In the 15+ years that I have been involved with network marketing, the number of people that come and go never ceases to amaze me! Sometimes it looks like a revolving door.

On the plus side, thousands of new people discover network marketing all the time. They have always wanted to start their own business and are attracted by the huge earning potential of MLM. Or they need a part-time source of income. Or maybe they’ve gotten caught up in the huge, never-ending corporate layoffs and downsizing that seem to be a permanent part of the new information-driven economy. They see network marketing as a way to escape the rat race forever!

Whatever the reason, they are entering this industry en masse. And that’s good news for you and me!

However, on the downside, most of these people flounder for months, or even years, like a fish out of water, never really figuring out how to make network marketing work for themselves. They buy too much into the hype and half-truths that seem to proliferate in MLM advertising, expecting huge incomes in just a few months without much work or investment.

Unfortunately, some of us continue to promote this image of network marketing even though we know it’s completely false!

Perhaps that explains why so many newcomers believe that all they have to do to be successful is just send a bunch of spam emails and the money will pour in!

I have spent a lot of time and effort showing newcomers to my downline the kind of work necessary for success. But too often, these newcomers pay little attention to it. You’ve seen all the ads that tell you that you don’t have to do any work, that a certain program pretty much builds itself, or your upline will give you lots of indirect profits.

They don’t seem to understand that this is a business, not a chain card game. And too often, this is partly our fault. Some of us are so eager to hire new distributors that we tell them anything.

So our newcomer to MLM can run out and send some hype and anonymous emails to a cheap list and then wait for the money to come through.

When nothing happens, our unhappy newcomer decides that “the program doesn’t work.” (How many times have you received an email from MLM with the words “This really works” in the subject line? I get them all the time.)

That starts our newcomer on a frustrating journey from one MLM program to another. They can join 5 or 6 at a time on the theory that at least one must work! They can sign up with a sponsor who promotes the “show of the month” and participate in everything new that comes out. It never crosses their minds that “programs” neither work nor don’t work!

What works or doesn’t work is your personal success system. A good network marketer can make a great income even in the worst of programs, with the poorest compensation plans. But the best program in the world is not going to work for someone who doesn’t know how to be a successful network marketer and business person!

Some of these people finally learn how to be successful. It is usually only after wasting a lot of time and money. Unfortunately, most people eventually quit in disgust and go out and give network marketing a bad name to their friends and family. And that makes it even harder for the rest of us.

How many prospects have you talked to who tell you that their best friend “lost his shirt” in one of those “MLM pyramid schemes”?

Contrary to popular belief, it takes training, education, and investment to become a successful network marketer. No doctor was born with the knowledge of how to practice medicine. No successful network marketer was born with the knowledge of successful recruiting and downline support.

Network marketing requires knowledge of effective marketing techniques, salesmanship, and basic business skills. If you are doing it online, it also requires computer and internet skills.

On top of that, it requires the ability to work with people, the ability to follow a plan, discipline, and ongoing investment.

Fortunately, with proper training, none of this is very difficult to learn. We hear a lot about “duplication” in this industry. And that’s really all about duplication: learning effective techniques, using them, and teaching your downline to do the exact same thing.

As professionals, it is essential that we pass that on to the downline we are building. I’m tired of seeing so many newcomers go through the revolving door. And I’m tired of hearing people refer to our business as a “pyramid scheme.”

Network marketing is a wonderful business. Almost anyone can learn to do it effectively and profitably if they are taught and if they have the desire.

It offers average people the means to earn a large income without a large initial investment. (But that does not mean that it does not require investment). And it offers us the personal freedom and time to pursue other goals in life, unlike most corporate jobs.

This is the real message we should be sharing with prospects, not the hype that abounds online. We can sponsor a few less people. But I suspect we won’t be patronizing so many people who come in and out of the revolving door giving our business a bad name.

(c) 2004 by Linda J. Bruton

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