Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Network Marketing


Network marketing is a business model where independent contractors buy into a company and earn a commission on the products they sell. The profession appeals to many people because they can be their own boss, set their own hours, and work towards their own success. It is a direct selling method and the profits are passed up the chain of promoters.


The phonetics of the keyword “Network Marketing” is: /ˈnɛtˌwɜrk ˈmɑrkɪtɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

Three Main Takeaways About Network Marketing

  1. Direct Selling: One of the primary aspects of network marketing involves direct selling to customers. Instead of relying on traditional retail outlets or online marketplaces, network marketers reach out to potential customers directly, often leveraging their personal networks for sales opportunities.
  2. Building a Network: Another key feature of network marketing is the importance of building a network. Network marketers not only sell products directly to customers, but also recruit and train new members to their sales team, often referred to as their “downline.” The size and effectiveness of a marketer’s network can significantly affect their income potential.
  3. Residual Income Opportunities: Network marketing provides an opportunity to earn residual income. This means that marketers not only earn from their own direct sales but also get a percentage of the sales made by their network or downline. This aspect of network marketing can allow marketers to leverage the time and effort of others to earn income.


Network Marketing, also known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), is important in the business and finance sector as it provides a unique method of selling products or services directly to consumers, bypassing traditional retail channels. This method allows companies to expand their reach without the need for a physical storefront or large advertising budgets. It encourages entrepreneurship among its distributors (often referred to as agents or representatives) by providing them opportunities to establish their own businesses with relatively low upfront costs. In addition, business growth is encouraged through the recruitment of new distributors, creating a downstream network from which commission is earned, significantly contributing to overall revenue. Therefore, network marketing can aid in the creation of a robust distribution network, potentially leading to substantial business growth and profit maximization.


Network Marketing, often also called Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), is a marketing strategy adopted by various companies to sustain, expand, and build a strong consumer base while selling their products or services. The purpose of Network Marketing lies in its decentralized nature where companies utilize and reward individual salespeople – also referred to as distributors, independent business owners (IBOs), franchise owners, consultants – for both selling products and recruiting others to do the same.The power of Network Marketing is evident in its potential to create a cascading effect. When a participant enrolls in this program, they make money by selling the company’s product directly to customers and also indirectly when the people they’ve recruited sell those products. This kind of viral marketing strategy creates a downline of distributors – a “network” of people who are also selling the same product or service. Over time, with an increasing downline structure, participants can earn significant income, which can be a major incentive for them, while also increasing product sales for the company.


1. Avon: Avon was one of the earliest companies to use network marketing. They started in 1886 selling women’s products door-to-door. Today, their system relies on representatives, known as ‘Avon Ladies’ , who sell products directly to friends, family, and other contacts, usually via parties and events, and who recruit others to do the same.2. Herbalife: Founded in 1980, Herbalife is a global nutrition and weight management company that operates through a network marketing structure. Distributors buy Herbalife products at a discount, sell them at a markup, and recruit other distributors for a commission. 3. Amway: Amway is one of the most successful network marketing companies in the world. Founded in 1959, Amway distributors (known as Independent Business Owners) sell a vast array of items including home care products, beauty products, and nutritional supplements. These distributors are able to earn a portion of the revenue from every sale they make and from the sales any distributors they recruit make.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is network marketing?

Network marketing is a business model that depends on person-to-person sales by independent representatives, often working from home. It is also known as multi-level marketing, pyramid selling, and referral marketing.

How does network marketing work?

In network marketing, individual associates, referred to as distributors, sell products or services directly to consumers. They are also encouraged to recruit others to become distributors as well. They earn money through direct sales as well as through commissions or bonuses from sales made by their network or downline.

Is network marketing a legitimate business model?

Yes, network marketing can be a legitimate business model. Many reputable companies use this strategy. However, it is important to do your due diligence to avoid any scams that might present themselves as network marketing opportunities.

What are some examples of network marketing companies?

Examples of network marketing companies include Amway, Herbalife, Avon, Mary Kay, and Tupperware.

Can you make money in network marketing?

Yes, it’s possible to make money in network marketing. However, it requires a significant amount of effort, time, and resources, especially at the beginning. The majority of network marketers make modest income while a smaller fraction earn substantial income, often those at the upper levels of a network.

How can I succeed in network marketing?

Success in network marketing requires hard work, patience, persistence, and networking skills. It’s also important to choose a reputable company and a product you believe in. Training and self-improvement, as well as mentoring and supporting your downline, can also contribute to success.

Is network marketing the same as a pyramid scheme?

No, network marketing is not the same as a pyramid scheme. Network marketing involves the sale of actual products or services. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, rely solely on recruiting more people into the scheme and generally have no product or service or a very weak one. Pyramid schemes are illegal in most countries.

How do I start with network marketing?

Starting with network marketing involves finding a reputable company with a product or service that you’re passionate about. You’ll sign up as a distributor, often for a small fee, and start marketing the product. Training courses and mentorship can also be extremely beneficial when starting out.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of network marketing?

Advantages of network marketing can include flexibility, lower initial investment compared to traditional business models, and the opportunity to earn extra income. Disadvantages can include a lower success rate, the time and effort required to build a successful network, and possible stigmatization due to misconceptions about the model.

Related Finance Terms

  • Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
  • Direct Selling
  • Downline
  • Upline
  • Compensation Plan

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More