multi level marketing in Spain
Home » Multi-level marketing in Spain: It’s not ‘your own business’, and it’s full of problems

Multi-level marketing in Spain: It’s not ‘your own business’, and it’s full of problems

I got a Facebook friend request out of the blue a few weeks ago from someone I hadn’t heard of or spoken to in decades, someone from my college days.

At that moment, multi-level marketing in Spain was the last thing on my mind, but I remembered her name, and clicked through to see her profile. I’d go as far as to say we’d never liked each other very much – so I was wondering why on earth she had added me after all these years. Then I saw her recent public status – she had just launched ‘her’ new business, selling a range of ‘exclusive’ cosmetics, and was thrilled to be an entrepreneur.

Oh boy. Then I got it.

This brand was very familiar to me, as it had ripped through the fairly small pond of the English speaking community in the part of Spain where I lived a few years ago, leaving in its wake the familiar trail of devastation. Spoiled friendships, embarrassment, stashes of unwanted products, and in more than one case, clinical depression and isolation.

That particular one, with its cult-like approach and deceptive association with abuse survivor charities, was particularly iniquitous and damaging. Not all multi-level marketing companies are the same, and certainly the quality of the products varies hugely: I would rather buy Dorling Kindersley books or Pampered Chef kitchen products without the emotional blackmail of ‘supporting’ a friend, though. While other ranges popular for multi-level marketing in Spain (especially in the health and wellness category) are extremely dodgy.

Other products are very inferior, and mostly overpriced. Take doTERRA, an essential oil MLM, whose products are three times more expensive for half the amount of oil than you can buy from online retailers. I cannot imagine how people still fall for this stuff in a year when we have instant price comparisons and online retail at our fingertips, but I guess its amazing what the presence of a persuasive friend can do.

Regardless of product, they do all have certain things in common, which are a dead giveaway.

Multi-level marketing in Spain: let’s do the maths

Let’s start with the arithmetic…

Essentially, the maths of the infinite downline simply doesn’t work. Unless you’re very close to the top, the odds of making money are extremely low. (Don’t believe me? Request the current income disclosure statement of your chosen company from your upline, and read it thoroughly. Or read independent research. The evidence is irrefutable. The entire thing is built on a ‘greater fool’ theory of finding endlessly new people to sell product to, so a hard ratio of winners to losers is built in to the business model from the start.

And of course the maths fails particularly quickly when you have a limited population group in the first place, like an expat community. There is a seriously finite cap on the number of scented wax melts or fake perfumes such a small group can sell to each other.

But we’re not selling, we’re ‘helping’ people…

Let’s get real for a moment, they ALL depend on exploitation and getting other people to earn money and do the work downstream of you. No, it’s not ‘helping’ people. You cannot make money selling products alone, you have to recruit (see FTC ruling on Herbalife’s misrepresentation of that here, they got fined $200m, but they’re still going strong in Spain and elsewhere.)

Furthermore, many of them make dangerously unfounded claims about their products, which can put more than your financial health at risk. One of the worst examples I came across recently was a brand of CBD oil, which an emotionally vulnerable person with cancer – mid chemo – was being pressurised to experiment with by a so-called friend, who then tried to get her straight into selling on his behalf.

They all work in the same way, and rely on you getting your friends and family on board. Relationships get destroyed by this – if this stuff was leaping into grateful hands of your nearest and dearest, they wouldn’t all be putting pressure on each recruit to dredge up names of the distant past and look the up on Facebook decades later. Many of them are known to target women specifically and deliberately (also military wives, chronically ill people, and undocumented migrants)

In expat communities, the network for MLMs is reduced

Why would someone be reduced to combing back through old yearbooks and randomly searching out names of someone they took a class with in the 90s and didn’t even like?

Because multi-level marketing in Spain and elsewhere destroys people’s self-esteem and mental health – sucking them in with the promises of easy money ‘just posting on Facebook’, then blaming them for not working hard enough or buying enough product, passing on the pressure coming down the line at them about their own volumes. And once their victim has alienated the ‘haters’ who just ‘don’t support them,’ they suddenly realise they’re all the people they used to call family and friends.

Sadly some of those people are now laughing behind their hands at the deluded ‘boss babe’, desperately posting away about her amazing business owner lifestyle and how she’s self employed and loving it – while she may well be sliding into panic and debt, unable to keep up the front any longer, and desperate for a way out.

So that’s the long version of rule #3 in the Remote Work Spain community – no MLM. No exceptions.

If you want to run your own business – fantastic, we will help you.

We have plenty of content to support you in business formation and self-employment options. In so many of the typical MLM categories, from cosmetics to wellbeing, there are endless opportunities to really work for yourself locally and build something sustainable, that people will actually be grateful for. And you can advertise for free in our Facebook group.

If you’re great at selling – fantastic, people will hire you, sales is a great remote work option. They’ll pay you great commission on top of decent basic salaries if you’re any good, and you won’t have to hold stock or recruit other people.

And if you’ve read this far shaking your head about how you know they can be bad but your MLM is different, then… No worries, you do you.

Don’t slide into my DMs with your exclusive offers (or those of anyone in Remote Work Spain), and we will get along just fine.

Maya Middlemiss

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