Making Income Claims in Your MLM Business

In today’s post I want to talk to you about making income claims in your network marketing business.  This is a topic I am very passionate about, because it is such a huge problem in our industry.  Some top earners reveal their bonus checks to impress their prospects and get them to join.  Some folks do it out of ignorance (they don’t know any better).  And some people even lie about how much they make with their business.

To clear the air, lying about your income is downright wrong and unethical.  You should never skew the numbers to try to impress someone.  In addition, I don’t see much value in revealing your real income either (more on that in a moment).

I cannot find a source to cite, or I would, but I have been told by several “credible” sources that it is actually illegal to make income claims in our industry.  By all means, if you know which law it is, I would love for you to share the information in the comments section below.

I don’t personally know of any other industry in the world where it is illegal to tell people how much you are making.  Anyone in any job or business that I know of, has the legal right to share their income with you.  Not so in network marketing (from what I have been told).

That being said, for most people, their income is a private matter that they do not discuss with others.  That is the mindset I have about this issue.  How much I make is really no one else’s business other than my wife’s, and the IRS.  When people ask me how much I make in my business (which doesn’t happen often) I simply say it’s personal matter and I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with others.

mlm income claims

Other leaders in our industry are more open about it.  Once again, it’s really a personal decision.

As I see it, there are several reasons you should never make an income claim about your network marketing income.

# 1 It isn’t allowed

As I mentioned earlier, making income claims (whether true or false) is not allowed in our industry.  Flashing your check on Facebook is a quick way to get terminated from your company and even get your company in trouble with the FTC.

# 2 It can be misleading

Income checks are misleading.  There are a lot of variables that people don’t talk about when they flash their income check, or make an income claim.  First off, there is a huge difference between net profit and gross revenue.  Flashing a $20k check does not mean you actually made $20k.  By the time you factor in expenses, the person probably made a lot less than that. In addition, you don’t know how long the person flashing the check has been in the industry, in the company, how much time they invest in their business each week, how hard they have worked, what skills they have, etc.

# 3 It has no impact on how much your prospect will make

To me, this is one of the most important lessons on this page.  How much you make has no reflection on how much your prospect will make.  Just like how much your successful upline makes has no reflection on how much you will make in the business.  Individual results will always vary.   When your prospect sees your check, they automatically think they will make that much, and normally within a few months.  That’s why it’s so important to tell your prospect that individual results will vary.

# 4 It really is no one else’s business

Once again, your income is no one else’s business.  Why anyone would want anyone else knowing how much they make is beyond me.

mlm money

A Simple Alternative

Here is a simple alternative that could fix this problem once and for all.  Rather than talking about your income, share the average earnings disclaimer from your company. Show your prospect how much people at each rank in the company make and how long it took (on average) to get there.  This is a much better picture to portray to your prospect than flashing your own check.

mlm irs spouse money

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that making income claims in your network marketing business is prohibited, and shouldn’t be done anyway.  How much you make is your business and has no impact on how much someone else can/will make in the business.  Individual results will always vary.

What do you think about making income claims in the network marketing industry?  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.

7 thoughts on “Making Income Claims in Your MLM Business”

  1. A lot of people make false income claims.

    Then again there are people like Pat Flynn who publish their monthly income statement on their website. In my opinion, it comes down to integrity. If you’re honest like Pat, then talking about your income is being transparent and motivating others. But he’s swimming in a different pool (affiliate marketing).

    So in network marketing, the simple answer is, Don’t make income claims, because it’s not even allowed.

  2. Oh wow, I never knew the practice of making income claims in MLM was illegal, but it definitely always seemed unethical and manipulative. People are impressionable, so of course if you share with them that you made a large amount of money they are going to automatically start dreaming about making that same kind of money almost instantly. Honesty and modesty always works best I have found. People grow to trust you more and respect you more, and that is valuable for growing a business.

  3. You were told wrong. You may talk about your income but not about other people’s income. For instance, “I sold Mrs. ‘Yes’ $X worth of product ‘A’ of which I made a profit of $Y.” (And on and on.) “My bonus on volume last month was $X of which I got to keep $Y.” (I wouldn’t talk about this because of all the technicalities involved.) Only a millionaire can say, “If you want to make a million dollars, I can show you how.” correct? “I can show you how to make $X a month because I have done it.” is okay.

    Having said that, the people that are looking for the “big money” are usually those that are of the “get rich quick” and “something for nothing” mind set. If you are doing a proper interview, you will “qualify” your prospect as honest and trustworthy and someone you want to be friends with. You DON’T have to share your information with everyone; just those you have “qualified.” Breathing doesn’t mean they qualify.

  4. I also just get sick when I see any network marketer flashing a “supposed check.” First, most prospects will assume they can make that in a short period of time, and when they don’t, they leave. What good does that really do you? Sure, you had a sign up, but if they leave quick, it doesn’t help you.

    I believe in being honest. In the long run, if a prospect is told from the start the truth, they won’t run away when money doesn’t just start raining in their lap.

    Like any business, network marketing takes hard work and persistence.

    If you are showing money made, please stop because it hurts the complete network marketing system.

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