Damsel in Defense is an unusual MLM that focuses on self-defense products for women, including products for women to carry and those for the home.
The idea here is admirable. The company and the products focus on empowering women and giving them the ability to protect themselves and their families. In fact, the company even calls its parties Empower Hours.
Making money as a distributor could be considered empowering too. I disagree personally, as the MLM model provides less control than is ideal. Even so, it's easy to see how the company could become popular. The same is true for many other women-focused MLMs.
I honestly like the idea of the products. The items are unusual for an MLM, which is great for sales. Finding a range of self-defense products and advice for women all in one place is pretty appealing too.
The self-defense industry itself also has decent potential. Many people are looking for ways to defend themselves. If nothing else, having self-defense knowledge and tools can help people to feel more in control of their lives.
Unique products aside, Damsel in Defense follows the same general approaches of most other MLMs. This means that there are two distinct earning approaches. One is to focus on product sales. This is the easiest approach and is most relevant for anyone wanting a little extra income.
The other angle is team building, which involves recruiting team members and making sure they stay active. Team building can be much more difficult, but the income potential is higher too.
In this post, I'm highlighting both areas and how well they work in practice. At the end of the piece, I'll talk about whether you have a realistic chance of making consistent income with Damsel in Defense.
So, the product line at Damsel in Defense is a little bit unusual. As the name suggests, the company sells self-defense items that are targeted at women.
Many of the products focus directly on self-defense. This includes stun guns, pepper sprays, personal alarms and striking tools.
There are also various related items. Some of these help to conceal the defensive tools, while others could be used to help women feel more confident.
In general, I noticed that the prices of the products were fairly reasonable and were certainly in the range that a lot of people could afford. The range of actual self-defense products is limited. Still, there are only so many different types of products that could be offered in this field.
Personally, I’m in two minds about the products that the company sells. Yes, they do have the potential to keep women safe – and they might even be essential if you live in a rough neighborhood.
Even with this advantage, Damsel in Defense is playing on the fears of women, making them feel like they should spend a lot of money to keep themselves and their families safe.
The company often uses this idea in their marketing and there’s a good chance that distributors do too. By all means, protection is important. But, if you end up being paranoid about your safety, you probably end up in a worse spot than when you started.
The overall approach just feels manipulative to me. Now, that’s a major problem because many people selling MLM products end up trying to sell them to friends and to family. Do you really want to be manipulating your friends and family into spending money?
It is also worth noting that the company does have another slightly different product, which is a digital protection plan, ranging from $29.95 per month (for an individual) to $59.95 per month (for a family).
In terms of profits, this product would be nice for distributors. However, I doubt they would make many sales as most people wanting digital security would turn to a company that actually has a reputation in the field.
In regards to the products, I also want to point out that they’re not really that unique. Realistically, there are a lot of products out there for personal protection as-is. I suspect there is also a wide range of such products that are designed specifically for women.
Now, I’m all for women protecting themselves and their families. However, the company is more about manipulating and getting sales than it actually is about protecting. After all, there’s only so much that products can do anyway and you probably don’t protect yourself much more if you buy one product from the company versus ten.
You could actually make the argument that arming women with products that don't actually protect them gives them a false sense of security and is more dangerous (read the comment section regarding issues with product quality)
There’s also one more thing with the products. For the most part, these are purchases that people would make once or perhaps twice.
After all, most of the products that the company sells are for worst-case situations. The products largely act to provide peace of mind. Most of them are reusable anyway.
That pattern isn’t encouraging for distributors. If you want to make money with the company, one of the key aspects is selling the products. Now, people may want to stock up on many of the items that the company sells, but even then, the products do kind of make it hard to make multiple sales.
Some of the items, particularly the stun guns, can't be sold in all states. This further limits sales potential.
Making Sales In Practice
It's also worth considering exactly how you make sales. Damsel in Defense is party-based. This approach seems especially common for any MLM that is specifically targeted at women. The strategy means that distributors host parties (called Empower Hours), where they promote the products.
Side Note: A lot of gals ripped into me in the comments for saying that women are targeted by MLMs. Here's an interesting article (from a woman) called How Multi-Level Marketing Targets and Destroys Female Entrepreneurs
So, the idea is that you get people together and then pitch them the products. The company probably provides distributors with information about the strategies to use to get the most sales. At the same time, distributors will show some of the products that the company offers.
Some of these will come from the starter kit that the company provides – although distributors often end up purchasing additional products themselves.
The party model is interesting. It can work well for getting sales because there is a degree of social pressure. So, if one person buys a product, others will probably buy one too. However, the reverse is true too. If most people at a party don’t buy anything, others may choose not to as well, even if they were originally going to make purchases.
At the same time, the party model makes it difficult to sell to anyone who randomly decides that they want to buy products.
Parties tend to involve a hostess (who isn't the distributor). The event is held at this person's house and the guests will be their friends. Using hostesses gives the distributor access to a wider range of people to sell to. The hostess also gets bonuses, which can help to get people involved.
Still, party-based MLMs are very common and people get sick of the events quickly. Distributors often find that it gets tough to ensure consistent party attendance.
At baseline, distributors for the company earn 25% commission from sales they make. In theory, you could just stick to this level of the company if you wanted to earn a little bit of money. 25% is actually pretty good if you can sell enough product on a daily basis.
However, Damsel in Defense is an MLM and this means that it has a focus on recruitment and building a team. Most of the bonuses come from the people you recruit and how successful they are. For example, the figure below shows the early ranks in the company.
As you go down the ranks, you can see that the bonuses people earn increases, but so does the complexity of actually qualifying for the rank. In practice, this means that getting to (and maintaining) a given rank takes a lot of work and it’s more difficult than it first appears.
That’s one reason why most people in MLMs end up stuck on the first rank or two. After all, you have to recruit people into the company and those people need to be successful themselves.
Even if you have the skills and dedication to be successful in business, there's no guarantee that the people you recruit will. Running any type of business is hard work. Some skill sets and personalities are much better at doing so than others.
There is one other slightly complicated thing about Damsel in Defense. This is the fact that you have to remain active to make money from the MLM portion. This practice is fairly common among MLMs, but it’s also pretty frustrating. The company explains it like this:
This means that you need to sell $150 in products every three months. If you don’t meet this requirement, you can still earn money from commissions, but you can’t earn money from your rank or your downline.
As most of the bonuses come from your rank and your downline, this means that you need to make consistent sales. Doing so mightn't sound like a big deal, but it leaves you with less flexibility. What happens if there is a family crisis or if you simply need a holiday?
While the MLM model isn't amazing, you can theoretically earn consistent income with most MLMs. Damsel in Defense is no exception. The company even has some advantages over others due to the unusual product selection.
Even so, actually being successful is an entirely different story. Most people simply aren't. Many distributors don’t have the skills or social connections needed to effectively drive sales and recruit others.
That shouldn’t be too surprising. Those skills are tough and they’re not something you can just pick up with a little bit of support and some basic training. The simple answer is that if you don’t have those skills going into an MLM, you’re never going to get very far within one.
This is a very real issue and unfortunately, it is something that the company and other distributors simply don’t teach. Without a strong mentor, and a stronger sense of self-motivation to get out, recruit, and push product, it's easy to end up like most distributors, with “non-active” status and a few gadgets laying around the house.
Another problem is that you don't end up with your own business. Even if you were very successful with Damsel in Defense, you're just selling products from a company. Your income is entirely based on their rules and their success.
This style simply doesn't work if you want a long-term reliable business. You need something where you are the one in control. That type of control will never be present with Damsel in Defense.
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