Multilevel marketing (MLM, also known as network marketing) is a type of business opportunity that is very popular with some people looking for part-time, flexible businesses. Some of the best-known companies in America, including Avon, Tupperware, and Mary Kay Cosmetics fall under the MLM umbrella.
MLM programs feature a low upfront investment, usually only a few hundred dollars for the purchase of a product sample kit, and the opportunity to sell a product line directly to friends, family and other personal contacts. Most multilevel programs also ask participants to recruit other sales representatives. These recruits constitute a rep's "downline," and their sales generate income for those above them in the program.