MLM Cults: Deception, Manipulation, and Greed

A lot of people are saying that MLMs are basically cults. Are MLM cults really that bad?

Right now, you are probably thinking about when the opportunity was presented to you. At first, you were told that your dreams are easily achievable, as long as you have the correct mindset. You were given some thoughts to ponder about, including how you can easily become wealthy, but you are just “doing things wrong”.

You are then presented with concepts including “becoming your own boss”, “reaching financial freedom”, and “traveling whenever and wherever you like”. All of these sound too good to be true, yet they preach the mindset of how not believing in them is just a “choice”.

These companies have been in business for a long time now, some have even been here for more than a century. Most of these companies have profits ranging in the billions, and operate worldwide. They seem to be totally normal when you first encounter them; just a typical company selling products.

However, as you dive deeper, you will then be greeted by a barrage of controversy and several lawsuits. You are then left to wonder why all that will be happen to a seemingly normal company whose goal is only to sell products.

What you will notice is when an MLM is first presented to you, you will not think twice about trusting it. It looks like an opportunity that aims to empower and help you out, and its goal is to make you successful. There is a community right behind you ready to give their support to you, if you join the company.

For someone who is struggling to make money and make friends, it looks like the perfect opportunity.

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What is a Cult?

MLM Cults

A cult is a social group that shares the same beliefs and interests, and is after a common goal. The word “cult” often has a negative connotation, as from what is observed, cult members behave oddly, do not follow societal norms, and have unorthodox beliefs over things.

A cult does not necessarily have to be a religion, but they often have a very charismatic figurehead. Whatever their leader says is the law and is absolute, and non-compliance results to negative consequences.

Basically, if you are a member of a cult, you need to show absolute devotion or loyalty to the leader. Not doing so meant that you will be expelled and shunned by the other cult members.

For those who grew up in a cult and then expelled from one, they often become lost, thinking that the whole world has collapsed before them. Little did they know that they have been living in a lie the whole time, as the cult has isolated them from society.

How to Spot an MLM Cult

How to Spot MLM Cults

The “Old Friend”

You receive a message in social media about the “opportunity“. What puzzles you is that the person who sent it to you is somehow in your friend list, but you have not interacted with them. They are either someone you know from long ago but aren’t close to, or someone from work whom you do not really interact with.

The message is simple and friendly. It could be about wanting to catch up or hang out sometime, to relive better days. They would ask you things about how your life is going, how your family is, and how your career is. They would then prod a little more when you say that you wish that you could be making more money in your current job.

You find the interaction a little odd at this point, seeing as how this person just decided to enter your life one day and ask you some personal questions. You were not close to them in the first place. However, you are probably second-guessing that maybe they are genuinely concerned, which is why you decided to send a reply.

They then mention something about a “business opportunity”. It seems like this business is what keeps them occupied these days. You decide to check out their social media feed for a brief moment, and what you saw there are several posts about products they are selling.

You are then intrigued by this, as along with the product posts, you saw them post about how happy they are. There are posts regarding the new stuff they just purchased with the money they earned from their side business. You also found quite a lot of inspirational quotes there.

After that, you are then left thinking that what they are doing seems easy, and maybe you can do it too.

The “Business Opportunity”

You decided to ask more about the “business opportunity”, as you feel a little more confident upon seeing their social media posts. You are then praised for being “open-minded” and that you are perfect for the business.

They then decided to open up a little more about the company they are working for. They say things like how the company is changing lives by “empowering” people. There are even remarks they made about how the company changed their life already. Every now and then they say how perfect you are for the business.

They would then say how people in the company earn a lot more money in there than in a regular job. Of course, since you are working an 8-to-5 job, that statement struck out to you the most. You will then begin thinking things like “How are they making more money than me when I am a lot more overworked and burnt out?”.

“You can be your own boss here.”

Upon hearing that statement, you are then a lot more interested. After a few more minutes or hours of chatting, they then invite you to some sort of company event, saying that you have to see things for yourself.

You then decide to go to see if the company can really change your life.

The “Positivity”

Upon arriving to the event, you are then greeted with a lot of happy faces, and everyone seemed to be friendly to one another. It seems that the company even invited motivational speakers to the event in order to encourage people. You, who probably has never listened to one before, became interested with what they are about to say.

You begin to hear some familiar words, including “being your own boss”, “empowerment”, “passive income”, and “financial freedom”. After all this talk about positivity, you are then introduced to what the company is really about.

The company probably sells one of the following:

  • nutritional supplements
  • cosmetics
  • personal care products
  • clothing
  • products for the home
  • essential oils

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“Making Money” in MLM Cults

You then find out that the products being sold by the company are only available to purchase from their distributors, or basically, their members. However, before you can even start making money in the company, you need to pay a fee. This membership fee includes stuff like brochures and pamphlets about the company, and sample products.

After deciding to join, you are then told that you should regularly put money in your business in order for it to thrive. You are instructed to stock up with as much product as you can because apparently, it is good for the business.

You are also told to incorporate the business in your daily life. This means that you also need to purchase the products for yourself and post about it on your social media. You need to sell the product by telling people that it really works, and that you are the living testimony of how great it is.

In order for you to work harder, you are presented with the ranks you can reach in the company. You can climb the ranks by selling a lot of products and recruiting a lot of members. Every time you rank up, you receive a bonus from the company, which in turn will encourage you to work even harder.

Selling the Products

You already anticipated this, because after all, this is what you anticipated. You are told to post in social media about the products in a regular basis. What you need to do is talk about how great the products are, how they are better than the already existing ones in the market, and that they are missing out by not owning it yet.

However, take note that most products sold by MLMs are pretty overpriced. This is easily observable by comparing the prices of the products you are being told to sell than the ones of the same kind that you buy at supermarkets. This makes selling them a lot more challenging.

Another thing to note is that the products seem to be no different than the ones you can easily buy in a nearby store. You begin questioning yourself if you made the right call, but then you remember something.

“You can do this. Being wealthy is a choice. All you need to do is hustle.”

These are the thoughts planted in your mind by that motivational speaker. You remember listening to in the company event. Armed with some newfound confidence, you decided to press on.

Recruiting Members

After realizing how challenging it is to actually sell the products, you decide to find an alternative way of making money in the company. You remember that you can recruit new members. That will make you money, just like what is said in the brochure you were given.

You become more aggressive with posting on social media. You begin to message people you do not know even know. Well, desperation can make you do almost anything. Your financial future is at stake here. What you want is to make this work.

You decided to read the compensation plan again. If you successfully recruited some people, you will start earning commissions from their sales. You found a new hope with the business opportunity.

“I do not need to sell the products. I will just find people who will do it for me. To be honest, I will earn more money by recruiting anyway.”

You begin to realize that they are right. All you need to do is work hard.

You will succeed, at the expense of other people.

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MLMs vs Cults

The “Self-Help” Mind Control Tactic

What I find fascinating about MLMs is that they have found a way to hide how evil they are. They hire motivational speakers to speak at their events. This is not only to boost morale, but also to establish control over their members.

What you can notice is that these speakers often tell people that being successful is a choice.

“It is your fault why you are not successful. You are not working hard enough. You could be rich if you want to get rich”.

The problem with that is that the members then blame themselves if they are not able to reach their goals. They see all these high-ranking members posting about their cars and money. They tell themselves that they can do that to, but the system is rigged against them.

These “positive thoughts” can be referred to as toxic positivity. They want you to think only about the positive things, and ignore all the red flags. In MLMs, there are more red flags than you can imagine.

What MLM members didn’t know is that those high-ranking members were able to achieve success at their expense.

MLMs refer to people who are critical of them as “haters”. Their members are also encouraged to think that way. They are advised to cut off friends who are not supportive of their business.

The Isolation

MLMs want to isolate you from your support system as much as possible. They want your whole world and lifestyle to revolve around them.

Be careful not to speak against them. You will be shunned by the members who thought were your friends. Like I said before, those who are not loyal to the MLM are just “haters”.

Joining one is just not advisable. They love to play mind games. They trick you into thinking that it is your fault why your business is not doing well.

“You are not working hard enough. You should hustle more.”

Tell that to someone who works for more than ten hours a day.

Save Yourself

MLM Cults - Self-Love

MLMs are all about mind games. They make you feel worthless. They make you think that you are not good enough.

What you should prioritize is yourself. Remember that you only live once. Your life should not depend upon a company that only seeks to get as much money from you as possible.

You do not need other people’s validation. Self-love is about love yourself the way you are. You do not need to change for other people. Remember that you are good enough.

An MLM will make you think that you are lacking something in your life. You are not. You do not need a fancy car or a huge house to be happy. Be happy by doing things that you love.

Cut off the toxicity in your life.

10 Shocking MLM Statistics That You Need To Know!

MLM stats
  • Almost 99% participants of all multi-level marketing companies lose money, according to the FTC.
  • There are 38% more chances of you profiting from your own any kind of small business than joining these MLMs.
  • Success rate of an online business, which will give you financial and time freedom, is 20% more than joining MLMs for making money.
  • The odds of you winning a lottery worth $10k among 10,000 people is 300 times higher than actually making money from MLMs.
  • According to the AARP foundation, 47% distributors of all MLMs lose their money. Apart from this, 27% do not make a single penny.
  • In the remaining 26% that actually make money, 53% of them make less than $5000/year.
  • 39% of those 53%, who are making $5000/year quit because recruiting and selling crappy products to friends and family members jeopardized their relationships.
  • Forget about building a long term business with MLMs, because 50% of all MLMs participants quit within one year.
  • 75% people that joined MLMs say that they will never again join any kind of MLM.
  • A poll was conducted in 2018 among 1050 MLM distributors and it was concluded that most of them made 70 cents an hour and 20% of them did not make a sale. 60% of them made less than $500 in sales over the past 5 years and 32% of them acquired credit card debt to finance their MLM involvements.


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