Multi-level marketing (MLM), also known as direct selling, is focused on selling a product through personal networks and recruiting other salespeople into the business. The majority focus on female customers and consultants selling a diverse range of products including craft supplies, cooking appliances, and beauty and lifestyle products. Billed as entrepreneurial self-employment, MLMs promise financial independence and work-life balance. There are, however, mixed reports as to their effectiveness and some MLMs have been criticised for unethical practices. The majority of women involved in MLMs have little or no experience running a micro-business, and it has been estimated that fewer than 1% of MLM consultants make any profit. This project, funded by Financial Literacy Australia, seeks to understand the level of financial literacy and knowledge that consultants possess in relation to running an MLM business and to develop resources to improve their financial literacy and assist potential consultants to make an informed decision about entering into an MLM scheme.
Laura de Zwaan (Griffith University)