In this topsy-turvy world, wouldn’t you like to be your own boss? Wouldn’t you like to sell a hot product with an attractive commission structure, on your own time and at your own pace? Of course you would. Welcome, my friends, to multilevel marketing, where nobody’s stopping you but you, and maybe eventually the Federal Trade Commission.
A couple of years ago, my wife, Heather, got involved with Rodan + Fields, a skin care company that relies on independent distributors (read: moms) to move its wares. When she said she wanted to get into Rodan + Fields, I was supportive. I went right out and got this spray stuff to repel moles, because I wanted to get rid of the rodents in the fields. Maybe I wasn’t really listening. This, incidentally, is why the multilevel marketing industry tends to rely on women for its sales force and offer female-oriented products—women listen to each other and can thus sell things to each other. Guys communicate by taking turns issuing unrelated statements that they just thought of. This makes it hard to sell them items that are less interesting than, say, a Lamborghini.
The latest company that’s all the rage with the moms is called Young Living, which sells little vials of oils that are purported to cure a variety of ailments. A friend of ours got into oil-slinging after hearing of another woman who supposedly made $107,000 in a single month. So she signed up, then recruited another friend, who signed up another friend, and now I think we’ve ordered this oil-diffuser gadget that suffuses your abode with the magic of Young Living. It’s like Yankee Candle meets vaping, a high-tech solution to the eternal challenge of how to get your house to smell like frankincense.
Now, each Young Living distributor who recruits a friend gets a referral bonus and a cut of that person’s sales, along with any other sales from anyone they sign up, potentially down to eight generations. An org chart would look something like a triangle. I’m not sure what you’d call this sort of scheme. I peer amid my stack of notes, but I can’t find the right term.
Now, I’m not sure how many units our friends will move, whether they’re gonna make it to Senior Star or Royal Crown Diamond status, whether their personal group volume or organizational group volume will earn them Compensation Level Five or three shares in the Rising Star Team Bonus Pool. The Young Living compensation plan is slightly more complicated than the human genome.
I also don’t really know anything about these oils, so I got one of the Young Living brochures, which are not hard to find, since every woman I know now works for them. From what I can tell, each oil can help remedy a variety of ailments. There’s a helpful index so you can look up which oil to deploy for your specific decrepitude.
For instance, “indigestion/flatulence/diarrhea” is an occasion to rub peppermint oil on your stomach. But you should diffuse Peace and Calming oil to “calm overactive or hard to manage children.” You’ve got to be careful, because this is powerful stuff and you don’t want to drop the wrong newt in the cauldron. Like, the Joy oil is indicated as a room freshener if you put it in the vape bowl, but a libido enhancer if you rub it on your feet. Go ahead and try that with a Glade plug-in.
Young Living is also heavy into the vita flex movement, which embraces the idea that areas of your feet correspond literally to parts of your body. The brochure provides a diagram so that you’ll know where to rub the oils. Be careful on the inside upper part of your heel, because that’s your rectum. The big toe is your brain; the arch is your spine. About the only part that’s missing is your feet.
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has waged a public battle against Herbalife, another company of this ilk that he insists is a pyramid scheme. Other financial bigwigs say it’s not. I don’t know who’s right or wrong, but at least in the realms of oils and skin care my opinion is: What’s the harm? Maybe your skin looks better or you use some oil instead of Downy to make your laundry smell nice. If you want to be a Superstar Fifth-Degree Sales Thetan, go for it. If not, rub some oil on your foot-rectum and call it a night.
For my part, I just want a piece of the action, something I can sell to my friends. You’ve heard of Rodan + Fields. Get ready for Beer + Lamborghinis.