Makeup, books, and jewelry, oh my! Throw in a little wine … and that’s a party I can get on board with. As the holidays are approaching, I know I’ll be flooded with friends inviting me to attend direct sales parties. I always have this weird combination of feelings between guilt and annoyance when I say no. In fact, I used to scoff at the sheer mention of MLM’s (multilevel marketing businesses) — and don’t get me started on the number of social media posts blowing up my feed. I would think to myself, “are these people actually making the amount of money they act like they are?” In fact, it put me in a place where I had to stop following certain friends because it was not good for my mental health. I always had this feeling that I was missing out, while also trying to remind myself that I knew better than that.
I’m well aware of how direct sales gigs work. I can remember looking through my grandma’s Avon booklet, and I can assure you, that kind of work is not for me. But you know what? It doesn’t mean that it isn’t for everyone. Something changed in my life, and I now have an entirely different perspective on MLM’s. In the summer of 2016, my husband and I opened up our own business. I learned how difficult it can be to run a successful business. How hard it can be to promote yourself and the business that you’ve created. I’ve learned how terribly rude people can be. And then it hit me: this is just what my MLM friends are trying to do. My business may not be a direct sales gig, but it’s hard in a lot of the same ways. I’ve seen some truly life-changing success from some of my friends, and the changes aren’t all monetary. And as a true friend and fellow mama, shouldn’t I be building them up instead of scoffing at their dreams? I count on my friends to promote my business, and they should be able to count on me to promote theirs.
The other reason that I found myself collecting direct sales products over time is that I like to spend time with my friends. Both old and new, it’s fun to catch up and have a night out. It’s a huge bonus if there are wine and snacks involved. I’ve learned as I get older and our family grows, time is a jerk. My friends and I are lucky to see each other a few times a year when the stars align perfectly. You see, for me, parties aren’t about the product necessarily, although I have found some pretty cool stuff. It’s more about catching up with friends and enjoying a girls’ night out. If I have to listen about how a new face cream is going to make me look 10 years younger or this new diet is going to help me lose 10 pounds in a week, then bring it on. I’m here for it, or I’m at least here for the wine and snacks.
As the holidays are approaching and your inbox becomes flooded with sales pitches and party invites, I recommend giving them a chance. My friends know that I’m not always buying, but I can listen, support, and refer them on. Being a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. A little kindness goes a long way, my friends … and so does wine, snacks, and a little kid-free time.