Herbalife – Business Opportunity – Review

Herbalife review

Chances are you know about Herbalife.

Not because you’ve ever tried it, but because you have that friend on Facebook who spams your news feed with Herbalife marketing.

That marketing takes the form of success story pics – that your friend will accompany with gushing praise as if they know the person pictured personally (they don’t) – and daily upbeat and inspirational messages, either provided by Herbalife or Googled up. It’s a strategy Herbalife encourages i.e. give the impression that you’re the happiest, most positive, little gym bunny this side of the nuthouse.

So a person that was once “okay” and posted occasionally and innocuously enough, suddenly becomes the bane of your news feed with this unrelenting shit.

And it seems like this is a completely different person too, to the one you know, all high on the happy-gas of life 24/7 – if their Facebook is to be believed (which as a general rule it shouldn’t).

It’s all “Monday Motivation” and “Blessed Weekend” and “This tea is the elixir of life!”

There’ll also be the inevitable and unappetising green milk shake looking-thing, pictured on their kitchen bench, that they’ll try and convince you is “delicious.”

MLM training – not Herbalife – but obviously follows same principles

That’s the most annoying thing about Herbalife – it encourages its sales agents to believe they’re “inspirations” and Buddha with a gym membership…

When they’re usually the casual acquaintances you know ain’t that bright, and you also know never read the damn books they quote from or picture themselves with.

So you kinda resist being put in the box of their “student” or “client” or whatever, and letting them play the role of life coach and guru to you.

All to get you to buy a can of that overpriced powdered health shit that is Herbalife.

Well… it’s maybe not entirely shit. It is overpriced for sure, but what’s in it shouldn’t do you any harm…

At least if you don’t use Herbalife shakes as the whole basis of your diet they won’t.


Is Herbalife A Good Product?

First off, when it comes to discussing the nutritional value of Herbalife shakes and other products, it should be noted that wearing a Herbalife promo t-shirt or badge, and selling the stuff, doesn’t suddenly turn a sales agent into a nutritional scientist.

To listen to them, you’d be mistaken for thinking it does, but they only know just enough to sound plausible, and a Herbalife branded fleece jacket doesn’t confer authority in the nutritional merits of the product range, whatever they may be, or may not be.

To put your average distributor’s “expertise” in perspective, be aware that reading the promo pamphlets that come with Herbalife products makes you as qualified as the person selling it to you.

However, I’m not a nutritional expert, either.

I’m a person with Google, and so are you, so you can read all the same articles I read bashing Herbalife’s ingredients, side effects and what folks in the know think about using these shakes as a replacement diet.

And of course there’s a lot of folks to be found who swear by them, too.

Usually the sellers, but not always (I think).

But for me, I’d give the product itself the benefit of the doubt, and assume that even if it isn’t actively helping, it’s not actively hindering or hurting.

At least I’d hope anyway.

I can see where folks who’ve taken the stuff, have also committed to the gym and exercise, and healthier eating generally, so any weight loss wouldn’t be solely attributable to Herbalife… the way the selling agents try and spin it.

But maybe Herbalife played a part, I think I’d give it that.

But I don’t think it cures brain tumours or infertility, or whatever else wild claims its desperate agents make for the powder drink.

Despite Herbalife’s official line being against such statements, I somehow doubt those Herbalife evangelists are the only ones making outrageous and false claims like that.

And there’s the problem: if you’re willing to lie like that to try and sell the product, then you’re not an agent for a reputable health product, you’re nothing more than a carnie huckstering snake oil.

Meaning, maybe the product is okay, but it’s not water anointed by Jesus himself, and that makes all the “miracles” attributed to it suspect in my opinion.

But like I say, the actual worth of the product is another post in itself and I’m no nutritional scientist (to repeat – just like the selling agents).

I’d try it and test it… but it’s just so damn expensive, and since there’s cheaper alternatives, I wouldn’t spend the money on Herbalife if I was looking for a health shake.

And it’s expensive because it has to be: it’s the product of a multi-level marketing company (MLM).

Those commissions have to come from somewhere.


Can You Make A Buck Out Of Selling Herbalife?

That question there is what this site is all about. As in a decent a buck; one that’s more than just pocket money.

Or not a loss for that matter, after you’ve bought the product in order to sell it.

Well, this is an MLM… so, like all of them, you could in theory make significant money… but you’re very unlikely to.

In fact you’ve more chance of a better return on your stake money by gambling it in Vegas than spending it on Herbalife.

Image credit: Pershing Square Capital Management

It’s that gambling analogy that’s used in the title of the documentary exploring the charge that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme: Betting On Zero.

A documentary that anyone seriously considering becoming a Herbalife distributor should watch.

Because it all sounds so simple, the way it’s pitched: you buy the products and then sell them on to friends and family, and then friends and family do likewise, and voila: you’re on your road to financial freedom.

This is why you see it being spammed throughout your news feed.


Be Your Brand – And Annoy Everyone

If you’re one of those folks with a three figure “friends” list you could be unfortunate enough to have several people filling your news feed, all posting the same stock success story pictorials and doing the same inspirational, positive-vibes dancing monkey act.

Which isn’t by accident as they’re advised to do that as Herbalife reps.

Just like they all chime into each other’s Facebook pages and comment on the products to try and give the false impression that business is booming for the owner and they’re happy customers… instead of selling agents themselves.

So you’ll see a post for some miracle cure vitamin supplement being made and a bunch of comments on it like “I must get this!” or “This has helped me so much, fantastic product!” but when you follow through on the Facebook profiles you’ll see these folks are scattered across the country and also pushing Herbalife, proclaiming to be “Business owners” and “Wellness Coaches” too.

As part of that, distributors are encouraged to be their “own brand” so thus you see them not only wearing the t-shirt, but decked out in a variety of (Herbalife) branded clothing with their name or ‘company’’ name emblazoned on it, with the badge to go with it, too.

All of which items of clothing or branding will be as overpriced as is the rest of the Herbalife product range.

In addition, distributors are also encouraged to post up new lifestyle purchases to try and give the impression it was paid for with Herbalife earnings, instead of from the regular day job’s wage or off a credit card. It’s all to create the impression of ‘success’ and living the dream.

Because selling the ‘dream’ is all part and parcel of selling the idea that Herbalife is a “business opportunity” and one that you should get in on too, so that you can have some of this dream lifestyle that you’re seeing in your news feed.

Except it’s all a load of smoke and mirrors…

… and that smoke evaporates fast, as by Herbalife’s own admission up to 90% of distributors drop out in the first year.

And it seems 89% of Herbalife distributors earn nothing at all.

That’s just not my dime store analysis (but I know how to read a report) as US-based Barron’s financial magazine, which provides in-depth analysis and commentary on the markets and companies, has said that a careful analysis of Herbalife’s disclosed numbers reveals that over 90% of their US distributors make no money.


What Can You Earn With Herbalife?

Let’s take a look at Herbalife’s pay outs to UK members in 2016.

Straight away you can see that Herbalife tries to circumvent the charge that just about no one earns anything, by claiming most members have joined as product users themselves, solely  in order to tap the discounts available as a “distributor”, but have no intention of promoting Herbalife as a business.

Which smells a lot like BS to me as you can easily purchase Herbalife at discount prices online – it’s not hard to find a deal if you want the stuff – and why do 90% of these people drop out within the first year if they’re product users rather than distributors.

On that statement sheet, Herbalife are claiming some 73% of members fall into just that category and that “For 29,246 Members (85%), the economic benefits resulted exclusively from a discounted price on products they purchased for personal and family use or for resale to others, neither of which took the form of a payment from the Company.”

So 85% of members never received a penny from Herbalife.

Of those that did, the average payment to Non-Sales Leaders With a Downline, (2,790 members [7.9%]), the average pay out was £40.

Yup, you read that right: forty quid.

Of the 4,057 left (11.8%), you can see from the table that the largest group of members receiving a payment is 2,878 and their average payment (for the year) is £296.

Hardly a living wage, then.

And bear in mind that it’s stated that “…compensation paid to Members summarized below does not include expenses incurred by a Member in the operation or promotion of his or her business” and “product samples” are also not included.

So none of the figures listed in Herbalife’s payments tables are profit.

Let that sink in.

And as above, you also foot the bill for the samples that potential customers, not unreasonably, might expect to receive as an introduction to the products that the distributors are extolling.

Here’s one former distributor explaining that his $1,000 profit was actually a loss of $4,000, as it cost him $5,000 to get it!

The grand sounding “business owners” of Herbalife are nothing more than unpaid sales reps, and sales reps in hock to the product. Declaring yourself a business owner, creating a Wix website, and updating your job status to “CEO” on your Facebook doesn’t make you one.


Legal Battles

Herbalife’s been around long enough (more than thirty years) for it have produced some real rancour in some quarters. In 2017 a class action complaint over alleged civil racketeering (RICO) violations was brought against the company and its top distributors. The complaint, filed in federal court, alleges: “the Herbalife success story is a fraud; a predatory scheme intentionally rigged against newcomers playing by the rules. The success claimed – and promised – by Defendants at Circle of Success events across the country is impossible to attain under its own terms.”

These Circle of Success events are where you’ll supposedly gain the secret knowledge and wisdom required to make it with Herbalife, and you’re duly made to feel like you’ll miss out on the key to your success if you don’t attend them, but all you miss out on is the money you could’ve still had in your bank account if you’d stay home.

The complaint has this to say on the events: “through lies, omissions and misrepresentations, Defendants aggressively encouraged Plaintiffs and Class Members to attend a Circle of Success event every month.” And then more shockingly, “representative Plaintiffs have collectively attended more than 150 Circle of Success events, each spending more than a year trapped in a cycle of manipulation calculated to produce financial loss.”

It that’s the charge levelled at the small get-togethers, then you can imagine what’s thought of the annual extravaganza hosted at one of the bigger arenas: critics have compared the atmosphere and presentation style more akin to a cult of brain washing than a business conference.

Then there’s billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s beef with Herbalife calling it a “criminal enterprise” and “$24 billion scam.” He gave a three hour presentation with more than three hundred slides on that theme, and his Pershing Square company is responsible for the scathing website Facts About Herbalife with the tagline “Herbalife is a pyramid scheme that harms millions of people around the world.”

Not mincing words

Speaking of which, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded its investigation of Herbalife in 2016, coming to a $200 million dollar settlement (fine) that allowed Herbalife to avoid being officially labelled a pyramid scheme, but also required it reorganise and change its business practices.

However, the FTC wouldn’t say that Herbalife wasn’t a pyramid scheme, and when asked the direct question, their spokesperson said, “Herbalife has not been not found to be a pyramid scheme.” This was in contradiction to Herbalife’s own spin on the settlement, saying they’d been proven not to be.

That $200 million was used to compensate “people who lost money trying to run a Herbalife business”. Which is at least around 350,000 people according to the FTC.

It is estimated that failed sales people, those at the bottom of the pyramid scheme, have lost around $3.8 billion since 1980!

In 2013, a Belgium court ruled Herbalife to be a pyramid scheme, but then that decision was over turned on appeal.


Celebrity Endorsement

If there’s one pic that Herbalifers love to post on their Facebook wall to try and convince you how great the product is they’re flogging, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Except Cristiano is just accepting a shit-ton of money from Herbalife to pose with the product for a day, probably never heard of it till he slipped into the t-shirt and picked up the glass.

Same poster boy for clean living and good health is also to be seen promoting KFC when not drinking health shakes.

Looks like he’s enjoying it too.

Or at least he’s willing to try a bit of KFC, he doesn’t put that off-white glass of Herbalife whey near his mouth.

That’s just the business of celebrity endorsement though, and I certainly don’t blame Ronaldo for any perceived lack of consistency.

Not for the sort of paydays you can get from promoting milk one day and hard liquor the next. So long as it’s all legal and the price is right, a celebrity and his agent are good to go!

And academics are just as easy to buy. All those academic endorsements of the quality of Herbalife – bought just like Ronaldo.

When you’re a billion dollar business you can buy your own good publicity from those selling it.


Reality Bites

The money is not to be made in selling the products, and despite the reorganisation demanded by the FTC, it’s still to be found in recruiting more people into Herbalife to be part of your “team” and gaining the profits to be made from your downline selling and recruiting more people in the system.

That’s where the promise is at, getting in the kick up in commissions from your team, not from selling vitamin shakes yourself per se.

Except you gotta do that too, because if you don’t sell – or rather buy – a certain amount of Herbalife yourself, then you’ll lose out on the juicy commissions produced by your downline. A downline that will be struggling as hard as you to make their minimum monthly quota… or any sales at all.

Robert Fitzpatrick, author of “False Profits” and president of Pyramid Scheme Alert and  and critic of multi-level marketing companies says, “Verified data show that ‘success’ in MLM schemes is less than 1% per year for consumer investors. Profit comes only from investments from other poor investors, nearly all of whom are destined to lose.”

Meaning, it’s next to impossible to make anything at all.

Which is why, by Herbalife’s own disclosure, so few do.

And that you’re unlikely to buck that trend.


Wealthy Affiliate

If you’d like to try earning some side cash with something a little less financially draining than Herbalife, and not so soul destroying, take a look at WA.

It’s not selling a product or a MLM, no credit card sign up BS, it’s training and all the tools and resources, to make some money via affiliate sales.

So it’s low risk and low financial layout. “Low” as in a single fixed monthly cost, with no upsells or hidden costs.

Of course being low risk means it’s the longer game to success, and not a get-rich-quick scheme. That might not suit everyone, but I like to keep it real.

You can read my review here.

Check it out for yourself. It won’t cost you a penny, and you get a week’s worth of free membership to make your mind up if it’s for you, and if you’re going to stick around.

I did, and I’m hard to please (as you can maybe tell), but see for yourself.


Recommended further reading:

A classic from an actual millionaire who did it without Herbalife’s ‘help’:

Millionaire fastlaneThe Millionaire Fastlane

Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!

by M. J. DeMarco

One comment

  • Chris

    Interesting article regarding Herbalife and their distributors.

    I think most that get involved don’t realize they aren’t going to make any money. Your info regarding distributors making no retail profit is eye opening.

    Appreciate your recommendation regarding Wealthy Affiliate. I will check them out.

    Are there going to be any upsells if I decide to join?

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