MLM or Affiliate Marketing? [Best Way To Make Money Online]


So, you want to make money online, but you’re just wondering what is the best way to do it? Maybe you’ve heard of affiliate marketing and MLM or network marketing and just wondering what you should get started with. Well that’s what we’re diving deep into this article.

Let’s make sure we’re crystal clear on what those two different terms mean and let’s start with the definitions.

Affiliate marketing is where you are simply referring customers, people, to someone else’s product. Say, you bring the customer, someone else provides the product, and you get a percentage of the sale. Pretty simple, straightforward, you make the sale, you get the money. It’s kind of one-to-one ratio for your efforts.

Network marketing is a bit different, although it is similar in a sense that you are making sales, but you’re also recruiting people to do the same thing and you are making a percentage of each sale that you personally make, but you’re also able to make some money off of the people that you’re bringing in. Let’s say you recruit some more people and they start making sales, that will benefit your paycheck and your commissions as well.

It is essentially building a team and selling in networking marketing, while in affiliate marketing you’re just selling, that’s it

So let’s first talk about the pros of both, and as we get into the pros and cons of each of these, .

What are the good things about networking marketing or MLM?

men in a networking business

Honestly, it’s a really good way to ease people into being an entrepreneur and to really turning on that entrepreneurial mindset. I know, for me personally, it definitely was. I was scared of the whole idea of owning a business, and network marketing kind of really gently eased me into that. And I’m a very different person today, and I couldn’t have jumped right to that. I had to kind of be eased into it along the way. That is a very good thing about network marketing. An additional thing that some people really look for is that it doesn’t require so much of technical skills. You can do network marketing, well honestly completely offline if you want, but even online network marketing is typically done with very low tech skills, right?


Just basically talking to people on Facebook, that’s really it. So for people who are scared of technology, or don’t like technology, it’s a really good option for them. It’s also a great option for some who are people person, right? They love spending their time with people, they love being around people all day, because it is a relationship based business, and guess what? It is a must spend a lot of times with people, and if that’s your jive, that’s what you love, fabulous, that’s a really good thing for you in network marketing.

Another thing that’s great with network marketing, is that when you see someone who wants to do something pretty casual, and they want to make a little money on the side with doing something casual. Hosting some parties, doing a little of this. Maybe a vendor fair on a Saturday, a few times a year or something like that. People who want to just make a little extra side cash, talk to people, make some friends, and do it casually. Network marketing is awesome for that. I’ve got some very, people I’m close to, very close to in my life that just crush it with that. It’s fun, they just make some extra money, bonus, right? And they have fun doing it and it’s a great fit for them.

Now, if you’re willing to put in the work now, invest your efforts into the hustle and to grinding it out. For long term gains, there is some huge potential income long term in network marketing. You actually leverage other peoples’ work. So while you make a lot less money on the sales, you personally make in network marketing comparing that to what you make in affiliate marketing, over the years, you can have the potential to build a very, very large organization.

And when you’re making a little percentage from a ton of sales from people all over the country, or all over the world, that can get pretty big. And that’s where, what really excites people about the potential in network marketing is being able to leverage other peoples’ work, and to earn money off of other peoples’ work as well. Once in a blue moon, you’ll hear stories of people who were placed in the right spot. They really didn’t have to work too hard, and they made some really good money. Don’t count on this. This is like hitting the lottery, but it occasionally does happen when they have the right sponsor, and they find just one person who takes action, okay, who really runs. It does happen, so there is a chance you could win the lottery, so that’s the benefit within network marketing.

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

woman in affiliate marketing business

When it comes to affiliate marketing, there is huge income potential in it. Much faster for people that treat it like a business, than you would see in network marketing, and you are going to see bigger income faster in affiliate marketing. There’s a quicker return on it, and that’s because you get paid a lot more per sale.

  • Larger Commissions

In affiliate marketing, especially with digital products, which is the realm that we like to live in, you’re looking at commissions between 30 and 50% typically of the sales price. That’s huge, that’s a lot of money. That allows you to put some advertising budget behind it, and still make really good money.

Compare that when dollar value wise in network marketing, people are typically making 3 to 5 percent of the sales price when they make a sale. Well, you can’t really put advertising budget behind that, and there has to be massive volume to make real money there.
In affiliate marketing, you can make decent money a lot sooner because that percentage is just so different. You’ll hear this if you pay attention and start learning some different things about affiliate marketing.

  • They consider it a get paid now program

Get paid now is affiliate marketing, versus network marketing which is more of get paid later. In network marketing, you’re putting in the hustle and the work now, the money comes later. I mean you’ll make some money upfront, but the big money is down the road, years down the road, five to seven years down the road.

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that you put in the work now, you get paid now, which for a lot of people is really exciting and what they’re looking for when they want to get out of a job fast, when they want to be home with their kids quickly.
All of those different reasons people want to make money now. You definitely want to take a close look at affiliate marketing versus network marketing, because that’s the type of, the way that it’s setup. Whereas network marketing, you have to really wait for that team to develop and to take off before you get into the big money.

  • No need to build a team

Now, a pro of affiliate marketing is if you are a hard worker, you’re a hustler, you’re a grinder, if this is you, you know this is your personality, you know that you get things done, okay? Affiliate marketing is probably a really good thing for you, because you’re able to make good money off of your efforts instead of trying to find someone, build a team of people that can work as hard as you.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that’s willing to work as hard as you, and to find a team of people that will work as hard as you. It takes a lot of patience and pouring yourself, teaching and mentoring people who say they’re gonna do it, and then don’t actually do it. You see that a lot in network marketing. They’ll end up quitting and you’ve wasted a ton of time with them, or they don’t necessarily quit, but they never actually produce good results for you.

And so, you’ve put all that time and energy into it, into people that don’t produce results, versus in affiliate marketing you’re able to pour that time into yourself, and you know that you work hard and you take action. Then you have a lot more income potential for that amount of action as well. So, if you’re a hustler and a grinder, and you’re ready to just crush it, and you know that’s your personality, you’re gonna stick to it, take a very hard close look at affiliate marketing to maximize your income potential if that’s really what you’re looking for.

  • No need to pitch your friends and family

Another wonderful thing about affiliate marketing is that it doesn’t have anything to do with your friends, families, or neighbors, or acquaintances, which is really nice because you’re not relying on them in order to make money, and it really helps protect and buffer those relationships, which in my book, that’s a big plus. A big thing as well in affiliate marketing, a big pro, you can find affiliate marketing programs out there that do most of the work for you. So you just have to learn how to do one thing, to generate leads in order to make money.

  • Automate sales

Other advantage of affiliate marketing is that you can automate sales.You’re not gonna be able to do that much in network marketing because again that’s a people business. That’s a relationship based business. Affiliate marketing, not so much. You can create sales funnels and different cool things to walk people through being exposed to your product, and walking them through actually getting more information, following up and purchasing. And so, you can create systems where you’re not actually out there hustling, calling people, whatever, working the phones to actually close sales. You are out at the beach and you’re closing sales. So, that’s a really big plus of affiliate marketing. And, the other half of that, it’s very related, is that affiliate marketing really supports a great lifestyle. So once you’ve learned the basics, you’ve got some good stuff down, and you’ve got a great program that does most of that other stuff for you, and you’re just generating lead after lead, you can get your work done in a couple hours a day. And you can go off and live your life. Be a mom, go travel, go sit on the beach. Go boating, fishing, whatever your thing is.

  • Scale to earn more

Affiliate marketing really allows you to unplug and to automate, and that is a really big thing for many people, so that’s an important thing to notice or to note. Another thing that’s cool with affiliate marketing is that you can scale up quickly with paid advertising. Once you start learning what you’re doing, and you’ve got something that we say converts, right? You know that when you get this offer in front of enough people, you’re gonna get a percentage that actually opt in and purchase, and stuff that you’re gonna learn along the way in your journey, but just so you understand, you’re gonna get to the point where you understand that if you put in one dollar of paid advertising, you’re gonna get two dollars out, or three dollars. That’s really cool, because guess what? If you know, if you put in one dollar and you get two dollars, well guess what? You can scale that up. So if you put in $100, you get two dollars, or $200, right? And if you put in $100,000, you get out $200,000. It allows you to scale and grow quickly, which is really cool.

One thing that I really like about affiliate marketing is that it teaches you really valuable skills, okay? It teaches you great marketing skills that you can then use later if you decide to create your own products, which I definitely advise people to do. Creating your own products opens massive income streams for you and your family. Creating your own digital products in particular. Affiliate marketing is gonna give you the skills to be able to do that, to be able to market something. Whether that’s a meal plan that you create, an exercise program, a training course, whatever. If you learn how to be a good affiliate marketer first, whatever sort of course or digital product, or anything that you create, you’re gonna know how to market it, and to make money with it. So that’s a huge plus as well.

Now, let’s turn to the negative side. Sorry, but we’ve got to do it, it’s important.

The cons of MLM or network marketing

man sad about losing a business

Network marketing requires people skills and posture. And that is a very, very difficult thing for a lot of people to figure out. How to be postured, right? How to have that posture about sales, and opportunities, and products, and it’s a very, very challenging thing to figure out for a lot of people, especially with certain personality types, it’s very, very difficult. And especially for those that aren’t people person, right? If you’re not a people person, it’s also very challenging, because it requires those sorts of people skills. Being able to talk to random people all the time, building instant rapport, those are people skills. And so, that is a challenge for a lot of people trying to do network marketing.

The skills that you have to learn in network marketing, all of them, there’s a lot, and that’s a con for sure. Because you have to learn all of these things before you start making money, and that’s a challenge for people. But let’s go through them.

You need to learn the skill of being able to continue to meet and connect with new people all the time. Whether that’s online or offline. You need to build the skill of meeting new people all the time, not just saying hello to people and introducing yourself, but actually building some sort of rapport and level of familiarity with people quickly.

That’s a skill that you have to build and you’ve got to build the skill of being able to prospect people. See if they’re open to taking a look at your opportunity, or bringing up your product with them. You have to learn how to properly expose people to your opportunity or product, because there’s a lot of wrong ways to do it.

Also, you have to learn how to follow up with people, because not a lot of people are gonna sign on the dotted line the first time you talk to them and you have to learn how to follow up with people appropriately, and learn how to close the deal, how to close the sale, and for a lot of people, they’ll maybe be able to muddle through all of those other things, they got people through it, they’re interested, but they’re not able to actually go for the sale, they can’t close them. That’s hard, that’s definitely a challenging skill for a lot of people to learn. But in order to make money, you have to learn all of those skills, because you only get paid when you’ve done all of that, and you’ve closed the sale. That can be very challenging for a lot of people and there’s a ton of people that struggle with it, because of all of those things you have to learn first to be successful.

Another definite con of network marketing is the potential to damage relationships from your friends and family, when you start to get what we call commission breath. Where you’re always pushing the opportunity on people. You are always pushing the product on people. And it can really harm your personal relationships. People start uninviting you, or yeah, start uninviting you to different events for the family. They just aren’t excited to see you because you don’t shut up about blah blah blah, right? And they’re like, we’re not interested, we’re done. You hear about people unfriending their own moms or sisters or whatever on social media. Same thing, right? It has the potential, when done poorly, which it often is, to damage relationships, so that is something to put into consideration as well.

Another challenge for network marketing is that, okay all of those skills that you had to learn to get to making money, now you have to work to help your team do the same thing. Remember, in network marketing you’re not only making sales, but you’re recruiting people to make sales, so you’re building a team of people to work with you. And yes, now you’ve made it through, you’ve mastered all those skills, and you can make sales. Okay great, now you’ve got to turn around and teach all these other people to do it, and you have to support that team ongoing. So, you’re always on, if you will, okay? You are always looking to, when you’re out at the mall, when you’re doing different things, when you’re in an Uber, right? You are looking at ways to get people. You are looking at ways to introduce to prospect people. You’ve got your game face on, right? How can you prospect them, okay? That for me personally, I put in the con side of a network marketing, because I want to just be present with people, and just have normal conversations and enjoy their presence, versus trying to figure out, well how can I pitch them? Where can I sneak it in, right? So for me, that is definitely a con. Also, you’re always on in the fact that you’re supporting your team. Whether that’s three way calls or emergency calls for different things here and there, you’re gonna have to be taking phone calls all the time, right? And if you talk to an honest leader in network marketing and talk to how many phone calls, and family dinners, and important events that have been interrupted by having to take these phone calls, it’s a lot. So it’s definitely a con when it comes to network marketing. There’s also a bit of stigma and emotions involved that are difficult for a lot of people to overcome to get sales. The whole pyramid scheme thing, and it’s a scam, and blah blah blah.

All these different things that people, not necessarily, they may have it deep down in their subconscious, but they’re doing it and all of their friends, they’re hearing it from their friends and family, and they’re feeling it inside of themselves, and it’s hard for them to overcome that, to know how to respond to that, to actually believe deep down inside that it does work and all that kind of stuff. There’s definitely some challenges with that. Now, you can work really hard in network marketing and not make a lot of money, okay? In hopes that some day, it’s gonna pay off down the road when your team blows up, right? So that is definitely a con, because yes it has huge potential, but think about it, guys. We’re in a very ever changing world, we’ll put it that way, where companies shut down, compensation plans change, team leaders, or teams below you leave, so there’s really no guarantee that the work that you’re putting in now is actually gonna pay off later. So there’s definite risk involved in investing your time and energy now hoping it pays off later when there’s not an actual guarantee of it. So, if you can hustle it out now, yes you’ll make some money, but you’re not gonna get into the big money until you’re years down the road, and all of that stuff eventually pays off, and there’s no guarantee. So that’s definitely in the con category for network marketing. Typically you need to stick it out for about five to seven years, is kind of what people say industry average, in order to really get to that lifetime income kind of thing where you get to stop hustling. So you hustle it out five to seven years, building a massive team, getting tons of sales and tons of volume underneath you, and then in five to seven years, hopefully your team is very large and it’s self-sufficient. You’ve produced enough leadership underneath you in your organization that it’s growing on its own, and you can go live on your island by yourself, right? Whatever you want to do.

Network marketing is also, we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a people business, right? And so you can never really automate your signups and your team building. So if you like to just check out and shut down for the day and go be with your family, or go do this, or go do that, it’s not like that with network marketing. You are gonna have to work the phones. It’s not, put in two hours in the morning and then you’re free. It’s, you’re calling, you’re generating leads, you’re calling leads, you’re closing sales, you’re doing followups, you’re calling your team members and working with them, so it’s very hands on. And during those five to seven years, it’s work. It’s not the automated kind of stuff that you can do in affiliate marketing. And that being said, you can end up wasting a lot of time on people who are gonna quit, or who never produce. Because remember, you’re spending a lot of time investing into them to teach them how to be successful and how to do what you’re doing. So, yes that was a long list, but I want to be real with you and help lay this out, so you can make the best decision for you and your family, okay?

Disadvantages of affiliate marketing

Let’s flip over to affiliate marketing, and the cons within affiliate marketing. You are going to have to learn marketing, right? In network marketing, you really don’t. Those skills that I listed out, that’s all you’ve got to do, right? You never have to learn marketing, you don’t have to learn online marketing, you don’t have to build that skill set up. In affiliate marketing, yes, you are going to have to learn those skills, and you’re going to have to learn some level of computer skills if you’re gonna do online affiliate marketing. So, you have to accept that. You don’t have to be a tech genius, and I know some very successful affiliate marketers that call themselves digital dingbats, right? Where they can’t, they say they can’t do this, or they can’t do that. They’re not techy, but they can still be affiliate marketers. But you will have to learn some level of computer comfortableness. You are gonna have to do stuff on the computer.

A con of affiliate marketing is if you don’t treat it like a business, you’re not gonna make money, Because guess what, you only get paid off of your sales. So you can’t ride off of someone else’s coattails which you occasionally can do in network marketing. Where someone else is just producing like crazy, and woo-hew you’re making money from it, even if you’re not doing much. Affiliate marketing, no you’ve got to treat it like a business. Now, eventually, once you learn what you’re doing you can automate most of what you’re doing, so you still have that freedom level, but you have to treat it like a business. You’ve got to grow those skills and get it all setup to do that, all right? Now some people would consider this a con. I think of it as a positive, but I’ll let you decide, okay? But you’re gonna want to get into paid advertising eventually. Even if not at the beginning, but eventually you’re gonna want to get into paid advertising, to scale your business up. Now I see this as a positive, because you can scale your business up. Put in a dollar, get two dollars, I think that’s awesome. But it does scare some people, the idea of putting money into paid advertising. So we did definitely want to make that really clear for you. Now depending on your goals and what you want to do, I hope you see a winner for you. What really fits what you want to do in both your business and your lifestyle?

About Ross

Ross is a Chemical Engineer Blogger. Helps people in his own little way.

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