Due to the accelerated shift in working patterns one year ago in March 2020, many working-age people with ideas have decided to leave behind the limiting world of the 9-5 in favor of something with more flexibility and more scope to earn money based on doing thing things they love the best. 

However, many of these grassroots start-up companies that began in people’s kitchens could be considered to be MLM, also known as multilevel marketing, or network marketing.  MLM has been popular for quite some time as an easy way for people to start home businesses both quickly and affordably. However, there are some MLM schemes that may not be as good a deal as they make out to be in the long run. The website ibuyireview.com works to expose some of the small businesses that could fall into the rocky territory of multilevel marketing schemes disguised as work from home jobs. 

If you are considering a work-from-home opportunity, it is your responsibility to investigate the viability of the opportunity before it’s too late. 

But how can you know for sure the difference between a genuine employment opportunity and an MLM scheme? This blog post will investigate. 


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Firstly, What is MLM? 

Sometimes known as ‘pyramid selling’ or ‘pyramid schemes’,  multilevel marketing is a strategy for marketing products or services where a workforce of people work, unsalaried, to provide the revenue for the company by selling goods and services. However, unlike some similar sounding opportunities (catalog sales, for example), these products are presented to customers as a ‘business opportunity’ where purchasers would then take the products to sell on to a different group of people. The idea would be for them to once again sell these products as a business opportunity to a new group and so on. The key to a successful and lucrative business opportunity in MLM is through referrals and word of mouth. So, in essence, the more popular a person is, the more likely they are to succeed at MLM in the longer term.

Before you go through the process of signing a contract with any direct sales work from home opportunity, make sure to do what you can to understand the difference between a genuine opportunity and a scam. 

Here are some of the signs that a ‘Small Business’ opportunity may well be a MLM scheme. 

They Have Little to No Quality Products or Services 

One of the biggest ‘red flags’ that you should look out for when presented with an opportunity is a lack of physical product to show. ‘Opportunities’ that focus on recruitment over actual sales of the product you’re recruiting to sell are the sign of a pyramid scheme.  

Any good work from home sales opportunity should focus on selling the products themselves and getting them to happy customers. Building a team may well be a part of that, but it shouldn’t be seen as the main focus of the opportunity. Your income should come from the commission built from selling the product and not the recruitment of more team members. 

The Products Claim to be More Than They Are 

Wellness is one of the industries most commonly targeted by MLM businesses. Companies will claim the have ‘the answer’ to many of people’s most common complaints. However, many of these claims are unfounded. Remember, if something appears to be too good to be true, then it often is. Hype about any product without evidence backing it up is problematic in any industry, especially when the claims are not backed. 

If a company has strange or unusual products, then you should be careful about joining.  For your own integrity and reputation, you don’t want your name to be associated with a product that doesn’t work. 

They Pile on The Pressure 

In direct sales, any good opportunity is a good opportunity, regardless of when you start working there. MLM schemes will typically pile on the pressure for potential representatives to join. They will often use tactics to manipulate such as offering limited time opportunities to just join the scheme. 

Similarly, once people become involved, the pressure to invest in buying the initial products to sell increases, too. Here, you’ll need to look out for fee based programs that ask for additional investment. 

While it is beneficial to have some popular products on hand, don’t ever feel the pressure to stock up your home with products that will difficult to sell- particularly if you have to spend all of your time recruiting to build your team!

Just hold on to a couple of items that you know for sure will sell. 

Company Communication is Poor 

When you start with a new company, it is common to want to ask questions about the company and the role. If questions fall flat then you should consider it a red flag. 

To be successful in any new role, you need to feel supported and have adequate training. Even MLM companies are required to share certain pieces of information such as the average income of reps and pension plans. You should study the information you are given and prepare some questions. Consider the answers you are given, remembering that any legitimate company wants to keep you informed and in the know, whereas you don’t want to consider working for a company that ignores your concerns or is hesitant to answer your questions. 

They Have Poor Ratings on Better Business Bureau

Well this may be a difficult marker, because the Better Business Bureau will regularly mark down small home business opportunities due to the fact that they’re hard to investigate. But using this tall, you can search to see if there are any complaints filed against the company and how, if at all, the company have dealt with them. 

You will be able to see if companies are responding to and fixing problems. If you see that they are, this this is a good sign. If they are not responding at all, or responding poorly, then this is a bad sign for the company. Businesses can typically be rated on the level of customer service that they offer. If I work from home opportunity is showing to offer bad customer service to both representatives and customers, then it should be avoided at all costs.

They are Deceptive in Their Advertising 

Multi level marketing schemes are often promoted as a job in order to law jobseekers and prospective partners into the trap. However, MLM isn’t a job – it’s a business opportunity. Any MLM representative that is promoting the business as a job is being deceptive. 

You should also look out for representatives making guarantees about how much income you generate if you work for them, which suggest to make money from not doing very much at all. These claims are illegal.

They Use Cryptic ‘Interview’ Techniques 

MLM representatives will often find ways to meet with people to talk to them about how they can invest a little time in order to generate a bigger award. They would have been trained to deal with people who have, overtime, become even more wary of MLM schemes. Using deception, they are then able to use these ‘interviews’ as a sales opportunity—to attempt to establish trust. 

There are some brands with Paul reputations, who train their representatives to not use the name of the company while they’re making their sales bitches. Repps will have to find a way to encourage others to learn about the company and all it has to offer them without using the name. This may seem suspicious, and rightfully so. If you get a bad feeling about something, then it is best to follow your instincts. 

Human instinct will often tell us when something isn’t quite right. You may feel unsettled or anxious about something right away. These feelings shouldn’t be dismissed–regargless fo the opportunity. If an opportunity comes with a range of added pressures the make you feel as though you could be being conned, then the opportunity may not be for you. 

How Do You Know if Work From Home Business Opportunities are For You? 

There are many things in life that can make us feel nervous, but once you step out, that feeling will go and you will be able to thrive. 
Some of the things outlined above can indicate that there are certain schemes that you should not consider being any part of. However, feelings of overwhelming uncertainty should be one of the biggest signs to avoid them. 

Many mistakes can be avoided when attempting to build a sales portfolio in any work from home sales opportunity. As with any opportunity in either an employed or self-employed basis, it’s important to investigate the company you’re considering working with and check some things off your mental checklist that you curated. If a company has clear indications that they they have similar ethics and principles to you, they have genuine reviews online,  and it feels good to partner with them, then that in itself is a good indication that you should.