It’s an interesting and kind of funny thing to me; when I did a google search for the subject of this blog post i.e. Network Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing Pros Cons the search results for the most part were posts by affiliate marketers trying to convince you (and sell you on their program) that affiliate marketing it is a better business model then network marketing.
And I get it, I mean that is what internet marketers do.
Although I also clearly fall into that category as I do own this blog, what you are going to find in this post is a completely different perspective.
You see I have had success and made money with both models. And in fact I have used both models in conjunction with each other which as you are going to see is in my opinion the superior model.
My goal in this post is to give you my experience and thoughts on both models, their pros & cons and let you decide which is the better model for you.
Alrighty then let’s get to it…
First Up – Network Marketing
I first got involved in network marketing or Multilevel Marketing (MLM) in any real capacity back in 2005. I was the owner of a weight loss company at the time and a buddy of mine started chasing me about joining “one of those things” that he was involved in.
I did not laugh at him to his face but I sure did in my head. I had the superior attitude that I was a “real” business man and he was simply playing business.
So I told him I was not interested and then avoided him for as long as I could.
Eventually he caught up with me and I finally agreed to read the magazine and listen to the audio that he gave me regarding the opportunity.
It took me about 2 months before I actually picked up the magazine and started flipping through it.
Why I Got Involved in “One of Those Things”
Long story short I got towards the end of the magazine, the part where they start highlighting the success stories of people who have done well and I just about fell off of my chair when I saw one of the success stories.
Here was a dude I knew very well from years back. He was from where I lived. And we used to be good buddies.
Now you have to understand that I am from a small community on the Far East coast of Canada. The city I was living in at the time had a population of about 50k.
So to see this guy that I knew very well staring back at me from the pages of an international company’s magazine with a big cheese grin on his face, talking about all of the money and success he was having really rocked me.
To say I was immediately intrigued would be an understatement.
At that time he was making 15k a month, he ended up making 30k per month with that company. Not only did I know the guy, I also knew that he did not have any talents or skills that I did not have.
So in my mind I immediately thought if he can do it I am going to Crush it. (No I’ve never lacked confidence ha)
And Crush It I Did
I could write 20 blog posts about my experience and success I had with that opportunity and if you read my about page you will learn a good deal about it.
To sum it up, I had success fast…
I earned over 4k in my first two weeks, created a 6 figure income in only a few months, became one of the top 20 earners worldwide, and number 2 earner in Canada, I won all the exotic trips and earned the car bonus, etc.
So needless to say I am a huge fan of MLM and clearly this blog is designed to help people achieve success in this industry.
OK let’s jump into the Pros and Cons…
The Pros of Network Marketing
#1 – A Proven Business Model
It is no longer on trial. The reason you hear so much negative press about it is because it is such a popular business model. Countless people have joined this industry over the years.
We all know at least one person if not numerous who has joined.
So here is the problem when many people have tried something. Many people also quit and fail. Just like working out or trying to get in shape, it is not a hard thing to do, but it takes effort and most quit as a result.
And when someone quits or fails at something they do not want to put the blame on themselves, it cannot be their fault it has to be the opportunity.
Now this is going to hurt some feelings, but it is the truth. The fact of the matter is the business model did not fail, the person did.
Ouch and double ouch!
Becoming a success with this business model is just like anything else worth while in life. It takes a lot of effort, commitment, work, dedication, persistence and self-discipline.
And to put it bluntly most people do not possess those attributes.
There are countless success stories in this business….
And the fact is if you get involved, commit to doing the required activities daily, commit to sticking with it, commit to being coachable you are going to have success.
#2 – Low Start Up Cost
Compared to a traditional business the cost to get started is very low. For usually a couple of hundred bucks you can be in business. Whereas most traditional businesses are a few hundred thousand.
My last traditional bricks and mortar business was a micro-brewery where we brewed craft beer for our pub.
We pinched pennies and were able to get started for “only” 90k. Which is an incredibly low startup cost for a traditional business.
So the MLM industry allows the average every day person to get into business for themselves because they can afford it.
#3- Residual Income
One of the biggest highlights of this business model for me was residual income. Which is what could be referred to as walk away money.
What this means is that you work very hard for a period of time (2 – 5 years), and if you built your business right you should be able to step back somewhat and have your income continue to come in.
Now I say this with a caveat, because some people will tell you that you can completely walk away from your business and get paid forever. This is not my experience or opinion.
I believe you need to stay engaged in some capacity, granted perhaps not to the extent that was required at the start, but to some degree you will need to stay engaged with the building of the business if you want your income to grow or at least maintain.
Now realize that when I say engaged I am talking about 1 -2 hours a day of work.
Pretty sweet in my books. Plus the work you do is so much more enjoyable then slaving away in your day job working for someone else.
#4 – Part Time Business
A powerful aspect of this business model is the ability to work part-time on your fortune while you work full time on your job.
You can do very well with this model working 2 – 3 hours a day 4 – 5 days a week.
Do this for 2 – 5 years and you have a real shot at being able to leave your job and go full time on your business.
#5 – No Technical Skills Required
One of the key factors with this business is that the building activities must be able to duplicate, which basically means anyone on your team needs to be able to perform them.
This mean the activities you do on a daily basis must be simple.
Success with this business model is found in developing the skill sets of being able to meet people on a regular basis, develop some rapport (make friends) and then simply ask them if they are open to looking at your opportunity.
Rise and repeat. This is all it takes.
The goal should be to meet at least 2 new people every day. Most networkers are using social media sites like Facebook to do this. It’s a simple process that anyone with determination can succeed with.
OK let’s look at some of the cons…
The Cons of Network Marketing
Now I am a big fan of this industry so I will be very upfront with you, you are not going to get a lot of cons from me as I simply do not believe there are many.
The same goes for affiliate marketing by the way. They are both awesome business models.
#1 – The Negative Stigma
There is no question that the industry does have a negative stigma associated with it.
Again this is caused by people getting in, not doing what is required (either from a lack of training or simply effort) then quitting and blaming the business instead of themselves.
However, this can cause problems trying to build the business when you do not know how to do it the right way.
But if you learn the right business building strategies like I teach on this blog, this con becomes a non-issue.
#2 – Rejection
The fact is when you are prospecting you are going to get a lot more people telling you “No” they are not interested. This can be frustrating for some people.
If you become a professional this will not bother you, because as the old saying goes every no brings you closer to a yes.
In fact professionals do what is called “go for No”…
They set a daily goal of getting a certain numbers of No’s.
For example when I am in heavy prospecting mode I will not stop prospecting for the day until I get 10 No’s.
#3 – Volunteer Business
This is the same for affiliate marketing and any business model for that matter. When you are in business you do not have a boss making you do the work that is required.
You are on your own boss and you have to be very disciplined to do what is required or you are not going to be successful.
Alright time to get into the pros & cons of affiliate marketing…
The Pros of Affiliate Marketing
I love affiliate marketing and internet marketing in general.
If you are not 100% sure what is involved with this business model I will give you a general overview.
The short of it is you pick a niche. It could be hiking, skiing, blogging, making money, etc.
In most cases you would go to work building a blog based on your niche.
You would populate your blog with posts based on topics your niche would find interesting.
A successful blog that gets ranked high on the search engines accomplishes this by basing each post on a keyword(s).
A keyword(s) is what a person types into google when they are searching on a subject.
For example let’s say I build a blog on downhill skiing.
I would write posts for my blog around keywords associated with downhill skiing.
- Top Ski Hills
- How to downhill ski
- How to downhill ski for beginners
- Best downhill skis to buy
When someone does a search in google on any of my keywords I want to be ranked on the first page of the search results so the person can find my blog.
Once they are on my blog I can then recommend products from vendors they would be interested.
In this case things such as:
- Ski Boots
- Ski Helmets
- Ski Gloves
The products I would recommend would have an affiliate program associated with them, which means if someone buys a product I recommend the vendor gives me a referral commission.
Pretty cool eh, all you have to do is find the people and point them to the vendor to do the selling for you.
Alright good stuff, now let’s get into the Pros of this business model…
#1 – Low Cost Business to Start
In most cases it is a very low cost business model. You can get started by simply purchasing a domain name and setting up a blog.
A domain name costs about $15 per year and the cost of hosting a blog is on average around $20 per month.
It is very hard to find any business model that would have a lower startup cost which allows pretty much anyone to get into business for themselves.
#2 – Residual Income
The goal here is to also create residual and passive income.
It could be argued that affiliate marketing has a slight edge when it comes to residual income.
This is because once you secure the top rankings on google and have the affiliate program set up the income will continue to come in night and day, yup even when you are sleeping.
Now don’t get me wrong, you will need to maintain your site and it is possible to lose your top ranking on google and affiliate programs do change.
So you can not totally walk away. And really why would you want to? Keep building it and increasing that income baby!
#3 – Incredibly Flexible Working Schedule
You can literally work your business any time of the day or night. I usually do my blog post for the day at 5 am.
There are not many business models that you can do the work at 5 am.
Even with an MLM business you need to be available when people are around. It is hard to meet new friends at 5 am.
#4 – Unlimited Income Potential
Now do not get me wrong, it takes time to make any significant income with this model. However the sky is the limit once you get some traction.
There is no limit to the amount of affiliate sites you can build.
Once you build one and get it to an income level you want you can either move onto a new site or take the existing one to the next level.
Many affiliate marketers have numerous sites. The more content, pages and sites you build (if done right) the more income you can create for yourself.
OK that is enough of the good stuff, now let’s take a quick look at the downside of this business model…
The Cons of Affiliate Marketing
#1 – Technical Skills are Required
There is a learning curve. And you do have to learn some technical skills such as blogging and SEO to name just two.
These are not hard skills to learn, however I have been doing this business for over 20 years so I do somewhat forget the challenges I experienced starting out.
There are many training programs and platforms out there to help people learn this business.
And even though I have been involved in internet marketing in one form or another for over 20 years I actually am a member of a training program and highly recommend it to beginners and experts alike.
They have a step by step program in place for beginners to include the ability to set up your blog and host it. As well as ongoing training and support for beginners, intermediate and advanced marketers.
#2 – It Takes Time and Work to Make Any Serious Money
You are looking at least 12 – 24 months before the search engines give your site the credibility and rankings you need to be able to start getting visitors to your site and you earning money.
And when I say 12 – 24 months this means you are blogging at minimum 3 days a week.
So yes like anything else worthwhile it takes time. But many people get discouraged and quit before they see results.
#3 – At the Whims of the Google Gods
Google is a finicky beast. She has been known to make changes in regards to how it ranks sites on a very regular basis.
You can be at the top of the rankings one day and down the next.
Now if you do abide by their rules and play the game the way they want it to be played and not try to do activities that they consider to be cheating you can prevent your site losing rankings for the most part.
But it is a consideration and many marketers have lost huge percentages of their incomes because of this.
The Best Business Model
Alright so as I alluded to at the start of this blog post the best option is to combine both of these business models together. This gives you the best of both worlds.
This is actually called Attraction Marketing.
The concept is to use internet marketing techniques such as blogging to target people who already are or where involved in the Multilevel Marketing industry.
Just like any niche you provide them with valuable content. You help them solve their problems that they are searching for a solution on Google for.
You become an authority in their mind on the topic. They start to follow you and interact with you.
The more content you provide, the more you help them with their problems they eventually decide that working with you in your business is the best option for them and they join your opportunity.
By doing so you are building a network marketing business and reaping all the tremendous rewards of doing so.
Now where the affiliate marketing component comes in is as you are building your brand and your followers are coming to know, like and trust you; you can offer them products, programs, books, and courses that you are an affiliate of.
And as we discussed when they purchase what you recommend you get a commission!
See the best of both worlds!
By using this strategy you build multiple steams of residual and passive income.
You are not just dependent on one business model to reach your financial and lifestyle goals.
If Attraction Marketing interests you, you can find out more about it here.
So What Are You Going to Do?
And there you have it all of my network marketing vs affiliate marketing pros cons!
I clearly recommend both business models, but I do consider Attraction Marketing to be the superior model. But clearly the choice is yours.
Whichever model you choose be prepared to put the time and effort into it and develop a never quit attitude and you will do very well!
Here are some of the links I have already given you plus some others to help you in your research:
I trust you got some value from this post. If so do me a favor and drop a comment in below and let me know.
Also if you have any questions let me know in the comments also and I will do my best to help you out.
Cheers to YOUR Success!
P.S. If you are in the business already or seriously thinking about it be sure to jump on my FREE Boot Camp and learn the skills required to easily recruit 5 – 10 reps into your downline every month!