By the 1980s, the landscape of U.S. economics was transformed. A financial boom coincided with women entering commercial life. These women were a huge target for network marketing companies, as they sought jobs that allowed them to earn money without neglecting their children and families. Women were able to acquire high positions within these companies, creating opportunities for women to achieve financial independence without giving up their families.
Verify taxes. To help verify financial claims, review tax forms from the last five years of the person trying to recruit you into the organization. If he or she refuses to hand over the returns, watch out. It may be an illegal scheme. Also be wary of any MLM with a “no-buy-back policy.” Legitimate companies that require inventory purchases will buy back unsold merchandise for at least 80% of what you paid, should you decide to quit the business. Some state laws require buy backs of at least 90% of the original cost.

Tracy Willard of California began her MLM career out of necessity.  “Prior to getting involved in my business, I told my friends to never let me join one of those things… but when our family was hit by the mortgage crisis I had to do something different.”  She started her business with the intention some retirees may also find themselves.  “I started with the idea that I just needed to make my month easier.  My company helped me figure out what I needed to do in order to make an extra $500 per month.”


Direct sales for 2003 totaled $29.55 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association. The DSA is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade organization comprising firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services directly to consumers.According to the organization, 13.3 million people in the United States participated in direct selling last year. These figures are up from $28.69 billion and $13 million, respectively, for 2002. And while some have earned a decent wage directly marketing the products of legitimate businesses, this area is fraught with pitfalls and scams.

When you look at our hypothetical MLM, it’s hard not to notice that it pretty much works like a pyramid scheme: you make money by recruiting people below you. Instead of the people below you giving you and the people above you money in order to be part of the MLM — as in a traditional pyramid scheme — you (and the people above you) get a commission off the product purchases the recruits below you are required to make from the MLM. Distributors make little to no money selling product to people outside the company.
So Herrera, who's experienced her own share of pain due to a shoulder injury followed by a bout of Lyme disease, went to a local herb shop and bought a vial of the oil, which, by some definitions, is legal in all states if it doesn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC – the psychoactive component of cannabis. She began putting seven to nine drops under her tongue first thing most mornings – and was startled by the results. "It's changed my pain level, my anxiety level and my stress level," says Herrera, who already practiced yoga, meditated regularly, ate a healthy diet and tried conventional medical treatments for pain and mobility. "It was shocking," she says, because she thought her patients' reports were due to the placebo effect. "Right now," she adds, "I feel pretty amazing."
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