Businesses that involve selling products to family and friends and recruiting other people to do the same are called multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing, or direct marketing businesses. Some MLMs are illegal pyramid schemes. Before joining an MLM program, here are some things to know.
What Are MLMs and How Do They Work?
MLM companies sell their products or services through person-to-person sales. That means you’re selling directly to other people, maybe from your home, a customer’s home, or online.
If you join an MLM program, the company may refer to you as an independent “distributor,” “participant,” or “contractor.” Most MLMs say you can make money two ways:
- by selling the MLM’s products yourself to “retail” customers who are not involved in the MLM
- by recruiting new distributors and earning commissions based on what they buy and their sales to retail customers
Your recruits, the people they recruit, and so