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.  

estimated timeline for mlm successPlease 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. 

I should preface by telling you that ALL businesses (in every industry) take time to get up and running, working smoothly, and making a profit. A business in not the lottery. I can’t think of ANY business that is designed to provide the owner an IMMEDIATE income.

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

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 in this post 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.

This advice is for someone who will work hard growing their network marketing business every day, for at least 2-hours per day, and wants to create a full-time income from our industry.

Assuming you are working on your network marketing business for 1-2 hours per day, five days per week, exclusively on the money producing activities, here’s an estimated timeline for MLM success.

One Year to Get Profitable

Very few businesses that I know of are profitable in their first year. With the different types of businesses I’ve ever owned, most took me at least one year just to get profitable, and normally a little bit longer than that.

most new businessesI might have earned decent revenue before that one year mark, but it typically wasn’t more than my business expenses.

You have to realize that it takes time to build a strong foundation for any business. It will take longer than you think to get your business profitable.

Expecting to be profitable in your first month in business is a bit unrealistic, UNLESS you already have developed the right skills and mindset (previous experience in sales, marketing, business or MLM).

Most people don’t want to hear that, but, it’s the truth.

You see, most people have the mindset of trading hours for dollars.

Work an hour, get paid for that hour. Repeat.That’s the employee mindset and it won’t get you very far in the business world. You have to learn how to think like an entrepreneur, if you want to build a successful business of any kind.

As a business owner (or network marketer), you only get paid for the results that you produce. You can work 10 hours, but if you don’t produce sales during those 10 hours you will not earn a penny. Remember, entrepreneurs get paid based upon their PRODUCTION, not how many hours they worked.

In the beginning of your business you will get paid VERY little for the work that you do. You might end up making less than minimum wage your first year or two in a new business.

However, if you do things right, and get your business established, later on you will be paid much more more than the hours you work.

When it comes to getting profitable, you might do it quicker, or it might take you longer. Individual results always vary.

You can be profitable your first month in your network marketing business IF you go out and acquire a few customers and sponsor a few people right away.

In most companies, you only need to have a few customers to cover the cost of your auto-ship, so it is possible to be profitable in your first month. It’s just not normal, since most people don’t have the skills or do the work.

As a final note, we are one of the only industries in the world where you CAN be profitable your first month in business. Most franchises and traditional business owners don’t have that luxury, because they have huge start-up costs.

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.

new businessIf 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 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 in two to three years.

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 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!

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 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 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 the compensation plan in a few months, you’re not getting the full story.

rome wasn't built in a dayIn most cases (99 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 10 or more 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 (averaging 2 to 5 new personal reps each month)
  • They make most of their income from one to three groups of people

I think we can all learn some valuable lessons from this.

Studying People Who Don’t Achieve Success

Our industry has a huge failure rate (people who don’t make any money). I don’t deny that.

But, if you study the people who failed (or quit) you will quickly discover that they did not stay persistent or consistent with their business. In other words, they didn’t consistently prospect, show presentations, get customers, follow-up or train their team for any duration of time.

In most cases, they quit within 90-days, or switched from company to company several times a year. Doing that is a quick way to fail.

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 1 or 2 people a day, approach 20 to 50 people per day. You can compress your results by compressing your activity.

Final Thoughts

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.

Please Share Our Content If You Enjoyed It:

18 thoughts on “Estimated Timeline for MLM Success

  1. 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.

    • Yes, it takes time to achieve success in any business.

  2. 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.

    • I think retailing is a very important part of the business that usually gets neglected. Everyone could benefit by having just 10-20 retail customers.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  4. 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.

    • Good point. It does take time to become successful in anything, normally a lot longer than we anticipated.

  5. 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.


  6. 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.

    • 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.


  7. 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.

    • Yeah, there is no such thing as get rich quick. No business is fast or easy money.

  8. 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.


    • 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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.