Because of the nature of my business, I sometimes talk to startup entrepreneurs with a dollar and a dream. Which is fine. But sometimes, these dreams seem a little far-fetched to me. Usually when that happens, MLM or Network Marketing is involved.
Let me be plain up front – I am not a fan of MLM. Not at all. I think it’s a sleazy way of doing business, because the basic premise isn’t honest. The focus of the business is not on the products and services, despite what anyone says – the focus is on building a network.
Every now and again, I get asked to write sales copy for network marketers. I’m not one to turn down paying work, so if you want to hire me and take your shot with your MLM company, I’ll be happy to help (although if you ask, I’ll give you my opinion of MLM).
But, I *do* have to feel good about it. That wasn’t the case today.
Two weeks ago, a woman gave me a deposit of $750 to write a few sales pages. We were going to do a typical site – Home | About | Products | The Opportunity | FAQ | Contact.
This kind of thing I can get behind – we’ll sell product, we’ll have a page talking about “the opportunity”, etc – it seemed pretty close to a normal business. I was scheduled to start the project this week.
Then today, she e-mails me “the rules”, as laid down by the company. One of the products she’s selling is Sprint wireless service… but I’m not allowed to use the name Sprint. She’s also selling something called Clear4G, and I can’t mention that name either.
Huh? How am I supposed to sell a product online when I can’t mention the name? Sorry, no dice – I’m not doing it. I can’t in good conscience say to her “ok, here are your sales pages” when I *know* they aren’t going to sell squat.
So I call her and explain my point – she says “ok, how about just writing a lead capture page for the opportunity?”. We discussed it, but the same rules apply – I can’t use any names. I could just talk about “National Companies”, “Wireless” “4G” etc etc.
Yea, that’s do-able to a point, but you know, it’s not do-able by me. I don’t like pie-in-the-sky BS, and I don’t write for it. I also felt bad for my client – she was a bit bummed at these rules herself. The whole thing just didn’t feel right.
So I did the only thing I felt I could: I refunded her money. Even though I booked time for her, I could not keep this person’s money and do work I didn’t believe in. I’ll eat the time loss – I’ll be fine.
I may be $750 poorer, but I’ll sleep tonight. And I believe in Karma and stuff (that’s fodder for another post) – that $750 will come back to me.