Gentle reader, what I am about to share with you in the answer to the age of question of "How can I get rich quick?". I share this with you because I trust you to use this knowledge wisely. I would however ask that you not share this with those who lack any sense of integrity or are of weak moral character.
For those who don't know... the term MLM refers to a Multi-Level Marketing organization or scheme. Utah seems to have become a mecca for schemes such as these and so I feel as though I am somewhat of an expert on them. In an effort for full disclosure though, I do need to mention that while I have listened to many sales pitches and studied various organizations who utilize MLM strategies, I have never actually joined one. This despite as one sales rep so nicely put it, "Obviously, I just don't want to help people."
The problem I see with almost all MLM's is that they involve some kind of tangible product or service. The problem with tangible products or services is that fads get old, science can prove your claims to miracle drugs false and with anything tangible, people will eventually begin to see through it. Of course if you get into the market, make your millions and then close up shop, you'll still walk away with a decent chunk of change, but there is a better way!
So here are the Urban Koda tips for setting up a successful MLM.
1. Pick your product or service.
Remember this needs to be something which is not tangible or able to be proved or disproved by science. Some of the best schemes like this involve the after-life. Humans are naturally inquisitive about the unknown, perhaps motivated by a fear of it and they will flock to you in droves, if you can claim to know something they don't. And you have to know it. It's a sure knowledge or nothing in this game.
2. Set up your leadership structure.
This is a tricky one because in many respects, it will look like you are sharing power, but you'll need these people to handle the thousands who come flocking to you for answers. It's important however to make this structure as exclusive as possible. I would suggest limiting it to only one gender (preferably men, since their pride and arrogance, makes them less likely to leave a 'high' position.) Offer benefits to these men, but keep them very quiet. This is a good way to enhance number 1. They have to appear to the general populace as though they are excited about having the answers to the questions, not material goods.
3. Seize control over your sales force.
There are going to be some who see this idea, and think... Why can't I profit off a scheme like this? You need to find a way of dealing with these men quickly and violently. Character assassinations always work well.
For those who remain and want to seek profit within the lower ranks, you need to take control of their lives. Let them think they're free to leave or sell the products however they wish, but have that be only on illusion. Some excellent ways of doing this could be to institute the following:
Mandatory dietary guidelines
A dress code
A strict initiation ritual
Blood oaths and covenants
Don't share the entire idea with people at first either. Give them just enough to get them interested and then as they exhibit more loyalty, you can share more with them. The feeling of privilege and importance as they progress upwards will prevent them from questioning progressively more bizarre rules you come up with. You'll know you have it made when you can control minute details of their lives, like what brand of underwear they choose to wear. You laugh, but it can be done!
4. Purify the sales force
This is perhaps the easiest part. Tell your sales force that there are some among them, who are spies, or who do not want the organization to succeed. If the organization fails, no one gets the final prize. They'll take care of regulating each other themselves. You may have to discipline the occasional person, but as long as you do this publicly and with as much humiliation as possible, the rest will fall in line.
Perhaps the biggest problem with a traditional MLM is that money gets shared amongst everyone in the scheme. This is perhaps my most brilliant idea yet (In my most humble of opinions). Tell them that the money is needed to expand the organization. The real reward for participation is the final prize - that intangible question which only you can answer. Set up a financial plan where everyone contributes a portion of their income, and have it all directed directly to you. Ka Ching!!!
Now the people will be excited for a while, but in time they're going to want something in return. One of the things humans crave is to be needed. Set up groups out in the community and try to get everyone involved. Everyone needs to have a job they can do, that is essential to the operation of the local organization. Ultimately you want to keep them as busy as possible with running the organization, that they don't have time to actually consider the organization itself. You may need to give a little money back for a building or something, but you can use that as an opportunity to ask them to give more (Guilt works nicely here). Also at this point, you should have elevated the upper echelons of power to a point where you can use their presence as a reward as well. These men need to behave like Rock Stars, and the people will begin to treat them as such.
Your base membership is going to yield some strong returns, but in the long run, the only way to get more money is to get others involved. Friends and families work well initially, but expand the ideas in 6, and have the members feel duty bound to recruit others. Guilt is going to be a huge motivator here. Use the peoples own fear of losing family and friends as motivation to share the idea. But instill in them the idea, that if the friends and family reject the idea, that they are seeking the destruction of the organization. You may run into some opposition while doing this, but you can handle that easily with my final point.
Some one on the outside is going to figure out that you're little more than a snake oil salesman. Initially the character assassinations might work, but eventually the voices will grow louder. You need to convince your followers that anyone who says anything against the intangible product is seeking their destruction. Teach them to refuse to listen to anyone who contradicts the prize or against reading anything not authorized by you. That might sound weird to someone not inside the organization, but once you control every aspect of their lives, they'll see that as a reward.
If this doesn't work for you, perhaps you could consider religion as an option.
L. Ron Hubbard is widely rumored to have said "The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion."
The benefit of starting a religion is that of course you don't have to worry about paying taxes, but the problem in the case of religion, is that you're messing with God, and you run the risk of falling foul of his strict blasphemy laws.