Having Realistic Expectations in Network Marketing

Today, I want educate you about having realistic expectations in network marketing.

I truly believe the # 1 reason people quit our industry is because they have unrealistic expectations about what it takes to succeed. Most of this comes from a combination of the employee mindset, ignorance, and/or being misled by their sponsor.

What I want to do in this article is share my best tips on having realistic expectations in network marketing, so you can at least give yourself a fair chance to succeed. These are things I have learned the hard way during the past 18+ years in the industry. I wish I knew many of these things when I first joined the industry. It would have saved me a lot of time, energy and money. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t repeat them.Having Realistic Expectations in Network Marketing

Having Realistic Expectations in Network Marketing

Here’s what you should expect:

# 1: It’s a Business, Not a Job

When you join a network marketing company, you are an independent contractor in business for yourself. You are NOT an employee. Instead of trading hours for dollars, you are now building an asset: a business.

In the beginning of any new business, you normally work for less than minimum wage, while you are learning the ropes and getting your business off the ground. However, as your business grows and matures, you can potentially work less and see your income continue to grow.

With that being said, don’t expect to work 20-hours per week in your new business and get paid for 20-hours of work. That is not how entrepreneurship or network marketing works. When you own a business, you only get paid for results!

On the flip side of the coin, if you treat this business like your job, I can almost guarantee you will succeed. That means you show up daily and do the work, even when you don’t want to.

# 2: You Need Skills to Succeed

Just like any other profession, you need to master a few basic skills if you want to succeed in MLM. Very few people have these skills mastered when they first get involved in our industry. It’s probably going to take you a year or two to get really good at network marketing. Some of the basic skills include prospecting, following up, selling, leadership, launching new reps, inviting and promoting events.

You can earn while you learn, but you won’t make the big bucks until you get really good at these basic skills.

# 3: It Takes Time to Build a Business

The goal your first year in ANY type of new business is to learn and survive. No one just starts a business and has tons of money coming in a few days, weeks or months later. Be patient. Do not look at your business as an immediate solution to today’s financial problems. If you are strapped financially, get a part-time job or full-time job and keep this as your side hustle.

This business is designed to do part-time, not full-time. And remember, no new business is designed to provide you a livable income starting day one.The goal your first year in ANY type of new business is to learn and survive No one just starts a business and has tons of money coming in a few days weeks or months later Be patient ~ Chuck Holmes

# 4: Not Everyone Will Be Interested

Contrary to what you might have been told by your sponsor, not everyone will be interested in your products or business opportunity. In fact, most people you talk with WILL NOT be interested in what you are offering them. Your family and friends will typically be your biggest critics. Sure, some of them will support you, but most won’t. If anything, many of them will try to talk you out of it. After all, they think they know what is best for you, and the last thing they want is for you to out grow or out earn them.

Don’t let that stop you though. Just like selling, this is a numbers game. There are more than 350 million people in America alone, and close to seven billion people in the world. Many of those folks will be interested in what you have to offer them, if you approach them the right way.

You should also know that this is no different than any other type of business. If you opened a restaurant tomorrow, not everyone you know would support you. If you had your own barbershop, not everyone you know would have you cut their hair. Even if you were walking around town offering free $100 bills not everyone would take one. That might sound hard to believe, but it’s true.

It’s just reality folks. Accept it. Embrace it. Prepare for it. And don’t take it personally. People are simply saying no to what you are offering them. It has nothing to do with you.

# 5: Your Initial Excitement Will Go Away

Just like dating, no one stays in the “lust” phase forever. At some point, your business won’t be perfect like you thought it was when you first joined. At some point you will no longer be excited 24/7 about your network marketing business. I’ve found that just about anyone can stay excited for the first 30 to 90-days. After that, their initial excitement fades. It’s what you do at this point in time that matters most. Most people will just quit and then go look for something else to get excited about.

What you really need to succeed in your business is commitment, self-discipline and daily activity. Successful people in our industry succeeded because they do the little things consistently day in and day out, even when they don’t feel like doing it. Excited people actually scare me, because I know that most of them will disappear once their excitement is gone.

# 6: Most People Who Join Your Team Will Do Very Little, If Anything At All

Most of the people you bring into the business will drop out and quit within their first 90-days, regardless of what you do to help them. It has nothing to do with you, either. Most people quit everything they do, including diets, marriages, and weight loss plans. I’ve found that 80% (or more) of your team will typically quit each year. And most of the people who do join the business will not order the products consistently, let alone sponsor other distributors and customers into the business.

To be conservative, here’s what to expect. About 90% of your team will do nothing but order the products from time to time. About 10% of your team will have a little part-time business where they retail some products and sponsor a few people, once in a while. And about 1% of your team will be committed people who work their business day in and day out. In most cases, most of your commissions will come from the work of one or three people, even if you have personally sponsored hundreds of people.

Just know you can still build a HUGE business, even with these numbers!Most of the people you bring into the business will drop out and quit within their first 90 days regardless of what you do to help them ~ Chuck Holmes

# 7: There Are No Shortcuts or Secrets

If you’re looking for the secret or magic pill, get ready to eat a big lunch. There are none. Your success boils down to this:

MLM Success = Your Skills + Your Activity + Sustained Period of Time

Success comes down to doing a few simple things over and over and over, day in and day out. That’s it.

Rather than spend your time looking for the secret, or the easy way, you should just focus on approaching five to ten new prospects daily. If you can do that, and master your follow-up and salesmanship skills, you will be on your way!

# 8: It’s Hard Work

Working from home and working for yourself are not easy. It takes self-discipline, something most people don’t have. I would argue that building a big MLM Team might just be the hardest thing you ever do, but it’s so worth it. Just know there will be ups and downs. You will have successes and failures. You must learn how to manage your expectations and emotions or you will not survive long in this business.

# 9: You Won’t Succeed Dabbling

If you are dabbling with one foot in and one foot out, you won’t succeed. PERIOD. You must commit to your business. Every top earner I know personally was persistent and consistent in their business 1-4 hours per day, for at least one to two years, before they built a big team.

This means your business must be a top priority for you. If you only work your business when you feel like it, you won’t succeed!

I have also learned that this business is a lot easier to build quickly than slowly. Steady pace is better than doing nothing, but doing a 90-Day Challenge and a few “sprints” is the best thing you can do to build your business.Rather than spend your time looking for the secret or the easy way you should just focus on approaching five to ten new prospects daily If you can do that and master your follow up and salesmanship skills you will be on your way ~ Chuck Holmes

# 10: It’s Worth It

When it comes to having realistic expectations in your network marketing business, this is my best tip. It’s worth it. If you will invest the time, energy, money and commitment it takes to succeed, and you build a big business, there is no other industry out there that will give you the freedom and lifestyle this business offers! No, it’s not for everyone, but if you are willing to live out of balance for a few years, you can change your life for many years to come.

The top earners in our industry live better lifestyles than anyone else I’ve ever met. Why? Because they have the time and money freedom!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are my best thoughts on having realistic expectations in your network marketing business. Of course, this is just my opinion and we can agree to disagree.

What are your thoughts? What do you think about having realistic expectations in network marketing? What did I leave out? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


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

P.S. Level up your life today! FREE resources to help you improve your health, finances, business, and relationships. I'll even give you FREE leads and a free business plan template. Learn more.

8 thoughts on “Having Realistic Expectations in Network Marketing”

  1. These are all very true and definitely things that someone new to network marketing should know. People shouldn’t be built up by hype in the beginning only to fall later, and then wonder why.
    I like all of these, but I think the one I like the most is “You get what you put in”. I also like the analogy you used about only opening the barbershop for 30 minutes. So true.
    Great post!

    1. You do get out what you put in, but like any other business you ultimately get out what you produce. You don’t get paid for your time. You get paid for your results.

  2. As I reread this post, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at one of the statements. In #1 you said that not everyone will be interested, and in the paragraph it states that some sponsors actually have prospects believing everyone they talk to will be interested. I must admit upon reading that, I almost spit all my coffee out onto my laptop. It would take a very gullible person to actually believe that everyone would be interested.

    If your sponsor is telling you unbelievable things, call them on it. Network marketing has too many people telling BS and it needs to stop. It hurts all.

    1. You could be giving away free cash on a street corner, and not everyone would be interested. No matter what you have to offer, not everyone will want to buy it, try it or join it.

      1. Great post as always! You make many good points and ones I have said often myself. I can’t imagine starting a business and then fail to open it every day or at least, 5 days a week. That’s it truly setting yourself up for failure.

        One of the things that surprises me the most is what you said about giving money away on the street and people wouldn’t take it. In the past I would have said, no way but I have seen it for myself.

        What ultimately matters is what I do, the rest will fall into place.

  3. Shame on the many MLM sponsors who use lies and hype to get distributors. This system has caused a bad outlook on network marketing. Most of the unrealistic expectations I blame on these people who outright lie to get people to sign up.

    It is not easy money. No business is, and if it was everyone would be doing it.

    The best quote I found in this post is the last one Chuck: You get what you put in. This is so true. If a person just sits on their keester hoping for magic to happen, they will get that magic…all their savings and dreams will disappear. Network marketing takes work. It is not magical, but if a person will put in, they will receive.

    Another great post sir.

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