Today, I want to share ten truths about network marketing, as I see it.
First off, we are a misunderstood industry. No one learns about our industry in school or at college. In fact, most people don’t even know what network marketing is.
My mentor once told me this:
100% of the people not involved in the MLM Industry do not understand it or they would be involved. And 95% of the people in the MLM Industry do not understand what they are in or they would be serious about building their business.
After spending 18+ years in the industry now, I 100% agree with my mentor.
Our industry is by no means perfect. Nothing is perfect. We have good distributors and bad distributors, good companies and bad companies. But before you make up your mind that network marketing is NOT for you, I encourage you to do your due diligence and take a closer, unbiased look. You might just be glad that you did.
What you will see below are ten truths about network marketing I have learned during the past 18+ years. I hope you find the information helpful.
Ten Truths About Network Marketing
# 1: It’s Hard to Do
Anyone who tells you “network marketing is easy to do” is lying to you. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. It takes leadership, vision, hard work, persistence, special skills, and mental toughness to build a six figure business. Most people in our industry are lacking in one or more of those areas.
You will face a lot of rejection. You will deal with crazy people. You will question your sanity at times. You will have ups and downs. You will work for less than minimum wage in the early stages of your business. Most people can’t handle these things so they don’t stick it out.
Fortunately, there are only a few basic skills you must master, but it will take you 18 to 24-months of consistent work to get really good at network marketing.
Also, because of the low cost to get started, most people don’t treat their business seriously. Instead of treating it like a business, they treat it like a hobby. If you treat this like a business it will pay you like a business; however, if you treat it like a hobby it will cost you money!
One of my mentors once told me “this business is easy not to do” because most people have $100 or less invested in their business. In other words, they have no skin in the game financially, so they don’t treat their business seriously.
I would also chime in and mention that building a successful business of ANY kind is hard work. Look around your local community at all of the closed down businesses. Those entrepreneurs invested tens of thousands of dollars, if not substantially more, just to start their business. And they put in 80+ hour weeks for years, and they still failed. With our industry, there is no financial risk, but it still requires a ton of hard work.
This business is easy to do and easy not to do. You just have to choose whether or not you will take it seriously.
# 2: Most People Do Nothing and Quit
Most people are not entrepreneurial. Most people are not leaders. Most people are not doers. That is why most people work for someone else. One of the biggest challenges in this industry is getting “employee minded” people to think and act like a business owner. It’s very hard to do.
Because most people who join your team have never owned a business before, they are accustomed to trading hours for dollars and being told what to do, what to wear, and when to show up. They work their business for a few hours, or even a few weeks, and if they aren’t making the money they think they should be making, they quit and call it a scam.
The truth is, most people you talk to would be much better off as CUSTOMERS for your organization, not distributors. One simple way to explode your business is to recruit entrepreneurs, leaders and doers. These people already have the right “mindset” it takes to build a successful business. Everyone else should be prospected about your company’s products or services.
# 3: It’s an Amazing Business School
In my opinion, spending a few years in network marketing is better (and cheaper) than getting an MBA. Why? Because the “real world” skills you learn in this industry will help you in ANY business or corporate job. You will learn sales, marketing, lead generation, team building, leadership, communication and countless other things. You can take that knowledge and build a big team or you can eventually transition to the corporate sector or start a traditional business.
# 4: The People Are Awesome
I love the people in our industry. Yes, there are a few crooks and knuckleheads, but most of the people are absolutely amazing. They come from every walk of like and they are people with goals, dreams, and a positive attitude. They are fun to be around. I love spending time with other serious reps on my team, and even people in other companies, because they are just amazing people. Other network marketers are the nicest, most friendliest people I have ever met.
# 5: It’s Not for Everyone
Guess what? Network marketing is NOT for everyone. Not everyone is “cut out” to work for themselves. Most people can’t handle being their own boss, even though the idea sounds good to them. It takes a big work ethic, vision, mental toughness, delayed gratification and self-discipline to build a successful business in ANY industry. Most people simply want to be a 9 to 5 employee with two weeks vacation per year, a steady paycheck and good health benefits.
These folks don’t make great reps, but they are great customers. Make sure you talk to these folks about your products or services first. Most of these people who do join will stay customers, and a few of them might even surprise you and catch the vision of what your company offers. On the other hand, focus on the business opportunity when talking with entrepreneurial minded people.
# 6: You Can Live Better Than Anyone You Know
If you are one of the people who builds up a large team and large residual check in a solid company, you can live an amazing lifestyle, better than most millionaires. Why? Because you will have the time and money freedom. You can live anywhere in the world, not need employees and have a true lifestyle business.
Do most people hit this pinnacle? Of course not. But some do. It is possible. My friends who are successful reps in this industry live better than anyone else I know. That is the power of residual income, if you find the right company, build a big team and maintain it.
# 7: MLM Is Not the Only Way to Earn Residual Income
Network marketing is not the only way to earn residual income. I do believe everyone needs residual income, even if they choose not to pursue network marketing. Why? You have residual bills, so why not have residual income? If nothing else, residual income gives you a buffer and added piece of mind.
Some of your options include writing a book, investing in real estate, renting out part of your home, selling insurance, music royalties, etc. Ultimately, you should find a “business model” or “income stream” that aligns with your personality, skills and goals.
# 8: If You are Good at Sales, This Might Not Be Your Best Option
If you are a high achiever and great salesperson, this might not be the best industry for you to focus on. It took me many years to understand this.
Why? Because most people you recruit are not good at these things and they cannot do what you do. Network marketing is about a lot of people doing a little bit, not one person doing a lot. It’s about leverage. If you just want to sell, you might be much better off selling big ticket items such as real estate, boats, businesses, insurance, etc. Focus on direct sales, not MLM.
The people who do well in our industry are the leaders, coaches and teachers. They are people who are good at supporting, nurturing and training other people.
# 9: Not Everyone Will Succeed
In capitalism there are winners and losers. Everyone has an equal “opportunity” in our industry, but what people do with that opportunity varies. Some people seize it, while others sit back and watch from the sidelines.
I believe anyone CAN succeed in our industry, if they decide to, but most people WILL NOT succeed. Why? Because most people will not pay the price, put in the work and stay the course. If you choose to do those things, there is a high likelihood you will eventually succeed.
On the other hand, if you dabble or play around with your business, there is a high likelihood you will fail.
# 10: It’s a Relationship Business
Success does not boil down to your products or company. This is ultimately a relationship business. People join people, not businesses. You must be someone worth joining. Be the type of sponsor you wish you had and be the type of person you want to sponsor.
Your income depends on the quality and number of relationships you have with people in your team. PERIOD. Invest in people. Build friendships. Treat people well. Long term relationships equal long-term money in our industry. The relationship comes first and the money comes second.
In conclusion, these are the ten truths about network marketing, as I see it. I love our industry, but I also realize it is far from perfect. Any business that involves people can’t be perfect. I would love if you left a comment below to tell me what you think. What is your favorite truth that I mentioned above? Which one did I forget to add to my list? I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.
20+ Year Network Marketing Professional
Top Earner & Top Recruiter
P.S. Learn how to grow a successful network marketing business. Secret tips, training, and practical ideas. Free training delivered by email.
6 thoughts on “Ten Truths About Network Marketing”
I think you hit on a good subject with point number seven. If you are not a people person, this may not be the avenue for you. Talk about the ultimate test in patience! People’s attitudes and actions alone are enough to drive you crazy, let alone all of the little flaws and mistakes they can make along the way that can complicate things. You have to learn to be respectful and polite in spite of how the person opposite you is responding. It is tough, but it can also be very rewarding.
Dealing with people can be very difficult. That’s why you can make so much money in this industry. You have to deal with a lot of people. You have an adult day care center going on at times. It can be annoying, but the payoff can be well worth it. You also get to meet lots of great people.
Yes, this is a blunt post, but it is the truth. MLM businesses provide the only true merit based pay. It is NOT a job. You are in sales, and you must work long and hard hours to even have a chance at succeeding. Sometimes even then you might not. But like any other long term investment, the greater the risk, the greater the chance of reward.
There is no guarantee of success, but if you can become successful you can get a HUGE return on your investment, just like any other business model.
I must say Chuck, this is what attracted me to your blog and your writings; you are brutally honest. This is nice to see for a change, because so many in network marketing leave honesty in the closet. I believe the MLM industry will gain more respect and become a more viable income source if there are more like you.
If people realize that network marketing is just like any business, they can succeed. It doesn’t just fall in your lap over night. The business takes hard work and persistence.
Thank you for this honest and needed post. Have a great day.
Thanks Greg. I try to be honest. The truth is, most businesses are hard work. Nothing is easy. What drives me crazy is when people use hype to get people in our industry or they lie to them or give them false expectations.