Grrrrrr…. A Rant About Multi-Level Marketing “Opportunities”


This one’s especially for my fellow fitness/health industry pros…

In your work with weight loss and/or sports performance clients, I assume you’re already giving ’em some variation of the standard recommendation to “eat right.”  I also assume you’re even helping them understand what that seemingly simple advice actually means.  You may even be recommending a few supplements to help make “eating right” a little easier (perhaps through an affiliate program?)

I’m even going to go out on a limb and assume your clients are at least as smart as mine and realize that our body’s preferred source of nutrients is actual FOOD – and NOT shakes, powders, pills or potions.

Just last week, one of my trusted colleagues pointed me in the direction of a meal delivery service that is NOT loaded with cheap fillers (read: pasta/rice/flour.) It’s also NOT a mass-market “T.V. dinner” (such as the latest crop of ‘jenny craigs’ and ‘weight watchers’ knockoffs.)  The menu options consist primarily of proteins and veggies. The same things I suggest my own clients base their own “diets” on.

My first instinct whenever someone tells me about any program that “sounds too good to be true” is that it must be another Multi-Level Marketing program (argggh!)

Even though I’ve been living in the middle of MLM-central for the last 3 years now (Amway started in a neighboring suburb of Grand Rapids, MI) – I don’t care if you’re selling solid gold bars straight from Fort Knox – if it’s being sold via an MLM business model, there MUST be something wrong with it.  There have been too many less-than-legit “opportunities” over the years, that it has long been my hard-and-fast policy to completely turn my attention away at the first signs of a “ponzi scheme” no matter how much better the product is than sliced bread.

But I’ve got the cure for cancer!”  MLM? fuggeddaboudit.

What if I give you a free sample of this magic fat loss dust?” Not interested. In fact, why don’t you hang up on yourself before I do?

There’s just something about the MLM model that doesn’t sit well with me – and I suspect it’s the same thing many of my clients have alluded to when discussing such “solutions” over the years. Now I’ll try to articulate what I *think* many of us have been feeling…

While I’m certainly not against the idea of profit, it seems that most (if not ALL) MLM-ers put their personal want for money above any sense that they should ALSO be delivering a product/service.

Let me restate this: I’m all for making as much moo-lah as you personally care to, but not at the expense of ‘selling out’ the same trust you work so hard to build as a PROFESSIONAL in your field.  The difference between “greed” and “good business” is motive.  Because the “downline” is usually positioned as “the key to great riches,” MLM-ers motive always seems a little to self-serving to me.

That said, there are several excellent “single-tier” affiliate programs I whole-heartedly buy in to. It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway, in case there was any doubt), the products also have to be of top-quality for me to even consider putting my MIGHTY JOE ‘seal of approval’ on ‘em.  I don’t expect any of ‘em to help me “get rich quick.” Instead, I view them as resources that may help a certain number of my clients, prospects, readers, neighbors, friends or family.  Any commissions I happen to make because I promote them is a bonus.  Some months, this might be as little as a couple hundred bucks while other months reach into the thousands.  My CORE business is fitness program design and coaching.  When I find existing resources that support or compliment my the coaching principles I use – and they don’t have that “taboo” label of MLM on ‘em – I think it would be awfully silly if I didn’t at least look into promoting it even if it means I might actually profit (gasp!) from it, too.

So getting to the point, the aforementioned meal delivery service that appears to be an EXCELLENT match with the nutrition principles I teach (and I assume you do, too, in whole or in part) has a single-tier affiliate program.  You can check it out at Personal Trainer Food.

I certainly don’t have all the answers about the program, but I did sit in on one of their daily webinars (along with another well known fit-biz pro – and I think it’s fair to say that he’s AT LEAST as skeptical as I am about these things) – and all I can say is that if you don’t at least do a little research into this unique service (did I mention it’s free to join?), you may be doing your customers a huge dis-service by giving ‘em good advice (‘eat right’) but no practical solution to make it work.

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One Comment

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  1. Joe- couldnt agree more i worked for a MLM place when i was just starting college by accident. It didnt occur to me that the stuff we were selling was a complete rip off and lie until i quit!

    I cant count the number of mlm diet scams iv been offered and fruits, veggies, and “real food” are the only diets im interested in!

    Good article!

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