Company: It Works!
Price: $199 (sometimes discounted to $99)
Scam or Not: Not a Scam
Overall Ranking: 3/10
An Introduction to It Works
It Works is a fairly popular company, selling a range of products focused on health. They are best known for their wraps, although It Works Greens have also been becoming popular.
In this post, we’re taking a look at what It Works has to offer, along with claims that there is an It Works pyramid scheme.
Like many such companies, there are two sides to It Works. One of these is the products. In this case, the product selection directly ties into people’s passions for losing weight and getting healthy.
The products can be purchased from distributors or from sites like Amazon. This brings me to the other side, the ‘opportunity’.
Like so many companies, It Works operates through a direct sales model. This means that individuals (called distributors or sometimes Wrapeneurs) directly sell the products, often to friends and family members. In doing so, they can earn money and also various bonuses.
The company is also considered a MLM.
The term stands for multi-level marketing and it is connected to a focus on recruitment, rather than just sales. Under the MLM model, members are supposed to build a team and then they earn various commissions and bonuses based on the team’s performance.
This is actually where the idea of an It Works pyramid scheme comes from.
To figure out how well the company works as a way to make money, this post will take a look at the products themselves and also the compensation plan. Both of these areas are critical if you’re considering getting involved with It Works.
The Product Selection
Health and beauty is often considered to be an ‘evergreen’ field. This means that people will always buy this type of product, regardless of the economy or even their personal finances.
But, at the same time, there is no shortage of these products on the market. So, you have to contend with a lot of competition.
With It Works, many of the products are fairly typical, including various dietary supplements and skin creams.
In most cases, the products don’t really seem all that unusual, but they are more expensive than similar products from non-MLMs.
One interesting product type is the It Works Greens range.
The marketing suggests that these are fairly unique and they’re supposed to be a way of alkalizing, balancing and detoxing your body.
In general, those concepts are very controversial.
For example, there is no real research suggesting that we even can alkalize our bodies and certainly none showing that we need to. Instead, the body is effective at maintaining pH on its own.
The only exception to this would be if you had a serious health issue – and if that’s the case, then taking a random MLM supplement isn’t the way to fix it.
A similar situation is true for detoxing too, especially as companies can’t even define what toxins they are supposed to be getting rid of anyway.
The end result is that these products basically act as supplements. So, they contain a range of different herbs, along with nutrients from other sources.
In theory, the ingredients may promote health benefits. However, most supplements are ineffective and may even put your health at risk in some cases. Additionally, the actual evidence of benefit from most of the herbs and superfoods included in the supplements will probably be slim.
Instead, you’re much better off actually including healthy components in your diet, including fruit and vegetables and even the so-called superfoods. Doing so offers more benefits and less risk.
So, the It Works Greens aren’t really that great and they’re fairly expensive for being mostly a supplement.
On a side note, most people would be buying at the retail price – as the green price is for people who sign up for an autoship (where products are sent automatically for at least 3 months).
However, in fairness, this is the type of product that people get passionate about.
Plus, even though there isn’t a lot of science behind this type of supplement, it does sound great on paper. So, people do end up being interested. That may help you to make sales.
In the long-term though, you could find that sales decrease if people don’t experience the benefits that they expect.
You can kind of see this pattern with the Greens on Amazon, as some people love them, while others think that the product is just a waste of money.
In theory, this outcome means that you could successfully sell the products. However, you’d be doing so by misleading people, which isn’t going to be appealing to many people.
The other main product that I want to look at is the It Works wraps. This is probably what the company is known for the most. In theory, you can place the wraps anywhere on your body and become slimmer.
Now, this doesn’t mean you lose weight.
Instead, the idea is to tone you a little by absorbing water. Whether or not they actually work is a matter of intense debate. The concept was popular for quite some time, although interest is starting to die down now.
Reviews on Amazon certainly suggest that the wraps don’t work all that well, with many people being unhappy.
Now, in fairness, some of those negative reviews will come from people saying you should buy from a distributor. But, there are also many cases where people have simply seen no results.
Even if the wraps do work for some people, the number of negative reviews is concerning. This suggests that many of your customers would have a bad experience.
That’s never a good thing, especially as one bad experience can cause you to permanently lose a customer and they may even take others with them. Besides that, the wraps are also the signature product for the company, which makes the negative reviews even more concerning.
The Compensation Plan
Some MLMs are fairly secretive about their compensation plan but that’s not the case for It Works. Instead, you can find the entire plan online, which is great.
Basically, the plan focuses on three groups of people:
- Retail customers: People who buy the products
- Loyal customers: People who sign up to an auto-ship of at least 3 months. This means they get billed for the products automatically but do get a discount
- Distributors: People who are also trying to sell and recruit others
The other thing to note is that there are various management levels.
These are essentially ranks in the company and most MLMs have something similar. Basically, a higher level means more ways to earn money. The various bonuses for the levels look like this:
At the same time, each management level comes with its own criteria.
For example, the image below is the criteria for the Emerald level.
The image is dramatically simplified, because each Ruby Leg needs to have three legs itself, one of which needs to be an Executive Leg. Likewise, each Executive Leg needs at least two Qualified Legs.
Beyond all of this, there are leadership levels, which is where the whole program gets much more complicated. In its definition, the company says that each diamond member is a new generation, which comes with its own bonuses.
So, once again, going up the ranks here means more bonuses, along with more requirements. The chart for payments looks like this:
And, not surprisingly, the requirements for each diamond rank become progressively more complicated.
With all of this complexity, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the compensation plan ends up looking extremely confusing as well.
For example, the image below is for Triple Diamond Generation Payouts. If you want to read the text, you can check out the full It Works compensation plan on their site, as the image here is really too small. But, I wanted to give an indication of just how complex it gets.
The underlying concepts here are the same as for every other MLM out there.
So, your aim is to get:
- A high rank
- A large team
- High ranks within your team
- A significant amount of sales (from you and from your team)
Each of these areas affects your potential for income.
Ideally, you would want a large team that is good at making sales and has many high-ranking members within it. Getting that would truly give you the chance to make a lot of money and this idea is a key reason why companies like It Works remain so popular.
Yet, only a fraction of members will ever get to this point.
For one thing, the compensation plan is incredibly confusing to even follow, especially when you get into the higher levels. Aside from that, you also have to be able to get a decent number of people into your team and they need to perform well.
Even on its own, recruiting isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most of us won’t even know many people with the time, income and inclination to get involved in a company like this.
Plus, even if you successfully recruit, there’s a good chance that at least some of your recruits won’t perform very well.
In practice, this means that members often get stuck at the first level or two. They may make some money there but the income level won’t be extremely high. Plus, even at that level, there is a decent amount of work involved.
Is There an It Works Pyramid Scheme?
The idea of an It Works pyramid scheme doesn’t sound too far-fetched. After all, the company does strongly emphasize recruitment and members are supposed to build a strong team and then earn commissions from that team.
In fact, the basic of recruitment starts to look a whole lot like a pyramid, even though the company avoids drawing it as such.
For example, in the case above, the first level has one person (the distributor). The next level has 2, then the following one has 4. After that, there is another level of 4 – but the implication is that you could get this much higher, if multiple distributors at the previous level recruited.
Realistically, if you ignore the various ranks, you end up with something that looks a bit like this:
Does that mean there is an It Works pyramid scheme?
There are major structural similarities between a MLM and a pyramid scheme. But, there are also key differences. For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provides this information about recognizing a pyramid scheme.
In this case, there is a genuine product and this really is the key difference between MLM and a pyramid scheme.
Now, it’s true that there’s some debate about whether the products from It Works are actually decent. But, there is no shortage of people who are passionate about the products and most of the items aren’t so different than other options in the health industry.
At the same time, the company doesn’t really promise high returns fast and mostly just says that you get ‘paid and rewarded’ to some degree.
There is certainly a focus on recruiting with the company but there is also just as much emphasis on the products. In fact, most of the website for It Works is about the products, not the opportunity or recruiting.
With all of this in mind, there’s little to suggest that there is an It Works pyramid scheme. Instead, the company follows the MLM model, which is considered significantly different.
Can a MLM Work?
Pyramid schemes are illegal and they take advantage of people. Essentially, you pay for the chance to earn money. The system will work but only briefly, which means that the early members are typically the only successful ones.
In contrast, the presence of actual products means that MLMs tend to last longer and more people have the chance to earn money. After all, you can actually make some income just by selling the products, without ever actually recruiting anybody.
In fact, some MLMs (like Amway or Avon) have been around for decades, if not longer. For example, Amway was founded in 1959 and Avon was founded much earlier than that. In both cases, the companies are still in business and continue to recruit members.
So, some companies do stick around and some members do make income. This means the model does work.
But, not for everybody.
As a general rule, direct sales is a tough industry to begin with. You have to convince people to buy on a one-on-one basis. Often, those people will be unwilling to spend money or simply won’t have it to spend.
At the same time, there are a lot of direct sales companies out there. So, you’re competing with all of them for sales and for recruitment.
Personally, I would say that you can probably make some money with actual sales – especially early on when people are hyped up about the products.
But, you probably won’t make much headway with recruiting, so your potential income will always be pretty low.
To really be successful in this (or any) MLM, you need to grow a strong team. That team needs to recruit and make sales.
Most of the time, distributors struggle to recruit even one or two others. And, when they do manage to recruit, they tend to find that their recruits aren’t very passionate. So, you can end up with a team that isn’t willing to put in the time or the effort.
Yes, there are exceptions to these rules.
If you have a large social network and know a decent number of people with free time and disposable income – you might get somewhere. That’s particularly true if they’re passionate about It Works products or about health and beauty.
Even then, you still have to be great at sales and managing your team.
My Personal It Works Review
It’s tempting to say that there is an It Works pyramid scheme but that simply wouldn’t be accurate. Instead, It Works falls under the MLM model and has the same characteristics of many similar companies out there.
In fact, I’ve written a range of different MLM reviews and the general concept is the same regardless of which company. Basically, you have the chance to make money under this model but achieving that goal is much harder than it sounds.
Personally, I don’t ever recommend MLM as a model. Trying to directly sell products and recruit typically doesn’t work and you risk losing friends and family in the process.
But, if you’re going to go with a MLM – pick one with decent and unique products, or with cheap products. For example, Paparazzi Jewelry is one of many jewelry MLMs. But, it is unusual because almost all of the products are just $5.
Another surprisingly good option is Clever Container, where the products are different than what you would find in conventional stores.
Even Pampered Chef can be an interesting choice, even though only some of their products are unusual.
In contrast, It Works offers a lot of fairly typical products. The only unusual ones are the It Works greens and the body wraps but even these aren’t that uncommon. Plus, the reviews aren’t great, especially for the wraps.
At the end of the day, the MLM model is tough on its own and the products from It Works just make the whole process harder.
Even though there is no It Works pyramid scheme, you’re still stuck with the MLM model, which is tough at the best of times.
It is possible to make money this way but you end up fighting the model. Plus, you have to rely on a team of people under you and their effectiveness influences your own chance to earn money.
To make matters worse, you have to pay to join and continue to buy products yourself.
Which begs the quest, how exactly is this an opportunity?
For the most part, you just end up being an employee for the company. But, you only get paid if you are successful. That’s great for the company (cheap labor) but not so good for you.
So then, the main reason for getting involved might be the products or the independence from making money yourself.
But, you can get that independence elsewhere.
In particular, you can follow a process called affiliate marketing.
Here, you’re still promoting products but you get to do so on your own terms. You also don’t have to buy the products or recruit.
There are tons of different affiliate programs out there with just about every type of product imaginable.
In most cases, these are completely free to join, so you can shop around for products that you are actually passionate about.
The actual process of making money is surprisingly simple as well. The idea is to create your own website and use this as a tool to create a long-term successful business.
If that concept sounds hard, don’t worry. More than anything, you just need good training and direction to be successful, and the field is easily learned.
The site that I recommend is one called Wealthy Affiliate.
This is a great place to learn everything there is to know about affiliate marketing, including the process of building a website. In fact, you can even start a website for free on Wealthy Affiliate and learn as you go.
Money Making Tip
We all strive for success with our jobs and families, yet it’s easy to fall victim to all the online scams and false promises out there. There is a better way though. You can learn to make money online the trusted and proven way – with a service that includes everything you need to succeed and a proven platform for success that fits any lifestyle.