You Ain’t No Boss, Babe.
“Be your own boss with this opportunity!” A fallacy.
Being your own boss means you’re in full control of everything your company does, right? You have control over what you’re selling, the prices, when sales happen, changes in company policy, etc., right?
When you join an MLM you’re not in control of the products, the prices, when sales happen, or changes in company policies, right?
Well this is quite the discordance we’ve found ourselves in. Let me break this down.
Here’s some people who can make changes to products, policies, and payments in MLMs, and what the company states a distributor of said company can do:
Carl Daikeler — Beachbody
“Carl Daikeler is Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Beachbody Company, a leader in digital at-home fitness and nutrition with a 20+ year record of creating innovative content and powerful brands.
…Under his leadership, Beachbody was the first to forecast a future where the home would become the dominant and legitimate fitness and nutrition hub. With some of the most consistent success using direct marketing to acquire customers, and the earliest of social-media influencer networks, Carl uses an empirical approach to develop product, test, learn, revise and rollout.”
What Beachbody says about people who join their company:
“1.2 Purpose of Policies
In addition to other sales channels, Beachbody markets its products through independent contractor sales representatives called “Coaches.” To clearly define the relationship that exists between Coaches and Beachbody, and to explicitly set a standard for acceptable business conduct, Beachbody has established the Agreement.”
Luis Urdaneta — Monat
“After launching a very successful direct selling company in Latin America, Sr. Luis and Ray Urdaneta, his son, co-founded ALCORA GROUP which would ultimately lead to MONAT.”
What Monat says about joining them:
“1.2 — PURPOSE OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
MONAT is a direct sales company that markets its products through Independent Market Partners (“Market Partner” or “Market Partners”). It is important to understand that your success and the success of your fellow Market Partners depends on the integrity of the individuals who market our products. To clearly define the relationship that exists between Market Partners and MONAT, and to explicitly set a standard for acceptable business conduct, MONAT has established the Agreement.
MONAT Market Partners are required to comply with all of the Policies and Procedures which MONAT may amend from time to time, at its sole discretion, as well as all federal, state and local laws governing their MONAT business and their conduct.”
Mark Pentecost — ItWorks!
“Pentecost’s company, It Works!, is a direct sales enterprise that sells body contouring wraps, health foods and personal care products.”
“1.2 — Purpose of Policies
It Works! is a direct sales company that markets its products and services through Independent Distributors…
…It Works! Distributors are required to comply with all of the Terms and Conditions set forth in the Agreement which It Works! may amend at its sole discretion from time to time…”
Brian Underwood — Pruvit
“My co-founders, Terry LaCore and Christopher Harding, and I were first introduced to ketone technology several years ago and were blown away by the potential. We knew that this was a product that would resonate with the customer. So once we found our hero offering, we set out to create the branding, education and culture behind it, and that’s what led us to Prüvit.”
“4.1 Rights Granted
a. Pruvit hereby grants to the Promoter a non-exclusive right, based upon the terms and conditions contained in the Agreement to:
i. Purchase Pruvit products and services;
ii. Promote and sell Pruvit products and services; and
iii. Sponsor new Promoters and Customers in countries where Pruvit is currently authorized to do business or becomes authorized to business in the future.”
You get the point.
A major problem here is that MLM distributors across the board promote “being your own boss,” when clearly that’s not the case. This is a huge marketing tactic to get people, mainly women, interested in whatever this business opportunity is. A 1099 independent contractor does not a being your own boss make.
And while this isn’t technically breaking any rules, it is misleading. In my opinion, this promise of your “own business” leads to financial decisions that could seriously negatively impact a person’s life when they join the company. Oftentimes (read: not always) it isn’t even the company saying this, but it’s the distributors that are trying to recruit someone (who were probably also recruited this way) with this verbiage.
It’s quite clear when going through any MLM’s policies and procedures that they delineate where the company is and where the distributor is. While there may be a gray area in the flashy titles on the main sites, when you get into the legal documents, it’s very black and white. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks to look up and read these documents before they decide to join a company, and that’s where the continuation of the #bossbabe own your own business trope carries on.