What are the worst reasons to join an MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing also known as Network Marketing or Direst-Sales) company? Why do people join in the first place?
I'll start by saying that this is not a slam on an entire industry. But sometimes I set out to be purely informational in writing an article and other times its therapeutic to vent a little. In this case, I find myself somewhere in the middle of that continuum.
Much of what I have to say comes from personal observation as a veteran of an MLM business. I’ve run a reasonably successful business for 22 years. Truth is that for the past 10 of those years I’ve either been semi-retired from MLM or full-out frustrated by it for some reasons I'll outline here. There is your sneak-peak into my angle…but stick with me. Hopefully in the past 2 decades I have acquired some insight into the psychology of someone signing on with an MLM company.
MLM or Network Marketing has always been polarizing.
There is a lot of debate over its legitimacy as a business model. It’s been labeled by some as a Ponzi Scheme and an illegal pyramid scheme. Others claim It is the best home-based business. I’ve even heard someone make the assertion that it is” the salvation of free enterprise”.
Predictably, most outsiders (those who do not subscribe to MLM as a valid business model) will focus on the high failure rates, the unrealistic expectations of wealth, the predominant lack of any business skills or experience, and non-existent business plan among MLM company’s members.
In my opinion, they are overlooking the fact that it’s just an opportunity and not a guarantee of success. However, these are serious issues to address. Issues which are glossed over by most new members considering MLM.
I could write a book expounding on this topic but you may not hang around that long so I’ll hit the highlights.
First, I need to say that I think that every Network Marketer develops their own strategy based upon why they join their particular company. If they love the product and had a great result they will naturally share their own experience as a method to attract new business. Likewise, if they have had some measureable financial success then that will probably be their selling point.
Most people who consider MLM as a business have some appreciation for the product(s). Those who join for the opportunity to make money without a strong appreciation for the product are probably in for a bumpy and fairly short-lived MLM career.
Here’s a short list of the worst reasons to join an MLM company:
1) The Promise of Extraordinary Wealth (probably the worst of the worst reasons to join an MLM).
Let’s be honest though, this is why we work. Money! This is the motive for most people in their jobs or businesses. OK, well, maybe not the "extraordinary wealth" part... It’s more like the “I need to pay my bills” part. But its normal for someone to be looking for a way out of the rat race.
To the MLM business owner, it’s very easy to get on board with an expensive product (even one that you aren't absolutely crazy about) if it means the possibility of earning $5000, $10,000 or $15,000 per month. There is a least a small portion of each presentation that features "income potential" generally presented by someone who does very well.
What’s the Problem? For someone who believes they are really bringing value to their market there isn't really a problem. However, for everyone else, it is not possible that you will be able to effectively sell – or recruit others to sell – a product that in your heart you don't truly believe in.
It probably would be best for you to find something you are passionate about and can really believe in. Otherwise your integrity will be compromised and you will live a very conflicted life.
2) The Promise of an Extravagant Lifestyle.
This is very closely related to the first reason. Money is just the tool used for people to own things. When a person sets a monetary goal, it is really related to an internal image of how that money translates to lifestyle. Maybe it’s the hope of buying a home, having more time, or being able to travel.
Equating money with what it can purchase is completely normal and something we all do. The difficulty with becoming enamored with lifestyle is that the actual product (vitamins, essential oils, vacation packages, etc…) that your company is selling takes a back seat and sometimes the real product becomes the lifestyle itself.
Again, if you aren't into the product you will probably feel like you are spinning your wheels. The words you use will be betrayed by the lack of conviction behind them.
3) The Belief You Can Have It All - Within 12 Months - with No Experience, No Marketing Skills, and No Plan. All for Less than $100.
Whether or not you are onboard with your MLM company’s product, it’s a bad idea to set unrealistic expectations. Yes, I know they say they provide all the training. And yes, I know they say they have an absolutely foolproof, duplicable system. But the biggest variable is YOU!
We all the love the story of the underdog. Hollywood has made the "rags-to-riches" story very commonplace - it happens all the time - doesn't it? Plus, the fact that your sponsor is making 5 figures a month makes you believe it’s possible. All you need is tenacity, persistence, and a never-quit attitude. On top of all that they told us “Anyone can do this business”.
That statement is probably not true at all. It oversimplifies the equation. There are hundreds and quite possibly thousands of variables that someone is attempting to distill down into a single characteristic - that of a burning desire. This is clumsy at best and dishonest at worst.
It is unfair to attribute the 97-99% failure rate (depending on your company) into lack of persistence. Persistence is a key ingredient but it isn’t the ONLY ingredient.
Those individuals who are considering joining an MLM should evaluate and be prepared to develop all the areas that are needed to excel in business. Yes, persistence is vital. So be prepared to persist in developing the necessary skills. And after that you should start to develop the skills of teaching what you’ve learned to others.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe there are many reasons why people join MLM companies in hopes of succeeding. I didn’t intend to add fuel to the fire regarding the validity of Network Marketing companies or their products.
Wrapping It Up
I hope the biggest take-aways are to absolutely love what you are doing and have a passion for helping other. If your values align with your actions, you will tackle the obstacles that will surely arise.
If you’re passionate in providing value and solutions to your customers you should consider how the internet, social media, and the online outlets have reshaped how we reach out to each other. You may have the answer for someone but they need to know how to find you and you need to know how to find them. See the exact program I use to reach my customers online here.
I wish you success in your journey as an Entrepreneur. Avoid the mindset that’s found in the worst reason to join an MLM company. Take the time to learn the skills that will give you the voice and connect you and your message to those who are waiting to hear it. A good place to start is a Free 7-day Video series for Online Entrepreneurs.