The History of Multi-Level Marketing

It’s amazing how many people getting into MLM or network marketing don’t know the background to this successful business model. It’s good to know the history of MLM because one of the many objections you will hear from prospects is that “MLM is a scam”, or “MLM is just another name for a pyramid scheme.” By knowing a little about the background of this business you may be able to change a few people’s minds.

The MLM industry does have an interesting history and MLM companies are run in a way that is completely different from other business models. The industry started as far back as the 1800s with traveling salesman. In a time where transport was not available to everyone, these traveling salesmen would go door-to-door and offer goods that could not be purchased at the local store or were better quality. Back in those days there weren’t all that many stores either, especially in rural areas.

Did you know that Avon started back in 1886 and today earns $10 billion in revenue annually and has over 6 million representatives worldwide? Alfred Fuller started the Fuller Brush Company in 1906, the company’s reps went door-to-door selling mops, brushes and cleaning products and they are still in business today, nobody has stopped cleaning since then! Nutrilite was one of the first companies to sell nutritional supplements; even back in 1934 people knew to look after their health, yet another line of evergreen product that sold in 1934 and will still be selling in 2034.

Everyone has heard of Tupperware and after World War II the whole concept of home parties began with their products. A great social concept that brought women together and also earned the hostess commissions for her efforts. The Mary Kay Company started about 20 years after that but still had the same home party concept. It continues today with Mary Kay and companies such as Pampered Chef whose representatives have successful businesses and can be found doing cooking demonstrations in just about every major city and in their own homes.

We can go on and on about all the successful MLM companies that are. You can rest assured if there was anything fishy about a company that was started 100 years ago it wouldn’t be around today!

MLM is the only kind of business model that allows everyday people to earn an income by promoting a product and even more by recruiting other people to do the same. Affiliate marketing is the only business that comes close but that only involves selling one product to one person at a time.

All the companies above make healthy profits and some are not even regarded as MLM companies any more, they’ve become household names such as Herbalife, Amway and Mary Kay.

So if you encounter people who are leery of MLM you can educate them about this successful business model and also mention how much money some of these successful companies make annually. They make that money because they sell millions of high-quality products every year through teams of distributors. There’s always an opening for more people who would like to start their own businesses, work hard, have fun, meet many new people and better still – make a great income doing it.

Have you encountered people who just won’t talk to you when you say the words “multi-level marketing”? How do you get around the stigma that’s wrongly attached to MLM? Please leave a comment and let us know how you deal with that.


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2 Responses to The History of Multi-Level Marketing

  1. Otoabasi Umonting
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Gabriele,

    once again, another insightful post. I knew MLM has been around for a very long time, but I never knew it was that old (The 1800s? Golly!). I have to say, this has opened my mind to the possibilities that this industry has to offer in terms of business model, history and credibility. People will always talk bad about it, even when they are presented with the facts. I have learnt to move on when I come across such people, and what I always carry in my mind is that, when they see the results, they will come asking questions. Thanks for sharing, all the best.

    • Hi Otoabasi,

      When I started my research I was also very surprised to see how far back MLM history went.

      And you are right moving on when you come across people that think MLM is just a scam. Wait until you make lots of money and you see those people running back to you desperately wanting to be part of your downline.

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