Failing Your Way to Success in MLM and Network Marketing

People are funny.  So many folks expect that they can just join our industry and achieve success overnight with very little effort.  They think they can get in, sign up a few of their friends, sit back and watch the bonus checks just start to roll in.  They think of this business as their “meal ticket” to quick riches.  Other than the gambling industry, we might just be the only industry in the world where people have this mentality.

In any other business venture, entrepreneurs know that building a successful business takes an incredible commitment, sacrifice, time, money, and tons of hard work.  Most entrepreneurs understand that success is the end goal, but that they will have to go through many temporary failures to get there!  Most entrepreneurs don’t expect to make ANY profit their first year or two in business, yet they build it anyway.

The truth is success is never fast, free or easy. Nothing in life ever goes exactly as planned.  Success is never a straight line.  Instead, it is a series of zigs and zags.  You take three steps forward, two steps back.  You get your ass whipped.  You get knocked down, but you have to get back up and dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.

You can’t succeed your way to success.  Instead, you have to fail your way to success.  I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I learned it from John Maxwell in his book “Failing Forward.” If you haven’t checked out that book yet you should.

Here are some examples of how you will fail your way to success in network marketing:

  1. Many of your friends and family will ridicule you
  2. People will “no show” you
  3. People who say they will join often won’t
  4. People will join and then disappear into the Witness Protection Program within 24 hours or less
  5. The people you think will crush it will normally do nothing
  6. Your team will grow and die, grow and die, grow and die, several times before you find your key leaders and build your dynasty
  7. People will order one time and stop
  8. Many of your best people will tell you NO at least five to ten times before they ever join your team
  9. You will have to stretch out of your comfort zone and do things you aren’t comfortable doing
  10. Your volume will go up one month, down the next
  11. People will talk a big game, but do nothing
  12. You will deal with rejection on a daily basis

These are just a few examples of how you fail your way to success in network marketing.

You have to be mentally tough in this business because things will never go exactly as planned.  If you aren’t mentally tough you will be an emotional rollercoaster and you probably won’t last long in the business.

To succeed in our industry you need a big why and a powerful vision, all combined with mental toughness.


You have to know upfront that this will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life, but also the most rewarding.  You have to know upfront that you will face ups and downs.  You have to know upfront that dealing with other people can be the most challenging thing that you do.

You have to know upfront that it will probably take you twice as long to hit your goals as you think it will.  You have to know that disappointment is part of success and learning how to deal with this disappointment is vital.

You have to know that your comfort zone is your own worst enemy.  You have to know that people will lie to you, disappoint you, and let you down.  You have to know that you will experience hundreds of different emotions each day.

You have to learn the difference between failing and quitting.  You need to embrace temporary failure rather than run from it. You need to know that the best way to learn something is to go out and actually do it.

I could go on and one here, but I think you are starting to get the point.  The bottom line is that you must FAIL your way to success in our great industryYou must put in the work, master your emotions, handle the disappointment and stay the course UNTIL you become successful.  Your business will never go exactly as planned, but if you put in the work, learn from your mistakes, and stay the course, you will eventually succeed.

What do you think about achieving success in network marketing?  Do you think you succeed your way to success or fail your way to success?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Chuck Holmes is an author, blogger and network marketer. He is a top producer in his network marketing company. He is happily married and lives in Florida with his beautiful wife, Rachel.

6 thoughts on “Failing Your Way to Success in MLM and Network Marketing

  1. I agree. You’ll fail so many times on your way to success. But you have to pick yourself up, and dust yourself off and keep going forward.

    You have to learn from your mistakes and try to achieve a better result the second time around. And fear of failure shouldn’t stop you from taking action.

    The mantra to bear in mind is to “fail fast”. The faster you take action, the faster you’ll fail, and consequently the faster you’ll achieve success.

    • Get up one more time than you are knocked down and you will be successful.

  2. Love how you list out those common failures. Gives a more realistic picture of what the first few years in MLM really looks like. I, and likely everyone else in the industry, has dealt with each of these at some point and they are all disappointing and frustrating. However, if we can look at these instances in terms of how we can learn and grow as opposed to taking them personally and harping on them, we will have a much stronger and better business because of it.

    • These failures are quite relevant in any business.

      • Amen to that Chuck!

        It is just that so many who come into network marketing have the idea it is a sure win slot machine, and when it doesn’t pay off immediately, they move to the next slot machine. It takes time and patience. I think of my own situation right now; I am not doing great in the business, but I am using the products, talking with people and striving forward. I understand it may take years, and I may not ever do great at it, but that is ok, because I love the products and that is what matters. They are items I would normally buy at a store, so I get them in the mail.

        I do believe that as I share these items with others, in time they will say yes and join. The failures will come, but as they do, I learn and success will come in the end.

        • You never succeed your way to success. Instead you fail your way to success.

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