Wednesday , May 29 2024
One "independent sales consultant" gets one of their “friends” to be an independent sales consultant who gets one of their “friends” to be one – you get the idea. Most people just join in to get free samples, making little to no money in the end.

Social Media Pyramid Schemes and the Momtrepreneur

dollar signI get it. Moms want to be at home with their little ones, so they try to make money working from home. But the stay-at-home mom has become a target for companies who label these women as their “independent sales consultants,”  when they are really the bottom rungs of pyramid schemes fueled by social media and desperation that end in exploitation of friendships.

A pyramid scheme is an organization that profits not off a product or service, but off the ongoing addition of new money or recruits to the group. More and more people fall into joining in, and as those at the bottom continue to pull in new “victims” and the true scheme is exposed, the bottom-feeders leave empty-handed. And in the age of social media, empty-handed and with no friends.

As a work-from-home mom myself, I totally get the importance of being home with your children, but every single day I get invited to another “party” on Facebook or get sent another “testimonial” for some miracle product I care nothing about.

A few months ago, my son was having a really bad time with eczema, so I posted a very simple message on my Facebook page asking for some natural remedies. Worst. Idea. Ever. I was flooded with almost 100 (no kidding) messages from my mom friends and their friends and friends of their friends trying to sell me things. I had people trying to get me to buy special clothes, essential oils, soaps, you name it.

But every suggestion given to me was by someone who sold that particular “remedy.” No one genuinely wanted to help me. I ended up unfriending quite a few people, and it made me look at these “friends” in an entirely new way. These so-called friends of mine are shamelessly pushing products, exploiting our friendship just to make a buck in their role as “independent sales consultant.” Give me a break. And while we all know Facebook friends are much different from our actual friends that we see day to day, it still left a really sour taste in my mouth.

This exploitation of friendships and the rise of the social media “momtrepreneur” is really quite sad. The way these schemes work, and yes I call them schemes, is that one independent sales consultant gets one of their “friends” to be an independent sales consultant who gets one of their “friends” to be one – you get the idea. Most people just join in to get free samples, making little to no money in the end. Meanwhile, the companies are getting tons of free exposure and marketing as people share products and services via social media and host online “parties” to get their friends to purchase whatever it is they happen to be selling that week.

Some of the worst offending companies? JamBerry, Norwex, MONAT, Younique, Scentsy, Oh My Posh, and It Works. There are many more, selling products to all of the other moms on the block promising a cleaner home, a thinner waistline, or an envious appearance. My question is, why don’t you see this kind of thing with men?

Even men who work from home, and there are more and more stay-at-home dads out there, don’t resort to exploitation. I’ll bet they don’t open up their Facebook accounts just to get bombarded with invitations to 19 “parties.”

There has to be a better way to make some extra cash. Until we find it, here’s to 2016 being the year of an invention to block all of these invitations to parties that only promise to get you a big fat “block” on Facebook.

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About Alyssa Sellors

Alyssa Sellors was an English and Journalism educator for eight years and now works as a freelance writer and journalist. She is a regular contributor to a number of publications. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband, baby boy, and two chihuahuas.

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