MLM: Viable or a Loser? (Part 1)

One of my best kept secrets is that I am a MLM’er. I rarely talk about it. While my closest friends know it, the average person in my life has no idea.

I keep my business a secret, but not because I am ashamed of it. I just don’t want to come across as annoying and I don’t like selling things to people who I know. In that respect, I am like almost everyone else; and I am a poster child for the typical MLM (multi-level marketing; i.e. Pampered Chef, Tupperware, etc.) failure story. It does not take rocket science to know that the average person fails in MLM because they are bad at the skills MLM requires and they don’t like to do the things that MLM requires. If you are not pretty outgoing and can’t sell, you are almost certainly not going to make it. If you don’t like doing those things, you will not only fail but stay miserable at the same time.

What I just said is important so let me say it again. If you don’t have the skill set for a job and hate the job, you are not likely to be successful at it. That is why almost all MLM dreams end with a whimper (or a nightmare). Don’t ever let anyone tell you that failure in MLM makes you a failure. It just means you have another skill set.

Few other MLMers are going to tell you what I just said because they want to sign you up. They are going to talk about how adversity can be overcome with tenacity and other such nonsense. I am not saying they are wrong entirely but let’s just say that they are leaving out some inconvenient truth. Here is better advice: find what you are GOOD at and LIKE and then attack it with tenacity. That is the real way to success. MLM’ers do not have a corner on success. There are a lot of ways to make a ton of money.

Now that I just finished bashing MLM, I can tell you that I have made millions of dollars in MLM. Yes, you read that right. I have been involved in MLM since 1999 and while I don’t know exactly how much I have made, it is a lot. By the way, I am not talking about millions in sales or commission checks. I am saying that after expenses, the true profit that I pay taxes on has been millions of dollars. I have never made a million dollars in one year but I have made upper six figures in a single year. If you are wondering how a guy that admits that he does not have the skillset for MLM can be successful in MLM, the answer is this: I found a few ways to adapt. I am probably the most untraditional MLMer you will ever meet.

The reason I just told you my MLM income is not to brag. It is just to let you know that I know how to be successful in MLM so you might be more interested in listening and take what I say a bit more seriously. I am a somewhat rare bird in MLM: a successful MLM’er who sees both sides of the industry and will tell it honestly rather than just seeing everyone that listens as their next signup or customer.

Starting in the next post, I will start examining this question of viability, especially in today’s internet era. That last phrase is important. The viability of MLM in 1970 does not equal its viability now. It is a very different world. Go to your local town center and look for the local small hardware store. Likely, it closed during the last ten years because times have changed (and Home Depot probably opened a new store a few miles away). MLM is not immune from the same challenges that come with today’s business environment.

I will see you then.

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