In Defense of Your MLM Friends…and me



Lately I’ve been seeing a bit of flack online about people and their direct marketing social media posts.  Having once been relentlessly stalked by a neighbor who saw me as part of her path to millions, I understand how people can become annoyed with those who seem to objectify friends, family, and even passersby.  Recently I read an article about how direct marketing can even disrupt the church, and I had to nod my head in agreement, comprehending how this could sadly but easily result in tensions, competitiveness, and factions within the local body. This is part of the reason that I adopted a policy a couple of years ago of not inviting members of my church to my classes or events.  Our corporate mission is to serve our Lord and bolster his Kingdom, and I’ve decided not to bring anything into my church relationships that might confuse that vision. I don’t mind if a church member invites me to her events (actually, I appreciate it), I just want to be careful not confuse other women in the church about my motives for wanting to be part of their lives. Therefore, I keep the two separate.

Having said that, we as a church must be careful not to dismiss or demean women who have chosen a home-based business model for providing family income. Most believers would agree that there is value to the role of a stay-at-home mom’s labor when it comes to changing diapers, feeding babies, or folding laundry. Yet when we look to Proverbs 31, we find a woman praised who not only tends to her family’s physical and emotional needs, but also finds ways to contribute to the household finances.  This is not to downplay the role of a mom who does not do this, but to simply call us to withhold criticism against the women who do so.

She perceives her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. Prov. 31:18 I’ll confess to you that I’ve often despised this woman of Proverbs 31 for all her perfections, but as I cast aside my comparative insecurities, I admire the fact that she does not see profit as an evil or unworthy thing. Nor should she. In other verses, you will discover reasons why.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain v. 11   I lead several women whose sole purpose in building a business is so that their husbands can give up second jobs and others whose purpose is to stay at home with their children. These are goals which will benefit their families. My own husband is preparing to exit the retail company he started 25 years ago, where he has worked 60-70 hours per week to earn roughly three times the income that I earn in a tenth of the hours.  I’ve watched many husbands leave jobs or cut back on hours in order to join in partnerships with their wives. This is not a bad thing! It is also worth noting that I know of one case of a family who has come off welfare due to the mother’s involvement in our business!

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. v. 20  Being part of a large group of women in my particular business, I have witnessed firsthand and repeatedly generosity on the part of women earning supplemental (and even primary) income. Our group has helped build schools for poverty-stricken children in foreign countries, and individually we have become empowered to give to our local churches, mission organizations, and even friends or family members who fall upon hard circumstances. We get to say, “yes,” whereas we used to have little or nothing to give. There is joy in this, and we are privileged to have found it.

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. v. 21 Let’s face it…it is tough to live on a single income in today’s economy. If a woman seeks to supplement the family income from home, her entire family benefits. There is less fear of the blown transmission or a broken dishwasher, because the family has more financial resources available to them. It is not a sin for a woman not to provide this, but neither is it a sin for her to do so. And truth be told…the single easiest way for a woman to build income while staying home today is through direct marketing.

She looks well to the ways of her household... v. 27 One of the privileges of being able to work at home as mothers is that these moms get to tend to their babies while on the clock. She actually gets to oversee and tend to every aspect of the family operation without having her time divided and partially devoted to a workplace that pays no heed to a sick child or a school activity. One of my business teams conducts weekly video conferences, during which two infants and a toddler are typically in attendance. This is something we value and treasure.

I’ve listed just a few reasons to reconsider how you may view women who are earning income at home via direct marketing. While there are cases in which sinful motives or attitudes may play a role, ninety-nine percent of the women I’ve known to start home businesses have done so with pure motives and the purposes listed above, all the while keeping their friends-and-family relationships on solid ground.

Personally, I am an accidental entrepreneur. I started out by using products that I fell in love with and thus went on to share my experiences with others. As I began receiving paychecks in the mail (which got bigger and bigger), I finally embraced my business as a real job. Today I earn more than I earned working full-time, with my only expense being a monthly small purchase of items I’d be using anyway. I pay no rent, no payroll, no business and unemployment insurance premiums, and no utilities, and I have no commuting costs. I design my own schedule. Comparatively speaking, my husband’s retail company has to average $1,600 every single day before a single dollar is called profit. As highlighted earlier, he has worked 70+ hour weeks and has often commented that he doesn’t own his business, his business owns him.

And here’s a bonus. While I make it a policy never to use the Gospel to pull women into business, I absolutely have been able to do the reverse. At some point in our relationship, my business connections are sure to hear about my hope that comes only from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the same way that Gladys Aylward, hired by a local government in China to go door-to-door inspecting the feet of women, was able to share her faith with women she served, home businesses can open the doors for women of faith to share their hope with broken women who would never wander into church.

Tomorrow night I get to attend a cooking class led by a woman who is involved in an a directly marketed organic food company. I purchased a few items from her already which arrived at my door the day before I left for vacation, the same day I received some items from a woman who markets for a cookware company.  I love supporting women who are finding ways to bless their family and others. I hope you will think about that, too, if a friend is selling a product you think you might like!


For friends involved in an MLM, here are some good points to ponder:

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