The “Breakaway Movement” Business Scheme: Most of Us Cannot Afford to Be This Delusional
Chances are, you have never heard of the “Breakaway Movement.” If not, I applaud your algorithm for sacrificing your digital timeline with an advertisement for a modern-day, Instagram influencer obsessed, capitalistic ticket straight into a multi-level marketing scheme.
Now, if you’re new to the MLM world, I’m honored to be able to introduce it to you as an educator and not as a recruiter. Your wallet and dignity will thank me later. Basically stated, a multi-level marketing scheme (MLM) is “a system for selling goods or services through a network of distributors.” A distributor generally recruits new individuals to join the business as a distributor as well, where the newbie will then make their income through the sales of the MLM’s product and by recruiting other members, thus creating a finite cycle of enrollments.
Almost no one is salaried when deciding to join an MLM company, and their income depends heavily on solely these two aspects: being able to sell the product and recruiting others.
I could get into the minute detail about the intricacies of this fucked-up business model, but for the sake of remaining concise, what needs to be understood is just this: many people who are prayed on to join MLM’s (often from lower socio-economic backgrounds) make little to no money because they have too much inventory to sell and not enough people to recruit. In fact, multi-level marketing critic Robert Fitzpatrick completed the math and discovered that most common MLM marketing techniques — where you recruit five people to and let them recruit five others — can only last about 15 cycles before it actually exceeds the population of the Earth.
Multi-level Marketing schemes are not new: the first known model appeared in 1959 known as Amway. Other renowned MLM schemes quickly followed a few years later, such as Arbonne and Mary Kay. These businesses typically go through the route of classified advertising and online content to promote their shady businesses.
Yet, there’s a newfound connection being made between the 21st-century dream and multi-level marketing scheme that’s being fused together right under our eyes, which, until now, has brilliantly been avoiding our normally scrutinized gaze.
The old found American dream resembled such: come here poor, work hard, and start living here rich. Buy a house, flourish in your successful career, and raise a cookie-cutter family with a partner and 2.5 kids. Yet, in the age of digital prowess and explosion of remote work (thank you, Covid-19…) the fantasy now takes on a different illusion.
We’ve all heard of the term digital nomad, an individual who lives everywhere and nowhere all at once, commonly bouncing around from Costa Rica to Bali, with their laptop in hand and somehow managing to pull in more money than their 9-to-5 would have ever granted them. We tend to be skeptical, yet curious enough to wonder how they make a living.
My algorithm could tell my eyes were wandering. Which is how on a monotone Tuesday night during an abysmal ride to the Lower East Side on the F Train from Brooklyn, a targeted advertisement for a company titled “Breakaway Movement” meandered its way onto my Instagram.
“A training platform designed + created for elevated entrepreneurs who are ready to dive in and learn how to run their own successful online business,” reads the Instagram bio.
“Online business…” I thought to myself.
“Alright, I’ll bite,” which then lead me to the next phase of exploration.
I wanted to know how these people were making money. And Breakaway Movement did not make it easy to find its business model on its website. But when I finally did unearth it, I was shocked to find they were selling…water filters?
As if it couldn’t get any more incredulous, these babies were being sold for up to nearly 5 grand a pop. $5,000?! For a water filter?!
This is when the monetization plan started to illustrate itself in front of me. Breakaway Movement is essentially just the name of the ‘community’ that partakes in selling these machines for the Japanese company Enagic. Enagic describes their company mission as “to transform the tap water in your home into pure healthy electrolyzed-reduced and hydrogen-rich drinking water.”
Now, if you’re as mystified and enthralled by words such ‘electrolyzed’ and ‘hydrogen-rich’ as I initially was, join the club. However, within just a few further Google searches, you can quickly surmise that the bombastic rhetoric is all part of the marketing plan.
While it’s almost plausible to believe that tap water can be “ionized” to include the ultimate healthy nutrients to provide an ideal and self-optimized self, the science, unfortunately, lets us and our alkaline water dreams down.
There is no scientific evidence that ionized alkaline water is needed to balance our “acidic body.” To begin with, there is no such thing as an acidic body, and our body already maintains its balance by remaining alkaline with a pH of blood between 7–7.4.
Once we’re able to look past this liquid malarkey, we can take a closer look as to what Breakaway Movement actually is. Deceivingly selling itself as a ‘mentorship platform’ where they sell courses to get people pumped up about recruiting others into their cult, it actually represents something much larger. It is essentially a hyper-embellished and embossed beast of the polished Instagram culture, a scheme with a brilliant team of digital marketers giving the MLM an Oscar-worthy modernized makeover.
Seriously, I give props to the people behind this ingenious idea. Because, honestly, it took me quite a bit of digging to find what the catch was here. The package they sell is nearly too good to be true. Who doesn’t want to be like Breakaway Movement Founder Amelia Wheelan and recreate her dreamy Instagram board riddled with açai smoothie bowls, surfboards, and her rolling around in the sand in the beaches of (enter new remote tropical destination here)?
It almost pains me to admit that Breakaway Movement simply isn’t what it claims to be. I’d love an easy ticket to a ‘life of financial and spiritual abundance’ but the idea of having to sell this ludicrous buffoon of machinery to unsuspecting individuals just doesn’t sit right with me. The idea of recruiting others that stem from such a level of naivete to join is just as harmful to imagine. Consider this individual who posted a plea for help when they realized their niece was about to fly to Hawaii with no money:
“My 19-year old niece has just been sucked into this. She bought a Kangen a few months back and has been sucked into this ‘business’. She has now quit her job and is moving to Hawaii for this ‘business’. She has no job, no money, and used her last couple of dollars to buy a one-way ticket to Hawaii with the belief that she’s going to be living on the beach with someone from this company selling Kangen products…I’m extremely concerned because she’s a naive, pretty little blonde girl and I can think of no good reasons why they would convince her to come to Hawaii especially knowing she would have no money.”
And for Breakaway Movement, money is important — or financial abundance, if I may take the liberty of using their ‘law of attraction’ jargon — regardless of what they tell you. Our dear founder Amelia actually organized a ‘mastery retreat’ cultishly named ‘The Vortex’ (I mean, really, does it get any more creepy) where a one-week ticket will cost you upwards of $6,000 dollars.
In a perfect world, Kangen water filters are on the cusp of a scientific and wellness revolution, while the Enagic business model allows people to live their digitally-remote wet dream selling a product to others that they truly believe in. Everyone is happy, and whoever that blonde 19-year-old chick is landed safely in Hawaii and is reading my article as we speak with a Piña Colada in hand, laughing at my utter failure at being a like-minded manifestation babe.
Unfortunately for us, there are clear downsides to subscribing to this mentorship platform such as the steady trickle of $33 dollars being drained from your bank account each month, plus taking on the gargantuan task of selling such expensive and ineffective ‘wellness machinery.’
Yet, delusion is not created equal. If you don’t have loans to pay back, mouths to feed, or mortgage to succumb to, what’s the worse thing that can happen besides a mild case of brainwashing, a few thousand dollars down the drain, and an extremely heavy piece of Japanese equipment loitering around in your kitchen?
By all means, if you can afford it, perhaps this is your chance to ironically ‘arrive at abundance’ and let Breakaway Movement ‘thought leaders’ take reign on any remaining autonomy on your thought process left remaining. If you make it big, I’d be impressed, (though shameful to admit it) and deeply envious of your jet-setter lifestyle, even if you made your money selling ridiculousness to others.
Regrettably, for us mere mortals who aren’t in a position to detach ourselves from reality just yet, we must experience our lucid existence for yet another day. Perhaps my body’s acidic pH levels are way too off to align to the abundance mindset, anyways.