Opportunity surrounds us in the fitness industry.  Every week I get contacted by someone who has an “intriguing opportunity to share”. Isagenix, DoTERRA, BeachBody, Vemma, Herbalife, etc.  Multi level marketing companies like these boast a variety of health products for the wellness seeker. There is great potential to earn money and make a difference in the multi-level (network) marketing industry.

What is MLM?

Multi-level marketing means multiple people benefit from the same sale.  Everyone on a “team” gets a bonus when a new customer is enrolled on regular shipments.  Rather than advertise on tv or with billboards, these companies spread the word through their network and share the profits. Word of mouth is a fruitful way to sell products if you like meeting new people and are trustworthy.

Pyramid Schemes
Multilevel marketingNetworking marketing (NM) and MLM companies are sometimes called pyramid schemes because there is a company head, or person at the top who recruits two people to sell their products for a reward. Those two people then each find two others to sell and the organization spreads out as it continues.

The people at the top (who entered the company earlier) generally make more money than those who are ten, twenty or hundreds of levels down the chain.  That doesn’t mean someone further down can’t earn a good living.  Some success is related to timing or position, but the rest is directly tied for effort.  The seemingly diluting profits and required monthly purchases make some people uneasy, which leads to the “name calling”.

Is multi level marketing for you?

You might be intrigued by the idea of working from home, making your own hours, getting to travel, meeting new people and earning money while others are sharing the work. It’s a profitable industry that can be fun and pay off for the right person.

Questions to consider:

  1. Is the person recruiting you someone you’d enjoy working with?
  2. Is that person organized, communicative, accountable and a role model for others?
  3. Do you like the products the company sells?
  4. Will you use the products yourself? (you usually have to buy a set quantity every month to stay enrolled in the company)
  5. Do you enjoy networking, meeting new people and selling?
  6. Can you commit time (1-5 hours) every day to your NM business?

If you answered mostly “yes” than give it a try for a few months.  You can usually exit easily by canceling your enrollment.  (check into that before committing)

Caution advised

There are good and bad companies. There are good and bad people in the companies, just like with any industry. Scrutinize it the way you would any job to find the right fit. Keep in mind your scope of practice as a personal trainer. It doesn’t usually include selling supplements, oils or food products.  Consider additional insurance and keep the two businesses separate.

I was in a NM company many years ago and saw the earning potential first hand (in my bank account). When I put time into the work daily, it paid off. I enjoyed teaming up with various friends who joined my network. I learned a lot from being in the business, but decided to separate from it to focus more on writing and educating.

How to say “no” nicely

When I get an email or phone call from someone about “a business opportunity” who wants to “get on the phone for 20 minutes”, I usually ask “What’s the opportunity and why do you think it’s so great for me?”.  If it is NM I say, “I’m not interested, but thank you for thinking of me”.

If it’s a stranger or someone I don’t talk to often contacting me through email or facebook, I respond with “I’m currently interested in speaking, writing and teaching, if you want to consult about hiring me, then I’ll look at my calendar.”  I almost never hear back from them.

  • Have you ever been in a NM or MLM company?
  • Are you thinking of joining one?
  • Share your NM stories below in the comments!


Beverly Hosford

Beverly Hosford, MA teaches anatomy and body awareness using a skeleton named Andy, balloons, play-doh, ribbons, guided visualizations, and corrective exercises. She is an instructor, author, and a business coach for fitness professionals. Learn how to help your clients sleep better with in Bev’s NFPT Sleep Coach Program and dive deeper into anatomy in her NFPT Fundamentals of Anatomy Course.