Is MLM Really Worth It?

Is MLM really worth it?  Boy, that is a tough question to answer.  I had someone ask me this question a couple days ago and it’s been on my mind ever since.

It’s such an important question.  It’s a question EVERYONE should ask themselves before they make a decision to BUILD a big network marketing business of their own.  Anyone could join a company as a customer or wholesale buyer or as a part-time retailer, but making the decision to build it big should not be taken lightly.

I figured I would take a few moments and try to answer the question honestly and objectively, based upon my nearly 14 years of experience in our great industry.   As a quick disclaimer, I am an advocate of the industry, although there are days when I do have a love/hate relationship with it.

Here is my answer(s) to the question.

If you can figure out how to BUILD IT BIG, and become a MLM Millionaire, it is definitely worth it.  Few industries offer the time freedom and earnings potential that our industry offers, although most people in our industry never achieve that level of success.  Of all the people I do know who have made millions via network marketing, they live better than any other entrepreneur in any other industry that I know of.   However, very few people make it to this level, maybe like 1 in 1,000 people or 1 in 5,000 people.

If you are an ordinary person who wants to start a business of your own, but don’t have much capital to start a traditional business (or the skills or a sound business idea), I think network marketing could be a great fit.  There aren’t a lot of industries that allow an ordinary person to start a business for a few hundred dollars, work part-time while they keep their day job, not need employees or inventory, work from home and earn a residual income.  Therefore, any under-capitalized, aspiring entrepreneur should at least check it out and compare it with several other business models.

That being said, average people don’t typically do very well in our industry.  They usually don’t make it long because it takes an ABOVE AVERAGE commitment, work ethic, leadership, people skills and hustle to make it to the top of our industry.  Most people who join our industry do absolutely nothing to build a big business.  They don’t sign up for auto-ship, show the plan consistently, get customers, or even sponsor one distributor.  Most people don’t even stick around 90 days.

Average people COULD do well in our industry IF they took the time to develop their skills and mindset.  The problem is it typically takes 10,000 hours to master a skill and most people don’t have the patience or vision to stick around long enough to do that.

Furthermore, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur, and you have a lot of capital you can invest, you should evaluate several different business models.   Traditional business is tough as well, but I believe your chances of success are a little bit better in a traditional business, than in MLM, assuming you have sufficient capital, good mentors, and a sound business idea. Keep in mind that most traditional businesses fail.  And you can LOSE a lot of money with a traditional business.

If you are an over the top, Mr. or Mrs. HUSTLE type of person, you can do very well in the network marketing industry.  After all, most people who do well in our industry are people who were already successful in life BEFORE they joined our industry.  I’ve never seen a lazy or unmotivated person do well in our industry.  Most people who make it big really are a Mr. or Mrs. Hustle.

That being said, there is one other thing to consider.  If you truly are a top 1 percent producer type of person in life, and can produce big results, I truly believe there are much BETTER industries out there you could pursue and make even more money, with less effort and less stress.

Very few people have the skills to be a top one percent kind of person in sales or business, and believe it or not, many of these people don’t last long in our industry.  You see, our industry is not about YOUR ability to produce.  Even if you can recruit new reps until the cows come home, you won’t make much money UNLESS you can find other people who can do the same thing.

Many top sales professionals eventually leave our industry because they bring in 50-100 or more people rather quickly, but none of their people can do what they did, so they decide our industry is a waste of time.  You probably know some people like that.  These are the super salespeople. They are a rare breed, but they are really special.

These people often move on to other ventures where they can get paid based off their own productivity.  I can’t say I blame them.  There is nothing worse than being a stallion at a pony farm.

Something to Consider

One thing to consider, what I think makes network marketing so special, is the personal development.  If it wasn’t for this industry I’m not sure where I would be in life.   This industry taught me the importance of setting goals, the power of association, getting better every single day and being the best I can be.  I’ve become a great leader and person because of this industry.

This business is also a great business school.  It’s better than a MBA program, as I see it. Anyone thinking about going into business for themselves would benefit greatly by doing MLM for a couple of years.  You learn valuable skills like customer service, customer acquisition, leadership, sales, marketing, communication, people skills, business operations and business finances. Once again, you get real world experience doing these things, and these skills will help you in ANY kind of business.

What it Takes to Succeed in Our Industry

After studying hundreds and hundreds of top earners, here is what it takes to succeed in our industry.

  1. Pick a good, established company with products or services you are passionate about
  2. Stick with one company for minimum five to ten years
  3. Sponsor 100-200 people personally MINIMUM
  4. Invest approximately 10,000 hours improving yourself and building your business

Once again, very few people will ever do this, or stick around long enough to make it happen.

Who Normally Does the Best in Our Industry?

The people who succeed in our industry are normally one of three groups of people:

The people who normally do the best in our industry are TEACHERS.  They are people who LOVE people and enjoy nurturing and teaching others.  These are the best leaders and biggest earners. This truly is a sponsor and teach business, not selling and recruiting.

The second group of people who do well in our industry are the ONE PERCENTERS.  These are the super salespeople.  These are the folks who can personally recruit hundreds and hundreds of people and eventually find a few key producers who go out and build it big. Once again, many of these people burn out and quit after they sponsor a bunch of people, because their people can’t do what they did.

The last group of people are the BULLDOGS.  These are the people who will simply be persistent and consistent for years until they eventually make it.  Nothing will stop them.  They are bull headed and stubborn.  They are consistent.  They sponsor a couple people a month and never stop.  They are focused and will stick with one company AS LONG AS IT TAKES them to succeed.

If you can classify yourself in one of these three groups of people, you can make it, and MLM might be worth it to you.  If not, just be a customer or wholesale distributor and do something else with your life.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going All In

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to decide if MLM is worth it to you:

  • Am I really an entrepreneur or would I be better off as an employee?
  • Is my spouse/partner supportive of this?
  • Is this the best use of my time?
  • Can this industry give me what I really want in life?
  • Will the company I am considering likely be around for another 20-30 years?
  • Is there a better business model for me than MLM?
  • Would I be happier as an employee or in a different type of business?
  • Am I willing to do whatever it takes to be successful in MLM?
  • Am I a leader?
  • Do I enjoy helping, coaching, and mentoring others?
  • Could I work for a few years without seeing much return on my time investment and still have faith in what I am doing?
  • Am I willing to invest 10-30 hours per week for at least five to ten years to build up a large income?
  • Do I want residual income?

Please be honest with yourself when answering these questions.  They will save you a lot of frustration and heartache and disappointment.  MLM is not for everyone and if you decide it is not for you that is perfectly fine. Just be a customer or wholesale buyer and do something else for a living.  We’re all on a different journey and we all have different talents and abilities.

My Final Piece of Advice

Here is an important piece of advice that very few people talk about.  I honestly believe MLM is a great part-time business; a great long-term project, but a crappy full-time gig (until you are making a substantial income).  I understand our industry isn’t designed to provide enough immediate income to live on today, so it would be smart to do something else that pays you today, while you build your MLM business on the side.

If you could set aside 10-20 hours per week, and do that for five or ten years, it could turn into something really special.  Plus, it wouldn’t interfere with your primary income source.

Why not do something part-time for five to ten years that could eventually give you time and money freedom?

Final Thoughts

Is MLM really worth it?  For some people, YES it is.  For others, it’s not a good fit.  Each one of us is different, with different goals, talents and ambitions.  We are all on a different journey.  I hope you will put some considerable thought into it before you make the decision to build it big.  If you decide it’s for you, great.  If not, that is fine too.

Most people in our industry, who are not really serious or committed, would be much better off just being a customer or wholesale buyer, rather than a business builder.

What do you think?  Do you think MLM is worth it?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional

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1 thought on “Is MLM Really Worth It?”

  1. You make some really good points. I really appreciate your honesty and candid sharing.

    I admit to being the bulldog as I hate the thought of selling and would never promote that. If you ask me is being in a MLM company worth it, I would say absolutely! Find your level of commitment and stick with it.

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