It was when my sister and mum got into Lampe Berger. The first time they got pitched the idea, I was there and it felt wrong to me. It felt like it's going against nature, going through a shortcut in life. I didn't like it at all. They started by investing RM3000, buying oil lamps. Then my sister got all excited and started her 'business' to earn some money of her own. Eventually the hype died down and we all just forgot about it. A few years later, we heard that the whole scheme collapsed and all the members got into debt. Thank God we only started small.
Then when I left my sheltered life behind in Cheras and got into college, I got exposed to MLM on a bigger scale. First it was Dhinesh, my friend from college. His parents is in Amway and he plans to build his own Amway business and retire early so he can travel and achieve his dreams. I really think he can do it, he's the kind of person that will succeed in MLM. When he talked to me about his home-based business, I had no idea it was MLM at all. I brought my mum along to this talk he had. The moment they said the words Amway and MLM, a fresh wave from the past flooded me. Call me skeptical, but I don't like anything that has to do with MLM. From that time onwards, whenever Dhinesh talked to me about Amway, I just nod and make agreeable sounds but remain distant about it. He was persistent and finally I promised him that if whenever I want to get into MLM, I would ask him for help.
Then my mum went into Cosway, she was and is absolutely positive about it. Cosway is like Amway, but they run shops. She plans to run a Cosway shop of her own with her friend. I guess it's okay because she just invests a returnable deposit and Cosway will pay for the shop's expenditure. But then she has to buy a certain amount of items from Cosway every month. Now I'm deprived of certain brands of common items like Darlie, Pantene and Kotex. Cosway has their own brands for everything but it feels odd. I've been using these brands for years and I don't like how I have to change them now. My mum tried to sign me on to her downline but I was against it. She was okay with it, she got my sister and brother to help her out.
A few days back, this girl, Nikko messaged me on Facebook about hiring Psychology graduates and students from HELP University College. She said it's a wellness coach job and she's a nutritionist. I saw pictures of her on Facebook about Herbalife and I knew something was off. But, I put all my pessimistic thoughts behind. It sounded good because I needed a job anyway, so I went for it and met her today. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I was expecting a proper job where I get to exercise my psychological skills I learned at college. When we sat down to talk about the 'job prospects', I immediately got down to business and stated the obvious, "Is Herbalife about MLM?" The dude, Victor who was with Nikko said after a slight pause, "Oh..Herbalife is more than MLM, it's helping people." He wasn't even answering the question. He said Herbalife is helping people by giving them the right nutrition. They showed a lot of pictures; fat people turn slim, slim people turn fat, skinny people turn buff, acne faces turn smooth, diseased people turn healthy..etc. All the while, he kept saying, "Won't you like helping these people? How would you feel psychologically if you get to help these people?" I turned distant when I realized that it's MLM, yet again. I just agreed at the right parts and went along with it.
To think that they actually related all this to psychology. What does it have to do with anything I've learned!? I'm actually quite offended by this. Wellness coach and nutritionist, really now!!?? I didn't work so hard on my degree to be a salesperson. Oh wait, no...they kept saying it's not sales, it's helping people. If I'm earning money from it, it doesn't feel like I'm helping them. How would I know I'm helping them, eh? It's not cheap to start the Herbalife diet. And it has to be a continuous process. Once you stop taking their products, you gain it all back, right where you started. Sure, at first you're just taking their products, eventually you'd have to sell them too, because you can't afford their bloody protein shakes and vitamins. For their credit, their products does seem to work, if you're into protein shakes and multivitamins. If you live to eat proper food like me, don't even think about it. Water and exercise is all you need.
[Omit reading this part if you're not Victor or Nikko but go ahead if you're just that curious]
Victor and Nikko, if you're reading this right now, I'm not going to your customer day this Sunday. Please don't persuade me anymore, I don't want it to get ugly...especially since we're all children of God. We can still be friends. ^^ I just don't like the whole idea of MLM. Now, I know how Victor said it's just a tool to help people. Where money's involved, it doesn't feel right. It feels like MLM is making a tool out of us. Remember Matthew 6:19-24? I don't think I can spend so much time on earning money and still serve God wholeheartedly.
No offense to those doing well in MLM, I'm sure it's a great way to earn money, passive income and all that. But a person like me cannot and will not do well in MLM. I hate persuading people, especially people I know. It's like I'm milking money from the people I trust and love. So, when I make friends, it doesn't feel genuine, business have to come first. Oh, and don't start telling me how it's great to earn a better income and not have employers boss you around. Let me experience it myself! How would you know that I don't like getting bossed around and I like earning lotsa money!?
I have worked before and I actually like having a boss, I don't have to take as many responsibilities and I like letting people telling me what to do..it's simpler that way. I want to earn money with the degree that I've studied so hard for. Sure, I may earn a measly salary at the beginning and maybe even after I work really hard, I won't get as much as a high ranking MLM distributor does*. To me, that's a good thing. I don't want to have lots of money and retire. I actually like studying and working. I think if there's too much money in my life, it takes away the fun of life...takes away my focus on God.
It's like when you play a computer game, let's say The Sims, you enter a cheat code and get lots of money to buy a nice house with grand furniture. At the beginning of the game, it's really fun with so much money, you get anything you want and have fun building your house. After that, you realize the house is too big and lodged with so much crap, you can't play at ease. It gets boring because you don't have anything to do. The purpose of the whole game was to go on a journey, to achieve your dreams using your own means. You're supposed to study and work for money to buy your dream car, build your dream house and get the dream life partner. With so much money, there's no need to work hard anymore. You skip a whole chapter of your life. Sure, it's hard to work...but it's also fun. The ecstatic feeling you get when you get your first paycheck. The years of hard labor to get that promotion and when you finally got it, how would you feel? Your dream house, put together by years of dreaming, seeing it built in front of your very own eyes bit by bit. Won't you wanna experience it all?
*btw, only about 1%-10% of MLM investors earn any profit. The usual amazing testimonies at weekend seminars probably involve exaggerated salaries or they're really the lucky few that managed to earn so much. It's not easy to do MLM, it involves a lot of hard work and sacrifices (like your children).