Are we conning the new sign-ups?

Not on purpose of course, but by our silence when the recruiters tell the innocents and desperados how easy it is…

In a survey I’m running right now, the HUGE majority (82.3%!!) of folks say that they were utterly “unprepared” to do network marketing. They admit they had no idea how to make money with it – after they’d signed up and paid their money.

Have they all been exploited? Or is everyone just naive? Or does that go together?

It’s much harder and takes much longer to make any money doing network marketing (MLM) than the recruiters let on.

Why they don’t let on…

Recruiters have a simple agenda when they stand up on stage: Persuade you to give them your money. A big percent goes into their own bank accounts. Even if you fail, that initial order puts money in their personal bank accounts. Orders from failed reps is a big income source – for companies and recruiters.

Of course, you don’t know that. You thought you were paying in to have an opportunity to make quick and easy money having others sell for ya.

Only it’s not that easy.

And the fact that nearly everyone here is happy to admit that they were totally unprepared for the business tells me that recruiters are doing an excellent job of conning new people. Yes, some may be naive and trusting. Is that a reason to prey upon them?

The taken get wise to what happened to them pretty quickly. And when they do, they tell their friends. Many of whom also have a war story to share. And the stigma continues to grow – like a giant slimy amoeba rolling across the U.S.

Aren’t the recruiters pissing in the remaining prospect pool for everyone else?

Shouldn’t we speak up? Even if it means a mom does NOT sign up – and we don’t make that fast start bonus – because she has no business being in this business?

Am I wrong here?

P.S. I will be offering a new live program soon, “How to recruit without peeing in the pool.” One how-to program I’ll draw on is the Art of Recruiting. Email me if you’d like info about the upcoming “recruit without peeing…” program, and if you have the A of R already or not.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Yes, we should speak up. What would be the point of telling someone it's easy only to have them find out later it's not that easy. They won't stay around long.

    The best thing to do is be honest with people and give them the info they need to make an informed choice.

  • Hi Kim,

    I think you're correct. Many MLM heavy-hitters make the business sound like it much easier than it is. As a result, new folks come in with wrong assumptions. When they learn the truth, they quit. As one of mentors likes to say, there's a reason they call it net"work" marketing.

    Unfortunately, many of those unhealthy assumptions have been carried over to the online world. (I recently wrote a post about it at The good news is that those who take the time to learn about people can be successful.

    Thanks for the insightful post.

    Steve DeVane

  • Yes, of course we need to speak up. It is a lot of work setting someone up in their own home business. We are shooting ourselves in the foot (or are peeing in our own pool) if we hide the fact that it takes time to make money.

    It's like anything else…a learning process. Some learn quicker, some slower. Some want to make a little money, some want to make a lot.

    It's no different in the 'real world.' For example if you wanted to become a plumber. You couldn't just decide from one day to another that you'll go out and fix bathrooms. You'd need to invest some money to learn about plumbing.

    Same thing if you wanted to be a doctor. You can't just decide all of a sudden that you want to operate on people. (What fool would let you?) You'd need to, again, spend time and money (a lot of it) to go to school to become a doctor.

    It's no different in network marketing. You have to invest time (and money) into getting educated about that industry.

    It's crucial to let people know that up front.(There are people, like me, who haven't made any money for the first 6 years in network marketing. And all of a sudden…boom.)

    Sorry, got a little long-winded 🙂

  • Yeeeup.

    Funny – I just left the industry after five years. Bad taste in my mouth? Oh yeah.

    But bored one day I signed up to take surveys online. I have taken three surveys and made almost $8.00. Now, the average person, even an MLM'er would say, "Don't quit your day job for such low pay!" But here's the thing… when I did the math as to how much I spent in five years vs. how much I earned in PROFIT for my blood sweat and tears of living, breathing, eating, sleeping, dreaming, for my business to get it to grow… the surveys have already paid me more profit than my first full three years.

    That's the truth about this industry that everyone fails to mention.

  • Hi Kim,

    I think you're right, that the truth should be made clear upfront even if it means fewer people join. Unfortunately, the companies understand that most will fail in their efforts (or will never try) and the bottom line is, they don't care. They want to succeed, too, and will seek to attract the most persuasive, charismatic sales people they can to speak for them.

    Sure these happy, smiley folks, ARE making money so they are telling the truth. But what they don't tell you is they already had a large network to tap into, or the money and know-how to market effectively and get into profit quickly.

    It's especially wrong these days, with the dollar losing value by the minute, and inflation eating away at everyone's income. But on the flip side, I think that many of the so-called success stories honestly believe that "If I can do it, anyone can!" Because obviously 3-5% or so of people do make money in MLM, so not everyone is failing. It's the odds that bother me.

    But if you go around saying, "Hey, I have this great opportunity that will probably cost you more than you ever earn, wanna see?" Most sensible people would say, "Not interested." So this tells me it's impossible to be totally upfront and promote a network marketing opportunity effectively. Unless you have enough $ already and don't need every Tom, Dick and Harriet to join you meaning you can tell the truth and find the real entrepreneurs who want what you got. Everyone else should stay away.

    All that said, I think if anyone is going to go ahead with MLM, they would do well to follow Kim's teachings and also Mike Dillard's. Two of the most ethical folks I've ever come across in the biz.

    MLM Work at Home Blog

  • I tell potential recruits UP FRONT, it will take 1 to 3 years to grow a substancial income. And if they Really want a bigger Pay Check, they must spend a minimum of 10 hours per week EACH and Every Week working the business. So, if you want me to hire you these are the standards I expect you to hold to. Now are you serious or were you just playing with the idea of making an extra PAY Check.
    Blessing to all,
    Tom Bennett

  • This is all due to the business model the network marketing (MLM) recruiters are using.

    They grow their business recruiting other business builders, and the product is secondary, almost a non-issue.

    They continue to do this, despite the 96% drop-out rate as well as the poor reputation they are giving their industry. This way of doing business is no better than SPAM email.

    I prefer the business model used by small businesses and the majority of corporate America, where the emphasis is on product sales as well as product development.

    Best of all, I no longer have to hesitate or be embarrassed when people ask me what I do.


    Eat Well. Live Well.

  • Its really a shame that something as good as network marketing has turned into the massive jungle that very few people understand or succeed in. In theory, its a great opportunity to earn a living, but the reality is that its been so severely tarnished and saturated with junk, lies and lazy people.

    The "anyone can do this" pitch is true, but only anyone who's willing to learn how and work hard at it. The big one, "make money while you sleep!" is very true, but only if you work your butt off while you're awake!

    I prefer the mlm to non-mlm because the income from active, well-trained downlines is better, but business is business, mlm or not. When you focus on product sales you have happy customers, and that's where you get your best downline members. "Sell First, Recruit Believers In Your Products Later". That approach hasn't been entirely lost, just temporarily misplaced 🙂

  • Of course we should speak up. Either that or not force NAIVE prospects to join and be our downline. It's terribly unfair. Imagine yourself in their shoes, wouldn't you want someone to tell you not to venture into it when you don't really know what you're doing?

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