Top 8 Pitfalls of Network Marketing

Today, I want to discuss the 8 pitfalls of network marketing, as I see it. Keep in mind this is just my opinion and we can agree to disagree.

Before I share my thoughts with you, there are three things you should keep in mind:

  • Most people either love or hate our industry, very few people are neutral towards it
  • I love the industry
  • Our industry is by no means perfect (no industry is)

What is a Pitfall?

A pitfall is a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty. It’ something that can hold you back or keep you from achieving your goals. Some pitfalls are obvious, and others aren’t so easy to see.

Pitfalls are not exclusive to network marketing. They show up in every area of your life.Top 8 Pitfalls of Network Marketing

The Pitfalls of Network Marketing

What you see below are the top eight pitfalls in network marketing, as I see it. Keep in mind they are listed in no order.

# 1: Low Cost of Entry

The first major pitfall of network marketing is the low cost of entry. Because it’s so inexpensive to join, anyone can get started. That is a blessing and a curse.

Because most people have such a small amount of money invested in their network marketing business, it’s easy to do nothing and quit. It’s easy to throw in the towel when things don’t go exactly as planned. It’s easy to put your business on the back burner when life gets in the way.

Someone who starts a traditional business and invests $10,000 or $100,000 just to get started will do everything in their willpower to succeed. They will put in long hours, sacrifice their family time and health, learn new skills, attend events, listen to their mentor, etc. Not so with most network marketers. Easy come, easy go!

However, I’ve found that the top earners in our industry ACT AS IF they invested several million dollars in their business. They have the mindset of the traditional business owner, even though they are doing network marketing.

# 2: No Screening Criteria

The next pitfall of network marketing is that there isn’t any type of screening process. People with zero entrepreneurial experience or zero business acumen can join. Unemployed people can join. Employees can join. Broke people can join.

We tend to attract a lot of unqualified people who wouldn’t be qualified to start any other type of business.

Let me put this in perspective for a moment. When you try to purchase a franchise, they do a background check on you. You must provide references. The franchisor looks at your credit score, your income statement, your assets and evaluates your work and business experience.

They are trying to determine if you are QUALIFIED and COMMITTED. They do their best to “weed out” the no-qualified people and only recruit “qualified” people.

Network marketing does not do ANY of these things. And we wonder why so many people join, do nothing, and quit?

# 3: No Boss

Here’s what I’ve found. Most people are not entrepreneurial, even if they think they are. Most people do not have the self-discipline to manage their own time effectively and be their own boss. That’s why they work for someone else to begin with.

Even though you get a “free coach” in our industry, most reps will not listen to that person and do what they teach.

On the other hand, in a job, you must do what your boss tells you to do or you will be fired. And if you buy a franchise, you must follow the system, training, and guidance of the franchisor or you will lose your franchise.

For someone with self-discipline, network marketing is great. For someone without self-discipline, network marketing is a nightmare because YOU won’t have someone constantly looking over your shoulder, holding you accountable."The first major pitfall of network marketing is the low cost of entry. Because it’s so inexpensive to join, anyone can get started. That is a blessing and a curse." ~ Chuck Holmes

# 4: Lots of Shiny Objects

Once people do join our industry, they instantly get exposed to hundreds of different shiny objects (online). You can’t spend even a few minutes online without seeing ads for the “next big thing.”

You’ve probably seen ads like this:

  • Automated business…
  • We build your team for you…
  • Our system is the solution…
  • Done for you recruiting…

Many newbies end up chasing shiny objects looking for the “easy way” to get rich without doing any work.

Nothing worthwhile is fast, free, or easy. The real key to success is to pick something that makes sense, commit to it, and put in the work until you succeed.

Until you develop the right skills and mindset, it doesn’t really matter what opportunity you join, you will struggle to make money.

Furthermore, the real key to success in this industry is to pick ONE company and focus on that exclusively, until you reach your goals.

# 5: Low Commissions per Sale

Many people join network marketing and just focus on selling the product. That is not a smart business move. In fact, it’s one of the biggest pitfalls in network marketing.

While you do need some personal retail customers, the major purpose of network marketing is to build a network.

Do not confuse direct sales with network marketing. They are completely different. Direct sales is about selling a product. It’s about one person doing a lot. Network marketing, on the other hand, is about a lot of people each doing a little bit.

Rather than one person selling $100,000 in products, 1,000 people each sell/use $100 in products. Make sense?

It’s difficult to make money in network marketing if you are just selling products. Why? Because you earn small commissions per transaction, maybe 10 to 20 percent of the sale. It would take a TON of personal sales to make a full-time income.

However, by leveraging the work of a big group, with a lot of people each doing a little bit, it’s easier to generate a large amount of sales and commissions.

# 6: Public Opinion

Talk to 100 random people and I’d bet that at least 51% of them, if not more than that, have a negative perception about our industry. Some people are just ignorant. Others are misinformed. But the truth is, many people do not like our industry.

Network marketing is not taught at home or in college. Remember, most people have been taught to go to school and get a job. This can be a big obstacle to overcome.

The good news is you don’t need everyone you talk to, to buy your product or join your team. You are ultimately looking for people who are open-minded and looking.

However, it’s important to teach your new people that not everyone they talk to will be interested."For someone with self-discipline, network marketing is great. For someone without self-discipline, network marketing is a nightmare because YOU won't have someone constantly looking over your shoulder, holding you accountable." ~ Chuck Holmes

# 7: Bad Companies

Another one of the big pitfalls of network marketing are the bad companies. While there are many great companies in our industry, a huge majority of them are not so great.

Like any other type of business, most network marketing companies fail. It’s possible to join a company, work hard for a few years, build up a big team and residual income, and then have the company go out of business and you lose everything.

That does happen from time-to-time. It’s not really the end of the world, even though it might feel like it when it happens to you.

One of the smartest moves you can make is to do your due diligence BEFORE you join a company. Evaluate the owners of the company. Evaluate their track record.

Are they financed properly? Are the owners reputable? Does the product line make sense and provide real value?

A little bit of homework on the front end can save you a LOT of time and frustration on the back end. This is one of the major advantages of joining an established company that has been in business many years. They have worked through most of these issues and they are STABLE, even if they aren’t as “sexy” as a new company.

# 8: Outdated Training

Many network marketing companies are still stuck in the 1970’s and 1980’s way of thinking. Many network marketing companies have not embraced the internet. They frown upon, sometimes even prohibit, their reps from leveraging the internet to build a business.

I will NEVER understand this way of thinking. It’s 2020, not 1980. Get with the times!

While home parties, private business receptions, hotel meetings and three-way calls still work, not everyone who joins our industry in modern times wants to do those things. In today’s age, people want to work smart and use their cell phone to grow their business.

I can’t say I blame them. Make sure you partner up wit a company that embraces technology, jumps on trends, and encourages their reps to think outside the box. Otherwise, you will end up frustrated, working with a company that only holds you back.


In review, these are the top 8 pitfalls in network marketing as I see it. While our industry is by no means perfect, it’s amazing. It offers a way for the average person with little to no money to start their own business and build up a leveraged, residual income and obtain complete financial freedom.

What are your thoughts? What do you believe are the pitfalls of network marketing? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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1 thought on “Top 8 Pitfalls of Network Marketing”

  1. Hi chuck
    Very good information to improve MLM business.
    I am associated with atomy.i am new in this business. Your post always motivated me to improve myself. I want to join people from USA in Atomy to my down line. Help me.

    Thanks and regards.
    Govind Singh

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