Affiliate Marketing vs MLM

Affiliate Marketing Vs MLM

Affiliate Marketing Vs MLM: What Should You Choose?


People tend to group the two business models together thanks to the few similarities they share, but they’re actually quite different. New people may have the most trouble when it comes to setting the two apart.

That’s why I’ll explain you today the differences between the two. The idea is for you to have an idea as to which one of the two is the best choice for starting your business.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing has you promoting other people’s products and services and earning commissions from sales you generate for them. You can promote the offers however you want.

You can run your affiliate business via paid ads, YouTube videos, blogging, and pretty much anything you can use to attract an audience and place your affiliate links. You just have to focus on a niche so that you can attract people looking for that and sell them your offers with content (or ads).

You can affiliate to a lot of products and companies. You also have control over what you want to sell; you don’t have to settle with something, but you can choose the products that better fit your audience.

Starting is free since you don’t have to pay for any subscription. The only investments necessary occur if you want to get a specialized course or use paid ads. Although I highly recommend you do get a proper course which helps you not only save time but, money and headaches as well. I have an guide on the best affiliate marketing courses you can check out.


The main advantage is that you don’t have to overcommit to a single product. You can choose any affiliate program you want, so you can make sure your offerings are what your target customers need. You can also use that freedom for scaling quickly.

It’s also a more passive income stream. You need to prepare content or set your campaigns, but once you have enough content (or your ads start getting sales) you can sit back for a while and see your profits increase.

People are already interested in the niche your products are located in; they came for your content for a reason, so you just need to make sure you push them in the right direction.

You may have an easier time finding products with little marketers behind. That means you have the chance to face less competition and more sales as you’re taking a larger portion of the market.

While it may be hard to get your first few sales, you can always change your niche and product and keep trying until you find something that works for you.


This business model is fairly long-term. You need to dedicate a lot of time to optimizing your practices, researching, and studying yourself. It’s important to keep track of trends as well, and many beginners quit after the first few months, so you need discipline and dedication. You can find out more pros and cons for affiliate marketing here.

Finding programs

There are many great options available depending on what you want to offer. People looking to promote informational stuff will gravitate towards JVZoo, but those who wish to sell physical goods have Amazon’s own associates program.

If none of those interest you, you can literally type the product or niche you want to market on Google, add “affiliate program” after, and hit ENTER to find a list of affiliates programs within the market you want.


MLM is somewhat similar to affiliate marketing in that you’re generating an income by promoting someone else’s products. However, it differs in the “how” side of things-

You can sell products with MLM, but the main focus is always to get more people to sell the same products and signing into the program as your referrals. That way, you can also gain a commission from the products they sell, and if they refer someone else, you’ll earn commissions from those referrals as well.

This model tends to be seen as a scam or a pyramid scheme, but some have found success with it.


You can actually make quite some money with MLM as long as you’re a good salesman. This model works great for those who are good at convincing others, and if you can manage that, then you might have a nice future in front of you.


The biggest problem in MLM is actually getting others to sign in and sell as your referrals. Most will cringe at the mere suggestion of an MLM business, and you’ll have a really hard time finding someone willing.

In fact, many friends and family members may even outright avoid you entirely just so that they can avoid hearing the talk.

Finally, you have to buy both a membership and the products from the MLM company you’re working fore, and it can get pricey. Most people entering this model will end up losing money.

Finding programs

You want to look for established and reputable (mostly) companies like doTerra or Digital Attitude with MLM programs. The most popular MLM companies focus on health products: fitness supplements, naturistic medicine, and everything in-between.


If you want to run your own business, affiliate marketing is definitely the way to go. You have full control over how you want to market the products, you have more variety, and you can work with several programs as well, earning multiple sources of income.

MLM requires more and constant work, getting people to join you or even just selling. All that extra work (and investment) is also going to place you as just a salesman for the company giving you the products.

That, and your loved ones may grow annoyed at you from the whole MLM talks you’re supposed to give them.

If your brand new to affiliate marketing I highly suggest you start with a free way of affiliate marketing I share here.

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