(Updated: January 28, 2017)
Wow, this has turned into the most popular MLM article on the internet. 15k+ Facebook shares and over 1 million views – thanks for the love!
Before viewing our rankings, I’d watch this video.
(MLM sponsors hate it, but at least it tells the truth)
Watch the entire video? Cool.
Here’s the top 25 companies based on trends and your ability to make money in 2017:
#25. Empower Network
Back in 2013, co-founders Dave Wood and Dave Sharpe were like Tupac. Empower Network was cult and their message was unapologetic: “Don’t be a damned wussy and buy all the products”.
Somewhere along the way, they stopped updating their original digital products and the vision was lost.
These days, you can hop on a random Empower Network webinar and still see Dave Wood spitting knowledge from his mansion in Costa Rica. All of the original leaders are gone except for Lawrence Tam and Tracy Walker, but don’t ever count Dave Wood out.
#24. World Ventures
World Ventures makes the list for making network marketing look “fun”. The vacation membership company targets millennials with a sleek campaign which shows people posting travel pictures with “You Should Be Here” signs.
No other MLM’s come close to nailing the younger market minus Wake Up Now and Vemma, both of which went under in 2015. Maybe a bad sign? Still, you’d think more MLMs would catch on to Instagram-centric campaigns. Tacky or not, it seems to be working.
#23. Wealthy Affiliate
Ask any Wealthy Affiliate member if they’re MLM and they’ll probably cuss you out.
Although technically not an MLM, Wealthy Affiliate offers hosting and a solid digital product lineup that draws comparisons to other MLM digital product companies (see: Digital Altitude, Tecademics, MOBE, MLSP, Empower Network).
Give ‘em credit, though…they’re still one of the bigger digital communities in 2017.
A nasty lawsuit seemed to divide the company (1), but they’re still hanging around as one of the better skin care options in network marketing.
They’ve got badges to prove their worth: Inc. 500, DSA membership and some meh sponsorships.
Usana makes the list by sheer numbers ($918 million revenue 2015) (2).
Their forecast doesn’t look super pretty, but they’re not tanking, either.
Still, they’ve been voted one of the “50 Best Places to Work” and they’ve partnered with the controversial yet iconic Dr.Oz. Think what you like about Dr.Oz, but that’s actually a modest endorsement in network marketing.
#20. Mary Kay Cosmetics
I know, go high-five your fifty-something aunt right now. Mary Kay has been hanging in the beauty world for a half century and they’re still considered visionary. What other 50 year-old beauty business wins “best website” and “best Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube” awards? (3)
And they’re not merely “hanging on”, either.
In 2014 they did $4 billion sales (4) and their global sales force topped the 3.5 million mark. They are still one of the largest direct sellers of skin care products and cosmetics, no small win for this cutthroat industry driven by fickle consumers.
#19. Nu Skin
Up there with Mary Kay and Amway, Nu skin makes the billion dollar club easily. With over $2 billion in annual sales, they’re a candidate for any top list and they’re the clear-cut veteran skincare network marketing company.
Still, they’re not as hot as they were 5 years ago, and it’s tough to say if they’ll be on this list 5 years from now. They donate lots of money to charity, but they’ve had their fair share of scandal and affairs so it’s hard to say what their image is these days.
One thing I do know: I’ve never met anyone under 30 who promotes Nu Skin, and I lived down the street from them for 5 years.
The only MLM to rival Amway’s fortune, fame, and size is Avon. With over 6 billion in revenue in 2015 plus worldwide recognition, they’re already in the MLM hall of fame.
They’re sliding, though. Revenue is falling in North America and their sales force is shrinking. Revenue slid 19% in 2013 and 7% in Mexico. Skip ahead to July 2015 and revenue is still spiraling downward, with a 17% drop (5). Analysts blame Avon’s failure to maintain a strong identity for its products as well as the strong dollar. Lesson: Always re-create yourself.
Over three decades selling skincare products, soon Arbonne will be up there with Mary Kay in terms of ancient relics still pushing lotions.
Huge success here, with annual sales topping $502 million. Still, like Nu Skin, trends would show they’re past their glory days.
Their science is tight, management is blue chip, and products are continually renewed and upgraded for new generations. Arbonne represents the best of what other science MLMs should hope to be. A lock to consider for skincare companies.
Rest of the world: Hey, how’s it going?
Herbalife: FINE. NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
Lol. Herbalife is massive. Top 5 in revenue? Alllll day. Top 5 in brand recognition? Probably top 3.
Still, its Herbalife, which has been universally panned by the media (their fault or not? doesn’t matter, still hurts ‘em) and have become nearly synonymous for “pyramid scheme”.
Good news: They’ve recently settled with the FTC and agreed to pay back $200 million to former distributers (6). Probably not a good look, but it hasn’t stopped disciples to keep rolling with ‘em.
You’ve probably heard of P90X and Insanity workouts, right? They’re dazzlingly-sweaty workout DVDs sold via network marketing thanks to BeachBody.
Beachbody gets saluted for sky-high revenue and mass recognition of their products. Both are testaments of what MLMs can be: “Great-products-first-and-the-money-will-follow” company.
Wickless, scented candles are blowing up, in case your older sister hasn’t told you already. Product is innovative. Flameless candles. It’s simple: People love their products.
The Meridian, Idaho-based company competes with doTERRA for the most word-of-mouth marketing award (and perhaps the most likely to spam your Facebook timeline award), but their $537 million in annual sales are beast-mode. They’re one of the few companies that I would bet on being around 15 years from now.
#13. Pampered Chef
Will high-end kitchen gadgets ever not be hot? Pampered Chef products were made to be sold at home parties and thats why this company is still putting up numbers.
The unofficial Pampered Chef guide to recruiting:
Step 1: invite your friends to come over and watch Scandal
Step 2: ask them to watch a presentation afterwards and pull out their credit cards
Kidding, kind of. They were super hot, but they’ve cooled off. The Berkshire-Hathaway entity was recently profiled for revenue declines and job layoffs (7).
#12. Forever Living
Forever Living probably deserve a spot because of their long-term dedication to the aloe vera plant and products made from it. Aloe vera is hot right now.
It’s rare you see a plant steadily climb over the years. That screams longevity over the other hundreds of other “full service wellness” companies. Founded in 1978, they’ve made the Forbes 400, the Inc 500 and $2.6 billion in revenue.
Further reading: The SINGLE most effective way to kill your job (not MLM)
Trends search show Isagenix neck-and-neck with Advocare, so they’re buzzing nicely these days.
They’re still one of the hottest network marketing companies, although I’m not sure what makes them different from all the other nutri-MLMs out there. They don’t have the sponsorships like Advocare, but maybe that can be used to say they pay out more to distributors?
Overwhelming-positive product reviews on Amazon, a solid comp plan and strong sales make this a top-15 lock for 2017.
If revenue numbers were all that mattered, Amway is #1 or #2 (behind Avon).
What a curious run they’ve had. Amway is so universally recognized it’s become a household word and a ponzi scheme joke at the same time. It’s a tough one to shake off. Nevertheless, you can’t deny winning numbers like $9.5 billion (8) and 3 million distributors. Or naming rights to an NBA arena.
Brand upside for Amway? Aaron Gordon blossoms into a poor-mans Blake Griffen, and the Amway Center gets more runs on TNT and ESPN. That’s all I got.
#9. Wor(l)d Global Network
WGN is blazing hot and they’re cashing in on the wearables trend. I’m not mad, it’s actually brilliant.
Not sure if they’ll be around in 5 years, but they’re hot right now. Their latest release is a health-tracking and disease-monitoring wristband called HELO. They also did $157 million in revenue, and they’re just starting to pop off.
Digging the innovation here, but I’m banking these technologies will be in all smart phones 5 years from now. Will they continue to re-create themselves?
Further reading: The page you need to see before joining any MLM
#8. Ambit Energy
Think: ACN but better.
Ambit has hit the Inc 5000 for 3 years in a row (9), and they seem to keep trending. They promise lower, fixed prices for natural gas and electric services, so they’re clearly less sexier than most network companies on this list. And that’s probably why they’ve thrived. No glitz and glamour, just practical savings.
#7. Young Living
Essential oils are still red-hot. And YL was the first in this category. Used for wellness, cleaning and beauty, essential oils are natural, have few side effects, and hundreds of home applications.
Their lavender fields are famous and they control every aspect of production from planting to bottling so quality is a big deal with this line. Founder Gary Young is famous for setting quality standards for the entire essential oils industry.
So, what’s not to like? Uh, lets just say it rhymes with “Moterra”.
Last year’s #1-ranked network marketing company, Advocare caught some bad PR and slid a bit.
A recent ESPN report (10) was a borderline hit-piece, covering mostly the negative aspects of network marketing, leaving the reader with ex-distributor quotes like these: “You catch people in a bad spot who maybe have hope that this could be a way for them to pay for their credit card and their kids, and you exploit them.”
Ouch. Still, Brees is still rolling with em, and they have the endorsements, products (Spark), programs (24 day challenge) and revenue to be a top 10 lock.
“Tec-a-who?”, you’re thinking.
Chris Record’s new venture is an “online internet marketing education” that’s still being cooked up, so it’s the calm before the storm. Students can attend a real, classroom setting (I believe in Scottsdale) or study online.
Thing is, dude hasn’t launched a wack venture to date, and he already has a team stacked with internet marketing big-leagues. Yes, this ranking is based on speculation, but Tecademics would be on my short list of MLMs to consider in 2017.
Concept makes too much sense. Just sayin.
#4. Digital Altitude
What happens when you create an e-learning personal development program focused on digital business for budding entrepreneurs? And encourage affiliates to spend up to $25k on programs, masterminds and digital retreats?
Correct answer: A bunch of internet marketers get rich
Digital Altitude is not just a money-grab, though, as their education teaches their distributors how to promote the products, which allows automation and scalability way past making a list of family and friends or approaching well-dressed people at Wal-Mart.
That’s why its hot and will probably stay hot for awhile.
In early 2017, 60% of Younique was sold to Coty for $600 milly (11), putting their valuation near $1 billion.
Clap for ‘em.
Good news for distributors: Derek Maxfield and the leadership is still in tact, and the social-media driven cosmetics company is still thriving with their $19 lipsticks and $39 moisturizers.
Younique blew up in Utah the last few years, cornering the market with cosmetic home parties for women who want empowerment. Powerful messaging that works.
Another winning product line here. Jeunesse products work super, super well. Even MLM-cynics need to show love for a product that rids wrinkles:
This live demo (12) is impressive. People will always want to look younger, and Instantly Ageless cream continues to make waves.
They were the #1 fastest growing Direct Selling Association company on the Inc 500 and poached Alex Morton months before Vemma went under in 2015. Savage AF?
Trending and a product that works really, really well? Thats rare in network marketing.
A recent third-party survey (13) said 9 out 10 people that live in the Eastern USA have never heard of “doTERRA”.
Translation: they’re poised for exponential growth.
doTERRA has been cult in Utah for some time, (33% of the consumers in the Rocky Mountain region) but now people all over the world are becoming strangely passionate about using essential oils.
Capitalizing on millennials who love going “all-natural”, doTERRA is buzzing from church parking lots to your married, twenty-something sisters Instagram feed. After only five years in business, they broke ground on a $60 million headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
A spin-off from Young Living, doTERRA started much later (2008) and manages to have the momentum.
Bottom line: They’re the clear leader in the essential oils market
(distinguished niche), making (doTERRA) my #1 MLM pick of 2017.
Look, to be fair, I salute anyone looking at network marketing companies because it shows you’re trying to do something about your current financial situation.
Hard to knock that.
Now, should you join any of the above companies? The short story: MLM has worked for many, but hasn’t for most.
Network marketing companies usually have good intentions, but the industry is flawed.
Lemme explain a few:
1) Low barrier of entry
Simple: companies choose the multi-level marketing model because MLM companies are cheaper to start and cheaper to run. By transferring that job to a distributor, a company saves an average of $1,200 annually per employee (14). That’s just for training.
Now you have thousands of untrained marketers piggy-backing a hot trend and ultimately becoming “middlemen”, with more than half dropping out in less than a year (15).
2) Artificial supply and demand
Simple: network marketing companies get in trouble when most of their sales come from new recruits instead of outside customers.
Think about it: Why else would so many MLM companies mysteriously re-launch or re-brand?
Its all about the new sign-ups.
“Another opportunity to get in at ground level,” the masses think, and artificial demand is created.
Obviously, there’s always exceptions, but these flaws apply to most network marketing companies.
If you’re doing it for the money, odds are you’ll make around $1,833 per year (17).
Ask yourself this uncomfortable question:
Am I pretending to like these overpriced products to disguise the truth, which is that I’m selling an opportunity to make money, whereby statistics say that almost no one is?
There’s wayyyyyyyyy better ways to quit your day job and live the good life. Start here.
I do enjoy your writing style. keeps you wishing the post to go on forever and that’s a gift.
More than anything i enjoyed this post. i kept seeing myself on every paragraph of this piece. I too have been involved in 2 mlm company’s and failed terribly. Like you say, products are highly over priced and the focus shifts to recruiting.
Was also doing empower network but unfortunately i couldn’t get any one to join my team and it was four months before i quit.
Thank you for this post. This was really good.
Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, Avitus.
Glad you’re feeling the flow.
Jeunesse Global is an amazing company, thank you for the nice comments. I’m guessing we will be listed higher then #3 for 2016 with over 3 Billion in cumulative sales now.
Please teach me more
I’d start here.
your comments made me laugh, Arbonne an established company of more than 3 decades??? Mary Kay 50 years Old. Avon have been global company for well over 100 years, and whilst the US market has had some dips, the rest of the world is backing them up One Team, One Goal. An affordable, ethical entry to MLM
Glad I could provide some LOL in your life. If company longevity was the only factor, yes, Mary Kay and Avon would have faired much better.
Still, clap for ‘em – they cracked the 25.
Considering their products are botanically based with an ingredient policy that prohibits many of the chemicals and fillers Mary Kay and Avon still use in their own products, I’d say they’ve established a business for men and woman who are truly serious about the health of their skin, not just the evenness of their complexion. A little research goes a long way.
First of all, Avon “has” been. Second, Avon really needs to work on their appeal to a younger generation. Third, Avon makes it difficult for representatives to make any money unless you are purchasing a ton of catalogs and knocking on doors. The company really needs to allow representatives to advertise online, and I don’t mean spamming friends on a Facebook or Twitter feed.
Hi Jeremy … nicely written article with great content and super quick to read. You obviously stay up to date on MLM happenings!
My question: what is the better way? (ref 18)
Happy you enjoyed the article – it took me (with a help of a researcher) 30+ hours. Lotta work, but it was fun.
You can check it out here.
Great listing and especially the honest look at what being in an MLM means. Direct sales is a hard business, especially if you’re not passionately using the product daily. You see too many people who join thinking it will be a get rich quick scheme and don’t actually care about the product or their customers. Genuine lasts and is successful, companies like Avon and Mary Kay have been around for generations because people love their products.
Nicole, you make some good points – thanks for commenting!
I appreciate this comment. I’m a doTERRA gal. When I signed up I said I’d never sell. I just wanted to buy and use the oils. Then because of my love for them, people started coming to me for education and asking where they could get oils. So now I sell them. I’m not a sales person. I can’t bug my friends about stuff. But I’m growing this business because I truly believe in the products and use them every single day. I may not ever become rich from this and that’s OK with me. I won’t consider it a failure. Every person I help is a success in my book!
That’s super cool, I can respect that. Wish you continued success, Erica.
I’m a doterra girl too!! I did the same as you! Now I’m a builder and Love it!! This is the best company I’ve ever worked for.
Erica, Well said…I couldn’t have said it any better! It truly is rewarding/success when you can help someone just by sharing your love and the oils ect. I’m not a sales person either but oh how great it is to help others in need and see results.
Jeremy seriously how much were you paid to butt kiss Young Living? Didn’t mention ummm their lack of retention rate. Gee that must have been…oops mistake.
Oh yeah the FDA lawsuit against Young Living joined by the state of California. Hum forgot to mention the his. Oh right and 7 of their oils being found having LEAD in them.
Well I guess that’s all fine well and wonderful in your book.
Not mine! Doterra is a 1 BILLION dollar company in how much time? With what retention rate? Boggles the mind the Sucess Doterra deserves note for and yet you slather drooling accolades to Young Living undeserved.
Otherwise seriously your writing is provocative. Wouldn’t mind checking out your course. Peace out as you say..
Woah, you know I ranked Doterra over Young Living, right?
And, name me 5 MLMs on this list that haven’t battled lawsuits of some kind? Seems to come with the territory.
Again, I’m not here to defend any MLM, I’m here looking at future outlook, performance (numbers) and the current state of the company
Wow Collette! I’m a new Advocate with doTERRA, as is my wife. She wanted to start using oils to get our family off of medications as much as possible (and now we mostly are!) We chose doTERRA over all the other oils companies because of the process in which they farm and make their oils as well as the great culture they seem to exude. We just felt called to them.
Your comment and it’s militant nature are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I believe the doTERRA culture is founded upon. I hope anyone reading this thread choose to look past your article and it’s attack on YoungLiving when basing their decision as to which company they choose to go with. I want them to know that the manner in which you needlessly attacked them is in no way a representation of all the other reps nor the company itself.
Nobody really wins when you have to resort to bashing and name-calling to try to get your point across…We will succeed in spreading the word of essential oils and doTERRA by proving how great of a company we are and how well OUR products work. Thank you!
Amway is number one in the world and has been for years, there’s extra zeros in our numbers. Never had a lawsuit and have been green for a long time.
Top 10 isn’t bad.
But…not alotta millenials in Amway.
Hi Jeremy great article. Here’s my take for what it is worth,after working 50 years for the bank making not so much money,having to accommodate there time schedule ,negotiated vacations and seeing very few people advance to 6 figure incomes,I’m somewhat intrigued by the idea of using my retirement years looking at mlm as a part time endeavour . Obviously I put a lot of blood sweat and tears into my previous job,so I’m not expecting to make my millions in a couple years in mlm, but I like the (do it in your own time) idea. If I find a product I like and would use anyway why not? I also like the idea that the potential is there biased on your own efforts. Am I wrong What do you think?
To be clear, I think MLM is better than working at the bank, especially if you find one that offers products you’d be using anyways.
However, as Part 2 of this guide explains, MLM still has it’s flaws, and I wouldn’t ever recommend it as a means to replace your income. That’s where our training has helped 1,000+ people.
I disagree with that jeremy i would recommend MLM over working a Corporate 9 t0 5 $300 weekly paycheck job anyday. I quit my job for mlm i mean why not recommend MLM when you can make 10X the more money than you can at any stupid corporate america job..Working for people are for losers and i will defend mlm for the rest of my life bro you need to get your facts straight and look on youtube to see people buying new mercedez benzs and rolls royce working with mlm
Oh boy. This.
MaryAnne, I would recommend finding a product that you LOVE, a product that you feel can benefit the people around you and who you feel integrity with. You want to find their products useful so that you will feel good about buying them every month and want to share them with other. It is a business, but you also want to be able to have fun with it too
Really enjoyed your perspective and the research you’ve done. Do you have social media to follow other articles of yours? Twitter?
Yeah, here’s the Multiple Streams FB.
I thought this article was fantastic. I currently work with an MLM and love it, but I definitely can see why MLM’s would have flaws. However, I also know for me it wasn’t about selling as much as it was SHARING. I have experienced more than a product, I have been able to share the gift of health and the gift of the business itself. I absolutely love it and people who join me in this mission are as passionate as well! I believe when we look at really loving people where they are and actually caring, success will come and not the other way around. That’s the only way I’ve been able to see it happen! Any who, thanks for the tips!
Lexi, thanks for sharing.
Super refreshing to see that mentality in network marketing.
Thanks Lexi! I couldn’t have said it better! When you have a life altering experience it’s hard not to share. I do agree that most people fail but I wouldn’t blame the business model. It
comes down to leadership and the individual. I even changed teams to find the right mentor and coaching when I knew I was struggling. I found a team that trains people to be some network marketing professionals, and really the math is simple and anyone can make residual income if they do it correctly. The problem is people sign everyone up they can and then most drop out. You only want to work with those that are committed to do the work and be able to work closely with them until they are a developed leader. In all actuality ssigning everyone up as an associate is against the rules and a big no no. Having customers benefits everyone and in most business models like the one I’m with I make more commission off customers than associates that aren’t working.
Let’s break this down a little.
“I do agree that most people fail but I wouldn’t blame the business model.”
The business model has to take partial blame if most people fail.
“I found a team that trains people to be some network marketing professionals, and really the math is simple and anyone can make residual income if they do it correctly.”
What is a network marketing professional? Tell me what that is. A person who can approach well-dressed people in Wal-mart and hand them their MLM business card? Someone who writes a list of their family and friends and then 3-way call them with their “higher-up” sponsor? Really, if someone can tell me what being a network marketing professional entails, I’m listening.
“The problem is people sign everyone up they can and then most drop out.”
Correct. You just summarized multi-level marketing in one sentence.
Great article and thanks for taking the time to write this.. however I can see why your business didn’t fly as you had hoped. Mlm is a people’s business and that means that it IS the interaction with each other that strengthens working together. Yes you need to be self motivated but you also need to be a supporter too. Networking also eliminates the need to do constant appraisals. You don’t work you don’t get paid. That’s music to a corporate managers ears. Networking is not for everyone… but where else can you invest for such a small amount and have all the other aspects of business done for you and all you have to do is go get customers and recruit more customer finders and have no ceiling on being paid for that. As for the product you promote.. you choose something you like. My original passion as a woman was make up so I joined that type of business. Got so passionate I qualified as a beautician and onto other certificates then I discovered essential oils.. I needed supplies but minimum trade orders were over £3000 each time. Mlm on the other hand was order as my demands and finances could afford. So my interest in mlm grew. Now I would not go back to traditional office work. When I know when I apply myself I can exceed what ANY employer thinks I’m worth
Good insight but you lost me at “however i can see why your business didn’t fly as you had hoped…”
It was actually more than I hoped ($6k/mo) but the problem was exactly what you said: “but where else can you invest for such a small amount…and all you have to do is go get customers and recruit..?”
All you have to do is recruit. LOL. Ok, how?? 99% are talking to their families or friends (not scalable, shameless) or spamming people on Facebook (not scalable, shameless). Where’s the value? That’s not networking.
No matter how hard people work, the model still suffers. The industry is flawed.
This article was really informative and honest! I’m not presently involved in an MLM and I don’t ever plan to be especially after reading this article and the comments below. Why? Well because of EXACTLY the kind of “networking” and “recruiting” that these companies and many of the people commenting on here are advocating. I have been bombarded on my facebook, and other social media from people I haven’t spoken to or seen in years. Its becoming constant, and I am not on social media to make money. Roden and Fields, shakeology, some girl I went to high school with is now trying to get me to buy leggins from her. I have a cousin that I actively avoid now because he is constantly steering every single conversation to Herbellife and why I NEED it to be healthy. Jesus. Its just enough already. I’m all for empowering people, and I love the idea of earning an additional income to take care of your family or yourself. But I could not imagine alienating or even just annoying friends and family in order to make an extra dollar. What I dislike most is that many of those that are recruiting make it seem as if they recruiting you simply because they want to “help” you or provide you with an opportunity. They make it seem as if they are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, when really the actual motivation is line their own pockets with more money, because the more people you recruit for your team, the more money you make. That feels dishonest and slimy to me. Unless I’m asking for “help” or an “opportunity” I wish people would assume that I don’t need and am not interested in one!
Really enjoyed your writing and I also like that you are so responsive in the comments! Definitely will keep reading!
Thanks Casey, glad you liked it.
Kay, you don’t need a lot of money to buy essential oils, NOT AT ALL! Specifically now that distillers will sell directly to small businesses with very minimum amount, your $100 will buy you a lot actually. Averagely, your cost with MLM in a single bottle will be around 25x-30x more. So it is not the cost; but the business set-up (packaging, presentation, etc.).
Very good insight I’M thinking of joining E N but wondering why did the other guy leave David Wood (co founder with him)
Dave Sharpe had some health issues at the time. Think (hope) he is doing better now.
Great job on the top 25 MLMs. Really like what you’re doing for the industry as a whole. Your analysis is spot on. However, a closer look at retention rates for each company might give you another perspective on the value proposition of any given company. As a Doterra Wellness Advocate we are told by our corporate execs that we have a 65% retention rate with customers repurchasing the product within 3 months. And that if we based it on the industry standard of 12 months our retention would go up to 85%. I’m told that this is unprecedented in network marketing. So I’m believing that Doterra is succeeding because its selling a product that works and that users and word-of-mouth drive the business in the long run.
Thanks for the feedback – retention rate would be a good metric to dial in on. Might have to reflect that in future updates.
Hi Jeremy, Cool article! I’ve been fortunate to perform/speak for/ and play master of ceremonies for many of these companies, although some still elude me. Very real what you say here. Thanks for promoting what I feel is a great industry that changes lives on both sides, seller and consumer.
That’s pretty awesome. Sounds like you’re quite the entertainer.
Although, I can’t say I promote the industry – just cover it. Here’s why.
Thank you for your article. I am also with doterra and I never in my life thought I would do something like this. The reason I started was because of health issues that led me to the oils. I have been an RN for 23 years and I feel more free and excited to share about health than ever. If you are going into something to get rich quick, I think that is the wrong attitude. I think most of my fellow doterra wellness advocates, have come to the same realization as me. I believe most of us started out trying to help ourselves and our families. I left my nursing job of 17 years in Feb, not because I am making enough money to replace my past income, but because I truly love helping others and I love the company and what it stands for. I can’t argue about MLM’s because I truly don’t care about that side of it. Maybe I am wrong to think that way. I hope that this ride doesn’t end anytime soon because the difference that doterra is making in my life, and the lives of those around me, is amazing. Thank you again for your information and your viewpoint.
Awesome, it’s refreshing to hear stories like yours.
I think you missed one: I am an independent agent of Plexus Worldwide. We sell all natural health and weight loss supplements, including our signature product, Plexus Slim aka The Pink Drink. In 2014 Plexus Worldwide was featured in Success From Home Magazine, a highly regarded publication in the Direct Selling industry.
Plexus Worlwide is ranked by Inc. magazine as #8 (in 2014) and #132 (in 2015) fastest growing privately held company with a three year growth of 2833%; all while offering a 60-day money back guarantee on all its products – which means the products work. And at a consumer friendly price point. 40% of all sales are from customers and not ambassadors.
The start up cost is only $34.95. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more info
Nice. Sounds like you went from telling us what it was to slyly throwing in a pitch. Nicely done.
But its those exact tactics that make the industry distasteful. And why I always say there’s a better way.
I originally got into network marketing because I was persuaded by my sponsor and convinced it was the only way to get what I want in life. After bothering old friends and family unsuccessfully I got out.
I learned seo and blogging, failed at that. I learned Facebook ads and email marketing, learned how to target the right demographics for Doterra, now people contact me wanting to know about the oils, then I got present and sign up, this my friend’s is the best of both worlds and what everyone should learn, find your form of marketing, go teach and sign up and leave for friends and family alone, unless you know they’ll want it.
Yeah, I actually like that advice.
So your not where you want to be in life at $32000 a month? So at what monthly income will you feel that you have made it?
I hope I never feel like I’ve “made it”. As my Dad always told me, the journey is the destination.
There is “no end”. Today, this actual minute that I’m taking the time to reply to your comment, is “it”. Thats the most important part of being in business for me. Staying present.
Not to get super “out there” (I just read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth) but so many people chase income goals, business goals, etc and they fail to embrace (and stay present) with the journey at hand.
They think this life event of reaching a certain income level is “it”.
But realize, that the journey is “it”.
Okay, I just put my tea down and left the Buddha bar, no more conscious rants, I promise lol.
Hi Mr Page, please, when you have a chance, check out this new mlm where the product is basically your own savings account accruing daily interest from profits made in the google-type advertising business. My website link will get you in for free to look around. Cheers, TC
^^ this is exactly what I mean, fellas.
This is MLM at its best.
Hey Jeremy.. another great article. You didn’t have Primerica Financial Services on this list at all.. Do you not consider us to be a mlm or do you think that we are that bad?
There’s over 1,000 big MLM’s out there, so not making the list doesn’t mean the MLM is bad.
I just posted about the same thing sorry I missed this one. I was also shocked they didnt make the list since they have the most 6 and 7 figure income earners of ANY company not just MLM’s.
You are really correct on the over-priced product that you probably would not buy if you weren’t in the company to make money. I have been in a lot of MLM’s over the years and out for the last 15 years. But finally found one that works for me and everyone below me. Thanks
Interesting. Glad you found something that works after all these years.
Though I am all fired up and have a decent amount of knowledge about the industry I am confused which company to join as I reside in India?
Maybe you could help suggesting?
Any wise advise would be really life changing and helpful!!
I actually didn’t recommend any.
Thanks for this article! However, I think you will find that doTERRA’s compensation plan unlike any other. It’s opposite of most. Maybe do a comparison in your next article?? I’d be interested in seeing how they stack up.
Why is it unlike any other? – explain…
I think she may be referring to how the bonuses paid out from your team’s sales are less of a percentage on your 1st Generation recruits, increasing with every next generation so you’ll earn (let’s say) only 2% on your 1st Gen and umpteen % on your 5th generation, whichI believe may be opposite of most other MLM’s.
I don’t care where doTERRA in ranked. The oils are good, but the company SUCKS. It is all built on big bloggers. Don’t have a big blog – you’re going to make pennies while others demand you make a minimum $100 a month order. The company itself has great customer service, but try to reach compliance or tell them that your uplines are making fake accounts or ordering off multiple people in the downline just to ensure they make bonuses and NO ONE listens. It’s supposedly geared to help the underdog succeed – this is a gimmick.
Thanks for the feedback.
Indeed, it highlights the sustainability problem – where do you get your leads if you’re not a big blogger?
Answer: the masses are there to scoop up the scraps. True story.
Im a top ranking rep with DT and I don’t have a blog, I’m in their top 1%. I shared with friends, and other moms because I cared, people wanted natural solutions, not a 1 hit wonder. The oils offer 100’s of solutions to mainstream issues, natural solutions, non toxic DIY recipes and my favorite, emotional support. There are only a handful of bloggers in DT that have been successful doing it, everyone else does it the old fashioned way, word of mouth. I was making multiple six figures after 2 years in DT and most companies it takes a decade or more to do that. So to say the business sucks, well, I’d say user error, no offense. If you are wanting to find an excuse to not succeed, any excuse will do…. ex. “I don’t have a blog”. well then get one if you believe that’s what it takes, or just keep hating on others success whichever makes you feel better. And personally I hated this industry before DT. everyone always wanting me to sell their product, I’ve never had to recruit anyone to DT, they want it, they share it, only 11% actually sell, 89% have never sold or ‘enrolled’ a wholesale customer, they just use it and order because its consumable, versatile, and effective. For many, its the only thing that has helped them, including myself. I was a single mom when I started and decided to do it as a business because with sharing, it didn’t feel like work. I dont’ know the first thing about blogging. It’s comments and people like this that just are misleading and igorant. Sure if you want to follow someone’s advice that complains about everything, those kind of people will believe this garbage. However, there are many that are successful in dT who just choose to work on themselves, their business and have drive. There is aboslutely no minimum ordering required in DT. you dont even have to order monthly for a memebership. This kind of comment is generally a negative person looking for something to hate and complain about that has anything bad to say about dT. Their humanitarian efforts are amazing, healing hands foundation has donated millions and helped millions of people. Its pretty amazing, I don’t know of another MLM that hit a billion in yearly sales in under 8 years. I can see why Jeremy is trying to help people find a better way, honestly I couldn’t imagine working with another mlm, with the low retention rate, all hype, win my car type of salesly advertising, its a total turn off, DT is in a league of its own, obviously the numbers prove that. If you are scared of contacting friends and family, they will feel that lack of confidence or intent to ‘sell them’ if you’re offering solutions to people’s problems that worked for you, that’s a totally different story. I’ve never sold anyone, offered solutions thats it, and that’s why myself and so many others have been successful in doTERRA. its not a weight loss gimick, skin care, energy hype. its real solutions, specific to different problems and everyone on the planet is better off using them and its life changing. that is the difference. Sorry rant over, I just get tired of anyone comparing any other MLM to doTERRA, as if they compare at all. Not to mention advocare has gmos, synthetics, toxins and fake sweeteners. it’s practically poison along with half the other mlm’s on this list. And yet its ranked as #1. It is one person’s opinion, but when you look at the ingredients and you take a deeper look into all the facets of all these companies, there is no comparison. Just saying. Rant over
Thanks for your opinion. Your opinion counts as one, too. Glad you crushed it in Doterra, though, that’s baller.
Also, ranking #2 is pretty high praise.
Hi someone was prospectingon me to join BFSUMA. How much do you know about it?
Never heard of them. Sorry.
Thank you for this article! I’m with Doterra, like a lot of other people I didn’t start out selling. I just wanted to use the product. But, when you see such great results you can’t help but tell people. I love working for this company!! I have worked for Tupperware, Amway, Jafra, It Works, I never made money like I am with doTerra. Hands down its the best!! I’m working hard to build my business and it is paying off and I’m reaping the benefits for my health. God’s Design for our Natural health care is top notch! I give God all the glory and I couldn’t do this without him.
Nice, glad you’re seeing some success there.
Great article and I hope you choose to delve deeper into this with future blogs.
I was laid off from my corporate VP job when I turned 50. A friend told me about doTerra for some health issues and as intelligent as I considered myself I didn’t even know what the acronym MLM stood for.
5yrs later I’m at a healthy 5 figure monthly income because I believed in the product & had met some successful MLM’ers that looked like normal people (no gold chains around the neck).
Building my business was/is a LOT of hard work but I took what I poured into my 12hr day/6 days week corp job & worked my business. Less stress, less time but it’s tough if you don’t have tenacity & commitment you will fail.
I believe the ones that don’t make it in the industry (if they chose a good one) don’t give it enough time (like you said they quit before a year is up) and commitment to doing what it takes to grow. I don’t spam FB and only 2 family members order product but I have at least 100+ home school moms making >$2000/mth. Some team members make more, some less. It’s what they put into it (business wise not monetary)
It’s all been word of mouth and the right market niche (which my downline is responsible for, not me!)
The product works and I’d guess 98% of my organization is made up of happy product users.
MLM has such a bad rep and with all things, only the negatives come to light. Thank you for sharing objectively.
Yeah, that’s cool it’s worked for you in a word-of-mouth marketing way…however, that’s usually a tough sustainable model…consistently relying on your warm market.
That’s why I feel there is a better way to kill your day job.
I agree with Jeannie. You can build a solid foundation from your warm market & then it snowballs. It is hard work & not a get rich industry. I to am with dōTERRA which is such a product driven company that 80% of wholesale customers are just customers because the products work. I love how everyone I have interacted with in my Upline are so driven by a purpose much bigger than amassing wealth! After almost 20 years of business experience (corporate sales & real estate), I can proudly say that I’ve never worked in such an edifying & encouraging environment. I can’t remember even 1 of my former bosses sitting down with me to chart a plan to bring me up to their level or even to take their current spot on the corp ladder – too much insecurity in that world & after all only 1 person makes it to the top of that pyramid. I love that in Network marketing you can easily surpass the rank & income of the person above you if you work with great purpose. The mentoring available & the personal development which happens in this environment is incredible!
I hear comments about MLM products being overpriced all that time, but don’t quite get that.
We see published compensation plans of MLM companies and I guess the commissions and discounts created this impression of lucrative margins of the products, and hence overpriced.
But comparing to an equivalent product sold on retail front, there are monies spent on national advertising, branding campaigns, celebrity endorsements, other costs in supply chain, say supermarket stocking cost which I thought might be no less than the MLM commission.
If that being the case, how is an MLM product overpriced an equivalent sold on shelves?
Have you got any statistics on that? I’m curious.
Herbalife’s lawsuit highlighted the over-priced products (i’d have to Google it).
Thank you for sharing your perspective on the Direct Sales/MLM companies. As a business owner and entrepreneur, there is often a lot of noise from many sources about what is the best way to grow and be of importance. One of the things I have learned and continue to learn is that we must really love what we do, believe in our offering, whether is it a product or service, and listen closely to our gut instincts. A business coach of mine once said being a prism is beautiful, but it is scattered light, focus on what you love. Another important thing to know for yourself , is that there are different learning styles. If you choose to join any company, MLM or otherwise, be clear with yourself how you best learn and thrive. Getting swept up in the cheering may feel good, and it may keep you motivated on some level, however, be clear on how do you retain knowledge and use it. If a company has a one size fits all approach, be very careful that you do not get swept away. Thank you again for sharing this information. It has helped me have another look at my goals and how to continue focusing on what I love to do.
With Warmest Regards,
Thanks for your comment, Nancy.
Just curious, where did Rodan and Fields place?
Didn’t make the list. Considered them, though.
What about Watkins Products. Our company has been in business almost 150 years. The First Direct selling company. I have been with them for 25 years and would never trade them for anything else.
I see Melaleuca on here. I see that as both good and bad. They are an awesome company with a great compensation plan. However, they are not an MLM. They are not even listed with the federal agency that oversees those companies. They are a Consumer Direct Marketing company. How does that differ? While I am required to purchase a certain amount each month, that’s all I need to purchase. It’s all products I use in my own home for myself. I don’t have a monthly quota to meet. I don’t have to buy product and sell it to people. The idea is that the product goes to the consumer only. In fact, it’s against company policy to buy product and sell it to others. The only comparison I see are the “levels” of customerS in my group. Can you shed any light on why you think they are an MLM? Thanks, so much!
Feel you there, this list had both MLM/direct sales together. Some other direct sales companies are in there as well.
Most people associate them together, for better or for worse.
I couldn’t agree more!! I started with Melaleuca 10 years ago. I don’t see their products as overpriced. I would continue to purchase even if I never got paid a cent from them. I just love the quality of the products. They are not MLM!!
Have you bothered to take a look at the compensation plan??? They are BY DEFINITION, a MLM….
It’s not like that is a bad thing. It’s funny how people get so wrapped up in terminology. So if they are a great “Direct Sales” company, are they all of the sudden not great once you put the MLM label on them????
They are definitely a MLM
I’m surprised Rodan and Fields didn’t make the list, considering they are the fourth largest premium skin care company with the top three being 50+year old companies, Estée Lauder, Lancôme & Clinique. We are North America’s 4th largest and fastest growing premium skincare company, but we’re not in stores, the top 3 — Clinique, Lancôme and Estée Lauder.
– CLINICAL skincare.
– Not a “home parties” company, no inventory, and no delivering of products. Just a website!
– Barely scratched the surface in the States, Canada just launched, launching Australia this year and then Asia and beyond.
– Offer a 60-day money back guarantee for both consultants and Preferred Customers.
Could have been overlooked.
How I feel right now:
Not a MLM..
http://www.idahofallsmagazine.com/2014/12/demystifying-Melaleuca does NOT fit any of the descriptions about multi-level marketing. Best double check. We had to. We thought it was until we looked closer. Opening Online Shopping Accounts! Not a “home parties” company, no inventory, and no delivering of products. Just a website! Best HOME BASED Business we have ever found. And we have been LOOKING! Thanks.
In just 30 years, Melaleuca has grown from a little startup in rural Idaho to a billion-dollar enterprise doing business in 19 countries around the globe. It has become one of the largest catalog and online wellness retailers in North America. And it is the largest manufacturer of consumer packaged goods in the Northwest. Today, more than a million customers shop with Melaleuca every month.
BBB Business Reviews :
Melaleuca, Inc. is listed as a Direct Marketing Company. The company contracts with independent marketing executives who refer customers to Melaleuca that purchase its various lines of nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal care, household cleaning, and pet care products. They also offer travel, phone and credit card services. Customers receive discounts if they order a minimum monthly product supply, but are not required to maintain an inventory of products. The company states that it offers a “Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee”.
Just the facts, sir, just the facts.
Easy, I don’t think it changes the strategy much if you’re MLM or direct sales if you’re in the game to make some money.
yeah – I’m a Melaleuca customer and director – it’s definitely MLM – MLM payplan, same MLM recruiting techniques, pitches, etc…. as most every other successful mlm on the planet. Always wondered why Vandersloot and most of the company says it’s not – they’ll almost “fight to the death” in debate over this issue. Stupidity.
I realized my email address was incorrect. I also thought you might find these statistics from Euromonitor to be a value when you assess Rodan + Fields.https://www.rodanandfields.com/images/Archives/RF_Future_Growth.pdf
Ok, thank you.
Do you really want RF to be included in an article that’s basically designed to deter people from being a part of a network marketing company?
Bonnie, you make a decent point, but these rankings are sincere. If I was an MLM I’d still want to make my list.
And, to be clear, I don’t try to deter anyone, just give the facts and my opinion on things…and let people decide for themselves. Alotta people dig the style.
Why do you think Juice Plus did not make the list for top MLM companies when they have been around for over 20 years with rock solid products? What made the decision to not include them?
I don’t think I made a conscience decision not to include them, just think there are thousands of multi-level marketing companies and this list only had space for 25. That’s all.
It seems to me that in your assessment of the top 25 MLM that you had a preference for one essential oil company (Young Living) over the other (doTERRA) which outranked YL. You give a glowing review of YL and state that they “set the standard” & are a “solid pick”. While you seem to question why people could possibly like doTERRA with comments like “Users swear by the oils, and for whatever reason, people (and not just people in Utah) are strangely passionate about telling their friends about them.” For “whatever reason”??? “Strangely passionate”??? You come across as bias. You also incorrectly state that YL set the standard for quality, while they may have been the first legit EO Co. they didn’t set the standard. Infact their lack of wanting to find the purest most potent EO available (which comes from the country the plants are indigenous to) and having strict testing to ensure the purity and potency is why doTERRA was founded, doTERRA set the standard because YL didn’t want to. And that is why doTERRA is the #1 EO company and why Young Living is not. Not to mention how well doTERRA takes care of the suppliers through Co-Impacting and how they’re improving their lives through The Healing Hands Foundation. The foundation builds wells, schools, provides personal care products as well as many other things. doTERRA is changing lives for the better all around the world so that is one of the “reasons” we’re “strangely passionate” about spreading the good news of doTERRA essential oils. Not only are doTERRA EO more potent and purer making the the “solid pick” they are literally saving peoples lives.
You seem way chill. lol.
Yes, people with biases tend to publicize information that says the product they secretly dislike outranks one they actually do like. Do you realize how incredibly ignorant that sounds? That is what you just took 30 lines to say…
Appreciate the hard work studying this… Im apart of the #1 company on there Advocare… have been for 7 years and one of the higher paid single guys in the nation… I just have to disagree with “over priced Products” comment. There is a mark up on every product in the world… Our products actually work which is why those endorsers you mentioned turn down high level incomes with other companies to endorse us for a stipend of products per month. Advocare has numerous people making a great profit and even more just enjoying a product they would pay double what they do for to feel the way they do. Success rate isnt low my friend… Its just the quit rate is through the roof. Highly recommend everyone seeing this and you sir to watch “Rise of the Entrepreneur” by Eric Worre on Itunes to get some serious facts about the MLM industry. Thanks for all the research and blessings!
When you peddle (and become a disciple) of someone elses product and dream, are you really an entrepreneur though?
Just think about that for a bit.
I found your article interesting. My wife and I have been involved with AdvoCare since November 2011. Even if I never make another dime in AdvoCare, I will continue to use the products because they have worked and continue to work for us. What I find interesting is the statistic that the majority – 99.7% in MLM actually “lose” money. What is the context of that statistic? That would mean A: the majority of MLM companies don’t have a buyback or return policy B: people that get started with MLM’s have to take on much more inventory that they are able to sell or C: this statistic is not accurate. I believe that C is the right answer. I do agree there are flaws in the MLM industry just as there are flaws in every industry. However, I believe that the MLM industry has made huge improvements in recent years and we do have a better way. People are the variable. When you have a great product, a passion and purpose that drives you everyday, are teachable and coachable, and love others as much as you love yourself, you can be successful in this business. Through the process of investing in your own personal development and learning to serve others, you are able to lead others to do the same. Thanks again. I look forward to reading more from you in the near future.
I didn’t make the statistic up:
From what I’ve seen in my experience and others as well, this is very accurate.
Great breakdown of the top companies. Even cooler to realize my wife and I are building 2 in the top 7!
Yep, could be worse.
Hey Jeremy, you rock and an inspiration to all the dry bloggers out there who sound the same! keep rockin’ and toast one for me in Brazil. Cheers
Much love, Erik. I see you doing your thing.
Love your passion for this industry. I agree with most of what you shared here. I have found an MLM company that has no monthly auto ship so you can be paid on every sale you make without spending $200 or more each month so you can get paid.
Solar Messenger, Michael
Nice, Michael. I can’t say I’m passionate about MLM, more passionate about teaching people a way for passive income (that’s not MLM).
You are right in that most MLM have monthly dues and have high entry fees to be distributors or consultants. You are also right in that most MLM companies focus on recruitment and not product sales. I’ve been working with Arbonne now for quite a while and none of those comments apply to this company, which is why I believe they have survived and are only growing at this point, despite some people’s opinion that they will soon be relics like Mary Kay. To become a consultant is a mere $75 dollars, the kit is involved with all free samples and material. Product loading is prohibited. Each event we host regularly ends with most if not all attendees becoming a preferred client for $20 joining fee for the first year and a $15 renewal every year with no monthly expectation and a guaranteed minimum of 20% off of all stock at all times and 40% off of all packages at all times. Not only that consultants can will their business down 6 generations, and the Mercedes incentive is for a purchase, not a lease. We do look to grow our network, but we emphasize this takes hard work and is not a get rich quick scheme. While you hit the nail on the head with most MLM businesses, there are MLM businesses like Arbonne who are a cut above the rest and who are in the habit of not putting pressure on anyone attending to either purchase or join as a consultant. We only want the best in our network and we have thousands of examples of very successful men and woman to show for it. Great article!!!
I am very surprised that Plexus Worldwide did not make your list.
As one of the top 10 fastest growing MLM’s, ranked on fortune 500, raved about by MLM review sites , all natural weight loss and wellness products, no GMO’s, No gluten etc and 10’s of thousands of glowing testimonials they are hard to overlook. The retention rate is excellent, the company has a 1% return rate on products which is unheard of as well as the best compensation plan available to any MLM rep. I think it’s safe to say if you do another article like this you would do your readers a great service by checking Plexus out. I really did enjoy the article as I am a multi MLM participant.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your mlm breakdowns and the comments, thank you Jeremy. Had a successful mlm business but had to make a decision to give it up or have a breakdown due to ongoing upline bullying so at a big crossroads at the minute. being an ‘older’ lady here in the north of England doesn’t bode well for conventional job hunting in the current economic climate so some serious thinking needed on my part and QUICKLY lol. Thanks again Jeremy x
Hi, Jeremy Page, Enjoyed your post, and you right, MLM only favours peeps at the top, while peeps at the downline are not making a dime, but when i saw your article, i was surprised by, what I saw, which is, you said you have a platform better than MLM, Bro I need it, cos I have tried MLM and it didn’t pay me
Awesome. You know what to do when it becomes important to you. Peace.
Your thought advice hits the nail, if beaten twice , still looking for green pasture, how’s your advice for success ?
What’s the secret of making a big army?
I enjoyed this post and spent too many hours reading all your other posts and watching your videos. You have some excellent real life experiences to share and glad I found this blog. My wife and I are with It Works Global (She started it and I came on board later). I was curious why they didn’t make your list? Do you think blogging would work with this type MLM? I have only had success using Instagram and Facebook. The MLM model is not something I like but it is what is I guess. My wife joined to get a discount on wraps and now this insane looking chart pays the bills. I want to take it further just keep searching for a good way to do so. Maybe blogging is the answer? Thank you. for your time. Mike
Blogging would be the only way I rock an MLM. However, I still think your blogging could be used in a better (and more lucrative) way.
I have just one question. If you really believe what you are saying about MLM, why would you even list any MLM companies in your article, then rank them? Why not just soley promote what you are doing?
For one, I over-deliver with value and help people make a better decision.
And two, because it allows my audience to be significant. This blog does over 100,000 visitors a month – an audience I’d never have if I blogged about “what I promoted”.
Great article with non-biased perspective and discussion. Would you provide your thoughts, synopsis, and ranking of Team National?
Not familiar, sorry.
I greatly appreciate your views, not only are you honest but you don’t just bash on mlm, from what I gathered you don’t necessarily agree with it but you do see some value in the industry albeit full of holes as it is. I would like to share my view on mlm and see what you think.
I’ll start with how conventional business and mlm’s are similar in my perspective. Starting a business is usually done on your own or with one our two close friends. As that business gets bigger and more people buy your good or service you need to hire/recruit more people to keep up with the work so naturally you look for the people you know, like, and trust, and are teachable, looking, and honest. With the increased work/sales force profit increases for you off the effort of those that just started. When you grow again you hire/recruit more and those that still work/sell with you get a “promotion” and they make money off the new people’s effort that are under their leadership and you have to start helping them handle the position that you just recently held in your business. When one location/leg has somebody that takes over for you and can handle it on their own you expand and start again from scratch. As far as structure and compensation, that is my view.
Just like the conventional business though you also have those that make it to “middle management” and burn out or the unmotivated that get a job and quit because it was too difficult or uncomfortable. The biggest thing in conventional business though is that as you move up the ranks at your job you may find road blocks such as age or people that already do a good job in that position so you would have to wait for a retirement or death to expand your income and advance where in mlm you are only limited by your efforts, goals, and dreams.
As far as spamming social media or pressuring friends and family I’ve been taught to get to know them and their wants and needs and see if they will even be a good fit, if I’m unsure or I feel they are I will share with them what I’m working on and see if it’s something they might want to do as well, if not I have an idea on a product we offer that might be for them or that they would like, if it’s still a no I drop it, I still maintain the same relationship we had before I started because they were there first. If they change their mind down the road I let them know in advance that I shared it with them for a reason and that I would love to work with them, but I won’t persist and nag them once they say no I just move past it.
This is a direct sales industry so people are the business, knowing who they are, what they do, and how you might be able to fit in that picture. If it’s someone you just met maybe there is something you are supposed to help them with, be it a job or advice or maybe just an extra hand up out of a dark circumstance, but that’s just the networking part of life because you never know who needs help our if they ate supposed to help you.
Hopefully I was able to articulate and convey my view well enough for you to follow and if you read this thank you for your time.
I spent about 3 years selling Amway back in the 70’s. There was a lot of hype but I made enough money to achieve several of my more modest financial goals. I went on to use some of what I learned to make extra money in various ventures and eventually started a small business out of my home. The business grew until mainstream retailers began offering the same product I was selling at comparable prices. The MLM as a learning tool has some value as long as the product is decent. This MLM ranking is a good way to attract attention and I am curious about Your service. I am selective about what I spend my time and effort on.
Love hearing your story as well as your thoughtful feedback, Frank.
Our non-MLM coaching continues to put up Steph Curry numbers.
What do you think about Modere? They are a rebrand of Neways.
They are calling their distributors “social retailers”, using social media to distribute discount codes to recruit both new retail customers and other social retailers/distributors. They say their social retailing model is new and unique to them. Is that true?
I ask because I’m interviewing with them for a corporate marketing job and I don’t have a background in MLM. I’m looking for a company with staying power. Thoughts?
I think blasting your social media feeds with join links is a bad look.
I wouldn’t want to be a “social retailer”. Just being real with you.
If 18,000,000 Americans consider MLM their careers, yet only 0.3% actually succeed beyond average corporate America wages, do people realize that means there are barely more than 50,000 Americans “living the MLM dream” and almost 17,950,000 who just help the 50,000? Sad. I was part of team Tupperware decades ago because I wanted to buy Tupperware for my home for less. It took me about 14 months as a stay at home mother (never recruited, never pressured, my distributor didn’t like my attitude) to accomplish that task and then walked away. I live in rural America where so many fall to MLMs attempting to climb out of paycheck to paycheck living (very few good jobs) like the saved into a baptismal pool. “Disciples” is the perfect word. MLMs are just not thriving here. How many Americans can one recruit/sell to for building a business in a rural county with less than 20,000 other Americans of which 75% live below the poverty line? I see MLM victims everywhere.
A lot of truth here.
Tupperware in rural America. LOL
Interesting list. I still see lots of the older companies still ranking and banking. I was actually suprised u put EN up there in top three in the mlm world. EN has brought lots to the table but there are some huge shakers out there.
True. I’d have them ranked worse now to be honest. I give them props for being so internet-centric and for going against the prospecting, 3-way calls and approaching family and friends, though.
That was a big reason for their #3 ranking.
Stay tuned for 2017 rankings.
awesome article. I truly enjoyed reading an open minded and fair opinion on mlm. I currently do mlm part time with an mlm which has so far been working wonderfully. I am on the cusp of relieving myself from my 9 – 5. I agree with most of what you posted.
I’ve been through several mlms for the wrong reason.
-it was all about me, me, me and never about others, others, others
-i didn’t really believe the system and tried to run it my own way.
-i didn’t believe in the product. only the $$$ aspect.
But I was also in my teens and early 20’s then. I’m a bit older and more mature and level headed. Now I’ve hopped back into mlm with a product that I truly love and understand and I definitely believe it is extremely beneficial to people.
The cons of mlm are that most people getting into mlm don’t understand mlm. They apply the incorrect philosophy and it becomes a recipe for disaster. I see dozens of people monthly that join a mlm, don’t work and don’t yield any results and as a result, leave with a bad taste. But with correct leadership that problem could be averted. That is precisely why I love my company. It has the best leadership (in my opinion) and they properly train their agents.
The pros are definitely there. The odds of clearing 6 figures in mlm with the same work effort as my regular job are definitely higher. I have a product that I truly believe in.
It’s all about how much an individual decides to hustle.
Keep up the great work and I hope to see my company on your 2017 list.
Rex, you seem like a cool cat just by reading your commentary – and I agree with almost everything you said.
I wish you nothing but success in your MLM journey.
Can you do a review on a new travel company called Surge365
I’ll consider them for next years rankings.
I am a 69+ retiree who has tried MLM companies for the last 20 years.
I only made it “Big” for a few months and that by selling my products “On-line” through a store front to people who wanted to buy only the product and not sign up.
It worked well until other down-liners thought I had an unfair advantage over them and the company prohibited me from selling the product without starter kits and recruiting a down-line.
So, I refocused and taught myself how to build web-sites and sell simple web sites to people who want one.
I am a retired Commercial Refrigeration Technician and do this just for fun and a little income.
Enjoyed your article and video.
Terry, your situation is not that unique.
You broke through the MLM curse of approaching family and friends by finally figuring out an outlet – in this case, websites – to sell your product.
Then, the company takes it away from you.
I’ve heard this happening to other people as well. How can someone look in the mirror and call themselves an entrepreneur if they are being controlled on how to peddle the product?
. Forever Living Products
FLP may not be the wealthiest MLM on this list, but they deserve a spot because of their long-term dedication to the aloe vera plant and products made from it. Few MLMs display such product dedication and integrity as FLP. And few MLM’s have such a concentrated niche. That screams longevity over the other hundreds of other “full service wellness” companies.
Founded in 1978, they’ve made the Forbes 400, the Inc 500 and in 2010 they saw $2.5 billion in revenue. The numbers don’t stop there, though. There are over 4,000 real employees with literally millions of independent business owners in more than 150 countries.
They made the list, didn’t they?
Hi, I enjoyed your article and agree completely. I’ve signed up for a handful of companies over the years, and just endes up consuming my starter packs. I’m curious as to where you predict Lularoe to be, in the near future. Thanks!
Haven’t looked at them but I plan on updating these rankings next year.
This was a good late-night read…thank you for sharing your insights! I hope you will take Usborne Books & More into consideration for your 2017 rankings. I’d love to read your thoughts.
Glad you liked it.
This was a good read. I was curious what you thought of the MLM company Plexus Worldwide. They are fairly new and have a rapid growth and sales rate.
Think they’re huge. Probably on 2017s rankings.
There is nothing new about people failing; yes, they fail – at lots of things. We could spend months trying to discover why people fail in their marriages, school, jobs, etc. Do I have compassion and feel for them when they can’t make it work. Yes, of course! But I can’t jump into their bodies and make choices and live their life for them. It’s their choice – quit or find a way to keep going. MLM is a business and not everyone will succeed. Will I make money from my HARD EARNED customer base? Yes! Do I feel bad because I make a commission. No! EVERY business owner makes money off their employees – other wise they would not be in business. Do Brick and Morter Business Owners feel bad that they are making millions and they are paying their employees minimum wage??? Of Course Not. That is just the nature of business. So why are you feeling “bad” that you made money? Did you tell your recruits that they could do what you did to make money ? You see, there is a difference in selling a product to a customer and telling a person they can “get rich quick” and do nothing to get there. Those people will fail every time when they listen to such lies. hoilictictouch.com Get Oiled!
Lol, love it how you still couldn’t resist plugging your business at the end.
Vintage MLM move.
So, I’ve tried different types of money-making and have networked with groups that do the same.
MLM, affiliate, e-commerce stores, blogging, doing SEO for local businesses. You name it.
MLM has the worst success rate and it’s not even close. It’s not that I’m a hater, and I never felt bad for making money. Just felt bad that most people under me (and in the company, too – so don’t come at with that “you must have been a terrible leader” nonsense) weren’t seeing any success.
Industry is flawed.
I agree with you that much of the industry is flawed, but what about an MLM that has a service rather than a product such as electricity. It’s not like that could go out of style or that once you buy it you don’t need it again or that your monthly supply is too much and you’re going to stop the monthly subscriptions. I can honestly say that I cannot stand most MLM companies because regardless what you believe or how much you like the product, if you have to try to convince someone else to use it then inevitably the system is flawed and eventually your residuals will dry up. Electricity though, that’s different in my opinion, no one has to convince me to use it, it just comes by default. Find me an MLM that is not selling so much as showing someone an alternative to what they already have to pay and I’d be interested.
Yeah, something like electricity is more rational for sure.
Still doesn’t guarantee success.
ACN has had a good run, but their future doesn’t look pretty:
Something like long distance phone service right? Excel Telecom anyone?
I joined in the mid-90’s under a Dr that paid my way. We were somewhere in Paul Orberson’s dowline, below an AR kid making $80K+/month. I didn’t actually sign anyone as a rep, and just enjoyed doing the pitch to the crowd in the hotels, restaurants, and eventually auditoriums. I got paid by the Dr to tell the “long distance” story, and he went all the way to there top tier in under a year.
Seemed like the perfect product at the time, but deregulation meant cheaper and cheaper prices and left no room for comp in the end. Same is happening to power.
Almost every MLM has to go through this cycle. Everything must run its course lol.
Thanks for this post. Very helpful. I do like direct sales; one reason for this is that it helps keep alive that age-old tradition of people interacting face-to-face (rather than mainly through texting and social media). For that reason, I think MLMs should target the lonely Millennials. Anyway, I was a member/distributor of Advocare for over 10 years and still miss the products and the activities in the company, now that I am temporarily out. I still plan to sign up again when I can afford it (long story–I’ll spare you). I am now involved in Melaleuca, and I must say in their defense that Melaleuca’s products are actually not overpriced. Because Preferred Customers are not only not expected, but also NOT ALLOWED to turn around and sell the products at the retail price, everyone pays the same low prices. (Granted, one can indeed go to the website and buy directly from the company if they do not want to become a Preferred Customer. Why would someone do that when the annual membership is only $19? Only if they do not want to commit to the minimum monthly requirement for Preferred Customers.) Public, keep this in mind! Don’t be fooled by the rebels who are selling old Melaleuca products on Amazon for way above the retail price!! You’re much better off buying fresh products directly from the factory, even if you pay retail price. Just sayin. My big question: What about Tupperware? I have been a Tupperware consultant for about 6 months, and I have found it to be extremely difficult to keep business going. The directors training me have said that Tupperware is the second most widely recognized brand name in the world, second only to Coca-Cola. If that is the case, why is it so hard to find people willing to host Tupperware parties? Why does it seem so hard to sell? Also, is it just me…Or, does Tupperware’s compensation plan stink?
Caroline, the short answer(s) to why MLM hasn’t worked is because the industry is flawed. Your own answers can be found in Part 2 of this post: http://multiplestreams.org/mlm
I’d like to point out a few things: statistically something like 96% of businesses fail within the first 5-10 years, which is a much more impactful loss, both financially and time wise, than the few hundred dollars one puts into whatever product they’re using in MLM. So realistically the success rate as a “self employed business owner” with MLM is probably a bit better than it is with launching a traditional business, or at least consistent with it. It takes discipline and tenacity that many people don’t have- that’s why they chose to remain employees in the first place.
One of those “predatory” practices includes requiring one to enter their email address in order to participate in a discussion, or recieve more information, with the real intention of adding them “unknowingly” to your email list, which is exactly what just happened to me when I pressed the “comment” button. Just wanted to point that out.
Other than that, great info, but I’d have to respectfully disagree with the logic behind not being a part of an MLM. It’s one business model. And whether you want to make it your full time job or just dabble, so long as you find a product and company you love, it can be a great way to diversify your income streams. $5000 a year (or $5) is more than most people make on their 401K, savings or any other conventional ways of investing. It’s an investment, and for those that chose to continue through the plateau, it results in residual income. Don’t like sales? Some of the companies are moving away from the door to door type sales models and putting a lot more emphasis on team building and adding value. And many companies are also discouraging distributors from spamming on social media- again- it comes down to the individual and their own business acumen. We can spend our lives blaming they systems or we can just own ourselves and be grateful for whatever we’ve learned from, and created out of each opportunity presented to us. It’s the choice of the individual at the end of the day but one thing I can say with certainty is that someone who blames MLM for their lack of success is lacking responsibility for themselves in other areas of their life too.
MLM is more risk-adverse than brick and mortar businesses, sure.
But the Internet has changed that up, and now most businesses can be started by quick feedback loops (see: Facebook ads) that validate ideas before investing thousands of dollars into them.
I totally agree, Mary. You can lose soooo much more just by opening up a small storefront business. I was in the Spa Industry and then the economy tanked in late 2008. I did not renew my lease in 2009. Lost my several hundred thousand dollar build-out. Lost so much more than taking an MLM business seriously. Even if I would have front loaded on a ton of product, I still would have been better off. People spend $750 and get some business cards then do nothing and blame MLM.
I truly appreciate your article. I am new to understanding all about MLMs
I have been in WorldVentures for less than 2 years. I feel that it is a company with high standards. We are trained to NOT pressure any one to buy or get into the business as a representative.
Simply show our prospect the presentation and let them decide. World Ventures is also very up front with an Income Declosure Statement given to each prospect who may be interested in the business side.
Thus far, I am very pleased with what I see. I welcome your comments or advice. Thanks! John Webster
Kinda whiffed on amway considering that the college championship trophy has Amway on it and they own the detroit flyers as well.
And the fact that of all the companies Amway has paid out the most bonuses of all these companies.
Also advocare just settled a 2 mil lawsuit due to improper MLM system. (IM an extreme Drew Jesus …..i mean bressus…. i mean brees fan)
I think Amway has the only break away stair step system – meaning if you make more than your upline then you get more then your upline.
Also of the top 5 businesses none has grossed more then Mary Kay, avon, or amway which are generally considered your direct sales power houses.
Ok, good analysis.
Hey! I’m curious as to where you would put Rodan + Fields into the mix.
I loved this article, lots of great info! I was interested to know why It Works Global isn’t on the list when their sales were higher than 2/3rds your list. Their growth is boosting as well. The company is totally debt free and averaging 1 distributor for every 5 customers – thats HUGE for an MLM. Just wondering why you didn’t include them?
Carrie, they’ll probably make future rankings.
Thanks for commenting
Jeremy I enjoy your articles and find with actual training from leaders and coaches One can go far. But without it, many fail. I’ve invested in 7-10 a day with one I successfully made Unit Leader in under 4 months. But failed after moving to a different home. We learn from our mistakes right? I won’t invest in more. Thanks again.
As my Dad always says,
“the journey is the destination”…it’s all part of the process.
We make mistakes, but we learn from ‘em.
What would you recommend as an alternative to an MLM
I’m from the uk. I am a Matron in a GP practice and have been approached by Arbonne. Ur video confirms most of my thoughts although doing aesthetics as a side line I though I might be able to run along side that and so not have to approach family n friends as that is horrendous!!! – i am really interested in ur local league marketing though – how would I find out more about this
Hey Holly, its all here.
I have been looking over your sites and viewing the many videos. It sounds appealing however there are many many . . . many lead generators out there, some that are well established (and very good at what they do) and so my question is why would I pay you to train me for 5 weeks and think I could compete (let alone generate income) in the short period you mention?
Well, if you think you can compete, why haven’t you *started* yet?
Thats the question you gotta ask yourself.
First and foremost .. I have to a) congratulate you for tolerating some extremely opinionated and passionate individuals… Aswell as being patient with others and replying to all submissions. I thought your blog/article was very insightful and statically correct.
I am happy in corporate america because I work for a large Foodservice company that everyday we provide meals and taste memories for many people.
My wife however left corporate America and a past colleague of hers sold her on Isagenix. I listen to the nightly calls and her passion for this.. sometimes their are frustrations and down days, other days she’s excited to how many times she’s cycled.
I m not at expert at this, but the least I can do is support her – but it’s not my industry… I can only provide compassionate human advice on why someone doesn’t want to spend $320 to change their lifestyle… If in your experience you have ever had strategies or procedures for success…
Then I am all ears!?
Again an extremely well written article.
Hello! Your a genius! I see what you have accumulated here (audience). Quite savy. I am prepared and ready to continue my journey thus I’ve done my own “direct marketing” in previous years. I only need to repair my laptop and I’ll be back in business. Thank you for the subtle reminder of things I once knew/employed before falling ill to MS.
On a side note…I do need some natural MLM products to help me along, so its (MLM) not so bad coming from the consumer ISO (IMHO).
Appreciate the kind words.
For sure, I bet there is some good product out there.
Thank you for your honesty! Great article.
Appreciate that. I try to say it how it is.
Curious to know what you think about Market America, as they often get jumbled into the MLM category, even though they are not (there are no levels). Thank you!
Don’t know too much about them, but I’ll look at them for future rankings.
U are a cool guy!! Im with you!!
I love love love this article! I’m a business growth coach who works with small business owners and often leaders from other MLM’s. From time to time I’ll get someone who has been struggling significantly even getting started and I find that it’s sheer absence of knowledge of the numbers. They are still under the impression that if I get three, and they get three then we’re all going to be millionaires. It’s very sad but the truth is not being told. Being in an MLM is hard. But it is very doable. I have had significant success in the past, while I am not in an MLM now. Nor do I want to be, you must be all In to make it work. Thank you for sharing this. I would love to interview you on one of my webinars
Thank you Shelley, appreciate the kind words!
I usually don’t do interviews, but might be able to sometime.
Here’s my question…I see the Mona-Lie founder, Dallen Larsen is starting another one…vasayo. I wonder what happened to the Gold Level and above members of Mona-Lie when they shut down? With such rapid growth did they at least break even or profit?
Another day in MLM-land
(We’ve seen this 50+ times)
I live in Panama, Central America and the fever in there is a company called Zrii, which is also a Utah’s based MLM. Have you heard of it? I’d appreciate your input on it? Thank you!
Sure have. Not sure its making waves, but I’ve seen the offices.
Where are you at in Panama? I’ve been there a few times, great country.
Lol, I’m not going to cuss you out but I do enjoy Wealthy Affiliate.
Looking at most MLM definitions, part of it is building a downline. There’s no downline with Wealthy Affiliate.
You get paid a commission for a new member, like you would with any other affiliate program. But that’s it, you do not make commission on their referrals. You don’t have to build two different legs like you do with most MLM companies…
It’s no different then working with programs like amazon. Make a sale as an associate with amazon, you make a commission… same thing with Wealthy Affiliate.
Just curious, what in their “business model” do you see as MLM?
Wasn’t saying they were MLM.
Just said their digital products draw comparisons to other “opportunities”.