If you are wondering if you can make more money with network marketing or affiliate marketing, I have a bit of experience with both.
Network marketing income is based on selling products and growing your own team of distributors and making commissions on their sales. Affiliate marketing income is based on earning commissions off of affiliate products that you promote.
In this post, I’ll dive in a little deeper with how each works and what I feel is the more lucrative option. The name of this website is That Affiliate Life so you can guess which method I recommend. 🙂
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Table of Contents
How Network Marketing Works
Yesterday I watched a disturbing documentary about the LulaRoe network marketing company on YouTube. Some top-level distributors ended up leaving the company and losing a lot of money.
Not all network marketing companies operate in the manner that LulaRoe apparently did. Personally, I’m not a fan of the business model. I have been a part of a couple of network marketing companies.
I’m still an independent Beachbody distributor. However, I quit attempting to build a downline after about 6 months into the business and started selling the products using affiliate marketing strategies.
That worked out a lot better for me. I’ve done a few reviews of network marketing companies such as Hempworx and Arbonne. What I’ve learned is that most independent distributors do not make a significant amount of money.
You can read the income disclosure for any network marketing company by doing a Google search. You will likely discover that less than 1% of distributors are making six-figures per year.
That seems to be the norm for most. Some network marketers do achieve success with the business model. They are often the individuals that serve as examples of what can be accomplished.
When I used to participate in the Beachbody calls, the successful upline sponsors were often the ones leading the calls and encouraging us that we could do it too.
Network Marketing Struggles
What most people struggle with is attempting to build their downline. A downline is the team of independent distributors that you build yourself.
The key is to grow your downline as large as you can because you can make commissions from the sales that your downline generates.
Build a large enough downline and you earn enough from commissions that you do not have to work as hard selling products yourself.
The problem is that a majority of people are aware of the network marketing model because they’ve been pitched by someone in the past.
Another issue is that it is difficult to close cold leads, meaning people that have no interest in starting a side hustle to begin with.
Some network marketers use attraction marketing to generate consistent leads. MLSP (My Lead System Pro) is a service that has been teaching network marketers how to do that since 2008.
I think that using the internet is a smart way to build a network marketing business. By doing so, you are not chasing after uninterested people. Rather, interested people come to you.
Get Your Hustle On
Even if you get the attraction marketing thing down and working for you, it is still a matter of being able to close your leads.
That requires being well-versed in the business opportunity and being prepared to handle any and all objections. Take for example the following objections video from a successful network marketer:
Not all network marketers have to do a lot of hard selling to build their downline. For example, I’ve come across successful Beachbody coaches that use themselves as examples of how well the products work.
They lose weight and show themselves on social media using Beachbody workout videos, taking the supplements, etc. Naturally, some people will want to replicate their success so building a downline is easier.
I do think that if you like the network marketing business model and are willing to put in the hard work of building a downline, you can make a decent amount of money.
However, keeping your downline is difficult as well. Many distributors under you may not have the same work ethic as you do and will quit after they are not making a return on their investment with the company.
Therefore, it will be a matter of keeping an ongoing flow of new leads coming to make up for the ones exiting your downline.
The Upside of Network Marketing
Network marketing for sure gets a bad rap and no, it is not my favorite business model by any means. However, there are perks when you get your business established.
Most network marketing companies offer bonuses and incentives. Some will pay bonuses on overall team volume each month. Others may even pay the lease on your dream car once you hit a certain rank.
Then there are the big conferences that are held each year by these companies. You get to network with other distributors and if you’ve made up the ranks, you may even be recognized on stage during the event.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Affiliate marketing is much different than network marketing. I believe that it is easier and more lucrative. For one thing, it is extremely low-cost to get started.
All that you need is a domain name, web hosting, and WordPress to create your own niche website. WordPress is free and you can get a domain name and web hosting for under $100 per year.
Affiliate marketing is the promotion of another company’s products and/or services in exchange for a commission when a sale is made.
Like network marketing, you do not need your own product to make money. Unlike network marketing, you do not need to build a downline to increase your income.
In fact, here are some of my favorite benefits of affiliate marketing:
- There are millions of products with affiliate programs
- Affiliate programs are free to join
- You can work from anywhere with a WiFi connection
- Low-cost to get started
- Unlimited earning potential
- Choose any niche and any number of products to promote
- Never any recruiting
- No customer service
- Lifestyle freedom
- Work alone or outsource the work
Here is a diagram of how affiliate marketing works:
How I Make Consistent Affiliate Commissions
I make consistent affiliate commissions each month from the niche websites that I’ve created. A niche website is a website that focuses on one topic.
For example, if you have a passion for personal development, you could create a website in which you share your thoughts on personal development topics.
You could then apply for various affiliate programs in the niche such as Tony Robbins’ affiliate program.
When visitors to your website click on your affiliate link and buy a product from Tony’s website, you make a commission.
The key is to create helpful content for your readers on a regular basis. When I got started with my first niche website, I had no clue what I was doing.
I made it a point to find a legitimate affiliate marketing training program. I found this one, followed the training, and it has helped me make progress faster than if I had tried to figure it all out on my own.
The Affiliate Marketing Struggle
No, affiliate marketing is not all rainbows and sunshine. Many people do not earn a dime in this industry.
The work involved with affiliate marketing is easier than network marketing in the sense that you do not need to recruit others and build a downline.
However, it does require relying on SEO (search engine optimization) which means it will take time before your niche website will get traffic.
Your website will be deserted in the first three months. If you are posting new content often, you’ll begin to get some traffic by the sixth-month mark.
The good news is that once your website starts getting traffic, it can make money. The time that it takes is no different than the time it takes to grow any business.
Most people give up during the desert-phase of building their websites. They become impatient and think that affiliate marketing is a scam and doesn’t work.
I can tell you that if you stick with it, you can make money. You can make commissions while you sleep, are out grocery shopping, or relaxing with your family.
There are plenty of times that I wake up to commissions and it is an awesome feeling! That is why the choice between network marketing or affiliate marketing is an easy one for me.
Choosing Between Network Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
Now that you understand a bit more about what is involved with making money from both business models, which one would you choose – network marketing or affiliate marketing?
That is something you will need to decide on based on your own preferences. If you are comfortable with talking to people and like direct selling, network marketing may be a good fit.
If you prefer to have more options with what you can sell and prefer not to deal directly with people, affiliate marketing is a good option.
Niche websites are what I use to earn a consistent income online through affiliate marketing.
It is one of the best ways to earn affiliate commissions. I make commissions while I am sleeping, out grocery shopping, or relaxing with my loved ones.
Beginners may find it a bit challenging to get started. I did as well so I followed a step-by-step training program.
That training program made all of the difference for me and I use it today to help others one-on-one with creating and growing their own niche websites.