What is a Fake Business?

I’m wondering if I need a new name for this blog.

After reading a blog posted on Sunday by one of my readers (Anna), I am seriously considering a name change.  What she wrote made me embarrassed to call myself an 8pm Warrior.

What sparked this?

In a previous post, I asked the question “Is Multi Level Marketing (MLM) a good opportunity?”  Apparently, this topic is hotter than I imagined.  One reader even commented that they thought “8pm Warrior” referred to the time of evening when these Multi Level Marketing people like Amway, Market America,  or similar groups get together and talk about their fake businesses.

Fake business…

I don’t know if I was candid enough in my first post (probably too nice).  However, now that I’ve revisited the issue, here are some clear thoughts on the matter in plain English:

1)      It is not a business if you never plan to make a profit (or if 99% of people who do the same thing will lose money).  That is called a hobby…much like owning a boat, gardening, or building miniature model ships inside glass bottles.

2)      If by chance, someone makes money doing this sort of hobby; it does not legitimize this business model.  Even though a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, finding the nut on accident does not qualify the squirrel as a bona fide nut business owner (however, MLM’s might qualify).

3)      You are not a business owner because you sell yourself products.

4)      You are also not a business owner if you use your strong emotional connections with family or close friends to sell overpriced products.  That is called misguided, annoying, and destructive in the long run.

5)      It does not mean you own a business if you dress up and pay thousands of dollars to hear speakers tell you about their dreams coming true.  Their dreams came true when you paid to hear about their dreams coming true and signed up for the snake oil they were selling.

(Side note, MLM’s do prove that speaking for a living is a real business)

6)      You are not an 8pm Warrior just because every Wednesday night at 8pm you bring yourself and others to a hotel conference room to play a childish game of “Dress Up” or “Pretend”.

My two kids dress up and “play house”, but that doesn’t mean they own a house.

Real businesses add value.  Real business owners must offer something more than dreams.

Have a real night,

Aaron@Biebert

Further Reading:

Less than 1% chance of success

Demographic Groups that Amway Targets

Is Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) a Good Opportunity for 8pm Warriors?

“I’ve got a business opportunity to talk to you about.”

I’ve learned to hate that phrase…

Years ago I promised myself that I would always listen to anyone who wanted to discuss a business opportunity, without exception.  There had been several times when leaders ignored an opportunity I brought to them, and one time I started a successful business to take advantage of the idea myself.  They missed out.

I don’t want to make the same mistake myself some day.

And so I find myself regularly approached by eager 8pm Warriors looking to tell me about their “big opportunity”.  Unfortunately, it’s usually Muli-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing like Amway, Quixstar, or Market America.

I still respectfully listen to the pitch for a while, but I usually end up stopping them with a earnest plea to do something profitable with their passion.  After all, they just wasted their gas, money on samples, marketing materials, and time.

Today, when I read Robert Vander Roest’s blog post “Is MLM a Scam?”, I felt compelled to share my thoughts with more than just the poor guy who came to visit.  Here they are…

Because I deeply understand and appreciate the motivations for finding a way to make dreams come true, I’m going to offer some respectful, but pointed advice for people looking to be successful through MLM:

Don’t do it.

You can make more money with your time.  99% of people who try MLM’s lose money.

There are people with billions of dollars to invest, and you can watch them to see what sort of business is a wise investment. However, I’ve never seen a successful entrepreneur decide to join an MLM, and they have larger reputations and more resources to make it work.

Why?  Because, recruiting recruiters to recruit more recruiters isn’t a real business, and neither is buying product from yourself to make money.

Hear me out.

If any part of your “opportunity” includes buying from yourself while recruiting distributors to recruit distributors, and you don’t work for a recruiting firm or HR department of a wildly successful startup, you need to be skeptical.  Think about what it means to recruit just four levels of 18 people recruiting 18 people…etc.

You —> an eager, talented 8pm Warrior

18 —–>  your closest friends who believed in you

324 —–>   their closest friends who heard you were an 8pm Warrior

5,832

104,976 —–>   more people than the population of Green Bay, Boulder, or Berkeley

If you are talented and passionate enough to be the patriarch of an organization the size of a mid sized American city (without losing anyone along the way), I’d like to personally introduce you to some very wealthy investors that would make your dreams come true for accomplishing a similar task with a real business model.

Need more facts?  Check out Dr. Jon Taylor’s research on the topic

The bottom line is that you can find similar “products” online somewhere for cheaper.  Save your money and find a way to use your 8pm Warrior passion to sell something that people want…leaving you with your money, your pride, and most importantly, your relationships.

Don’t just be passionate, be proud of what you do!

Have a proud night,

Aaron@Biebert