Yesterday a well known social media speaker and author made some comments about our industry that got my blood boiling. The gist of his comments was that there are many more network marketers who make false promises and engage in unethical behavior than good direct sellers and companies who live by a code of ethics and actually profit from the business. I considered posting the entire exchange I had with him here, but decided that it would probably get your blood boiling as much as it did mine, and would be counter-productive.
And the thing is, I know where the blanket statements this person was making come from. The fact of the matter is that there are people and companies in this industry that have made crazy statements that lead to disappointments. In fact, I address this in this post: Direct Sellers, Cut the Crap.
But I also think it’s irresponsible for people with a great amount of influence on the social web to be making sweeping generalizations about a good industry without data to back it up. (And honestly, you can find horror stories and charlatans in any industry. Just look at social media speakers and authors!)
This speaker has since deleted some of the more inflammatory things he posted, such as the statement:
If my book becomes popular with MLM people, I’m putting in a manufacturers recall and personally driving around to rip copies out of peoples hands
…and I’m glad. Because I believe a lot was said in the heat of the moment that was destructive. (NOTE: This was not deleted. I couldn’t find it before but it’s still there. The speaker did not delete anything.)
We as people who love this industry have to do more to get the good news out about direct selling. We need to tell our stories without hype. Yes, a lot of people make a few extra hundred dollars a month. And that’s a car payment. Or tuition for a child’s school program. That money makes a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.
No one should be saying that MLM is easy. In order to make money, you have to work. But there is a system in place that, when followed, can bring success. Not everyone will be successful in MLM, just as not everyone will be successful in social media. It takes work. But to classify an entire industry as being made up mostly of bad people is a lie, and one I won’t stand for.
There is so much that’s good about our companies. The charitable giving programs. The DSA Code of Ethics we comply with. The opportunity we provide to those willing to work. The recognition. The friendships. The hope.
Have we had black marks in our history? Yes. No one denies it. But I also refuse to let an entire industry be condemned for the unfortunate actions of a few.
Walk in my shoes for a while. Meet the incredible, ethical people I know in companies throughout this industry (I know a LOT of them.) Watch the tears streaming down faces when people, for the first time perhaps, have been recognized for their efforts. Live this life before you condemn. It may change your entire perspective.