The choices can be overwhelming when it comes to losing weight and diet trends. With so many ways to lose weight, it can be really hard to decide which are healthy and truly effective. Not to mention, loads of people who want to lose those extra pounds without hitting the gym.
This makes weight loss and health products seem like such a good business opportunity. That’s where businesses such as Herbalife come in.
So you’ve probably seen the Herbalife “Opportunity” and are wondering can you really make money selling Herbalife?. Or is it just another overpriced products scam or pyramid scheme?
The main reason why 99% of MLM members lose money is because most people dive in blindly after hearing this “income opportunity” presentation without knowing what they will really need to do. MLM as a business model has an endless chain of recruitment. So this often prevents people from finding a legit way to make money from home.
In this post, I will walk you through everything you need to know about Herbalife:
- if it’s a good idea to commit to Herbalife and go all in
- are Herbalife products worth the money?
- can you make money selling Herbalife?
This will help you make a fully informed decision if you should join Herbalife or not.
Can You Make Money Selling Herbalife? Or is it another Pyramid Scheme?
Company Name: Herbalife Nutrition
Product Type: Weight Loss and Wellness Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)/Network Marketing
Price: Distributors is $94.10 or $124.10 for the Distributor initial membership fee (with samples) and $15 annually. Then Distributors typically start with the “Herbalife Mini or Member Packs” + and no monthly ordering requirements or sales quotas.
Customers pay $34.95 for a Customer Preferred Member account.
Founder: Founded by Mark Hughes in 1980 who has no health qualifications and his own formal education stopped at the 9th grade of school.
Best For: New Market Openings and Top 1% Associates – those who are highly skilled in sales, recruiting, and have a wide network of people.
Summary: Herbalife does sell legitimate health and wellness products but they are quite expensive compared to alternatives on the market and there have been a number of health issues reported.
In terms of making money with their MLM system, Herbalife’s own statistics show that not many people are having huge success. With only 1 in around 220 Herbalife distributors make more than $15K a year.
You would need to recruit a lot of people into your “downline” to have any real chance to make a decent income from Herbalife. This makes the company very similar to a pyramid scheme in disguise, where the vast majority of people lose money so that only the top 1% at the very peak make the big dollars.
Recommended: Products: No.
Business: No – it is possible for say health and fitness bloggers, “influencers” or those that have the X factor and can recruit the masses – to make money from selling Herbalife. But normally this is at the expense of the people you would have to “recruit”
What is Herbalife About?
Herbalife Nutrition is a health and wellness Multi-Level-Marketing company that produces and sells dietary supplements such as shakes, nutrition products and coffee that supposedly helps you achieve that knockout physique. They also have skincare products too.
On the other hand, they don’t just offer seemingly astounding body sculpting opportunities, they also promise the chance to hit it big financially..
Herbalife was started way back in 1980 by the late Mark Hughes. Mark had some experience and successes with two failed direct selling companies. Then, despite no formal education beyond the 9th grade, he founded Herbalife as a 24 year old, selling from his car – based on “natural and herbal ingredients”.
He led a checkered corporate career, being sued by the Food and Drug Administration, the state Department of Health Services, but with out of court settlements of $850K in 1986 was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as the “largest settlement ever attained from a health products company.”
The multimillionaire founder of Herbalife that has been controversial for both its sales methods and products, died tragically from an accidental overdose after mixing alcohol with a “toxic level” of antidepressants at the age of 44.
But despite many ups and downs since, it has continued to grow, especially in Latino America, since then with big advertising deals (such as sponsoring the football team LA Galaxy), sponsoring running events in various countries, and also from celebrity endorsements (such as Cristiano Ronaldo).
The 2 minute video below gives a teaser into the Herbalife MLM “opportunity”…
So this looks like a pretty enticing opportunity, right?
But you’re switched on enough to realise that this video showcasing fitness and workouts is just a Herbalife sales video.
What could raise a lot of eyebrows though is Herbalife’s Multilevel Marketing organization.
I think it is important to note that there are a lot of businesses that employ an MLM strategy and you can definitely see some big names also in health and wellness.
Businesses such as Amway, USANA Health Sciences, Isagenix, Young Living, LifeVantage, and even Avon use MLM. A lot of direct sales companies use MLM to encourage existing distributors to recruit new distributors.
The distributors are paid a fraction of their recruits’ sales and become the distributor’s “downline.” In most cases, distributors also make money through direct sales of products to customers.
Herbalife has been subject to many Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations, probes and issues. Due to the 2016 FTC settlement, the company had to change its business practices and is now required to prove that at least 80 percent of its sales are made to people outside of its network of distributors.
The FTC also took the extraordinary step to say in a press release about the settlement “it’s virtually impossible to make money selling Herbalife products.” (Source: Wikipedia).
Herbalife even had to mail partial refund checks to roughly 350,000 Herbalife distributors in 2017. The compensation criteria included Herbalife participants between 2009 and 2015 who paid at least $1,000 to Herbalife “and generally got little or nothing back from the company.”
However, when distributors become more dependent on recruitment rather than sales for income, that’s when things get a bit dubious.
So are you still wondering…
Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scheme?
Being an MLM business, this means that to get some income, you need to enlist some of your family and friends (and their family and friends) to join Herbalife to earn more – much like a pyramid style organization (uh oh).
The question you might want to ask next is if Herbalife is a Pyramid Scheme? Unfortunately, there are a lot of Herbalife horror stories out there that could ring a lot of alarms in your head. Back in 2016, Herbalife made a $200 million settlement for “deceptive and unlawful acts” in the US.
But were they labeled a Pyramid Scheme? Uhmm, Not really? After distributors who said they lost money got paid, Herbalife stock prices even rose with a vengeance. They really have a knack for turning things to their benefit, don’t they?
Although Herbalife continues to operate in the United States and even globally until today, I recommend you to tread the waters carefully. In Belgium a ruling was gained concluding that Herbalife is an illegal pyramid scheme based on the never-ending cycle of recruiting that the distributors are forced into.
A strategy like this pushes a majority of those who invested to lose good money, money they used to buy products to qualify for the promise of incomes and incentives.
So Herbalife has a history of issues with regulatory authorities in various countries. Operating at the edges of compliance, Herbalife is like a “pyramid scheme in disguise”.
Essentially this is because you can only earn good money from selling Herbalife if you recruit more people into your “downline” and make money from their purchases or sales volumes.
If this is confusing, let’s explain this a bit more….
What is a Pyramid Scheme?
When you take a look this diagram from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) you can see why.
A pyramid scheme claims that you will get rich over a persistent growth of your “downline.” Meaning, you generally pocket the commissions on sales made by the new distributors you recruit – rather than the money from your own product sales to external retail customers.
Another very obvious characteristic of a pyramid scheme is when the program asks you to purchase expensive inventory.
A lot of the poor victims of pyramid schemes end up not only with their broken dreams but with a garage full of products to remind them of it.
A pyramid scheme is sketchy, not to mention, unsustainable. It attracts hopefuls into the business with the promise of easy money and magnanimous finances.
Now, most MLM companies, like Herbalife, do offer products for sale that their distributors can sell and make retail profits on. In Herbalife’s case, the FTC even mandated that they must sell at least 80 percent to individuals outside of its distributor network.
However, whilst they may be compliant, it is impossible to earn decent money from these 25% retail profits by selling face to face to family and friends. The only way distributors realistically earn more than $1,000 a month is by recruiting.
So again, that makes Herbalife seem very much like a “pyramid scheme in disguise”.
Check out this short 5 minute video which explains this further
Success is Rare With Herbalife
The reality is that success is hard to find in any MLM company.
Sure there are exceptions, such as if you have the special X factor and can recruit a LOT of people, or new market openings. But realistically, is that you?
A couple in South Florida sued Herbalife Nutrition after failing to be successful even after joining countless of “Circle of Success” events. The company claims these events to be the secret to a bigger and bigger chance at success.
Yet, even after spending a lot of money joining events such as these and even purchasing a storefront, the money and success strongly guaranteed to them never materialized.
The thing here is that you might actually spend more in buying Herbalife products to maintain your status than what you actually earn. It’s true that for less than $100, you can already be a Herbalife distributor.
However, most of the people who sign up would spend more than that to go up the multi-level ladder. Going higher equates a better shot at getting more incentives and product discounts.
In the end, you get stuck with piles of Herbalife Nutrition products you have completely no idea what to do with.
In an interview with some Latino distributors, they claimed that they had to sell the Herbalife Product they have for half the price they bought them for just to get back a portion of the money they spent in signing up in the first place.
Herbalife has released income disclaimers that show how much their distributors have earned. These are inconsistent over the years, but I did some digging and found some copies.
You’ll see this in more detail later on in this Herbalife MLM review.
For now, some key highlights are that around 86% of distributors earned ZERO and 0.1% earned over $72K.
So based on that, can you really make money selling Herbalife?
How Does Herbalife Work?
Herbalife produces a range of health and wellness, weight management, nutritional supplements, sports nutrition, and personal care products.
Herbalife has two membership types Preferred Members (customers) and Distributors.
They operate by the direct selling or MLM model rather than selling through retail outlets. This saves a lot of money on advertising or marketing by offering everyday people the “opportunity” to sell these products and try to make money.
In return these “distributors” can earn commissions for any sales they make and of their team (their recruits). The “opportunity” is presented as they can “be their own boss” and “work from home”.
In theory this “opportunity” sounds like a win-win. But let’s learn more about the company first…
Herbalife Products Review
If you are serious about joining an MLM, then it’s vital to understand their products.
Herbalife offers hundreds of products under these product categories:
- Healthy Weight (shakes etc)
- Balanced Nutrition
- Specialized Nutrition
- Energy and Fitness
- Skin and hair care
If you are seriously looking into Herbalife, It is crucial to be aware you will also be competing against hundreds of other MLMs with that sell a very similar range of products to Herbalife, such as:
- USANA Health Sciences (cellular nutrition focus, also weight management)
- Isagenix (shakes, weight loss focus)
- LifeVantage (anti aging/nutrition focus, also weight management)
- Amway, Ariix, Forever Living, Jeunesse, Kyani, Shaklee and many others…
So many it gets boring, right?!
So the best way to see what makes one MLM company different to another is to learn more about their main products AND how they are independently assessed…
Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shakes, Formula (Multivitamins), Formula 3 – Flagship Products
Herbalife has a big focus on their F1 Nutritional Shake Mixes as well as the complimentary F2 (Multivitamins) and F3 (Cell Activator) product lines.
The whole aim of the F1 and Advanced F1 combo pack is to help people lose weight easily and in a healthy way.
The stand out benefits claimed by the Herbalife F1 products are:
- It’s easy and convenient
- Soy-based products may be good for your heart
But, please also be aware of some key downsides:
- Shakes are highly processed
- Herbal supplements can cause liver damage (see studies that report this: 1, 2, 3 and 4)
- Herbalife reviews by Doctors are also not good: Dr. Czys, Docwire News
- Not true meal replacements (not enough calories)
- Not suitable for everyone (people with certain allergies or intolerances may find the table and notes below helpful here)
You can learn more about the products in this short 5 minute video…
I did a macronutrient and calorie comparison, please note the huge difference in the serving size.
|Macronutrient And |
|Herbalife Formula 1||25g||90||1g||13g||9g||9g||3g|
Other noteworthy matters:
- All contain vitamins, minerals
- Some contain probiotics and prebiotics
- Digestive Enzymes – only Shakeology (4), Isagenix (4), Vega One (1) only
- Herbs and Adaptogens – only Shakeology
- GMO-Free – All except for Herbalife and 310
- Dairy Free options – Only USANA and Vega One
- Grass Fed Whey – Only USANA
- Soy Free options – All except for Herbalife and 310
- Gluten Free – Yes, not certified, (except Vega One is certified gluten free)
- Meets the Regulatory Requirements to call “Meal Replacement” – only USANA
- Low Glycemic Index (GI) – USANA specified as 25 (Low), Herbalife Formula 1 19 (Low), Isagenix claimed low GI but not specified, the rest were not specified
- Manufacturing Practices – only USANA voluntarily operates to Pharmaceutical grade Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Herbalife operates to GMP, rest will be varying degrees on “food grade” standards.
Are Herbalife Products Worth the Money?
The Herbalife Nutrition program is more famous for its quick-fix diets. Even their most basic formula can help you lose those extra pounds from repeatedly going back to the refrigerator these past few days.
It can definitely help you lose weight in the short term as it is designed to help people lose weight by reducing calorie intake with meal replacement shakes and boosting metabolism with supplements.
Herbalife is so confident with their product that they offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee so you can return products within 30 days for a full refund if ever you are not satisfied.
Overall, the products from Herbalife in comparison with the thousands of competing companies are not as unique as the company implies. The marketing of their main product range is around weight loss.
Although they have stiff competition even on their key selling point. I have reviewed health and wellness companies like this in my other posts.
So why not just eat healthy foods, as healthy as you can, and skip the Herbalife highly processed shakes?
Then because it is impossible to get all the nutrition from your food (soil quality, declining nutrients in food supply etc), so why not just take the highest quality supplements?
USANA Health Sciences produces pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements that are rated the number 1 multivitamin/antioxidant supplement by the independent study “Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements” by Nutrisearch, making it the leading company in the health and wellness industry. USANA’s CellSentials get 5 stars, Editor’s Choice and Platinum Plus Award as the top rated supplement. Herbalife’s Multivitamin Complex gets a low 1 star out of 5 which is as low as many of the store bought multivitamins such as Centrum.
If you are still thinking about taking Herbalife, like any other product, especially one associated with MLM, Herbalife also receives a lot of bad publicity. And there is a lot of talk about Herbalife side effects.
Herbalife Side Effects
In November 2019, Herbalife was associated with fatal liver failure. The case report mentions a 24-year-old female with hypothyroidism. Two months after starting with Herbalife supplements, the woman experienced a loss in appetite. It was then followed by jaundice and transient pruritus.
This Herbalife review by doctors and medical analysis showed that Herbalife products contained high levels of heavy metals, where 75% of the samples contained undisclosed toxic compounds.
Also, there isn’t any research about long-term use of Herbalife. This means that, for most people, as soon as they reach the body weight they want they’ll eventually stop using it. And for a handful of people, the pricey shake is too expensive to keep buying and therefore difficult to sustain.
To be honest though, there are a whole lot of protein shakes and dietary supplements out there that promise and deliver the same results for almost half the price of Herbalife Nutrition Products.
Can You Really Make Money Selling Herbalife?
According to their website, if you become a Herbalife distributor, you can earn from 25% to 50%. Herbalife is said to sell almost $5 billion worth of products per annum. So, did you really just dodge a bullet not being with Herbalife or are you missing out on a big break?
The real catch here is how the Herbalife pay plan offers you greater reward for successfully recruiting other people to sign up as distributors than for retailing their product.
One of the major concerns with this business is how more than 85% of their distributors earn nothing after signing up for Herbalife.
Another real concern for you if you ever think of joining Herbalife is how much you actually spend in this business compared to how much you earn.
Herbalife’s Average Compensation information referred to below, showed that only 0.45%, or 1 in around 220 members earns over $15k a year. It is worth noting, the federal minimum wage in the USA is $15,080.
Here are some testimonies from Latinos who joined Herbalife in hopes of reaching the American Dream.
How Do You Make Money with Herbalife?
So if an independent distributor earns so little, how do you make it big in this business?
Interviews and countless investigations about Herbalife Nutrition distributors testified that the only way a distributor can truly be successful in Herbalife is to recruit new distributors.
You become a successful distributor when you become an expert in recruiting more individuals to become distributors themselves. When they buy products to qualify as a distributor, you receive money.
However, in order to become successful, you would have to do this knowing that the majority of people you recruit will most likely lose money from Herbalife. If that rests well with your sense of right and wrong, then that’s your call.
Like most MLM companies, there are essentially 2 ways you can earn money as a Herbalife representative:
- Sell Herbalife products to earn a commission – 25% to up to 50%
- Recruit more people and earn bonuses from their sales (6 of the 7 methods are effectively for recruiting)
I really want to emphasize this as Herbalife has been sanctioned by the FTC before…
The FTC will not allow you to earn money just by recruiting people.
You can earn bonuses from the purchases that your downline personally make or sell on.
This is how Herbalife avoids being an outright pyramid scheme and allows them to stay in business…
How Much Does It Cost to Join Herbalife?
You can also start out as a Distributor – the price to join Herbalife is either $94.10 or $124.10 depending on which package of samples you get.
Most people join Herbalife Nutrition as “Preferred Members” (customer) at a cost of $34.95 and do not actually participate in the business.
To step up as Distributor and build a business with Herbalife, you need to complete distributor training and before that – of course buy a conversion pack for $59.95.But of course it doesn’t stop at just $59.95.
Enticed by promise of greater discounts upon stepping higher up the MLM ladder, a lot of new recruits spend up to $4,000. For you to start at the supervisor level, you need to spend more than the minimum amount to get higher discounts on the wholesale cost of Herbalife’s products.
What Are The Herbalife Monthly Costs?
The good news is there are no monthly purchasing or sales quota requirements at Herbalife. This is a good start as many health and wellness MLM’s require you to purchase a certain monthly order requirement, typically $100+ just to stay “active”.
The reality is that you would need to purchase a LOT of products in order to get the decent discounts for “selling at a discount – sales”. You see the more you sell, the higher discount you get. This starts at 25% with tiers at 35%, 42% and 50%.
What they don’t tell you is that some distributors sell Herbalife products online at a near 40% discount. Why would anyone buy the products at full price if they are easily available online for much less?
You can check Amazon yourself, but I am sure you’ll also find them on eBay and other marketplaces. Even though the Distributor Agreement expressly forbids this, with so much competition trying to sell the overpriced products, well the online market places speak for themselves.
Then to be eligible for more than just the first two income “streams”, and get the other recruiting rewards let me warn you.
A distributor would need to spend a significant amount of money (or sell a LOT of products), approx $3,000 for 4,000 “volume points” to reach their “Supervisor” level. There are 11 such positions and several sub-categories, see later below……
But again let’s go back to the Products. If you are serious about promoting Herbalife products you really need to use them yourself and ideally have a personal testimony to share.
Prospects see right through the “sales reps” who try and preach and force the products on people without genuinely using and benefiting themselves.
Healthline did a Herbalife Diet Review and not only gave it a 1.79/5 score, but here is what they suggest about the price:
So you really need to ask yourself the questions:
- Are you going to take the Herbalife business seriously and become a consumer yourself?
- Are you willing to spend at least $80 a month on shakes alone (before any supplements)?
Not essential, but facts tell and stories sell, so as a minimum to have a chance of successfully selling and recruiting others, you really need to take the products. If not, why would others buy from you?
What is Herbalife Compensation Plan? Is it easy to understand?
Herbalife had to change its plan substantially since being fined by the FTC.
Understanding Herbalife’s compensation plan involves learning about its different levels and income. How do you qualify for an incentive? How do you make money selling Herbalife?
There are “7 streams of income”, but essentially there are 4 main ways Hearbalife distributors can get paid:
- Retail commission (25-50%)
- Recruit and build a team (earn wholesale selling profit bonuses from your downline sales)
- Royalties (1-5% from your downlines purchases and sales)
- Bonuses – there are four types of bonuses and incentives that kick in after reaching the 7th levels and higher
As a monthly royalty override income you can earn up to 5% on three levels of ‘downline.’ As a Supervisor, you earn up to 5% on the Personal Volume of all of your Supervisors, within three active levels of ‘downline.’
Uh, yeah I know, it’s a bit complicated to figure out.
Really, it’s quite confusing. But essentially everything after the first one will reward those that can recruit well. MLM companies like to make them complicated, having all the levels can try to entice those indoctrinated into the Herbalife system.
But a ton of people don’t get past the first level, with some 90% of new Herbalife distributors dropping out in the first year.
Think about it – you are trying to sell overpriced products, with a litany of health controversies, competing against many people and even your uplines in your local areas. Then the online marketplaces have the higher discount distributors selling the stuff for even cheaper, given they get the 50% discount and newbies don’t!
So here’s another video from two of their top ranked recruiters explaining about how you get money from joining Herbalife…potentially that is!
Is Herbalife a Scam?
I won’t go as far as call Herbalife a scam when not even FTC has done that.
However, when some of their enthusiastic repssome of claim that you can leave your paying job behind and bet everything in their business is utterly misleading.Based on the 2015 income disclosure report submitted by Herbalife:
- only 0.1% of total distributors were paid over $72K
- while a whopping 86% were paid zero
They do sell products, not the best products in the industry, but at least they are legitimate. They have a decent number of scientists in their team so there’s greater chances the products could help.
Many people think that any MLM that is a “pyramid scheme in disguise” is a scam. Their compensation plan encourages recruiting and selling more to get the bigger discounts.
So technically, if you could sell a LOT of Herbalife products each and every month, you could make some sales but you really will need to recruit to chase the bigger incomes. So please ask yourself, is selling Herbalife worth it?
I take this 86% as a “fail rate” because those members received no payment from the company. All they got was the supposed “discounted price” on the products. See below for a reality check on their overpriced products.
Again, the decision is entirely yours to make and the goal of this Herbalife MLM review is to help you make a fully informed decision…
So, is Herbalife a scam or is it a legit business opportunity for you?
Well, to be completely transparent with you. I am not a Herbalife Preferred customer nor am I one of their distributors. Furthermore, I do not endorse the Herbalife business or Herbalife 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 Herbalife really does. This is because programs just like this have burned me in the past, and I want to keep others from going down the same path I did. You can learn more here in this article “How to Spot an Online Marketing Scam and Avoid Scams”.
Pros and Cons of Herbalife
What I Like About Herbalife
Herbalife has been around for a looong time
When people think of direct selling companies – Amway, Herbalife, Tupperware and Avon come to mind as the veterans of the industry. There will always be a market for face to face selling and sharing on a personal level.
Not only that Herbalife brings home over $5 billion yearly but in all fairness, Herbalife Nutrition has been around since 1980.
Wow. It’s been around longer than most of us were born. Also they are in 90+ countries and people are buying the products. With about 50% of MLM’s disappearing within 5 years, Herbalife has already survived many fines/legal issues and challenges, so they are likely to still be in business for you.
What they can’t guarantee on your business success (they even said in their website that your success ONLY depends on you) they make up for the effectiveness of their products. They are confident enough to provide a 30-day money back guarantee for anyone who has changed their mind.
This also goes for distributors who have a change of heart. At any rate, it’s pretty impressive to be able to avoid the fate of ending up with a crowded room of Herbalife products by getting a refund on the products you purchased if the business doesn’t work out for you.
Herbalife Brand is well known – they employ sports stars to promote them
If you talk to people about Herbalife most people recognise the name. Whereas USANA, Isagenix, Jeunesse, Kyani, and some of the other competitors are not yet household names.
That’s because Herbalife has put a lot of money and effort into getting themselves out there through sponsorships and celebrity endorsements…
Yes even these big names – Cris and Virat Kohli are “endorsers”!
They also sponsor running events, triathlons and similar around the world at the local level so people come to know them.
Some Positive Product Reviews
There are more excellent reviews than bad reviews on Trustpilot.
Let’s look at the top positive review on Amazon (where Distributors are forbidden to sell, but they still do!).
So you can see there are real people who have used Herbalife products and benefitted.
This is critical for any MLM company.
If this is a genuine buyer and not one of their reps posing as a reviewer, then at least you know you can make some money from selling rather than just recruiting. If you are still serious at this point, I suggest you dig into some of the product reviews.
What I Don’t Like About Herbalife
Personally though, I don’t think Herbalife is the way to go if you want to achieve a grandiose life. Putting your money in building a business with Herbalife especially if you can’t put in the continual work (or don’t know anyone who hasn’t joined or declined Herbalife at some point) won’t get you anywhere.
Just so your eyes are wide open if you are considering Herbalife, please be aware of these before you join…
Products are too pricey to actually sell for many people. The real kicker is that you can even be competing with your upline, cross-line and any line of people that are selling on Amazon and any online marketplaces where you live.
So this is one of the first things I check out in any MLM company as this can be a sign that it is just a “pyramid scheme in disguise”.
From above I did a Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shakes review, there you can see their key nutritional information in comparison with competitors.
Average weight loss drinks and shakes cost around $19 to $30. This is another reason why Herbalife is difficult to sell. You have to be a very good salesperson to battle with various other competitors that sells a similar product for almost half the price.
Slimfast cost around $13.98 while the Organic Nutrition Shake from Orgain cost around $29.99. On the other hand, The Herbalife Formula 1 shake will cost you around $43.
You might as well just eat some chicken breast/lean meats and salad or vegetables for lunch and dinner!
But if you did want the convenience of:
- meal replacement shakes just for convenience
- meal replacement shakes for weight loss
- or even protein powders for additional weight gains
I have done a quick comparison for you.
Meal Replacement Shakes
They are both low-glycemic index meal replacements. Herbalife is shown as 25g serving size (to which you add to milk or soy milk), interestingly the product overview states “Formula 1 is everything you need in a glass”. Pretty big claim!
USANA’s Nutrimeal is a 60g serving size, mixed with water.
So just comparing the cost of the powders and per 60g for ease of comparison:
- Herbalife shake = $3.48 per 60g serving
- My USANA meal replacement shake = $2.75 per 60g serving
Herbalife is more expensive than this higher quality meal replacement shake.
Ok, next look at Protein powders and expand this to the open marketplace also.
Lets compare the cost of the powders and per 24g as recommended by Herbalife as well as the amount of protein, for comparison:
- Herbalife soy and whey protein = $2.05 per serving, 15g protein
- Amazon Isopure whey (first one on the page) = $0.81 per serving, 12g protein
- My protein whey shake = $1.79 per serving, 11.5g protein
- My protein soy shake = $1.79 per serving, 11.5g protein
Herbalife is 200% more expensive than the other highly rated protein shake I found on Amazon (it was just the first one on the page). Again, overpriced!
Now, you may still be wondering… well perhaps Herbalife’s shakes are better?
From the selection above, some points to note about quality:
- only USANA voluntarily operates to Pharmaceutical grade Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Herbalife operates to GMP, many in the industry will be varying degrees on “food grade” standards.
- Only USANA’s whey is known to be grass-fed whey protein.
I won’t go further into all the specific ingredients as this post is already long. But at the very least, please have a look at the Herbalife ingredients if you are considering taking them and ask yourself:
- Do I really need this?
- Could I instead just eat healthier natural foods? as healthy as you can, and skip the Herbalife highly processed shakes?
- Then because you can’t get all the nutrition from your food (soil quality, declining nutrients in food supply etc), so why not just take the highest quality supplements?
Another challenge with Herbalife’s expensive products means that many of the sales reps will encourage people to join Herbalife with the potential to “make side hustle income” or this doozy…“leverage their health, time and finances with Herbalife”.
This sounds far more attractive to people than offering them overpriced, over processed shakes they don’t need or want.
Again, an alarm bell about Herbalife promoting recruitment, which seems like a “pyramid scheme in disguise”.
I could write a whole article about product quality compared to USANA Health Sciences, Isagenix, LifeVantage, Young Living and Jeunesse. But this article is already quite long.
Herbalife Distributors tend to Overpromise
One of the target individuals of Herbalife are mothers who are enticed to work flexible hours and a considerable income they can earn part time.
But if you really think about it, If those who invested all their valuable time didn’t even make it to the top 10%, how could someone like you who plan to just sell part of the time do any better? To make money in MLM you need to dedicate yourself full time.
Another exaggerated promise Herbalife distributors make to be able to sell are therapeutic claims. The top echelons of Herbalife deny making any therapeutic claims and even insist that their distributors are not allowed to make any declarations that Herbalife products can cure diseases.
However, the pressure of selling products continues to push distributors in making such claims to entice others to not only buy their products, but to sign up as their downline.
Herbalife Lawsuits and has a long list of litigations
Again you can see what happened with this major FTC lawsuit below…
This ground breaking $200M fine and sanctions by the FTC caused Herbalife to change its business – “restructure its business from top to bottom”. This again suggested they have always operated like a “pyramid scheme in disguise”.
Then there’s also the long list of litigations, controversies, bribery issues, health issues etc are laid to bare in Wikipedia.
Can you make money selling Herbalife?…0.4% make over $15K a year
Can you support your family off only $15K a year?
Well, take a look at the Herbalife Income disclosure from 2015 below…
They try to make it sound like the majority of people join as a Herbalife distributor because they just want discounted products by labelling the top section as “Single-Level Members (No Downline)”. However their own stats show that “40,204 of the 437,152 single-level Members are Sales Leaders without a downline.” This means that over 90% have a downline (i.e. they have recruited distributors under them). What the…?
Even though this may be true for some people, surely almost everyone would rather be able to make money from the company… otherwise they’d be better off just to buy the cheaper and better quality shakes elsewhere!
This means once that you do the maths you can see that:
- only 0.45%, or 1 in around 220 members earns over $15k a year.
- (the federal minimum wage in the USA is $15,080)
- And only a minuscule 0.1% made a good income of $71,885 per year
Do you have the X factor and recruiting skills to be one of those 1 in 1,000?
They have quite inconsistent income disclosure reporting and changed their disclosure in the more recent 2019 reporting. A key inconsistency here is the total distributors reported in 2015 is 545,160, however in 2019 this seems to be selective reporting on “about 146,000 distributors” and every number is reported as “about”. So this reporting has become vague and has gone backwards in transparency.
So even on this incomplete sample reported, this highlights that for experienced distributors that stick it out for more than 1 year, only the top 10% of them earned a livable income of $40K a year. Again, what are your chances of achieving this?
What is also not looking good is the level of interest on Google Trends.
You can see that Herbalife has been searched for less since the peak of 2014. Similar to processed powder MLM company Isagenix that is also on the decline. So it seems people are figuring these companies out.
On the other hand, if you are looking for opportunity in the MLM industry it’s better to seek our companies in the “early momentum phase”. This is when you can benefit most from increasing interest in the company and sell products or recruit more easily because of this.
When you compare Herbalife to an MLM company in the early momentum phase such as Farmasi (personal care and beauty MLM) you can see they are going up and Herbalife is trending downwards.
Final Thoughts About Herbalife
So…can YOU make money selling Herbalife?
Selling overpriced processed shakes etc with so much competition online is going to be very tough for ordinary people. So unless you have a lot of connections to people in the health and fitness space, or run your own fitness services etc, or are online yourself, all the stats above show you will struggle to make much money from the Herbalife MLM.
Now you know how expensive the products are compared to others, even those of higher quality, can you really promote Herbalife to people knowing you would be asking them to pay excessive prices?
Really? What is this – The 1990’s selling Amway and Herbalife? the 1950’s selling Tupperware?
Let’s get real. 2021 is upon us. If you want to build a business and make money, you NEED to be online or your business will be extinct in less than a few years.You can start an affiliate website N O W and promote any products you choose from any company. Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Fitness Products, Digital products, Subscription services, Health Products, Groceries. There’s a LOT to choose from!
How I Make Passive Income Online
MLMs are not all scams and yes there are even success stories in the top 1% or so. However, if you want to make decent money I’m not a fan given the limitations with the expensive products you are restricted to promoting.
Once I learnt about affiliate marketing, and started receiving passive income myself, I realised it’s a much better business model because:
- You don’t have to strain friendships trying to recruit others just to make money
- You never have to bother your family and friends
- You are free to promote any products you want and truly own the business; and
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Now, isn’t free stuff the best?
If you want to find out how I make my lifestyle online and how I can personally help you to also do it – then check out this special video from the link below which explains exactly how. You can also receive your free 7-day bootcamp to get you started.
Do you have your own Herbalife story? Do you know a friend or family member who is part of Herbalife? Is selling Herbalife worth it for them? Let me know in the comments below!
Opportunity for Income0.5/10
- Herbalife has been around for a long time
- Product Guarantee
- Herbalife Brand is well known - they employ sports stars to promote them
- Some Positive Product Reviews
- Expensive Products
- Herbalife Distributors tend to Overpromise
- Herbalife Lawsuits and has a long list of litigations
- Can you make money selling Herbalife?...0.4% make over $15K a year
- Downward Trend