Does Online MLM Really Work?

is working an mlm business online smart?Does online MLM and network marketing really work? This question comes up quite often, and there are some interesting ways to look at it.

I know two top MLM leaders who have made millions in this business. Both are rather critical of online MLM in general. Their basic belief is that you can’t build a big business like this on the Internet.

On the other hand, I know and work with a well-known online entrepreneur who has made well over a million dollars in MLM, and is considered one of the top leaders in the industry today. She has done it all almost exclusively online, utilizing effective social networking techniques and Internet marketing strategies.

So, what do we make of  this? I believe that leaders opposed to online marketing know that many people will pursue their business online without really understanding how things work.

Some want to try building a business online because they are uncomfortable talking to people and think that they can put up a website and have prospects find them and sign up after reading some promotional copy. They don’t understand and accept that MLM is a “people business” above all and that they will ultimately need to interact with others and push out of their comfort zone to have any success.

Others start their MLM business online and jump into social media thinking they can build it big, but lack certain social skills and don’t understand how they come across in this medium. I saw a video yesterday where a popular MLM leader talked about people who make videos (to promote their MLM business) while sitting on the bed with dirty laundry in the background, or in a room with clutter all around, or with very poor lighting.

Many of these people are well-meaning MLM business owners who have been told they can attract prospects online by making videos and putting them up on YouTube. Yet, they don’t understand how what they do turns prospects away. They lack the savvy that makes an effective online MLM marketer. The skills for effective online MLM marketing are something that most people can learn if they want to, although sadly many will choose to just forge ahead and avoid learning the skills necessary for success online.

Another reason that some MLM leaders dislike online marketing is because they know that being face to face with people and prospecting in the traditional, offline way can create an excitement and synergy that isn’t always easy to achieve when working with an online group. It can also encourage a loyalty that makes it easier to hang in there during the early stages of business growth when the going might be slow.

When you meet someone in person and shake hands, it can create a stronger bond (initially at least) than you will get with someone you sign up under who lives hundreds or thousands of miles away, and sometime this bond helps people work through temptation to jump around to all different things.

So, I do understand and respect opposing views about online networking, and I do appreciate where these MLM leaders are coming from. I believe that most leaders who openly oppose online MLM marketing know deep down that it really can work, but they feel that newer and more inexperienced business builders might get overly discouraged and distracted doing it online. I believe they are sincere and have the best interest of people at heart. This doesn’t mean, though, that it can’t be done. It certainly can.

A successful online MLM business does take time and patience to develop, and this is why I recommend that people new to the business start out working offline while building up their online business. That way, you have a better chance of getting off to a good start and seeing some encouraging results from your business right away.

Did you get some value from this post? If you did, I would really appreciate you sharing it with others! And, your comments are welcome below!

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Eldon Beard, Home Business Success Coach

If you have a home business and are happy, that's good. If you are looking for the right opportunity, the right mentor, and something you can build online, I would enjoy the opportunity to share what I'm doing. Click here and let’s explore the possibilities.

About Eldon Beard

Making money with a home business should be fun! I help others create a profitable global business from anywhere using an Internet connection and a phone. Send me a message and let's talk! Connect with me on Google+.


  1. I can totally see and have had experience with both sides of the argument that you mentioned. Network marketing is based on relationships, which is why some people are using the term “Relationship Marketing” in it’s place. I too have seen some people do extremely well by doing online marketing. I think with the internet it is essential to focus even more on support and team building and not be one of those “Sponsor 3 million people in 20 minutes” people. What good is a huge amount of sign ups if they have no support and then drop off?

  2. Hey, I think it comes down to the individual and their personal preferences. I believe all things are possible and have seen it from both sides of the fence.
    Of course people could argue the point being that you can’t build relationships as strong online but doesn’t this come down to the way we communicate and how effectively it is done?
    Anyways, nice wrap on the subject. 🙂

  3. Rowena Coshan says:

    Hi Eldon,

    Great post, very well written and you raise some great points.

    Unfortunately many MLM leaders are still pushing people to recruit friends and family. While this works for some, there have been many relationships damaged over the years by this being done in the wrong way.

    Whether building online or offline you will have far greater success building a team of people who are actively seeking a way to improve their circumstances.

    Thank You


  4. This is a topic that comes up all the time in my work. I like the online angle to build a business but network marketing is typically (the exception is a company that is just exploding) all about relationships and trust.

    You can build a business in MLM online but as pointed out in the article it was social networks that were being used. If you can portray yourself and create a relationship without talking to people you can do it.

    This is not an easy accomplishment but is possible.

    Great article and I am sure the debate will go on.

  5. Pardon me with my question. But I would like to ask what MLM means? 😀

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