It isn’t new…. people are always looking for something ‘better’ ‘newer’ ‘shinier’ and in the Network Marketing (NM), multi-level marketing (MLM) arena this is no different and it manifests in two different ways:

  1. The serial starter: those who are constantly looking at new or different NM / MLM opportunities and are seen popping up every little while with the next ‘best opportunity/product ever’ in their CV.
  2. Those who build seemingly very successful teams and businesses in one NM / MLM company yet decide to ‘jump ship’ to another company that they believe will give greater rewards. Sometimes it is just the individual Distributorship involved but often they take a large number of their downline (Team) with them. Creating an instant network and often ‘instant’ success in the new company, whilst often seriously disrupting the organisation and income streams of their uplines (those people above them) in the company they have left, and sometimes to a devastating level. Well, success in network marketing is, by design, built on the productivity of the network built, take away a substantial part of that network then the framework can easily become unstable and crumble.

Let’s take a look at those who fall under the first category, the serial starters.

Network Marketing may be simple, but it’s not easy. For many people the myth of fast success is constantly being fed to them by their Company, at MLM / Company events, trainings, all those ‘successful’ people who are ‘proof’ that it’s possible and all over social media.  And of course the vast majority of people starting in NM were essentially the ‘wrong’ people in a system that perpetuates the ‘wrong’ people being taught to recruit the ‘wrong’ people cycle as described here ‘Did you wake up in the morning…’  With no real understanding as to why it’s not working for them. For some it’s simply that they are ‘not doing enough’ – which may be true – but in an environment of one size fits all duplication it may actually be that what they are being taught isn’t right for them and ‘you’re just not doing enough’ is a fall back stance of upline’s who are caught up in the same cycle.

It takes time to build a stable and productive NM organisation not least because there is a lot to understand, learn and apply and then each person who joins the network has to go through the same process. No matter what is put out about speed of success the truth is that stable NM organisations / networks (and incomes) take time to build. But in the ‘Quick fix’ environment nurtured by NM companies and systems it is understandable that some people will believe the ‘problem’ of their lack of success is the result of the wrong product or wrong service, wrong marketing plan, wrong support or wrong company and because they understand enough to believe that NM will solve their problems, jumping to the next ‘right’ product, service, marketing plan, company makes sense… until … their experience is essentially the same. At this point some do take stock and work it out. Many just give up on NM and some go on believing that they just need to keep going until they hit the perfect product, service, marketing plan, company, training. And we all know what doing the same thing over again but expecting different results actually means.

Sadly it doesn’t take long for those on the outside to see this and credibility is lost quite quickly resulting in doors that once were open being gradually closed and then locked shut and the key thrown away.

For those in the second category, there is more logic. Learn all you need to know, make all your mistakes, do your apprenticeship, then move to a ‘better’, product, service, company and more rewarding marketing plan where you have all the tools, skills (and network)  in place to race up the marketing plan in your new company. In fact many of the top network marketers have been in other networking companies prior to the one the are known to be ‘successful’ in. This is a clear strategy, however there are some downsides, NM is a people business and unless you have been upfront about what you are doing, it can affect relationships, reputation and trust particularly with those people who invested their time and energy supporting and training you during your apprenticeship.

And what then of those who take their network with them? An instant success in the new company – it happens. However the downsides for the network (Team) they have left behind and the financial impact that will have on all of those in their upline payline can be devastating enough but it has an even bigger implication for the industry itself. Those pension-style, reciprocal incomes that the NM industry promotes so heavily and hangs its hat on are no more stable than the stock market. Some of those who have worked very hard to build their organisation and pension-style incomes can have large chunks wiped off over night. And let’s not forget that most marketing plans have at least a nominal ongoing productivity requirement to retain the benefit of the reciprocal income stream – which now may not be met by the remaining organisation – double whammy.  Ever wonder why people in NM very rarely stop working even when they appear to be earning very high incomes? The blow felt when whole teams leave one network to join another is the message of instability it puts out to the world. And what of success in the new company with the better products, better services, better marketing plan etc? It is no more stable than under the first company. Network Marketing, no matter which company, will have the same problems in a different guise. And what of the Success and position in the new company which has been built on bringing in a whole network rather than starting again one new team member at a time… why is this rarely shared and so many people lead to believe that those successes have been achieved as a result of hard work in the current company.   

So how do we overcome this:

1.Do your due diligence BEFORE you start in NM / MLM  Research and understand how network marketing works – the industry, the principles of an NM business, the companies and marketing plans and find out about the good, the bad and the ugly. Just as you would with ANY business or income stream.

2.Treat your NM / MLM business as a business. Look for resources and training that ensure you fully understand your market and how to reach it. Not just the trainings your NM Company offers.

3.Be clear on your own goals and whether the marketing plan of the company you are in can achieve this. Avoid basing any decisions on other people’s success and goals no matter how compelling they may appear.

4.Understand the risks and challenges in the Marketing Plan, Company, product, services, industry and put strategies, and contingency plans in place to get through these. ALL businesses have risks and challenges. Pretending they don’t or believing the hype will put you at risk and weaken your organisation

5.Focus on recruiting the right people who are like-minded, informed, and who approach the opportunity with a grounded, business-focused mindset.   

6.Create an organisation of strong independent businesses which is based on collaboration, resource, support, knowledge, autonomy* not hierarchy, power, secrecy, information privilege.  

By approaching  your NM/MLM business as a Business (with a capital B) you are able to be fully responsible and accountable for your development and success. By building an organisation/network of equal independent businesses who have been encouraged/expected to do their own due diligence and have autonomy over their goals and development – with access to the same resources and many more in a supportive and open environment that you nurture and facilitate. Building independent businesses in a way that truly aligns with your own life, experience and circumstances. No need for hype, searching for some magic, secret answer to success, or a better company, product, service, upline…. No need for the grass is greener…

When not motivated by other people’s success and methods and focusing only on making your business profitable to achieve your goals and in full knowledge of how to achieve it, even when things go wrong, and helping others to do the same on the same basis, the energy is very different.

One caveat here though is the idea of autonomy in NM. No matter how ‘independent’ the distributor / business owner is the Company will always be able to change the rules. Without any input or say from you. This has to be part of your due diligence and planning.      

Staying with one company and learning everything you need to know increases credibility and stability. Build a healthy relationship with your upline, based on mutual support and sharing resources – their relationship with the company is exactly the same as yours no matter how far up the marketing plan… and they may well have a different set of skills, experience, personality and circumstances and that’s great! You will complement each other.
If you do still think the grass is greener… remember, there’s no miracle, it still needs to be tended and mown and it may just have been paint sprayed…  

Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing. 

To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD,  Facebook  or check out the rest of this website 

Share This