Width vs. Depth in Network Marketing: Go Wide & Go Deep

In today’s post, I’d like to discuss the difference between width vs. depth in network marketing and share some of my insights about the subject.

Network marketing is a foreign concept to most people. I would argue that most people who join our industry do not understand network marketing. If they did, they would get serious about it and take a different approach to their business.

Most people believe our industry is about finding a company with a product you like, and then selling that product to customers. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing that, but that’s not what network marketing is all about.

Network marketing is about a lot of people doing a little bit, not one person doing a lot. Rather than one person selling thousands of dollars in products each month, everyone uses the products and sells a few products. You get the leverage of a lot of people doing a little bit.

When you just focus on selling, you earn a linear income. You trade hours for dollars. Worst of all, you are limited to your personal efforts.

The real beauty of network marketing is the leverage you get through other people. You can still sell products yourself, and make some money doing that, but you also can earn override commissions from the efforts of others. If you build your team right, those override commissions will 10x, 100x, even 1000x your personal efforts.

width vs depth in network marketing

Width vs. Depth in Network Marketing

In network marketing, you have width and depth. In plain language, width is everyone you personally enroll. This would include the customers and distributors that you introduce to the products and business.

On the other hand, depth is everyone else in your team. It’s the people your referrals enroll, the people they enroll, and the people they enroll.

If you are a part-timer, or someone with a product focus, most of your income will come from your personal efforts. You will make the majority of your income from the customers and distributors that you enrolled. Why? You’re not focused on building a team. Instead, you are pushing products, and doing direct sales, not network marketing. It’s okay to do that, but just know it does have certain limitations.

However, if you are a leader and understand how leverage works, your real money will come from building depth. For example, you enroll 10 distributors. They each enroll a few people. Then those people each enroll a few people. As your team grows, you will have more people DEEP in your organization than you do personally referred people. This is the leverage effect in action.

As your team grows, you can develop a level two, a level three, a level four, etc. If you build your team right, each level will be bigger than the previous levels combined. That is the power of network marketing.

You sign up four people. That is four people on your level one. They each enroll four people. That is now 16 people on your level two. They each enroll four people. That is now 64 people on your level three. Can you see how powerful this is?

How to Build Depth

You build depth in two ways. First off, you can recruit a lot of people and let the cream rise to the crop. If you are a good recruiter, you can personally enroll a lot of customers and distributors. From that, a few serious people will identify themselves and they will go out and do what you did, which helps you build depth.

Your other option is to use a process called tap-rooting. This is where you sign up a few people, and then you go and work with them. You help them enroll a few people. Then you go and work with their new people. You repeat this process deep in your organization UNTIL you find your serious people. This process is simple, and it works.

Your Best Leaders Always Come in Depth

Your best leaders ALWAYS show up in depth. The odds of you enrolling your best people are quite slim. Why? The numbers work against you. If you personally enrolled 20 people and have 500 total people on your team, the likelihood that the best people will come from the 20 people, rather than the other 480 people, is quite small.

People lead you to people, who lead you to people, who lead you to people, who lead you to your first leader.

The Real Money Comes from Depth

The real money in this industry comes from depth, not width. The top leaders in our industry earn MOST of their income from levels four, five, six and DEEPER. This is a fact. Why? There are way more people on those levels than on the levels above them. I hope that makes sense.

The Magic Phrase

Here’s the magic phrase.

Width is for show. Depth is for dough!

In other words, sponsoring a lot of people will make you some money and give you bragging rights, but building depth is where you will make the big money.

You must build width and depth. You must personally enroll new customers and distributors. This will put immediate money in your pocket today. Once you have some people enrolled, you must work with them to help them succeed.

As you build depth, your income grows. It also “locks” people in the business above them because they now have a team and have something to lose.

If your business is wide, but not deep, you will have a lot of attrition and turnover. You will be a few months away from being out of business. However, when you have depth, and lots of it, your income is secure and stable.

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Advice from a Top Earner

Here’s a quote, and my take on it, from a top earner in our industry, about the importance of depth.

95% of my current income is currently generated at level five and below. ~ Gabi Steiner

This is amazing. It just goes to show the power of building depth in your team. If you build your business right, your fifth or sixth level should be BIGGER than ALL of the levels above it combined. How do you like that? Width gives you profitability at first, but the security and the big money in our industry comes from building depth.

quote about width in mlm


In conclusion, these are my thoughts about width vs. depth in network marketing. There are many ways to build your business. I understand many people simply want their business to be a side hustle. If that’s the case, just focus on finding and keeping customers. Have a product focus.

However, if you want leverage and big checks, you must build a team, and focus on building depth.

What are your thoughts about width vs. depth in network marketing? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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chuck holmes


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

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