February 18, 2021

Harris at Large!



“NETWORK MARKETING is no longer on trial. It is a proven and viable profession. A profession that’s helping millions of people get ahead financially and moving them closer to their dreams.” Art Jonak.

The people of the Caribbean and by extension the world, given the state of the COVID 19 pandemic are all suffering from FINANCIAL ANXIETY. The pain of Joblessness has overwhelmed citizens everywhere. Everyone is trying to find ways to make money, and as a result, scammers are very busy giving false hopes and depriving persons of the little they may have. It is a cruel world.

World Influencers such as Robert Kiyosaki, Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Warren Buffet, have all commended the Multi Level Marketing – (MLM)/Network Marketing industry, with two of the named individuals actually owning MLM companies. It is time for us to heed the advice of great motivational and entrepreneurial leaders.

People in all walks of life have at one time or another participated in the Network Marketing business, many, only to drop out after the promised financial and leisure rewards eluded them. Most persons after trying to convince family and friends without success, and facing rejection after rejection decide the industry is not for them. The industry has come a long way. In the early days, Independent Distributors were required to pay for Start Up Kit and request Auto Shipments, where they were locked into monthly credit/debit card payment for product/s, and in some cases even encouraged to carry stocks.

The evolution of the industry saw the introduction of services, offering digital products in the Travel & Leisure markets, and in more recent times – Foreign Exchange Training & Trading programmes.

Persons seeking ground floor opportunities are usually taken for a ride as over and over when companies promote prelaunch programmes lasting for several months, only to disappear, in some cases not before collecting the monthly subscription from thousands of Distributors.

The Industry statistics are not favourable to persons seeking to participate as only one-quarter of people who get involved in multilevel marketing manage to make money, as outlined in MLM business statistics. However, individuals continue to flock to the industry which is served by hundreds of companies in the U.S.A., attracting over 18 million Distributors, with a current annual sales volume in excess of 36 billion US dollars. While the Caribbean is suffering from MLM fatigue, the urge to join every type of MLM business opportunity is high. The MLM industry is a substantial contributor to the Home Business sub-sector in the U.S.A. in terms of business opportunities, and should be adapted in the CARICOM region. This business model can assist in alleviating the chronic unemployment situation which is further being exasperated by the present COVID 19 pandemic.

The recent spate of Investment scams, luring persons to invest money for high returns in every type of financial offering, points to the fact that people of the region are looking for opportunities to supplement their incomes. The warnings about Ponzi and Pyramid schemes have not stopped them. As a result, alternative legitimate programmes should be readily available to citizens.

Up to this point, MLM opportunities have been unsustainable for many reasons, including, 1. The high cost of Sales kits and products/services. 2. In the instance of products, the cost of shipping and customs levies. 3. Customers limited to family and friends who are generally hostile towards the industry, ignoring the fact that in many cases the opportunity is a global one. However, there are many instances where participation in certain programmes is not possible because the territory is not opened up, due to financial and other government regulations.

The private and public sectors should be involved in a comprehensive study to indentify to the pros and cons of the MLM/Network Marketing Business Model. Maybe, Invest St. Lucia, given its interest in the MSME sector with such programmes as and should be encouraged to facilitate such a study, and assist in the implementation if found feasible. There is no other opportunity that could be as accessible to the small man as a MLM business, founded on the principle of equity for all. Apart from the opening up of self-employment and training opportunities, Saint Lucia will take centre stage in aggressively promoting its Tourism product, Citizen by Investment Programme, and attractive Incentives to Foreign Direct Investors, alongside the proposed MLM business.

I am confident that a Digital product, providing Lifestyle Guidance will make St. Lucia a model country to the developing world where any person with a smartphone and a Social Media Account can experience life-changing results.

In the words of Rod Cook – “MLM is the only hope of the little guy.” Let the dialogue begin.

Stay safe. Remember Always, Yahweh is in charge; dream big and expect daily Miracles!

Edward Harris

Freelance Journalist/Realtor/Business Consultant



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