I was intrigued. Also, kind of desperate for a job. Any job. So I agreed. Don't worry, I didn't end up in some guys basement or in the ditch somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Trust me, that would make a great series of blog posts (or maybe I'd just write a book about my experiences and sell it) but what transpired was not exactly pleasant.
And to think, I almost didn't back out in time.
Our first meeting felt more like an interview than anything. The man across from me, tried to get to know me a bit better, we'll call him K, and his wife, L. I badgered him with as many questions as possible. He kept information scant, insisted that what he would eventually share with me was again, an opportunity, not a job.
And only after getting to know me a bit better would he share what exactly this opportunity was. This included going to meetings with other potential candidates, and individual one-on-one meetings. He wanted to see that I had the motivation and ambition to do this, to go through and learn, and be coachable.
But here was the kicker, K had been working at this "opportunity" for 3 years with his wife, L. And now, were on the verge of making 60k a year, without doing a thing. The people who had coached the two of them, were now making well over 100k a year, without a thing and were now retired. Everyone discussed so far is under 30.
I was being baited. I knew it, but I kept going. I wanted to see if any of this could be true.
To put things in perspective, in theory, if the third phase of Project Derp was successful for me, I could be making 60k a year without any additional effort. Unfortunately, I still can't make phase 2 of the project self-sufficient (I'm halfway there though). What I saw was potentially another way to get to that level of income, and I had to know if it was possible.
And so, I sat through the group meetings, listened to how great this thing was, success stories, how easy things would be. And a red flag began to raise in my head.
It had to be. We're entering scam territory here.
But no no no, they said. we're better than that, because we're something called MLM or Multi-level Marketing. And it works.
The fun thing about being a Psychologist is that you begin to notice psychological tricks and tactics used more often in your everyday life. And here, I was being bombarded with them. The biggest one were the inspirational recordings and books to keep you in, positive, and convinced that everyone around you is just as positive and hard working as you are. Ignore outside influence and objections and stay with us.
Bit of a cult mentality going on here. And my science upbringing would kill me if I didn't try to be objective about the entire situation. I began to do my own research, look into this "opportunity" a bit further and come to my own conclusions.
What I found was partially surprising.
And some, not very.
Unfortunately, the head company behind this has been known to shut down blogs or go after bloggers who write disparaging things. So this company will have to remain anonymous in my post. What I can tell you is that they've been around for a while and are well-known for their sketchy tactics.
Unsurprisingly, many people have lost a lot to this MLM stuff. And I'm not talking about just money. Success rates were unsurprisingly low and other statistics and calculations provided were less than satisfactory. That being said, it was possible to this to succeed and work. K and L did, as well as the people who mentored them. Talking to people I know in real life also revealed similar (albeit rare) success stories. You just have to really, really work hard at this for a while
The more I looked into it, the more I realized how it wasn't worth the effort needed to succeed. The chances were slim, many problems were already arising, and don't get me started on the individual cost. There were plenty of other things I could devote my time and energy to with a greater chance of success.
I'm not exactly rolling in cash here.
Yes, some of my money did go into this before I was fully aware of what I was getting into. But don't worry, I have successfully gotten most of it refunded back to me. Actually just today I confirmed the last bit of money being returned. It could have been a lot worse, but overall I only lost a little bit over $100.
Not a bad price to pay considering how it really could have been a lot worse. Especially if I had continued with this for a longer period of time. Things really rack up very quickly.
Needless to say, K and L haven't contacted me since. Good, now maybe I can focus on things that might actually give me financial independence.