Great posts, thanks.
Sadly, all which you and others have posted is accurate, the industry has changed, the new generation has changed, the access to similar products have changed, the hype has ramped up, the scams have ramped up, every obstacle you can think of is absolutely working against the online home based businesses.
I commend anyone who has been with the same company for decades, truly amazing and you are probably the first person I have ever heard say this. So the question to everyone else is simple, how many years have you been with your company? Everything is changing when it comes to businesses and as we have all seen, retail mall type businesses are dying day by day, was in mall for first time in years to get a tool at Sears, I was amazed, the isles were all spread out to double the size with half the inventory I was usually seeing in the tool department. So sad to see these giants dying, Penney's, Macy's and Sears, they were the main anchors at every mall for decades. The list goes on and on for those companies which were main stays in malls for decades, can't even find a Radio Shack any longer in my area and since filing BR, like most have to survive, the future does not look bright for thousands more old familiar retail stores. Another clear sign of changing retail market, when was the last time you saw a new retail business pop up at local mall? Everything is going to online and the gorilla Amazon. Even Sam's club, the bulk outlet for Walmart closed dozens of warehouse outlets. Who would have thought even Walmart is hurting.
Bottom line, MLM is no different than any other business when it comes to difficulty levels as I see it, same issues, except MLM has a growing image of being a pyramid Ponzi which had been used to attack MLM companies for decades as the traditional retail tried to destroy the network marketing model as a threat to traditional businesses. So MLM is facing even more obstacles as the competition grows, while the bad press also rises. Just look at the battles the giants in industry have had to fight, Amway, Herbalife, who were big enough to fight the attacks, but the bad press that followed these attacks and then fights against false allegations still did a lot of damage to the industry. Herbalife attack was due to stock manipulation, it got real dirty, and the smear of pyramid was used over and over again. So people who never understood what a pyramid was now feel it is illegal, so this made it just that much more difficult for all MLM companies.
Like many, I started several traditional businesses over the years while always researching and staying on top of online businesses looking for the next trend or technology which had patent protection which is what I felt was only option for me. I had shifted all my effort to online businesses decades ago seeing the trend shift away from traditional retail businesses. Glad I did, I owned a travel agency for years, was a solid business, never got wealthy, but I enjoyed all the FAMS and traveled all over the world for next to nothing, so that was a business which income was not the main motivation. I sold it when I saw all these MLM versions start to pop up, and as I had trained many who wanted to work the travel business part time and passively, this format was modeled after network marketing. I had near a hundred outside agents when I decided to convert them to an online travel group of wholesalers, so selling my travel agency was the smartest thing I did in business, got out just in time. My main business was from IBM, then they went with national travel agency cutting out locals, so almost all of my friends in industry had to shut their doors. Sad, but this is just another example of how the industry is changing. Look at the travel industry now, dozens of consolidation wholesalers like Priceline, Hotel, Travago which is the king of consolidation now, so a local agency cannot compete of price any longer and are being squeezed out of business with very few who need the personal service of sitting in front of an agent in this online world.
Simply put, this is how I too see the industry changing and MLM is indeed much more difficult than it ever was. When it comes to supplements which most in MLMland promote, I don't know how they survive in todays ultra me too competitive market, so for those who have been in their nutritional companies for decades, my hat is off to you. I was with Herbalife back in 80's as I too am a health advocate through proper nutrition, but when the law suits started claiming deaths from their weight loss product, the hottest of their products at the time, I lost half my volume in just a couple months as the attacks killed that product. Amazingly Herbalife survived and thrived, but I let it go for it was only a passive business and I saw my income drop down to barely a thousand a month. It was looking promising having worked it only part time for a year, and then poof, it all vanished. Lesson learned, never work just one business. The same thing happened with a telecom I focused on next, hit six figures in second year, and poof, the pulled the network marketing division and were rolled out as Sprint. Another example of why I don't work just one business any longer, just too many potential issues can destroy even the best of businesses. I stopped looking at nutritional companies and the same thing happened in telcom and cell business, I don't think any exist in the MLM model any longer and there were dozens back when I shifted to technology over supplements. Another lesson learned, what was hot yesterday does not mean it will be hot today, never mind tomorrow.
Oh well, thought I would take the time to add to the great post by Mike, a long timer on MLM.com and a respected networker for sure. I congratulate him again for his long term success. I sincerely hope you have another 20 plus years of success. As these forums are also dying, is it sad since there is much to learn from other peoples experience in MLM industry. I remember when this started on AOL back in 80's, and I saw the power of the internet even before it went public. I was on many forums when internet was just for colleges in the beginning. My how things have changed, now you can't survive in any business if not using online marketing strategies. Just look at the new generation, they walk around like zombies with their heads buried in their devices. Simply amazing, and I question if this is a sign of even more obstacles for MLM as kids today have zero motivation, zero common sense, zero how to experience, other than texting and sending stupid pictures over their devices. Yes, I see troubled waters ahead, and without the drive and motivation most on this forum have demonstrated for decades, I can't even imagine any of these under 20 year olds ever becoming successful in the business world. I have seen it all, researched it all, and am still looking for that perfect long term business.
I am done with me too products, whether nutritional or technology based, it Is just too difficult unless patented and exclusive products. Those are rare, and in the nutritional arena, how many products are patented and fully protected and exclusive. Same with technology products, how many are patented and protected? Smart phones have taken over the world of communications, and kids today do not even watch television, they bury themselves in their devices for all their entertainment. I research everything, and when I see 60 inch Smart TV 4G for $500. while Apple iphones go for $1000., sure is obvious consumers are being ripped off on iphones. lol But hey, Apple created a cult like following, very smart, and very profitable for them, but even they are feeling the pinch as equal if not better competition is squeezing the bottom line. So this is just another example of markets shifting towards value more and more which makes it even more difficult since most MLM products are like Apple, overpriced. I can find specific nutritional products that replicate any MLM product for a fraction of price, same ingredients, that is the power of internet. Times they are a changing for MLM, and traditional retail, so who knows what the future holds for us online entrepreneurs? I focus on low cost to start easy to duplicate informational businesses which essentially teach you how to succeed since todays education system has failed our children. Most graduate college and are clueless about what to do in the business world, so sad. Live and learn, that is what we all have to continue to do.
Success to all,