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Can you really make money in MLM?

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Multi-level marketing statistics show that more than thirteen million people in the US are distributors for an MLM company. It’s more than $100 billion US dollar industry. So even if it is the minority who make money in MLM, it is a fact that people do make money in MLM. Click here to read about some of MLM Top Earners. These few may know how to manoeuvre the challenges of MLM, or they just lucky. About seventy percent of the distributors work part time and most of them are ladies. I think ladies trust other people easier than men.  99.9% of distributors make less than 150,000 US dollars per year. Mostly the 0.1% is made of the marketers at the top of the chain.

Only about ten percent of people who go into multi-level marketing (MLM) make money from it. The rest lose their investment. Mostly because they don’t have what it takes to excel in MLM. There is no shortcut to it, to excel in MLM one needs above average social skills, the ability to influence people and command a following. If you are an introvert this is not a business to engage in. The reason behind ninety percent failure rate is because; the barriers to entry are almost not there. With these, we have huge number easily joining and most of the new entrants also exit the same way. If you invest too little in a project, you don’t feel the pinch of losing your money, and there is no motivation to work hard. Others just join to please their friends or relatives, and that is no motivation for a competitive business.

There are a lot of wrong, limiting beliefs about MLM. Most people have this idea that MLM is a pyramid scheme and illegal.  MLM is a legal business model that most companies have used succeed. Unlike a pyramid scheme, which is a game of money, and where the gain of one is the loss of another, MLM is a direct marketing tool, where people sell legitimate products to needy customers at a fair price. Although there are some bogus schemes that introduce a cover up product to lure the public to believe that it’s a genuine MLM. MLM relies heavily on the entrepreneur building a good network of people who can multiply his effort in distributing the same products and recruiting new distributors, and the entrepreneur earning a small percentage from this network. The more persons the entrepreneur recruits the higher his earnings from the sales of the recruits

Also MLM is not a get rich quick scheme. Anyone with that intention will get frustrated. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and planning to make money in MLM. Also called network marketing, MLM is just like any other business model. You can’t just sit at home and expect money to find a route into your bank account. Most people who have been successful in MLM set aside some hours of their busy schedules and look for customers and way to promote their business. They network and create a team that will propel their growth and success.

A friend whom I met selling forever living products built his portfolio for more than three years. He was always on the move looking for new clients to buy his products or join the network. He had a deep understanding of how the products work. In short, he was a good sales man for forever living products. At the end of the day he was able to earn a living from his side job.

Another major criticism is that, eventually the market of MLM products saturate, and marketers are left with nowhere to sell their products. This depends on the marketing strategy of the company. If the company is not supportive in marketing their products’ as quality and affordable, support their marketer with enough training, then no number of networked marketers can change their fate. The product market will definitely be saturated.

At initial stages one has to really do through research.  Make sure that the products have a genuine market, and what support mechanism the company will provide. Most of the companies do through training on the product usage and availability. Just as any other business model a SWORT analysis must be done. Know all that you can about the company, its products and market target.  Just joining an MLM network just because your friend has introduced you is a sure way of failure.  There are a lot of opportunities in MLM but you have to find just the right one. Something that you really believe it addresses a specific need in the society.

So to conclude, making a direct sale of a product is more profitable and has high chances of survival than MLM. Therefore to succeed in MLM you have either to join when the company is starting and work hard to build a network. Make sure you have a lot of distributors under you. This will result to more than 50 percent new recruits, are on your network. If this option is not viable, then join an MLM company that pays more commission on direct product sale, than number of recruitments you have. That is an MLM company that is closer to direct sale.

For long term successes in MLM choose a company that has a product that makes a difference in the society. A product that the company offers discounts maybe on quantity or cash discount basis.  A company that gives enough support to the products, and uses MLM for distribution of its products. Then you will have a chance of recovering your costs from the profits you make in product sales and commissions received, and if you are able to recruit members, more commission.

Make a business plan and do your research properly. If you can’t use the product you are selling over and over again, why do you think others will? Look for products that can easily sell to targeted consumers. That are of benefit to them and they will buy them over and over again. In this way you are sure of making money on two fronts. That of margin from product sales and recruitments of members.



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There is one thing that is common with billionaires, self-discipline. The ability to do what must be done. If they commit themselves to saving a certain amount of money every month, they do that no matter how they feel. They are able to sacrifice their personal wants like partying every weekend, to ensure that they achieve their objective.

Making money needs a high level of self-discipline. But don’t worry if you have low self-discipline, because it’s a skill you can develop by practice. They say it’s like a muscle the more you train, the more it grows, and everyone has a starting point. It does not matter how much you make, if you lack discipline with money you will always be living from one pay check to another, almost buried in debt and the accruing interest and with no savings.

So this is how to get disciplined with money

  1. Eliminate the object of temptation.

Always having available cash to spend, be it in credit cards or liquid cash, increases the chances of impulse buying. You will never be able to stick to your goals if you walk around with excess cash and you have low level of personal discipline.

Am not saying that cutting off expenses is the way to make money. But spending without a plan is a sure way of staying in debt. Everyday anticipate your expenses and just have enough to cover those expenses.

If you have low self-discipline avoid credit cards as much as you can. Avoid the situation of buy now pay later. This will enslave you to debt and credit card interest. You will always be living beyond your means thus spending a future income that you have not earned.

  1. Save first and spend the remainder.

One sure way of saving, is to ensure that you are paid net of your savings. That savings are deducted from your earnings automatically before you receive them. This will eliminate the chances of spending all your earnings in paying bills. There is a lot of will power needed in saving, unlike the temptation of indulging yourself in unplanned expenses.

Therefore pass the risk of making the decision to save to someone else. Let your employer automatically deduct and remit a part of your earning to your SACCO, or have a standing order with your bank to remit money to whatever mode of saving you have.

  1. Write down your goals and pursue one at a time

Someone one told me that “If you pen it, you will think it.” So write down your goals. What you want to achieve in the long run and short run. Strategize on how you are going to achieve these financial goals. As you know if you fail to plan, that is a good way of assuring yourself a fail.

Pursue one goal at a time. As pursuing many goals at the same time is draining, especially to people with low self-discipline. For example, if your goal is to get out of debt in two years’ time, increase your savings and increase investment. Start with discontinuing the many credit cards you have. You cannot quit drinking by drinking more. The same way you can’t get out of credit by borrowing more. With the reduced spending ability, you can focus on repaying the debts. After that you can think of increasing your savings. But you can’t achieve the two at the same time. That will overwhelm you. So pursue one goal at a time until you develop the muscle to tackle multiple goals at the same time.

  1. Think before you spend

If you want to gain that financial discipline and freedom, you have to think before you spend your hard earned cash. Estimate your future expenses and never over estimate your income. Before you spend ask yourself:

  • Can I do without this item of expenditure?
  • Am I buying this to make others happy, or because of outside pressure?
  • Is this item worth this much or can I get the same at a cheaper price?

This will make you cautious on what you are buying. Sometimes you can get an item at much lower price, in other not so prestigious shopping outlets. Always make sure you use your bargaining power. It will save you a couple of dollars that cumulatively is a lot in savings.

  1. Focus on your success not your failures

Definitely you will fail in achieving your plans more than once. That is life; it has a way of beating the hell out of us. The secret is in focusing on your success and moving on past your failures. You overspend today, that does not mean that the whole plan has failed. Dust yourself and move on. You only fail, when you don’t rise up and try again.

Remember I said that financial discipline is like a muscle. The more we train it the better we become in controlling our finances. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Celebrate your achievements and learn from your mistakes.

  1. Put up control systems

For company to succeed in cash control they rely on the strength of their internal control systems. Also an individual can put up control systems like budgets and weekly reviews to see where you are going wrong. You can use the envelope system, where you separate cash needed for every expense item in your budget. This will go a long way in ensuring that you don’t over spend in one area, and you don’t spend over your earnings.

Control systems ease your decision making. They help you in analyzing your financial activities and pointing where you are going wrong. Establish a system and stick with it.

The above ways to financial discipline are not the only but if you follow them, you will see that change that you desire in your finances. Am again not promising they will be easy to follow but the rewards are worth the effort. It’s not that billionaires were born billionaires, it’s how they spent their hard earned cash to improve their net worth.


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According to Wikipedia Multi-Level Marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for the sales they generate, but also for the sales of the other sales people they recruit.

Multi-level marketing has faced a lot of criticism. Most people take it as a pyramid scheme, where the final result is loss of money. To add up to the list, there is a high start-up cost as sometimes you are required to buy a start-up kit. This start-up kit may have products that you don’t really love or believe in them, but you have to buy and sell. Other companies are involved in price fixing and give greater incentives for recruiting members than actual product sales.

Unlike pyramid schemes where to make money another person must lose, multi-level marketing is about selling genuine products to persons who really need them.  There are a lot of companies that use this model of marketing, and they have empowered a lot of entrepreneurs.  Many of the people who run “home business” are in this type of marketing. From testimonies of those who have been successful in MLM, they started MLM to support their incomes from their nine to five jobs.

Also known as Network marketing, the distributors make money by commission from their sales and sales of persons they have recruited. The more people you recruit the more commissions you earn, if they make a sale. This leads to another criticism, the complicated nature of calculating the commissions.

Some of the very top MLM companies in the world are:

That is only 10 of them! There are 100’s of MLM companies out there. The top distributors and earners in MLM monthly income can range from $95,000 a month all the way up to an astonishing $1,300,000 a month.

It’s a good way of making money for retirement, if you treat it as any other business. Most of the people who do MLM first do on part time basis. The most reasonable approach is to not leaving your nine to five job, but running your MLM business along your main job.  Slowly transit form your main job to MLM. But don’t treat it as a hobby, take it serious and have a plan.

With chances of making money through multi-level marketing being very slim, for anyone to make money through multi-level marketing he has to consider the following factors:

  1. Quality of the products on sale.

The basic fact of commerce is that you cannot make money selling a poor quality product. The company must be selling quality product at a fair price. Also the prices must be competitive in comparison with the competitors.

For you to sell a product you must believe that its quality and can solve a certain problem in the market.  The base is that you earn commission from the sales you make and the customers must be able to buy again and again if you are to make money.

  1. Are you a good sales person

To make money in MLM you must be good at connecting with people. MLM is all about building a network of distribution of a product. If you cannot connect with people you have no business in MLM. You must be able to ask your customers for referrals, communicate on new developments, be a leader by example and motivate your recruits. The most important skill in MLM is people skills. The ability to understand people needs and solve those needs with your products.

  1. Hard work

There is no easy money in MLM. You just have to invest a lot of time and sweat.  From organizing meetings, to follow up on existing and potential customers. You also have to talk about your product to all that you meet. Make people know what you are selling, and make them believe that its quality and competitively priced.

  1. Never sell what you cannot deliver

Just like any other business, MLM grows on reputation. Honesty is key. The more people can trust you the more products you sell and the easier it is to sell your products. The biggest mistake people do in MLM is deceiving and manipulating others to gain that quick money at the expense of the business as a whole. Business depends on repetitive sales and no one can return to buy your product if the first sale was a lie. Also referrals depend on the honesty of your sale speech, so make sure you tell the correct facts.

  1. Be reasonable and patient

What makes most people give up in MLM is the expectation to get rich quickly and easily. MLM is like any other business model. It takes time, effort and experience to make it to the big leagues.

Patience will also help you in being honest with your customers.  Make them understand from the word go, that it will take hard work and patience but eventually they will make money.  This will avoid short term frustration and increase dedication. People will be able to trust you and be willing to go the extra mile to make a sale. Always remember that it is the ability to make a future sale over and over again that translates to huge profits.

Have a one on one with those who have made it in MLM. They will tell you of their humble beginnings, time, and dedication it has taken to reach the top.

  1. Have a business plan

Am saying it again, MLM is like any other business. You got to have a plan on how you will do your business. What is target market, what your source of capital is, and what are the estimates of revenue and expenses.  This requires you to do extensive research on your product and market. You cannot succeed in MLM if you don’t take it seriously and put enough effort.  Do your initial research on the company and make sure that they pay more incentive on selling their products than on the people you recruit. With these you know the company believes in the quality and usefulness of their products.

Review your plans monthly or after a certain period and adjust according to the reality on the ground. But remember you have a goal to attain and only strategies change towards that goal. This will enable you to know when to quit or put more effort, or change product and companies.


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Benefits for working for yourself

There are always a lot of limitations when working for someone and you expect a pay at the end of the month or after the agreed period. In fact, you have sold your time to your employer, eight or whatever number of hours you are working for your employer, and all you can do is engage only in the activities laid out on your job description.

The pay is always not enough, as most of employers pay just enough to cover your opportunity cost. That is, they pay just enough for you not to change jobs keeping you away from greener pastures.  You may have observed that most of the employed are in two jobs or more, or have other side projects parallel to their nine to five jobs.

In fact generation Y no longer put up with an employer for more than 3 years. Unlike their parents who stayed with one employer for their entire adulthood, and their reward was climbing the corporate ladder and a handsome retirement package. Their chances of being wealthy were really slim.  But this is no longer the picture in our current economy.  The recession saw most employees laid off with nothing much to keep them afloat for more than two months. Most left with their mere savings. That’s when being an entrepreneur, or a freelancer, or a contractor became fashionable. I have listed down the advantages of working for yourself, but the list is longer. What I love most is that:

  1. It’s really rewarding

Nothing is more rewarding than getting paid for work well done. Being sure that the better the quality or the more the input the greater the output. Unlike when working for someone, where rewards are not related to your input but to the contract you signed. The best your employer can do after working hard and achieving beyond average, is give you a good recommendation or good performance in job appraisal.  Here your hard work and burning of mid-night candle is rewarded by increased cash flow and recognition in your industry. There is a direct relationship between your hard work and success

  1. Flexibility of working hours

Being self-employed you have a chance to decide when to work. If you prefer early morning hours you can work from 4.00 am to 10.00 am and decide to indulge in other activities the others hours. No one dictates when to clock in and when to leave the office. The only control you have is that which you set for yourself and what the client wants. If you sleep late at night and spend your afternoons basking in the sun, no one cares. With this kind of system you can work when you are best motivated to. You can easily plan your schedule and accommodate all important stuff in the 24hrs that you have in one given day.

  1. Ability to run multiple projects at the same time

For there is no fixed working hours, self-employment gives you the ability to work on more than one project at a time. You can wake up early in the morning and deal with one project. At mid-day go supervise another project and in the afternoon go back to your office and do another task and still allocate time to go to your son football game. The backlog will be compensated by working late at night.

That’s the reason freelancers are able to make a lot with the same 24 hrs as employed masses. When they learn the art of delegating and using their time to the maximum. Their time is always occupied by multiple projects and they are never dull. Unlike in employment where your activities are dictated by your job description and relationship with your supervisor.

  1. A character builder

Self-employment comes with a lot of challenges. Before a small business becomes stable, you have to deal with bad debts, build customer confidence in your brand, and experience negative cash flows amidst other challenges. This makes you learn to be disciplined, plan your expenditure, be patient and sharpen you people skills. Also the requirement that you wear many hats, that is, be a marketer, debt collector, accountant and secretary of your business makes you an all-round person.

My friend started an IT firm and it made him read a lot of books on how to run a business, labour rules and regulations, be attentive on tax matters and a lot of other things. Even if his business collapsed within three years, he is not the same guy he was when he started that business. He now has more respect for all small business owners. He is street smart and has more avenues of making money than before. He has developed a thick skin for risk and has more avenues for raising capital.

He learnt more about himself than he ever learned while in employment. All the experience he got while trying to put one foot in front of the other, made him learn what he is good in and what he is pathetic in. He learned what he can do with his free time and above all what he is worth. Now if he falls back into employment he clearly understand his opportunity cost. That is, the highest he can make on his own, is the lowest he can agree to be paid in employment.

  1. Job security

With competition increasing every day, job security is an illusion to those who are employed. You can be working in a big corporation and you are good in what you do. All of a sudden a you recent graduate comes with a better way of doing your job. Or your boss messes up with the company financials and within two months the company is bankrupt.

That gives you another reason to start up you own enterprise. The market forces will always keep you on your toes. If you keep up with the change, you will always have a client.  The more you are on your own, the more goodwill you generate and the better job security you have.  Referrals from clients you impressed will always be coming in, and nothing can beat that in terms of job security. All it requires is you being good at what you do and keep up with the changes in the industry.

  1. Freedom

I woke up on a Monday morning with a terrible tooth ache and I called my supervisor to inform him that I couldn’t make it. To my surprise, my supervisor demanded that I check in before midday and with evidence from the doctor that I was treated. That was all I needed to start up my own side job. It dawned on me that I had no freedom to do as I please. I existed just to serve my master, and nothing mattered apart from my master’s needs.

Now I have a family, and I can’t imagine asking for permission to attend a special event or even take my daughter to the doctor. All I do now is delegate my duties and go be with my family, or wake up early and attend to my pressing duties, and join my family later when they need me. This is a pack that you can only enjoy when self-employed.


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It’s not just a coincidence that the wealthy share more than one habit. Our habits determine our success in all areas of life. Let me first explain what a habit is and then correlate with making money and building your wealth.

According to Wikipedia,

“A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. What defines us is what we do over and over again.”

For example if we abuse drugs over and over we become drug addicts. Also if we train on a particular skill we become experts in that field. All successful athletes have a set of skills that they train on. So it is the same on making wealth. There is a set of habits, that successful wealthy individuals have and I will discuss them as follows:

  1. Appreciate the value of time

The old time mantra that time is money, has truth in it. Time is a resource and therefore it is limited. Wasting time with activities that add no value will not make you wealthy. You cannot waste your time in social media, going over your friend’s photos and commenting on how awesome they look and add a dime in your account.

Develop up a habit of waking up early and engage in activities that have a potential of making a difference. Most successful people wake up early and plan their day. They need that extra minute to be able to accommodate their a thousand and one activities. You can never be late for appointments and, or entertain others who are late for their appointments with you. Make people understand that you value your time by respecting their time. If you accumulate the time you spend on waiting for others to show up, its time you would have indulged in earning a dollar, or reading important materials.

  1. Accumulating knowledge

The rich have another common trait. They read a lot, not really for pleasure but mainly in their areas of interest. If they want to invest in a certain industry or project, the read all they can in that area. Unlike the poor who spend their time watching TV and other form of entertainment.

Some of my personal favorites are Grant Cardone, Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and Napoleon Hill. These guys are real masters in their fields and have motivated millions over the years!

Read on self-improvement, how effectively to run your life and achieve more with the limited resources.  Apart from having an active brain, reading improves your confidence in your area of study. Knowledge is something that will come in handy in decision making. It will also enable you in relating with other professionals or experts in your field.

Therefore develop a habit of reading in your area of interest. This is time well spent. You are able to learn from other people experiences and also avoid the mistakes others have done, in pursuit of excellence.

  1. Goal setting and planning

If all corporations worth their salt have five years plan, current year plans and budgets, why do you think you can do anything without a plan? For you to have a sense of direction, focus and control, you need a plan. Without a plan, your mind is easily tossed around every thought that you think will make you money. Develop strategies to attain your goals.

Make a habit of reviewing your goals after a certain period. Make a to do list every day and review at the end of the day how much you have achieved, why didn’t you achieve and how you will achieve more in the future.

Don’t just approach a day without knowing what you want to achieve at the end of the day. This will make you accept anything that comes your way; all results to you are satisfactory. Rather approach your day with a purpose and you will find a reason to say no to certain activities that derail you from your goals.

  1. Learn to say no

Most of the time it is required of us to help our loved ones achieve their goals. But this should not be at the expense of not achieving ours’. Remember all activities take up our time, and if they are not in alignment with our goals and objectives we should say no.

But saying no, it makes us seem selfish and uncaring. It’s not as easy as said. It takes a lot of discipline to say no. But this will save you a lot of stress and most of the time saves you a relationship. Remember time is limited and also time is money. So if you cannot fit someone’s request in your schedule just say no. Or else you will find yourself in a tricky position if you fail to do so.

Remember each and every time you agree to someone’s request you deny yourself or someone else something. It’s a trade; mind the cost of accommodating each and every person request. It will leave you with no time of focusing on your own goals.

Learning to say no is a matter of setting boundaries. Am not suggesting that you say no to every request, but never say yes when you know that you not able to accomplish that request, without suffering a huge blow on your plans.

  1. Taking risks

Taking risks is all about exit from your comfortable zone. It becomes easier every time you ditch your comfort zone and risk your resources. No matter how little the gain is, this will certainly boost confidence, don’t you agree? Most of professionals in their forties wish they would have trod the less traveled route in their careers.

Our brains are wired to overestimate worst scenarios. This is a protective mechanism that ensures our status quo is not harmed. But successful people are always risking their status quo to attain a better life.

Taking calculated risks every time improves their average chance of success. That is, if one project fails and twenty others are successful, on average his success will outweigh his failures. Most of us are endowed with great talents and abilities but we fear quitting what we do to engage our talents and abilities. We choose to stay with our current employers and comfortably earn a pay check other than engage our entrepreneurial spirt.

What makes life interesting is moving from our comfortable zone and trying out something different. It not only enriches our life experiences but sharpens our skills, abilities and confidence.