Ep.58 - Enough Already: Marketing, Manipulation, & An MLM Escape Plan | Jennifer Rajala - Part 2 of 2 ― In part two with former MLM Coach, Jennifer Rajala, she shares her struggle to sustain top-tier status at Arbonne. In 2020, despite being investigated by the FTC, dozens of MLMs chose to leverage vulnerability and ramp up recruitment during a global pandemic, and Jennifer tells us why this didn't sit well with her. She also shares how the body-shaming culture at Arbonne impacted her personally, and why she decided to join the inner circle at Rank Makers as an MLM coach. When her clients weren’t getting the results that the high-dollar investment promised, Jennifer assumed she just needed more training, so she doubled-down, powering through a series of 'mastery' events with Tony Robbins. Jennifer tells us what those workshops were like - the tools that were helpful and as well as the misogynistic red flags that were waving wildly. Jennifer also offers us an invaluable peek behind the curtain when it comes to persuasive marketing and the carefully-calculated manipulations that leaders use to justify coercive sales-funnel strategies. Jennifer shares why she left Arbonne and was subsequently excommunicated from Rank Makers when stress led to a health crisis and a series of wake-up calls. The episode wraps with Jennifer’s message of hope to anyone who is concerned that their loved one is stuck in the world of MLM.

Jennifer Rajala graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Social Sciences & Criminal Justice. Before she was involved with MLM, she worked for State Government investigating cases of child abuse & neglect. Immediately after exiting the world of MLM & Coaching, she began speaking out as a very vocal anti-MLM activist through podcast appearances and on TikTok and Instagram. She currently works for two different non-profits (both helping kids) and loves being active in her community without feeling like she has to recruit everyone. She lives in Michigan with her husband Derek and their three daughters. She loves creating content, speaking, educating, and being a voice for others. She hopes to write a memoir or a book one day and do something with kids to help them to learn about coercive control.

Instagram: @jennifer.rajala | Tiktok: @jennifer.rajala

Referenced in this episode:

Ep.58 - Enough Already: Marketing, Manipulation, & An MLM Escape Plan | Jennifer Rajala - Part 2 of 2

Candice Schutter: Welcome to another episode of The Deeper Pulse and the continuation of the 'cult'ure series.
Today I'll be wrapping up a two-part conversation with Jennifer Rajala. We're gonna dig into it right quick, but just a heads up that after today's episode drops, I will be taking another short production break, which will put me back here on the main feed in mid to late June.
 If you want to continue exploring 'cult'ure series content in the meantime, consider checking out Patreon where listeners of the podcast are gathering together to access bonus content and to dive deep into how we might do things differently. All donations help to keep The Deeper Pulse streaming here ad free. You can learn more over at patreon.com/thedeeperpulse.
As always, the stories and opinions shared here are based on personal experience and are not intended to malign any individual group or organization.
Alright, onward.
Writer and activist, Mia Mingus writes, "What if the work of accountability was held so supremely sacred that people who got to practice it, truly practice it, were considered lucky? And those who had the honor of supporting it and witnessing it were also changed for the better?"
I recently stumbled upon an article by Kate McCord with the Virginia's Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, where she outlines the critical differences between accountability and punishment, and it's really helped me to wrap language around the larger purpose of this series.
As I've said many times before, this podcast is first and foremost in service to the guest. Because it offers everyday humans like me, a platform for the expression of truths that have long been silenced.
And because I believe that when it comes to social change, mental health matters most. So much of the fucked upness that we see in our world is a function of intergenerational trauma. And when we are without resources to heal, without safe spaces where we can speak openly about the pain that we've experienced, we are bound in our secrecy.
Secrecy breeds shame. And shame perpetuates the cycle of trauma. Those who were once victims become perpetrators and on and on it goes.
Accountability is our way out of this mess. McCord reminds us, accountability is not synonymous with punishment.
Punishment is a relic of the patriarchy. Its focus is on violence, shame, or expulsion. But accountability is different. It isn't about retribution. It's about restorative justice and mitigating future harm. In other words, we share our stories publicly, to punish our offenders, but to stop the same shit from happening to someone else.
And accountability applies to all of us. As a host of this podcast and a human who grew up in a patriarchal society, I have to continually remind myself to return to accountability and to keep my focus on survivors and their stories.
In order to be accountable, we must learn how to listen and accept feedback, make an effort to understand harm and its impact, and be willing to voluntarily suspend any sense of entitlement we might have in order to do different moving forward.
When our requests for accountability are continually met with deflection, denial, or defensiveness, the best choice is often the most painful one. It might mean cutting ties and moving away from those who simply do not have the capacity, willingness, or self-awareness to factor in our needs, to do better.
By definition, accountability is generally lacking in culty environments, and we're gonna dig more into the nuances of this in future episodes. But for now, and for the sake of today's convo, I just wanna take a moment to grieve alongside my many guests, and any of you out there, who've found that despite our very best efforts, sometimes it's just simply not possible to change culty culture from within.
When we say, Hey, y'all, this doesn't feel right, and it is seen as a pointed attack rather than an opportunity for redirection. When leadership's investment in maintaining their social location prioritized over ethical considerations, inclusion, or just common decency.
Accountability might not be possible.
In culty environments, those who name the dysfunction are very often gaslit, met with resentment, tone policed, and silenced, and in many cases they're simply cast out.
High demand groups are notorious for punishing people who call for accountability, and today's story is just one of countless examples.
Last week I shared part one of my conversation with former MLM coach, Jennifer Rajala. If you missed it, I highly recommend you circle back and start there.
Jennifer shared about her journey into the world of multi-level marketing. And this week we're gonna pick up on our conversation right where we left off, just as Jennifer had reached White Mercedes status as a top tier Arbonne rep and shortly after she decided to join Rank Makers, an online community of network marketers.
In this, the second half of our conversation, Jennifer's gonna share about her time in Rank Maker's Inner Circle, about how she began to question the Arbonne lifestyle, and why, in light of everything she'd already invested, she decided to go even more all in and invest in next level training with Tony Robbins.
Jennifer's story is a relatable race to the top that culminates in a health crisis and an eventual reunion with a former client and Rank Maker whistleblower, Julie Anderson. It's a turning point in Jennifer's story that inspires her to call out the dysfunction and finally break free from it all.
Here's part two with Jennifer Rajala.

Jennifer Rajala: And I am trying to keep up my business and maintain my numbers so I can get that Mercedes payment, because now this car is in my name and it's expensive and my husband and I are paying for it.
But I'm now so deeply entrenched in the Ray Higdon universe. All of my time is so consumed with everything to do with Rank Maker's inner circle and Arbonne.
And Arbonne was the first piece of the puzzle to crack. I will say. It had to do actually with the wellness piece of Arbonne.
So there is a program called the 30 Days Healthy Living, which is basically like, it's framed as like remove addictive and allergenic foods. And there's this message within Arbonne that like everything is filled with toxins. And if you switch all of your products over to Arbonne, you'll avoid all toxins and live in perfect health and harmony.
Total fear mongering.
And I had started to just kind of notice how my life was also consumed with reading labels. And being fearful of like when I could eat, where I could eat. I would pack my own food. Like, when a lot of women might pack like a suitcase full of shoes to go on vacation. I was packing Arbonne products. Cuz I didn't wanna use hotel like shampoo conditioner. It is crazy.
But also if I was like invited out to dinner with friends, I'd have to look at the menu, and like see if there was something like 30 Days to Healthy Living approved.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Jennifer Rajala: If I could go, I would eat beforehand. Or I would bring my shake with to the dinner. And I just began to notice like how exhausting that was, just straight up exhausting.
And I started to question that program. And I started to notice like a big one was we preached you had to eat organic to avoid toxins, whole foods organic. But yet we're touting packaged protein shakes and bars and energy fizz.
And so I had questioned like, hey, Arbonne's products aren't even certified organic. And I was fed a thought stopping cliche that was like, well, we are better than organic, that's why.
And I was like, well, that still doesn't make sense, because if we met the standard for organic, wouldn't we still want it on our packaging?
And so I actually did reach a point where the food shaming and the body shaming, I recognized like, this is not good for me. And I removed myself from all of the wellness groups and the wellness spaces. And that, that felt good for a time. And I just focused on the current customers that I had.
And then the pandemic happened. So during this time about 30 different companies were investigated for making false health and income claims that their products like cured Coronavirus and covid 19. And so that was good.
But the way that Arbonne handled it was there was no accountability. And in fact, some of the top leaders were even like infiltrating some of their team into some other culty groups that start with a Q. And they were promoting Q theories and all this crazy stuff. And that was a big red flag for me, too, with Arbonne.
And so I was pulling back from Arbonne at this point and thinking, I'm just gonna focus on coaching. I'm gonna be the best coach that I can be.
And Ray started to sell a program called the Quarantine Business Blueprint. Because the other weird thing that MLMs did during this time, so they were being investigated, but like they doubled down. And this is something that cults do. You never saw any accountability or any like, okay, maybe we were wrong. You saw every company double down. And they began to just like sell their opportunity as like, it wasn't the products now, it was the opportunity is gonna save people from lost jobs.
And so Ray glommed onto that as an MLM coach, and he started selling this quarantine business blueprint. Which was so manipulative, but it was basically like, I'm focused and productive in my home-based business. And I see that you are in St. Louis. I am looking to expand into St. Louis. And because of these unprecedented times, would you be open to a way to make extra money part-time from home?
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Jennifer Rajala: And then there, there were other pieces to it. Then the Black Lives Matter movement happened. It wasn't just about the insensitivity of his scripts towards Covid 19. Now it was this whole other, during these unprecedented times. So there were some people who were like, hey, I don't feel comfortable with this whole movement happening to reach out to people and share this.
Ray does a live video shaming people for saying like, you know, there are millions of jobs lost. And if you Google this, you could even find it like Ray Higdon, I don't know, losing his shit. But like,
Candice Schutter: We'll link to it.
Jennifer Rajala: But yeah, he, uh, there's tons of great anti MLM creators that have covered this. But he basically just like goes off. And there was actually a mass exodus in Rank Makers during that time.
And Ray decides that he's going to start a speaking team. Because he casts this vision that like, even though events have been shut down, we are gonna put so many people on so many stages that we are gonna begin this speaking team. And our goal is to have a handful of speakers get to a million dollars in the next few years.
So I tried out for a speaking team, and I got it. And it was very competitive. So we went through this workshop, and we had to come up with a speech. And we, basically, we were vying for Ray's attention and it was up to him to put us on a stage. And I thought, I never, you know, when I said yes to this coaching opportunity, I don't have any sort of certification. We never went through any sort of certification. My qualification to become a Ray Higdon coach was that I created a success story for him.
That's it.
Candice Schutter: Right. And then, and then you were reading from his scripts with the clients you were with, right. So you're not actually being trained how to be a coach so much as just regurgitating what the message he wants you to send the folks.
Jennifer Rajala: Exactly.
So I had a friend who had attended an event called Unleash the Power Within. And she had recommended that to me and I thought, you know, I've shifted from MLM and being like the best MLM or I can be into I'm gonna be the best coach I can be. Again, prey on that need for success and belonging and like doing good and making an impact and all of these things.
And so I a attend, unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins. And was a really fun experience, that one event. It was just like lots of music and jumping around and if you've ever seen any of it, like, I had fun. I actually did a lot of it with my kids because it was in home. This was during the pandemic, so it was all virtual, and we were dancing and I didn't realize I was being groomed for his larger programs. I should have, because that's what we did in Rank Makers. It was like people, the funnel was, you know, Rank Makers to Inner Circle to his speaking team.
So I sign up to attend Tony Robbins Mastery University thinking that this is gonna make me the best coach that I can possibly be. And this is going to make me the best speaker. And he's gonna put me on his stages, and I'm gonna be one of those million dollar earners.
Candice Schutter: One of the things you said when we were speaking, or in the notes we exchanged that really stood out to me is going into this, this decision you made around investing, what was it, like $15,000 in this mastery program?
Jennifer Rajala: It was a $15,000 investment on top of everything that I'd already invested in Ray.
This is a completely different program.
Candice Schutter: Right. Right. So you are not being adequately trained to do the work that you're envisioning doing as a coach. You're thinking, okay, I need to hire this other person. And you've probably plateaued at a certain level. Cause it seems like you remember you sharing that you were coaching for Ray and you were getting like some ridiculous amount for each coaching session, which was like, you can't make a living on.
Jennifer Rajala: $22 a session and he sold the program on the low end, it was like $3000 to $5,000. And on the high end, like he was coaching people for $20,000. Yes,
Candice Schutter: It's an exploitive labor practice. He basically has you all working for him, doing this grunt work, keeping people in the fold so he can charge these high dollar amounts and pay you next to nothing to do it. So that's what's happening. And though you're in this indoctrinating space, and you said to me, I began to believe my clients aren't having success because I'm not growing enough as a person.
Jennifer Rajala: Exactly. Mm-hmm.
Candice Schutter: It's like that sense of I'm not having the success that I'm meant to have because I'm not invested enough in this. I'm not doubling down enough. People really wanna understand the sensibility of doubling down. I think this is such a critical thing to understand. Like, why after all this would you invest this money in this program with Tony Robbins?
It's like, it makes perfect sense to me having been in that head space before. Because if the, if your internal narratives is I'm not experiencing the outcomes that I want because of me, that's what I've been taught to believe, then I need the next thing. It's absolutely the only way for me to break free is to go in deeper.
Jennifer Rajala: Your business only grows if you grow, was something that was said all the time. Your vision only grows if you grow. Your bank account only grows if you grow. I mean, there were so many ideations of the, the same thing.
Candice Schutter: And there's that not enoughness again. Right?
So then you go to a Tony Robbins event. And that initial event, you know, it's a, it's a contagious experience. And as you said, the sales funnel piece is so important. I think if there's a message we can get across to just the average person who's never been in these spaces is to really understand how sales funnels are structured. And that the first experience is meant to be sort of this love bombing, blow your mind. Like it's meant to be that first domino that drops.
Jennifer Rajala: So I I actually have some insight into that because in working for Ray, I was behind the scenes a lot in planning a lot of his events and some of the event coordinators also help people like Tony Robbins and Brendan Bouchard. And I'm not trying to like name drop, but I'm just saying like these other like coaches.
And they specifically said, the first day is all about building community. So what we need from you as coaches is we want you in the chat. We want you love bombing people. We want you to make people feel seen. We're gonna have Ray share like some deep personal trauma from his childhood, right? So people feel connected. They feel like they know Ray. We are gonna have you as coaches share some of that stuff.
So the first day was all about building community. Second day was all about commitment. Really pounding in the belief of you are where you are because of your lack of commitment.
And if you, if you want to go to the next level, like how committed you are. So it was all this language, loaded language, around like, what are you starting that you're not finishing? Or, you know, what's holding you back? What are you self sabotaging? You know, all those buzzwords and the loaded language, that's day two.
And then, day three, it was another C word that I'm, that I'm losing. But it was just like something about, you know, casting vision. Yeah. Yes.
So then now getting people to not focus on what their bank account looks like now. But if you invest in this program, look at where you could be.
But are you committed? And look at this community. And we were taught, we were taught that. And at the time I'm like taking notes. I'm like, oh my God, this is such great sales advice.
Because it is, it works.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Jennifer Rajala: But it's incredibly manipulative, incredibly manipulative.
And Tony Robbins did the same thing, but I didn't see it cuz I was just so, like, Woohoo.
 I invested in Tony Robbins Master University. And so I did, I did Unleash The Power Within in November. I did Date With Destiny in December. This is of 2020.
So Date With Destiny. Actually, I'll stop there for a second, because that is six days. And this is virtual in your home. I like holed myself up in our office for six days. And like my family would come in and out and I would eat, go to the bathroom, whatever. But like, I mean, it is nonstop six days. Like the first day, first couple days, and now I see it looking back, they're completely breaking you down. So then they can build you back up.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Jennifer Rajala: There's an exercise that you do where you, like, you choose somebody in a situation in your life where you need to forgive somebody. And you write it down and like how did that attribute to your belief that you weren't enough?
You know, and that's kind of where I started to get this insight about actually this belief that I wasn't enough. So it actually kind of, in a way, if I could find a silver lining. It wasn't worth $15,000. But there were parts of Tony Robbins that helped me wake up to it all. And it, it's, it's interesting to look back on the understanding how the belief that you're not enough gets preyed upon was actually like, kind of like a wake up call to me. Of like, whoa, I didn't even really realize that this could happen.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Jennifer Rajala: The other thing was during Business Mastery, which I took a couple months later, you have to do a profit and loss statement.
And I did that in my MLM and realized I'm not making the money I thought I was making. As you uplevel I'm doing that in quotes, I know people maybe can't see, but as you up level, you, your investments get bigger and bigger. I mean, just like you see from my story. First, I'm investing in Arbonne like starter kit, which is maybe it was like, you know, $2,000. Then I invest in coaching with Ray, which is $5,000. Then I'm paying Tony Robbins, which is $15,000.
It's thinking abundantly. And you like literally convince yourself that I have all this money cuz I'm thinking abundantly and I'm attracting, like I'm actually losing just more.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Jennifer Rajala: There were so many themes, like red flags in the Tony Robbins stuff like, there's this, all this talk about masculine and feminine energy. And like, in order for a relationship to work, there has to be polarity, which equals passion.
And there's this whole day where lit I'm, I'm, this is legit. All the women had to get up and dance on camera, and all the men had to sit and watch. I'm not kidding.
And I felt really uncomfortable, but I'm like, oh, this is for my growth. And so this like, ethereal music is playing and all the women are supposed to dance. And like all these men are watching. And like Tony and his wife are sitting there. And they're like, get into your feminine energy. And then it's like, these men are salivating. And like literally they're saying that this is turning men on who are, like, your man wants this.
And then the men got up after that was over, the men got up and they played some clip from Braveheart where Mel Gibson is yelling. Freedom. Freedom. And literally all the men get up and scream that. And they are saying, oh, look, look at like how powerful you are. These women are sa, like basically saying like, this is what women want.
And I remember thinking like, this isn't what, this isn't, because my husband is not like that. And thank God he is not, okay.
But I'm like, oh, okay. And like I, I felt so awkward, but I pushed through because I had that pattern of ignoring my intuition.

Candice Schutter: I think there's another piece that you mentioned when we were dialoguing back and forth through email. I sent you a link to a Buzzfeed article that was like an in-depth investigation into Tony Robbins. The article really exposes abuse of power and also some alleged instances where Tony Robbins is actually predatory in terms of his behavior towards women. So that's what the article's about. And it was really well done, I think. And it came out in, I believe, May of 2019. Had you seen it prior to being at these events?
And tell us like how you rationalized it, if so.
Jennifer Rajala: So in April or May of 2021, I graduated from Tony Robbins Mastery University. And I put a post up on Facebook. And at that time actually is when a friend sent it to me. But I was so entrenched in it, I just took it as. I mean, it, it was a, it was a good friend and I thought, well, you know, ah, this isn't true. It's just a Buzzfeed article. It wasn't like New York Times. You know, like, I'm like. Um, I, I just rationalized it, you know?
I'm like, oh, and well, I'm hiring him for business coaching and, and you know, I don't know what's true and what's not. Now reading it, it's total victim blaming and lack of accountability, abuse of power. It's a perfect way to put it.
But I do, I remember reading it and just thinking, well, this doesn't really apply to me and what I am hiring him for. The cognitive dissonance was strong.
Candice Schutter: That's so important. I wanted you to share that because this has actually come up. The leaders at the Org, the company that's still operating that I was a part of, just recently attended a Tony Robbins event. And I know that they did because they posted about it on social media. And they got some backlash from some folks that were like, what the what? And it was a similar rationale that came from one of them, as a representative. I think she was representing herself first and foremost, but speaking to this backlash. And, that reasoning that we do is an example of cognitive dissonance, I think is so important to say.
Like, well, nobody's perfect. I mean, nobody's perfect. And like, I can learn from this person in these ways and sort of ignore the bad stuff. I don't have to pay attention to that.
And I think it's really critical to highlight that that is actually cognitive dissonance. It's not saying that people need to be perfect to hold someone accountable for abuse of power. But they get conflated in the defense.
And so it makes sense to me that that's what you did. Because it's what I did when I wor ked in and for people who were abusing power. And how I rationalized it. Like, oh, well, you know, like, but when it comes to the work in quotes, they're so brilliant that we'll just overlook these, these are just personality flaws. These are no big deal.
When in reality it's a huge deal. So thanks for sharing that. I think, um, yeah, cuz I think it's important to highlight the mental acrobatics that we do to justify staying in. Because, and also, you know, I have to say in your defense, you just invested 15 grand in like how many hours?
So to like read an article and say, oh, well screw this guy like it makes perfect sense to me that your psyche would find a way to make both things exist, and you not have to let go.
Jennifer Rajala: Oh, that, that sunk cost fallacy. And the more you invest, like just the deeper you get in that mindset. And you know, and I, I said this from the beginning, like there were parts of attending like Tony Robbins events that really helped me wake up from MLM, and like the, the abuse of power that I was experiencing with Ray and MLM coaching.
And so I'm, I'm not here to say like, oh, it's all bad. It.
Candice Schutter: Mm-hmm.
Jennifer Rajala: it isn't. But it's like, we are so conditioned with this black and white thinking. And it's like all or nothing. And yet we'll rationalize other things away and it's very nuanced. I mean, it is okay to look at how people respond to conflict or to accusations. And like, do they take accountability?
And like, you know, like I had mentioned, some red flags for me was like the way Arbonne handled their investigation with the FTC. Like it was all like blamed on distributors at lower levels. And all they did was they came out with more loaded language. So like, instead of saying the word recruit, like we could no longer say recruit or sponsor. Now we had to say, enroll. It was all subterfuge. It was just to create like this smoke and mirrors. Like this sense of confusion that they were actually doing something but they were not.
And the same thing with Ray with the quarantine business blueprint. Like the way he handled questioning was so strange.
And, and I, I think that's important to look at people in positions of power and like how do they respond when they're being questioned, or like healthy discussions or disagreements or even like accusations. And i, I see it now.
Candice Schutter: And part of why you see it is sort of leads into where the story goes next in terms of you waking up to certain dynamics, beginning to see them and how you responded.
So take us to the place where these affiliations began to erode and dissolve.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: How that played out.
Jennifer Rajala: Okay. So I complete Tony Robbins Master University. I'm so proud. Like I said, I posted it on Facebook. And that was when that friend sent me the article. And, I was told by the people within Inner Circle coaching, you cannot promote that you are a Tony Robbins Mastery University graduate. Tony is one of Ray's biggest competitors. Which he's not, in Ray's delusional world, he might be.
But, um, they were like, you can use some of the things that you've learned. But you can't promote this. And I had some glimpses of like, also wanting to go off on my own, too. You know, like I think that any coaching therapy relationship, like you're like incubated in this space for a while. You're taken care of. And then you like fly from the nest, and that's kind of what I was thinking. I'm like, maybe I'll go off on my own.
I still had this idea that I was gonna be one of Ray's, like million dollar speakers though. But when they shamed me and made me feel like shit for investing that much money I did it so that I could be a better coach for them. Oh my God. It pissed me off. And like for the first time I let myself be like fucking angry.
Candice Schutter: Great. Yeah, that's a huge, huge turning point. Especially in these circles where anger is, there's anger phobia. Like anger is not something that the, the leader gets to be angry as much as, as the leader wants to be. But, but everyone else, like anger is like a low vibe emotion.
So to get to the point where you're just like, I can't anymore. And to feel that anger, that's a huge moment.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah. So I kind of took on this, this attitude from this point that like, I'm doing too much here. I'm trying so hard. I did still kind of blame myself, like I'm trying too hard. I'm a try hard. I'm like a, you know, and. I started to explore like my own beliefs of like overachievement and all of that stuff. Cuz again, it's still internalized to me that it is a me problem.
But then luckily, I could say that now, then he had his event coming up. Ray puts on an event called Rank Makers Live, which has since been rebranded to Faith Over Fear. Because now he's got this whole religious manipulation piece, and he's a prophet and all those things that I kind of touched on.
But my husband and I had plans to be out of town. And this was like four or five months prior to him even like, letting us know what our role would be as coaches for his event. And when he announced the dates, I said, you know, my husband and I are gonna be out of town for a wedding. I'm not gonna be able to be there this year.
And I was shamed and ridiculed in front of my peers. And like told like, everybody needs to show up. And like, you know, the mission of the group depends on. And, this is gonna be our biggest event ever. And like, I, I just felt really plucked out and everybody kind of knew they were talking about me.
And so I showed up anyway. And I, again, I missed out on things. Like with my family, because of the mission and the ideology of the group was more important. And, that made me feel sad. Cuz not only now I feel like a shitty coach, but I also feel like a shitty wife. And I feel like a shitty friend. Okay.
At this point, these emotions of anger and sadness that are starting to come out. I didn't realize like how the repression of those things was impacting my health until I needed to have dental surgery. Because I was so anxious, I was grinding my teeth. And my teeth were starting to space. Um, we, we talked about how we're gap sisters. Yeah. We both have a,
Candice Schutter: Yeah. We are gap sisters.
Jennifer Rajala: Um, but like, so I needed to have dental surgery. And because of like, a big reason I was told at least by the dentist, is like, it could be stress induced. And I started to realize like, oh my God, it is.
So I get my dental surgery prearranged. Now it's important again to point out that we are not paid hourly. We are not salaried employees. We are not even considered employees. We have no sick time. No health insurance. Nothing. Like we are proselytizing for the group and paid a pittance for our coaching sessions, especially in comparison to what Ray is selling them for.
So I had to move all of my calls. Like I moved all of my coaching clients. I worked overtime to be able to have a freaking surgery.
I set aside the day. It's in the calendar. I put the reason why I get the surgery. I come back home. I took two days off. The second day, I am like, I'm on pain medicine. I'm in pain. I can barely speak. I get a phone call from my boss who's like, Jennifer, we have a difficult client and we know that you're the only one who can save her. Because I was often given all the difficult clients.
Candice Schutter: And when they say save her, what do they mean?
Jennifer Rajala: They mean keep her enrolled. They don't wanna refund her. Yeah. So.
And they were like, you're the only one to do it. And and I explained, I'm like, listen, I can barely talk. I just had dental surgery.
And he was like, and, and this wasn't Ray. I will say that. This was not Ray himself. This was like someone who like our head coach or whatever. And they were like, well, you don't, you're not gonna have to talk much. You just really have to listen. She just needs someone to listen to her. And if you save her, there'll be a bonus in it for you.
So I talked to this woman for two hours. She was very difficult. And I am stressed. Like, you know, like I finally have a day off and I am in pain. And like, this is not how I wanted to spend it. And I still remember my husband was like, you're gonna take the call? I remember the look he gave me, like, oh my God. Um.
And I saved her. And then I was like, okay, like expecting, yay, I get that bonus that they promised me. And then it turned into, well if she continues out all the sessions she paid for and stays on for the next six months, we'll get you that bonus.
Again, I got so pissed. And I thought, I'm gonna go see what my friend Julie Anderson is doing on TikTok.
And I just binged her content. And I knew everything that she said was true.
And that was the moment where I'm like, oh my God, I'm in a cult.
She was talking about Steve Hassan's BITE model. And she was sharing all the information she was learning. I ordered all the books.
So Julie was someone who had left Ray's group. He basically exploited her labor too and sold a TikTok course that she created and didn't pay her any money for it.
 She was gaining a lot of popularity on TikTok. Ray was telling us to stay off of TikTok. And now in hindsight, I realize it's because the anti-MLM movement on TikTok is very prevalent. And so he didn't want people to be using TikTok. And in fact, a lot of people don't know this, but TikTok actually bans multi-level marketing in their community guidelines. So, technically, if you see something that is multi-level marketing, you can report it to TikTok's community guidelines. You know, if you go to report it, there's actually a dropdown menu and it says multi-level marketing. And
Candice Schutter: Wow.
Jennifer Rajala: I don't really know what is done because I've done it. And sometimes, you know, it pans out, sometimes it doesn't.
And so she was on TikTok and she was gaining a lot of popularity. And during the pandemic, TikTok really exploded. People were monetizing it. And anyone who's in these business groups and MLM knows that it's all about monetization. Like if, why are you wasting your time if you can't monetize it?
So once he realized like, oh wow, there is benefit to me getting on TikTok, he used her. He had her create a course and he sold it. And he did not give her anything for it. And he used her following. He exploited her.
And so she got mad. She started speaking out. And this was, this is just one small piece of the, the puzzle of course. But he did content about her when she was starting to speak out. And we were told like, she's misguided. She has lost herself. Like, don't go and look at her content. And I didn't. I stayed in communication with her though. Because I respected her. And she was actually a coaching client of mine. And I really, I didn't wanna completely cut ties with her.
But I was not in a space to consume her content yet. But she was somebody who I went to when I finally left.
 So this is in December of 2021. And I am like, I'm not gonna renew my ID with Arbonne. Even though I'd stepped back, I was still, like, I wasn't recruiting and I wasn't promoting, but I like, was still collecting money. Because I was sort of near the top ish of the pyramid. It was very much going down. But anyway, I don't wanna renew my Arbonne ID, but at this time my upline, the woman who brought me in, her husband tragically passes away. And I feel compelled to stick it out for her.
And so I stayed on for another couple months with Arbonne just to support her. And then those leaders exploited her trauma and her grief. And they started reaching out to my team and saying, you know, so-and-so is really in a hard place like with losing her husband. Could you just do a couple Arbonne events this month?
And that was the straw that finally broke the camels back with Arbonne. Cuz I was learning about the manipulation, emotional control. And I didn't renew with Arbonne.
Candice Schutter: Yeah.
Jennifer Rajala: But I was still questioning with Ray. And I was still grappling with this idea like, well, maybe I can do coaching differently. I really loved coaching.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. And, again, I wanna pause here cause I think this is a really key moment in this process that we all come to. Where our eyes open to things and we look around and maybe our eyes have been open to some things from the get-go that we've been justifying. But like more things are piling up.
As Janja Lalich talks about the shelf, right? That our doubts are getting pushed back into the back of our mind, onto the shelf. The shelf's getting heavier and heavier and heavier. And I think there's a certain like key moment where it's heavy enough that we're like, okay, I feel this cognitive dissonance. Like I either have to exit or I have to double down.
And our way of doubling down is saying, I can change this.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: I can be the exception. I can be the one who brings about a new way of doing things and it's like gonna impact. Cuz we're, we're taught in like these recruiting cultures that our influence is exponential and it's felt. And we think, oh, I don't need to leave and expose and call out the injustice. I need to stay here and change it from within.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah, exactly. You see this in MLM too, because I'll even have people on my anti MLM content who will be like, I totally understand. Like I was done with the MLM industry. But I finally found a company. My MLM is different. Or it'll be some sort of variation of like, you know, I really don't treat my team like that. It's so, I'm so sad that you had that experience. But I do it differently.
And, and this is why people just become serial MLMers, right? They just jump from company to company to company. Because that promise that it's gonna be different or that they can do it differently. They're gonna start fresh and do it differently.
Um, oh yeah.
Candice Schutter: And the sunk cost fallacy that you mentioned, too. How it's so connected to this. Cuz it's like, well, why would I step away and start from complete scratch with nothing, if I can, you know, all that I've invested, I can pour my desire to change the world internally.
I'm gonna change the world within this culture.
It's really a lot to step away when you've dumped so much your heart and soul and money into something like this. So it, it makes sense to me.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah. And financially I couldn't just up and leave.
Like again.
Candice Schutter: Right.
Jennifer Rajala: I have a family. And like a lot of people, you need to support yourself.
And so I'm like, well, if I lose my Arbonne income, like I have to at least stick out this Ray thing for a little while until I can figure something else out.
So I'm still questioning, consuming content, listening to podcasts, yours being one of them, and learning about cult behavior. And I read Ponzi Nomics by Robert Fitzpatrick, which debunks the whole multi-level marketing industry. It's amazing. I read Combatting Cult Mind Control, Freedom of Mind, started reading, Take Back Your Life.
And there was a meeting that happened in April of 2022 with Ray, where he really laid into us for not selling enough coaching packages and tickets to his upcoming event. And he gave some story about how he invested $10,000 in a mastermind with Grant Cardone, which I don't know if you've ever heard of him, but he's like a real estate coach.
But he invested all this money and went on this Bahamas retreat, and thank God he invested this $10,000 because, you know, it upleveled his life and all these coaches he invested in. And, if we aren't selling people these large programs, then we don't want to serve them at the highest level.
And I was like, oh, I got you. And I started recording him because I was like, I see it. Like you, once you see it, you can't unsee it.
 So that was in April. We had a monthly meeting with him and in the, the May meeting, my coach had left. So she left. She doesn't speak out, but she left for similar reasons. Other people had left now. And I'm just working on my escape plan. I actually ended up messaging Julie Anderson and told her like, thank you for your content. I'm working on my escape plan. She was kind of helping me.
And during a meeting in May, I told myself, I don't know if I'm gonna even put my camera on. I was usually like the coach that was like writing down everything Ray said. And like, if you want something done, I will do it.
And during this meeting I was just very aloof and I was just kind of fuming mad and I didn't wanna be there. And a colleague of mine had raised her hand. Because we would come to these meetings asking Ray questions, and then he would coach us and like, bestow this knowledge on us, you know how it is.
And she said, you know, I'm noticing that a lot of my clients are struggling with mental health issues. And this was another thing that helped me wake up is just like, I coached all these people, and everybody at MLM is struggling. Like 99% of people are struggling. I know that they're doing everything they need to do. But we were told like, it must be a mindset issue. They need this course and that course. And like, it was just all like pointing them to all these things that they did not need, but we had to sell it to them that they needed.
And so this, this colleague says, I have a client who's struggling with their mental health, and it seems like a little bit dangerous to just tell them it's an issue with their mindset or like, she sounded like she was like waking up, right?
And she's like, I don't wanna just tell them to put their head down and do the work anyway, because it doesn't seem to be helping. And Ray took it upon himself to say that this woman was addicted to her emotions. And we're all addicted to our emotions. And that they need to buy his new book, which was all about defying your emotions. Which is weird.
But I was like, he's just using it as a, as an opportunity to pitch his book.
And so I wanted to come to this person's aid. Because in my mind I thought she was questioning too, and I like wanted to show support for her.
Well, Ray must have seen like the look on my face, you know, or something. So he's like, Rajala that's how you pronounce my last name. He's like, Rajala, what's up with you? And just like, randomly calls me out in the meeting. And I'm like, nothing. What's up with you? And for the first time I did not fawn at him.
And he goes, huh? He like, does this giggle. And he goes, what an endearing tone. And that, Candice. It's like when a guy tells you you need to smile more.
Candice Schutter: Oh right. You know what it made me think of though, is the campfire. If they sit close enough to the campfire, something will spark.
Cuz my immediate thought was like, that lit. That just lit it. It was just like it lit your fire, right?
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah. That, that is a great way to think about it. That that allows me to take that saying back a little bit.
So I, I didn't fawn at him. And he was like, oh, that's such an endearing tone. And that just, yeah, I, I caught the spark, the volcano erupted at this moment.
Like, then I read all the books and I do all this healing and it's like, do not do this with a narcissist. It's like, I did. So anybody listening to this like, this is not like life advice. This is just what happened.
Okay. But I said, I think the advice you just gave was bullshit, for lack of a better word. You took it as an opportunity to promote your book. You're telling people that they are addicted to their emotions. And you expect us all to just believe everything you say and fawn at your feet and all these things.
And he didn't like that. And he switched. And all of this, if anyone is interested, this is actually all available on my Instagram, which you can link to. There's a highlight where I actually have the clips from the video showing him. So on my profile, like in a little stories highlight is all of this.
But there's this point, and this is prevalent in MLMs and it's prevalent in cult groups. This us versus them shunning. Okay.
And immediately he started to position me as a hater, like in the group in front of everybody. And he actually said the word hate like seven times. And he is like, well, if you hate it here so much and you hate what I'm doing, and you think I'm this hateful, evil guy and you hate our mission and you hate. And I'm trying to talk to him and I'm like, Ray, Ray, can you hear me? Ray, can you hear? And he's talking over me. And I finally just like stand my ground. And I go, Ray, can you hear me? And he goes, yes. And he just deflates.
And when I saw him deflate in that moment. Like, and I know not everybody gets this moment with the people who have exploited them or abused them or controlled them.
He lost his power to me. I'm like, this is all a facade. He is the most insecure person I have ever known.
And I had to get off the call, but I felt so many mixed emotions. Like I felt like I did the wrong thing. Then I felt really powerful. Then I felt, you know, sad. And I felt like, um, ostracized from the group. And like I had to get on a coaching call.
And I was then told later by some of my colleagues who have also left that he told everybody that, you know, I was a great example of like being addicted to feelings of resentment. And within 24 hours I was excommunicated from the groups. Um, was not allowed to say goodbye to my coaching clients. I did collect my last paycheck and was not compensated for things that I should have been compensated for. But I did collect a last paycheck.
And content was made about me. It continues to be made about me and Julie and some of the other people that have left. And he has since rebranded Rank Makers because so many of us are speaking out against it, into a faith-based, it's now called Faith Over Fear. And he came out in November of this last year claiming to be a prophet and him and his wife got baptized and have a direct connection to God. And now all of his retreats are religious in nature.
And I am honestly afraid of where this could lead. And I did take a, like a six month break from making videos on social media. But I, I, there's just so much to say. And I'm glad I got out. And I continue to speak out because I was deeply entrenched. And I also know that there are people that have loved ones deeply entrenched in MLM and in coaching and in business and self-help. And they may think that I'm never gonna get 'em out. But like I was all in. I, and there, I don't know. There, there is hope, like don't give up hope. And it's gonna have to happen on their terms and on their time.
But like, I, I'm so grateful. Like my husband never attacked me, never yelled at me, like always loved me where I was. And I think that was a huge piece too, of I don't need the support of this group. I have a loving family. I have an amazing marriage. I ha what am I, look, what am I seeking? I am enough. And. Like, it's just that, that, that loved one, like remind them of that as much as you can.
And I, I can't make any promises, but my hope is that they get out too.
Candice Schutter: Yeah, I love that you're ending on this note around what can we do if we are in relationship with folks who are involved in these wellness organizations. And we feel like they are all in. They are doubling down. And I think that metaphor that Janja shares in combination with what you're sharing is such an important piece of advice.
Like understand that even though outwardly it may seem like the doubts aren't piling up on the shelf, that those little things that, that they're learning. Like you had the experience of like, you knew about these resources, but you didn't explore them. And then all these little things started piling up. And then you were ready to actually start to plug into that material.
And that often what happens, and I see this a lot you know, holding space in a kind of a recovery group around the organization that I was in. It's like, people coming in and saying like, I'm communicating with this person who's still sort of in, even though they're kind of, of that head space of like, I'm just gonna be here but not be of that dysfunction.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: I can stay in and not be engaged in the dysfunction. Sort of that story we tell ourselves. And that it's not impacting us. Cuz it could be true that maybe we're not engaging, we're staying on the margins. But that it, this idea that it's not impacting us.
So they have in, you know, communication with folks who are on the fringe in that way. And then it seems that it penetrates. And then the next conversation, the person seems to have forgotten about everything that was said before. And they're right back in that proselytizing place. You know, they're right back in it and it's so confusing. So it's like, wait, what did they even hear?
But that's like what cognitive dissonance does. And I think really understanding that like it did penetrate what you shared, it's there somewhere. It's purposefully been tucked away in the back of the mind and compartmentalized so that they can sustain these relationships. And that at some point that shelf will likely come crashing down.
Jennifer Rajala: Absolutely.
Candice Schutter: And that what's important is that we're there. We're there in acceptance, every step of the way. Like that, we're there every step of the way. Like, I see you. I know you're worth. I'm not angry at you for being in an MLM. I'm not gonna punish you for being in an MLM. I am going to remind you of who you really are as much as I possibly can.
I just love that you're emphasizing that I think that's so key to this. Because of what you said, circling all the way back to how you started this conversation.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah.
Candice Schutter: Around this enoughness piece. We just need to know we're enough. And that's what this whole journey, you know, I was just listening to an episode of Cons Spirituality, and Julian and Matthew were talking about spiritual influencers.
They were speaking about the wellness world as like what the real product is, is the aspirational self.
Jennifer Rajala: Oh yeah.
Candice Schutter: the one that you'll never actually reach
Jennifer Rajala: That is always dangled in front of you. It's like this, you know, the best version of yourself is never the one right now.
The body, the spirit, the mind that you are living in right now is never the best version of you. It's always this one way out here. And yeah, it's.
And these leaders too, are master manipulators. Because when I left and, you know, my colleague who asked that question, who I thought was questioning as well, and I kind of thought I was coming to her aid. You know, when I left, they offered her like a head coach position, and then there was somebody else they put up on this pedestal. And they offered her like this course contract. And so there are things that just like, they can get their talons back in.
But I think what was, yeah, what was helpful for me that didn't have me get those talons back in was, yes, I had the standoff with Ray or whatever. But, luckily in that time there was no other like, opportunity presented to me. Like, thank God. Like there could have been.
Candice Schutter: Right.
So you couldn't hop from one cult to the next. Yeah. You didn't. Yeah, that's true.
Jennifer Rajala: I, I don't think I'm, I'm so above it to think that it could not have happened. I'm just thankful it didn't.
Candice Schutter: Yeah. Yeah.
Well, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to share about like, all these different threads, how they wove together. I have just so much respect and admiration for the way that you are showing up for yourself.
You know, just to really underscore sort of the message of the core of, of this conversation is really about you demonstrating what it looks like to show up for that deeper self. Not that aspirational self. Not the bullshit that we're being, the lines we're being fed about who we should be, but for who we are and what we really feel and what matters to us.
And I feel like that's what you're doing. That's what I feel come through when, you know, I watch you on Instagram and, and see you, showing up for, for others in the way that you always wanted to, just in a more authentic way. And also though, we, you know, we have to be careful not to get caught in that savior complex.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah. Oh yeah, for sure.
You've done some great episodes where you've touched on that savior complex for sure, and it's been helpful. Thank you.
Candice Schutter: It's like a whole other journey. So we're in that together. I just wanna say you're not alone in that. I have to like pull the reins back on that. Cuz it's, it's part of what got me into these situations in the first place, so yeah. Yeah.
So it's, it's always nice though to, to speak with other people and laugh about it and say like, you know, we're not alone. We're, we're all sort of struggling with these same things and growing in these ways and also just accepting ourselves ultimately.
Jennifer Rajala: Yeah. Yeah. That's an every day. Like that's been the biggest lesson. So thank you so much. Thank you.

Candice Schutter: A big wholehearted thank you to Jennifer for bringing her all to this conversation. I really learned a lot, and I hope you did too.
Check out the show notes for links to follow her and to access the many resources that were mentioned in this episode. And also, steer clear from shiny sales pages and maybe don't join an MLM if you can help it.
As I mentioned at the top of this episode, I'm taking another short production break. But I'll be back in a few weeks with a solo episode, maybe two, and some new and exciting guests. In the meantime, I'll be dropping content over on Patreon, including some pretty cool bonus episodes that feature friends and former Org colleagues.
Patreon contributions average $5 a month, and as I said before, they help to keep the main feed of this podcast ad free. If you're interested, head to patreon.com/thedeeperpulse.
And if you wanna send me a personal message over the break, head to thedeeperpulse.com/share.
Thank you so much for listening today, and I'll see you next time.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter