I knew it! MLM’s and Direct Marketing Companies ARE Cults!

Cult is the root of the word culture.  Multi-level marketing and direct marketing companies all have their own culture and family dynamics.  Yes, I said family.  Therefore, they are cult(ure)s.



Picture of my wife holding my newborn son.Here’s the thing, you were born into one.  Whether your family adheres to certain religious values or just specific societal values, when you put these factors all together, it identifies your particular cult.

As we grow in life, we face choices in direction.  Part of that is deciding where we fit into society.  Some have to make very drastic decisions like minimizing exposure to family because that particular culture is deemed to be a negative influence.  We find others more like ourselves with similar beliefs and value system.  This includes where we live, work and play.

The world is made of a multitude of cults.  We all need to decide which ones we will be a part of.  Being part of a culture gives a sense of security that comes from being surrounded by like minded people that you know, like and trust.



Most of us will be approached many times throughout our lives to join different groups and each will have it’s unique culture.

  • Corporate America (Canada?)
  • Family (Your life partner and their family)
  • Faith (or non-faith)
  • Team (Sports or academic)
  • MLM (Multi-level or direct marketing company)

Picture of cartoon people joining handsThey’re all cults, just different environments in various parts of our lives.  It’s importance to choose carefully as each has the potential to change you in ways you might never have imagined.

Corporate America may drain the life out of you with the demands on your time and lead to early death or make you resent getting out of bed in the morning.  Your life partner influences how you see the world and how you go about giving back to society.  Faith can lead to enriching the lives of your family and those around you.  Being part of a team may teach you how to compromise and MLM’s may lead to such personal growth that it changes you and everyone around you.

Choose carefully!



Just like corporations and churches, MLM’s are cults.  Every business has it’s unique culture.  Each has it’s unique value proposition, social structure, educational system and economic model.  Find one that fits with who you are and who you want to become.  Participating in this business model will change you, it’s inevitable.  

By Nicole Shapiro

By Nicole Shapiro

As in every area of your life, there will be individuals who will try to hold you back but unlike many other businesses, there will be more people who will help you to learn and grow.  

Find the group and opportunity who reflect who you want to become and join in that culture.  You may need to try a few different ones before you find the one that fits the best.  Much like dating until you meet that special person that makes you whole.

Some will try to tell you that you can’t be part of their group unless you commit to only working with them and no one else.

 Run as fast as you can!  They will try to dominate and control you rather than supporting your growth.  You likely won’t be able to mix the groups together because of competing values but you can participate in each on their own because you have found where they fit in your culture.

It’s up to you to define who you are and want to become.  When and if you decide to join one group exclusively, let it be your choice.  Not theirs.


Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for opportunity.  I’m thankful for friends.  I’m thankful for free speech.

What are you thankful for today?


Celebrity Culture, Is It Good For Business?

Celebrity:  A person who is famous – Merriam Webster


man-announce-01sNaturally, we want to attract as many people as possible to our business.  One of the easiest ways appears to be recruiting a celebrity to your cause.  People will flock to you because they want to be near a celebrity.  But, is it good for business?

Initially, yes, the numbers will jump.  People will be clamoring to get on board.  Then what?  Can they duplicate what you just did?  Probably not.  Then the business reaches a plateau and now, there is no one knocking on the door any more.  Those same people who followed the celebrity become disillusioned and leave.  The business stagnates and/or dies.


I saw a business that was largely dependent on the author of a book to draw people and keep them engaged.  He was very motivating and a great draw as a speaker.  Then he left.  A large number of people followed him and this created fear and confusion in the remainder of the group.  So much for the celebrity draw!

Near the same time, the company founder, who had become a bit of a celebrity himself, left because he was over 80 and it was his time for himself and family.  This effectively left the organization headless and confused.  I believe they came close to not being able to recover.

They were lucky that the company was bought by people who specialize in just this kind of situation and they are working to rebuild this great company.  But, what if they hadn’t? Continue reading

MLM’s. Are they all just cults?

MLM’s or Multi-level Marketing Companies

man-with-barsMLM’s are legitimate businesses.  They just follow a different business model.  Instead of the profits being concentrated in the hands of shareholders who bring no value themselves, the profits are spread more widely.  This is accomplished by reducing overhead.

  • Not as many bricks and mortar locations.
  • Better inventory management practices.
  • More input from the bottom up.
  • Pay based on production

This leads to the company being leaner but not meaner.  I say that because each member is much more valued as they are each integral to the success of the company as a whole.  Those who are not producing in a MLM company will leave of their own accord or at least be passed over and not get in the way of the success of the others.


Compare Company Structure

Large corporations are made up of many levels (Multi-level?).  There is usually a President and/or CEO.  Then a level of Vice Presidents followed by a level of District Managers.  After that, there is a level of Store or Unit managers followed by a level of department managers and then the level of the workers who actually do most of the work.

Multi-level Marketing companies have a much similar structure except you are the President of your company.  Wealth is spread much more evenly throughout the levels, with the higher rewards at the “bottom”.  The benefit to the people on the upper levels is the benefit compounding.

The success of your MLM business is much more dependent on your own efforts and the training you provide to your team.  This is where it differs from conventional business.  MLM’s operate much more like a team with management by consensus whereas a conventional company is much more like a dictatorship.


MLM Opportunities versus Conventional Business Opportunities

Bag of moneyConventional business opportunities require huge investments.  The need for large sums of cash and access to lines of credit prohibit many people from even entertaining going into business for themselves.  I suspect it would be difficult today to find even a franchise opportunity for much less than $250,000.  The success of the franchise is largely dependent on you but it’s your cash and credit that is at risk.  There will be very specific expectations regarding what you do and when you do it.

MLM opportunities are generally less than a few hundred dollars to get started.  Some require maintaining product inventories whereas others like LegalShield or Pure Leverage have no inventory requirements.  It’s up to you to choose your style.  Once you get started, you control the pace of your success.


MLM’s are just a bunch of cults!

Most organized groups have a culture built around a set of common beliefs.  Whether you are part of a large company like Apple, belong to a church or are part of a MLM, there is a common culture.  The root word in culture is cult!  So, is Apple a cult?  Is the Catholic Church a cult?  What cult do you belong to?

Whether you choose to work for someone else or work for yourself through a franchise or MLM, choose the culture you want to be a part of carefully.  Think about the kind of people you want to do business with and who you want to be associated with.  I would recommend watching Simon Sinek’s “First Why, Then Trust” video.  He does a great job of explaining the importance of the culture you choose to be a part of.



One of the definitions of cult by Merriam-Webster:  “a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially   : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad”

  • business
  • religious faith
  • politics
  • family
  • and yes, MLM’s


So, to answer the question “Are all MLM”s just cults?”, the answer is that MLM’s are the same as any other organization.  Whether you work for a major company like Walmart or own your own business, there is a company culture.  We all belong to one in some form or another.  Yes.  MLM’s are cults just like Walmart or the Catholic Church!

What culture do you belong to?  It’s up to you to decide why you do whatever you do and then just do it!


Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for people like Simon Sinek.  I’m thankful for the opportunity that MLM’s provide.  I’m thankful for the support of family and friends.

What are you thankful for today?