Sunday, July 06, 2008

Multi-level Marketing

An MBA classmate of mine who had joined a direct selling company was very confident that this industry had a very bright future. She told us that revenue from direct selling would reach 50% of Malaysian GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

[Refer to my related post here.]

Direct selling, also known as multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing, is a special form of business. Direct selling agents think they are the salespersons. But to the MLM companies, they are actually the customers. When an MLM company tells its agents that it has very bright future, it is advertising to them. This can be compared to Toyota’s commercials which feature Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie driving Corolla Altis and Vios, respectively. Heck, rich and famous are more likely to drive Ferrari.

The reality is of course not picture perfect. There are direct selling agents who work their ways to become millionaires, but they belong to the minority. To be successful in this line, not only must a person work hard, but he or she must also be street-smart. This is a quality not everyone possesses, just like not everyone can be Christiano Ronaldo or Yao Ming.

Late economist Milton Friedman told us long time ago:

There is no such thing as a free lunch.


  1. Occasionally we can still get free lunch, but it only occurs once in a blue moon lah :P

  2. chen
    Google offers free breakfast, lunch and dinner. But getting into the Web giant is not easy...

  3. Like every other business, such as a insurance agent, only a few succeed, and many others do not make the kind of big money.

    Yes, there is no such thing called free lunch. The amount of effort one put in + the effort to learn and imitate from the best + a pinch of luck will be correlated to the success.

    One good thing I feel about such jobs is that unlike a regular job, there is no fixed pay (and thus no safety net) but the sky is the limit.

  4. shingo
    Oh yes, sky is the limit - if you are gifted...

  5. My gf always get free lunch from me. Not only that also free breakfast, dinner and supper! What say you?

  6. neo
    I guess you buy her new dress, so it is a barter trade, not free meals ;P

  7. oh, i hate this !!

    been tricked into so many of this MLM meetings, hate it, hate it !!
    not tat i cant escape from it, but sometimes for fren sake... duh ~

  8. 1 2 be rich in direct selling? Start a "bocor" plan, then u can make it...

  9. 迷迭香
    Why hate MLM. You can become a millionaire wor...

    What is a "bocor" plan?

  10. my 2 sen:
    a lot of ppl join mlm because they think they can make lots of money easily. just invite friend; friend will do all the work; and so on; and they all become reach.

    it is a workable idea. the problem is that, many join with the wrong mindset. because really one has to work.

    like some the other commentors mentioned, its about work! and it applies to everything, not just business. if one wants to be a good employee in his/ her own field, then you gotta work smart/ hard for it (like u said being street smart).

    on a sidetrack, i like mlmers for their spirit, but at times, they can be a bit too boastful (the ones who think they made it); less tactful & streetsmart (the ones who keep pushing things to others); and sometimes very micro (where everything done/ seen is usually the small pic - eg. a bad meeting is considered good because one 'made contact'). golly!