career

'My bestie became a beauty consultant for a popular MLM. It ruined our friendship.'

When my friend Sam* invited me to her new business launch, I was buzzing with intrigue and excitement. Sam is talented and creative, so my mind rushed to visions of beautiful ceramic plant hangers or colourful handmade jewellery.

It had been a long day at work and the kids were begging me, “Don’t go out again mum,” but I love Sam and wanted to be there to support her in this new venture.

So, I peeled myself away from my family and went to see what the big announcement was.

Upon entering the room, my heart sank as I was greeted by rows and rows of neatly arranged beauty products.

Side note: If you love beauty, watch this video to see Mamamia’s Amy Clark get her brows laminated. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Sh*t, I groaned in my head.

After serving champagne and canapes, it was time to hear the spiel.

Sam was as eloquent and charming as ever. She told us, “You all know this isn’t usually my sort of thing, but the more I looked into it, the more I thought how much sense it makes. And whilst I am off work with the kids, this will help me afford the life I want to lead. Plus, the products are really beautiful.”

Fair enough, I thought. Good for you. Bit of a ‘side hustle’ never hurt anyone.

Then some head honcho from the beauty brand took centre stage and for the next TWO HOURS, dazzled us with tales of a new Mercedes, Tiffany jewellery, international travel junkets and $25K take home pay a month – all for little to no effort. It sounded incredible and I found myself daydreaming about what $25K a month could look like for my family…

To support Sam, I sat there pledging to buy these beauty products only from here on in. But we all know this is not really enough – it’s not the product sales they are after but rather YOU, the person. The real money, it seems, comes from recruiting more consultants into your network.

When I came home that night, my husband was sitting up in bed waiting expectantly to hear what the big launch was all about. When I told him about the beauty brand he too groaned, “Sh*t.”

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You see, I have been approached by two other acquaintances to become a consultant for this beauty brand. In both instances, I politely declined yet still occasionally receive sample kits in the mail and the odd message to the tune of, “How is your work going? Just keep thinking how much you would love working for this beauty brand.”

Given these two are merely acquaintances, it hasn’t bothered me to quietly ignore them and just go silent on the whole thing.

But Sam is a close friend and one I see regularly. And now that she has become a consultant for the brand, things between us have changed.

It took me a while to realise why I felt so unsettled by this. After all, I have no issue with the brand per se and I am rapt that Sam wants to earn a bit of income whilst she raises her kids – all great, no problems there.

Listen to Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, where host Claire Murphy discusses how multi-level marketing works. Post continues below.

My issue is I now feel like I am a commodity to her. No longer a friend but somebody she can make a buck out of. And that has made things uncomfortable between us.

The day after the launch, she called me to see what I thought about it all. I said I was happy for her and will buy some products however as I suspected, she steered the conversation towards my thoughts on becoming a consultant myself.

I wriggled out of the phone call and hung up.

Since then, every time I see Sam down the street or at the kids’ school, I do my best to avoid her. I hide behind trees and slide down in my car seat. And when I see her name come up in my phone, rather than smile and race to pick it up, I ignore it. Sure enough, a text follows through with a breezy, “Hey, any more thoughts on joining me as a consultant?”

So, whilst I wish Sam well with her new venture, it has come at a cost – our friendship. No matter how hard I try, it all just feels a bit off, like she is no longer a friend but a salesperson following me around a shop when I only want to browse.

For now, I will continue to politely resist the invitation to join her, secretly longing for the day when we can throw our heads back in laughter about the time I dived behind a hedge and tore my new silk pants trying to avoid another recruitment pitch.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia and has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The image used is a stock photo.

Do you have a similar experience with a friend or relative? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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