These days, I see more and more people getting into solar direct selling programs.
To many who join these network marketing schemes as “associates” or “partners,” this may sound like an easy way to sell solar installations to homeowners. It appears to be a quick way to join a fast growing industry with little money down.
But whenever you get into multi-level marketing, if you don’t do your research first, things may not turn out well.
Whether it’s a company selling solar and natural gas services in unregulated markets, or another company reselling solar installations from one of the most prominent solar companies in America, the enthusiasm for direct sales in the solar industry seems higher than ever.
Is this a good thing? I don’t know yet.
If you’re thinking of joining one of these programs, for now I’d like to urge you to investigate carefully before you sign on the dotted line or hand over any money.
New Wealth Opportunity or the Same Old Swindle?
If it weren’t suspicious, why would there be so many names for the same thing — direct selling, network marketing, multi-level marketing, pyramid scheme, Ponzi scheme?
Like putting lipstick on a pig, you can change the cosmetics, but you’ve still got a pig.
Direct selling is still the same idea it was in the 1960s. It offers big promises for ordinary people to make lots of money working from home by selling to family and friends.
Unfortunately, in countless MLM programs over the last 50 years, the only people who made much money were those at the top, who got in early. When the house of cards finally collapsed, the ones at the bottom wound up making nothing or even losing money.
Before joining any solar direct selling network, you should take a lesson from the history of network marketing, from Amway to Melaleuca to NuSkin to Pre-Paid Legal.
Ten Myths of Direct Selling
Robert FitzPatrick is the author of False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes. His no-frills website offers “Ten Big Lies about Multi-level Marketing” that are often used in recruiting new people to direct selling programs.
The rebuttal to most of them is obvious and FitzPatrick’s article offers a clear explanation of why each claim is false. If you hear any of these in the sales pitch for a solar direct selling program, then you should watch out:
- MLM is a business offering better opportunities for making large sums of money than all other conventional business and professional models.
- Network marketing is the most popular and effective new way to bring products to market. Consumers like to buy products on a one-to-one basis in the MLM model.
- Eventually all products will be sold by MLM, a new form of marketing. Retail stores, shopping malls, catalogues and most forms of advertising will soon be rendered obsolete by MLM.
- MLM is a new way of life that offers happiness and fulfillment. It is a means to attain all the good things in life.
- MLM is a spiritual movement.
- Success in MLM is easy. Friends and relatives are the natural prospects. Those who love and support you will become your lifetime customers.
- You can do MLM in your spare time. As a business, it offers the greatest flexibility and personal freedom of time. A few hours a week can earn a significant supplemental income and may grow to a very large income making other work unnecessary.
- MLM is a positive, supportive new business that affirms the human spirit and personal freedom.
- MLM is the best option for owning your own business and attaining real economic independence.
- MLM is not a pyramid scheme because products are sold.
FitzPatrick is right to call these lies, because while some of these claims might contain a grain of truth, all of them are either mostly false or else completely untrue. Anyone who joins a solar direct selling scheme or a multi-level marketing program in any industry who accepts these claims as gospel truth is bound to be disappointed.
If any solar direct selling program gives you any of these messages as a reason to join, then that’s a red flag. You should definitely dig deeper before handing over your money.
After all, direct selling is not the only way to get into solar. It may not even be the best way for you.
If you’re trying to break into solar, perhaps you’d be more comfortable working in more traditional sales where you don’t have to sell to your friends and family and you don’t have to recruit a team. All you have to do is sign homeowners up for high quality solar installations.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of reputable solar installers doing business nationally and in local areas that are hiring salespeople at this very minute.
— Erik Curren, CEO, Curren Media Group