A Reality Check For Network Marketers

I’m feeling a bit feisty today, so may as well address a controversial topic…

Should you build your BRAND or your DOWNLINE first?

This is a topic I feel very strongly about, so get ready…I’m not holding anything back.

The answer… (Drumroll Please…)

You should build your BRAND first. 

Here’s why:

Regardless of what your upline tells you, the fact of the matter is that when you are a network marketing distributor, you are NOT the “CEO of your own business”

Yea, yea, yea… you set your schedule, you get to have your own business cards and you can work from home.

But those things do NOT mean that you own your own business.

What you are, is a commissioned sales person.

  • You cannot market your business in any method that you want (Don’t believe me? Take a peak at your company’s terms and conditions)
  • Your compensation is at the mercy of your network marketing company.  One mistake, and your compensation can be yanked away from you.
  • Your ability to market other products and services may be limited by your network marketing company.
  • Your company’s policies and procedures are drafted by attorneys with one thing in mind: protecting the company’s future not yours.

Does that sound like a CEO?


Now before you stomp off and call me a network marketing-hater, I want to explain why I tell you this. I’m telling you this because I care about your future.

I’m telling you this because as an attorney, I’m trained to analyze situations and tell people how best to protect themselves.

So… with that said, here’s where I see Network Marketing fitting into your business.

Robert Kiyosaki once said that he liked Network Marketing because it is an inexpensive way for people to real-world business skills.    To be honest, I’m one of them!  Amazing as it may seem, I never considered myself to have an entrepreneurial bone in my body until I joined my first network marketing opportunity back in October 2006.

But it wasn’t long into my experience as a network marketer, that I started to see the perils of solely being a network marketing distributor.  I realized that I didn’t really have a “business,” I had a sales job.

I realized that I was investing a lot of time and money into something that I did not own, and the attorney in me thought….

That’s Far Too Risky!

I’m trained to evaluate risk and mitigate it as best as I can.

So, that’s exactly what I did… I started learning how to build my own business, by building my own brand, building my own list and creating and selling my own products and services.

Now, your upline is going to tell you…


(Keep It Simple Stupid) 

You know what I say to that?  Hogwash!

In essence, they’re telling you to build your Sand Castle one foot from the ocean.

I’m telling you to build your Sand Castle six feet from the ocean, so it withstands the tide.

Maybe it’s a little easier at first, because you don’t have to walk as far to get water to pack down your sand, in your bucket, but when the tide rolls it (and it always does), your KISS castle will be flattened.

Don’t make this mistake.

Look, your upline, no matter how much you love them, is out for one thing: building their team in THAT company.

If you decided to leave one day, they would most likely not give a rip about what happens to you in the future.

Sorry, I’m being harsh, but it’s true.

Don’t believe me?

Ask your upline for help building a totally separate business.  See how quick they are to help you…

If you’re trying to replace your current income or shore up your retirement savings, you need something that is going to be around for a long time.

You need to be 100% control of your business. 

That means you need to be able to build and control your own list (your most valuable business asset).

You need to diversify with the products and services you offer, so that if one opportunity goes out of business, you’ve got other streams of income so you can keep moving forward.

That’s why I suggest that you build your BRAND first, and then build your Downline.

Your network marketing opportunity should only be one piece of your business.    You should have a marketing /sale funnel in place so that you can attract potential customers to you, and then make sales to those individuals.

Of course, approaching your warm market is the quickest way to generate money in your business.  But once your warm market’s gone cold, it’s time to start putting a real business in place!

You can learn more about the concept of a marketing funnel in my popular Building You Inc. Article Series.

Agree with me?  Disagree with me? I want to hear from you!

To the Top!

PS: If you are looking to build your brand online, but don’t know where to start, you can sign up for more information about my personal branding coaching program

10 Responses to “A Reality Check For Network Marketers”

  1. Luke Chandler Says:

    If you don’t have a brand, how can you build a downline? People want to pair with leaders who seem established.
    Luke Chandler recently posted..MLM Training For Your Downline and How It Affects Your Business

  2. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Luke Chandler, you raise an important point…. people join people, not companies!

    Thanks for stopping by! :)
    Natasha Nassar recently posted..The Scoop on Pinterest

  3. Cindy Says:

    Completely agree with you. I work with a few online businesses and they just don’t understand marketing their brand. All they want to do is get cheaper adwords clicks [or other paid advertising] or better search engine results. The truth of this is that Google, or other places such as Facebook, where they buy these ads can disable their account at any moment. Also, anyone who tried to build a business on organic search results is also building their business on sand.
    Cindy recently posted..Consolidate Your Debt – Do You REALLY Need Professional Debt Help?

  4. Brian Says:

    Absolutely! Build your brand online by using a high tech high touch method. Utilize the current online tools and frequently reach out with communication that touches and inspires.

    Natasha, I am proud of you.
    Brian recently posted..Easily Sponsor Different Personalities With These Super Simple Tips Part 4

  5. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Cindy, You’re right! Google and Facebook are cracking down, and it’ll only get worse. Better to build your brand now instead of learning the hard way!
    Natasha Nassar recently posted..No Excuses Special

  6. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Brian, Thanks Brian : ) I was thinking I would get more backlash for this post, but I suppose that no one wants to argue with an attorney! LOL : )
    Natasha Nassar recently posted..No Excuses Special

  7. candice michelle Says:

    Actually it helps us to recognize our real costs, develop a realistic budget, plan marketing strategies, and find useful resources and websites that will move our business forward.
    candice michelle recently posted..External Hemorrhoids Treatment

  8. adrian Says:

    This is a great post. There needs to be more awareness of what network marketing actually is. I spent a lot of time writing in my blog and practicing content creation and branding myself online. I was really wary of network marketing but i’m glad i left it as late as i did.
    adrian recently posted..Tips for getting traffic from Facebook

  9. Ankur Agarwal Says:

    I completely agree with you. Although both are important, having your own brand first is more important, especially because it would be the first thing that a company will look at. People should take their time to build their brand and maintain a good reputation to it
    Ankur Agarwal recently posted..Network Marketing Planning

  10. Stephen Hawaryat Says:

    Natasha great article thank you speaking of things most won’t touch. This reaffirms what many “hustlers” do instinctively and display no shame. There’s a colloquial expression that declares and summarizes what you spoke of and with in balance it goes like this: DO YOU!

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