Network Marketing: Legitimate Business Opportunity or Not?

Network marketing is the chiropractic of the business world. I say this with authority and confidence because I am a chiropractor. For many years we were looked at as the charlatans of health care. In recent decades, though, the profession has made great strides in proving its value and validity, both through anecdotal evidence as well as solid research. However, in spite of this, I still hear prejudiced comments that we are not “real doctors.” We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

To anyone in the network marketing world, this story must sound very familiar. Just do an internet search on “Network marketing scams” and see the plethora of information that comes up. Even when you are doing a legitimate search on the topic, the search results are peppered with naysayers.

I’m going to tell you something that not many people realize. It will immediately open your eyes up to the legitimacy of the network marketing industry. In current times, most well known (we’re talking Fortune 500 companies) traditional companies are involved in, or at least considering, how to sell their products through network and/or affiliate marketing. As an example, Discovery Toys markets their products exclusively through network marketing with sales figures that exceed $100 million. Sprint’ MCI and AT&T make their long distance phone service available through network marketing companies. Major chains like Best Buy and Target use affiliate marketers to market their stores and products.

So, as the dark veil of scam has been lifted from network marketing just a little bit with that juicy tidbit of information, let’s put this negative image to rest once and for all, shall we?

Here are the facts:

  1. MLM, or what is more commonly referred to as network marketing these days, has been around since the 1940s, with the vitamin company Nutrilite.
  2. In 1959, Amway was born. They eventually took over Nutrilite, and MLM never looked back.
  3. The success of Amway drew attention; hence multiple network marketing companies were born.
  4. The people who ruin it for everyone came along. They saw the potential for lucrative rewards, created a counterfeit version of MLM, and Ponzi and pyramid schemes were developed. This caused the network marketing business to become associated with the word “scam”.
  5. At the urging through petition by ethical MLM companies, the government established ethical practices for a reputable MLM company and clearly defined what MLM is.
  6. MLM companies that are really just pyramid schemes get closed up relatively quickly as a result of the laws that have been put into place.
  7. Since MLM came into existence, the industry has evolved into a wide array of companies with a diverse range of products to sell, good compensation plans, and tools to help their marketers build their own business. Despite all the bumps in the road, MLM is a thriving industry and a very good way to build a business for yourself.

If the above is true, why does the negative image persist?

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