Ep.41 – dō(n)TERRA: MLM ‘Cult’ure & ‘Wellness’ Red Flags | Jamie Smith

Candice welcomes friend and activist Jamie Smith to the podcast for an illuminating discussion on the ‘cult’ure of MLM. Jamie spent four years as a sales rep with dōTERRA, a multi-level marketing company known for its high-end essential oils. She shares when she became involved in the company – while battling postpartum depression and shortly after the death of her father – as well as what drew her into work as a distributor. As a health coach, Jamie found dōTERRA’s emphasis on health education to be a major selling point, but soon enough she’d be spending the majority of her (unpaid) time recruiting new distributors. Despite loads of lip service from top-line mentors, Jamie began to see through the gauzy promises and eventually left the world of MLM for good. A few years later, she realized that very few anti-MLMers were naming dōTERRA – an MLM who, in Jamie’s own words, has taken great pains to “polish the turd” – so she began speaking out publicly on social media. Jamie insists that multi-level marketing is across-the-board problematic, calling it “capitalism on steroids,” and she shares the red flags to look out for when being pitched. Candice and Jamie also discuss pay-to-play privilege in the wellness world, as well as how they were both trained in coercive sales strategies in the coaching industry. They trade some real-talk on magical thinking, and the way in which they were each taught to believe that their business failings were a result of faulty vibes – versus a rigged system – and they discuss moral injuries and how they’re each learning to trust themselves again. Jamie pitches the idea of a ‘rest mindset’ versus all the endless self-helping, and together they discuss how gate-keeping (and other culty bs) sometimes bleeds into their cult recovery circles. Candice wonders aloud if the evolving business structure at ‘the Org,’ might also be a little MLM-ish, then the episode wraps with some helpful advice – what to do when you’re pitched a product membership that sounds too good to be true (spoiler: it definitely is).

Jamie Smith is a former dōTERRA ‘Wellness Advocate’ turned anti-MLM advocate, helping to promote changes to protect consumers from pyramid schemes.  She likes to joke that her dōTERRA ‘business’ didn’t quite work out, so she finally made the transition to a real career in interior design. You can follow Jamie on IG @essentially_over_mlms and explore financial literacy as it pertains to MLM via Jamie’s linktree.

December 21, 2022

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