For many who move internationally to America or even within its borders, the considerations are primarily economic. The pursuit of better opportunities drives many to seek out better lives for themselves and their families. For the Southern USA, this is most commonly seen in families from Mexico and Central America. Working and helping fuel economies in every sector.
Sadly, the “American Dream” has been leveraged against many communities that are unable to understand the intricacies of mid-level management when it comes to nutritional companies. These MLMs, also known as “pyramid schemes,” are sold as grand solutions. But they require upfront costs on the part of members that often overshadow any gains that members can make. Both in health and in profit.
By contrast, our Ethical Inc. model promotes transparency from the source and connects people with their health and development, not simply to more products for purchase.
While the opportunity for personal wellness and entrepreneurship is what makes this economy so great to live under, the prevalence of less ethical companies comes with downsides that disproportionately affect non-English-speaking communities. This blog will detail these “hidden costs.” And shed light on why we believe ethical marketing is necessary for communities of nutrition enthusiasts to thrive.
What Makes MLMs?
A mid-level management (or MLMs) company is organized in such a way that members can only make significant gains if they sign up other members.
Dues, startup fees, or the purchase of marketing materials are paid directly to the company and the “recruiter” who finds interested members. These dues must be paid before a member can access the sales materials that will form their income. The income generated from sales will be split directly between the individual, the organization, and the recruiter.
Once a member is signed up, they often learn that the amount possible to earn through sales is often negligible. In most cases, a month of work can scarcely cover the cost of signing up. This downturn forces members to sign up other members. As that is far more profitable to have others working under you than working for yourself.
Without ethical oversight in how these companies are pitched, it is entirely possible to have large branches of the company operating without new members understanding the intricacies and possible exploitations through omission.
Why This Disproportionately Affects Immigrants
When someone in a disadvantaged position and actively seeking better income is told there is an opportunity for easy money; they are naturally inclined to make this solution work. When “make your own hours, cash your own cheques” is pitched, it fits neatly into the American Dream framework that the media reinforces from birth.
MLMs offer the kind of self-startership that doesn’t require interviews or checking of documentation. Something that many communities avoid due to systemic forces. It seemingly rewards those willing to go above and beyond in work and speaks to revenue to match. Without knowing better, many sign themselves away into contracts that are confusing to non-native English speakers. By only being sold the successful image of these companies and not the truth in plain terms, it is easy to get swept away in promises of a better future.
As members get in too deep with membership dues and startup fees, their plans to make money often take extreme measures. Many MLMs offer benefits to those who start up storefronts or brick and mortar shops. In working towards these stretch goals, members are often put into debt before seeing a single cent from their operations. Their recruiters go quiet once the money stops coming. And the cycle begins anew as these indebted members must sign even more people up to break even.
This pattern is especially devastating for immigrant communities.
These communities share a deep sense of trust and kinship for one another. Trust between community members makes manipulating from within more accessible since a shared vision of a prosperous future allows them to communicate their goals without sharing the truth of how the organization works. Both for external recruiters and those already in debt. Furthermore, people from immigrant communities are the least likely to seek legal recourse should they be wronged. This makes them an easy target for exploitation.
This article isn’t to say that folks cannot willingly sign up for a company in this style and find a reasonable amount of profit. The problem arises when there is a lack of transparency in the pitch. People are sadly coerced into situations they would now have reasonably entered had the company been explained to them adequately.
This lack of transparency in many nutritional MLMs affects the elderly, the undereducated, and the physically disenfranchised as equally as it does new Americans. Having an ethical approach to how you market and distribute your materials is crucial! Especially when running a responsible business and attracting partners who can enable you to grow and positively change the health of others.
Ethical Inc. was formed as a reliable and mindful approach to nutritional supplements. We believe in sourcing our goods from not only the right ingredients but from the right people. Transparency sets our model apart, and we look forward to sharing every product we offer. Because we can stand fully behind it from source to sale.
Contact us to learn more about our products and how you can live a more ethically-sourced life.