Just in case you somehow have never heard of MLM or maybe you have, but just don’t really understand what an MLM company is, let’s start out by defining it.
Definition of MLM
MLM stands of Multi-Level Marketing. It is sometimes spelled slightly differently as in Multilevel Marketing vs Multi-level Marketing or Multi Level Marketing.
MLM is a marketing strategy used by some companies.
The basic idea is to have and use non-employees as independent sales representatives to sell products and or services as well as to recruit other people to do the same thing.
It is also referred to as Network Marketing by many and as Direct Selling by some – though direct selling can and does take place without membership in any MLM too, so it can get a little confusing.
How Multi-Level Marketing Really Works
Most MLM’s are marketed as business opportunities toward want to be entrepreneurs.
They offer the dream of owning your own business and of financial independence through their specific programs.
The idea is to both market and sell their products and services (which can be anything from light bulbs and toilette paper to legal services and everything in between) to earn a commission for your own sales and a percentage of the revenue generated by all those you recruit, and perhaps additionals fees based on revenue from their sales and their recruits too. This may go down several levels deep.
When you first hear about it and look at it – on the surface it can be very exciting and seem like a way to make a lot of money easily and quickly!
That’s the dream that keeps this business model alive.
Yet in reality, few people involved in MLM’s percentage-wise make ANY money at all above and beyond what they pay to join and stay themselves – and most of them don’t even make that back either. So it is more often than not a losing business model for the vast majority of participants.
Some estimate the failure rate as high as 99.25% or even more.
Let that sink in.
The very small percentage of those who do make significant money are usually those at the very top of the pyramid and often are the founders and organizers themselves. Most others in the organization lose.
How It Could Be Better…
The very first thing that could and should be the case with any MLM is that it needs real products and real services to offer that it really wants to sell – and that add value and for which there exists a market that needs, wants, and can afford said products and services.
Remember that for many MLM companies the only reason they have any products at all is really to try and skirt regulations and laws to avoid being shut down – and all they really want is more and more participants and to keep growing the pyramid into infinity – or as far as they can before it implodes.
Then they will just start a new one and repeat the whole pattern all over again.
To be real and offer real opportunities – that are sustainable and can last decade after decade after decade – there needs to be REAL products and services.
Next, they need to offer a SIMPLE compensation plan with limited levels – no more than three at the most – and two or even one would be better.
It should also be exclusive and limited.
There should be a cap and limit on how many people are allowed in at any one time. It may be 70, 700 to 7000 – or 700,000 or whatever it needs to be based on what is being sold to what niches and where – but it can never be an infinite number of people.
Otherwise, you destroy any real chance members/participants have of actually selling real products and services.
How to Build a Better MLM
Read all this again and learn from it all.
Then go to the FTC site and read their reports and briefs on problems that have occurred and are still occurring.
Google MLM lawsuits and other key search terms related to MLM’s and study those that have been sued into oblivion or otherwise have failed – and then look at the reasons why.
Learn from it all.
Set up a legitimate program based on real products and services.
Do not LIE!
Tell people the truth and that it is going to take information, training, work, and time to be successful, and that even then there are NO GUARANTEES!
Provide valuable training, coaching, and mentoring to help people do better continuously.
Offer a FREE Trial Membership – and let people see what you offer so they can make an informed decision about whether to proceed or not.
Do NOT make recruiting new members mandatory nor pressure any members into doing this!
Now do not get me wrong either – recruiting people can be a good thing for ANY company and referral fees and other fees can and should be used as incentives to do so, but only as long as it is open and honest about exactly what it is doing and how – and it is not excessively complicated with crazy levels and downlines. Keep it very simple and very transparent, and remember to keep the main focus on selling the products and the services.
How to Join a Better MLM
There are very few decent MLM’s – that is your first key lesson about finding one. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack!
Yet there are tons of crappy MLM’ s that will rip you off and waste your time if you let them – and they are so slick that it can be hard to tell the bad from the good.
Keep in mind that all MLM’s have rules and limitations that can be significant and can limit what you can do and how, when, and where you can do it.
Does that sound very Independent to you?
Not to me it doesn’t, and that’s another thing I do NOT like about most MLM’s – they do not pay you like an employee yet they seek to control you and treat you as though you are in so many ways more like an employee than an independent business owner.
They like to have their cake and eat it too – at your expense – whenever possible.
Years ago I joined a certain MLM – and nowhere did they make all their limits and control issues apparent – until after I had paid my money.
Then I was told you can’t market it this way or that way.
They wanted to approve any marketing that they did not provide – and of course, all they did provide (flyers, door hangers, signs, ads, scripts, etc.) all cost more money! What a load of crap – and something that they should have been very clear BEFORE people pay good money to join bad MLM’s.
Consider a Better Option and a Better Opportunity
Affiliate Marketing offers all of the benefits of an MLM but avoids almost all of the problems too.
In case you haven’t heard about affiliate marketing let me tell you a little about what it is and isn’t.
The idea is that you generate traffic (visitors to your content) and you provide useful information as well as include links to the products you choose to market. For example, this article you are reading has an affiliate link of mine included in it HERE and other places within the content too.
If you choose to click the link and then at some point decide to become a Wealthy Affiliate Premium member (paying vs free membership) then at that time I earn a commission. So long as you remain a paying member I will continue to receive a commission every time you make your payment I will get a portion of it.
This is a type of recurring commissions/fee arrangement that can be quite powerful over time.
There are also thousands of other things you can market too. Some of them will offer recurring commissions/fees and some will offer just a one time fee. For example, if you click an affiliate link somewhere and buy a membership or monthly service of some kind where you will be making ongoing payments for a period of time – there is a good chance the company will be paying recurring commissions to the person that created that content and link that caused you to make the purchase to begin with.
You can do the same thing as an affiliate marketer.
Think about how that works. Just for example, let’s say your links result in a $50 per month recurring fee to the company you chose to represent. Let’s also say their fee to you is 50% of that – or in other words – half of the amount paid per month is yours.
Not too bad right? You get $25 per month in this example for one sale.
But think about this – if you can produce more sales – that amount can go up far more than that. Every 4 sales is $100 per month in this example.
How many can you produce? Maybe 10 – maybe 100 – maybe 1000 or more – each times $25 per month. Do the math and begin to see the power and the potential of this business!
Other products offer a one time fee, and that is the case especially when the customer is making a one time purchase.
For example – let’s talk about solar panels. Let’s say you have a blog and maybe a YouTube channel where you talk about Tiny Houses and simple living.
Hugely popular topics.
Maybe you go out and interview people who are living in tiny homes of some kind and are using solar power. You do a walkthrough tour and interview and you show and discuss the solar system they used. In your content and below your videos you put your affiliate links and you mention that in your content and videos, that “if you are interested in getting your own solar panels or anything else we discussed in this video (article etc.), links are in the description box below…”.
By the way – this is where affiliate marketing began to really get my attention and interest.
Before I truly began to understand what affiliate marketing really was all about – my initial impression of it was not all that great.
I had erroneously just assumed it was something like MLM – and as you now know MLM is more often a bad thing than a good thing. So I looked at Affiliate marketing with extreme caution and suspicion too, and just assumed it was likely to be a scam just like most (99.25% or so) MLM companies are.
Though I had heard the term before and had a fuzzy idea of what I thought it was – it didn’t fully register until I was watching Bob Wells YouTube channel and reading his CheapRv Living blog... and slowly a switch flipped and the light bulb finally came on for me!
Take a look at his channel. Go to the description box below any video and click “show more” and scroll down. You will notice all his links there.
Now go to his blog – on the sides, you will see ads and links and find some in the content in different places too.
This is affiliate marketing in action. He is providing useful value-adding content and attracting readers and viewers, some of whom will click the links and buy some of the products.
There are tens of thousands of other people in every niche doing affiliate marketing too.
You can do the same thing.
You are unique and you have your own voice, your own personality and over time you will attract your own readers, viewers, and followers too. Not overnight, but over time – the numbers become cumulative and compounding if you keep at it long enough and keep working consistently to build your own business.
When someone clicks one of your links and then makes a purchase you will earn a commission.
These same principles can apply to any number of things – from food to courses, to diapers and memberships and anything else you can imagine. If it is being sold chances are there is an affiliate program you can join and get your links and then market it.
Another major platform you have already heard of is Amazon, (and Bob Wells uses very well!) which has its own affiliate programs. Amazon, as you know, sells almost everything you can imagine – and though they pay lower commissions percentage-wise than some others – they are huge. So if you can drive enough traffic it can be a good choice.
Even better – remember it is YOUR BUSINESS and no one is telling you what you can and can’t promote and market. That means you can sign up with several different market places and platforms along with individuals companies that have products you like – and you can market them ALL!
Even competing products.
Think about that, and consider MLM’s are NOT typically going to allow you to sell the competition’s products.
But as an affiliate, you are truly INDEPENDENT and you can (and I think should!) offer competing choices. For example, let’s say you do a review of a product – let’s say its a camera just for example, and even if you don’t love it – just say that – and tell your audience your honest opinions including the good, the bad and if so, the ugly too.
Then it’s up to them to decide.
Go ahead and still put a link for it in your content. Then you may list some alternative choices too of other camera brands and specific cameras and have a link to each of them.
It is up to the customer to decide whether to buy or not – and which one they choose is up to them too. Some people are going to look for more information on the things you talk about – even when you do not like those things – and some of them are going to buy the thing no matter what you say about it!
So why not get paid when they do?
If you do it this way then no matter which one they may choose you are still going to earn a fee if they choose any of them at all!
If you start your own affiliate marketing business it is your business. You are truly independent.
There is no babysitting or hand-holding though. You own your own business so you have to figure out how to start it, build it, and maintain it yourself or you will still fail.
You can try to figure it all out on your own if you like, though I do not recommend that route because you will waste a lot of time and money doing it that way. Still – it is an option if you want to do it like that.
Another option is to get some information and support to help you do better faster.
Luckily there are plenty of resources available to help you as you need them and as you want them. But it is up to YOU to go find them and use them if you want.
Some are free and some are paid training, coaching, and mentoring programs – and some have large and helpful communities who can and will help you too.
Just remember though – affiliate marketing is a business and it takes hard work and time to be successful – there are no real secrets though everyone likes to use the word to market their stuff.
If there was a secret it would be to find the specialized information, training, and support you really need and then to be willing to do the WORK over time that is necessary to build your business.
I believe in an integrated business approach that includes teaching courses, publishing eBooks, Books, Audios, Training Manuals, and providing other specialized products and information along with using Affiliate Marketing.
That’s why I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate myself and you can be too if you like.
Wealthy Affiliate is a membership that offers all kinds of valuable in-depth information, training, resources, support, and other tools and services as you need them. They include a certain number of free websites as well as access to purchase domain names through them. There are formal recorded training courses covering every aspect from beginning to advanced information you need to start, build and grow your own affiliate marketing business – and the same information will help you with any other business interests you have too.
You can join the Premium program on a monthly or yearly basis, as you choose.
Even better you can start out with a FREE membership and test it all out to see if you want to do it or not. If you want to join Wealthy Affiliate and get all the resources that are available there – AND – at the same time become a member of MY PERSONAL NETWORK and get my help as you build your own business then click the link below and sign up NOW.
When I first joined I started with the free membership too – and I was able to check it all out before I decided it was worth upgrading to Wealthy Affiliate Premium – and I am so glad I did too.
What I have learned has helped me dramatically grow my business and increase my income and continues to help me increase my income every month.
It is work, and it takes time – but if you do the work it will work for you too. In the end, it always comes down to the choices you make and the actions you take. Your business and your future are in your own hands – but you can get help if you want it.
Why not give it a try?
You have everything to gain and nothing at all to lose by trying the free membership – then you can decide if this is for you or not.
Whatever you do – NEVER GIVE UP on your dream of owning your own business and building a better life!
You can do it – it just takes work and time – and perhaps a little help here and there too.
Regardless of what you do, I hope this information has helped you and at least made you think.
I wish you all the best in all you do in business and in life!