Why combining MLM and collectibles will never work
Collectible (noun) – things considered to be worth
Collectibles can often be a subject of discussion that lends itself to confusion. With virtually anything able to be defined as a collectible these days, value, as mentioned above, is largely subjective.
Value can be measured in the form of personal attachment, scarcity of the collected item, the personal interests of the collector themselves, popularity of an item and the list goes on.
What’s common with each of these factors however is the subjectivity of each. One collector might love collecting a certain type of comic for example, primarily because they enjoy reading them.
On a secondary level these comics might have a dollar worth, but to another collector the comics might still be worthless. Without the pleasure of enjoyment from reading the comics, the dollar value simply doesn’t make the comics desirable as collectibles for the second collector.
In a business sense, specifically MLM, we can strip down the factors that make up the collectibleness of an item down to pure dollar value.
In MLM the ultimate goal is of course to earn money and if we’re going to combine collectibles with MLM then it’s these collectibles that need to be worth something, and have an appreciable value.
If the value of the item stays the same or appreciates at a negligible rate, then combining with an MLM business opportunity doesn’t make much sense, does it.
This requirement of appreciability (the item being collected going up in value) to make the MLM business viable is a fundamental flaw in combining collectibles with MLM.
The flaw in logic of combining collectibles and MLM comes in two parts;
Scarcity is quite important when it comes to assessing the dollar value of collectible. Take for example the art world. If you took a Da Vinci masterpiece, photocopied it a million times and then burnt the original, would those copies have anywhere near the dollar value on them that the original had?
And further more, would they even be collectible?
The answer is most likely a ‘no’. Save for the limited potential profit in acquiring one of the million copies and waiting for the rest to be naturally lost or destroyed over time, and even then, something tells me you’d be waiting an extremely long time.
The reason the copies aren’t collectible is because they’re not scarce. An original painting is just that, an original. One of a kind, never to be repeated – and that’s why originals from famous artists get sold for incredible amounts of money.
Of course when we’re talking art originals, you’re never going to get as scarce as a once off, and that’s often why paintings are described as ‘priceless’.
Being a bit more realistic though, as a priceless art piece based MLM would hardly be realistic or viable, when we talk about not so priceless collectibles a lot of the same rules still apply.
In MLM we want to earn money and when we’re talking collectibles, the most important contributing factor to the raw dollar amount value places on a collectible is scarcity.
The problem with combining MLM and collectibles is that scarcity itself takes a nosedive.
For example, a new MLM startup decided to market it’s primary product which, up until now, is pretty collectible and holds a decent track record in value appreciation over the years.
The first problem is supply. An MLM company needs to have products to survive and in this case the product has to be the collectible. Already there’s the problem of the MLM company attempting to create the illusion of scarcity based of a collectible it needs to have a readily available and continuing reliable source of.
Then there’s the problem of success. As the MLM company itself grows, so does the amount of people purchasing the collectible they are retailing. As such, the marketplace becomes flooded with this collectible, decreasing it’s scarcity.
The end result? What once might have been a collectible is now available at your fingertips from MLM marketers – thus losing it’s collectibility and perceived market value altogether.
The raw materials that make up the collectible might keep their market value (hell they might even slowly continue to appreciate in value), but the ‘perceived collectible value’ of the item, which is often makes up the bulk of the collectibles dollar value is lost.
The self-sustainability of the marketer
When we’re talking collectibles, the general idea is that you collect something, wait a while and then watch as the value of the collected item appreciates.
The problem with this in regard to MLM network marketing?
What is the MLM marketer supposed to do in the meantime?!
Running an MLM business requires an ongoing investment, no matter how small it might be. Now, in the terms of a collectible based MLM, you’ve also got to invest in the product yourself, market your business (advertising, generating leads, following up leads, etc.), and most importantly, live your day to day life.
All of these are unavoidable expenses which, when we’re talking investing into collectibles for the long term, simply aren’t payable.
You could focus your business around retailing more collectibles from the company to either new recruits or retail customers, but as mentioned in the scarcity flaw, this is counter productive.
More people acquiring your precious collectible means less return on your own investment into the company’s product.
Unfortunately though, while you wait for your collectibles to appreciate in value this is the only way to generate any income and in turn cover your day to day business expenses.
As you can see, both from a scarcity ‘perceived value’ viewpoint and the dilemma of the MLM marketer trying to cover his or her own expenses, the idea of marketing collectibles via MLM simply doesn’t make sense.
If you’re still skeptical though, here’s two simply questions you can ask yourself;
- Why is the item the company is selling collectible, and more importantly valuable in the first place? If it’s because of it’s scarcity, will you retailing the item reduce it’s scarcity and thus lower its collectible value?
- Is the only way to generate an income while I wait for my invested in collectibles to appreciate in value, to distribute the collectible item to either other marketers or retail customers thus again lowering the value of my own collectible investment?
If the answer is yes to either question, then you’ll probably want to give this particular MLM opportunity a pass.