Affiliate marketing is better than MLM (or multi-level marketing).
I said it.
Now, I’m not here to throw MLM under the bus.
Of course not!
Because, whether I like it or not, there are some pretty successful people that do multi-level marketing.
And hey, maybe you’ll find that MLM is more your style…
If you’re a very friendly person who has a knack for recruiting others.
But for the majority of us, introverts (or even extroverts who don’t want to put in so much effort), affiliate marketing is the superior choice.
And I’ll show you why in this affiliate marketing vs MLM guide.
Affiliate Marketing vs MLM: What’s the Difference?
What even are those?
Let me give you a crash course.
What is Multi-Level Marketing?
Don’t get confused!
Multi-level marketing has many terms.
It can be shortened to MLM.
Some refer to it as network marketing.
Others even whisper it to be a pyramid scheme (YIKES!).
It’s legal, don’t worry.
I like to call it MLM (for no other reason than it’s the shortest).
Now, the MLM business model goes like this…
You purchase a product kit from a company…
You promote the product (usually directly)…
Someone comes along and buys the product from you…
Normally, you receive points for each sale…
You store enough points to get a commission.
That’s not all!
You earn more if you recruit someone to be a distributor (what did I say about being friendly and having a knack for recruiting?).
Since these recruits are under you, you’ll earn commission through their sales efforts, too.
And if your recruits recruit others, you’ll earn from them as well.
Can you see why some people call this a pyramid scheme?
But as I said, MLM isn’t illegal.
I mean, you’re earning commission from sales — and not just from recruiting people.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar to MLM…
But at the same time, totally different.
This time around…
You join a company’s affiliate program…
You’re given an affiliate link that leads to the company’s website or product…
You promote that link on your blog, social media, website, you name it…
Someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase…
You earn a commission.
Nice and simple.
Affiliate Marketing vs MLM: Which is Better?
I don’t know about you.
But from my crash course on MLM and affiliate marketing, you can already tell that affiliate marketing is better.
Am I just biased since I’ve been an affiliate marketer for 12 years?
If you’re not convinced, let me give you reasons why it’s better…
1. It Doesn’t Matter Who You Are, Affiliate Marketing Can Work for You
It doesn’t matter.
As long as you have an online platform and audience, you can be the most successful affiliate marketer out there (or at least earn six figures).
Take it from me.
I’m just an average guy from Indiana.
Yet check out my earnings so far for 2023:
I’m not boasting.
This is just to prove my point that anybody can be successful with affiliate marketing.
On the flip side, MLM requires you to be friendly, a great team leader, good at recruiting, an excellent communicator, well-dressed…
MLM only works for a very specific personality type, while affiliate marketing accepts anyone and everyone.
2. You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune (or Anything At All) to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
Let’s go back to what I’ve said about MLM and affiliate marketing.
“You purchase a product kit from a company.” – MLM
“You join a company’s affiliate program.” – Affiliate marketing
Can you spot the difference?
I bolded the keywords.
With MLM, you’ll have to buy a kit from the company. You might even have to pay some membership fees.
And let me tell you now, it’s not cheap.
Just see how much the Rodan + Fields startup kit is.
And if it is cheap, that’s a bit fishy (be careful about illegal or scam MLM companies).
On the other hand, you only need to JOIN affiliate programs.
Yes, most of these programs are totally FREE.
All you need to do is sign up and wait for confirmation.
(If you don’t get accepted, oh well! You didn’t lose anything except for a bit of time).
3. Each Sale Earns You Money with Affiliate Marketing
Say you’re a really good salesperson.
You can sell any product to anyone…
Whether it’s through MLM or affiliate marketing.
However, with MLM, it will take some time to get a return on investment.
I mean, that startup kit was pretty expensive.
Plus, many MLM companies require you to sell a number of products before you can earn a commission.
You’ll have to sell about 10 to 20 products before you can see some returns.
(That’s a big ask if you aren’t that good of a salesperson).
But with affiliate marketing, every sale will earn you a commission.
If you’re able to sell 10 to 20 products, that can already mean BIG earnings.
4. You Are Your Own Boss in Affiliate Marketing
There’s a popular saying…
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Let me rephrase that.
“If you advertise the product or service you love (or at least have interest in), you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Well, affiliate marketing allows you to pick out which affiliate programs to join.
(Maybe your favorite brand has a program).
You can choose what products or services you want to promote.
(If you’re enthusiastic about it, you’ll find it’s much easier to convince people to buy).
You can decide where to add your affiliate links.
(Any online platform will do — your blog, website, social media, YouTube, you name it).
You’re in control.
You’re the boss.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with MLM.
Those in the MLM business have to sell whatever is on the company’s product kit, whether they like it or not.
Also, they usually have to follow some strict guidelines — like how many products they have to sell within a certain timeframe.
And if that isn’t restrictive enough, you must go out and recruit others to your team.
5. You Get Rid of Unnecessary Stress with Affiliate Marketing
There’s too much stress in life already.
We don’t want to go out and give ourselves even more of it.
You might feel the same way — you might not…
…but having to sell several products within a timeframe is stressful.
Not to mention, selling directly and closing deals can be daunting and a bit awkward.
Oh, and in case you forget, you have to recruit as many people as possible.
You don’t need to worry and stress about any of that with affiliate marketing.
From my experience, the only thing I’d say is “stressful” is making sure to put out great content for my blog visitors.
As long as you have that affiliate link, you can add it in and ignore it.
If no one clicks on it, no problem.
If someone does and makes a purchase, AWESOME! You earned it through your efforts.
Affiliate Marketing vs MLM: Which One Should YOU Choose?
I don’t know if you can tell…
I prefer affiliate marketing to MLM. 😅
And it’s not just me.
Do a quick (or deep) search and you’ll see many others say the same thing.
Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pledges to protect people from MLM businesses that are scams or illegal. Meanwhile, they only require affiliate marketers to disclose affiliate links.
That says a lot about what the FTC thinks of both.
Now, I’m not here to make decisions for you.
If you want to try your hand at MLM, I’m not stopping you.
I did say there were some successful people who do MLM (and I personally know one of them).
But if you want the safer and easier path, then affiliate marketing is your best bet.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
I won’t lie.
Affiliate marketing isn’t a walk in the park.
It requires dedication.
If you need help getting started, I’ve created an affiliate marketing training course just for you.