Do Most People Fail in MLM?

Some make the claim, “Most people fail at MLM (Network Marketing).”

Who would make this statement? My guess is people trying to justify why they failed or never started.

If you looked at the statistics of how many people succeed compared to how many “fail,” you could draw the conclusion that most fail. Factually, the statement is true.

But why people act as though this is different than anything else is unknown to me, because the same could be said about anything people attempt!

According to the National Association of Real Estate, over 80% of people who get their real estate license quit in their first year – most never sell one home.

  • Most people who want to sing at the Opera fail.
  • Most people who want to play professional sports fail.
  • Most people who start a business fail.
  • Most people who want to play a musical instrument quit.
  • Most people who want to get into shape quit.

So while it is true that most people fail at MLM (network marketing), it is also true that a majority of people fail at every other pursuit!

If someone goes on a diet and exercise program and then cheats by eating things that are not on their diet program and/or by not exercising when they’re supposed to, can they really blame their “failure” on the diet and fitness industry?

NO! If a person fails, it’s because they failed, not the industry!

Having used that diet/exercise example, I will admit that if a person follows the program but doesn’t get results, then the program could have one or more flaws. But that doesn’t mean the entire diet and fitness industry is flawed.

The same is true with MLM (Network Marketing). If a person is trained and does everything they are trained to do but does not get results, the training could be flawed. But that does not mean that the ENTIRE MLM INDUSTRY IS FLAWED.

A similar claim: “The odds” of making big money in MLM are low.

This isn’t relevant.

If I want to get fit, what are the odds that I will?


That seems like an odd question, doesn’t it? What do “the odds” have to do with me getting off the couch and tossing the potato chips in the trash?

Trying to apply the odds of success has nothing to do with someone pursuing their dream. If someone wants something, they never look at the odds. Odds belong in gambling and stock trading. Anyone who achieves anything worthwhile actually beats the odds. Be one of them.

Recommended next page: Do all those levels of commission add to the price of the product?

Tim Sales

About the Author

Tim Sales

Tim’s experience in building his own downline of 56,000 network marketers helped him develop his signature training series. A public relations ambassador for the network marketing industry, Tim has also dedicated his time to debunking the false information spread about the network marketing industry.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

Patti Roney

It’s interesting how many people never actually work at this business and therefore miss the extraordinary rewards! Thank you for this article as this sadness…the lack of “going for it” is not about MLM, but about life!

Faye Clay

Brilliant explanation on the MLM business. My son was a success this year and lost weight and in his senior year in high school he developed the skill for guitar playing and continued on to organise a band and recorded an albun which his company sold it to Japan. Why did I think of this?–It is time for me to prospect my son for my YTB because he is a UF graduate and has been successful at difficult goals. MLM business equals owning your own homebased company and freedom to achieve your goals and work hard to reach them.

Doris Tompkins

I absolutely love this article. Some fail at tests because they didn’t study. Some fail at motherhood because they didn’t put in the time. I want people to know that all it takes is patience, perseverance, confidence and daily positive self affirmation. The ones that have made it to the top management levels have all of these qualities. You can’t fail if your attitude is “Some will, some won’t, so what, who’s waiting?”
There is always someone “waiting” for you to come along.


The truth sometimes hurt. People don’t have success because they approach this as a hobby and not a business. It does require belief, commitment and the willingness to be teachable.

Doug Lee

You will find articles or rather add copy that says, “This business is so easy, you can’t fail.” This article is refreshing because it tells it like it is, most fail, but only because they choose to.


I like the distinction that just because the training someone receives doesn’t yield results, that doesn’t mean that the industry doesn’t yield results.

I felt the ‘the odds’ paragraph wasn’t as clear as it could be – I had to read it over to understand what you meant.

Christina Bieber

I love this article. If you work you get paid. If you work hard and teach others you get paid more! Traditional jobs don’t pay you more for working hard and they don’t encourage you to be a team and help the team. Regular jobs are flawed because there are often employees who don’t work and they still collect paychecks. MLM systems work for those who are willing to do what it takes and get out of their comfort zones and take accountability for their success.


Ahh,how true this article is. It hits the nail right on the head. So many people jump into MLM dreaming of the money to be made and then sit back and wait for it to happen. The law of attraction also needs action. Inspired action. Combine the two,and watch things grow.

Kim Klaver

Way to go Tim!

You might add that unlike every other business, people recruiting you into it are not doing so by telling you how easy it is, and how any nitwit can do it, and that ‘all you have to do is X’ to make big money.

That is why the failure rate looks so dreadful. Because it is the opposite of what the old school recruiters and most of today’s leaders promise new people – to get them in of course.

Then they blame them for not realize it takes years, effort and money.

I will support you and this any way I can.

Dean Rittenhouse

Yes, this is absolutely correct. Most people fail at MLM… but everyone succeeds that is absolutely committed to their MLM success. If you are 100% comitted — not just interested, then you will succeed, because you will consistenlty do the activities and learn the necessary lessons, and develop the needed skills — therefore will stay on a successful path. “Success” in MLM is a process of being and doing – success is not a destination.

Steve Stearns

This business is easy to do and also easy not to do. Considering the fact that most people hate change, “not to do” wins out a lot. Learn to love change and you can follow your dreams.

Eileen McBain

This article is a treasure trove. It is chocked full of useful tidbits that can be used to crack open the blinds. Use it wisely, without judgment and with compassion and you will be amazed at the results. Both parties will have a pleasant experience.

Albert Watkins

Great article.

Rick Groat

Very True. 8 out of 10 businesses fail for various reasons. MLM is a business, if you don’t treat it as such it will fail.

Jennifer Valencia

This gives me determination to succeed. I don’t wanna be one of those that didn’t succeed & then later stays mad at the industry as if shifting the blame. It is my fault if I succeed or fail. Someone who makes this statement is just trying to make themselves feel better for not having worked to achieve success. They’re the ones that usually fall into the “Get rich quick” schemes. 🙂


I love this article, and thanks Tim I have been sending people to it like a madman, lol, keep it coming, glad to see Kim comment.

Michelle Street

As my son’s basketball coach used to tell his team, success takes dedication, hard work and sacrifice!!! I feel this to be true no matter what we are trying to succedd at.

Joseph Quinn

This is so “right on”!


It is so refreshing to hear how I can change things by changing how I look at things. Whether something is an obstical or an asset is often just a matter of how I am looking at it.

Destry Maycock

I abosolutely agree with your perspective on this Tim. So often people get involved in the MLM industry and treat it as though they had just bought a lottery ticket. They do nothing except sign up to be a distributor and expect to become wealthy by that simple act alone. Then they wonder why they never see a commission check. The fact is, MLM takes work and a willingness to educate yourself about the industy. The question isn’t “does MLM work?”. The question is “will you work it?”

By the way, thanks for this valuable website.

Kelly S.

Seems like MLM is a great way to hone one’s business skills to create success, not only in MLM, but in ANYTHING they might want to do in the future.


Great article! Great newsletter! MLM is no different than any other endeavor. It takes “guts” and determination. Anything worthwhile in life needs those qualities. If you want to succeed, you need to be teachable, too. Many are not; they prefer the “lone ranger” approach and then wonder why it didn’t work. The real bottom line is this: The naysayers don’t want to acknowledge responsibility for their own failure. MLM is not the problem. They need to look within and see the enemy is located there.

Gavin Chapman

Too much MLM is based on ‘hype and hope.’ It has given us a dirty name. And yet, when done right, MLM is the most ethical industry bar none. FirstClassMLM – as with everything else I have seen from Tim Sales – is hype-free and does so much to blow away the hype.

Valencia Burton

Ya! Not to mention, I know people that spent thousands on college, and lots of time, only to “failed” in that field, and are now doing something else!

Gavin Chapman

To succeed, it is fundamentally important to be teachable. To be really teachable by someone who you know can walk their talk. And to practise what is taught. And to practise at least a few hours a week for 12 months. And ‘practise’ means getting customers and finding others who want to do what you do and then showing them how to do the same. Show is always better than tell.

David Body, Durban, South Africa.

Thanks for another truthful page, Tim.
The only way to ensure failure in any endeavour, is to quit before you’re successful.
In MLM, if you keep doing the basics (sponsor, equip, let go) you will succeed.
As Robert Collier said,’Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.’


Finally! Someone who understands our industry is no different than any other business industry. You still have to put in the work in order to experience the rewards. But, Oh the Rewards!!


So true!! I’ve worked in directsales for quite a few years and most of the people that I trained failed because they failed to put the work in. They just expected to succeed with little or no effort and consequently dropped out…

Patty Jones

Another Hit!

Jacob Camacho

If you had a job that paid $ 100,000 you would not treat it like a hobby would you? I know if you want to make the kind of money Tim makes you would have to work really hard on your own MLM business.

Suzy Hayden

Wow… this is the best article yet! Our boys race motorcycles and are aiming at a professional career, another one is aiming at a professional career in music as a drummer. All of these boys are under 14 and we would never do anything to discourage their dreams stc. Yet very few will make it in their chosen careers. BUT what if they do!!! And with training, support and practice to get better they can maximize their chances and they will! Same thing. See the goal, get the training to achieve the goal and then do alot of practice to live the goal! Thanks Tim!!! Great article!

javed iqbal Pakistan

its a natural business, it follows all the natural laws of business.Tim if u could write an article like “similarities of mlm n other business”, it can clear so many missunderstandings,too.again a first class article. u r reshaping lives of hundred of thousands people round the globe.

Rolf Hefti

It’s about taking personal responsibility to make something happen. And if not…to NOT blame “outside” factors when one didn’t take the responsibility of initiating action. That would construe a “firstclass” person!

Mun Wai

This is so spot on!! The investment to start an MLM business is normally so incredibly low that most people do not really give it serious consideration … they just treat it like a hobby and ‘try’ to see if it works … most do nothing at all … and when their business does not grow, they quit!! I wonder how many people adopt this attitude in their jobs …

Arnold Liebich

I think you put things into proper perspective. To me your reasoning is sound.

Ada Ofodum

A persons experience in MLM is determined solely on the choices they make from the moment they join. I have always believed that we can choose success over failure. MLM allows ‘average’ people like me to choose to be successful. Thanks Tim, your explaination and this site will allow people to understand about focusing on success, not the ‘odds’

Nancy Combest

Great comparisons of failures in almost everything you do in life if you don’t work at it. Loved the “odds” comments. Fantastic web site, Tim. Thank you for all you do.

zia pakiatan

as usuall,tim you have succeded in showing true comitment to the industry by your professional approach,i apreciate your work, definetly you have great role in redefining the industry and helping it evolve faster ,
imposible…takes a little longer…smilez

Charles Nunez

Yes, a very clear explanation of business. I own a “traditional” business and a Consumer Direct Marketing business. The comparisons are so similar – it takes work in both to be successful. Time, effort and personal growth. Excellet reminder of business foundational training!

Lisa Willard

Great insight! I love the comparisons. Excellent reminder that life and business requires work and learning from mistakes. Thanks Tim!

Balbir Soni

I feel that the above said articals are quite right to all MLM persons. We should believe in ourselfs and start this business eithically. We should also have faith in outself. Second, thing is that we should learn that What are we doing? Where are we doing and When are we doing? So, above all MLM is one of the easiest methods to earn everything.

Chandigarh (India)

sachin birajdar

very nice my brother, there are many bad rumers about MLM on the net but from your article people will know the actual meaning of MLM

Karen Harris

You have the most absolutely practical way of looking at SO MANY concepts, ideas, and misconceptions! You blow me away every time. I’ll be linking to this site in multiple pages of my MLM Success Angels site!

MJ from Michigan

Very well put. The buck starts here and stops here. We are responsible for creating our future and defining our lives. Even Grandma Moses understood that.

Eugene from Pasadena

Wow! Tim, thank you so much for this great education. I am so excited to finally build my business in a professional way. Just purchased brilliant communicator, professional inviter, and the brilliant compensation (web version). Now it’s about me mastering one thing at a time, tackeling the things I’m not good at head on, instead of making excuses. Here is a verse from a song my son wrote that keeps me focused. “If the sky is the limit, why are you drowning in the sea?…”

Simon Koh

I am glad to add that I had tried every way possible to make fast money, from stock markets to football betting. The only business model that can withstand the test of time or the odds of failure would be MLM or referral business network based on honesty and integrity.
Those who criticise MLM are the people who love to be in the comfort zone of job security and contentment. They do not understand what it is like to have true freedom and independence from having a successful business network.
I have faith that MLM will always be the only business model and industry that will stand the test of time against any odds and political or economic or social or technological disaster.
I congratulate every one who loves your passion about MLM and let us make the world a better environment to live in.
God Bless You Tim & Everyone Here…

JIMMY empower

I agree very much to what Simon Koh mentioned. Thanks a lot to Tim Sales for putting this site for all of us to learn and direct our group in studying our industry.
To all networkers out there let this site be our guide in building our team.

Dave Thompson, Nashville, TN


Let’s talk about the odds of failing financially if someone DOESN’T GET INVOLVED IN THIS INDUSTRY! Only 1 percent of the people who make it to age 65 will be financially independent if they stick to tradition and work 40 hours a week for 40 years! I don’t like those odds, do you? That’s a bigger failure rate than MLM! Give me MLM anyday and get out of my way and let me create my own future by creating it myself and I’ll be happy! Besides, you have to actually attempt something before you can fail at it and most people don’t ever even give MLM a good “TRY” before deciding that it won’t work! So, in my opinion MLM doesn’t have as great a failure rate as the industry claims!

Dave Thompson
Nashville, TN

Stevie Buckland

I tried and failed miserably at mlm then along came the internet and now I love MLM!

uttam kumar

i know its the most profitable business in the world.


I think if any body success and want more honer then mlm business must need


Briliant explain


Awsome explain


I think MLM is honourable profession.


MLM is the most fascinating industry offering incredible benefits and opportunities. Unfortunately the real world is full of people who want everything on a plate and are not prepared to do what it takes to achieve success in anything. Those who really care for others and are prepared to coach them to success make a fortune via MLM.

Pobon patwary

MLM is the best profession in the world.If we want to be a successful person in this system-‘Do not quit’ because winner never quit,quiter never win.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required