Why Almost Everyone Fails at MLM

One of the most frequently cited proofs that network marketing (also called MLM) doesn’t work is the fact that 70% of starting distributors fail within a year. We list the 7 most important reasons why so many people fail in network marketing.

1. The half truth

It starts with what you are not told. The person who does the first interview with you (your sponsor) has every interest in painting the most rosy possible picture of your future, and the information is therefore often incomplete and not objective. You don’t hear how hard you have to work, what setbacks you can expect, what the most common customer complaints are, whether you need to pre-finance your orders, and other challenges that you may encounter along the way. Things that you often discover at great expense, that are demotivating, that you cannot (or do not want to) support, or that you simply cannot afford.

2. Too high expectations

Another often heard tactic is to pretend that ordinary people can become millionaires in a very simple way: you only have to recruit a few people, each of whom also only have to recruit a few people, each of whom also needs to recruit. … and so on, and in no time you will have a whole network of hundreds of people working under you, which will result in the most fantastic bonuses. Moreover, they say, you only have to work hard for 2 to 3 years to be indoors for the rest of your life. Granted, there are indeed people who achieve that, but the majority of them really need 5-7 years to do so, IF they succeed at all.

3. Too little information and homework

If I had known that… Your sponsor should tell and provide you with everything during the orientation phase, but even if he doesn’t, you still have the opportunity to do your homework. Ask for brochures about the products and the company; look very carefully at the compensation plan; also ask about the negative or difficult aspects of the business; and to references; spend a few hours on the internet and see what is being said about company and products; don’t be afraid to ask critical questions, the response often speaks volumes. Embarking on such a new adventure without thorough preliminary research (and really, it happens more often than not) is a direct invitation to disappointment down the road.

4. Insufficient support

Especially in your first year, support from the company or from your upline (your sponsor, and your sponsor’s sponsor, etc.) is important for the success of your new business. But the necessary training, information (meetings) or your sponsor may not always be within your reach, for example because you live eccentrically, or the company is still too new, or the website is still under development, or because it simply looks amateurish. go. Research this during the homework phase and discuss it with your sponsor. Also ask for your upline’s names and phone numbers as a fallback option. If you are not nourished by your sponsor in the first 3 months of your distributorship, keep knocking on doors in vain and do not know where to go with your questions, the chance of success is significantly reduced.

5. Own efforts

Time to look in the mirror… Many people treat their business as a hobby, and therefore only do something about it when they feel like it, or have time to spare, or only do the fun things. That in itself is not a problem, but don’t say later that it doesn’t work. It only works if you work too. That’s the case with any start-up business, and if you don’t treat the business seriously, you can’t expect to get serious results.

6. Finances not properly arranged

Another factor why many people give up after a few months has to do with money. Two heartfelt pieces of advice: 1. NEVER start MLM if you depend on it for your income. That simply doesn’t work. Make sure you have at least a part-time job or other regular income so you can take the time to build your MLM business. 2. Provide working capital. Whichever way you look at it, you will be faced with (start-up) costs. Even if you do not have to deliver products to customers yourself, or have to pre-finance them, it is advisable to have a fund for costs that are purely related to your business (gasoline, telephone, your first purchase, promotional material, etc.). .

7. Poor planning

Just as you get into the car without knowing where you are going, you don’t start a business without having made a plan. The most important elements that make up such a plan are 1. Objective: what do you want to achieve, 2. Planning: when do you want to achieve it, 3. Activities: how do you want to do it, 4. Resources: what do you need to carry out those activities? (budget and budget are also discussed here).


Even if you are convinced that MLM is a career for you, after a few weeks or months you may find that it is a lot harder than you thought, or very different from what you had imagined, or that basic things that you just don’t need to be there, or there is incredibly little support to help you set up your business. In short: you want to, but you don’t know how, and there is no one who can or wants to tell you. Such circumstances do not necessarily always apply to MLM as an industry, it may just happen to be related to the specific company or product, or this sponsor, or the geographic area you are in. But also be very honest and ask yourself how much you have really done about it. Despite all your good intentions, we are all human, and it is easier not to do something than to do it. Whether it’s laziness, or fear of failure, or laziness, or not doing enough homework beforehand, let’s realize that when we point one finger at someone else, there are still at least 3 pointing at ourselves…