A few days ago days ago, I saw a friend I haven't seen for a while in a Starbucks coffee shop. Since it looked like she might have been on a date...and because I was running late for work, I didn't say hi, but instead decided to email her later on to ask about her "hot date". The next day, I get this email from her. It went something like this: "Keith, we need to talk! Call me if I don't call you first!" I thought, "great, she's ticked off because I said 'hot date'". I really didn't mean it in a bad way... We talked later that night, and it turned out she wasn't mad at me at all. In fact, she said she had been thinking of me, and didn't mean anything by the way her email came across. I thought it was really cool that she had been thinking about me, after all, she's a really neat girl. But then the unthinkable happened. She dropped the "MLM" bomb. She had been thinking about me because she wanted to know if I was interested in joining her MLM. Noooooooooooooooooooo! The funny thing is that the LAST time we hadn't talked for a while, she wanted to talk to me about joining her MLM as well. So, here is a nice girl who I hardly ever hear from...who I only get to talk to when it involves joining her MLM. Now, aside from the fact this girl only seems to want to talk to me when it involves joining her MLM, the interesting part about this story is that the two MLM bombs she dropped on me were two different MLMs, both of which, of course, were the best thing since sliced bread. If you are not familiar with what happens when someone wants you to join their MLM, it goes something like this: To get people interested, you frequently have to bug your friends and family to try to get them to join the MLM. You usually have to ask people to go to a hotel to watch some millionaire "guru" speak, who can solve all of your problems, except, of course, the problem that deals with why nice girls only talk to you when they want you to join their MLMs. Like all MLMs, you discover that this millionaire MLM guru speaking at the hotel won the Nobel Peace Prize for inventing the world's most advanced toilet paper, which when used at night, cures cancer. You find out that you can get rich if you pay something like $200 to start selling this really advanced toilet paper, and of course the MLM company doesn't make a dime off of the $200 you spend to join the company... So you decide to join the MLM and all of the sudden you are out $200, which you had to borrow from your father's sister's friend's roommate. What do you get for your $200? You get a really nice welcome packet of high tech toilet paper, which is hand crafted in the Himalayas, and sells for $49.99 a roll. Does this sound far fetched? Well, actually its not. The first MLM my friend joined cost her about $149 to join. The second one cost close to $500 to join. I wanted to be supportive of her in both cases, so instead of going to the hotel meetings to watch the MLM "guru" speak, I thought that perhaps I could purchase one of her products. It didn't work out the way I had hoped. In the first case, I didn't want to pay something like $15 for the world's best shaving cream, and in the second case, I didn't want to pay $4 A DAY for the world's most high tech vitamin (yes, the vitamin really does cost $4 a day!). So where am I going with all of this? The reason I stay away from MLM's is because people usually don't want to be bothered with a sales pitch to get started with an MLM program they have never heard of, nor do they want to fork out huge amounts of cash for over priced products you can get at the local grocery store for 75% less. Just how do MLM companies make their money, anyway? Well, if you can get someone to spend $500 to join the MLM, which most people will fail at, then you don't need to sell a single $120 bottle of vitamins to consumers, because you have already made a ton of cash from the sign up fees. In fact, at $500 a sign up, the MLM company will make $5,000 for every 10 people who sign up, and $50,000 for every 100 people who sign up without making a SINGLE SALE to the consumer. Multiply that times who knows how many conferences are going on in who knows how many cities, and you can see how profitable MLM's can be for the "guru" who owns the company. Do some people "make it" with MLMs? Sure. They probably don't have any friends left, but some people do "make it". I sincerely hope that my friend who joined the two MLM's "makes it" (I really do), and I hope that people line up to purchase her $4 a day vitamin...and definitely hope she won't lose any friends as a result. And of course, I hope I can have a conversation with her again which does not involve talking about her MLM. Miracles do happen, and God can cause nice girls to talk to you for reasons that don't involve becoming a member of their MLMs... Having said all of this, there IS an alternative to MLM's if you want to earn extra money. Many people earn money online as affiliates through "internet marketing", which DOES NOT require you to bug your friends and family to join. Ebay.com, Walmart.com, and Amazon,com are just a few of the many companies which have affiliate programs, and all will pay you a commission for any sales generated through your affiliate link. The great thing about affiliate programs is that you don't have to go to any hotels to watch some "guru" speak to get started. Since you are promoting digital products or referring consumers to company websites, you don't have to keep stockpiles of overpriced inventory no one wants. Last but not least, your success isn't dependent on signing other people up under you, since the commissions you generate are high enough for you to earn a living on your own. For example, I know of a weight loss ebook you can promote, which sells online for $39.99, and your commission is 50% of purchase price, minus a small transaction fee (your commission after the fee is about $18.33). So, sell 5 of these weight loss ebooks a day from your website, and you will earn just under $100.00. While you don't have to pay any money up front to join affiliate programs, understanding how to market affiliate programs online is the key to making money with them, and requires a specific set of skills. If you don't have a website, don't worry - there are ways to market affiliate programs online with and without a website. Fortunately, most guides which teach you to how to market affiliate programs such as Holly Mann's "Honest Riches" (which I highly recommened) start out at about $27, which you can easily earn back after a few sales. So, after you have made some money from affiliate programs, the next time you get a call from a really nice girl you haven't heard from in four months since the LAST time she told you about her MLM program, you can decline the invitation to watch a speech by an MLM guru who invented toilet paper which cures cancer, and instead you can take her out to Starbucks.