Fears in Network Marketing: How to Overcome the Most Common Fears

Today, I’d like to take some time to discuss the most common fears in network marketing. I’ll also share some practical tips to help you overcome your fears.

Everyone fears something. Even people who appear confident have things they fear. It’s normal. While fear might be NORMAL, the major difference between people who succeed and people who fail is people who succeed have the courage to face their fears. Courage is taking action in spite of your fears. Feel the fear and do it anyway!Fears in Network Marketing

What is Fear?

Here are two definitions I found of fear online:

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.


An unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.

If I was to put it in my own words, I would define fear as being scared of something, whether real or not. 

The Most Common Fears in Network Marketing

Based off my 18+ years in the industry, here are the five most common fears in network marketing, as I see it.

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. Fear of Rejection
  3. Fear of Success
  4. Fear of What Others Think
  5. Fear of Being Perceived as Pushy or Salesy

In the paragraphs below, I will define each fear and share a few tips to help you overcome it.

# 1: Fear of Failure

Many people worry they might get started with the business and lose money and fail. Perhaps they’ve tried a home-based business before, and failed, and don’t want it to happen again. They fear failing, because they don’t want to look bad. They don’t want to be viewed as a failure. This fear often paralyzes them, so they never even get started or give themselves a fair chance to succeed.

Here are some basic tips to help you overcome your fear of failure.

Define what failure really is. Hearing a no is not failure. Having a customer cancel their auto-ship is not failure. Learn the difference between an obstacle, setback, and failure. Everyone experiences obstacles and setbacks, but you’re only a failure if you quit.

Focus on your activity, not the results. You have no control over who joins, buys, or starts working the business. All you can control is the number of times you share the business or products with others. Focus on that and you can’t go wrong. Besides, if you do enough activity, the results will naturally follow.

Improve your skills and work on your personal development. Work on your mindset, attitude, and beliefs. Improve your skills. Try to figure out WHY you fear failure so much. Read books, listen to tapes, and attend events about success, mindset, and attitude.

Look at every failure as a learning experience. If you learn from an event, it is not a failure. It’s only failure if you quit (or keep repeating it). Let each setback be a learning experience, so you can find ways to improve.

Remember WHY you started. When times get tough, and they sometimes will, don’t forget why you started. Always keep your why in front of you. Visualize success and focus on WHERE you are HEADED, not where you currently are in the business.

Try new things. Experiment with different strategies and ways to grow your business until you find something you are comfortable doing.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

~ Michael Jordan

# 2: Fear of Rejection

The fear of rejection is when someone fears another person telling them NO. They fear others won’t accept or approve of what they are saying or doing.

Here are some simple tips to help you overcome your fear of rejection.

Expect a NO but hope for a yes. Even if you are a superstar recruiter, at least 70 to 80 percent of the people you talk with will NOT be interested in what you are offering them. Thinking everyone will tell you YES is crazy. You will hear five to ten times more NOs than YESs.

Make it okay for others to say no. Give others permission to tell you NO. This takes a lot of pressure off you and them. Say something like: “This might or might not be a good fit for you. Whatever you decide is fine with me.”

Think of yourself as a coach, not a salesperson. Adopt the mindset that you are a coach or consultant. Your job is to help people determine if what you are offering them is a good fit for them, rather than forcing or pressuring them to buy from you.

Focus on building relationships, not just making sales. Treat everyone you approach as you would your own best friend. Focus on building a relationship first, and if a sale comes from it, great. If not, you still have a new friend.

Calculate the value of a NO. If you earn $50 per sale and you normally close 1 out of every 10 people you talk with that means that each person you talk with is worth $5, whether they tell you YES or NO.

Don’t take it personal. Try not to take it personal when people tell you NO. Think of yourself as a waiter or waitress walking around a restaurant refilling everyone’s coffee cup. Some people will want a refill and others won’t. Yet, the waitress doesn’t have an emotional breakdown when someone says NO. Instead, she just moves to the next person.

You can’t control how people are going to react but you can choose how you deal with that reaction.

Source: Direct Selling CEO

inaction breeds fear

# 3: Fear of Success

The fear of success is when you intentionally or unintentionally self-sabotage yourself because you fear change. You fear that you will outgrow your friends or social status or become a better version of yourself.

Here are some tips to help you overcome the fear of success.

Enjoy the journey, rather than only focus on the destination. Success is a journey, not an event. Enjoy each step of the process. Enjoy your failures, obstacles, and setbacks, as well as your victories. They help mold you into the person you need to become to attract the success you desire. Focus on the future, cherish the past, and live in the moment.

Decide what success means to you. Success means something different to each one of us. Never compare yourself to someone else. They might have bigger goals than you. Decide what you want to achieve with your network marketing business and develop a game-plan to get there. Even if your goal is simply to earn enough commissions to cover the cost of your monthly auto-ship order, that’s great.

Create a list of “what could go wrong” and decide how you will overcome each obstacle. If you are naturally a worrier, take out a pen and paper and make a list of everything that “could” go wrong in your business and spend some time to think about what you can do to prevent it or resolve it.

Think about who you could become. What excites me the most my business is becoming a better version of myself. While I am happy with who I am today, I’m more excited about who I will become in the years that follow. You should feel the same way about yourself.

It takes serious self-reflection to understand why you keep shooting yourself in the foot in the first place. Taking the time to peel back the issues you seem to be inflicting on yourself can lead to a deeper awareness, as well as give you insights into yourself and your underlying motivations and desires.

The most successful people are those who take the time to think through their choices, decisions and actions. Successful people learn from what worked or failed to work. They then adjust their course of action by taking a different approach. Only through self-reflection will you gain the necessary insight, perspective and understanding to begin the process of change and transformation.

Source: Entrepreneur

# 4: Fear of What Others Think

Many people (normally those with low self-esteem or self-worthiness issues) fear what others will think about them and their profession. They fear being judged or ridiculed. They normally have this fear because they want to be liked by everyone.

Don’t try to please everyone. No matter what you say or do, you will never please everyone. Accept it. Whenever you step out of your comfort zone and try something new or different, you will have critics.

If they don’t sleep in bed with you or pay your bills, stop worrying about what they think. I had a mentor give me this advice. It helped me a lot. Why take advice from people who aren’t trying to help you succeed or help you improve?

Realize most people are not thinking about you anyway, they’re thinking about themselves. Even if you think people are thinking about you, accept that they aren’t. Most people are so absorbed by their own problems and goals, they spend very little time thinking of you.

Don’t take it personal. Opinions are like butts. Everyone has one. Some people are jerks. Some people don’t want you to succeed. Accept it.

Acceptance from others is a strong desire that many people have, and it can cause us to question the things we do by wondering what other people are thinking: about us, about our businesses, our plans, and our goals. I know this can cause many of my coaching clients to put off making decisions or taking actions.

The reality is that most people are too busy worrying about their own problems to be scrutinizing what others are doing.

Second, who cares? We have enough of our own negative thoughts to deal with without adding other people’s potential negativity to our list of obstacles to overcome.

Keep focused on your goal, and don’t worry about the thoughts of others. The right people will be supportive of you, and those who aren’t shouldn’t be the people you pay attention to.

Source: Chron

# 5: Fear of Being Perceived as Pushy or Salesy

To some people, selling has a bad reputation. They think of sales as high pressure or pushy, normally because of an experience they previously had. They don’t want to come across this way to their prospects.

Here are some simple tips to help you overcome the fear of being perceived as pushy or salesy.

Don’t use pressure or hype. This should be simple advice. Be nice to everyone you talk with. You never need to hard-sell or pressure anyone, but you do need to always ask for the sale.

Do more listening than talking. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. You can’t learn anything by talking, but you can learn a lot by listening.

Ask questions and identify a problem BEFORE offering a solution. This is practical advice. Ask questions and identify a pain point or problem, before you talk about your products or business opportunity. That way you can position what you are offering as a solution to their problem.

Be a professional. Always act like a professional. Learn everything you can about your industry and company. Treat people with respect. Don’t lie. Be nice to people.

How to overcome fear of being pushy requires you to dig deep. We think of sales as something manipulative or sleazy because we often think it’s coming from a place of dishonesty. While there are certainly unscrupulous people trying to make a quick buck, the fact that this makes you feel bad means that you aren’t likely to be one of those people.

Instead of focusing on making the sale, revisit what makes you passionate about your business. What do you like best about the products or services you offer? The more passionate you are about these things, the better.

Source: envatotuts+

henry ford fear quote

Action Cures Fear in Network Marketing

I learned in the Army that it’s okay to be scared. Everyone fears something. It’s how you REACT to those fears that matters most. The key to success is to not let your fears control you. Rather than have your fears control your actions, let your actions control your fears. 

The only way to cure your fear in your network marketing business is to take massive action. Take one step at a time. Do something small to grow your business today. Step out of your comfort zone and do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Talk to a stranger. Call a lead. Just do something. And then take another step. As you keep taking steps, day after day, something funny will happen. Your fears will eventually disappear. What was once uncomfortable for you will now be FUN to do (or at least tolerable)!

  1. You will look forward to sharing your business opportunity with prospects.
  2. You will enjoy introducing yourself to the sharp looking prospect because you are confident in yourself and what you have to offer.
  3. You will put a smile on your face as you do a group presentation because you know it moves your business forward.
  4. You will have confidence in yourself, your products, and your business opportunity.
  5. You will feel worthy and deserving of success.

Remember, it’s okay to be scared. But don’t let your fears control you. If you want to overcome your fears in network marketing (or in life) you must do something about it. That is the only way to cure your fears.

The more you do something the more comfortable you will get with it. If there is something holding you back in your network marketing business (fear) make it a point to take baby steps so you can get through it.

Must Read Books

There is a famous, best-selling book titled The Magic of Thinking Big. I believe it was written in the 1950s. This is the one book that really helped me overcome my fears and self-limiting beliefs in life. It is written by Dr. David Schwartz.

The thesis of the book is that most people underestimate themselves. Most people sell themselves short and think WAY too small. To succeed in life, you need to think BIG. If you struggle with fears of ANY kind, I suggest you study the material in this book.

The second book that helped me overcome my fears is How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger. Every sales rep, network marketer and entrepreneur should read this book and study it.

These two books helped me immensely. I know they can help you too.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are my thoughts on the most common fears in network marketing and what to do about it.

Everyone has fears. It’s normal. Courage is doing what needs to be done, even if you are scared. Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you want to succeed with your network marketing business that’s what you need to do.

What are your thoughts about fears in network marketing? Do you agree or disagree with what I said? What are your fears? What holds you back? And what do you do to overcome your fears in network marketing? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

Recommended Reading
  1. The MLM Mindset: How Top Earners Think
  2. Must Read MLM Books
  3. My System for Building My MLM Business
  4. 10 Reasons to Join LiveGood
  5. Learn More About Me
chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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27 thoughts on “Fears in Network Marketing: How to Overcome the Most Common Fears”

  1. It’s scary to start a new business and have the risk of failure. It’s scary to talk to prospects about your products or business and get rejected. I can see why a lot of people drop out or don’t really get started at all.

    1. Yes, I can see how some people would think it’s scary to start a new business or get rejected. After all, we’ve been taught to be employees our entire lives. We’ve been taught to play it safe. Personally, I think it’s exciting: the unknown. Sadly, most people are not willing to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. Those that do often find greener pastures.

  2. Fear is common and unavoidable not only in a business scenario but also in a personal capacity.
    What you’ve got here are pure nuggets of gold. Not only did you help me analyze my situation, but you also helped me overcome my fears.
    Thanks for sending the elevator back to people like me who are in need of a lift up.

  3. Everyone has some fears before starting a new business or a venture. Putting your foot into the field of network marketing without any experience can be scary and intimidating. Your article accurately defines all the fears one might face in network marketing and provides practical approach in overcoming those fears as well.
    The thing which I fear the most is ‘the fear of failure’. I tend to get demotivated whenever I face any sort of failure but the ways which you suggested sound really helpful and effective in overcoming that particular fear. I’ll definitely keep these points in my mind. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. While it might be scary for some people to join network marketing, at least it is inexpensive. Starting a traditional business is really expensive. In fact, that’s what holds a lot of people back who want to start a business: they can’t afford it. MLM gives people the chance. Some people still let their fears paralyze them while others jump on the opportunity of a low-cost start-up.

  4. Overcoming fears is vital to achieve your goals and dreams in life. I think that fear is essentially to overthink of what is going to happen if you do or don’t do something.

    “Fear of Failure” this fear is responsible for “killing” a lot of successful businesses. It is very interesting that you advise us to first define what failure is, because we might have a misconception of failure.

    “Fear of Success” is a big network marketing fear too. When things are going extremely well, we have all heard that voice of self-sabotage and start doubting everything that we have accomplished. It is really crucial to just enjoy the journey and to think who you could become if you continue this path.

    1. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success, everyone has something they battle with. The key is awareness and mitigating your fears as much as possible. I’ve found that when I get into “action” mode I don’t have time to think about my fears.

  5. Thanks for the book suggestions. I’ll take a look at them.
    I stopped worrying about others, and since then, my life has been great. I usually preach about not giving a damn when someone who’s not entitled to give advice/ideas do it.

    But there’s something I learned from your blog, point #5. I run a clothing line, so I always think that people might find me sales-y when I try to sell my products. But your explanation made it clear that I could do it subtly without making it look sales-y.

    Another important point was fear of failure, and I think it’s something that we all should overcome—thanks for explaining it step-by-step. To be honest, my fear of trying MLM is fading little by little 🙂

    1. The truth is, everyone is a salesperson. We all sell our ideas and thoughts to others, every single day of our lives. We try to convince our boss and co-workers of our thoughts. We try to influence our spouse and children. You get the picture.

      I’ve also found that people who fear being salesy rarely ever use pressure or hype. They actually do it the right way, by being honest and sincere.

  6. I already follow some of the tips mentioned in this article and find them advantageous. The other tips which I did not know before make sense to me, so I am ready to follow them in my professional life.
    I never expect anyone to do or think good about me, including my parents. I believe they are bound to divide everything between me and my brothers even the love from parents. The less I expect the more I get satisfied.

  7. In every endeavor that we choose to partake ourselves with, risks, uncertainties and worries along the way is inevitable. However, how we see things determines how we would respond to these challenges. As their are a lot of risks and fears in entrepreneurship, particularly network marketing, our mindset along with our vision will say a lot on how we would manage these fears. Reading this article motivated me to encapsulate my fears and be confident in every step of the day. Grateful for this article.

    1. Everything in life comes with a level of risk: walking across the street, getting married, having kids, picking a certain employer, etc.

      It’s how we deal with these risks and fears that ultimately matters most. It’s okay to have fear, just don’t let it paralyze you. Try and minimize your risks by doing your due diligence first.

      And remember, the greater the risk the greater the reward.

  8. I like the thought of “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. It means that we should know our fears but still try to overcome it and own it. Lots of us have a fear of failure. If you invest into something it’s natural that you would want to see that investment come through. But unfortunately its also natural to fear that you would lose it all. That fear makes up not just to somebody who tries to start the business but also to potential customers who would like to invest into our business. It is in human nature not to take too much risks. But, yes, we should maybe overcome that and when we have some business idea we should have to at least try to come through with it.

    1. Fear is natural. It’s normal. Everyone has them. Some people let those fears paralyze them and others feel the fear and do it anyway. I like to ask myself “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I do this?” In most cases, it isn’t that bad. I’ve also found that when I face my fears, 99% of them go away. That’s because they really weren’t as big of a deal as I thought they would be. So many people miss out on great opportunities because they let fear control them. It’s sad, but normal.

  9. The fears of failure and rejection are both personal friends of mine. In fact, they used to be part of a toxic relationship that I had going on with myself.

    Recently, I’ve been working to address both of these issues, which is what lead me to this fantastic article. It’s nice to know that, despite it often feeling like I’m the only one who worries about failing, there are people all over the world struggling with the same fear.

    In the grand scheme of things, what do we have to be afraid of? If we fail, we can simply try again. That being said, this article has given me the push I needed to finish conquering my fears — those within the MLM business and in other areas of my life.

    Huge thanks!

  10. I have another quote to add to the one by Michael Jordan you posted, by great Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I used to be one of those people who was afraid of failure, rejection.. so this one hits too close to home! I wish I had stumbled upon this article when I needed it the most. This is a very thoughtful guide to all of those currently dealing with fear. There’s not much I could say that you didn’t already mention. Since MLM involves many people with whom you must deal and interact, understanding not to take it personally and that it’s just a business should be your go-to thought. We’re all in this for various reasons, but with the same goal. One should find people who share the same goals and work together towards something more, because a good team is greater than the sum of its parts.

    1. Wayne Gretzky is spot on with that advice. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Most of the time, our fears really are false evidence appearing real. Once we take on the thing that we fear, our fears normally fade away quickly. I love seeing people face their fears and step out of their comfort zone. In no time flat, they can transform to a completely different person: someone who is confident and going somewhere in life.

  11. uuuuuhhhhhhh this one is a doozy!

    One of the most important things is to become process-oriented. Our brain loves time traveling, and it usually comes up with the most horrendous possible scenario. Getting focus on the task at hand with a high disregard for the final outcome is definitely a superpower.

    And one of the least discussed topics, is our fear of success.

    We all experience things in our childhood, that as a child you perceive as traumatic. They create a sense of unworthiness that can cripple you for the rest of your life if you don’t give it proper attention.

    1. The fear of success is the one I have struggle to comprehend. I cannot understand WHY someone would not want to be successful, grow, and reach their potential. However, this is more common than most people think. Many times people will self sabotage themselves, even subconsciously to prevent them from being successful. Personal development is the only way I know that will help someone overcome this fear.

  12. I thought I was the only one experiencing these fears. Failure and rejections are the top fears as I find it difficult to hear ‘no.’ You have given good tips about dealing with rejection and failure. Trying new things, learning from experience, and focusing on the business are important. Defining failure is the right way to deal with these fears. You have clearly explained the fear of success, and I suffer from fear of change sometimes. All these tips are really helpful to perform better. Your article has created confidence in me, and I will not take fear personally as other people face it.

  13. Fear of rejection is one of my number one fears when it comes to new ideas and new business models. Your tips for how to approach this fear are great and will help me in approaching new customers and expanding my business. Thinking of myself as a coach instead of a salesperson is the best piece of advice in this article. Taking the pressure off of trying to sell product and just trying to make connections with others is a wonderful way to expand a business and make contacts. In the future I will not take it personally when someone tells me no to my business or product.

    1. Many years ago, I had an elderly gentleman teach me a valuable lesson. He said to me, “if you are a man and you go to a night club or dance hall and want to dance, all you need to do is ask lots of women to dance. Some will tell you yes, others will say no, but because you asked a lot of women to dance, you’ll be dancing all night.”

      This is a good mindset to have when approaching prospects about your products or business. Of course, it also helps to focus on your “best qualified” prospects and “improve your skills and approach” so you can limit that rejection as much as possible. But, you can make up in numbers what you lack in skill.

  14. I read the book “The Magic of Thinking Big” because you recommended it about a year ago. Great book, and even though it was written at least 60 years ago it still resonates today. I think my biggest fear is “Fear of being perceived as pushy or salesy”. With my last MLM I was in I lost a lot of friends. People just started disappearing after I approached them. So that is still something that has stuck with me now that I am with my current company. I don’t approach certain people in my life because I am concerned they will ghost me too.

    1. The good news is there are more than 7.5 billion people in the world. You don’t have to approach your friends and family. In many cases, they will be your biggest haters and critics. I’m not sure why, but it’s quite normal. The whole fear of being salesy. I wouldn’t worry about that. Sales is a respected profession, especially if you take the time to develop and master your skills.

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