Friends and relatives of participants. Many simply fall for the person-to-person appeals used so effectively in endless chain recruitment programs. And some join just to please a friend or loved one and come to see after several meetings with skilled recruiters some possibility that they may personally gain as well. However, in nearly every case, the result is disappointment and loss – sometimes significant losses as result of a recruiter exploiting this relationship. Trust is violated and relationships are strained.
The unemployed or underemployed. Many are struggling and eager to improve their situation – often willing to grasp at any straw that looks promising. They are sitting ducks for the oft-repeated slogans of MLM recruiters that portray MLM as a solution to their financial woes. This to me is one of the most reprehensible strategies of MLM recruiters. Those who join nearly always get further in debt or lose what precious resources they had left – only to enrich TOPPs (top-of-the-pyramid promoters).
Ambitious but unwise entrepreneurs. Some of these find the MLM appeals of “residual income,” “time freedom,” “multiple streams of income,” etc. irresistible. They are always looking for ways to make a buck, especially the possibility of “absentee income.” They also fail to see the inherent fallacies underlying all “entrepreneurial chains.”
The unsophisticated and unedu-cated. Persons unschooled or weak in their under-standing of basic mathematics or economics may they fail to see the inherent flaws in endless chain recruitment systems. These folks may not be of low intelligence, just lacking in mathematical savvy.
The knowledgeable but unwary. Others are just caught unaware, as the dialogue of deception is so pervasive and skillful that even intelligent people are often duped into believing that MLM could be legitimate.
I have to admit that I was one of those. With an MBA background which included two years in statistics, economics, accounting, and finance and with research skills from my doctoral studies, and though I was originally very skeptical, I eventually fell for the deceitful rhetoric of my recruiters and upline. My “due diligence” in contacting federal and state sources and the Better Business Bureau were not helpful. (See Chapter 1 for my full story.)
Common interests. Some find themselves drawn into an MLM program because of some interest shared by an MLM recruiter. It may be an important relationship with the recruiter or an interest in earning large sums of money on an absentee basis so they can pursue other interests. More common are those who have a passion for alternative medicine, for “pill, potions, and lotions,” with magical properties that promoters claim will cure or prevent all sorts of maladies, enhance one’s energy and mood, and even prolong one’s life.
Members of close-knit organizations. Once a member of an organization that has cultivated very close relationships becomes hooked on MLM, he or she may be successful in recruiting others and they still others in a subgroup of MLM adherents that eventually involves the whole organiza-tion.. An “us vs. them” mentality can set in, much like a cult. For example, some Mormon and Amish com-munities have been power-fully affected by MLM recruitment campaigns.
MLM junkies. These are persons who have become addicted to the passive income appeal of MLM and have failed time after time in each of several MLMs, but keep trying new ones in hopes that “this may be the one.” They are like the person in and out of a long string of romantic relationships looking for the ideal mate.
Many friends and family members of such MLM junkies have written me, pleading for ways to deprogram those for whom they care deeply but who turn a deaf ear to reason. Regrettably, I have to tell them that a person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. They may have to crash and burn before they come to their senses.
Some never will accept the truth about what their MLM involvement has done to them. One young woman reported that during her growing up years her father was always spending the family’s resources chasing the dream of becoming a Diamond in Amway. He had given up his college education to pursue his “dream” and accepted government welfare to help support his family. She avoided having friends over because they would see that she and her siblings slept on mattresses on the floor. This had been going on for 20 years!