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Thinking of getting into or trying multi-level marketing (MLM) ?

With the shift in the economy over the past year and a half, more and more people are looking for ways to either supplement their income, or start out on their own with self employment.

A lot of people look to multi-level marketing, or MLM as their first ventures into this method of earning money. Some common names of MLM businesses you may be familiar with are Amway, Avon, Epicure and many more.

First, I am not involved in any MLM business - Not because I disagree with it, just because I am a programmer, marketer and consultant. That being said, however, I know more than a few people who have made a lot of money with MLM. To be completely fair, though, I've also known more than a few people who've either lost a fair bit of money, or simply found it a waste of their time.

MLM businesses are like any other: They're not for everyone. This is literally true of any business: Not everyone could be a plumber, a neurosurgeon or a concert pianist - To each their own.

Just like any other business or any other investment of your time and money, finding the right business - Be that a multi-level marketing business or any other form of self-employment really needs you to do your homework. Not only will doing the right amount of background research and educating yourself save you a lot of time, heartache and disappointment, it can make you a lot of money, too.

There are a ton of signs of both good and bad MLM companies to look for - Rather than list them all, I am going to recommend a website on that, but I will point out a few of the basics that this site will tell you about in a lot more detail than I ever could.

A good MLM company:

  • Not only does not advocate spam (unsolicited email) but actively enforces a no-spam policy
  • Offers at least a basic training package at no cost, or as part of a reasonable entry/purchase start up package cost (They are a business, which you are trying to be, too: Always remember this: Profit is not a dirty word!)
  • Offers no hassles in letting you out of an agreement within a reasonable time if the business isn't right for you: A good MLM company WANTS enthusiastic reps - not hostages
  • Has a good reputation on the 'net and within your circle of colleagues and friends. No company is perfect - Even the United Way gets its share of complaints - But a good MLM company shouldn't be the target of a ton of lawsuits or the subject of hundreds of BBB complaints.
  • Has a good mentor programme where the mentor is actually available at reasonable times to help you grow.

The above are the very basics - Where you really want to go, however, to learn the real deal behind the good - and the bad - of MLM is MLM-The Whole Truth. I'll give you my disclaimer up front: I've done a little programming work for it's founder, Lou Abbott, over the years, but this isn't a paid endorsement or even a request (In fact, Lou's going to be a little surprised when I tell him this intro/guide is up and live on
So why, then, am I writing this guide which ends up being an endorsement of someone elses' business ?

  • Firstly, the economy: As the introduction states, a lot of people are looking into MLM as alternate or replacement income streams: There needs to be some good information about what's real and what's not out there.
  • Secondly, yes, I've heard all the bad stories about MLM companies. I've seen some of the absolute train wrecks of both people and businesses when they hit the bad ones. I can, however, authoritatively say that Lou Abbott is one of the good guys: No spam, no problems with his members, no complaints about bad information. Authoritatively, you ask ? Some of the work I've done for him involved the automation process of some of his mail systems, amongst other things - I know *for a fact* that MLM-TheWholeTruth is a "White Hat".
  • Related to the above, I've been a relatively successful independant business operator myself over the years - As such, I've always had the luxury of picking and choosing who I do work for. One rule that I have never, ever broken is that I don't do work for spammers - Ever. Lou's always done right by me and - more importantly - he's always done right by the people who turn to him for advice.
  • I've been receiving his newsletters for years. While I've never gotten into the MLM business myself, a lot of his advice has been directly applicable to my own business - For my profit, as well as for my customers' satisfaction.
  • He - and the authors he hosts on his site - really are the experts in this field - You'd be far better learning from them, who've been on the inside (successfully, I might add) than from me, who will only offer general advice.

So - Are you thinking of trying multi-level marketing ? It is not for me to tell you yes or no, but for you to do your homework and decide for yourself. One of the best places to start that homework is

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