Three Things I Hate About the MLM Industry

What are three things I hate about the MLM Industry? Before I answer that question I’d like to take a moment to tell you that I am a huge fan of the MLM Industry. In fact, I’m one of the biggest fans around. However, I’ll be the first to admit that the industry is far from perfect. No business or industry is perfect. 

The purpose of this article is to tell you my top 3 things I hate about the network marketing industry. The three things are bad distributor policies, poor retention rates and misinformed people. I’ll cover each in more detail below.

The biggest thing I hate about the MLM industry is the restrictions that network marketing companies place on their distributors. Most companies have outdated and ineffective policies concerning internet marketing. For whatever reason, they’re so focused on protecting their corporate image that they prevent their distributors from creating their own unique distributor blogs and websites.  Some policies prevent distributors from sharing their business on Facebook.  And others prevent people from using email marketing

As an example, most companies won’t allow their distributors to even mention the company name anywhere on your personal blog or website. How crazy is that?

Additionally, most companies have horrible policies about how you can advertise your business. For example, many companies won’t allow you to use their name in newspaper ads. And they have other anti-friendly distributor policies such as “no compete clauses,” which prevent you from participating in several MLM companies at the same time. One day, I hope these companies will get their act together and revise their policies to give distributors more flexibility to build their business the way they want to. 

As I see it, the company works for the distributor, not the other way around.  Without distributors, the company wouldn’t be in business.  There has to be a happy medium.  After all, distributors are not employees of the company.  We are all independent contractors.  We make the company money and they should be smart enough to treat the distributors well. 

The second thing I hate about the MLM industry is the poor retention rates. People drop like flies in MLM. I don’t know of any other industry with so many “walking dead” business owners. For some reason, the network marketing industry has a never ending revolving door. People quit just a couple weeks, or months, after they get started.

How many regular business owners (of a traditional business) quit their business in less than 90 days? None that I know of!  It’s a fact that most business owners (in any industry) don’t make a dollar profit in their first YEAR in business. But, you seldom see a franchisee that spent tens of thousands of dollars for his business quit in his first 90 days. That would be absolutely ridiculous. But network marketers do it all the time.

I think the reason for poor retention rates is (1) people have unrealistic expectations and (2) people do not have a business owner mindset.  If you think you’re going to make $10k per month by your second month in the business, get ready to eat a big lunch!

The last thing I hate about the MLM industry is all the pre-conceived notions that the media and non-network marketers have. It’s ridiculous. So many people claim that “network marketing is evil” or “illegal” or a “pyramid” yet they’ve never spent even one day of their life involved in the industry. How can that be? Even worse, many of these people have never even properly researched the industry. 

I understand why the media hates MLM: we pay them NOTHING in advertising.  I understand why some people are skeptical about the industry: they have never had one hour of instruction in college or high school about starting a business.  And I also realize that most people are taught to be employees.  

Sadly, so many people take advice and don’t get in the industry because of what someone else says.  I honestly believe that you must look at things objectively. For instance, would you avoid a restaurant just because your brother-in-law said the food sucked? Or would you visit the restaurant yourself and form your own opinion instead? Before you can determine if something is good or bad, you must evaluate the facts, do your homework, and be open-minded enough to see both sides of the coin. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are just a few things I hate about the MLM Industry. Although I love network marketing, there are a few things that absolutely drive me crazy. I’m sure some of these things bother you too. Despite a few shortcomings, it’s still an awesome industry for the average person looking to take control of their life.

What are your thoughts?  What do you dislike about the network marketing industry?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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6 thoughts on “Three Things I Hate About the MLM Industry”

  1. Have you had any issues with using Facebook as a business platform? It seems as of late there is a push to upgrade to varying levels of accounts. Is it worth it? What is your recommendation as to investing in social media to get the word out, so to speak?

    1. I do less and less on Facebook. I only have a group of Facebook that I communicate with. It used to be good with everything free, now there is a major upgrade just to reach your own fans.

  2. I hate all 3 of these too. The first one is the worst. It seems ignorant to not open it up to a wider internet market. I believe bloggers should be able to post the company. On the third one, I think that some are relaxing their opinions. As more and more personalities that people trust get involved in Network marketing, people will gain more trust.

    1. I understand MLM Companies want to protect their reputation and intellectual property, but they it should also be give and take. If you really limit your reps on what they can do, they will quit, find another company or not get the results that they could.

  3. Actually, I probably would avoid a restaurant if my brother-in-law said that the food sucked. I value his opinion, and I believe that it is okay to learn from the experiences of other people. 🙂

    I believe that you are right when you say that some people are skeptical of MLM because they have never taken any classes on how to start their own business, and that most people are taught to be employees. Even when I was in graduate school, earning my MBA, NONE of the classes were about how to start your own business. They were all about how to be a better employee: how to make yourself more valuable for your employer.

    I have a friend who owns a dry cleaning business. By coincidence, he is also an immigrant. He told me that in the country that he hails from, people can complete courses of study on how to start up, run, and market a successful dry cleaning business (and other businesses). I told him that was amazing, and I meant it.

    1. Faye,

      You make a good point about many people being taught to be employees. It is unfortunate that so many people get caught up in this idea that their main goal should be to be the best employee for someone else when so many people have skills and talents and passions that could result in amazing businesses if they knew how to branch out and make it happen.

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