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21 Biggest Network Marketing Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Cost

I’ve made some of the worst network marketing mistakes in the book that could have easily been avoided if somebody would have shown me what not to do.

Network marketing is an interesting industry.

I’ve been in this space long enough to see the good, the bad, and the ugly… along with the amazing.

I’ve learned that people go fast, slow, and everywhere in between.

Unfortunately, many people don’t move at all.

Often it’s not because of a lack of desire, it’s because they’re making lethal mistakes.

Horrible network marketing mistakes that could be avoided if only someone told them.

Sure you can learn all the tips and strategies for building a business, but if you’re shooting yourself in the foot by making mistakes, your growth will be non-existent.

I pride myself as being someone with a growth mindset who is constantly learning and applying what I learn.

That being said, I know enough to know… I still have a lot to learn.

In this post I’m going to share some things I wish I knew when I first started in the network marketing industry.

Here are the top mistakes I’ve made in my network marketing journey, laid out for the world to see.

I’m not proud and some of them make me feel silly and vulnerable to share, but maybe they can help you in your journey and save you some headaches.

Here are the rest of them, in no particular order.

Hopefully they will help you NOT make the same network marketing mistakes I did.

Network Marketing Mistakes
(Beginners Guide)

Mistake #1: Trying to Be Something I’m Not

This one had a bit to do with my age when I first started, a little to do with my confidence, and a lot to do with me assuming there was only one way to skin a cat.

I’m an introvert by nature.
I’m good at analyzing, systematizing, planning, and executing.
The art of small talk (the gift of gab), is not my strength.

Don’t get me wrong, I like people.

It’s just that it takes me awhile to feel comfortable enough around somebody to really be myself.

Also, since I’m an introvert, this can drain my energy and when I get to zero, much like your phone, my battery will be dead.

That’s my Achilles heel when it comes to interacting with others.

When I first entered this industry, the majority of the successful people in my upline were extroverted.

I have to work to force myself out of my shell in a crowd.
They seemed to not have a shell to get out of.

One of my first major network marketing mistakes was:

I started trying to act like them.
I mean, I really, really tried.
I wanted it bad.
Fake it ’til ya make it… right?

I was young and impressionable, so I tried to be something I wasn’t.

As I said, it was the first network marketing mistake I made, but it wouldn’t be my last.

The problem with that strategy is that even though you can fake it for a little while and it can work to some degree, it’s extremely draining and it won’t work long term.

On top of those things, it not authentic and it’s not enjoyable.

I wanted to quit everyday (and many days I did).

But I started over the next day and tried to push through because I had big dreams.

Now that I’ve grown up a bit, matured, and learned lots of things along the way, I’ve realized it was all unnecessary.

Regardless of your personality type or background, you can build a successful multi-level marketing business and do it on your terms.

Don’t do it by trying to be something you’re not though.

If you strive to be authentic and always work in your areas of strength, you’ll have more fun and be more successful.

People build traditional businesses in all kinds of different ways.

I’m not sure why there’s a stigma attached to people building a network marketing business in their own way, but for some reason there is.

So let me tell you what you’re upline probably won’t.
There are a ton of different ways to effectively build this business.

By a ton, I mean… more than 1, more than 2… a ton.

Choose a strategy and method that works for you and then commit to it and get to work.

At the end of the day it’s about customers, recruitment, and moving product.
It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it’s ethical.

Network Marketing Mistake #2:
Waiting for “Duplication”

soldiers representing network marketing mistake of duplication

Duplication is an elusive animal.

It’s like a magical unicorn that everybody wants to get a glimpse of in their organization.

I had a problem with waiting for duplication in my organization.

I would enroll a distributor and then slow down (or stop) my recruiting efforts.

It was time to watch them explode my business!

The mentality was that I would put in a few people and then get rich off of them.

This is one of the most damaging network marketing mistakes you can make.

Part of the reason I struggled with it was because I came into the business with unrealistic expectations.

Now, in my defense, it wasn’t really my fault.
At least, not all my fault.

I was sold a lie… the “it’s easy” lie.

That lie sounds something like this, maybe you’ve heard it:

“It’s easy. All you do is enroll 2, they get 2, who also get 2, and so on and so forth. BAM! A month from now you’re pulling in $20,000 a week!”

I was young. I bought it hook, line, and sinker.

You know duplication doesn’t happen like that, right?
Yes, theoretically, (on paper)… it could happen.
But it doesn’t.

You could get lucky, but if you want a lottery ticket it’s cheaper to buy a power-ball ticket then to join a network marketing company.

Your chances of winning the lottery are probably better with a lottery ticket since there’s a guaranteed winner and you only have to get lucky once.

To win the network marketing lottery, you have to get lucky twice if your in a binary and more than that if you’re in something else or want to hit the highest ranks in your company.

Of all the network marketing mistakes in the industry, this one is probably the most common.

It’s also the most problematic for the growth of your business.

You can’t wait for duplication.
You make duplication happen.

But to make duplication happen, you have to understand what it really is and how it really works.

Duplication isn’t 2 who get 2 who get 2 (or 5 or 3 or however your network marketing compensation plan is set up).

Duplication is when you go be a leader (enroll 20, 50, 0r 100+ people) and other leaders show up.

If you’re consistently sponsoring people, you’ll find people who will do the same.

They will duplicate what you’re doing and enroll multiple people to find their leaders.

That’s how duplication actually works.

Instead of everybody duplicating enrolling a few people, it’s a few people enrolling a lot of people.

Your duplicating leadership.

This is extremely effective and it grounds your expectations in reality.

It’s the 80/20 principle at work.

Over time, leaders will show up but only if you’re enrolling and sponsoring enough people for the numbers to shake out.

And the faster you sponsor them, the better.
Success loves speed.

Success Loves Speed. Click To Tweet

Eric Worre and Ray Higdon are leading the charge on bringing professionalism to our industry by teaching network marketers how to show up differently.

This is a key component to changing the masses perception of our industry.

People don’t like to feel like they’re pitching something that doesn’t work or is a borderline lie.

That’s part of the problem.

When you’re talking like everybody will duplicate, you’re setting false expectations.

Doing that does two things:

  1. It makes you feel uncomfortable (at least it should) telling people it will happen (when you know it’s unlikely)
  2. It makes your new distributors quit faster because it’s harder than you led them to believe.

Trust me, the right people, the ones that can sponsor 20-50 people or more (the people you want on your team), are not going to be scared of enrolling or sponsoring lots of people to find a few leaders.

But if they come into your organization thinking it will be easy and believe putting in 4-5 people will make them boatloads of cash… then they’ll quit too.

Not because it was too hard, but because their results won’t match up to their expectations and they’ll decide it “doesn’t work”.

Network Marketing Mistake #3:
Failing To Plant Enough Seed

If you’ve been in the network marketing industry for long, you’ve probably heard the classic Jim Rohn presentation called “Building Your Network Marketing Business”.

If you haven’t heard it or are new to this industry, it is absolutely one of the best presentations ever done inside this industry.

Here is an audio stream of it from YouTube.

I suggest bookmarking this page and listening a few times a year or once a month.

Repetition is the mother of learning.

Jim Rohn: Building your network marketing business audio

In this speech, Jim Rohn discusses the importance of planting enough seed to reap a harvest.

If you don’t have time to listen to the whole audio, just listen to the law of sowing and reaping (at the 24:50 time mark).

Another one of the network marketing mistakes I made early on in my career was that I didn’t plant enough seed.

I didn’t talk to enough people.

I focused on the “network” part (trying to be something I’m not) instead of the “marketing” part (more in line with my strengths).

When I did plant seeds and one sprouted, I would stop planting and wait for a harvest (false duplication mistake).

In all seriousness, I did soooo much wrong, it’s amazing I made any money at all.

If you’re serious about becoming successful inside of the network marketing industry, you have to consistently plant seeds (and lots of them).

Otherwise, you’ll never reap a bountiful harvest.

Mistake #4: Failing To Water the Seed (Follow Up)

Here’s the 2nd thing I did wrong in relation to seeds.

I failed to water the seeds I did plant (follow up).

As a young network marketer with no leadership or sales experience, I didn’t realize how much time it takes for people to make mental shifts in thinking.

Shifts in the mind happen over time. If you're in #sales, you must plant seeds in the mind of your #prospect, then apply water (info) and time for those seeds to grow. Click To Tweet

I’m currently an administrator at a large high school.

Over the years as an educational leader, one of the things I’ve learned is that change takes time.

Any time we decide to make major changes on our campus, we begin by starting a conversation.

First we talk about it as an administrative team.

Then we talk about it with our school based leadership team and department chairs.

The more conversation and discussion around a change or idea, the more people will genuinely be on board.

Even if they don’t agree with it, they’ll understand it better and be more apt to comply when nobody is looking.

Like it or not, everyone is selling everyone everyday.

Like it or not, everyone is #selling everyone everyday. #sales #success Click To Tweet

If this is how mental shifts occur in the workplace (where everybody is getting paid), how much more important is it when you’re trying to get people to accept an idea they may have apprehensions about.

Let’s face it, network marketing has a bad reputation right now even though that view is shifting.

Most of it is our fault as an industry because we keep positioning the opportunity like a lottery ticket.

The fact remains though, if you want to get the right people on board, many of them will have to overcome some false beliefs about the industry.

This takes time and it’s a process.
It doesn’t happen immediately.

So you plant seeds. Then you follow up and water those seeds.

Over time, if you’re being professional, people will start to see this industry can be done in a professional manner and their thinking will start to shift.

Just like seeds in nature.
You Plant.
You Water.
You Wait.
You Harvest.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping is one of the main reasons I use a blog for my business.

With a Blog You can:

  • Scale your marketing efforts
  • Get exposure to people all over the world
  • Plant thousands and thousands of seeds every month
  • Water those seeds by educating people over time
  • Harvest those seeds when people decide they want to work with you and the time is right for them

Not understanding the Law of Sowing and Reaping was another one of my biggest network marketing mistakes.

Because I didn’t fully grasp the principles, I didn’t sow enough seed or water the seed enough to reap an incredible harvest.

Network Marketing Mistake #5:
Managing Instead of Leading

This is almost like waiting for duplication, except you aren’t just waiting.

You’re trying to manage behavior and motivate.

All too often it’s by telling people in your group what they ought to do instead of leading by example and showing them how it’s done.

You’re job (if you’re serious about this business) is to take ownership of your business.
Forget about your upline and start building AS IF you’re the one that owns the company.

I can tell you from many years in a traditional leadership role that performance numbers in the real world come out to about the same as network marketing (and probably any industry).

The majority of people will do very little to fully apply themselves.

The minority (20% or less) will produce many of the results.
The top 2% will account for most of the results.

That means for every 100 people you put in the business, 20% will do something. They will do okay.

1-2% will go out and kill it… or in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, Crush It. (Affiliate Link)

Management mode is serious network marketing mistake and it can kill your organizational growth.

Once you’re in ‘management mode’ it’s very difficult to get out of it.

It becomes a habit.

On top of that, it’s ineffective and does more to erode your business than grow it.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
But…. you can make it thirsty by giving it crackers.

Wanna know how to make people thirsty for success?

Continue to build without them.
That’s like giving them crackers.

When they see you start to rise through the ranks, their desire begins to grow.

When they see a team growing beneath them from your overflow, their desire begins to grow.

In a binary compensation plan, they see people and volume accumulate underneath them, which is the single best thing you can do to make them thirsty

It can also make them realize that they were already thirsty and show them where the water is.

Mistake #6: Focusing On Attrition

This is a great thing to do if you plan to quit!

Why would you do this?
I started a business and now I’m going to focus on everybody else who fails.

You wouldn’t do that if you bought a franchise.
Why do it in this industry?
If you do, it won’t be long before you quit too.

Network marketing has a bad reputation because lazy or fearful people can get in for minimal investment.

Then they treat it like a lottery ticket and wait (i.e. they don’t do anything).

Then, when they make no money, they whine and complain that it doesn’t work.

Here’s the thing though.
It WILL work IF you do.
Stop focusing on all the quitters.

As Jim Rohn says, thinking about why people join and quit is like asking why the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

Don’t go down that road.
Don’t take that class.
Don’t sign up for that course.
Focus on the task in front of you.

The Bible says (among other things) “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” – Proverbs 14:23

Attrition happens in every industry and it’s particularly high in all sales organizations of any kind.

Don’t worry about it.
Build, rebuild if needed, and alsways continue to build.

My first time around I had a poor view of attrition and my relationship to it.

I thought I could change it, stop it, or at least slow it down by focusing on it.

Focusing on it only makes it worse.

The only thing that helps it is to build your team fast and furious until there’s a tipping point.

The tipping point is when the momentum train shows up.

When there’s fire and excitement below people because the organization is growing, it naturally slows attrition.

Some of you worry too much about it or about saying the right or wrong thing that will cause somebody to quit.

You can’t cause people to quit any more than you can cause them to be a six figure earner.

They want it or they don’t.
They commit or they don’t.
They go after it and make it happen… or they don’t.

It’s commendable in the sense that you care.
But nothing will change simply by focusing on it.

To put it in perspective, the last person who told me they were quitting I looked at… chuckled, and said “You can’t quit something you never started.”

You can't quit something you never started. #TRUTH Click To Tweet

Maybe a little harsh.
I’m past the point of caring.
Let ’em quit.

Network Marketing Mistakes #7:
Creating False Expectations (Hype)

For the love of all that’s Holy in this world, we MUST STOP creating false expectations within our industry!

false expectations is one of the biggest network marketing mistakes

This is one of the biggest network marketing mistakes that is made by virtually every network marketer at some time or another.

Excitement has a place and energy is contagious, but you better find a balance if you want success.

If there IS something you can do to slow down attrition, keeping expectations reasonable would be it.

Don’t over-hype and don’t sell false expectations.

Talking about the guy in your upline who went from nothing to THE GRAND PUBA level in 6 months and is now making $50,000 a week is NOT a wise way to close the deal with the secretary who currently make 15k a year.

That’s because she doesn’t know the whole story, you don’t know the whole story, and the chances of her getting those results is non-existent (especially if they’ve never been in this industry before).

It’s better to UNDER-promise and OVER-deliver.

I would rather sponsor 2 people who are serious and understand it’s gonna take hard work, time, and an investment to build a business, than 20 people who think it’s going to be a magical ride to riches.


Even if I got a first order bonus off every single one of the twenty who sign up for the magic carpet ride, it would be a waste of time and I would feel wrong trying to make them think they will have success like that.

False expectations lead people to quit because it doesn’t take them long to realize it’s not all sunshine and rainbows (like they were led to believe).

Over-hype and spammy language is also what gives this profession a bad reputation.

So stop!

The truth is good enough. -Eric Worre Click To Tweet

Mistake #8: Not Using the Products

I was young in my first business.

I was working on a budget and the company I was with specialized in a high quality consumable health product.

The problem was, the minimum autoship was only enough product for 1 person to use for a month.

That left no product to use for home meetings, one on ones, etc.

Serious business people were ordering extra for that (duh).

My solution was to not use the product.

I thought if I didn’t use the product, I would keep my costs down and still have product left for samples.

There are a few problems with this. 

  1. At the end of the day, I was being cheap. I didn’t understand that to build a successful business, you have to invest money.
  2. When people asked me how I liked it, they might not have figured out from my response that I wasn’t using it consistently… but they could tell something wasn’t congruent.
  3. My subconscious knew something was in-congruent when I talked about the product as well… so my performance and posture went down.

At one point, I got sick at a bad time.

So I flooded my body with the product and suddenly my body had what it needed to fight the sickness.

I was better so quick I was actually passionate about the product from then on.

I started using it consistently and my results in my business went up.

Imagine that.

Mistake #9: Not Trusting Your Own Ideas

One of the unfortunate things about network marketing is how it stifles creativity.

Often, uplines are hyper-focused and worried about “the system”.

Maybe you’ve heard the speech…

Use our “system” and you’ll get results.
Duplication will occur IF you follow our proven “system”.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, do exactly what we did.

This isn’t inherently bad advise.
Especially for new people.

But… many times the people teaching this methodology are not taking into account individual strengths.

I agree, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel… unless you can reinvent it faster, better, and stronger…

It’s kind of like anything else in this world.

Everything is great until somebody comes along and figures out how to make it better.

Then the original wasn’t so great.

Need some examples?
– Model T (beginning)…. Tesla (current)
– Rotary Dial Phone (beginning)… Iphone (current)
– MLM Breakaway Compensation Plans (beginning)… Binary Compensation with Dynamic Compression (Current)

My point is, true leaders encourage people to learn and grow and find a way that works for them.

As a school based leader in a large high school, I have seen phenomenal and not so phenomenal teachers of the years.

Interestingly, the phenomenal ones all have their own way of doing things.

They’ve mastered the craft of teaching for themselves and are working in their strength zone.

Most of the time, even when other teachers try to replicate (duplicate) what these master teachers are doing in class, they don’t get the same results because it’s not customized to their strengths.

If you’re building a team or on a team, encourage your people to grow and work in their strengths.

A charismatic people person should go about building a business differently than a social media addict… who will build it differently than a videographer… who will build it differently than a writer… etc.

But guess what?… That’s okay!

If your upline isn’t giving you nuts and bolts training, Ray Higdon is a great trainer to start with.

MLM Mistake #10: Investing in The Wrong People

This is mistake #10 on this random list and this list is in no particular order.

But if I was making a top 10 list of Network Marketing Mistakes… it would certainly make the top ten.

It might even be #1 on that list.

I know what you’re thinking already… Because I thought the same thing.

That’s harsh! Shouldn’t you invest in everybody?

The answer is yes AND no.

Don’t get me wrong, I want everybody to succeed and do well.

But there are people in this world who talk a big game but don’t have the kahunas to back it up.

They’re all bark and no bite.

They are leeches and will suck time and energy out of your business that could be invested more wisely.

I spent a lot of time driving from home meeting to home meeting with distributors who never did anything and thought it was no big deal when I showed up and nobody was there.

They were like… “oops, maybe next time”.

Most the time they weren’t even concerned that I drove 2 hours (or longer to be there).

They had no respect of my time.
It wasn’t their fault though, it was mine.
I didn’t set clear expectations.

I didn’t usually verify they had people coming (I was going on a hope and a prayer).

I also didn’t require anything of them before I agreed to a meeting and I was naive enough to schedule another meeting for them to “try again”.

Not effective.

If people aren’t performing, give them a results based expectation such as “look, if you want me to have a home meeting for you, go out and enroll 2 people on autoship, then I’ll come do a meeting for you”.

OR…. schedule them to come to your house for a meeting with the requirement they bring a prospect.

Guess what, if they don’t have somebody, they won’t show up and then you can just keep Netflix rollin’.

Last but not least, when you set clear expectations centered around results and make people earn your time, they will actually perform better.

They will grow faster (if they want it) and it positions you better.

You don’t seem desperate.

So ‘yes’ you should work with everybody willing to do the work.

But define willing on the basis of some sort of result.

It can be 1 customer, 1 sign up… something.
Make them do something to earn your time.

That’s how you grow leaders and how you ensure that the attrition you do have is the attrition of the right people.

Quitters quit… but so do performers if they aren’t challenged and pushed.

Raise the bar and they will either meet expectations or won’t.

At least you won’t be wasting your time, energy, and money.

These network marketing mistakes can derail you because you may feel like you’re being productive when really you’re wasting your time with the wrong people.

Mistake #11: Not Running Your Business Like a Business

Network marketing mistakes often come in the form of wrong thinking, wrong actions, and wrong habits.

Once you sign on the dotted line and make an investment in this industry, you’re in business for yourself (but not by yourself).

If you want to make any real money ($500 per month, $5,000 per month, or $50,000 per month), then you’ve got to treat your business like a business and not like a hobby.

What does that mean?
It means you should treat it like a job.

Set up some times you are going to “work” the business and then go to work during that time.

No excuses.
No telling yourself you can skip it.
Just do the work.

Now, that looks a bit different depending on what you want and what your goals are.

If you want $250 a month your work schedule could look much different than the person who wants to make $25,000 a month.

However, I suggest setting it up in the beginning to work as many hours as you can.

If you only want to make $250 a month, you’ll get there much faster if you’re working 20 hours a week than if you’re working 1 hour a week.

Once you get to your goal, you can consider changing your schedule.

It’s more likely you’ll change your goals and beliefs about what is possible though.

My first experience in this industry I basically worked when I felt like it.

I went much slower than I needed to.

I also suggest working on your business every day, at least 5 days a week.

If you opened a traditional business you wouldn’t bat an eye at doing that.

You also wouldn’t expect success without it.

There’s a psychological difference between working 5 hours on one day and 1 hour every single day.

I don’t know why, but something shifts mentally when you work on your business every single day.

Mistake #12: Ignoring the “Marketing” Part of the Business Model

Failure to master marketing is NOT one of the network marketing mistakes I’m going to make this time around.

It’s called multi-level marketing and network marketing for a reason.
So… you should learn to market.

In this day and age, if you really want to scale, you need to master marketing.

Sure, you can talk to people every single day and you should.

However, if you really want complete freedom, eventually your goal should be to systematize the entire process (or at least most of it).

As I’m writing this post, I just looked at my numbers for this blog.

I’ve had 181 unique visitors from all over the world today land on one of my blog posts and be exposed to my marketing message.

In a sense, I prospected them.

I showed them what I was doing and gave them an opportunity to say I want to work with you.

That’s 5,000+ visits per month to one post!

I’m not running any ads or doing any paid marketing.
That’s all organic traffic.

People are searching for information and then landing on this site.

That’s one way you scale in today’s world.

Here’s the thing.

It took time to create this site and all the content.

I work on it everyday.

But I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have NEVER prospected 181 people in one day with traditional prospecting…. not even close.

I’m not even sure it’s possible.

And… the same thing will happen tomorrow.. and the next day.. and the next day… and so on.

With this site I expose more people to what I’m doing every day than I could ever do by talking to individual people.

If somebody wants to work with me… they earn it.

They reach out, sign up, order product, or raise their hand in some way.

I’m generating leads every day.
How would that change your business?
That’s the power of building your business like a business.

My strength is systems and processes.

I help others think through and create their online presence that will market for them automatically.

I love helping writers who want to have their own blogs or social media experts who want to build with social media or video people who want to scale with YouTube or even charismatic people who want to do it the old fashioned belly to belly way.

Building a strong team requires people of every skill set.
The beauty of a binary compensation plan is that we all benefit from each other because we share a leg.

But I digress…

The point is, ignoring marketing is one of the biggest network marketing mistakes you can make.

Marketing should be a part of your business in some way, shape, or form if you want sustainable success.

Mistake #13: Not Retaining Retail Customers

Network marketing has gone through a shift in the last few years, especially with some of the FTC investigations and additional regulations.

One of those shifts is that you must have retail customers.

In fact, if your compensation structure doesn’t require some retail customers in order to rise through the ranks, you should question whether it’s a legitimate mlm.

The last thing you want is to build a solid business with hundreds or thousands (or dare I say… hundreds of thousands) of distributors only to have it shut down by the FTC.

There are a few really strong reasons why you should build a customer base.

First, those who love the products tend to stick around longer.

That provides you with monthly recurring revenue regardless of whether your team had a good month.

Plus, when your company releases new products it’s an easy way to increase your income.

Simply inform your current customers about the new products and let them know you’re there to serve them if they ever want to try them.

In addition, retail customers provide a perfect storm for eventual distributors.

Most people, at some point, are not happy with where their life is at or where it is heading.

If they’re already a customer you keep in contact with, who loves your products and uses them consistently, then looking at your company’s business opportunity is a natural progression if they ever want to build a side hustle.

So don’t ignore the retail customer, they’re the life blood of any business, traditional or otherwise.

Mistake #14: Failure to Take Consistent Massive Action

Three words are important in this subtitle.

Consistent, massive, and action.

Those are the 3 building blocks of any solid organization, whether in the network marketing world or a different arena.

Consistent means every day.
Massive means lots of it.
Action means profit generating activity.

Let me be clear here.

Planning, scrolling social media, taking courses, reading, listening to podcasts, and going to meetings (without a prospect) is not considered profit generating activity.

Prospecting and getting eyeballs on your presentation is what counts.
That’s it.

The more people who see it, the more people will join.

This is network marketing mistakes 101, make this mistake and you’re dead in the water.

Network Marketing Mistakes #15:
Giving Away Your Personal Recruits

Oh, you’re sooo sweet.
You gave a personal recruit away.
I struggled with this once upon a time. I really did.

I had no leadership experience, I hadn’t built a solid business yet, and I really didn’t understand human nature.

Naturally, I thought if I gave somebody to one of my recruits, it would motivate them.

I mean… let them get a bonus on the first order and they get paid for nothing.

What’s not to like?!
That’ll get ’em fired up.
What could be more motivating?

What I was actually doing was solidifying the lottery mindset, creating an entitlement mentality, and lowering my expectations of people.

This doesn’t do you or your distributors any good.

It creates all sorts of inaccurate thinking including cementing the idea that this business is a “something for nothing” business model.

IF you want to give somebody a distributor, do it as a reward for results.

If they feel like they earned it, it will make them feel appreciated and it will also motivate them to do it again.

They’ll see you as a fair leader.

They may even ask what they have to do to get another free enrollment.

Set the bar high if they ask this and don’t be afraid to require performance for giving somebody away.

If you’re not in a binary and your compensation plan only pays a certain number of levels deep (other than infinity), then I would never suggest giving anybody away because you can never know what a person will do.

Even in a binary there can be consequences because it can affect other bonuses down the line when you hit top ranks.

Mistake #16: Not Investing In Lead Generation

If you’re not investing time and/or money in generating your own leads, you’re shooting yourself (and your network marketing business) in the foot.

Leads are your lifeblood.

Without a solid lead generation mechanism in place, you’ll be working harder than you need to.

Yes, you can hit numbers by cold calling or using referrals, but they’re still not the same as warm leads.

Generating leads allows you to talk to people who are already interested in working with you.

That’s the main purpose of this site.

Yes, I want to educate people, help people, and add value to people.

But this is also how I generate leads.

The beauty of a blog is that it allows somebody to get to know you a little.

When they’re comfortable with you or decide they want to work with you, then they can call, text, or email.

Many times they’ll join your email list.

Then you can follow up with all your leads with the click of a button or even automate most of it.

Also, talking to leads you’ve generated on your own is much easier and comfortable (for both people) than talking to a cold prospect.

The purpose of this post is just to encourage you to be investing in generating leads.

There are a number of ways to do that, for more information you can head over to our Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.

Regardless of how you choose to do this, make sure you’re doing it and getting better at it every day.

If you want to see our current lead funnel, click on the picture below.

Mistake #17: Using Email Incorrectly

This one’s a bit embarrassing for me.

Partly because of how I used email in my first stint in this industry, but also because if I would have spent 10 minutes thinking about what I was doing, I would have figured out a better way.

So here’s the story.

In my first business, I signed up for Constant Contact.
It’s an email service provider.

Nothing against them, they were a great solution for managing lots of emails.

But I wasn’t generating leads.

I was adding people who joined my team anywhere in my organization to my email list.

Then I would follow up with company updates and “motivational” emails.

Essentially, I was trying to motivate them to do more, instead of setting an example as a leader.

Remember the section about management mode?…

Yep. I was there in full force.

I wasted sooo much time crafting pretty emails and researching cool stories to put in them.
Keep in mind, these are people who ALREADY joined!

I thought an email would get them fired up or get them to a meeting to be fired up even more.

I never used the software to manage potential prospects or build a list of people who had some interest.

Truth be told, it never even crossed my mind.

I could have asked the people who said “no” if I could follow up with them every now and then with email.

Most people would have said yes to this because it gives them an out to signing up.

But it also keeps you top of mind because you can communicate consistently with them.

It’s okay to use email to follow up with your team.
I’m not discounting that here.
But have 2 email lists.

One for those on your team and one for prospects.

That way you can send info to both groups or only send information that pertains to them.

Then build the most massive, highly responsive email list of prospects you can build, and follow up with them consistently.

If you really think it out before you get started, you can set up automated sequences so when they join your list, they auto-magically get a series of emails.

If the fortune is in the follow up, then every person on your email list is like a diamond waiting to be mined. Click To Tweet

If you need to know how to grow a list, here’s the best person I know to teach you.

biggest network marketing mistakes explained - email list

Mistake #18: Wasting Your Profits

Network marketing mistakes are just about execution in building the business.

They can also occur as you are finding success.

Profitability is paramount in any business.

The problem with network marketing is that once you start to become profitable it’s so easy to waste your profits.

Trust me, my first time around in this business I spent money like water.

It’s easy to do if you’re not careful because most if you’re doing it part time it’s all extra cash.

Plus, regardless of how big your business gets, your operational costs are pretty much fixed.
That’s the beauty of the business model.

However, if you get in the habit of using those profits like a slush fund, you will NEVER change your life.

Sure, you’ll have cool stuff, but true financial freedom will elude you.

You can always buy toys later.

In the beginning, you should use the money to do one of three things.

  1. Pay off debt.
  2. Invest in growing your business, preferably through marketing (provided you know how)
  3. Use for scaling into other investments.

I suggest doing it that order.

However, if you’re business is picking up speed, it may be wise to invest in some marketing to capitalize on the momentum.

It just depends on how effective you are at marketing.

If you’re not a great marketer, I would earmark some of it for marketing and the rest to pay off debt.

Marketing can eat up all your profits quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing.

One of the best books on how to allocate your business profits is Profit First by Mike Michalowics (affiliate link).

This book helped me understand how profits and earnings should be immediately chopped up and distributed into different buckets (accounts).

By keeping the accounts separate you can beat your human nature and keep your business running smoothly and profitably.

Mistake #19: Errors in Branding and Marketing

If you’re in network marketing, you’re in business for yourself but you also represent a company.

It can be confusing sometimes to figure out what to use for marketing & branding.

The company wants you to use their tools and branded items, but are they actually effective for building your team or are they just another revenue stream for your company?

I find it interesting that companies don’t usually attach volume points to merchandise and sales tools.

It seems that would be one of the best things they could do for average distributors.

Then there are top leaders in your company.

They usually have a training system as well and are merchandising to their team.

Often they want you to use their branded tools instead of the company sales tools.

So where should the average network marketing distributor and aspiring leader invest their marketing and branding dollars?

I firmly believe you should use your funds on something you can track the ROI & effectiveness on.

If you’re spending money on car decals, stickers, branded merchandise, etc., then you should be branding your own website, blog, or lead capture page.

It makes more sense to spend $50 on testing a Facebook ad or a decal with your personal landing page on it, than to just plaster your company logo on your vehicle.

I’ve been that guy.

I spent too much money on merchandise, tools, and other non-measurable marketing material that could have been much more effective if used on other marketing channels.

Mistake #20: Learning From Books Instead of Experience

Personal development and learning is one of the foundational principles of the network marketing profession.

Unlike any other profession, you won’t have sustainable success unless you develop yourself in many areas.

The problem is, amateur network marketers get trapped in the Land of the Learning.

They read, listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos, etc.

The list is endless.
I’m not against learning.

This entire site is about learning, adapting, and getting better so you can change your life.

However, too much learning and not enough implementing is a common and tragic problem.

Learn something? Great.
Now go implement it.

Put learning on hold and star using what you just learned to build your business.

At least test it.

Anything and everything you hear or read is just theory until you apply it.

The purpose of learning methods, tactics, and strategies is to improve results… Not just to get information in your head!

Anything you hear or read is just theory until you apply it. The purpose of #PersonalDevelopment is to improve #results... Not JUST to learn! Click To Tweet

Those great responses to objections and opening lines you hear at your company events or from a podcast don’t do you any good until you use them.

Use them consistently… over and over, tweak them, and see what works for you.

If you want to go fast, take massive action and be willing to fail (and learn) faster.

You’ll zip right by the thousands of distributors on this planet who know everything there is to know about their company and this industry… but have no results.

So after finishing this post, don’t do another google search.
Go apply something and test it for yourself.
Take some action!

Mistake #21: Worrying About Quitters Quitting

#Haters Hate and Quitters Quit... Bye Felicia. Click To Tweet

There’s too much press given to quitting and those who give up in the network marketing profession.

I think it’s because the numbers are in your face and you can’t ignore them.

It’s NOT because there’s a larger number of people who quit this profession than any other.

If you compare this to any other entrepreneurial endeavor, I would say it ranks about the same.

Anything that doesn’t carry an automatic paycheck for showing up and anything that requires some risk will have about the same success and failure ratios.

The difference is, since all the data is visible (your downline), it can feel like the numbers are higher than other industries.

But that’s not the case.

It’s well known in the professional development arena that most people who buy a book don’t read it.

Most people who buy a course don’t implement it or do anything with it. Most don’t even go through it.

Think about gyms.

How many people who have gym memberships actually go consistently or get results?

The answer is… very few.

Quitters quit. Deal with it.
The question is, which category are you?
Are you a starter or a finisher?
Decide to be a finisher.
Draw a line in the sand and take massive, consistent action.

Period. End of discussion.

Quitters Quit. Deal with it. The question is, which category are you? Are you a starter or a finisher? Decide and take #massive #consistent #action. Period. Click To Tweet

Critical Error [bonus]: Drinking ALL the Kool-Aid


I know, I know… stick with me though and it should all make sense in the end.

When you first join the network marketing industry it’s easy to be in awe at the kind of money people are making… the lifestyle, the cars, toys, bonuses, trips, etc.

I get it.
I understand.
I was there.

Such a simple business model, yet so life changing.
The success stories can be magnetic.
Every company has them.

Seemingly everyday people on stage, talking about how their life changed dramatically from this industry.

Spewing out big numbers, bubbling with excitement, sometimes shedding tears.

It’s the American Dream.

So you lean forward in your chair at the event, get out your notepad, and find out exactly what you’ve got to do to get there.

What you get (usually), is a charismatic leader who is fantastic at motivating… but maybe not so great at teaching.

They’re confident and bold.
They tell you to go do what they did.
Use the 3-foot rule.
Talk to everybody and people will get in.
Then those people will do the same thing.
Duplication occurs and ahhhh…. everything is heavenly.
You’re rich in 90 days.

Um… it could happen.
Probably won’t though… just be prepared.

Chances go up dramatically if you already have a large network of people who know, like, AND TRUST you.

People who see you as a leader and will follow you to the front lines of anywhere.

That description doesn’t fit most people though.

Yes, it’s good to believe in your product, your company, your upline, and your compensation plan.

But just because somebody who is charismatic says something with conviction… doesn’t make it magically happen.

It doesn’t make it true by default either.

The idea that if you’re not successful yet, you’re just need to talk to more people is… well, it’s a slippery slope and it’s only partially true.

Those stories are meant to inspire, encourage, and motivate because most people in this business (and in life) are not action takers.

They like to believe they are, but most aren’t.

They need to be motivated. Often the easiest thing to do (and sometimes the best) is to light a fire under them.

Often called ignorance on fire, it can get some momentum going because it can get people moving and taking action.

At some point though, you have to have a strategy other than blind ambition and hope.

Unfortunately, many company events don’t teach the nuts and bolts of how to build a business.

Usually, this is because the person teaching is just sharing what they did (minus the headaches, heartbreaks, and difficulties… unless it adds drama to the story).

Teaching people how to talk to others, how to position themselves well, and how to do what they did is more difficult.

Sometimes the charismatic stage presences isn’t even sure what they did other than be excited and have confidence.

It’s good to allow yourself to be motivated by these speeches, but don’t ever expect easy success.

That type of thinking just sets you up for false expectations and discouragement.

Easy success is a fairy-tell.

When you think you’re seeing it, you’re only seeing the person at the top of the mountain, you’re not seeing the struggle and the climb.

They may share part of it, but it’s impossible to share it all.

This is your journey, enjoy the process and don’t drink all the Kool-Aid.

Just drink enough to get you going and then make your own batch with your own ingredients.

Step back.
Look at your goals.
Make a plan.
Take action and execute the plan.
Do it again.

That’s what adults do.

That’s the secret to success in network marketing.

Do the work, but do it strategically.

Children drink Kool-aid, eat S’mores and sing Kumbaya around the bonfire.

Adults do the work.
Adults make a plan and stick to it, regardless of how they feel.
Are you a child or adult?

You get to decide, but it’s a decision you have to wake up and make again every single day.

It’s called commitment.

Here are a couple more of my network marketing mistakes to consider.

worst network marketing mistakes to make

Anyway, I hope this was beneficial. Please take the time to share it online where appropriate.

If you’re happy in your network marketing company, fantastic.

Go out and crush it!

If you’re looking for a new home, have a strong work ethic, and like to have fun on the journey…
you may be a fit for our team.

Click here to find out. 

Until next time, God Bless and I hope you’re building the life of your dreams.

Lastly, if you’d like a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, let me introduce you to your Savior.

Jason & Daniele