With business talks, there’s no doubt that multi-level marketing (AKA MLM, network marketing or networking) will always get its spotlight, especially in the Philippines.
If done right, who would argue that this business model (if you can call it a business) won’t make a difference to anyone’s life?
I will not dare to say that this post is the ultimate guide for finding the right multi-level marketing opportunity.
As a former networker, these are just collections of experiences and thoughts gathered throughout the years in the field.
Before we get the ball rolling, why not learn something new? Something worth your time. Something like Affiliate Marketing. 👍
My first experience with MLM in the Philippines
When I think back through time, it was 1997.
I remember a friend who introduced me to the very first MLM company I’ve ever known.
Have you ever pictured yourself hearing for the first time that you’ll have an opportunity of a lifetime, regardless of your status in life?
Naturally, I shared the information with my then-girlfriend-now-wife. If you’ll ask me, it excited me while doing that!
We went to a building in Greenhills, San Juan, and sat inside a jampacked room with the only exit point the sliding door at the back that seems well guarded. Anyone can go inside, especially the invites, but nobody can get out once the speaker starts his thing.
We watched a video presentation of how the company manufactures its products.
Then go on watching more to the awarding ceremony of their top distributors.
Then came the speaker with an unconventional but lively introduction from a colleague.
Finally, after sitting with awe for almost two hours, the business meeting ended; or so we thought.
Some team leaders asked us to join their mini-group. We stayed for what should have been a few minutes but turned to an hour more. We attended a MAM or meeting after meeting as we call it back then.
After all the convincing (or brainwashing, as others would have called it), it seems that anyone can do it from every walk of life. From janitors, security guards, jeepney drivers, students, dropouts, and even bums can do it with minimal effort.
Based on the testimonials we’ve heard, we sold ourselves to the business instead of the other way around!
I remember that most of us in that business meeting went nuts, but in a positive light. We can’t wait to go out of that room!
I started figuring out where I can find the money to get my hands on the Combo Pack so I can become an official distributor right away.
So, like any other adolescent with parents abroad, I wrote to mine asking for money (mobile phones are not yet a thing back then).
Imagine being anxious while waiting for a month. The reason being is that a response to a snail mail will most likely take a month; it’s painful!
To cut the story short, my girlfriend and I became ASes short for Assistant Supervisors (not asses, you silly!).
During that time, we immersed ourselves in more motivational and product training, both paid and free.
We did small meetings ourselves from rural areas and qualified some under us. But then the flame died down, and that’s about it.
We started looking around for other MLM companies.
From sublingual sprays to various types of insurances to other tangible products and even the intangible ones, we didn’t care much about a company’s products. For as long as we hear the word pioneering, then it’s a green light for us.
Did we get some success with any of the companies we got ourselves involved in? Honestly, we got our investments back, but that’s all.
Eventually, we grew tired!
We stopped getting involved with MLM companies when I went abroad as an OFW. But every time I go back for a vacation, there is always someone approaching with an MLM proposal. For the apparent reason, networkers see OFWs as ever having stacks of money lying around.
Truth be told, not all people jumping in the bandwagon of multi-level marketing will be successful.
Why in the Philippines?
Multi-level marketing is not exclusive to the Philippine populace. It is a global opportunity for the clueless, and we should give credit to the US since they were the first propagators of the model as far back as the 1920s.
Why MLM? — It is a better way for companies to distribute their products or services, cutting down other channels that will bleed them dry like intermediaries and advertising costs.
The company, to move its products efficiently, will give its networker or distributor a business opportunity instead of paying the said channels I just mentioned.
With this strategy, products or services will go straight to their consumers; that is their networkers or distributors themselves.
So, why is MLM rampant in the Philippines and some neighboring countries?
For lack of better terms, perhaps it’s because we consider them Third World countries.
For more information on why and how the Philippines became part of a Third World country list, check out this URL — http://www.4geeksonly.com/countries/third-world-countries.html
Let’s face it and not be hypocrites for a second. Most people living in these countries are gullible. From the low classes up to the higher ones, when they hear of schemes that could make them money with ease, they’ll grab it without hesitation.
Also, some countries on the list are the perfect breeding ground where there are fewer regulations for such companies to thrive. Plus, there will always be people welcoming them with open arms.
Am I implying that all MLM companies are scammers? It’s partly true since the marketing structure is closely similar to a Ponzi Scheme structure. But not all companies started their marketing efforts with an MLM model right off the bat. The company only collapses in the long run when infusing it with an MLM strategy.
The Problem of MLM in the Philippines
Lots of such companies start legally operating in the Philippines.
As far as I can remember, MLM companies became prevalent in the Philippines, starting in the ’90s. Some are still conducting their businesses up to this day, but to a lower scale (like the first company I joined with), while others have already closed down.
I do not know what’s running in the minds of the owners of these MLM companies, whether or not they had little to no ill intentions when they were building their businesses.
But the problem that I know of, especially in the Philippines, is this: It lies at the ones whom the company puts its trust with its operations. These people are also colluding with some other unscrupulous marketers, along with their unethical practices.
They are one of the reason MLM companies earned their bad reputation.
Since I mentioned it, there’s this group of people called kamadors, who join their targeted MLM entities to disrupt the marketing system from the inside.
They call this dirty tactics as “Kamada.”
To describe, they stack their group systematically within the marketing structure, a binary system in most cases. And when I say GROUP, this could mean in hundreds of “leaders and sub-leaders,” each having subgroups underneath buying multiple accounts.
This way, people above the structure and everyone else in the middle will have a sure income, except for the people at the bottom.
Once they siphoned the company’s money, they will pack their things up and jump to the next company that they will victimize.
What happens to the company? — They will inevitably close, leaving other distributors unpaid and clueless to what just happened.
What’s the excuse for this group? — They are testing the monetary stability of every MLM company. Which, by the way, is a lame excuse. They just saw the binary system’s loophole and they are exploiting it.
Where are they now? — Some might still be active, but most of them have retired from being kamadors staying away from the limelight.
While other kamadors have become inactive and stay hidden, some of them are now in social media and posing themselves as authors/internet marketers/financial advisors/motivators/public speakers/influencers, etc. One even has the guts to become the end-all-be-all guru!
So, be aware of who you’re following on social media. They could be one of them.
Be careful to sift through their regurgitated piles of BS advice; they’re just giving you false hopes and luring you to buy their courses.
How to Join an MLM Company
Before joining an MLM opportunity, you need to spot the obvious, i.e., company profile, products or services, training it provides, people you will work with, marketing plan.
These tips apply to all who want to do MLM.
- Company Profiling — Do some background checks. Who are the founders and other people behind the company’s operations; are they reputable? Does anyone have violent tendencies? can we trust them with our money?
Check how long the company is running its business. Although being a pioneer to an entity is an advantage, you’ll never know what will be its future state. Your money and your reputation could be at risk. A company running for five years and up is a good sign, but no guarantee.
- Products or services — This is self-explanatory. You can sell snake oils and make a killing but expect for everything to backfire, or start running away.
Regardless of whether the products are tangible or intangible, as long as they give value and solution to the end-users’ problems, you are good to go. The product should deliver what it promises to deliver.
I should note that you stay away from companies using virtual currencies or trading platforms as products, like Fintegri. They may not be as a large scale as Onecoin, but they also use new types of cryptos as products. Furthermore, they own a trading platform to trade these virtual currencies. It could be a scam.
- Training — From a networkers perspective, your network and income are equally proportional to the quality of knowledge and skills you get. An MLM company should provide them to its members.
Take advantage of the free training seminars they’ll arrange. Most of the time, you can use these knowledge outside the MLM space. Don’t bite the paid training seminars. It’s just another way for some MLM companies to make money out of you.
Everything that you will learn should apply to what you’re about to do with the said company.
- The People Who Will Be Around You — As I have mentioned above, there are kamadors of the world that, most of the time, is responsible for the early downfall of an MLM company. Be aware of their existence!
Also, know that there will be people who will pose as your loyal upline but are jumpers themselves. What I mean by that is every time there’s a newly opened MLM company, he will want to go there and position himself as a pioneer with you as his underling.
Look for people that you can work with that is ethical, loyal, and will be with you every step of the way towards both of your successes.
- Marketing Plan — every MLM company’s marketing plan is different from the other. And without a sound one, everything that we discussed above will fail.
But as a disclaimer, I don’t have the answer to the perfect marketing plan.
I can’t endorse a company with such a plan, but from my point of view, the MLM companies that are still standing and running for over five years could have (I’m not saying it’s full proof) a solid marketing plan.
Notice that I said solid, not perfect.
Here, I will give you the power to decide. Join at your own risk!
Up next, we’ll talk about the Pros and Cons of MLM in the Philippines.
Pros of Multi-Level Marketing
- The training you’ll usually get is free. Even if that’s the case, you will still gain enough knowledge and skills to help you along the way.
- If you love using its products, you will enjoy higher discounts as a member/distributor of the company.
- MLM companies reward their top distributors with monetary bonuses and free travels.
- With all the hard and smart work combined, you might become a millionaire.
Cons of Multi-Level Marketing
- You’ll need lots of convincing power to convince lots of people to join you before you see a considerable amount of monetary success.
- Most people, including your friends and relatives, will start avoiding you from the day they find out you’re involved in yet another MLM company.
- When you have no more left to invite in your warm list, you will end up with a cold market. Which means you will be prone to more rejections.
- Do you want to know what’s shocking? It’s an opportunity, I’ll give you that, but it’s not a business per se. Even if you become one of the top distributors, the business will never be yours. You’re not the one who goes to court if someone sues the company. You will not apply for bankruptcy if the company goes neck-deep in debt. Moreover, the people who own the company are the ones who get the most significant profit based on the product movement of their distributors. You’re not the owner of the business; you are only one of their distributors.
- Although you’re not the owner, if you’re in a company with a reputation that goes awry, it will also tarnish yours along the way. I knew someone who was once revered by his neighbors. He was a good mentor. But when the company called Powerhomes collapsed, the same people in the neighborhood throw stones to this man’s house, literally! And that’s daily.
- Some companies might put your investments on hold, especially the ones involved with cryptos as their product or “mode of payment within the company.” If you try to reach out to their support team (if there ever was a team), they will ignore you until you had enough.
To Sum Up
Some will consider multi-level marketing as another type of business model. There’s no problem with that, as long as it will make you money ethically without harming others.
For me, it’s not a business per se, but another marketing strategy to sell products or services to earn direct or overriding commissions.
You can go through this path, and you may do so.
I’ve known many people find a considerable amount of success in MLM. Some were even my friends.
You might see yourself successfully in it too. Just a reminder, though, don’t go overboard like the kamadors.
Will I recommend MLM in the Philippines as a viable option to make money, especially online? — I’d say NO.
I hope I have helped you with this post. By now, you should know if MLM is the right fit for you.
If you ever change your mind on pursuing a career in MLM, how about checking out my other posts for a more workable option?
And for further reading, here is Affiliate Marketing with a Blog.
Here in JuanNomad, we always make a path.