Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA [The Dark Side of doTERRA]

Did you just get a message from an old neighbor about a lucrative Essential oils business? Did they tell you this will change your life so that you can leave your boring 8-5 job?

Chances are you just fell under the radar of someone promoting an MLM. So it’s a good thing that you are making an effort to research more about this business to avoid getting sucked in to their promises.

That’s the best way to avoid scams and find the legitimate way to make money online.

In this post, we’ll be talking about doTERRA, a business operating as a Multi-level Marketing that belongs in the Health and Wellness industry.

I have spent hours of research on doTERRA, their products, and business model to find out: Can you make money selling doTERRA?

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA header image

doTERRA Review Summary

Product Name: doTERRA

Founder: David Stirling

Price: $35 plus Pak to get started (price varies) and 100PV monthly

Rating: 32/100

Best For: those who are highly skilled in sales and has a wide network of people

Recommended: Not Recommended

What is doTERRA  About: Health and Wellness Multi-level Marketing Business

Summary: Focused on essential oils, doTERRA is a Health and Wellness Multi-level Marketing Business. They are directly competing with Young Living.

What is doTERRA About?

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA logo

doTERRAis a multi-level marketing company based in Pleasant Grove, Utah that sells essential oils and other related products. doTERRA was founded by David Stirling in 2008 by former Young Living executives.

doTERRA claims to provide the purest, highest quality essential oils and products. Currently selling in 18 international markets and growing, according to their page, doTERRA sources, tests, manufactures and distributes essential oils and related products to over five million doTERRA Wellness Advocates and customers. 

They are a direct competitor with Young Living founded in 1993. 

Is doTERRA a Pyramid Scheme?

Technically, because doTERRA claims that they are more into selling their product rather than recruit, they cannot be labeled a Pyramid Scheme.

It is a legit and established company that has been around since 2008.

What is a Pyramid Scheme

Pyramid schemes are not only illegal but are a waste of your precious money and time.

Since pyramid schemes rely on recruitment of new members to bring in money, the schemes often collapse when the pool of potential recruits diminishes.

According to the Department of attorney in Michigan here are the things to remember to avoid pyramid schemes:

  • If the opportunity for income is mainly derived by recruiting more participants or salespersons rather than by selling a product, the business probably is illegal.  Various courts interpret greater pressure on members to sponsor new recruits than to market company merchandise as a clear evidence of an illegal pyramid scheme.
  • Be wary of businesses where you don’t financially grow through your own sales of products but will only make significant money through the following:
    • continued growth of your “downline” 
    • the commissions on sales made by new consultants/distributors you recruit
  • Be careful about exaggerated income claims.  Many schemes brag about the incredibly high earnings of a few top performers (6 figure income, thousands of dollars weekly income).  The reality is that most of the people recruited into the organization are not making anywhere near those amounts and most are actually losing more money than what they are earning.
  • Beware of “testimonies” of success from other distributors since these “success” stories usually lie.
  • Be skeptical about participating in any program that will ask you to purchase expensive inventory.  There are actually a lot of people out there with a basement or garage full of merchandise that no one will buy.
  • Be keen to study if the product or service offered by the company is something you would buy without the income opportunity and the product or service is competitively priced.  Illegal pyramid schemes usually sell products at very high prices well above retail.
  • Beware when the products or services are simply vehicles for recruitment.  The products may be gimmicks and overpriced, a lot of high-quality products can even be used as a cover for recruitment activities.
Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA pyramid sheme image

Sometimes, when you ask a business in question that is suspect as a pyramid scam, they try to compare it to corporations where there is one person at the top who makes the most money.  Well yeah. But these corporations do not really go to great lengths to recruit an unlimited number of employees right? Nor do they pay employees based on recruiting new employees.

Nice try!

Success is Rare With doTERRA 

According to an income disclosure, you can find on doTERRA’s website only an average annual income of $380 is received by Consultant level distributors.

But if you are talented enough to actually build a team to become a sales leader, you might like to take a look at this.

can you make money selling doTERRA builders

But still, Builders make up approximately 23% of all active Wellness Advocates. Those who reach the Manager and Director ranks represented 36% and 26% of Builders, and averaged $708 and $1,156 as a yearly part-time income. 

Executive rank Wellness Advocates are 13% of Builders, and earned an average of $1,699 within the year. At the mid-level ranks of Elite and Premier (20% and 5% of Builders), average annual part-time earnings for these ranks range from $4,281 to $10,507 annually.

I’m really a bit skeptical with them saying that these people are working “part-time” only. But building a sales team sounds like something that needs a full-time commitment.

Take note that the average income of a person in a 40-hours workweek in the United States is about $31,000.

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How Does doTERRA Work?

doTERRA is an MLM that claims that you can earn by selling their products directly but places a lot of weight on recruitment. This is through promises of a bigger income through creating sales teams.

dōTERRA claims that a vast majority of their members focus on the use of doTERRA’s products to benefit their family and friends. They also say that Wellness Advocates enjoy a very high percentage (80%) of customers that they sell their products to.

For me though, this percentage actually includes the people they invited to be sellers as well, Of course, they look like customers since you have to actually be one to qualify for commissions. 

What are the doTERRA Products?

According to doTERRA, essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in

  • Seeds
  • Bark
  • Stems
  • Roots
  • Flowers 

It can also be found in other parts of plants as well.

doTERRA also claims that essential oils elicit powerful emotional responses, and mentions how they have been used throughout history in many cultures for their health-promoting properties. They say that many essential oils have powerful cleansing properties which their unique chemical structure allows them to deliver targeted benefits through topical application. Even some of the oils may be used as dietary aids to promote vitality and well-being

Here are a general list of the products offered by doTERRA.

Essential Oils

  • Single Oils
  • Proprietary Blends
  • On Guard® Products

(For best Essential Oil, check out Young Living)

Other Products

  • Body Care
  • Hair Care
  • Veráge® Skin Care
  • Kits & Collections
  • Diffusers
  • Literature
  • Accessories

Reviews: doTERRA essential oils [Are doTERRA Products Worth the Money?]

doTERRA claimed that their products are rated CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade). What does this mean? They even use this as a sort of proof to show customers that their essential oils are not just pure but they actually have therapeutic effects on our body.

The truth is,  being “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” doesn’t mean a thing!

Essential oils are actually not accredited or backed by any authorities or associations. In fact, doTERRA has received a warning letter from the FDA when some Wellness Advocates posted on social media that their essential oils are a cure to Ebola.

I don’t care what your belief is or whether you’re an anti-vaxxer but claiming to cure serious illness is a grave issue.

I’m not saying that their essential oils don’t smell great, but I think telling someone to drop therapy, or stop going to the doctor is reaching too far.

One qualified naturopath wrote about being disturbed about doTERRA oils making people ingest oils. She even went as far as saying that this is a business strategy to make people buy more since 2-3 drops in your diffuser isn’t making them money as fast as if you put them in your food too.

Can You Really Make Money Selling doTERRA ?

To start with the doTERRA business, you must become a Wellness Advocate to qualify for commissions. Here are the main differences between a Wholesale Customer and a Wellness Advocate.

BenefitsWellness AdvocateWholesale Customer
25% Discount on Products
Earns Loyalty Rewards Program Points
Earns Shipping Rewards Points
Can Qualify for Free Product of the Month

If you look at their income disclosure, doTERRA claims that many Wellness Advocates join to enjoy Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® oils at wholesale pricing, and do not earn commissions.

Really, this is a very common excuse I hear from people in MLM. But you and I know that this is far from true. doTERRA entry rank represented 62% of all U.S. 

Only an average annual income of $380 is received by Consultant level distributors.

can you make money selling doTERRA entry level

How to Make Money with doTERRA?

If you are still interested with joining the doTERRA venture, here are 2 main ways for you to make money with doTERRA:

  • Retail. Sell doTERRA products and earn retail commissions
  • Recruit. Invite people to join doTERRA and organize your own downline teams to earn various bonuses

But not so fast, because in order for you to get started with the doTERRA business and become a Wellness Advocate, you have to first pay a $35 registration fee and maintain at least 100PV monthly.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there, doTERRA requires its distributors to spend at least $100 per month on the company’s product in order to qualify for sales commissions. This is always the catch with joining an MLM. 

Realtalk: you are actually more of a customer than a business partner.

How Much Does It Cost to Join doTERRA ?

To become a Wellness Advocate, you need to pay a registration fee of $35 and are required to spend at least $100 monthly on the company’s product to be able to qualify for sales commissions.

doTERRA Compensation Plan

So how do you get paid? Let’s find out how to make money in doTERRA.

Remember, to get all these bonuses, you must first be a qualifying Wellness Advocate.

You can watch this video as one of their Presidential Diamond explains.

There are 4 main ways for you to get paid with doTERRA’s compensation plan:

  • Retail Bonus 
  • Fast Start Bonus 
  • Power of Three Bonus
  • Unilevel Bonus

For the Retail Bonus, you get to earn 25% commission from all the retail sales you make. Next up is the Fast Start Bonus. With the Fast Start Bonus, new distributors can earn higher percentage commissions from their first 3 levels of downlines within the first 60 days.

The commissions are as follows:

  • Level 1: 20%
  • Level 2: 10%
  • Level 3: 5%

The Power of Three Bonus (this reminds me of the Charmed sisters Piper, Prue, and Phoebe) are additional cash bonuses when you and your downlines are able to recruit 3 downlines and meet the requirements.

The cash bonus include:

  • $50
  • $250
  • $1,500
Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA compensation plan part 1

Lastly, the Unilevel Bonus is where you get to earn a percentage of your downlines’ recruit down up to 7 levels. This is perhaps the biggest difference doTERRA has with other companies where you get higher the percentage of your unilevel commission even going few levels deep.

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA unilevel

The doTERRA Scam [Is doTERRA a Scam?]

So, is doTERRA a scam or is it a legit business opportunity for you? 

Well, to be completely fair. I am not a doTERRA customer nor am I one of their Wellness Advocates. Furthermore, I do not endorse the doTERRA business or doTERRA products in any way.

I have spent a good amount of time researching the website, reading testimonials, and studying information on the Internet to get to the bottom of what doTERRA really does. This is because programs just like this have tricked me in the past, and I want to keep others from going down the same path I did. If you’d like to learn “How to Detect an Online Marketing Scam” then click the highlighted text.

The Dark Side of doTERRA

doTERRA Loyalty Rewards Trap

The doTERRA website mentioned the benefits of being a Wholesale Customer includes. When you become a Wholesale Customer, you get a product discount of 25% off retail prices. You also qualify for Loyalty Reward Points. For the Loyalty Reward Points, you should receive 10–30% of orders back in points redeemable for free product.

You will also have the option to receive the cost of your shipping back in points redeemable for free product and receive a free product when you place a monthly order over 125 PV.

Finally, after becoming a Member, the yearly renewal fee for a wholesale membership is $25.00. This renewal fee comes with a free bottle of Peppermint that has a retail value of $27.33. 

Now, unfortunately, these promises seem to be meant to be broken when doTERRA seems to have an unlimited amount of excuses and “hidden” costs.

Here are some complaints I found on this issue on the BBB website:

“when I was introduced to doTERRA I found I really loved the products. In order to pay for the products I began to sell them. I quickly saw that the people around me that I was encouraged to sell the products to at exorbitant prices; prices that they could not afford and eat and pay rent also I decided to help others and help me too. The amount of time that was devoted to this was ridiculous. I am a wife and a mother of two young children. I sold the products at wholesale and the 30% PV would be my profit; to put back into the business I was building and then make a tiny percent of profit. I and people I care about in my community were getting great products at a better price. That’s when it went wrong. doTERRA decided to close my account that had over 1000 points in it for me to have new products. The timing of this is a little bit suspect, right? They got their profit and then they won’t give me back what they promised they would. I was accused of violating their “compliance” policy which I had NEVER heard of. When they talked to my husband they said that we were selling online instead of in person and that that was against the compliance policy. I quickly did research by doing some searches on the platforms mentions: Amazon and eBay. Both platforms have so many doTerra products you can not even really count them. So me being accused of this is really laughable. I am sure that many of their diamond level people are selling on these platforms…..maybe even doTerra themselves are selling on these platforms because Amazon is very strict about allowing just any seller to sell certain products and I am sure a product like doTerra is one of those. All I really want is my points so that I can enjoy the products that I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars on of my own money on. Then I am done with doTerra. Any product that tells you how you can sell it is not a product that I want to be involved with. I have NEVER claimed anything other than the information provided to me on the doTerra website. Some people that I have met though in doTerra have made crazy health claims. If I need product I guess I will go to Amazon or eBay myself because doTerra for all helping other communities are not helping the country that they are in. I have visited numerous blogs to see what people were complaining about with doTerra. I know now through my experience that doTerra is a MLM. Otherwise, why would there be a problem when I buy thousands of dollars in product but don’t sign someone up. Again, I have made NO money on selling this product but I have spend hundreds of hours selling it. The things I have learned I will use to build up another company that doesn’t have such sketchy business practices. As I said all I want is the ability to use the points promised to me but this company”.

Source: BBB complaint 05/18/2019

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA complaint

Here is another one from a poor student looking forward to claiming her rewards. Poor kid.

“Hello, I signed up with Doterra a couple years ago. I had saved almost 80 dollars worth of credits with them. I was in school and my father had health problems so I was preoccupied with using them. When I signed up with Doterra at the time, no one said I had a certain amount of time to use the credits or else I would lose them. Well, I called them and asked them to give me my credits back. They had gone away. They said they would give half back, so I got about 50 credits back. Well, months ago I went to go use them and I was charged a membership fee, and on top of that a credit usage fee. That brought my total to 20 dollars worth of credits and I couldn’t use it on what I wanted to get. I had already put money into this company and was saving money to get some things that I really wanted. I am a full time student so I knew when money was tough I would use my credits. Well, I am beyond upset that I have all these fees that make it not even worth it. I had put my money into this and now not even getting the full amount is ridiculous. Especially when I never even knew they would expire. I have put a lot of money into this company, and to have credits taken from me, when I didn’t even know about is absurd on top of now all the fees that I have to deal with now just to use them. This is scam, when they are not telling people that sign up about this, and then add all the fees to it. I had already saved my credits for this. This is money I had already put into it, and I see no reason why I am charged a new yearly renewal fee when I just want to use what I already put into it”.

Source: BBB complaint 05/08/2019

These people seem to have been seriously short-changed by doTERRA. Even if you say doTERRA is protected by something in a fine print, there is still an apparent intention to mislead and escape paying these people for their “loyalty.”

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA disappointed gif

So is there such a thing as the doTERRA scam? You really can’t call them a scam, but I would say they don’t really have a good record with rewarding even their most loyal customers from what I can find.

doTERRA False claims

doTERRA is one of the three Utah multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) that received warning letters by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding social media posts.

The posts claimed to be the cure for coronavirus or is a substantial way to prevent it.

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA meme

Here’s a conversation I found on Reddit where a Wellness Advocate “claimed” to also be suicidal to sell doTERRA oils to someone struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts.

Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA facebook convo

I know the other person was quite rude, but hey, they’re struggling, and the “you shouldn’t have held on with that attitude” — did she just tell the person to kill herself? Geez.

Not only that but they seem to be suggesting “substantial income” if you become part of the company. This seems to and prey on unfortunate people who lost their jobs or significant loss of incomes. It is considered unlawful to offer misleading or false business opportunities, the FTC wrote. The following is one example of false earning claims made by Modere cited the FTC in the letter

doTERRA vs Young Living

In terms of a doTERRA vs Young Living comparison of the product quality, after extensive research I covered this in great detail in my Young Living review. The key differences are around DoTERRA’s use of  solvent extraction and this bombshell “Only 1–5 percent of the solvent will remain in the final product.” It is great that doTERRA are honest.  So up front they are using solvent/hexane extraction so there are petrochemicals in the final products.  Many companies do this because it produces around 2 to 3 times the amount of oil from the plant.

Young Living is different, I covered it extensively in the review post. In summary, with their strict Seed to Seal® process, Young Living is the ONLY company in the world who has taken purity one step further by having their own farms, doing their own harvesting, cultivating, distilling, testing and bottling of their products as well. So by controlling the whole process, they really are the essential oil purists and set the standard for the industry. 

So if you are looking at DoTERRA essential oils vs Young Living for the health of you family, you may want to consider all these issues.

There’s some pretty bad history and politics between the two companies that I don’t want to get into. Here’s just one example of that.

In an Official Statement from Young Living “doTERRA Breach of Nonsolicitation Agreement”, they say that their members who were solicited by doTERRA representatives were not allowed to testify and tell their side of the story. According to them, the court allowed only the testimony of former Young Living members who became doTERRA Wellness Advocates (distributors) to be heard by the jury. For them, this is the reason why the jury was unable to hear the entire truth, as well as the testimonies of Young Living distributors who refused to leave Young Living despite those solicitations. 

However, doTERRA won the lawsuit when the judge said it was done in “bad faith.” Hmm.

Pros and Cons of doTERRA 

doTERRA Pros

  • Anchored on a growing market
  • Established business

doTERRA Cons

  • Makes false claims especially with serious illnesses
  • Products are almost the same as another company
  • Low Opportunity for Wellness Advocates to earn a sustainable Income

What I like about doTERRA

Essential oils is a growing market. The fact that doTERRA is anchored on the growing essential oils market is a huge advantage for anyone who’d like to join the business.

doTERRA has been around for more than a decade. doTERRA has been around since 2008 so that must say something about their stability.

What I don’t like about doTERRA 

False claims. Received a warning letter from FDA doTERRA and its representatives came under fire for misleading claims that their products could help prevent or cure diseases such as cancer, autism, and Ebola. Most recently, they even claimed to have the cure for COVID-19.

Copy-cat.  The fact that doTERRA was founded by executives from Young Living, another company that sells essential oils and, even employed the same business model (MLM), somehow gives me the impression that they are just another version of the company. 

Low Opportunity for Income. Just like any MLM, unfortunately, unless you have a lot of time in your hands and already have a huge network, you can’t earn a sustainable income with doTERRA alone.

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Final Thoughts – doTERRA 

So, can you make money selling doTERRA?

According to some research, The U.S. essential oil market size was valued at $3.4 billion in 2015 and is projected to expand at a Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.0%. It is also forecasted that the worldwide essential oils market size will reach up to $11.19 Billion by 2022.

This shows how doTERRA is actually in a great spot for business.

However, I’m really not a fan of far-reaching claims as well as having a limited set of products to actually sell. Also, doTERRA limits certain types of sales online and sticking to traditional MLM of inviting friends and family or annoying people on social media. This is actually toxic, and has proven to draw friends and family apart.

But if you LOVE the oils from DoTERRA you can still build a blog and promote their products using their product links to complement your MLM business.  You’ll need a website for this. Running a blog around essential oils can be a vehicle to drive massive sales online for this business model for sure. I cover this in this post and how a blog and YouTube channel can really your essential oil business to the next level.

Blogging with doTERRA can be like an affiliate type of program that works well for any website or blog. I have a lot of experience with SEO to promote your referral links and have learned everything from the best training platform and mentoring community online. Here you can learn how to do what I do inside this training community and I’ll even help you do it.

How I Make a Passive Income Online

I’m not an MLM supporter, and one of the main reasons is because of all the restrictions and the amount of money you would have to bring out. Can you make money selling doTERRA? For those who have a lot of time and have been with doTERRA for a long time, yes. If you are only starting and plan to only work on it part-time? No.

For me, I highly recommended Affiliate Marketing as my top business model especially for anyone to make money online.

Here are a few of my reasons:

  • You don’t have to strain friendship in recruitment effort just to make money
  • You are free to promote any products that you want and not forced to only sell the products from one MLM company. What if you don’t believe in the product?
  • It’s Free to get started (the BEST part)
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Joana is a proud wife, mother, and furparent. As a content specialist, she enjoys researching about different topics and niches. She finds that it is an interesting way to learn and discover new things. Joana still occasionally conducts lectures for aspiring teachers who are reviewing for the Licensure Examination for Teachers, but enjoys working from home to be closer with her family and be a hands-on mom.

doTERRA

$35
3.2

Established Company

8.0/10

Product Quality

3.0/10

Opportunity for Income

1.0/10

Business model

1.0/10

Product Cost

3.0/10

Pros

  • Belongs in a growing market
  • Established company

Cons

  • Makes False Claims
  • Copy-cat
  • Low Opportunity for Income

10 thoughts on “Can You Make Money Selling doTERRA [The Dark Side of doTERRA]”

  1. Hey nice review you have there,
    Your thoughts are indeed invaluable. I have heard a little about DoTERRA from a friend, having stumbled into this review, I now have a better perspective of its framework. Indeed DoTERRA is very lucrative in terms of the numerous compensation plans put in place for it’s members to earn from.
    Nevertheless, I have been wondering why the company made such claims about the treatment of Covid 19.
    They shouldn’t

    Reply
    • Thanks for chiming in Edah,
      I’m glad you now have a fuller understanding of the opportunity and a balanced view, rather than just what your friend told you.
      This is important to highlight the zealous doTERRA sellers have tried to profit off COVID-19 fears.  This has been widely reported in the press.  Just Google “DoTERRA cure for covid” and see for yourself.
      So I agree with you and their reps are being called out by the media and place the company at risk of further warnings from the FDA.

      Reply
  2. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us.
    I must say i really did enjoy going through your article as it contains detailed information’s one needs to be aware of before engaging in such an “opportunity” or platform.
    I will be sharing this with a couple of friends just to create awareness.
    Thanks for sharing this here with us

    Reply
    • Thank you Philebur,
      I’m really glad you like the review.  Yes please share to help as many other people as you can.
      Best to look at these types of “opportunities” with eyes wide open.

      Reply
  3. Helooo Joana, that’s my girlfriend’s name I so much love that name.
    Anyways a big thanks to you for sharing this unbiased review on the topic titled, can you make money selling doTERRA… there are so many scam platforms out there so doing solid research is always helpful..
    Judging from this article it is very clear that doTERRA is a platform with so much unrealistic and hyped up claims and also with low earning potential, it’s definitely not a take for me.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thanks Sheddy,

      Thanks for chiming and sharing your thoughts.  Some key things I would say to people about doTERRA is to look at the product quality closely, consider their solvent extraction (and look at the alternatives).  
      In terms of business, can you make money selling doTERRA?
      You are spot on about the unrealistic and hyped up claims, also the dark side and competition issues.  These all add up to low income potential, except for a select few.  
      So not for you also, good decision.

      Reply
  4. Such honest and straightforward reviews are the right type of articles that people should read more often before they associate themselves with companies like this.
    Everyone wants to earn a few extra bucks and such options can seem attractive to many people. The author has written a brilliant post. Every detail about this company has been given. In fact, some real customer complaints and opinions have also been included, which is great. It offers exactly the kind of information a person would need to know before associating themselves with this company or any other as a matter of fact.
    Great work!. Thanks for giving this great review to us.

    Reply
    • Thank you, I’m really glad you liked the review.

      I appreciate your thorough feedback.  We do reviews so that people looking to “make a few extra bucks” as you say or build a sustainable online business, can do so with eyes wide open and fully informed of the company/product/program they are considering.  Also so they are fully aware of their options and can make the best choice for themselves.  That is part of our Mission at EarnFromYourLaptop.com

      Reply
  5. Thank you for this wonderful review.
    I will stay clear of DoTerra 🙂 I don’t really have a good opinion about MLM model and moreover the product quality of DoTerra appears to be average too.
    Thank you once again for this honest review.

    Reply
    • Thanks Prav,
      I appreciate you taking the time to read my review and share your honest thoughts.
      I agree with you! Wishing you success online

      Reply

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