The truth about network marketing

An open letter to the network marketing cynic

Why are you cutting down people who are simply having a go? Here’s the hard truth about network marketing.

Dear MLM hater,

I thought it was about time I got in touch and shared the truth about network marketing. Because I see you. I see you mutter “pyramid scheme” when a colleague talks about their network marketing business. I see you tag ‘Sounds like MLM’ when someone posts about their business in a Facebook group. I see you roll your eyes when a well-meaning friend introduces you to a product they love. I do it sometimes too. But I wonder, why all the negativity? Surely that’s worse than what network marketers are doing?

Like you, I used to sit on my high horse, looking down on anyone involved in direct selling or network marketing.

And I want to tell you, in the nicest way possible, that your judgement is misguided. Sometimes it’s even cruel. And the world doesn’t need that, especially right now.

I’m a tough cookie and I’m all for healthy scepticism, but there is A LOT of misinformation out there. So many people don’t fully understand how network marketing works, and how it could enhance their life.

A lot of people who are new to the industry take your ridicule and your condescending attitude pretty personally. Some even quit over your opinion, an opinion you are often not in a position to be sharing because you don’t have the required experience or knowledge. In my 20s I learned the hard way about who I should and shouldn’t take advice from and it cost me a lot.

You’re dissing an industry that has helped millions around the globe from different walks of life break generational cycles.

An industry that has helped me and a lot of people I know create a life filled with connection, community, financial abundance, travel, adventure and CHOICE. An industry that, because of a small percentage of dodgy operators, cops way too much shit.

I want to set the record straight and debunk a few of the myths you may have bought into. These myths have unfairly stigmatised network marketing. They need to be understood so people realise what this profession can give them.

When I started out in network marketing, I thought I had nothing to lose. Now I realise that I had everything to lose. Because I hadn’t lived it yet. I did not know what residual income was. I didn’t know leverage. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Myth #1: Network marketing is all about people harassing their friends and family to buy stuff.  


When done well, network marketing is about education and building relationships with people – taking the time to understand their lifestyle and challenges so you can recommend products that you genuinely love and know will help them.

I get that there are muppets out there doing it poorly but please don’t let a few bad eggs rot the whole brunch menu. It is no different to every other industry on the planet. Spending 15 years in the public health system taught me that there is good and not so good in every profession.

When I started out in network marketing, I felt super awkward about the idea of selling products to people I know. I made every mistake possible. (It was the same when I was new to nursing. I actually put a suppository in the wrong orifice. I still cringe about it). Despite my awkwardness, I was extremely passionate and knew my products could help a lot of people.

When we love stuff, we tell people. With network marketing, you get rewarded financially for the referrals. I don’t believe in hard selling or harassing people. As one of the top network marketers in Australia who has learnt a lot of the lessons through messing up, I’m proof that you don’t need to hard sell. Educate people and lead by example. Show people what is possible.

Myth #2: Network marketing is unethical / a scam / a pyramid scheme / (insert other defamatory name).


Network marketing is simply another name for a business model that cuts out the middlemen to give power and opportunity to the “little” people.

Firstly, pyramid schemes are illegal. Secondly, every organisational structure in society has a pyramid structure – the health system, churches, education providers and most corporate organisations. Society says it’s ok for the people at the top to get paid all the money.

Network Marketing is a strategy that uses word of mouth and social selling, community marketing and networking, instead of physical stores, to sell products to people. The leveraged distribution model is smart, efficient, equitable and effective. There are minimal overheads and it’s simple to scale for people who do not want headache of setting up their own company and developing a product. The money saved on the middlemen and marketing is paid to the marketers in the form of commission which increases as you help more people transform and have an amazing experience.

Every industry has its challenges, but network marketing is a legitimate and legal way of conducting business. It’s also very smart. You’re simply buying a product from a person instead of a shelf and getting that person to support you along your transformation.

Myth #3: Only people at the top of the totem pole earn real money.


If you put in the work, you will reap rewards irrespective of your position or rank. We all start at the bottom.

I’ve been involved in network marketing for nearly seven years. Within 11 months I had replaced my clinical nurse management full-time salary on a weekly level. These days, my husband and I earn that every couple of months. Our team earns four to five times more than average. Why? Because they love the products and genuinely want to share them with people.

We help people solve problems. And our team are willing to put in the time and effort to get out of their comfort zone while staying in their values zone. They build relationships instead of being spammy. They help people rediscover their passion and purpose.

We’ve created a community with mentors and coaches who are invested in empowering people to create their version of success.

Do you earn more commission the higher up the ranks you go? Yes. But how is that different to being a CEO versus a junior employee? I earned a lot more as a nurse unit manager than a newly registered nurse. Why is it that promotion and career progression is only vilified in network marketing? Are you also able to earn more than the people above you in the organisation? Yes, we are proof of that.

Myth #4: Network marketers are just bored housewives who can’t get a ‘real’ job.


Network marketers are a diverse group of people who are passionate about helping others and creating the life they want for themselves and their families. They want to be in business for themselves instead of by themselves.

Network marketing is a distribution model and industry that is thriving all around the world when so many industries are struggling, some even becoming obsolete. It is also an industry that thrives in all economic climates.

Network marketing offers a simple and smart transition from employee to entrepreneur by providing the opportunity to start your own business without the risk or massive capital outlay. For some it’s a second stream of income that helps to pay bills and take their family on holidays. For others who have the time to invest, it’s a very lucrative full-time gig with great cash flow.

In network marketing you work at your own speed. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you that job, that promotion, or permission to work your own hours on your own terms.

Perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and ask why you’re so cynical? Whose beliefs are they and why do you believe them? During my life, I’ve picked up other people’s beliefs without even realising. Along the way I’ve seen so many people struggle with their health. I’ve seen families torn apart because of financial stress and relationships break down because people are time poor, struggling to make ends meet or trying to keep up with the Jones’s.  

The person you’re ridiculing, or in some cases bullying, might be a parent desperately trying to provide for their kids. Someone who wants to help people with more flexibility and family time. Or a born entrepreneur learning the skills and mindset they need to realise their dream of helping the less fortunate and making a difference in the world. And some are stay-at-home-mums just having a crack, what’s wrong with that?

If one of these people have reached out, it’s probably because they see something in you. If you’re not interested, politely decline but don’t be nasty. Successful people are the ones who wish other’s well. It’s the miserable (and often broke) ones that offer unhelpful advice and resort to nastiness. Would you take the advice of a mechanic when you had chest pain? No. So please don’t expect network marketers to take advice from someone who knows very little about network marketing.

Seriously, why all the hate?

Myth #5: Network marketing is a quick and easy way to earn cash.


Just like any new business, it takes time, effort and focus to make it a lasting long-term success. But it’s still the best way for average people to get ahead and transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Some network marketers are full of BS – repeatedly sharing their best week’s income that they earnt three years ago and never mentioning how much work it took to get there or how long ago it happened. As a result, a lot of people enter the industry with unrealistic expectations and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth. There is also the disgruntled network marketer who has never created success in any other area of their life but blames network marketing when they fail to succeed. The reality is, they don’t know what it takes to succeed as they haven’t done it before and thought it would be easy.  

My husband and I are at a point where we could do nothing and likely earn well for the rest of our lives because of the countless hours we have poured into our people and invested into our personal and professional growth. That’s not something we’d consider because we’re genuinely passionate about what we do and why we do it. We will never forget where we came from and will continue to pay it forward and be ambassadors and lighthouses for the profession that is so often misunderstood.

People may look at us and think it’s been an easy ride. It hasn’t. We have worked our butts off to get here and sacrificed a lot. We’ve invested in ourselves as well as the skills, knowledge and mindset of our hard-working team. In saying that, I use to sacrifice SO much more in my job as a nurse. The difference is society saw me as a hero back then.

Network marketing might not be your cup of tea and that’s ok.

But can we agree to just stop with all the hate, judgement and inaccuracies? It’s not helpful. It’s not accurate. And it’s usually misguided. While it’s not perfect, for most people it is a better entrepreneurial pathway that anything else I’ve ever seen.  

I wish you all the best in whatever career path you choose to pursue. We should all respect one other and cheer each other on. And if I’ve sparked your interest in the possibility of what network marketing could look and feel like for you, why not start asking some questions? Reach out to me or whoever send you this link for a no-BS convo.

BIG love, with no BS

Keen to find out more about the benefits and challenges of a career in network marketing?

Head to the network marketing page on my website then get in touch if you’re keen to know more.

About Martene

Martene Wallace is not your average gypsy nomad and entrepreneur.

While her polished looks might lull you into a false sense of security, when she opens her mouth she’ll challenge your every preconception about life, leadership, beliefs and success.

An unshakeable optimist with an infectious zest for life, Martene has no trouble saying what others are too afraid to (even though they are thinking it).

Find Out More

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Based in Australia, I work with clients nationally and internationally.

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