Estimated Timeline for MLM Success

Today, I’d like to share what I consider to be an estimated timeline for MLM success with a traditional network marketing company.  

Please note that this is just my opinion, from my personal experience in the network marketing industry, and from what I’ve seen others do. You might disagree with what I think and that’s okay. As a legal disclaimer, individual results will always vary. 

Estimated Timeline for MLM Success

You can ask any entrepreneur in any endeavor and you will quickly discover that most business owners don’t expect to make a profit during their first two to five YEARS in business, and sometimes even longer than that. 

estimated timeline for mlm success

Yet, people join our industry and complain because they aren’t rich by their third month in the business, even if they did NOTHING to build their business. I just don’t get it.

The advice I am going to share with you in this article is for the serious, committed network marketer. It’s not for the person who just wants to make a few hundred dollars per month in their business. It’s not for someone who is “dabbling” with their business.

This advice is for someone who will work hard growing their business five to six days per week, for at least two hours per day, and wants to create a full-time income from our industry.

If you’re willing to do that, here’s an estimated timeline for MLM success.

One Year to Get Profitable

Very few businesses I know of are profitable in their first year. With the different types of businesses I’ve ever owned, ALL of them took me at least one year to earn a profit. Some took even longer than that.

I might have earned revenue during the first year in business, but it typically wasn’t more than my business expenses.

Normally, when you start a new business, you do not have the skills, credibility, exposure, contacts, customer base, capital or market share to succeed right out the gate. You have not built your reputation yet. Very few people know about your company or what it offers.

The beauty of network marketing is that you CAN be profitable starting from month one. With the low cost of entry and small monthly overhead expenses (normally less than $100-$200 per month) it doesn’t take much sales to be profitable. But just because you CAN be profitable right out the gate, it doesn’t mean you will.

With most businesses, this is not even an option. Why? Because you have to invest substantial money (tens of thousands of dollars or more) just to cover your start-up and ongoing costs.

My best advice is this: Think of your first year in network marketing as MLM School. This is where you will learn the ropes, improve your skills, change your attitude and mindset, and learn the tricks of the trade. Be patient and give yourself a chance to succeed.

If you make money during your first year, great. If not, don’t fret. Keep learning, keep growing and keep working on your skills. If you can do that, things will sort themselves out. You have to give yourself a chance to succeed. If you aren’t willing to commit at least 12-24 months, there’s no reason to even get started.

most new businesses

Two to Three to Years to Earn $20k to $50k per Year

Once again, most people I’ve met in the network marketing industry who achieved success took two to three years to earn a $20k to $50k annual income (net profit). Sure, a select few do it quicker than that, but most don’t.

If you are expecting to replace your job income your first few months in the MLM industry, you are kidding yourself. Think about it this way for a minute. You work full-time in your job, and chances are, you’ve been in the job market many years.

Why would you expect to start a new business, working part-time, and make more in your new business than you do in your full-time job? It’s ludicrous to think that’s even possible.

Assuming you work your business part-time, consistently each week, week in and week out, you should hit this income goal within two to three years.

new business

I want you to think about that for a moment. This is an additional, residual income from a part-time effort. Plus you have the tax advantages to minimize your taxable income.

I think an extra $2,000 to $4,000 per month part-time income would be completely life changing for most people. What do you think?

Five to Six Years to Be a Six Figure Income Earner ($100k per Year)

Most top earners I’ve studied take five or more years to make a substantial six figure income in the industry. That normally means five years with the same company.

Once again, this is for a part-time effort. As I see it, that’s a great deal.

When you first join your business, five years sounds like a very long time. But the truth is, the time will go by anyway, whether you build your business or not. You can have your job income the entire time, with this extra money coming in on the side!

Seven to Ten Years to Be a World Class Earner (Mid Six Figures)

There is lots of money to be made in our industry. Plenty of people earn high six and even seven figure incomes with their MLM Company. Some people earn that much each month!

To become a world-class earner, you really have to be committed to your company for a long period of time. You have to take massive action and stay persistent and consistent for many YEARS. It will require a big sacrifice, but the payoff is huge.

Most of the people I have studied have been with their company about five to ten years to get to this level. Considering most of that time was part-time, this is a pretty amazing feat.

Something to Think About

When you hear stories about someone who joins a company and makes it to the top of their new company’s compensation plan in a few months, you’re not getting the full story.

In most cases (95 out of 100 at least) that person is simply switching from one MLM Company to another MLM Company and bringing their team with them. Once in a great while a true newbie will come in and take a company by storm, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Study the top earners from just about any company and here’s what you’ll quickly discover:

  • They’ve been with the same company at least five to ten years
  • It took them a year or two (or longer) of struggling and figuring things out before they started making ANY money
  • They stayed consistent with their business no matter what
  • They took daily action, but stayed with the long-term approach to growing a business
  • They sponsored 100 to 500 people personally during their career (averaging 2 to 5 new personal reps each month)
  • They make most of their income from one to three of those people

I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from these trends. Knowing this upfront is more than half the battle.

Studying People Who Don’t Achieve MLM Success

If you want to be successful, look at the masses and do the opposite. Look at what most people in our industry do (which isn’t much) and do the opposite of what they do.

Instead of treating this like a little rinky dink hobby, treat it like a business you have ONE MILLION DOLLARS invested in. Come up with a solid marketing plan and daily mode of operations. Invest in your business education and focus on improving your skills. Find a mentor and follow their lead. Instead of talking with one prospect per day, talk to 30 prospects per day.

Instead of acting like an amateur, act like a professional. Amateurs earning nothing, yet professionals get paid.

rome wasn't built in a day

How Can You Achieve Success Quicker?

If you want to build your network marketing business quicker than the estimated timeline for success I shared with you, there is a secret.

It all boils down to how many exposures you make per day, and how quickly you make them. After all, this business is a numbers game.

The person who shares the products and business opportunity with the most amount of people, in the least mount of time, is the person who will win.

You can multiply your success rate by multiplying your efforts. I don’t mean working harder or working longer either. What I mean is INCREASING YOUR EXPOSURES.

Instead of approaching one or two people a day, approach 20 to 50 people per day. You can compress your results by compressing your activity.

Final Thoughts

In review, this the estimated timeline for MLM Success, as I see it.

The bottom line is that good things take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Building a successful and profitable business of any kind takes time, money, patience, hard work and vision.

This is not the lottery where you can sign your name to the distributor agreement and just expect the money to pour in. Nothing worth accomplishing in life is fast, free or easy. Having realistic expectations and knowing what to expect is more than half the battle.

On a side note, if you’ve received any type of success in the network marketing industry, I would love to hear from you. Please tell us your estimated timeline for MLM Success. Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Disclaimer: Individual results will vary. I cannot guarantee you will make a large income in the industry. Some people make nothing in our industry and others earn substantial incomes.

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19 thoughts on “Estimated Timeline for MLM Success”

  1. Shush, Chuck. You are gonna scare everyone off from MLM…Awesome article. I love your truisms, always telling us what we NEED to hear vs what we WANT to hear.

  2. So many people ask this/these questions and I have never seen a more logical breakdown before. I love how you stem it with years and it is realistic. No one is going to be making 6 figs in only a few months time. That is unheard of, maybe this was the case 15 years ago when no everyone knew about MLM but not anymore.

  3. One thing you mentioned should be taken more serious by network marketers. Get out and get some retail customers immediately. This will help you realize some income and will help your attitude. If you see some small profits coming in, you will have something more to shoot for. I recommend that you start by just working at getting some customers of the products or services you have. Others will tell you to go for distributors, but by shooting for customers first, you will see immediate results.

  4. This was a great post Chuck. So many times I find network marketers trying to throw BS to people they are prospecting. Anyone that has any slight business sense knows that profits normally do not come for at least 1 year. Being honest with prospects is a better system because they will be prepared for it. When you tell a person they can make fast profits, they will “jump ship” when they don’t. Good post that everyone should see.

    1. Potentially, you COULD make fast profits, but it’s highly unlikely. Businesses take time to nurture and build. Giving your prospect realistic expectations is very important.

      1. If a person starts with the understanding that it will take hard work and ample time to actually profit, they will be more prepared. If it is explained as you often do….It is a business, just not with the initial high costs. Most traditional businesses don’t show profits for approximately 1 year. Network marketers should brace for similar figures.

        1. All businesses take time to get up and running. MLM is no different. The major difference is most people who get involved in MLM do not have a business mindset. Or, they are promised that it is quick and easy money.

  5. There is no set timeline for success in MLM or any business. Everyone is different. For most people, it will take a few years to build a big business. It takes lots of hard work. It took me two years to get to $1k per month and four years to get to $5k per month. Once you pay your dues and learn from your mistakes, it does get much easier.

  6. I’ve owned a couple businesses myself and the shortest amount of time it took me to build a profitable business was two years, Chuck. So I don’t think your estimated timeline for success is too far off. The truth is, good things take time. And most people don’t have the patience to press on. It’s so much easier to quit and do something else than it is to keep moving forward with your original idea.


  7. Like so many other things, the key to MLM success is persistence. If everyone gave up on something the first time they failed, or immediately after getting bad results on one occasion, nothing would get done. Do you want to stand out from the slew of failures in the MLM marketing world? All you need do is maintain.

    1. Like anything in life, good things take time. I believe my estimated timeline for MLM Success is quite relevant to every other industry, too. I’ve owned businesses in many different fields and they all took me a while (several years) to build up a nice income.


  8. Diamond Grant

    I think that many people who start a business have an end goal of making a substantial amount of income. While it may not be the only goal or the primary goal, it is a goal that a lot of people have. I find that the timeline you have given is pretty accurate in terms of how long it takes to accumulate a certain level of financial earning based upon the effort put in. So many people want to get rich quick and when they don’t they have a tendency to give up and move on to their next idea. The thing is that often times when you stick with a good quality business idea, the return will be rewarding in the long run.

  9. I think it’s hard to give an estimated timeline for MLM Success because everyone is different. Everyone has different backgrounds and experiences. However, most folks do take a few years of consistent work to build any type of serious income. I appreciate you sharing these tips, Chuck.


    1. You’re right, Maurice. It is hard to generalize. But these are the “ball park” numbers I’ve arrived at based upon all the successful people I studied.


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