Top 20 Lies in Network Marketing and MLM

Today, I want to share what I believe are the top 20 lies in network marketing.

The MLM Industry is hands down my favorite industry and type of business. Some people love it, while others hate it. There are many things to love and hate about the industry. It’s probably one of the most controversial business models around.

As I see it, there are lots of lies in the MLM Industry (there are in every industry). Some people tell these lies intentionally and others do it unintentionally, because they don’t know any better.

lies in mlm

My goal today is to help clear things up and share with you the truth as I see it. Please keep in mind this is just my opinion, based upon 16+ years in the industry. You may agree or disagree with me and that is perfectly fine.

Top 20 Lies in Network Marketing

Here are the top 20 lies in network marketing according to Chuck Holmes.

1.  It’s Easy 

No business is EASY to build. Drive through any town in America and look at all the closed down businesses and vacant office buildings. Most businesses in every industry fail. Network marketing is simple, but it’s far from easy.

It requires time, money, patience, a little luck, and lots of hard work, just like any other business. You’ll be shown what you need to do to succeed, but no one will build your business for you. You won’t just wake up one day and be successful.

This industry will be the hardest thing you have ever done, but it will be worth it, if you stick with it and build it big!

I’ve also realized that most people are not willing to put in the required work to become successful in the business.

2. Anyone Can Do It

I used to believe this, but now I don’t. You see, it takes a special person to succeed in a big way at ANYTHING in life, not just in MLM. Few people have the discipline, motivation, mind-set, or skill-set to succeed in MLM on a grand scale.

Heck, few people can stick with a diet plan, a New Year’s resolution, or even keep a marriage together. The people who make it big in MLM are the people who take the time to develop the right skill-set and mind-set AND the people who roll up their sleeves and actually do the work.

On a side note, I do believe that anyone could build up a $200 to $500 per month income in their MLM Business.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. The Hype, Lies and Pressure in MLM
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  3. The Five Biggest Lies in MLM
  4. Dealing with an Unsupportive or Negative Spouse in Network Marketing

3. You Will Have a Walk Away Income

The whole premise of network marketing is that you can build up a “walk-away” residual income. What you will quickly discover is that most top earners work even harder to MAINTAIN their big business than then did to build it. Yes, you can build walk-away income, but only if you build your business the right way. What is the right way? You must develop LEADERS in your team and a simple, duplicatable system for your team to follow.

If everyone comes to you with their questions and problems, you are doomed to burn out. If everything in the business relies on your expertise, phone skills, and knowledge, you will burn out, and never create a walk away income.

Your real goal is to build a team that does not need you or know who you are.

4. All You Have to Do is Work the Numbers

Network marketing is a numbers game. I don’t deny that. You do need to talk to thousands of people to sponsor hundreds of people to find a few quality leaders.

That being said, there are other factors as well, such as skills, mindset and even luck. There are many people in our industry who have sponsored 100 to 200 people and never found ONE serious person.

The real key to success is working the numbers, having a system, and getting duplication in your group. If you’re the only one producing, you are nothing more than an underpaid salesperson.

5. Your Friends and Family Will Support You

In most cases, your friends and family will be the HARDEST people to sponsor into your business. They will be skeptical and give you a hard time about what you are doing. There are a few rare exceptions for influential and successful people, but most people will struggle with their warm market. You have to realize that most of your friends and family are not entrepreneurs, nor are they part of your target market. Don’t take it personal. Many of these folks will eventually come around if you stick with it and build it big.

6.  You Don’t Need to Retail 

I can’t believe people actually teach this to their team members. One of the reasons our industry gets a bad name is because most people just focus on recruiting distributors. All businesses need customers and all distributors should have minimum 2 to 5 personal customers before they try to recruit anyone into the business.

That being said, retail should not be your ONLY focus. Network marketing is about a lot of people each doing a little bit. Rather than one distributor having 200 customers, you would rather have a team of 100 distributors, each with two customers. I hope that make sense.

7. Training Your Team is the Key to Success

Training is important. 98% of your team will need intense training and constant hand-holding. However, what no one tells you is that even with this training most people will not implement what you teach them and go do the work. What people really need is more MOTIVATION.

Plug everyone into your “group” training and spend all of your 1-on-1 time working with your workers. Also, keep in mind that your best people will take the business and run with it. They will come to you with questions, or when they need help, but they won’t require too much of your time.

8. Everyone Fails  

When you search the internet, many websites claim that everyone in our industry fails. I think that is a lie. The truth is people join our industry for MANY different reasons. Some people want to belong to a social club. Others simply want a discount on their products. Some folks want to earn an extra $200 to $500 per month. And a very select few want to make the big money.

To call everyone a failure because they don’t make a full-time income is a bit misleading. The truth is most people never get started and do what is required of them to be successful in the business. How can you fail at something if you never even gave it your best effort?

There is a HUGE difference between failing and quitting.

9. You Can Succeed in Any Company

This is a lie. Not all companies are created equal, nor are all opportunities worth promoting. Working with a ground floor opportunity is very risky, but can give you a great reward if things pan out.

Working with established companies is MUCH tougher, because they have already gone through their major growth cycle. You’ve come to the party too late. That being said, established companies are stable and secure.

As I see it, what you really want is a company that is fairly new, but 100% under the radar and pre-momentum. If everyone knows your company’s name, you are too late to the game.

10.  Only One System Works

Baloney. Study any successful person in our industry and there is a good chance they did not follow their upline’s system. Even better, look at their successful downline and you will see that they did their own thing as well. What you need to do to succeed is leverage your talents and abilities to your advantage. Find out what you are good at and focus on that.

By all means, have a system for your team and new team members to follow, but don’t neglect the things you are naturally good at.

11.  You Need a Good Sponsor

Having a good sponsor is a good thing, but it’s not vital. Plenty of top earners had a crappy sponsor, or had their sponsor quit, but they still succeeded. Ultimately, your success is up to YOU and no one else. If you have a good sponsor and mentor, count your blessings.

12. Old School MLM is Dead

Nope. It sure isn’t dead. Study the top earners and you will quickly notice that more than 90% of them still rely on old school techniques to build their business, not the internet. Old school methods might not work for everyone, but they are still proven to be very effective.

13.  The Internet is the Easiest Way to Build a Business

Building a business online is HARD to do. Just ask any of the millions of people who have tried it and failed. The problem with building a business online is there is normally a steep learning curve. It took me several years, doing it full time, just to figure it out. Few people have the time or money to figure out online marketing for network marketing. It’s very complicated for the average person.

14. Everyone is a Prospect  

When everyone is a prospect, no one is a prospect. All businesses have a target market. You have two target markets in this industry, one for your products and one for your business opportunity. Your target market for your customers is people with the desire and money to purchase what you have. Your target market for your business is other network marketers, entrepreneurs, sales professionals, self-motivated people, and people with a big, burning desire to change their lives.

15. Duplication is the Key to Success  

I hate this word. No one duplicates. If you’ve sponsored even one person you know that most people don’t do anything at all. Most top earners talk about sponsoring 100-500 people to find 3-5 quality people who build it big.

How is that duplication? The truth is most people on your team will do little to nothing at all, even if you help them. Most people won’t sponsor anyone, refer one customer or order frequently.

No more than 10-20 percent of your team will do anything on a consistent basis, and 90% or more of your commission check will come from the efforts of one to three people tops, even if you have thousands of people on your team.

16. You Must Attend All Events

Don’t get me wrong here, events are very important. But there is no purpose to go to an event if you aren’t willing to apply what you learn.  I know tons of people who spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars to go to an event, but when they come home they do nothing.

They don’t apply what they learned.  And when their excitement wanes in a few weeks they revert back to their old ways. Events are powerful and beneficial, but only if you are willing to take action and apply what you learn.

17. You Can Build a Big Business Working Part-Time

This is another lie. You can build a small and profitable business working five to ten hours a week, but if you want a BIG, six figure income business, it will take much more time that than.

Most top earners and successful distributors are working their business at least 30 to 40-hours per week, and some work it up to 80-hours per week (the people without a job).

You can build a small business of $500 to a few thousand dollars per month on five to ten hours per week, but that’s about it. And even then it will take you a few years to get it up to the few thousand dollars per month level, at that pace.

18. Most of the People You Recruit will Stay and Duplicate

Most of the people on your team will quit in their first 7 to 90 days. Most people who quit will do so within one week of joining. Most of your customers will stick around a few months and then fizzle out.

It’s just part of the beast. Normal attrition can be anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent each YEAR. Even with these high attrition rates, you can still build a very big team.

19. It’s the Best Business Model

I love this business model and I think it’s best fit for me, but it’s not a good fit for everyone. Everyone is different with different goals, talents and abilities. Some people will do much better with a franchise, a traditional business, or just sticking as an employee.

20. You Don’t Need to Be Good At Selling to Succeed 

When you own a business of any kind, you are a salesperson. Even if you aren’t retailing the product, you are selling the dream of financial freedom. It would be in your best interest to study selling and learn everything you can about it. Mastering sales will help you get better results in this industry. Yes, most people in our industry call it sharing, but if you can’t collect a decision and close your prospect, you will fail.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are the top 20 lies in network marketing as I see it.  I hope you have enjoyed the post and I hope you learned something from it.

What are your thoughts? What do you believe are the biggest lies in network marketing? Leave a comment below and let us know.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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19 thoughts on “Top 20 Lies in Network Marketing and MLM”

  1. Ah, the numbers game. If that’s all it is then people are missing the point. Yes, any good salesperson needs the number, but each person with whom we cross paths has to be the number one VIP for each and every interaction. Also, friends and family are always going to be skeptical. Branching out is key! Good post!

  2. Network marketing works and it’s down to earth practical as life itself that gives no room for any mistakes. That’s why many simply tell lies to succeed instead of working through the realistic road to real success. Thanks for exposing the lies……

  3. It really is a misconception that friends and family will be the easiest sell. Friends and family are generally very hesitant to get involved in your business. I think sometimes their hesitance is seated in fear that if something goes wrong in the company or if there is a disagreement, then the personal relationship will fall apart. I have heard other people suggest that they feel like family and friends are hesitant because they feel like they are just being used as a convenience. Honestly, I find it easier to stick to generating leads and prospects that I don’t know personally at first. Less drama and a lot easier.

  4. I simply cannot believe that an MLM prospect would be told that they do not need to be good at sales to succeed at network marketing (your number 20). That IS the essence of network marketing, whether it be selling a product, selling an opportunity for others to join your team, or just selling yourself. Could you imagine the agony any of that would cause for someone who is truly shy? No, this is not a business for introverts.

    1. There are some top producing introverts. When it comes to being good at sales, it really boils down to being likable and being able to talk to people. You don’t have to be good at retailing, but you can’t be afraid to make a friend or stick your hand out and say hi.

      1. I also think that there are a lot of unscrupulous recruiters out there: ones that are looking at short-term goals for themselves, and who are willing to say anything to pull people in under them. I have heard almost all of these lines pitched to me; especially the lines about MLM being easy and that anyone can do it. Understandably, the recruits that are lured in with false expectations are the ones that leave the quickest.

  5. Chuck, you need a big commendation medal for being honest and posting these lies. It is those in the MLM industry that tell these lies that have made it difficult on the honest, hardworking ones. I love #1, it isn’t easy, but is any kind of business? The key is: if you like what you do, no matter how hard, it will seem easy.

    It amazes me anyone would even state #9. Of course the MLM company you join matters. I don’t think I would get anywhere selling MaryKay products. For the most part, MaryKay is a female MLM.

    #20 is a laugh too. You have to have sales ability. MLM is all about sales in one form or another.

    This honesty award goes to the manger of the blog online MLM community! Great post!

  6. There are definitely some shady people in the MLM Industry, but I agree that there are good and bad people in every industry. I’ve always believed that being open and honest with people was the best way to go. What goes around comes around!

  7. It’s really sad that so many distributors do shady things and tell lies. It might tempt their prospect in the beginning, but I’d bet that it always comes back to bite them in the butt.

  8. Jennifer Koebele

    I agree with Marianne. There is so much misinformation about MLM out there that when you find someone who tells it like it is, it’s a relief. I think one of the biggest myths is that you only need to put in 5 to 10 hours a week to make it work. People want to believe there is a magical formula that doesn’t require effort. Yet the magic comes from taking the business seriously and investing the proper amount of time to making it grow.

    1. If you’re only willing to invest five to ten hours to make it work, you can still build a successful MLM Business, but it will take you many years longer to achieve success, compared to investing 10 to 20 hours per week or more.

  9. Marianne McKenna

    How refreshing to read an honest assessment of MLM and network marketing business. I really enjoy your articles!

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