Under Pressure: Ever considered multi-level marketing/direct sales? Desktop with Pencil Case by Nicola Sap De Mitri via Flickr, March 22, 2014. CC

Have you ever considered a Multi-Level Marketing/Direct Sales Job?

I have noticed lately that more and more of my friends and relatives are venturing into the business world. Many of them are stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) who are buying into companies like It Works, Beachbody, Mary Kay, Scentsy, or Norwex (this list barely scratches the surface). All of these companies can be classified as "multi-level marketing/direct sales" companies. According to the model, the sellers are able to work from home, during their free time, on their schedule and set their own pace. You get out what you put in. Or do you?

I am a SAHM with a small part-time consultant job that is online. So technically, I do work. However, for whatever the reason, lately I've been feeling like this isn't enough. With so many companies around and so many interesting products (whether they are actually necessary or not I leave up to you), it feels like I'm missing out somehow. There are people out there who are making good money and finding fulfillment in these various ventures. Perhaps you are even one of them. Why shouldn't I too?

To give you the end of the story before we get there, no, I have decided not to join a multi-level marketing/direct sales company. If you are someone who has and it is working for you, wonderful and I'm so happy for you. If you are someone who, like me, is feeling some external pressure because "everyone else is," here are a few things to consider that I hadn't fully fleshed out until my husband and I really sat down and seriously discussed the idea that might help you in your own decision-making process.

  • Time: One of the big draws of multi-level marketing/direct sales is that it is something you can do "during your free time." While this sounds great, it doesn't take much time to realize that if you start using your free time for work, it is no longer "free."
  • Money: You can make a fair amount of money, maybe even more than fair. This is a tempting one, because it all sounds so simple. But when you look closer, it is not as easy as it sounds. Check out this article for more.
  • Clients: Very closely related to money is how you make the money. For each and every one of these companies, you as the seller must necessarily find, hook and retain clients. That's the whole point right? For many of them, it's not just about securing clients, it's also about getting people to buy into the company or start selling it themselves. While this is all well and good, you have to ask yourself who you are going to get as clients. Typically, people turn to their family and friends. This is something to carefully consider, because by turning your family and friends into potential clients you are necessarily changing the way you view your relationships with them. Sometimes this is a positive. Others, it can very well turn into a negative. It is not something to take lightly either way.
  • Happiness: What is the foundation of my happiness? Is it based on how well I cleaned the house today? If my kids were polite and pleasant? If my marriage is going strong? How fulfilled as a wife, mother and woman I am feeling? Of course all of these are part of my happiness, but they should not be the foundation. Psalm 37:3-4 says "Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and live secure. Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart’s desire." Am I trying to create artificial happiness and fulfillment by beginning this venture? Is there a hole I'm trying to fill?

Each of these factors was a point of discussion for my husband and me. For us and our family, the time I currently have needs to be focused on our home and our kids. We homeschool, my husband is in the military and is gone frequently, we are possibly moving soon, and I very much enjoy crafting and reading. If I began selling with a multi-level marketing company from my home, I would most likely need to give up something in order to make time for it, which I did not want to do.

Looking harder at the financials was also important. We have a modest income. We have been blessed to have the income we need to support our growing family and live comfortably when we make prudent decisions and are good, prayerful stewards of what we have been given. I do not need to work. Perhaps I will again someday, but for this day and time we do not require a second income to keep our family afloat.

The biggest factor for me was the clients. I have not yet discovered a product so amazing and wonderful that I felt it was worth turning family and friends into potential clients. I just simply haven't. Perhaps others have. It is a personal decision and possibly one of the biggest ones when considering beginning a business like these.

If you happen to be feeling the same pressure I have been lately, I hope that this post has helped you sort through some of your feelings. After much thought and prayer I've discerned that this is not the way forward for me. I do not believe I would get out what I put in. I would be relying too heavily on something external for my happiness instead of relying on God and His vision for my life.

Each of us is different and each of us will approach these questions differently depending on our life situations. Walking through these questions and factors helped my husband and I to discern what was best for our family. I hope that, if you have been feeling similarly to me, they will help you in our discernment as well.

Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro