Online vs. Offline MLM: My Thoughts

In this post, I want to talk to you about online vs. offline MLM.  I’m not sure if you will agree with everything I am about to say, but I just want to share my personal observations and thoughts on the subject.

Before I dive deep into the article I want you to know that you can succeed OR fail with online or offline MLM.  There is no guarantee of success using either method.  Both methods present a unique set of challenges and opportunities.  Neither is perfect.  Individual results will vary.

To be quite frank with you, I became obsessed with online MLM in the late summer of 2009, now almost six years ago.  After reading the book Magnetic Sponsoring, I looked at online MLM as the SOLUTION to all of my problems with network marketing.

I loved the idea of leveraging the internet to generate leads 24/7 AND to create multiple streams of income.  I loved the idea of not bugging friends and family, not prospecting people in the mall and not driving all around the planet meeting with prospects (and getting no showed).  I love the idea of having people come to me!

When I first took my network marketing business online, I tried many different things, initially.  I messed around with solo ads.  I did Facebook PPC.  I created hundreds of YouTube videos.  I studied SEO.  I wrote more than 300 articles and submitted them to the leading article directories.  I even created a 2000 page MLM Website.

I bought every course you can think of.  I tried every online system you can think of.  I spent A LOT of money and I made a decent return on my investment.  I invested at least 10,000 hours, of my life that I will never get back, maybe more, learning everything that I could about online network marketing and APPLYING what I learned.

Now, some six years later I feel that I have come full circle.  I still enjoy online MLM and blogging, but I NO LONGER think it is the best way for MOST people to build a successful MLM Business. And I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I did.

The biggest mistake I made with online MLM efforts was spending ALL my time learning online stuff AND not building my actual network marketing business.

You see, the internet is simply the internet.  It’s not a system.  It’s not a solution to one’s problems.  You can’t hide behind a computer and build a large, sustainable long-term network marketing business.

It’s not duplicatable with your team either.  Even if you are the one in 100 who can master online marketing, most of your team will never be able to do it! And that’s the major problem with it.

If anything, the internet is simply a MARKETING METHOD.  But it’s not a system!

What I want to do in the paragraphs below is share some of my observations and thoughts of doing online MLM vs. Offline MLM. I’ll let you be the judge about how you want to build your own network marketing business.

First and foremost, if you study all of the top earners in our industry you will discover that a HUGE MAJORITY of them still do old school MLM.  Many of the top earners don’t have a Facebook account, a YouTube channel, a blog, or even an auto-responder.

They still do one-on-one meetings, home parties and face-to-face prospecting.  Old School MLM has been working for more than 60 years and it isn’t going away anytime soon.  That’s why they do it!

I’ve studied hundreds of top earners in this great industry and I’ve never met ONE who built their MLM Business strictly online.  Most top earners don’t even use the internet in any way to grow their business.  To me that says a lot!

Next, building an online network marketing business is extremely COMPLEX.  The average person does not have the time or money to learn everything about solo ads, email marketing, social media, blogging, SEO, video marketing, article marketing, pay-per-click ads and more.  It took me almost FIVE YEARS to master these things by doing it full-time.

The average part-timer would never be able to figure it out.  Online marketing is too complex for most people.  If you want a large network marketing business, you need to keep things so simple an eight year old could do it.  Read that again so it sinks in.

The beauty of our industry is the simplicity.  Any fool can complicate it, and most do, but it takes someone smart to keep it simple.

If everyone you talk too thinks they have to make a blog, write articles, do Facebook ads and make YouTube videos to grow their business, most people WILL NOT get involved or stay involved.

I can’t blame them.  In addition, online network marketing is not DUPLICATABLE in your team.

However, anyone can do a one-on-one meeting, a home party, set up at an event, or do face-to-face prospecting. Anyone can make a name list and contact their warm market.

Another issue with online MLM is retention.  Even if you are pretty good at sponsoring people, you never get to meet with them face-to-face and build strong relationships with them.  As a result, they quit just as fast as they join (in most cases).

Never forget this next piece of advice.  The average person gets anywhere from 10 to 20 emails a day about different money making ideas, shiny objects, systems and business opportunities.

By the time they’ve signed their name to the distributor agreement with your company, they are gone, off chasing the next shiny object.  Can you relate?

These are just a few of my observations with online MLM.  I am not knocking it by any means.  I just want to give you a dose of reality.

online vs. offline mlmI just believe that old school MLM is a much better route for most people.  There’s a shorter learning curve, it’s easier to do, and you can get anyone on your team to do it.  If you go the online route, you might be good at it, but most of your team won’t be able to learn it or won’t want to do it.

I’m at the point in my network marketing career now where I will keep publishing a daily blog post (that’s about all I do to build my online MLM Business now) and I will spend the rest of my time doing Old School MLM.

I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life or career staring at a computer screen, sending emails, making videos and writing blog posts, just to grow or maintain my MLM Business.  I’d rather be out in the trenches making friends, building relationships and helping my team face-to-face.

What are your thoughts?  What do you think about Online MLM vs. Offline MLM? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Please Share Our Content If You Enjoyed It:


Chuck Holmes is a Network Marketing Professional, author, and blogger. He's been in the industry since 2002. He is currently the top producer in his network marketing company. He is happily married and lives in Florida with his beautiful wife, Rachel. He enjoys flea markets, reading, writing, walking, fishing and funny movies. You can call Chuck during business hours at (352) 503-4816 EST or you can email him at

7 thoughts on “Online vs. Offline MLM: My Thoughts

  1. I agree,chuck,but to be realistic,alot of top mlm earners in the world are actually crushing it online and then bringing their recruited reps offline. But its time we begin to realise that,network marketing,will never be the way it used to be back in the 80s…the business of the 21st century is internet network marketing…it will surely take those who built the traditional way years to come to terms with this.

  2. I note that you said you have observed people having more success using old school methods. Perhaps a really solid blend of old and new school methods is the key to being really successful these days. There is not doubt that face-to-face meetings and home parties are still extremely valuable, but you also cannot deny the role the Internet plays in this generation.

    • Either method will work. I just believe that nothing beats face to face.

  3. It is true: human connections are still the best. (Social networking is sometimes anything but social.) Of course we cannot help working online, especially in an internet based business, but if there is any way to personalize that business, do so. Putting your face on your website, as you do, is even a good idea. The more your customers are able to put a face with the name, the more personal the relationship becomes, and the less likely they are to walk away from something good. It is far easier to walk away from someone you couldn\’t pick out in a crowd.

    • Yes, human connections are definitely the best. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. You make some very strong points here Chuck. I believe that Network Marketers need to look at the internet as a tool in a big tool box. There needs to be time management. I also believe that some MLMs do better via internet than others.

    As you know, I am a freelance writer and author, so I do need to stare at this computer screen for hours upon hours. Now, my opinion in MLM is: you do need to get out and meet people face to face. Use the internet as just one tool of many. Don’t let it be all.

    • Pretty much, Greg. Same thing holds true with your profession. Use the internet, by all means. But form human connections offline as well. Nothing will ever beat shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye and forming a connection with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.