The Problem with Free Information on the Internet – a Rachel Hollis critique

Let me just start out by saying – I have zero problem with the fact that Rachel Hollis is a success. I think anyone can do anything they put their mind to – hustle, heart and a whole lot of ambition can get you anywhere you want to go. To a certain extent it really is motivation and consistency that can get you anywhere. It is abundantly clear that Mrs. Hollis has all of that in spades. Looking at the way we are in 2020 with an abundance of people making careers as influencers we are in a different time. Digital careers are saving the world during the COVID crisis. Digital nomad life is going to hit the globe strong when we can all start travelling again. This is more about the claim that all you need is high school and Google for success. Because Rachel Hollis is now very wealthy it appears that she figures that her opinion and her way is the smart way to see this type of success – making lots of money does not mean you are smart. Her privilege as a white woman blogging in and from the USA is rarely discussed.

Free information on the Internet does not teach you how to do business properly, think independently or how to interpret information and make it your own.

 

Perhaps I am butt hurt because I have been formally educated in a University and a College but when influencers talk about how their success with only a high school education it makes me irrationally furious. It is not so much that they are successful because anyone can hustle – but it is that they make glaring mistake on citing sources and crediting other authors. They are stealing people’s thoughts and using them as their own. Anyone in any area of post secondary education knows the importance of citing sources and influence. You simple can not steal other people thoughts and call them your own. We all know that we learned from the thoughts of other people, it is how we evolved, it is how we got here – there aren’t really original thoughts anymore – things have been done before but not interpreting the information and making it your own  – this is the problem.

person in gray long sleeve shirt using macbook pro
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Since quarantine has started, I have been trying to fill my time by catching up on my podcasts and half-finished books. I have been subscribed to the RISE podcast for months because there is some great information in the podcast and Rachel Hollis is an amazing speaker – she interviews with elegance and has amazing guests and at times has some great advice. In general her podcasts are great HOWEVER in the intro she has made it clear that her brand is being successful came solely from the “ free information she got on the internet” – and while yes she did learn a lot from the internet she really hasn’t quite figure out that she can’t steal people words and call them her own. She needs to site her sources. She has been accused publicly of plagiarism and it seems to me that the posts are taken off her social platforms but there is zero discussion about it.  Just a couple of days ago – her media team actually posted on Instagram a post that read “still … I rise” which is a quote from Maya Angelou – at least in 2020 she has learned to take it down and to credit the source which she did in a follow up post where she blamed her team. However, has she learned how to properly source and credit other authors from the “free information she got on the internet”? It does not look like she has.

I own a copy of ‘Girl, stop apologizing’ and ‘Girl, was your face’ …  Both okay reads. Both glaringly have stolen information from other self-help leaders and turned into her own work. It wreaks of privilege and this is my problem with Rachel Hollis. I want to like her because I LOVE motivational, personal development books. But I cannot get passed her arrogance.

SHE. IS. PRIVILEGED.

woman working at home using her laptop
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Yes, she worked hard but also yes she had an abundance of white privilege. Why can we never discuss how privileged she really is? How her connections got her where she is? How she did not build this business alone?

Love her or hate her Rachel Hollis has really become someone to pay attention to over the years. But do not fool yourself into only seeing her overnight success because that does not exist. It took years to grow her brand and her business. The idea of on overnight success is an illusion – spending 10 years working at her business with no success to finally have that one post, that one viral sensation to reach you to success. That is basically how it is all done. The one viral post that took you 10 years to figure out. Along the way Rachel has been accused of plagiarism. Stealing quotes and stealing concepts and basically not knowing how to site a source for her information. It boils down to being ACCUSED of COPYING AND NOT CREDITING PEOPLES WORK. This is NOT the way to do it, Friends. The issue here is not being about to critically assess where the information is coming from and whether it is a credible source. She is sharing stolen information and is misguided about crediting sources and using quotation marks – she is trying to pull it off as her own. Basically, she is taking the spotlight from people that earned those credentials.

Rachel Hollis pretending like privilege did not help in getting her where she is and that it was all from the free information on the internet is absolutely a false claim.

Are the MLM Huns really just looking for a Community?

Times are savage friends and the most savage of the savage multi-level marketing consultants are making their presence known. They are leaning in, they are dropping in – they are using this world disaster as a way to sell their products.  In a time where no one has disposable income and people are straight up anxious about our future MLM people are trolling inboxes and DMs hard. 

These are the MLM huns. 

These are the people that are wreaking of desperation and high pressure sale tactics. 

These are the MLMers that the world hates.

If there is anything circling the internet with a vengeance these days it is the hate for MLM huns. What is a multi-level marketing hun you ask?  These are the ladies that slide into your DMs calling you hun, telling you they have something great for you, asking if you want to be part of their thing but their “thing” is actually some type of multi level marketing, pyramid scheme thing – an invitation that you likely didn’t ask for. These Ladies, for the most part, are bubbly, positive and often are down the rabbit hole of making money at this thing they truly believe is their own business.

A lot of them are in it deep. It is almost cult like – they are dropping into DMs being totally socially inappropriate – preying on people in a way that is just wrong. Even sometimes destroying their family and friendship because they are not hearing people when they say no. 

The thing is – and here is the big thing – this is not EVERYONE actively involved in network marketing.

Please believe when I say this  – just like everything else in the world the bad few stereotypical crazy people really ruin it for the rest. There are normal, sane, non-pressuring people involved in multilevel marketing – you don’t know them because they didn’t drop into your DMs – but you do know them because if you needed a Scentsy refill you’d message them  – just relaxed and no pressure. 

Here is the thing … 

I have been doing my research about multi level marketing (network marketing) and learning things. The stats are clear – most people involved in multi level marketing are making nothing per year. The average Canadian involved in multilevel marketing is actually making somewhere between $0.00 and $2500.00 per year. This is the majority of people in this business. Now don’t get me wrong – there are the unicorns. And they are making bank. But it is a very, very small number. Could it be achievable? Maybe, but your chances are slim. 

So why do people get involved in this type of stuff. I can honestly say I’m pretty sure it sums up to one thing – one majorly huge thing a lot of us are missing in our lives:

COMMUNITY

The very thing that most of these organizations get mocked for is the thing that draws people in and that is a sense of community, a girl gang, Ladies talking about health, wellness and fitness and in all that being supported for what each other are doing.

Since we have taken to this life that we lead all busy and distracted more often than not what is really lacking for a lot of people’s lives is community. At one point  – when we were younger and less busy we had time to have a gaggle of friends and sports teams – and the gang all going out. That is not the reality of today (heck most of us are stuck at home right now – hanging out on Zoom) so people have figured out another way to find that community and for a lot of women I think it is the girl gang and group mentality of multi level marketing companies.

Here me out … you have a “team” of people you are working with. This team is supportive and empowering. They are like this because they are reading the kind of stuff that makes them grow as humans – self help on crack in a community of women who are also reading the same type of material. The manifestation in these places = INSANE. The energy = lit. People get addicted to an infectious community and stick with it. Whether you want to buy it or not – it is a driving factor. 

While it is hard to wrap your head around these types of products. I think we can all see some pretty crazy results of women who actually follow a Beachbody program. They are fit as fuck. Those Arbonne Ladies have skin like I’ve never seen. So clearly they are onto something here. Essential oils – who isn’t using them these days. Oils are going to be our new future as we change our existence the way we know it to exist right now. 

As I dive into my first MLM I have found that the support is there as much or as little as I want it to be. The groups are overflowing with positive people and it makes me see why women stay in these circles – because they feel wanted, they feel hope and they feel a sisterhood – maybe of the travelling pants – I am not entirely sure yet.

Tune in next time when I dive into all the start up information and where my journey goes next.

Have you bought from any MLM? Was is guilt or a guilty pleasure for a really good product?  Let me know in the comments.

 

Pitch Week & MLM Experiment Guidelines


 

Mother of all things holy – the pitch week has been insane.

I decided before I talked to anyone – there would need to be a set of guidelines that I had to follow. Any pitch needed to be well executed and informed; I would feel comfortable with the person I would need to be my mentor. What follows are things I really need to pay attention to before I can join any team of independent distributors and mixed in with that is a bunch of things I am committing to myself as I go forward with the project:

  •         I need to pick an MLM that I am genuinely interested in the products. It must be products that I will honestly use. It is important that it is vegan (for personal and long term business reasons)
  •         I need to commit to reading everything about the company. The good, the bad and the ugly – all the stuff. Take notes. Be informed – don’t make egregious stupid claims about products that aren’t true. (Yesterday while doing online research I listen to a girl talk about how big companies take the fat from road kill and put it in makeup and that is what you are putting on your face – this, friends, is why most people think MLM people are crazy)
  •         Track money in vs money out (keep track as visuals) – everything you spend vs everything you make. It is important to track to see how much you are making vs. losing.
  •         3-6 months. The premise is that I actually work the program. If I am making money perhaps I will continue on – Who knows where this will take me?!
  •         Find a thriving supportive upline that can help me build my “business” – I have always struggled when women have called their independent consultant business’ as there “own company” – the culture of preying on women as weak and trying to show them that success is growth is scary. But i’ll dive into that later. 
  •         I will commit to regular Friday posts to update how the project is going – how dealing with the public as a person that works for an MLM is going. Do I feel like I am putting a strain on personal relationships?
  •         Have a ‘why’ – why did I pick this particular company. What was the decision-making process? Why do you think their products are good?
  • Exit clause – can you bail? If after 3 months you are just spending money. Can you bail?
  • Actually test the products. Use them. Decide for yourself. Things that might benefit you.

 


 

With all the above in mind ….. Asking anyone that is actively trying to make money in an Multi Level Marketing company to pitch me their best pitch opened up a world of crazy that I didn’t really realize was going to evoke so many opinions and so much attitude. It has been an exhausting few days to say the least.

Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing, is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.  – Wikipedia

 

Ladies have been coming at me. People I haven’t ever talked to online have come out of the woodwork. I learned that some of you guys love these companies and some of you fucking hate them. There have been some VERY strong opinions. It is pretty damn interesting the amount of ‘super for’ or ‘super against’ opinions that are circling around the web.

I have been curious about this kind of money making for some time. I have always inherently thought it was wrong. And I am not so certain I changed that opinion but I realized while talking to people that: a lot of women don’t love the products they are trying to push, a lot of women are angry that other women haven’t changed their products – their everyday routine to support their multi level marketing business. Women are angry that other women didn’t sign up to be a part of their business – even if the products are not aligned to then, their ethics or even if the products are possibly out of their price range. There are some women that have drank in so much of the culture they have failed to see anything aside from you not purchasing from them makes you a bad person. Friends, this is just week one. 

Before I got to far on this journey I really needed to know so many things but most important to me:  

 What are the startup costs? What is my monthly and yearly financial contribution? Can I opt out after 3 months or six months? Can I get out if I need to? 

As someone who has spent a lot of time trying to dig themselves out of a financial hole the last thing I want is to get myself on the hook for something financially that I can’t really afford. I don’t want to commit to a company for a year of spending hordes of money that I can’t get back.

So I let people pitch me in any way they wanted to – I had Amway, Young Living, Valentus, Arbonne … some were good – some where bloody awful.

Stay tuned for next Friday when we talk about which company I am choosing to get involved with and …

In the meantime – are you or have you been part of any MLM? I would love to hear from you about your experience?  Please comment below what you think about it – are you making money? Why did you get involved? 

 

Should I join a MLM (multi level marketing) company?

Just the other day I was invited over to my friends house. A girl I haven’t seen in almost a year. 20 mins into our conversation she started talking about this new thing she was involved in and I realized that this person had no interest in really seeing me but more of an interest in trying to get me to sign up for her multi level marketing scheme (this time it was AMWAY).

 

mlm
I stole this image from this article on another website looking for info on MLMs

 

If I am being honest – I felt kind of violated. I listen to the pitch and I said that I was actually trying to be better at supporting my friends with there “business” but in my head I was truly thinking – straight up not buying product I don’t want to support a business for a friend that has barely talked to me in a year.

Fast forward a few days later and I started thinking about the actual functionality of MLMs and if people can really make money.  Back in December when I quit my second job I had thought that I might make a go of trying to sell Beach Body. I was already a Coach – which I signed up for so I could get a discount but then proceeded to spend more on coaching that I did on buying products. But regardless it got me wondering if I did what they told me to do,  had a strong upline and if I followed their protocol would I, in fact, be able to make money in an MLM venture.

In my currently career as a flight attendant I come across pretty much everyone that has a side gig. If I am being truly honest – flight attendant money isn’t great. This lends well to a lot of women working in the multi level marketing (MLM) industry. There are people selling Beadchbody packages, Young Living Essential Oils, Roden & Fields, Scentsy and so on. I am not going to lie – I have been super interested in making some ‘easy’ cash in the digital nomad style of work and MLMs are so damn popular.

However, and this is HUGE –  there are very few people I know that make money in MLMs.  

Most people sign up and then fail to push the products – but as any true MLM upline will tell you  – read your positive affirmation self help books daily and be consistent. Reach out to new people everyday and be consistent. Talk about it to your family and friends and be consistent. And eventually, eventually things will grow.

I will be documenting my journey once I decide which MLM I want to try out. I am currently looking for a thriving and positive upline that will be super supportive in starting to grow a “business”. Someone who understands I will be documenting the process and who actually makes money on their business.

I am looking for products that I will actually like and want to use  – the options are endless I suppose.

If you are < that > upline and think I might be interested in your product – pitch me your best stuff (must be in Canada).

 

a change in business …

Quite a few months ago I wrote about #girlboss the book written & inspired by Sophia Amoruso. I can’t say I ever shopped at Nasty Gal but I am very interested in Women entrepreneurs and the vague and intriguing idea of making money online. I am truly inspired and curious by how these online entrepreneurs go from zero to everything leveraging the internet.

I really enjoyed a lot of what she had to say in the book. I was less inspired by the fact that she stole things to sell in her fledgling store. However, she went from nothing to highest paid female billionaire in American powerhouse in 10 years (well maybe not exactly that but – you know – something amazing). She has won awards for netbased entrepreneurial things and a powerful woman in terms of what woman can do with the right mind set.  I guess a true success story.

This last week while watching a content creator  Brittany Balyn on YouTube, she was talking about the bankruptcy of Nasty Gal. Well actually she was talking about the 70% off sale. But, I was more interested in the decline of Nasty Gal.  I felt like I was living under a rock, where have I been?  If you don’t know – Sophia Amoruso is the creator of Nasty Gal clothing company. It was one of the fastest growing online clothing companies; it was born out of selling vintage clothing on eBay. A little online searching led me to see that Ms. Balyn was actually right and  Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy sometime in November 2016.

There are two things I want to discuss from this event:

  1.  I originally was writing this post because I was all like WTF?! Sophia Amoruso is done. Then I realized that actually there is a whole new  #girlboss situation.  I caught wind of the podcast she now hosts. And now I have something new to listen to at work because I am not a Girl boss yet but I’m well on my fucking way. Also, a podcast with her chatting with other prominent female business people in the USA in mega interesting to me. So take away number one – the company went under but I learned about a super inspiring new podcast
  2. The crash of business as we once new it. That is take away #2.  I never went to business school, nor do I understand that much about the business world. But I find it increasingly interesting that the most random of companies have closed their doors due to the development of the internet and modern day shopping. The change is in how we acquire products like movies, tv & music but also how we shop for full retail products online instead of at locations. There has been a huge movement to go back to a simpler time; with more locally sourced products. Which is by far a different world than the internet obsessed  world we currently live in. Are we witnessing the demise of modern day business when bustling online retailers are failing too?.

 

What do you guys think about this new business? Have you noticed a change in the kind of retail available in your area? or online? Are you even an online shopping or do you refuse?

Comment below, lets talk about this!

XOXO,

C