He claimed that "MLM has produced more millionaires than any other industry".
I asked him does he have any proof, and he never got back to me.
Time to call in the MLM Mythbusters! Is the claim "MLM has produced more millionaires than any other industry" true or false?
The story is quite fascinating, as it demonstrates some of the worst aspects of MLM... blind repetition of claims with no verification.
First, there is NO PROOF of this claim in ANY popular fact-checking sources, or any reputable news source.
The sole source that can be verified was that it was ALLEGEDLY stated by "Les Brown", pretty famous motivational speaker. It was cited by multiple MLM fan sources, but nobody can give a specific date, time, or speech that he allegedly said that, nor was his source of that claim given.
UPDATE: MLM Consultant Len Clements (whose website is InsideNM.com) identified the source of the myth as Beverly Nadler, a popular MLM author in the 1980's and 1990's, who since has backed away from her own claims. MLM Skeptic have previously identified Nadler as the source of "Harvard Teaches MLM" myth. Please see comments at the end.
A secondary source is Paul Zane Pilzer, an economist who likes to play entrepreneur and encourage the wellness industry, which jibes with a lot of MLM pushing "nutritional supplements". Pilzer claimed that the wellness industry, and network marketing will be the two largest growth markets in the US in the coming decades. However, he didn't say it already produced millionaires.
THERE IS NO PROOF that MLM / Network Marketing has produced the most millionaires in modern times (say, since MLM got started with Amway in late 1970's) other than ONE man's word, with no evidence and no source.
But it's repeated by all the MLM fan sites, with NO fact-checking.
So which industry did produce the millionaires, if not network marketing?
According to a study conducted by Fidelity Investments (I know, bias!) in 2012...
Of those who are self-made millionaires, the study revealed their top sources of assets included investments/capital appreciation, compensation and employee stock options/profit-sharing. Those who were born wealthy were more likely to cite inheritance, entrepreneurship and real estate investment appreciation as an asset source. -- Business News DailyNo mention of network marketing there. When you think about it, this makes sense. Most people who got rich are from stock splits when a tech giant goes IPO.
Can we extrapolate from billionaires? According to Forbes, here's a breakdown of the billionaires in the US:
No network marketing here either! Unless you insist Forbes classified the companies wrong.
According to a UK study, engineering degree is what produces the most millionaires, followed closely by MBA and finance degrees
The consensus among the three is "tech". THAT industry is what will produce the most millionaires (and billionaires) in the past few decades AND the coming decades.
Where does that leave you? A load of bull****.
Now for the fun part... WHERE did this lie come from? Turns out this is merely a mutated version of an old Amway lie.
On Amquix website, they explained that this was originally stated as "Amway Produces More Millionaires than any other types of business".
Best guesstimates is Amway may have produced a few thousand millionaires (it's probably closer to 1000)
Given that there are THREE AND A HALF MILLION millionaires in the US, according to the authors of "Millionaire Next Door"...
Amway's nowhere near the top. it'd be near the bottom of the list. And even if you expand that to the entire MLM industry it STILL can't be true, unless you play games and try to count separate types of medical career as separate while counting network marketing as one glob.
P.S. Allegedly the DSA ex-president Neil Offen once said "...But don't believe anyone telling you that most new millionaires are coming out of network marketing. That's an absurdity" This quote cannot be verified.
P.P.S. Richard Bliss Brooke, one of the MLM pioneers yet far more realistic than most rah-rah cheerleaders, posted this on this website:
For those who don't get it, here's definition of malarkey from Google:
In other words, Richard Bliss Brooke, like Len Clements, real veterans in the field, know this is bull****. And they want the rookies and the unscrupulous operators to stop spreading that bull**** around. It makes the industry look bad.