The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

To My “Friend” Who Sells the Thing

Dear “Friend”,

It’s so nice of you to reach out and reconnect with me! I can’t believe it’s been so long since we graduated/ran that Ragnar/worked together/met in the ladies room that one time when we were both super drunk and you let me borrow your lipstick and we decided to take selfies together. Time. It just keeps trucking along, doesn’t it?

As we are friends on social media, I have noticed that you’re taking on a new business venture. Good for you! I’m all for self-improvement and am happy to see my “friends” pursuing success. That said, I appreciate you taking time to send me a personal message to let me know, just in case I missed all 8 of your posts over the last 3 days about how excited you are to “be [your] own boss”, “empower other women to meet their full potential”, and in general “help others become better versions of themselves”.

You know what’s funny? Our mutual friend who also sells that product you’re selling, also sent me a message awhile back. It was nearly identical to the one you just sent me! No, like literally, most of the words were the same. The beginning was different, because she mentioned how we used to eat lunch together in Jr. High, and you talked about how fun it was when we took tap class together when we were 8, but after that, it was pretty much interchangeable. Isn’t that hilarious? I guess this thing you both are doing just elicits the exact same feelings of passion, and desire to convey it to others, in both of you.

Again, thank you for thinking of me, but at this time I’m not interested in purchasing the product you are selling. I’m also not interested in being my own boss (under you, of course, and the large, wealthy, corporation you represent) and selling your product, either. It’s not that I don’t want to help you support your family or that I don’t want to see you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. I do! And I totally get that you believe in your product. I just feel like it’s possible I could get the same results in “before” and “after” pictures without your product if I just change the lighting, smile, suck in, and flex a little better. Also, putting my hand on my hip and adding eyeliner and mascara, plus better fitting pants, seems to do the trick at my house. And the thing is, I have my own family to support, and bootstraps to pull up on. So giving you my credit card to auto-bill monthly and send me products I don’t want and won’t use, makes it harder for me to do that.

Anyway, I hope you’re well, and good luck to you! Not that you asked, but I’m well, too. I’m not sure if you use social media much, because you’ve never liked a single one of my amusing anecdotes or pictures of my happy family over the 7 or so years we’ve been “friends”, or interacted with me in any way until now, but I’d love to see more of you online or in person. Unless you’re too busy with your new business. Then I guess we’ll just continue as we were.


Your “Friend”


57 Responses to To My “Friend” Who Sells the Thing

  1. I needed your blog post today! Thanks

  2. This is hilarious, I’ve been talking about this a lot lately. I hate the cold calls!

  3. Right on! What these pushers of these products don’t realize is that they are NOT entrepreneurs. They don’t own a business. All they do is participate in an elaborate pyramid scheme which is designed to conceal the fact that it’s a pyramid scheme. There is a reason why 99% of people lose money in multi-level marketing: because it is not a business. And those who DO make money? They only “make” money because the 99% of the others have lost money. That’s nothing to be proud of.

    • I’ve been in MLM for 17 years and I’m extremely proud of it. You are incorrect in the statements you are making. Does everyone do it right? Of course not. That’s the case in all sectors. I’ve seen MANY lives changed for the better because of opportunities in direct sales and multi-level marketing, including mine. My direct sales business allowed me to be a stay-home mom for my 3 children. If you don’t believe me that direct sales businesses are REAL businesses, believe Dave Ramsey. Maybe it would be wise to get your facts straight before you degrade hard-working, honest business owners who are doing their best to build better lives for their families.

      • Unfortunately, Dave Ramsey is wrong about MLMs. He can’t be right about everything!

        And no, you’re not a “stay at home mom” if you’re running your pretend business. That’s one of many lies. we know how much time you spend away from home (or at home and ignoring your children) in order to push your crappy products and fake opportunities on others.

        Sorry, but what you’re doing isn’t work, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for perpetuating this massive scam.

        • Wow so much hate n belittling in that post. Don’t know why you are taking it so personally to push your comments from such a mean place. Pretty ugly stuff. So so ugly

      • You stayed at home because you scammed people to buy overpriced product. Dave Ramsey is not right about everything. I don’t find anything honest about jacking up prices of what’s basically the same thing you could buy anywhere.

      • When I read the article you linked I was struck by the fact that according to what he wrote, everything the post author said about MLMs Dave Ramsey would agree with. The scamming, hte exploitation of friendships — that’s what she’s complaining about and those are the red flags he mentions. He makes the point of saying that some of them ARE scams and that people need to be cautious.

      • Eighty percent of what Dave Ramsey says is either so obvious it’s not worth saying or just plain wrong. The examples he gives use nonsensical math, and you would really be better off enlisting the help of any first year econ student. Or buying a financial calculator. The only people I could see his above helping would be those who are so bad with money that random advice is better than nothing. So, maybe that MLM article makes sense.

      • I have followed Dave Ramsey for several years and he is always careful to let folks know what hard work they will need to put in to make a go of a multi-level business. He will let you know there are good ones and not so good ones. What I’ve never heard him say and what I’ve found personally is that many people selling in a multi level environment will lose friends based on how they are taught to sell.

      • He absolutely does NOT say they are legitimate businesses. He says they *can* be legitimate businesses if someone can avoid doing what almost everyone does when they join an MLN: exaggerate income, buy product to reach certain “levels”; claim that they don’t have to work – it’s easy; and annoy their friends to name a few.

        Note that in your OWN post, you claim to be successful at an MLM while being a full-time SAHM, which implies that you don’t work serious hours on your business just like anyone else with a job.That is precisely the kind of smarmy double-talk that Ramsey criticizes in the article YOU cite.

        Nice going. GL – you will need it.

        • Amen! Direct sales staff change people’s lives every day
          You don’t have to be annoying to have a great growing business.

      • You just keep on doing your thing and charting your path. Everyone’s got to get through life and someone’s always going to have some comments about what they would do differently. Find your tribe 🙂

    • Isagenix is not a pyramid, that would be illegal. Each member can be an entrepreneur and does run their own legal home business which can grow equal to the work effort they put into it. No one looses money, each member only buys what they want to use, and at wholesale prices Isagenix has the most generous compensation plan, has won many business awards as well as having the proven best pure products all developed by Doctors and Scientist. This Co. Is 15 years successful .and over 200 members have become millionaires by helping others achieve health and wealth.One lady hit the million in 14 months by network marketing. Isagenix is extremely generous to its members and donated 2 million to make a wish last year. Do your homework before you slander a person or a Co. Tons of info if you care enough to learn the truth.

      • They are all pyramids dingus. Of course they are illegal, but the ones that make themselves complex enough, and do just enough to conceal the fact that they are in fact just the same as any other pyramid get to stick around longer. They depend on suckers like you every day to keep them making tons of money. Essentially all you are is one of multiple “Middle Men” getting a product out to a customer and providing free advertising to everyone above you that has already made their money. This worked back in the day because people did not have such a direct purchasing link to the manufacturer. Now with Amazon we can purchase products right from the person who makes them, for the cheapest possible price. Nobody needs the overpriced junk you are selling, and if it actually is true that a woman on your level of this pyramid scheme(not higher up than you) actually made over a million dollars in 14 months, well she got really lucky and found a lot of stupid people to buy the junk you are selling. Bye.

      • Saying no one loses money is demonstrably untrue. Don’t lie.

  4. Jennifer Howe Sauls Mckinney is a scam artist of the worst kind. And an abuser. And a thief. And if the Fed gets hold of her for Bankruptcy fraud, a bonafide felon. Of course, she’s a morbidly obese woman selling diet drugs, too, but her photos are Photoshopped so it really doesn’t matter. Between selling her most recent scam and her and her husband doing countless stints in jail for domestic abuse, it would appear you’ve got her beat in the game of life, Elizabeth. Google her. You’ll understand what I mean. She is quite the online joke.

    • Thanks for cluing me in, Melissa! Just FYI, I don’t know her or have any relationship with her at all. Her post seems to be written from a personal perspective, and I’m not sure if she’s using that for effect or to dial up the drama, but she definitely hasn’t ever written me any kind of message, “desperately impersonal” or not.

      • Good grief! Jennifer McKinney is a HUGE HUGE scam artist and it’s hilarious she linked to your blog pretending to know you. She is obese and sells diet supplements, but alters her photos to appear thinner than she is in real life. A true con artist, that woman! Not to mention she;s in the process of losing her 4th home to foreclosure and has numerous court judgments against her for non payment of debts,yet she publicly claims to be close to making a million dollars with Xyngular. 20/20 or Dateline should seriously consider doing a story on just how deceptive and scammy she is. She even held a fundraiser a long time ago to raise money to buy goats for women in Africa, and so far she’s not followed through with it and has held on to the money. And that is straight up fraud.

    • Where’s the love button when you need it?? Amen about Jennifer Mckinney, what a joke she is!! Sad when you google your own name and such shit shows up. I would be hiding in shame, & get off the internets & tend to my family if I were her!


    This scammer thinks your blog post is all about HER just an FYI . Well written btw and so very true . Google Jennifer McKinney you will not know where to start .

    Btw she has not made a million dollars she is on foreclosure #4 and she weighs close to 300 pounds -she’s vile

    • Thanks for the heads up! That is a drama pit I’m not actually interested in getting sucked into. Yikes!

  6. I can completely understand your frustration. However, I will say that for myself, personally, I have (on purpose) tried to reconnect with people on FB because there is no other way when we don’t have each others contact info etc because we live too far away and found each other there. And when I say reconnect, I mean honest reconnection. Not trying to throw in that I sell my product. But, because others have, many don’t want to even talk to me because they think I’m trying to sell them something. But I’m not. I keep that to my business page. I genuinely want to see how my friends are doing after all these years and it’s hard because I do sell something and they are afraid I’m going to ask them to buy. Anyway, I see what you’re saying but I hope you will still give some of us who genuinely care, a chance!

    • Stephanie…Stephanie Gerber….is that you? I’ve missed you darling!

    • People are Leary of anyone that is involved in a a MLM scam. It’s crazy how many are out there and all they are is marked up products that we are expected to buy so everyone in the pyramid can make money.

      • I can’t believe so many judge things they know nothing about Isagenix is a 15 yr. legal Network marketing Co. That donated 2 million to Make a Wish last year and have over 200 members who have reached 1 million and is growing by 2 or 3 every month. They have won many Business awards due to their generous compensation plan and proven top quality products all developed by Doctors and Scientists. Do some homework before you spread and tons of info you need to know. Also each member does start a legal network marketing business, and only orders their own supplies at wholesale, as each member does, so there’s no way anyone loses anything. They gain health and wealth if they work it like any business to be profitable Learn the truth.

        • How does it feel to be a clueless sucker? I bet it sucks for everyone else, but for you ignorance is bliss.

    • I’m glad you didn’t miss a chance to link to your scam, though! LOL

      • *snort*

      • Ooooh, stickers for my nails. Don’t think there are too many 10-year-olds reading this site.

      • Hma.r8230;.&G#emt write-up, I’m regular visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time. “He who seizes the right moment is the right man.” by Johann von Goethe….

    • i very much agree with this blog post! I don’t mind friends posting about their business ventures. I can skip past them if I’m not interested. I’m mostly annoyed to discover that I’ve been added to yet another Facebook group for a friend’s new product. I’ll leave the group and get re-added the next day. Then my news feed is inundated with their posts. Don’t love that. But I did appreciate Stephanie’s perspective and comment as well!

  7. You’ve really gotten under Jennifer McKinney’s greasy, sun damaged skin. She tried to scam me with diet pills and then I discovered that she’s fat and unhealthy. She is evil. Both she and her husband need to be in prison and the kids given to somebody who gives a damn about them. Poor babies.

  8. This is a woman who generated “click throughs” to her blog by insinuating that her son had died by tweeing to her followers, “We just said goodbye to S*****”, when the baby had merely completed a successful medical procedure and was headed back to his room (she also posted a picture of him having the procedure). It was horrible, and people who were praying for him and supporting her, were left devastated.

    She has also foreclosed on 4 homes (one is in the waiting period until they can evict her), so she will likely never need your real estate services!


    I can’t believe JM thinks this is all about her. I agree 100% with your post and avoid all MLM companies.

  10. Interesting article on the way people feel. I find it interesting that you sell houses. Without referrals, you might not be successful. You sell something for a living. I get there are some companies out there that are not legit but there are some that truly help people have a successful business from home and have great products people love. I work for one and we are no different than shopping at Costco. I do referrals and marketing for this wonderful online store. I do call my friends! I call them because I know that I can possibly help them in one form or another. I educate people on toxins in the home. Most people trust what they buy from Walmart. I help people shop for better products and save money. If my friends aren’t interested in looking, it’s their loss. They have called me for years to attend their candle, Mary Kay, pampered chef parties. I go and support them. When people assume automatically that it is a scam or pyramid, that can be frustrating. If you shop at Costco or have Netflix or a cell phone, you pay a fee to use those services. It’s no different than me referring you to an online health and wellness shopping club. So maybe you should not jump to conclusions before you actually check something out. I’ve helped many people with their health and I’m proud to say that I have and proud of my business.

    • At a store, it’s not marked up several times so many levels of people can earn money. I know for a fact that if you are selling a MLM item you are marking it up 30% over its worth and pocketing that money. Scam.

      • Ate you kidding me? Your statement is that it is not marked up several times in brick and mortar store fronts? Do you realize that almost 70 cents on the dollar is PURE mark up on almost anything you would buy in Target or Walmart?

        • Yes I understand that. You make money based on those under you and by buying a certain amount. Many make untrue claims. Walmart and target are not emailing and messaging me daily. I know they are a corporation that marks up too, but they aren’t forcing ONE brand down anyone’s throat. I mean, really, that bag of shake mix is worth over $100???? I can and do go to target to by the same thing for $20. That is a scam to make people believe what you are selling is a legitimate product when there is no proof is does anything different. No one will change my mind on this.

          • Ok, this is the last I will comment on this as I have no real vesting in “making you see that I am right”. However, I really need to comment again on your comment. #1. Target or Proctor and Gamble or whomever DOES make more money depending on how much of their stuff they can get us to buy. #2. There is a HUGE markup on sub part Chinese made products. #3.(let me start this one off with… yes I am aware that some of these network type companies do sell over priced miracle type juices – but nobody forces yiu to buy them), “claims” are what sell products? Have you never seen a TV advertisment? If only I used that Aveda shampoo (at mid you 35.00 per bottle) I would look like her!!!” Finally, on to them not reaching out in you daily? I am barrage (as are you) with marketing from every possible source from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed? Again, if some long lost fb friend reached out and was disingenuous… I too would be miffed. However, this has more to do with that individuals character than the company they work for. I was in the bank the other day and the teller was slimy. Should I make the bold statement that bank tellers are all slimy? Um… that would be silly. That is it rant on ♡ God loves us all and desire us to be kind. Please consider how others (hard working others)fell when yiu throw things into cyberspace.

      • I need to stand with Bonnie here. I know several amazing women in direct sales who have earned a real living. I will be the first in line to acknowledge that there are some really scam ish companies out there, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. As for the moms who start up these businesses and approach cold Facebook contacts… I get that this can be VERY off putting (and would be to me as well)… but again baby/bathwater. Whenever one makes all or nothing generations in any area of life, it raises a flag for me. The original poster is a real estate agent for example? Do you have any idea how many realtors reach out, “just keeping in touch” on a consistent basis? Um, what is the difference? They are hoping to help me sell or buy a home at a sweet 10k profit for filling out some forms? What? And… when I don’t go with them, my “friends” stop checking on me. Now, I am again oversimpifying this to make a point. Sales is sales is sales is sales. Saying unkind things about anyone to make fun conversation is silly and short sighted. We are all part of some sales process. Let’s try not to be so mean to one another?

        • Spot on, Lori. Selling products as part of a network marketing company really isn’t so different from selling homes. There is an extra expense added on when using a realtor, correct? A “mark-up,” if you will, that the real estate agent pockets. The MLM industry – a lot of women – is a legitimate way to make a living. I personally make 5 figures per month in this industry, and have had the honor of helping many of my friends also make an income that completely changes the future of their family. I realize the industry isn’t for everyone, but it is not a scam. They are legitimate businesses. The one I work for has been featured in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. Every business entity in the world is pyramid-shaped. From Target to American Airlines to the government. Nothing about that shape or structure makes something a scam. In this industry, I can (and do) make more money than the person who enrolled me. If my teammates under me want to make more money than I do, I am their biggest cheerleader. Most people at traditional jobs can’t make more money than their supervisor. And I guarantee their supervisor doesn’t want to be ousted by one of their subordinates! In network marketing, everyone can win. If lots of people have reached out to you about working in this industry, perhaps it’s because they really see something in you that could make you great at this. Maybe it’s a compliment, rather than an insult or a fake attempt at caring. Just some thoughts from someone who jumped into this industry two years ago – reluctantly – having no idea what I was doing. And it’s completely changed my life for the better.

          • The point the author is trying to make is stop trying to sell your crap to every person you’ve ever encountered in your life. It’s fine to post “Hey I sell Yankee Candles now! Let me know if you’re interested.” if that’s your thing, but emailing, texting and pming every person on your contact list is beyond rude and tacky. It doesn’t matter what your product is. Yes, the author sells something too but she doesn’t stoop to your level. In fact, I’ve done business with her (my choice not her nagging) and when it was over it was over and we’re still friends.

        • They’re earning a living on the membership fees of other people who were made to think they could duplicate the success of someone higher up the pyramid and from forced minimum monthly orders from people who aren’t making nearly as much as they are. That doesn’t sound legitimate. It just means your level of being scammed is highly dependent on how early you threw your money into the hat.

        • I’m not sure where you live but here where I live, people typically only purchase a home once or twice in their lifetime.

          I have several Realtor friends on facebook. Not once have they ever sent me an email about buying a home they were selling. What a waste of time that would be. Spending so much time and energy “cold calling” people who aren’t even looking to purchase a home.

          I know you are trying to stick up for your friends and their “businesses” but a legitimate Realtor and an MLM are not the same. Not even close.

          • You need to take a closer look at the compensation structure of the real estate industry and reevaluate your statement.

        • I am a single mom and used to do various direct sales for the discount only. I stumbled across Thirty-one and signed up, once again, for the discount. Lucky for me, everyone fell in love with the products back in 2006 and so on. In 2010, I lost my house to the market crash, went through banktrupcy due to my husband’s side real estate business failing and went through a divorce. Life felt like it could NOT get any worse.

          Thanks to direct sales and Thirty-One, I was well-connected to an amazing support system, my business was thriving because people either loved the product or wanted to sell it with me. I was able to 1) Stay off of welfare 2) Not live with my parents or borrow money from them 3) Keep my children in our school district in America’s #1 suburb
          4) build my own home 3 years after bankruptcy with my own money 5) Live without child support or alimony 6) Teach my children what it means to work hard

          Yep! Thanks to all those people who bought my “THING!” You saved my life. You helped fun adoptions, fertility treatments, mission trips, pay medical bills and more. This is not a pyramid scheme. It’s another way to make a living while making a life.

        • Thank you Lori! Well said

      • It absolutely marked up at a store so Someone can make money! Except the employees there can barely earn a living while the CEO’s and owners make the big bucks.

  11. Well said! Gosh, just go browse around for some insight on how MLM scams work. They are all terrible.

    And I have to laugh at Jennifer McKinney’s self-righteous response. She sells diet pills yet she is very overweight — well over 200 pounds. She’s lost several houses to foreclosure. Yet, she shills her MLM diet pills and talks about how she makes soon much money. Obviously not true if she keeps having houses foreclosed on and vehicles repossessed.

  12. Um…obviously some of you have NO idea the amount of work that realtors put in for buyers and sellers. We spend sometimes MANY days and hours (evenings, weekends, early mornings) showing homes to buyers, conducting endless searches for the ever-changing “wish lists” trying to find something that will suit them. We walk through bug-infested woods, hike down muddy hills, slosh through snowdrifts and put countless miles/gas into our cars driving all over the county in search of the perfect house for them. We recommend lenders and help with their lending process. We coach them through inspections and negotiations and repairs and closing procedures and moving details. The list goes on…

    And if you think sellers are just “lining the pockets of the realtors” please consider these facts before listing your house–realtors will bring you QUALIFIED buyers, (not nosey neighbors) who are truly interested in, and CAN AFFORD your house. They will pay to advertise your house for sale in the newspaper, magazines, websites, etc…continually. They will negotiate for you. They will give you advise on staging your home to bring top dollar. They will handle everything with the buyers agent and closing agent including inspection negotiations, titlework, fixing of repairs, and so many more things that can interfere with “closing your deal”. They will push the lender along to make sure YOUR sale doesn’t fall through any cracks. Our job is not 9-5. We are pretty much always on call and at the mercy of our clients’ schedules.

    Everyone has a job. And everyone expects to be paid for their work. How is this different than doctors, lawyers, teachers? We are conducting a service when you seek us out. People have the choice to take on the task of buying or selling on their own, but once people realize the headaches involved, they feel it’s worth it to hire someone to do their dirty work.

  13. One suggestion…

    She is a scam, a fraud and her third house I think is in foreclosure… She’s committed bankruptcy fraud… Gained back all her weight and then some… The list goes on and on and on…

  14. I too went running from MLM’s for 6 months before I jumped in with both feet. I have a Bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene and held a license in several states. My husband is currently active duty in the USMC. We moved again to another area where I do not have a license. In my company I am paid to run a team, and the bigger my team the more I get paid. We currently own five homes, my family lives in one and we rent out the other four. My commissions for the month of October are pledged to breast cancer and in November my team is giving to the Knights of Heroes, a camp for military children who have lost a parent. We are also heading up a foundation in the Baltimore – Annapolis area for Build On, we just found a school today. I make a fantastic living from home so I can be the field trip mom and the mom that doesn’t have a nanny drop my son on the baseball field. I have several friends that are real estate agents, I share their posts when they ask me! I don’t think that is any different than me using social media for my MLM. I think it is time that we try and be supportive of what all women are doing. If you don’t like seeing the posts, scroll past them. My dad always told me that women could rule the world, but the only thing holding them back was other women….he was right!

  15. How did this become an argument about real estate or gender? Her post is about fake friendship used toward sales. That is gross. End of story.

  16. This drives me crazy! A small business owner is a person who is the founder, owner, accountant, packaging, printing, producer,and janitor! I’ve tried to explain to the MLM’S they’re NOT A SMALL BUSINESS! I am a small business owner, my income funds my tiny business. All these women do is send you a link, that’s all they do. I post about my business sparingly on my personal Facebook page. I never want to be that person. Sorry, I’ll step off my soapbox.

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