How To Succeed With Network Marketing When Your Friends Don’t Support You

So, after much research, you have signed up for a fabulous new venture in the world of network marketing! You are beyond excited.

You arrange to meet your closest friends and tell them all about it over a glass of wine and are absolutely devastated at their reaction. They tell you in no uncertain terms they are not interested and by the way, you are an idiot for falling for a scam like that! Fear not – in this post, you will learn How To Succeed With Network Marketing When Your Friends Don’t Support You.

If their initial response wasn’t bad enough, they are now avoiding you like you are some kind of leper and you are at a loss to understand why. Is it a crime to want a better life for you and your family?

The extra money will mean that you will be able to afford a family holiday next year – something that has been missing from your life and you don’t mind working extra hours to make it happen. Who knows, it could even be the answer to getting out of your job. Heaven!

I was in two network marketing (or MLM) businesses over the course of 10 years and would like to offer some insights into why your friends may be so vitriolic in their response and how you can build your business regardless.

Why do your friends not get it?

That is such an interesting question. Why do the same people who will immediately go and buy the latest fragrance launched by their favorite celebrity not even look at the product range of their friend who has joined an MLM to pay for their little girl’s dance lessons? Why are your friends so anti-MLM?


They think they are protecting you from a scam

There seems to be a widespread belief that MLMs are illegal. This is perpetuated by articles like How to Deal with a Friend Who’s Deep into a MLM that says ‘While not technically illegal, MLMs have their fair share of critics.’. Not technically illegal? MLMs / network marketing are not illegal, period!

They include some of the oldest, most established businesses operating today but with so much negative press, no wonder your friends are trying to ‘save’ you!

As with any industry where there is the potential to make a lot of money, you will find illegal operations setting up but if you do your due diligence you are not at risk. More on what to look for later in this post.

It is also quite likely that your friends don’t think you are up to the challenge (especially if you have never been in business before) and they want to protect you from potential failure. They do not want you to ‘get your hopes up’.

They do not want you breaking away from the crowd

We humans do not like change and like to stay firmly in our comfort zone. When someone in our circle steps out of their normal behavior, it can change things for us and we generally don’t like that uncertainty. Your friends do not want you to change.

Furthermore, if your friends see you spending time to create a better future for yourself, there is a good chance that it will have the effect making them look at what they should (or could) be doing to improve their own situation instead of watching Netflix and scanning Facebook. In my experience, they will try to bring you back to ‘safety’. Some may join you on your journey, but they won’t be the ones you thought.

They think you (or they!) will lose money

There are quotes that go around about nearly everyone being involved in MLM losing money. In my experience, the only people who lost money were people who did not get started – they would lose some very small start-up fee.

I believe the low cost to entry is a big part of the reason for these poor statistics. The opportunities I was in cost a ridiculous £25 and £35 to get started and it just didn’t matter to some people whether they lost it or not so they didn’t always get motivated to get started! Had it been £2,000 – £20,000, you’d better believe they would have taken action.

The other variable is whether they got plugged into the team training. Or maybe they didn’t join a team that offered a really good training program to get started. If you join a good team and take action, there is no reason whatsoever to lose money.

Just to be clear, the global MLM industry generated $167bn globally according to Check out this list of top earners from These are exceptional earnings, however, MLM is the ultimate equal opportunity – everyone, and I mean everyone has the same business in their hands. The difference is what you choose to do with it.

There is a misconception that the person who started first makes all the money. This is simply not true. If a brand new distributor puts in enough effort, they can earn significantly more than the person who sponsored them. I think this is why people think it’s a pyramid scheme but ironically, MLM is one of the few organizations that is not a pyramid.

How to suceed in network marketing

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Tips to move forward:

Do not worry about selling to, or sponsoring friends and family

This is an old-school strategy which still works for some people but it can get your friends backs up depending on their views.

I know someone who still does this all the time and is super-successful but he is so fabulous that anyone and everyone joins him. For the rest of us mere mortals, life tends not to go like that! Instead, let everyone know what you are doing and let them know your door is always open if they want to learn more.

Offer your solution to a wider audience

Your product will doubtless solve a problem – that is why it was created and there will be people the world over searching for the solution it offers.

Even if your friends and family did happen to be interested, it is unlikely that their input alone would be enough to have you retiring to the Bahamas! You simply need to find a way to help those searching to find you, your products and opportunity online.

The best way to do this is with a blog where you offer value (for example, share advice on how to look younger / get fitter / whatever) and become a trusted source of information. In turn, people will buy from you.

Yes, this will demand that you learn new skills but once learned, will mean that people will seek you out instead of you chasing anyone with a pulse who might be interested. It costs next to nothing to get started (unless you go down the route of paid ads).

If your product is something that is better demonstrated, why not start a YouTube channel? Both your blog posts and YouTube videos could be shared through your social media outlets so your friends will ultimately see what you are up to.

These strategies take time but are 100% worth it if you are going to set yourself apart from everyone else selling the same products.

“Fire False Friends as early as possible. Do it before they dig out the dream seeds you’ve planted! The earlier, the better; the quicker, the safer!” Israelmore Ayivor

Let friends go if they won’t let you follow your dreams

If there are people in your circle who are hell-bent on stopping you from building your network marketing business, it may be time to break contact with them, or at least limit the time you spend in their company.

When building a business you have to be surrounded by positive people or you can talk yourself right out of a great opportunity. Check out this post on Lifehacker.comHow the People Around You Affect Personal Success.

Given that you are impacted so much by the people surrounding you, make sure to plug into your MLM system, team meetings / calls and conferences. Talk to the biggest earners and those on their way up the ladder. Find out what is working now. (If you are in the right team they will have a system that new people can get going with easily.)

Actions to avoid

Some of the negativity surrounding MLMs has been caused by these actions so I would recommend not doing them:

Going on and on about your business to anyone who will listen

People will start avoiding you! Carry on your relationships as normal. Ask about the other person and how they are doing – everything is not about your new venture! It doesn’t mean you can’t mention your business, just don’t become a bore!

How to succeed in network marketing

Only contacting people to pitch your products and business

Do not contact people with the sole purpose of mentioning your business. Again, people will start avoiding you.

It’s better not to make contact at all to be honest. How would you feel if someone got in touch after a long time, you were excited that they thought of you but then realize they are just pitching something?

By all means make the contact. In time, they can see your problem-solving content on your social feeds and contact you if they like what they see. The Worst case scenario, you have reconnected with an old friend which could lead to some fun times in the future.

What to look for when joining an MLM company

You may already be established in your MLM company and be confident that it is one of the vast majority of legit businesses, however, I wanted to include this topic for people new to the industry and people who have been misled by so many poorly researched, one-sided posts.

Check that there is a good quality retail product range with a reasonable commission that you would enjoy using yourself. You want to be a glowing example of someone who uses a particular product or products (or at least be a satisfied customer). If there is no product or service, it is a pyramid scheme and you should not get involved.

Look for consumable products so you will build a customer base rather than looking for new customers every month. (I have had the same Avon lady for years!)

What team you join within a particular business could mean make or break so pick wisely. If you are approached by someone and are interested, ask to speak to someone senior in the team plus someone who joined a year or so ago and ask them about their journey so far.

A good team will have no problem helping you with this. If no one wants to talk to you, look for another team. If no one has approached you, try Googling ‘top earners in….’ whatever company you are interested in, make contact on social media and they will be delighted to help you.

Check how long has the company been going for. Some people are happy to join a start-up, some people prefer an established brand. There is generally (but not always) more security in an established brand but then you get new companies like doTerra starting up and making a massive impact very early in the life of the business.


It seems that the people with the most to say about network marketing are the ones who know the least! Whatever business you are investigating, only listen seriously to people who have a track record and not the armchair experts.

If you have any doubts about the opportunity you are considering or indeed are not sure that MLM is for you, there are lots of alternative business models out there to choose from. I moved onto affiliate marketing as I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else’s contribution to my success. Check out my post Network Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing for more insights.

Whatever business you get involved with, do not let the naysayers affect you. Good luck!

Are you in network marketing or have you experienced it in the past? I would love to know what you love about it and what you struggled with in the comments.

4 thoughts on “How To Succeed With Network Marketing When Your Friends Don’t Support You”

  1. Hi, Jean
    Thank you for this insightful and helpful guide on how to succeed with network marketing.
    Personally, I failed to make money in this industry in 2017. And the reason is not having the required skills and a proven system to follow.

    I agree with you when you say offering our solution or our offer to a wider audience by using a blog can help us succeed in this industry.

    It is as you said, it will help us attract people who are really looking for what we are promoting and then sell or enroll new distributors easily.

    I will be following this advice. Tell me with platform do you recommend me to create my network marketing website.

    Thank you and waiting for your answer.

    • Hi Sebastian

      I’m glad you found the post helpful. I would recommend WordPress – it has SEO built into the system and automatically creates title tags and meta tags which let search engines discover your content. There are lots of attractive themes to choose from but the most important thing is to find something easy to read and navigate. Good luck!

      Kind regards,


  2. Dear Jean, I see you have much wisdom about MLM. I was introduced to Melaleuca in the late 80s. Never did much with it. I was an airline pilot with Mormon friends. I’m now retired and 82 yo. Started a 501c3 We are looking at regenerative agriculture to help the planet and support our company. We came across a great opportunity to sell a natural product and may consider the Melaleuca model. Would you be interested in consulting or partnering with us. This product is made locally here in Florida, can cure citrus greening, is all natural, and has nano properties that allow it to be ingested with great healing properties. Hope to hear from you. Will Bronson

    • Hello Will

      Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch and for your kind comments.

      I will send you an email.

      Kind regards,



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