(Cover image courtesy of animalclipart.net).
As my MLM journey continued, I found myself enlightened in the ways of recruitment – namely deception, lies, truth-bending, manipulation and all other kinds of falsities.
This takes us to…
Chapter 12 – I Didn’t Choose the Hunlife, the Hunlife Chose Me……
Before reading Chapter 12 of my experience with MLMs (namely Younique), please remind yourself of my mission statement here. In a nutshell, all views presented in this blog are mine, and mine only. Your own personal experiences with MLM companies may differ, negatively or positively. All names and identifying features have been changed to protect the individuals concerned.
When I left off in Chapter 11, I was beginning to unravel the mysteries of the Younique recruitment process. You see, I only had my own experience to go on.
Back when Scarlett had reeled me in, during the events of Chapter 2, I recalled reading this key snippet of information in her recruitment drive:
“I have THREE spaces opening up on my team!!!!!!! ❤❤❤❤ ”
Yet, here Scarlett was now, telling me that you could recruit as many people as you like, whenever you like. Something didn’t quite add up.
“Scarlett – fancy explaining yourself? ” I asked.
“What do you need explaining, babe? ❤ “
“I’m just a bit confused – when Bethany and I joined, you said you had three spaces opening up on your team. So, how come you’re now saying that you can recruit anyone, at any time? “
The other Butterflies were quiet, for once – merely acting as quiet background observers.
“I think you’ve misunderstood me, lol babes! ❤ “
Scarlett went on to explain that the reason why she posted that she had THREE spaces opening on her team, was because she felt that she had the professionalism, confidence and knowledge to help support a maximum of three new people.
Silly me. What a complete misunderstanding.
“I mean, I could easily go and recruit TEN new people, right? But that wouldn’t be fair on you girls, as I wouldn’t have time to train and help you all! I’m just making sure we’re the best team possible, huns! 🙂 ❤ “
“Ah, that makes sense, babes!” piped up Kerri.
“Yes, which takes me to the next part of your training, girls – focusing on recruitment!”
According to Scarlett, the only way to truly progress with Younique was to recruit, recruit, recruit. Imperial Green Tania had certainly brought out her competitive streak – she wanted to win that spa weekend (announced in Chapter 11), and move up to Exemplary Blue Status too.
“But isn’t recruiting a team effort? ” asked Harriet.
“Technically, yes,” said Scarlett. “However, Tania’s challenge is for individuals recruited, and I am currently in the lead as I have all of you girls! Now is the time to welcome new faces to the Butterflies! ❤ ❤ “
“That means we’re in direct competition with each other, though, 😦 ” observed Kerri. “I thought we are all a team together?”
“We ARE, babes! 🙂 ” assured Scarlett. “We can help each other recruit, and also bump me up to Blue Status in the process – it will benefit everyone in the long run! ❤ “
Clear as mud, right?
Allow me to condense Scarlett’s agenda. Remember this Presenter Level chart I discussed in Chapter 4? I’ll give a brief reminder of how it works.
- I was still earning 20% on all sales as Entry White Status, as was Harriet. According to Scarlett, I was very close to hitting Yellow.
- Kerri had just recently hit Entry Yellow, earning 25% on all sales.
- Scarlett was still Exemplary Pink, earning 25% with an additional 3% from the sales we, her downline, made.
- Camilla, still being Exemplary Blue, was getting an additional 4%.
- Green Status Overlord Tania was still enjoying her 30% commission, 5% from her downlines and 3% from her “first generation” aka her downline’s downlines.
Scarlett was hungry to reach Blue Status – especially with Camilla currently AWOL. She was extra eager, because each presenter has to work for their Status each month. If they don’t, they get relegated back to Yellow (or White, if they’d never got past the first gate).
“As for you girls,” she advised, “you’ll never hit Pink Status and above, unless you get recruiting. Remember though, your recruits have to be good too – its no use just having kit-nappers or people who don’t have what it takes!”
And thus begun Scarlett’s lessons in how to reel “teamies” in.
“Attraction marketing is your friend, huns! ❤ ” she said. “I want you to remember what attracted you to join me – remember, I never approached any of you, you came to me! 🙂 ❤ “
That was true – Scarlett never approached me to join her team, not once. She lured me in like an angler fish.
Way, way back in Chapter 1, my interest in Younique was piqued by:
- Scarlett’s beautiful makeup selfies.
- Her endless statuses on how she was “loving life” and constantly positive.
- Her photos of her glamorous lifestyle – the iPad, getting salon treatments and buying treats for herself or children.
- Her praise of a company where she didn’t have to be a 9-5 slave, and getting paid “every 3 hours”.
- How she was her own boss, projecting an image of a professional, self-assured businesswoman controlling her own destiny.
So, over the next few days, that was exactly what I replicated. Yes, including those awful #bossbabe quotes.
Now, I didn’t go as far as to pretend to buy a white Range Rover or Mercedes, as so many huns do…but everything I bought from my own pocket, I pretended that my “little business venture” had allowed me to do so. Even if it were just college textbooks paid for by my student grant – “my amazing little business paid for this!“.
Then, came the selfies – the makeup didn’t look too bad when it was freshly applied, after all. These photos were always accompanied by a caption of how confident I felt, how much I loved the products, how glad I was that I had sold my soul to this wonderful sisterhood.
Eventually, I felt a bite on the end of my hook.
“Hey, Elle – long time no speak! 🙂 “
It was a message from Mia, one of my old friends from back in the day.
Mia had seen my plethora of posts, and was intrigued. She had some questions.
“I see you’re doing Younique for a living – do you think I’d be any good? You seem to be doing really well out of it. 🙂 “
Avid followers of my previous chapters will know – that absolutely wasn’t the case. However, I was aware that without recruits, we could never progress in the company – Scarlett said so, after all! I had only one option…fake it until I make it.
And so, I told Mia how great the business opportunity was. How it had uplifted, empowered and validated me. How I was in charge of my own hours, got a nice little income on the side, and was loving life. I mean, it didn’t get much better than getting paid to be on social media, and play with makeup!
In fact, if I was Pinocchio, my nose would have punctured my phone screen.
“That sounds good! If you don’t mind me asking, do you make good money from it? 🙂 “
Time for more embellishment of the truth.
“I make enough to cover my household bills, and have enough for little treats too! 🙂 ” I replied. “Some girls take it to the next level, and make decent money doing stalls and events. You run your business the way you want it. 😉 ❤ “
Naturally, Mia wanted to know whether there were any hidden costs. I found myself regurgitating the same spiel that Scarlett had given me back in Chapter 2. Can you remember what they were? Here’s a reminder: 😉
- “It will cost you £69 plus P&P, babe. But you’ll DEFINITELY make your money back in your first month, easy peasy. 😊”
- “Its totally worth it, babe – you get like £150 worth of makeup for that money. You can’t expect them to give away expensive makeup for free, can you?”
- “You’ll get your own business website, and 24/7 access to training tools. AND you’ll be a White Status Presenter, which means you’ll start off getting 20% commission on every sale – that’s EVEN BETTER than what Avon give their reps. In fact, I’ll go as far to say its even better than ANY other company, babe! 😊 ”
- “What do you have to lose? Even if you don’t make a go of it, you’ve still got £150 worth of high-end makeup for £69, right???????”
As I typed, Scarlett’s words emerged through my fingertips. No doubt Camilla had said the same thing to her, when she first signed up. There was also no doubt that Tania had said the same to Camilla. And thus the chain up the pyramid continued.
Mia admitted that it all sounded very tempting, but she wanted to have a think. Behind the safety of my screen, I found myself bubbling with frustration at her indecisiveness. Why couldn’t she just bloody well sign up? Why were people so wary and hesitant of everything??
I forgot that I was in her position not long ago. However, I couldn’t let Mia see my frustration.
“Don’t worry, my dear – I’ll be right here to answer any questions. Just drop me a line when you’re ready to join me! 🙂 ❤ ”
She assured me that she would have a chat with her Mum about it, to see if they could perhaps do it together. Some interest was better than no interest.
When I reported this to the Butterflies, their was an air of smugness in Scarlett’s tone.
“See, I told you the Law of Attraction works! You posted positive updates on how fantastic your business is going, and she wants a slice of that pie! ❤ “
“Yes, but she still hasn’t committed to signing up under me,” I grumbled.
“She will if you keep up with your positive posts, and sharing how the business has changed your life. 😉 “
“Scarlett is right, Elle,” piped up Kerri. “Cos I’ve got someone interested in joining me too! EEEKKKK!! ❤ “
“Oooh, who??? 😮 ❤ ” asked Scarlett. “Great news, babe!”
“I think you might know her,” replied Kerri. “Savannah, she used to date my cousin?”
“Yes, I know her! Her kids go to the same playgroup as mine. Fingers crossed for you and Elle, babes! 🙂 ❤ “
You know what they say about potential recruits? They’re like busses.
Barely two days after Mia’s enquiry, I received another inbox. Imogen, another distant contact on my friends-list, also wanted to ask me questions about my Younique business. Just like Mia, Imogen wasn’t ready to commit until she’d “thought about it”.
I inwardly cursed Imogen for her lack of commitment.
“You’ll get a lot of that, babe,” said Scarlett. “You’ll just need to step up your attraction marketing game. 😉 “
By that, she meant “pretend that your inbox is blowing up with notifications“. Make yourself look in-demand, and promise everyone you’ll get back to them as soon as – that was Scarlett’s way forward.
No one was really blowing up my inbox, of course. Yes, it was lying, but it was all part of Scarlett’s “fake it ’til you make it” plan for us all.
For reference, this is similar to the kind of nonsense you’d see from her (this image serves as an illustrative example – huns use this wording across all MLMs, not just Younique):
“Post this meme I found, hun!” said Scarlett. “Perhaps a little dig would help? 😉 “
Nope, no reaction to that either.
In my desperation to entice recruits, I even mimicked Scarlett’s “My Business Journey” video by doing my very own – remember, the one I watched back in Chapter 1? It was excruciatingly embarrassing, having to act all chirpy, upbeat and passionate about something that wasn’t really true. It did gain me a third enquiry though, from yet another Facebook acquaintance named Una.
Una wasn’t quite ready to commit herself to joining me either, though.
“It’s time for the big guns, babes,” said Scarlett. “You’ll need to do exactly what I did. ❤ “
It caused me a degree of physical pain to do this, but I did it. I posted a recruitment image, along with a caption urgently declaring that I “had three spaces opening up on my team, for a limited time.”
It worked. Within an hour of posting, Mia had contacted me, asking whether I still had space left for her to join my team. Why, of course I did! I sent her my sign-up link via my Younique website, and off she went.
I had my first recruit!
Scarlett was ecstatic.
“EEEEEKKKK, you’re killing it, babes! ❤ “
“Congrats, Elle. Hopefully Savannah will sign up under me too! 🙂 ” said Kerri.
“I feel so deflated,” said Harriet. “No one is interested in being my teamie. 😥 “
“Be positive, babe!” insisted Scarlett. “Do what Elle and Kerri have done, and you’ll get a teamie in no time! No negativity, remember! ❤ ❤ “
Scarlett informed me that my next port of call would be to announce Mia’s arrival to the team. I made a ridiculous pic-collage to mark the occasion. She also found herself invited into every single group chat and training group going, as well as the bombardment of friend requests from the other Butterflies.
That was one mission accomplished. The next would be to hit Yellow Status, and get 25% back on all orders. That would involve actually getting orders in the first place.
Salima, my potential customer from Chapter 11, remained eager to purchase the liquid gold foundation. Alas, that elusive item was still out of stock.
At this point, the liquid foundation had been unavailable for what seemed like an age. The Butterflies were getting frustrated – we all knew at least one potential customer who was getting annoyed by the delay. Some of Camilla’s team had run into problems, as they took their customers’ money before being able to even order the foundation – many were demanding refunds, of course.
Imperial Green Overlord Tania’s solution was to “remain positive and upbeat” about this issue. Her go-to answer was for us all to tell the customer “I would rather represent a product we can’t keep in stock, than represent a product we can’t sell – this shows how AMAZING the product is!” She would post “expected re-stock dates” for all of the various foundation shades, but they were never accurate. No one could provide an answer.
We also had the ongoing battle of dissuading people to go on eBay and buy the fake foundations that were circulating at less than half the retail price. It sucked…but a solution was at hand.
Yes, a grand video announcement came from Elite Green Overlord Tania! We all watched her video with baited breath, waiting to hear what she had to say.
“Girls, I finally have the news you’ve all been waiting for!”
Well…almost. Turned out the good news was, Younique had made a limited number of the liquid foundations available again. The not-so-good news? At this moment in time, it could only be obtained by purchasing the Cloud Nine Collection. What is that, I hear you ask? It was one of Younique’s “value” bundles.
Yes, all that you see here could be yours – for the princely sum of £113.
[Elle’s note: Cloud Nine has since been discontinued by Younique, when they decided to overhaul their collections…presumably as they weren’t making enough profit from it! For reference, you can see their up-to-date collections here.]
“This news is fantastic, girls!” said Tania, taking a long sip from her #Bossbabe mug. “Not only will you be able to fulfil your customer orders for the foundation, you’ll be earning extra commission! If the customer doesn’t want the whole collection for themselves, you’ll be able to sell the other items individually for a profit!”
The Butterflies flapped with uncertainty in the chat.
“I seriously can’t believe this, ” said Harriet. “My customer won’t want to be spending £113, just so she can have her foundation. I can’t exactly pay for that either.”
“Now girls, you need to look at the bigger picture,” said Scarlett. “Yes, I think its a bit off that we can’t buy the foundation individually…but, this is where you can really turn a profit on the other items in the collection – especially if you sell them for RRP!”
Naturally, Salima wasn’t interested in spending £113 just so she could get the mascara…and I personally didn’t want to take the risk on spending more money on products that I was clearly struggling to sell. However, patient Salima was still happy to wait.
Scarlett remained desperate to win Tania’s recruiting challenge though. So desperate, that she poached Kerri’s potential recruit right from under her nose. Savannah, the lady whose kids went to the same playgroup as Scarlett’s, became her latest recruit.
As we all welcomed her in the Butterflies chat, Kerri was strangely quiet.
“OMG, Scarlett hun! 😮 ” said Harriet. “You’re on fire, you’ll definitely win the spa trip! ❤ ❤ “
Harriet’s proclamation must have hit a raw nerve with Kerri, as she reached out to me via a private message.
“I don’t know how to feel about Savannah now, ” she said.
Turns out that Savannah and Scarlett had a chat whilst dropping their kids off at playgroup. Scarlett offered ‘friendly advice’ about the business opportunity and joining her team – Savannah found her so helpful that she decided to sign up directly with Scarlett there and then.
“I know I shouldn’t be too pissed off, as it benefits the whole team, but I feel like Scarlett did it because she’s so desperate to win Tania’s spa challenge. 😦 I feel a bit let down, as I still don’t have a teamie of my own.”
“Try not to be upset,” I offered. “She probably didn’t mean it, she just didn’t realise that you had your heart set on recruiting Savanna yourself.”
It wasn’t much, but it was the best I could offer.
Scarlett appeared to be romping towards the finish line…until, Tania made an amendment to her spa challenge.
“Girls, I’ve been a bit silly and made a mis-type. You’ll remember I said:
‘…whoever has the biggest total of recruits by this time next month will win a luxury spa weekend, paid for by yours truly…‘
I am afraid this was a mistype. I did not mean to say ‘total of recruits‘ – I meant to say, the most recruits for this month only. I apologise for any confusion, girls. Bianca of Camilla’s Flutterbye Diamonds team is currently in the lead with THREE new recruits this month. There’s still time to compete – good luck! ❤ “
Scarlett was furious.
“That fucking old hag! 😡 ” she raged. “I can’t BELIEVE she’s done this!”
The Butterflies flapped to attention.
“OMG, what’s happened hun?? ❤ ❤ ”
“Is everything okay, babes?? 😥 ”
“PM me hun, if you don’t want to talk about it here!! ❤ ”
“She’s changed the fucking goalposts so I won’t win the spa trip – I KNEW she’d do this! 😡 😡 😡 “
It turns out that Scarlett had been causing a bit of a ruckus outside of the Butterfly Babes team happenings. She admitted to us all that she had been questioning the Younique liquid foundation fiasco directly at Tania. It turns out, Scarlett was convinced that head office were holding the foundation back on purpose to create more publicity, at the expense of us hardworking reps.
“She’s punishing me, that’s what she’s doing! 😡 ” Scarlett continued to rant. “She’s not happy with me questioning things, and she doesn’t want me to win the spa weekend – so she’s blamed it on a typo so bloody Bianca will get it! 😡 “
“I’m sure it was a genuine mistake, hun!” said Harriet. “Why would Tania do that – she’s here to help us all.”
“She’s full of shit, that’s what she is!” said Scarlett. “I’ve worked so hard for this, I’ve done every bit of training she and Camilla have set, and she treats me like this. Right now, she can go fuck herself. 😡 “
Considering we had Mia and Savannah in the chat and reading this exchange, it really didn’t look good. I hurriedly wrote a private message to Mia, explaining that Scarlett was just feeling very emotional as she wanted to win, and to not take what she said to heart as ‘this really is an amazing team of women to work with!’.
(Famous last words!)
Poor Mia was still waiting for her kit – this really wasn’t setting a great impression for my new recruit. Therefore, I felt I had to act extra positive and enthusiastic about the company, to counteract Scarlett’s outburst.
Tania continued to act as our ever-present Imperial Elite Overlord. She had some very important information to share in respect of us being ‘business owners’. Yes, it was time for another grand announcement.
“Girls, it has come to my attention that many of you are not aware about your obligations with HMRC. ❤ “
[Elle’s note: For non-UK readers, this refers to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – government department responsible for the collection of taxes etc – see more details here.]
“Your earnings with Younique count as self-employed earnings, and therefore must be declared. To cover your own backs, you must register with HMRC as self-employed.”
In my ignorance, I did not consider this when I initially became a Younique presenter. Although my earnings were paltry and way below the personal allowance threshold, I have always been one to make sure my arse is covered! Thus, I followed Tania’s instructions and registered via the HMRC website. Most of her downlines, however, were not impressed.
The comments ranged from agreement to:
“Camilla never mentioned this? I seriously can’t be bothered with all that. 😡 “
“Sounds like way too much hassle, hun. “
“I can’t get my head around all that tax stuff; I probably won’t bother to be honest.”
“I don’t see why I have to declare my Younique earnings to the tax man. This is my side-hustle FFS. 😡 “
In fairness to Tania – she was no-nonsense in her responses to the above protests. She said that she was simply advising every one of her downlines in order to keep them above board, so no one got any nasty surprises. She also mentioned that it was the law, to declare any self-employed earnings to HMRC.
Even then, it was clear that many of her downlines were still not going to comply. That was up to them, but my arse remained firmly covered!
A new challenge was on the horizon, though – we would need to combat that viral video that ruffled hun-feathers worldwide, and brought the glorious #Poonique hashtag into existence. Stay tuned!
Well, that’s another day, and another chapter down. Head over to Chapter 12.5, where I will cover the hun tactics of running unlicensed raffles (including screenshots), the #Poonique video, my slog to reach Yellow status…and all other manners of hun-isms.
N.B. Before I sign-off – an anonymous poster attempted to call into question the validity of my screenshots from Chapter 11, of all things. In response, I mentioned an individual named “Arabella” (obviously not her real name), who kindly obtained the screenshots for me.
In real life, “Scarlett” had a two extra recruits than those mentioned here, Arabella being one of them. For the sake of not having a fucktonne of unnecessary representations, some individuals I encountered during my Younique experience did not warrant a part in this tale. Arabella (as lovely as she is) is one of them, as she was merely a “kit-napper” and wisely did naff-all else with Younique…even though she remained in the groups/chats as a very useful observer.
I shouldn’t have to defend my story, but I will, as it beggars belief – this blog is intended to entertain so you can have a laugh at my Poonique experience, but its aim is to also help and inform. Don’t be a neg-ferret mood-hoover, hun, or I’ll have to send you for some mindset coaching with Lola Affirmation. 😉
Until next time!
I am fighting the MLM fight on social media – if you’re on Twitter, please give @ElleBeauBlog a follow (and help me get the #Poonique hashtag trending again!). Alternatively, join in the discussion with Elle Beau, the Anti-Blogger on Facebook.
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch, Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision . In fact, I now have a Recommended Reading page for Anti-MLM writers and interesting lifestyle bloggers I think you will enjoy, such as Chammy in Real Life.
For something a little different to pyramid schemes, I would also recommend a look at what Bad Psychics are up to. Award-winning and seen-on-TV, they have worked to expose false claims made by psychics, mediums and the paranormal since 2003.