Network marketing is perfect for everyone. However, not everyone is perfect for network marketing.

I believe network marketing is an amazing business, truly the last bastion left in the free enterprise system. It is an opportunity wherein someone without education, famous bloodlines, or a large investment can become wealthy. The benefits are extraordinary: unlimited income potential, tax breaks, travel opportunities, and the chance to help others while you are building your own success.

But still—it’s not for everyone. Why not? Because it takes a certain personality type to be successful. So while I would certainly urge anyone who desires a better lifestyle to consider network marketing as a career choice, before you commit to doing that, it’s a good idea to give yourself an honest evaluation.

Are You Willing to Think Like an Entrepreneur?

Most people equate security with a nine-to-five job. They see the rat race as a necessary evil in life. Network marketers suffer from no such delusions. They see a job as an insidious trap—one that gives you just enough income so you are afraid to forego it, yet not enough to achieve any financial independence or security.

They look at people clawing their way up the corporate structure with the detached wonder you would expect to see on the face of a ten-year-old child watching the activity in an ant farm. The child knows we need ants in this world, but he doesn’t want to be one.

Most people strive to maintain the appearance of having a good job, even if it’s one they despise, because that is what society expects of them. They look at “real” jobs and the status quo and accept them as necessary evils, because “that’s the way it is.”

Network marketers, on the other hand, dream of a career of limitless potential, personal development and growth, and then work until that dream becomes a reality. We look at the rat race and wonder why people would forego their human dignity in the pursuit of a steady paycheck.

Make no mistake: if you need someone checking over your shoulder, you can’t seem to motivate yourself, or you need the security of a Friday paycheck, then network marketing is not for you.

You will need an entrepreneurial mindset if you expect to last in this business. Not everyone has this. Imagine not getting a paycheck every Friday. No guarantees. Just a big bonus check, which is directly dependent on what you produce.

If that scares you, you may be better suited for a corporate job. If that excites you, then you are a good candidate for the business.


Are You Willing to Be Unshakably Confident?

As a rule, strong personality types do best. You must be self-motivated, able to work without supervision, and good at follow-up. And while you must be a strong personality, you also must be smart. Here’s why:

Network marketing is a business of duplication. A big part of the business is the ability to follow the successful patterns, strategies, and systems developed by your company and sponsorship line. It means less personal glory but more personal security, because your business is not so dependent on you.

Because of this, smart networkers adopt the systems and procedures that have been successfully demonstrated to work for their sponsorship line. This ultimately gives you better security: you can later back off from the business without a decrease in earnings.

If you are insecure, the business will be quite difficult for you. You must have the ability to keep your confidence and maintain your self-esteem in the face of peer pressure and challenges.

What we are doing is different. Many people are threatened by things they don’t understand. That will make some of the people you know suspicious, others will be skeptical, and yet others will be jealous. When you proudly announce to the world that you have joined a network marketing company in search of a better lifestyle, don’t be surprised if some of those people assault you with all the reasons you shouldn’t, they wouldn’t, and you couldn’t possibly succeed in such a venture.

These “well-intentioned” souls will then regale you with horror stories, one after another, of people who tried network marketing and failed, who bought a garage full of products in the dream of instant riches, or contracted an almost fatal case of hives from using some MLM skin-care product.

Are You Willing to Become Wealthy?

Strange though it may sound, many people are not willing to be wealthy. They have been raised with “lack” consciousness. They subconsciously believe they are not deserving of riches; they mistakenly believe there is something spiritual about being poor; or they have discovered that becoming wealthy involves a degree of work.

It’s highly likely that these kinds of people are all around you. Nothing is more threatening to these people than to think that someone they know is becoming successful. They will do anything in their power to dissuade you, and in some cases actually sabotage you. If you want to make it in the business, you must believe in it strongly and not need the validation of others.

My career took a dramatic upswing when I learned a valuable lesson: I stopped taking financial advice from broke people!

When I started the business, I was penniless and struggling. Unfortunately, most of the people I knew were also penniless and struggling. They all tried to talk me out of the business and convince me it couldn’t work.

I came to realize that these people didn’t know anything about business success. Even though they were well meaning, they were giving me advice in an area in which they were not qualified to give advice.

I learned to go to people who had already done the business successfully. When you understand and act on this, you dramatically increase your chances for success.


Are You Willing to Maintain Rock-Solid Integrity?

Another mandatory requirement for long-term success is conducting your business with integrity.

Although there are some examples of people bringing down big-dollar incomes practically instantly by filling someone’s garage full of water filters (or diet cookies, or whatever), those incomes don’t last. It’s only a question of time before these people run out of prospects to front-load and must find a new program to work where they can start the process all over again. In the long term, these kinds of practices will ultimately destroy your business.

When you sponsor someone in this business, you are in essence his or her partner and mentor for life. Even after your people learn the skills you teach them and become high-level executives themselves, they will always look to you as a compass for the moral fiber, accountability and work habits of the organization. Much more than traditional business, network marketing revolves around the trust between the sponsor and his or her distributors.

This is the strongest recruiting asset you possess. Millions of people are fed up with the dysfunctional relationships, gossip, office politics and lack of accountability in the corporate world. The honesty, accountability and sense of community in network marketing will attract them even more than the money, cars and trips.

If you ever lie to your distributor—even if you earnestly and sincerely think you’re doing so “for his own good”—you will destroy the bond that is the foundation of the business. You will also eliminate one of the most powerful enticements that attracts people into the business. Distributors who have built lasting success have learned that their word must be their bond, and integrity is sacred.


Are You Willing to Learn to Teach?

Another important prerequisite for network marketing success is good teaching skills.

Perhaps ten percent of people are sales types. These folks like to sell, they’re good at it, and they don’t fear rejection.

And the other ninety-plus percent of the population? On their list of “favorite things to do,” they rank selling right up there with jumping into a pit of rattlesnakes. The mere thought of rejection sends them scurrying for the cover of their comfort zone. If you make cold calling, knocking on doors, and approaching strangers on street corners part of your recruiting strategy, guess what? You will instantly scare away ninety percent of your prospects—because they cannot see themselves doing those things.

In fact, it’s not one person in ten, but more like one in a thousand who will be successful with those types of approaches. Worse yet, because these techniques are so difficult to duplicate, people will have to keep sponsoring massive numbers of new distributors on a monthly basis just to keep their income steady. All the rah-rah hype they can muster will not change this. They have no residual income security and will have to rally and rebuild lines every few months.

By contrast, successful network marketers concentrate on simple, duplicatable actions that they can teach to anyone. Their number one priority is making sure that their organization knows everything they do. The people they bring into the business can readily repeat the same actions, so the organization grows faster.

You will find that schoolteachers, professors, karate instructors, piano teachers, and anyone with good teaching skills will usually excel at network marketing. So if you enjoy teaching and are good at it, you’re very likely to be successful in network marketing.


Are You Willing to Change?

There is one more thing you have to do to be successful, and it may be the most important trait of all (which is why I’ve saved it for last): you must be willing to commit to daily self-development time.

It’s critically important that you set aside this time each day for quiet reflection and self-development. You need a learning library of books, videos, and CDs to stay motivated against negative programming, learn new techniques, and keep your focus.

The early morning or last thing at night is usually the best time for this. The kids are asleep, there are fewer distractions, and you can concentrate on you.

When I first became involved in this business, I thought that success would come from changing others. I soon learned that real success comes from changing yourself. The actions you take and the examples you set create a ripple effect: they not only affect you, they also have a powerful, positive impact on everything and everyone around you. Your network will grow only as fast as you do. When you are growing each day, so is your business.

The business of network marketing is quite different from that of the corporate world. It takes a certain entrepreneurial zeal and a self-motivated mindset. You must have strong self-esteem and conduct your business with absolute integrity. And you must be willing to submerge your ego where necessary and utilize the systems that have been developed by the sponsorship line above you.

If the previous paragraph describes you—or how you’d like to be—then you are a great candidate for this business. You have what it takes to be successful in the business.


RANDY GAGE is author of the nuts-n-bolts network marketing
How to Build a Multilevel Money Machine, and is one of
network marketing’s best-known speakers and trainers. His
Escape the Rat Race audiotape has introduced the profession to millions of prospects all over the world. He was the NT Interview subject of our January 2004 issue.