Product Type: MLM
Scam or Not: Not a Scam
Overall Rating: 5/10
Have you ever wondered, is Shaklee a scam? I know I have. After all, Shaklee is one of those companies that people tend to get extremely excited about. But, is there more going on than meets the eye?
That’s what we’re going to find out.
In this review, we’re going to look at the products that Shaklee offers and also the opportunity to make money. Realistically, the concept of making money is what I’m the most interested in but the actual products are very relevant to that discussion.
In general, Shaklee can be viewed as a health and nutrition company. Their products are all focused on the idea of improving your health. Now, the company’s focus certainly is admirable but only if the company actually lives up to those claims.
The company breaks its products down into the following five categories.
All of them are pretty self-explanatory and they also aren’t that revolutionary. At this point in time, there is probably more than 100 direct marketing or MLM companies that sell similar products. That figure doesn’t even consider the vast number of other companies that sell these types of products or the large number of online sites that sell them.
So, are the products from Shaklee any different?
Well, the company likes to think so…
Their promotion of Vivix includes the concept that this supplement is proven by science, has key ingredients that help to repair DNA, fight inflammation and offer other benefits. That all sounds great until you start to look into it a bit.
For example, their key ingredient to support heart health is basically omega-3 and fatty acids. I mean yeah, there’s a decent amount of evidence supporting the benefits of omega-3 for health. But honestly, most people already know that, and you’re still better off getting the benefits from fish than from a supplement.
Likewise, these are the ingredients if their MindWorks product for brain health.
Most of the top ones are fairly run-of-the-mill. They might help with brain health or might not, but again, you should really be getting them from your diet. If not, you could get them from a generic supplement.
As for the other ingredients, there isn’t much evidence that they do anything at all. In fact, the site was only able to offer six studies to support the supplement and some of those wouldn’t even directly apply to what the supplement contains.
Realistically, there is very little evidence that this product would perform any better than a standard multivitamin – and a healthy diet would probably offer more overall benefits anyway.
This pattern is also true across the other products that the company offers. In fact, you could find similar versions of every product if you did a little digging around.
So, is Shaklee a scam?
I’d say that its products certainly aren’t great and they do tend to be misleading. In many cases, people may buy then thinking that they’re getting something amazing and they actually end up with nothing of the sort.
That wouldn’t be so bad if the products were reasonably priced but they’re not. Take the MindWorks supplement for example. That product costs $49.95 for members to buy and they’re supposed to sell it on at $58.75. That’s a lot of money for one bottle of supplements – especially when there are only 30 pills in the bottle.
Making Money with the Company
Our emphasis with this site is on finding realistic ways to make money, rather than falling for the ‘get rich quick’ schemes that are everywhere. So, how does Shaklee hold up?
Essentially, the company is one of many that falls in the category of MLM.
This means that if you joined the company, you would have two main objectives. One would be to sell the products while the other would be to recruit others into the company.
A lot of MLM promoters don’t see a problem with that approach. In many cases, they will say that recruitment is achievable if you put the effort in. In some ways, that’s true – but it’s kind of like saying a marathon is easy if you train for it. The claim entirely ignores just how tricky the process of recruitment actually is.
For that matter, do you think you could convince someone to buy a bottle of supplements that costs nearly $60? I suspect that most people couldn’t, especially if you were also trying to be honest about the product.
There is also another underlying issue.
The company lists the price you buy the product for and the price that you’re supposed to try and sell it for. This means that the company runs off the model where distributors buy the product themselves, then try to resell it.
That’s a horrible approach if you’re trying to make money from a company.
Realistically, you’re likely to end up with a lot of stock that you can’t sell and don’t know what else to do with. In fact, the company even requires you to purchase product regularly. As a result, you have pretty significant outgoings right from the beginning.
So, is Shaklee a scam?
The short answer to that question would be ‘no, but…’.
To me, the term scam implies that a company dramatically misleads customers, often by making claims that aren’t even remotely true. That’s not really the case with a MLM. Instead, companies like Shaklee tend to be fairly honest about what’s involved in making money and they even provide information about their compensation plans and the different ranks in the company.
Likewise, some people do successfully make money through them. That’s especially true for people who get involved in the company early or those who have large social networks.
The issue with MLMs isn’t that they’re scams but that they are misleading.
Most of the marketing for any MLM, including Shaklee, makes the approach sound amazing and effective, while hiding most of the challenges that are involved.
Here’s the thing.
A MLM involves directly selling to people at a one-on-one level. It also involves trying to recruit those same people. Do you think this sounds easy? Try asking someone who earns a commission when they make sales at a store, like a car lot or some electronics stores. Chances are, they’ll tell you that getting those sales is a lot tougher than it looks.
In those cases, the salespeople are often trying to sell products that people were already interested in. How much harder do you think it would be to convince people to want the products in the first place?
So, yes, people can make money with a MLM but I’d guess that most people simply won’t. This also begs the question – what’s the point of a MLM?
I mean honestly, there are so many different parts of the MLM model that make it difficult to earn money. So, what precisely are the advantages?
Well for companies like Avon, you have the advantage of a well-known brand with fairly decent products. But, you don’t see anything like that with Shakee. Even though some people have heard of the brand most probably don’t think all that much of the products, especially as they aren’t that unique.
So, your potential for long-term income is pretty low.
Benefits and Advantages
There are some advantages to this company and the model, in general. One is simply that you are dealing with a company that does have some history and some reputation. So, you don’t really need to worry that it is going to disappear suddenly.
Likewise, there is every indication that the company really will pay out any money that you earn. So, you’re certainly taking less risk than with some random shady company online.
Issues with Shaklee
As I mentioned earlier, a key issue with Shaklee is that making money is much harder than it first appears. You might be able to earn a little by selling the products, especially if you do know people who are passionate about their health. However, the real income from the company is connected with recruiting others and building a team.
Achieving that goal is difficult for people with a lot of experience and almost impossible for people who have never tried something like this before. Because of this, many people who try to make money through the company will fail.
An even bigger issue is that you end up spending quite a lot in the process of trying to make money. This can easily mean that you end up with a lot of stock that you can’t move and relatively little return.
Is Shaklee a Scam?
I don’t think the word scam applies to Shaklee but at the same time, I don’t think the company is a viable approach for making money.
Sites like this often do promote themselves as a way to ‘get rich quick’ but that will only ever work if you can grow a large team. Most people simply won’t make that goal and they’ll lose a decent amount of time and money trying.
Honestly, MLMs follow an outdated model and it isn’t really a surprise that they aren’t effective anymore. The approach worked okay when ordering through mail catalog and at-home parties were popular, partly because that was more convenient than going to a store.
But now, people can make their purchases online instead and they do that regularly. So, why not take advantage of the online environment instead of trying to make an old model like MLM work?
This is where the approach of affiliate marketing comes into play.
If you haven’t heard about affiliate marketing before, you can check out my primer on affiliate marketing. It is a powerful way to make money and it’s also an approach that doesn’t require you to directly sell to people.
Unlike many of the scams you find online, affiliate marketing isn’t a way to ‘get rich quick’. Instead, it’s a long-term income solution. That means it takes time to build your business but you end up with something that can be a source of income for as long as you want it to be.
The best place to get started in the field is through a site called Wealthy Affiliate. Through that site, you can find training that matches your level of skill and experience – whatever that may be.