How to Build a Walkaway Income in Network Marketing

Can you build a walkaway income in network marketing? What is a walkaway income and is it achievable? My goal in today’s post is to answer both of those questions and provide my own insights on the subject.

Let’s begin my defining walkaway income. In my own words, this is how I define it:

A walkaway income is an income that will continue to come in, month-after-month, year-after-year, for many years to come, even if you stop working. It means once you’ve created it, nothing will stop it.

This is one of the key talking points in many business presentations. You work hard for three to five years, and build up a large team, and then you can retire from your business (or semi-retire), pursue other passions, and continue to get paid. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Many reps in our industry talk about this concept like it’s the norm, yet many of these top earners have been in multiple companies in the past few years, or they are still working hard to MAINTAIN their team. I personally don’t like the idea of promoting our industry as a walkaway income, but many people do.

walkaway income in network marketing

Can You Build a Walkaway Income in Network Marketing?

Yes and No. That is my final answer.

It is possible, but highly unlikely for most people. Very few people, probably less than 1% of 1% of 1% achieve a walkaway income. Most people don’t make ANY money in network marketing, let alone build a walkaway income.

However, there are some people in our industry who continue to get checks each month for work they did 10, 20, even 30-years ago. While that income might be residual, it’s not normally 100% walkaway. More on that in a moment.

I have a friend in (company name omitted) that joined his company in 1999. He worked hard, part-time, for about 10-years and built up a $4k to $5k monthly residual income. Around 2008, he stopped working the business, yet he continues to get checks in 2022 (12-years after retiring)! That’s impressive. Yes, the checks have shrunk, by 50 or 60 percent, but the income continues.

I know of a man who (company name omitted) joined a large health and wellness company in the mid-1990s. His highest monthly earnings were around $20k per month. After about 10 or 15-years, he stopped building his business, yet for the past 20 or so years, he’s earned anywhere from $4k to $8k per month. Not bad.

There is another person in this industry, who I know and highly respect, who built a team of more than 1 million people, back in the late 1990s. He’s still with his company. He hasn’t done anything for many years, yet he still earns a substantial, six figure passive income.

These stories are the outliers, but they do show what is possible. And I’m sure there are THOUSANDS of other people in our industry in similar positions.

Why is It So Difficult?

As I mentioned earlier, building a walkaway income in network marketing is not easy. There are many factors that make building a walkaway income in network marketing quite difficult to achieve.

The first factor is PEOPLE. People are crazy, indecisive, and even unpredictable at times.

Assuming you’ve built a big team that doesn’t require much of your time, you’re still counting on the owners to stick around, not get in legal trouble, and not close the company. You’re also assuming that your key leaders, in your team, stay and continue to build.

Yes, both of those things could happen. You might have found the right company and the right leaders, but it’s normally not the case. Most companies go out of business. Most leaders change companies. Few businesses survive twenty years or longer.

Companies shut down. They get sued. Some companies are sold. They merge with another company. They change the compensation plan or change the deal. Sometimes the owners get greedy and transition from MLM to a direct sales company. When this happens, your income stops (in most cases).

If you want to build a walkaway income in network marketing, it’s important to:

Pick the Right Company

You want a company with a SOUND leadership team, proper funding, and a solid strategic plan.

Have the Right Products

The products are everything. They must be an excellent value to the end user, the customer. Ideally, the company should be product and customer driven.

Have the Right Systems

To build a walkaway income in network marketing, you must have the right systems for your team to follow. If you want to see an example of good systems, study those Amway distributors. They know what they’re doing.

Have the Right People

Not only do you need lots of customers, but you also need the right leaders in your team. You don’t need hundreds of good leaders, but you need minimum five to twenty solid leaders in your organization. You should have leaders backed by leaders.

When you’re first choosing a MLM Company, even if you do your research, you might not get it right. There are many variables.

Here’s some advice I found from a former top rep online. Quite interesting.

There are many reasons why I feel this way and all are based on real life examples. One is companies change. I don’t think companies like paying a million dollars a year to a someone sitting on a beach somewhere not doing anything to grow the company, so they change the compensation plan to include requirements to make these people “work”, hence no “walk away”. The company may go out of business or get sold, the product may have issues with a regulatory agency and people get scared and your team vanishes. One of your top leaders gets a signing bonus to move over to a new company and takes most of your team with them, then what? No walk away income and you are starting over. ~ Street Directory

Advice from a Good Mentor

What you see below might be the most important advice on this page. This is something a trusted mentor told me about this subject. I’ve paraphrased it since I don’t remember his exact words.

If you want to build a walkaway income in network marketing, you must find three to five people who WANT to work around the clock, lead big teams, and do their own thing. You must have a few solid, self-sufficient leaders who don’t need you to support or help them. This should be your goal when building a business: finding these people!

One More Tidbit to Consider

While most people focus on the BIG MONEY network marketing offers, I do believe you could build a modest walkaway income in network marketing by developing a solid customer base. If you can find and develop 20 to 50 personal customers, who absolutely LOVE your company’s products, which I believe anyone COULD do, you could have a nice $500 to $1,000 per month ongoing income that wouldn’t require much of your time.

While the $500 to $1,000 per month might not sound like much, it’s a decent chunk of change if it comes in every month, year-after-year.

Is it Possible in Other Industries?

You can develop passive, residual income in many industries, including network marketing. What I’ve found though is MOST passive income streams still require a little bit of work, to keep making the money. No, you don’t need to work much, but there will be basic things you must do.

For instance, my parents own storage units. It’s a useful source of passive income, but they still must shovel snow, plow the driveway, collect payments, and evict renters who don’t pay.

You could author a best-selling book that provides great passive income, but there’s a good chance you’ll still need to PROMOTE that book and go on book tours.

Even if you build up a good passive income that isn’t 100% walkaway, it’s still a good deal. I don’t know of anyone who would have problem working a few hours per month to help maintain a good passive income. Would you?


Walkaway income in network marketing is possible, but it’s not the norm. Some distributors have built massive organizations that have paid them for decades, long after they retired. Others have built smaller, walkaway incomes that continue to come in every month.

While most distributors earn nothing, those that put in the time and stick with it (in one company) are normally rewarded with a good passive income, even if it’s not 100% walkaway.

What you do is up to you! What are your thoughts about walkaway income? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

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chuck holmes


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

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6 thoughts on “How to Build a Walkaway Income in Network Marketing”

  1. It would seem to me that a walk a way income is what anyone and everyone should want. It is important that you get key leaders in your down line so this is possible. I would also go so far as to tell people that your desire is for the business to run without you. If they see that you trust them to manage the operation, they will be more apt to step up their responsibilities.

    I don’t think many network marketers actually consider the walk a way income aspect, so it is good that you wrote this post. I believe it would be a great subject of even a network marketing book. Hint, hint.

    Very good post Chuck. Keep the good stuff coming my friend!

    1. Even if someone never gets walkaway income, that’s fine. If you can build a steady income of just $2k to $5k per month that doesn’t take much time to maintain, that’s pretty significant.

  2. I’d have to say that the flexibility of Network Marketing was the biggest appeal for me. I really hated being tied down and stuck at my regular job and I wanted something that was going to allow me to live a more freeing lifestyle. Being able to make a steady income without being “stuck” so to speak has made me so much happier.

  3. This is an invaluable advice.

    I’ve never heard of the saying “three will make you free and five will make you rich.” The tip to remember is, build 3 to 5 leaders in your team and in each leg in your downline. Thanks for sharing!

    Most beginners are mislead to believe that they can create passive income overnight. But that’s not going to happen. However if you build your business the right way, and are persistent, you’ll gradually reach there. Or at least, you’ll have more freedom of time.

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