off all your debt, pay off your student loans,
become rich, like all of these things that Shoul's in
the red flag up that you should do some research
because again, if if if that was true, wouldn't everybody

be doing it? So just keep that in mind, and
you know that advice reminds me of actually Warren Buffett,
of all people who's like probably so far from lu
La Row on the business spectrum that it's comical. But
you know, Warren Buffett is this prolific investor, and he
had some great advice for investing. He said, if I
don't understand how a company makes money, I don't invest
in it. So, if it sounds too good to be true,

if they're just manufacturing cash money out of thin air,
and it's not clear where the value is going and
who the customer bases other than other distributors, be like
Warren and be cautious, right, be skeptical. It's a healthy
amount of skepticism. And if you are skeptical with other
distributors and they start, you know, gaslighting you and making
you feel like an idiot, making you feel like you're bad, like,

don't let that shame based pressure pressure you into joining
anyone of these. So I think macro level solution once again,
which I think we find ourselves saying very often here
be is that what women really need to be successful
economically are policies that protect women. Things like equal pay

for equal work totally, things like paid parental leave, policies
so that men and women can have kids without sacrificing
their entire career trajectories. And flexible work for all, like
including shift workers, including workers at minimum wage. Like flexibility
matters for men and women who want to find a

healthy amount of work life balance without you know, having
to talk leggings to slang leggings totally. And I think,
like for me, if we had better workplace policies and
and sort of better pay all for women, people wouldn't
feel like they had to do this right Yeah, I
feel yeah, I could not agree more. And I hope
that our listeners and our fan base know that like,

this is a safe space. Sventy's community is a safe
space for you to be candid with us about you know,
where we're what we're overlooking here and um, if this
if an MLM has been a vehicle for you to
empowerment and financial freedom, I want to really genuinely we
want to hear from you. Um, so don't forget that
you know we are listening on Twitter at mom Stuff podcast.

We are excited to get your emails telling us about
your experience with with MLMs or pyramid schemes, good, bad,
and ugly um at mom stuff at how stuff works
dot com. So I think I think we did NLMs justice.
We think so, you think so, I hope. So I
think we maybe not justice, Maybe that's not the right.
We brought them to justice. Alright, ladies, we can't wait

to hear from you soon. To get in touch and
we'll be back and hear your bed soon

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Anney Reese

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