You probably know that Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) and affiliate marketing are two of the most popular ways for people to make money online or from home.
The main reasons are that you don't need any prior experience to start either and they are both low cost in comparison to starting a more traditional bricks and mortar business.
Both "opportunities" are legit but both do come with some scam artists trying to take your money.
And if you've ever spent any time on this website before you probably know what my preference is...
I don't only think that affiliate marketing is better than MLM... I believe it's a far superior business model.
However, I'm going to throw out my own biases for this battle and I've even chatted a couple of current successful MLM member to give this a fair fight (listen to that podcast here)
That way you can make an informed decision about what suits you.
Fair? I think so!...
Listen to the full MLM vs Affiliate Marketing podcast episode
Listen to my chat with a current successful MLM member here.
Listen to my chat with someone who has tried both MLM and affiliate marketing here.
Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) can also be called network marketing, referral marketing, pyramid selling and many "direct sales" companies are really just MLM companies.
It's a business model where anyone can join the company to get the chance to make money by selling the products.
These "distributors" (also known as consultants, representatives or associates) can also recruit more people into the company to do the same thing. The people they recruit become their "downline" and it's possible to earn bonuses and commissions from the sales this team makes.
It ends up creating a pyramid structure like this:
Typically MLM companies sell some sort of product or service. The most common products are related to health and wellness or personal care... such as makeup, protein shakes, supplements, CBD oil or shampoo etc.
In theory the business model is a win-win.
The company saves money on marketing and advertising costs...
And everyday people get the opportunity to work from home.
MLM companies can be a legitimate way to make money from home.
There is a strong emphasis on team building and helping the people in your team.
However, this actually means that the main way to make good money is by recruiting people to earn commission from the sales they make.
MLM products are typically very expensive in comparison to alternatives on the market. To "remain active" distributors often need to sell a certain amount each month or pay for products themselves.
This means that most people end up losing money in MLM companies.
Many people think that all MLMs are pyramid schemes.
That is not the case.
However, many MLM companies do sell products to disguise the fact that the only way their members make money is by recruiting more people.
Any company that has a focus on recruiting rather than selling is very similar to a pyramid scheme, and these are totally unsustainable as you can see in the diagram below...
Check out this 5 minute video to learn how to spot a "pyramid scheme in disguise"...
However, there are some legit MLM companies out there too. They offer reasonably priced products and there are no monthly sales quota. Unfortunately, these are actually pretty hard to find!
Just check out the 3 case studies below to see the difference between legit companies and pyramid schemes in disguise...
MLM companies like this are the worst.
The ONLY way you can make money is by recruiting people into the company.
Prosperity of Life claims to offer "personal development" training that you can attend and make money from!
In reality, they just teach you how to sell this company to other people.
There's no real products that the company produces. You can sell the "personal development events" but the whole event is really a sales gig to try and make more people join.
It's impossible for everyone to make money through this type of MLM.
This is probably the most common MLM company that I have seen.
Pyramid schemes in disguise typically offer stupidly expensive products (100% or more above comparisons). Then they have a monthly sales quota that their distributors have to hit to "remain active".
Le-Vel Thrive will cost you $100+ a month to stay active as a distributor.
But you can only earn 20% commission for any products that you personally sell. So people can be hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket before they sell anything and then only make back $10-$50 from their sale.
There's a huge emphasis on recruiting and this is the only way you can realistically make any decent money from this type of MLM. Once you recruit 2 or more people you've effectively "passed the buck" down them.
Farmasi claims to be a "direct sales" company but you can earn bonuses from your downlines sales. So it still is an MLM company in my opinion.
It only costs $19.99 to join and there are no monthly sales quotas to hit.
The makeup is good quality and affordable. Distributors also make 50% commission from any sales.
This means the company genuinely offers products that people would be happy to promote (as it's good and affordable).
There is a focus on selling the products and it's possible to make money simply from doing that without recruiting anyone.
But how much are you likely going to be able to sell in person to your friends and family? If only there was a way to use the internet to sell for you 24/7...
Affiliate marketing is earning a commission by promoting someone else's product.
Sell other people's stuff.
It really is a win-win...
You can become an affiliate marketer right now by joining affiliate networks for free, such as:
In fact, many businesses or entrepreneurs will have their own affiliate program that people can join for FREE...
So if you find products that you like, you can share your "affiliate link" with people and if they buy something through your link, you make money!
It's possible to get paid 4-90% commissions depending on the individual product.
It sounds too easy, right?
Well that is an overly simplified version and you probably won't be able to get many people to buy products like this.
But the best affiliate marketers use a website to "drive traffic" to it and promote products to earn commission.
If these websites actually help people to solve their problem, then people will buy these products.
It's possible to create these websites that bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors each month for free... and they work for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Examples of affiliate marketers on the Make Time Online podcast:
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by promoting other people's stuff.
But because it's completely free to become an "affiliate marketer", many people try affiliate marketing and don't make any money.
The best affiliate marketers build a website that helps solve problems and attracts thousands of visitors every month.
This way the business grows over time.
Plus, the skills you learn from affiliate marketing can be used to help any business in the 21st century.
Tonight, we are going to witness the most anticipated match in the history of online businesses for the heavyweight championship of the world!
Entering the ring wearing navy blue is...
And the opposition wearing teal blue is...
Let's get ready to ruuuumbbbblllllle...
It's claimed that you can start either business opportunity for next to nothing. In fact, the initial cost to join most MLM companies is under $100.
They do however, often recommend you buy a product pack so that you can test the products or use them as samples to sell to others.
This can set you back anything from $50-$1,000.
There are also often monthly sales figures to hit and if you don't reach that then you will need to pay for the products yourself. This is usually around $50-$200 a month.
However, it's possible to start affiliate marketing for free. Any legit affiliate marketing opportunity is free to join.
There are even ways you can build websites for free. Watch this short video to see how.
And it's possible to learn how to build an affiliate marketing business with all the training and tools you need from scratch for as little as $30 a month.
Winner- Affiliate marketing
MLM companies provide certain products or services.
If you join a company you can only sell their products to people. There are often terms that state that you are only allowed to work for one MLM company at a time, especially if you're thinking about joining another one in the same industry.
These products are often very expensive and you can easily find better alternatives for a fraction of the price.
With affiliate marketing you can choose anything.
If you have a passion about sailing you can create a website specifically to help people with sailing. If you recommend certain products or information that could someone solve a problem, then you can get paid for this over and over again.
You are complete control over what you promote.
Winner- Affiliate marketing
The real way that MLM distributors make good money is when they "build a team". This sounds great to many people as most people don't want to do business by themself.
But what this really means is that you need to recruit people into the MLM company.
So you're going to need to ask all your friends and family and once they reject you, you'll be taught how to put your life on social media to try and attract new unsuspecting victims.
Many MLM companies still encourage "home parties" where you invite friends over and show them how good your products are.
Affiliate marketing is all done online.
That means you provide real value to people on your website and never need to sell face to face. Some people are put off by the thought of having to write a lot.
But the beauty is that you can do this at your own pace and build your website over time... it doesn't disappear.
I used to hate writing but like anything else, it's a skill that you can improve on in time.
If your business is not on the internet then your business will be out of business- Bill Gates
Winner- Affiliate marketing
Most MLM companies are quite big on this.
Many of them will have live events around the world for you to attend (it does cost more money mind you!)
But if you've never been to an event like this, it can spark a fire inside you that you never knew was there.
Most MLM members encourage each other to read self development books and continue to improve.
There are events like this you can attend for affiliate marketing such as FinCon or Affiliate World Conference. However, many people try to do affiliate marketing all by themself.
Without the support it's very easy to avoid personal development or connecting with people regularly. MLM takes this round!
As already touched on, affiliate marketing can teach you crucial skills that every business needs in the 21st century.
Learning how to market online is useful for anyone.
Helping your website be found on Google (SEO), copywriting, email marketing and social media marketing are all skills that you can learn and improve, whilst building a business with affiliate marketing.
Every business in the world needs this. You can either market the skills you learn to make money from freelance work as your business grows or use these skills to build your own mega future business.
MLM companies rarely come with any training to improve these skills.
You're really only taught how to be on social media all the time to try and attract people into asking how you make money... then bam! Recruit, recruit, recruit!
Winner- Affiliate marketing
There are far too many people earning mega money from affiliate marketing to even know.
I have personally spoken to 5 people on the podcast who make over $1 million a year (and they were all 30 or younger and not even the real big fish of the industry).
The big reason for this is due to the previous round... they have learnt skills that they use to create a mega business.
It's possible to create a growing passive income as once you put the work in once your website can get found every single month by more and more people.
It is possible to make some great money from MLM companies. But you will always be a cog in the wheel (unless you create your own MLM company!)
The most I have seen anyone make from an income disclaimer is around $1,000,000 a year (and we're talking about millions of people that are in MLM companies).
Winner- Affiliate marketing
Final Score: MLM 1 vs 5 Affiliate Marketing
So this is the side that not many people will tell you about.
There are so many people out there trying to sell something or suggesting they have the answer to help you make millions of dollars overnight.
To be successful in either one of these business models is going to be hard.
It will take time and effort and you will have a LOT of setbacks along the way.
The reason I know this is because it's happened to me (and pretty much every other successful entrepreneur I've spoken to or read about... not that I'm putting myself in the same category as them, but I know I'm on the path to get there).
This is the reality...
And many people just get so caught up on one thing...
The truth is, it's going to take time to see the money.
Yeah you can see a little bit of success just for proof of concept.
In fact, you can go to Amazon Associates right now, get a free account and send the link to a book you know your Mom wants to buy to her.
Once she buys it you get a commission... boom!
Real Money! (it will be like $0.23 so don't go quit the day job)
But here is what actually happens...
I know I haven't "made it"... in fact, I would say I'm just about coming up out of the trough.
But I have to be honest, the speed at what this scales is even frightening me!...
So yeah, as I already told you...
I am biased.
But hopefully you can see why now.
There are just some reasons why affiliate marketing wins by a country mile in my opinion:
I know people that do well from both.
I can't say that I would be comfortable selling overpriced products to people or recruiting them knowing they are becoming another cog in the wheel.
But I know one thing for a fact...
Doing the same thing will get you the same results.
Action takers always win.
Ready to make passive income online?
In 2018 I had no idea how to make money online. I was a full time PE teacher with no marketing skills or online experience.
I fell for scams along the way but I've managed to create a growing passive income online.
If I can do it, anyone can.
In the spirit of full transparency, know that this post on Pinterest hacks contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, you may receive a discount or some money for free! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
You probably know the main challenge for new bloggers is to get traffic to their blog.
Now you may think all you need to do is pin more on Pinterest and you will start seeing traffic role in. In fact, by learning some expert pinner’s secrets you can become much smarter with your efforts and even completely automate the process with a few hours of work a month.
This article (with video) will show you the top 5 Pinterest hacks to start driving crazy traffic to your blog.
Now, I can almost hear your mind saying… I’ve already got an account with Facebook and Twitter, why should I bother with Pinterest?
This is the exact question I had been asking for about 2 years before taking the plunge!
I’m definitely not the Don on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. However, I do use all of them and have a bit of a following (over 2 thousand) on each.
All of them have taken time to grow and to be honest I had been putting off starting another social media platform because of that.
Pinterest beats all of these for one simple fact…
All of the other social media platforms are designed to keep the users on their platform.
Simply put, the best traffic drivers are:
People literally use Pinterest to find valuable content. It is like using Google.
I HAD NO IDEA!!!!!
In 2018, after hearing this, I felt like I had been wasting all of my efforts on social media.
I thought Pinterest was for pretty wedding photos, flowers and basically… I thought it was for girls!
As it turns out, my stupid bias judgemental mind had been holding my website traffic back.
… Onwards and upwards…
So rather than dive into it full steam ahead, I went out of my way to find out some of the best Pinterest hacks to drive traffic to my blog.
Well Duh!! This is more important than water is to a fish.
I thought you said these were gonna be top secret tips?!
Well actually it may not be top secret but this one is ALWAYS the top priority. If you can genuinely help to solve someone’s problems then this person is likely to become an avid fan and share, pin, tweet (whatever!) your content. Always ask yourself…
Am I actually helping to solve someone’s problems?
It’s so important that your content is easy to read.
Let’s face it people on the internet are in a hurry. Think about the last time you read an article. Chances are very high that you skimmed it and tried to take in something useful without wasting your time reading it!?
So a very valuable tip is to create content that is EASY to read.
Help people skim read it if they want.
Remember, the main focus should be providing the reader with valuable information that helps THEM.
Solving other people’s problems and helping them builds trust. This means they are more likely to read more of your stuff and come back.
Do not leave a wall of text. Use Line breaks and mix up your paragraph lengths… When writing ONLINE a paragraph should NEVER be more than 3 lines of writing.
Use images to convey your message.
Yes, you may think you sound clever. But these LOOOONG words make reading harder. If you can keep it simple people will keep reading.
Don’t use 20 words if it can be said in 4. After writing a post CUT it down!! I’ve heard as a good rule of thumb to delete the entire first & last paragraph and remove every 6th sentence! Seriously… cut it down, don’t get attached to your words, you will thank yourself in the future!
People find it easy to remember a story. They often come to their own conclusion and form their own opinions from them. It is much more powerful when we learn something ourselves than when we are told something.
The way your pins look is IMPORTANT.
In fact, this is maybe the most important of the Pinterest hacks.
Pins need to:
Here is one of the pins from the Pinterest kings Jeff and Ben at Dollarsprout.
People seem to recommend different sizes all the time. There is no perfect pin size.
Currently in November 2018, from what I have found many are using or recommend 600px wide by 900-1,250px tall.
This is something I was terrible at when I started. It wasn’t until I took Jeff and Ben’s $9 “Perfect Pin” course that I really saw traction from Pinterest.
Check it out here, it can save sooooo much wasted time! As you read on you will find out more about Jeff and Ben from Dollarsprout (spoiler alert they now make over $240k/ month)
This can make a big difference in 2 ways:
To help more people do both of these things your pin descriptions need to:
There’s not much more to it than that.
The aim of the description is to get people clicking on that link! Try out different descriptions for pins leading to the same post to make the most of these Pinterest hacks.
Your business profile needs to come across well for your niche.
People just want to know what you do… So tell them
To get your Profile looking “Pinterest Pretty” you need to do the following things:
To be honest with you… there is too much to explain in one blog post about how to set up your Pinterest account and explain how Pinterest works.
If you’re keen to see the same results as some of the most successful bloggers that make 6 figures a month then check out the best book I have found that explains everything you need to know about Pinterest. Including:
All of this is great but there’s actually one last BIG tip to getting more engagement on Pinterest.
The answer lies in Group Boards…
Driving traffic from Pinterest is a game of applying to as many group boards as you can, and pinning bright, bold, click-bait pins to them repeatedly!
However, something that I have found hard to find anywhere else is…
You basically have to find other people’s boards that you would like to join. You need to message the owner and ask if you can become a “collaborator” of the board.
Type in a keyword into the search tab on Pinterest and look at the group boards for this.
Group Boards are amazing and different from any other social media platform because…
If you only have 50 followers and “collaborate” on a board with 10,000 followers, then all of these people can now see your pins.
You could spend hours applying to loads of boards… However, some group boards are better to apply to. The BEST ones need to have the following:
Realistically you won’t know what boards are good until you join them. SO you need to hustle here and ask around. Once you’re on the board you can check out what the best boards are by watching this short video…
Read the podcast chat show notes with Jeff and Ben from Dollarsprout.
You can message the owner of a board on a pin to ask to join a group board as a “collaborator”.
If you’d like a step by step 6-day guide to using Pinterest from setting up your account to finding group boards then get this sent to you for free right now…
Plus get your bonus email template to join the best group boards…
You can’t name drop because you know nobody… you have no followers… you are just starting a blog…
So what can you do?
Comment and engage on their stuff!
Find where they hang out and contribute to their work regularly.
Is it easy to comment? Yes!
Can it be time-consuming? Yes!
Does everyone do this? Hell no!
There’s always a way for you to stand out. You just have to be willing to go the extra mile!
Use tailwind to automate your pins like clockwork… simples.
I just spent 3 hours setting up my pins (30+ a day) for the next 3 months. That’s 3000 pins going out at THE best times of the day!!
These Pinterest hacks really can drive more traffic to your website than rush hour on the M25 (that’s British humour… Google the M25 if you don’t know what I’m chatting about).
Use these 5 tips and find the best group boards to pin onto and you will have visitors pouring onto your site just like Jeff and Ben did in 2016. Check out how they went from not making any money from their blog for 13 months to now earn $240k per month.
Keep changing for the better,
P.S. It’s so important to have your account set up the right way to get the best results from these Pinterest hacks. Make sure your account is set up right by getting the free course below…
Be sure to pin this page to come back to it later and share the secrets…
In the spirit of full transparency, know that this post answering does affiliate marketing online work contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, you may receive a discount or some money for free! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
You probably agree that most people dream of making money whilst they sleep.
And most people struggle to find ways of creating passive income without investing large sums of money. However, affiliate marketing has generated a passive income stream for thousands of people. Plus, it is possible to get started without needing any money.
This post will answer the question “does affiliate marketing online work?” and help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.
Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income possibly has the best definition of what affiliate marketing is:
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
If you’re like me then you probably will find this diagram super helpful…
STOP! Now study that again. When you understand this diagram, affiliate marketing really starts to make sense.
Here are the 4 main roles in affiliate marketing as defined by Neil Patel:
This is the person or company that creates the product.
It could be an online course or a physical product such as a child’s toy or super cool hoverboards!
This is an individual or company that is also known as the publisher.
They will normally receive a commission of anything between 4-75% for each sale made through their special link.
The customer, or consumer, is what makes affiliate marketing go ’round.
Without sales, there would be no commission or any products being sold. If you have ever bought anything then you were a consumer at that time, hence we are all consumers!
A network works as the “middle-man” between the merchant and the affiliate.
It is possible to set up a direct revenue share with someone that created a product. But almost all affiliate marketing online will be through a network such as ClickBank or Commission Junction.
Master Blogging goes into a lot more detail about the terminology in affiliate marketing too.
Does Pamela Anderson have trouble seeing her belly button?
The more you read each word in this post, the more you realise that companies and individuals who have created products want to get their babies in front of as many people as possible.
Let me ask you this…
Would you rather pay someone else 0% of $100 profits… or 50% of $1,000 profit?
Simply put affiliate marketing is a win-win.
The owner of the product doesn’t have to do all the marketing or advertising themselves. And the person recommending the product (the affiliate marketer) doesn’t have to spend all their time creating products.
There are literally thousands of income reports that exist now. If you’re still doubting whether affiliate marketing can genuinely work then see for yourself…
There are loads of really impressive ones like Pat and Michelle who have been in this game a lot longer. But just take a look at the success of people starting out with affiliate marketing in more recent years!
What do you think?
Does affiliate marketing online work even in 2019?
Is the Pope Jewish?
You’re smart enough to know that nothing worthwhile in life is easy.
Just because it’s not easy does it mean it’s not worth doing?
However, there are really only a couple of things you will need to do to be successful with affiliate marketing:
So let’s break it down a bit eh?
This doesn’t mean all you will do is leave reviews on products.
In fact, it’s highly recommended that you do not do that!
But product reviews are proven to be a great way to make affiliate sales. Just think about it for a minute… if someone helps you understand what a product does and why you need a product, do you think you’re more or less likely to buy it?
Also, if someone finds your website by typing in “GoPro Hero 7 Review” do you think they may already be interested in buying a GoPro? You will be attracting the right people to your website.
Of course, you’ve seen those review videos on Youtube right?
Well, you can also leave reviews on a website.
Just think about it… when you’re considering to buy a product what do you do?
BINGO… Google it!
You are likely led straight to someone’s website (aka a blog!)
So the really successful affiliate marketers will have their own website.
With today’s technology, building a website doesn’t have to be hard and can be done with a few clicks (no you don’t need to be able to code!) You can learn how to do this for free here “How to Build a Website the Easy Way“.
You will be able to collect email addresses much easier with your own website than anywhere else. This way you can provide value to your readers and then provide some sort of upgrade to help them… for free! Find out “Why do People Create Blogs? These 28 Bloggers Explain Their Story“
The key here is to provide your email list with quality information regularly.
You are not going to try and sell anything and everything to them. If you do your job right you will only attract people onto your email list that you can genuinely help.
At the end of the day, that is what affiliate marketing is…
Helping put a product in front of someone that would benefit from it!
Email marketing has been proven to be more successful than any other type of marketing. Just see some of the stats below…
An example of a content upgrade is an email course.
You can provide your audience with some of your best knowledge about a topic that you hav