5 Surprises A New Network Marketer Will Find

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Image by Farconvin

Know about network marketing? Let’s go back- waaay back to Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay or Amway. These may have been your first experience with network marketing.

Of course, network marketing companies have become much more sophisticated since then and there are thousands of network marketing companies out there to choose from.

Most people get into a network marketing company to make money or supplement their income.

We all know of those who have become instant successes making loads of money in a short period of time.

Although that is not the norm, it does happen.

Now don’t get me wrong…we ALL have the potential to make that money and go to the top of the network marketing food chain, but the average every day person probably will not.

There is a 80-20% rule being thrown around (which I don’t really believe in) that 80 will fail and 20% will be successful.

But here’s how I feel about that 80-20% rule. If 20% will be very successful! Hooray for them! But why can’t we have a better success rate in network marketing?

Why? Because that 80% is usually surprised by a number of things they are not prepared for when they are first introduced to network marketing.

People don’t like surprises and this, I think, discourages more than half of that 80%.  The other 40% will just not work it like they’re supposed to for various reasons.

This article is to educate potential and/or new network marketers so that you can prepare and educate yourself which will arm you for success.  It’ll also help network marketers who have been struggling for a while.

Here are the top 5 surprises that a new Network Marketer finds when they join a company.

1.  Network Marketing Is Time Consuming

Whether a marketer is recruiting, retailing, talking to people, or traveling to events to show their products, time is something that is required.

If your network marketing business is just to make a little money, eventually you can get worn out from all the running around that’s required.

When I started out some 6-7 years ago, I was very successful, pretty much immediately because I got out there and worked every week-end.

I had a regular job, yes, and on week-ends (every week-end; all 4 of them, each month, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), I was on the move at someone’s house doing parties, retailing and recruiting.

I made a ton of money, but was so tired it became an effort. Good thing I enjoyed it, interacting with people, showing my products…loved it and learned a lot about myself and how to work with people.

Now it’s a little different with the Internet.  You just have to learn how to build relationships and not spam.  It takes time and it takes effort.

It is not a quick and easy fix.  Even after being online successfully working the business, it sometimes seems easier to me doing face to face.

2.  Network Marketing Is An Energy Drainer

People get tired of all the running around, i.e., traveling to events and talking to people. Before I brought my network marketing online, I literally wore myself out going from state to state to show my products and recruit.

One of the reasons I came online was to reach the masses without traveling, but Internet network marketing is a different animal and requires a different set of skills, including patience and perseverance.

I realized that I could reach more people if I learned to work the business the right way online. Now I help people learn how to recruit online.

3.  Network Marketing Is Really A Business

Many people who join a network marketing company don’t realize that it’s really a business and this accounts for part of the high failure rate.

It is a business (which more and more people are aware of now), but they are not aware that running a business requires certain skills and these skills must be learned and applied to be successful.

4.  It’s Hard To Make Money in Network Marketing

Yes, it is and it’s somewhat of a surprise to many people who join a network marketing company. They are surprised that they are not able to make money right away or keep it going after initiation.

They are surprised when they come online and start spamming people and dropping links that that is not the proper way to work.  It’s about making relationships and that means you might have to say ‘hi’ first to the person and get to know them before to ask them to join your company.

People are drawn by promises of making much money fast and it can happen, but it still requires a great deal of work and finding the right people.

But network marketing is no different than any other business opportunity, brick and mortar, or MLM. It requires work and special skills. See my post How To Find Leaders For Your Network Marketing Team. 

5.  There’s Always A Glitch In The Compensation Plan

I’ve joined two network marketing companies before I finally settled on the one I’m in for the last 6-7 years. I’ve evaluated compensation plans in over 20 MLMs.

ID-100252036I am always surprised by little nuances in compensation plans, that could quite frankly, keep you from making the money you were told you could make.

Even though I was surprised by these nuances, it always pissed me off too.   Surprises like this can certainly discourage people.

I remember one company when according to what I had been told (I didn’t know enough about it yet), my expectation was set that I would receive my first check of about $1000.  Worked my butt off that first month. The first check was $24!

When I called them on it, I got some convoluted explanation of the compensation plan.  I read that comp plan and it didn’t give those details!  Surprise! Surprise.  Needless to say, I didn’t stay in there long.

There should be no surprises in a compensation plan. Many people join to make money – pure and simple.

The expectations set by recruiters should always be honesty and integrity when it comes to the money, else your efforts at recruiting will be for nothing as you will lose more people than you retain.

Six months into my current network marketing company, I snagged a young woman who knew the ins and outs of the comp plan and spent hours going over the details until I knew it as well as she did.

This knowledge definitely helped me to train my recruits effectively as they made money almost immediately.  Realistic expectations were set ahead of time on what they would make based on the comp plan.

They could teach others and I’m sure that is why both of my teams grew so fast.  They learned how to make that money  and both lines blew up!

This helped me build a team of 900 in the U.S over a 9 month period and an international team of 300 in Papua New Guinea in 3 months!

So How To NOT Be Surprised When You Join A Network Marketing

  • Educate yourself about Network Marketing. Understand that it is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ plan. It takes hard work, perseverance, business skills, time and patience.
  • Understand that an MLM/Network Marketing is a business (usually run from home) and needs to be treated as a business. See Bullet #1 again. 🙂
  • Set your expectations to reasonably making money. Unless you’re a frigging rockstar, you will likely not make a million dollars in one year or make thousands of dollars in a few months like so many claims you see on the Internet or hear from others. Not that this can’t be true. I was one who did accomplish this phenomenal feat, but it is more the wish, and not the norm.
  • Understand there will be lows and highs in your network marketing company.  You can build a great number of teams which will fluctuate, i.e., sales and recruits going up and down in numbers.  It is a natural process and you need to be prepared for it; not surprised.  Just know it’s natural and don’t get discouraged and keep it moving.
  • Know your Compensation Plan ins and outs, backwards and forward. It may take time, but it will be worth it to understand exactly what you need to do to make that money and pass that on to your recruits.

Have you been surprised when you joined a network marketing company?  Have you made any money in your current MLM or are you waiting for something to happen?   What were some of the things you were surprised about?

If you’d like to discuss how to bring your network marketing recruiting online, I offer a free 30 minute consultation.  Would love to hear from you.   Sign up to the right and I’ll be in touch to set up an appointment.

Cheers and Happy Networking!

Motivation and Inspiration For All
Motivation and Inspiration For All


  1. says

    Hi Barbara,

    You really tell it like it is and it is so important for network marketers to know! I know that feeling of being “promised” and come to find out the compensation plan wasn’t how it seemed.

    I had my share of network marketing years ago. I did it by “boots on the ground” and did shows. Yes, I did make some money, but the problem was the person who signed me in was like a spammer. He had me running around doing parties, taking my business card and bothering people at the supermarket. It just wasn’t my style.

    I do believe that Network Marketing Works! But as you mention….it is a business. When looking at it from that approach, you are in it for the long term. First, make sure that the person bringing you into that business is a good trainer (like you are) Understand it will take time, but learn learn learn!

    Taking it on to the internet is another learning curve. I’ve seen people do so well, when marketing it correctly. No, you won’t make a million dollars in six months, unless you are some kind of superstar, but it can be done.

    Just like any other business, it requires a good learning curve, patience and persistence.

    donna merrill recently posted…Thank You To Some Amazing BloggersMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Donna,
      Wow, I think everyone was originally taught that style of network marketing. Many still teach that method of running around and doing shows. Many network marketing companies are built on it. It comes from old Tupperware and Mary Kay and the some of the original network marketing companies. That’s how they made their money. But it was built more for fast cash, than long term term team building. Therefore the burn out is as quick as the cash and eventually dies down. So I understand when people say they no longer do network marketing.

      However, I feel I’ve learned a smarter way to do network marketing. Teaching and helping people develop skills and marketing strategies and then helping people understand business and how to run one is the key to success. Doesn’t really matter what business it is, if you know how to ‘run’ a business in general. That is the key to success.

      Thanks for your comment Donna.

      Be well.

      Barbara Charles recently posted…5 Surprises A New Network Marketer Will FindMy Profile

  2. says

    Hey Barbara,

    That’s why 80% of them fail because they don’t know all that you’ve shared here or they realized it was a heck of a lot more work involved then they cared to do. As you said, it’s work and this is a business so if you’re not taking it seriously then why would anyone want to join you.

    I’ve joined my share of network marketing companies. I admit probably not knowing the compensation plan better than I should but that never seemed to be the issue. It was with the training and my upline not being supportive that totally turned me off. You can have the best product in the world but if I don’t have the proper training and support then I’ll go find it elsewhere.

    Now I know it’s not their responsibility but you have to research this and you have to find the right help! So my issue was always don’t promise me you’ll help me and then abandon me as soon as I sign up and you’ve gotten your darn money. I have no darn clue what I’m doing people, a little direction would be nice. LOL!!!

    Yeah, I’m probably one of those you wouldn’t want on your team but the thing about me though is you just tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it. Otherwise I won’t because I seriously don’t know what to do.

    Okay, enough of my little rant. Sorry but that’s just been my personal experience and I’m sure I’m not alone. I only wish I had gotten with you way back when. I think we would definitely both be in a good place!

    I wish you the best because you are definitely someone people need to get with. You’ll show them how this is done.

    Adrienne recently posted…How To Build A Popular Blog Especially If You Are NewMy Profile

  3. says

    Hi Adrienne,

    I do understand and I wish that so many people did not have bad experiences. You are so right. It is truly about teaching a strategy and supporting your people. I think what made the difference for me was that I *did* have that support. I was taught right from the beginning. I guess I was blessed that way. I had leaders who cared and worked with me and helped me get through so when my very first experience was like that, then I became that same type of leader. Unfortunately, most, I’d say a good 90% are not like that.

    I also agree that many fail because they don’t know the level of work that needs to be done and those same so-called-leaders are failing their recruits in this too. Truth has to be told about time invested, no just money invested and then you run with the money.

    The level of disappointment with this industry is incredible and network marketing has such a bad name, but I’m hoping to change that. Even as I’ve decided to talk about network marketing, I see less traffic to my site, but I’m hoping that my persistence in helping people understand it will make it better.

    Anyway, I wish we had gotten together earlier myself. 🙂 We would have made an awesome team!

    Hope you are doing well. Talk soon.

    Barbara Charles recently posted…5 Surprises A New Network Marketer Will FindMy Profile

  4. Dee Ann Rice says


    I admire you that you have been such a great success in network marketing.

    I have been in network marketing a couple of times and did not make a success of it as you have.

    I still think about going back to it. When I did it before I was single and spent every spare moment doing it. Now I am married and not sure I could spend that much time now but really miss it.

    I may have to take you up on your consultation see what you say about making money. I would have to have a new mlm also.

    Really interesting post.

    Dee Ann

    • says

      Hi DeeAnn,

      Thank you. Network marketing is not always easy and we definitely need support among our members and leaders. I’m sorry you did not have success but I did join 2 other companies before I found what I needed.

      I was blessed in each one with good leaders and that is the beginning of your success. Although you are married now, the goal is to find leaders yourself, train them and provide them with what they need to build a successful team.

      If you’d like to chat, hit me up on Facebook and I’ll be glad to discuss with you about making money. You might find my MLM interesting and if not, I can certainly give you an honest opinion on some others and what would fit for you.

      Let’s chat. Have a blessed week-end.
      Barbara Charles recently posted…How To Lower Your Alexa Rating In 30 DaysMy Profile

  5. says

    Hi Barbara,

    Surprises??? Talk to me about them!!

    I really was hit with most of the surprises you mentioned here and the lack of support and lies from my upline got me in lots of trouble with the customers and the team members I recruited.

    After joining and finding out that the support they promised is not there, I tried to move on on my own. I tried to read a lot about network marketing online but I was overwhelmed and reading through the company training, it is all the old methods of marketing that is outdated in the presence of the internet. Trying to take it online, I was restricted by the company in so many ways until recently, I decided that network marketing is not my cup of tea. I now shifted my focus somewhere else.

    I wish I read such a post before joining any network marketing company and I so much wished for a sponsor like you, I would have done much better for sure. I am not blaming anyone, but the network marketing business without the support, especially at the beginning is very hard and risky, especially in my case, as it was a services-based company, not a product-based company. But I believe things happen for a reason and I found my opportunity somewhere else.

    Thanks Barbara for a great educating post and I hope whoever would like to join a network marketing company will read these valuable information. Have a great weekend ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted…GIVING As An Effective Leadership Habit To Develop!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Neamat,

      I’m so sorry your experience was not so great. Unfortunately, that is the case many times with people joining a network marketing company. So sad, but true.

      And I’m finding that the lack of support is one of the biggest reasons for failure. Even for myself, I sometimes feel that I need the support of my upline, but she is not as engaged as she was before and the others won’t even answer my calls or respond to me anymore. They are all doing there own thing. If I started bringing in millions of dollars, then everyone would want to be my friend again lol!

      But it’s o.k because I know what I need to do but it takes time for people to get there. I did as you did and read about network marketing and talked to everyone. I learned the good, the bad and the ugly and then tried to avoid that and work towards the positive.

      I’m so sorry we did not meet before, but it’s never too late! 😉 Network marketing strategies are still a great way to start a business. If you ever decide otherwise, please look me up. I’d be glad to talk to you and I promise you would always have my support.

      Things definitely do happen for a reason, but always be open ’cause we may never know when we need network marketing again. 🙂 I know this for a fact.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I wish you much suggest in your new opportunity. You’ll have to tell me about it one day. 🙂

      Have a great week.
      Barbara Charles recently posted…The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Stories From A True Network MarketerMy Profile

  6. says

    Hey Barbara,

    The truth will set all of us free! You really nailed it when on this subject manner. A lot of people, including myself some 6 years ago, are promised that all we need to do is recruit 3 people, then each of them recruit 3 people, then each of those people recruit 3 people. Sounds easy right? But why do the majority of people that get into network marketing fail?

    Well you said it right here in this post quite a few times. Everyone that gets involved needs to treat this business model as a business. It does take some work and those that do the recruiting I believe need to stop putting up a front as if it’s that easy. It times time, dedication, and working smart to do this. Also you must be prepared to “build character” because for must of us that join, our friends and family aren’t going to be that supportive. They’ll look at it as that “pyramid thing”.

    I love the fact that a lot of network marketing companies talk about personal development, but I also believe they should talk about marketing and sales much more than they are. At least from my experience.

    Thanks Barbara for sharing this and I hope you’re having a great weekend!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…The Frustration Of Not Having Enough Time For BloggingMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Sherman,

      Thanks for stopping by and yes I had a good week-end! Thanks. You and Sue both have said the same thing and that is network marketers have to stop telling people that it’s easy. Recruiting should really be telling them right from the jump that it’s hard work, busy work. They should be telling them what kind of people to look out for. They should be telling them how to start their business from getting an Tax ID to expenses to how to run a business to recruiting. That may save people money and that is a way to keep people interested in the business. There has to be some benefit for folks in network marketing, particularly when the economy slows down or when people are out of jobs or people are going through life changes that may slow them down.

      In addition, you’re right…it’s about personal development as well and if that is not a part of your business, it may not work as well either. Very good point.

      Thanks for your valuable comments. Hope you have a great week.
      Take care,

  7. says

    Hi Barbara

    I love your this post because it is the truth and yes every new net worker should know the truth.

    I think part of the reason network marketing has such a bad name is because people are misled. That whole get 3 or get 3 type story is just rubbish.

    I love network marketing as a model but it takes work and time just like any other business.

    Thanks for telling it like it is and it can work for anyone who is prepared to work and learn.

    Sue Price recently posted…Have you Upgraded to iOS 8 on your iPhone?My Profile

    • says

      Hey Sue,

      Thanks for the support. Many people are misled but I believe that they are not taught properly. They try to give people a easy strategy to duplicate, but the strategy does not work. If 3 bring in 3 – how do you get the 3. It’s a tough industry without those special skills and part of that is leadership, a great strategy and teaching program.

      Truth – it does take work. More than they know and that is also a disappointment I’m sure.
      We just have to tell the truth so there are no surprises and that will help a person right from the beginning.
      Thanks Sue for your support.

      Have a great week.

  8. says

    What a great thread… The best thing for me is bringing the topic of network marketing to discussion table….. Many great points the great side of network marketing and the negative side of network marketing..

    For me, I strongly believe network marketing is the solution for many families and business… our economy is showing that.

    However the key point in this industry is learning how to communicate correctly to build our business the right way…. My first 2 companies OMG I was terrible and no wonder I scared many people off …. However when you learn to listen, build relationships and be the leader…..Results will be created for all.

    Great post. Thank you for sharing.

    Helene Mearing

    • says

      Hi Helene,

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. Yes I’m trying to bring a better attitude and belief in network marketing. I do believe in it and it has been a great journey for me. There is a lot of learning about building relationships and being a leader and this is what it takes for success. A big part that can make all the little pieces come together.

      Thanks for your input. Really appreciate it.


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