The Biggest Time Waster in Network Marketing

What is the biggest time waster in network marketing? The answer to that question is subjective, but I’d like to share my thoughts on the topic.

First off, time is your most precious asset. It’s the one thing you can’t get more of. Once it’s gone it’s gone.

Because most people involved in network marketing are part-timers, it’s vital they learn how to work smart and be effective. They must learn how to manage their time effectively.

Success in network marketing does not equate to the number of hours you work your business. Instead, your success boils down to your ability to work smart, be productive, and be efficient. Remember that.

When it comes to network marketing, there are many different time wasters. Here are a few examples of common time wasters.

  • Watching YouTube videos
  • Surfing Facebook
  • Cleaning Your Office
  • Organizing Your Leads
  • Navigating Your Back Office
  • Reading Company Literature
  • Studying the Products or Compensation Plan

Yes, you might need to do some of those activities, sometimes. But they shouldn’t consume your productive time or be on your work schedule. You should only do those tasks AFTER you’ve done the most important tasks.

the biggest time waster in network marketing

The Biggest Time Waster in Network Marketing

I believe the biggest time waster in network marketing is WORKING WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE.

I know that sounds harsh, but please hear me out.

First off, each person on your team is their own CEO. They own their own business. They are responsible for their own success, time management, and motivation.

Yes, you should show them the ropes. Yes, you should be accessible. Yes, you should offer them a system to use. Yes, you should train them if they want your help. But keep in mind it’s not your job to save others or make other people successful in the business. That’s their job.

In the corporate world, people MUST listen to their boss, or they get reprimanded or fired. In our industry, you don’t have that same authority because you are no one’s boss. Therefore, all the time you spend trying to manage and motivate others is time wasted, because in most cases they won’t do what you teach them anyway.

What Most MLM Reps Do

Here’s what most people in our industry do. They sponsor three or four people and then they go into management mode. They stop retailing and recruiting personally, and instead try to manage and motivate their personally sponsored team to produce more.

They’re constantly answering questions, providing guidance, and checking in. They work around the clock to “support” their team. They create tools and resources for their team. They call their team members daily to see if they need help. They spend a lot of time “talking” with their team in Facebook chats or on conference calls. Most reps believe if they just help their team more, their team and check will grow. Not true!

Supporting and helping your team is important, but it’s not the best use of your time. You have a better option (more on that in a moment).

Why do people in our industry try to manage and motivate others? Most network marketers’ transition to management mode because that’s how the corporate world works. Managers manage others. That’s what we’ve been taught to do.

In addition, it’s a lot easier to manage and motivate others than it is to keep personally recruiting and retailing. When you are supporting your team 100% of your “work time”, you don’t have to get out of your comfort zone, talk to strangers, and experience rejection. That’s why so many reps LOVE managing and motivating their team.

Keep in mind, in this industry we are not managers. We are leaders. We lead a volunteer Army. No one must follow our lead. Our job is to lead by example and INSPIRE others by our own  personal example, rather than try and boss them around.

What Successful MLM Reps Do

This is what successful reps in our industry do:

Lead by example and set the pace for their team. They are the tip of the spear. They get in the trenches and stay in the trenches. They do the things they want their team members to do.

Create systems for their team to use. Successful reps provide a system for their new team members to follow. They explain what it is, how it works, and why the new rep should use it.

Provide training in a group setting. Smart network marketers work with EVERYONE (other than their top performers) in a group setting. Why? Because time is money. You can train 10 people in the same amount of time you could train one person.

Work in depth with the newest, most excited distributor. Successful network marketers work DEEP in their organization. They work with the GREEN, the new people. By doing that, they light a fire in the basement, and keep everyone else motivated.

Promote and attend events. Smart network marketers attend all events and promote events. They know that events are the “glue” in our business.

Keep retailing and recruiting personally. The most important thing you can do, if you want to succeed in the industry, is keep recruiting. Never stop your retailing and recruiting. Stay in the trenches and keep focused on those Phase 1 Activities. The day you transition to management mode is the day your business starts to die!

Yes, successful reps do manage and motivate others to a small degree, but it’s mostly through their systems, meetings, and personal example, not their one-on-one time.

mlm management mode

The Cold Hard Truth

Don’t make the mistake of wanting success for someone more than they want it for themselves. I’ve done that many times in my business and it never works out.

All the time you spend with non-serious, non-committed reps is time wasted. It’s much better to run with one than push or pull 20.

I would rather spend 10 hours working closely with a top producer each week than spend 10 hours trying to motivate and support, non-motivated people. The return you get on working with your one serious person would easily be 10x or 20x the return you get from working with the other people.

Remember, you are a CEO. You must work smart. Would the CEO of a large company work closely with non-producers, or would they spend their time with their top talent? We both know the answer to that question. Start thinking like a CEO if you want to build a big network marketing business.

My Mistakes

I’m guilty of trying to manage and motivate others in the past. I tried that for many years. I would have been much better off to keep recruiting and retailing personally and spend my time working with my top leaders, and working in depth with the new people. I’d still support everyone, but through my systems and group time. In fact, it wasn’t until I started to do those things that I became a six-figure earner.

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Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, I believe the biggest time waster in network marketing is working with the wrong people. Yes, we are a people business, but each person in our industry is their own CEO and is responsible for their own motivation, time management, and success.

The best thing you can do is lead by example, use systems, and work with people in a group setting. And whatever you do, never stop recruiting and retailing personally.

How about you? What do you think is the biggest time waster in network marketing? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!

Suggested Reading
  1. Time Management Tips for MLM Reps
  2. How to Work Smart in Your MLM Business
  3. 34 Ways to Get MLM Leads
  4. My 90-Day LiveGood Challenge
  5. My System for Building My MLM Business


chuck holmes


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

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3 thoughts on “The Biggest Time Waster in Network Marketing”

  1. I have noticed with myself, the biggest time waster is wanting my reps to be like me. I have big goals, and work daily to achieve them. Most of the reps I have signed have done little, or nothing. I need to recognize that not everyone is going to be like me, and not everyone needs to be either. This article has really helped me look inside myself. I am going to approach things differently.

    1. Been there done that. That has been my biggest frustration in network marketing through the years. I’ve always wondered how someone could sign up and then do absolutely nothing. The best advice I can share is to expect nothing from each person you enroll, but hope for the best. That way you are never disappointed. Plus, never want success more for someone than they want it for themselves.

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