Is Forever Living an MLM? Forever Living Products International, Inc is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company.
That was an easy question to answer, but don’t leave yet.
Some of the harder questions might be:
- Is Forever Living a scam?
- Are they a pyramid scheme?
- Can you make money with Forever Living?
- How much does it cost to join?
- Is it worth it?
Don’t you worry.
I’m going to answer all of this and more below.
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
What is Forever Living?
Forever Living Products is a health and wellness multi-level marketing (MLM) company that was started back in 1978 by Rex Maughan. Their main focus is on products that contain aloe vera. They currently operate in 160 countries.
Forever Living has several product categories. Some of these include:
- Immune Health
- Bee Products
- Weight Management
- Essential Oils
Let’s take a look at a few of their products and their prices.
Besides what’s in the image, here are some other examples of products from Forever Living and their prices:
- Forever Bee Propolis (60 tablets) = $27.24
- Forever Supergreens (30 packets) = $33.00
- Forever FastBreak (12 bars) = $52.29
- Forever Light Ultra (13.2 oz) = $26.16
- Aloe Hand Soap (16 fl. oz) = $13.23
- Forever Aloe MPD 2x Ultra (32 fl oz) = $21.23 (This is a laundry detergent.)
I’ve never heard of Bee Propolis until right now. I would have thought it was some place in Greece where bees go to vacation, but turns out, it’s a supplement.
Forever Living’s Bee Propolis is 60 tablets for $27.24.
But you can find this on Amazon for much less.
All of these have more capsules than the Forever Living product except for Swanson. But Swanson’s product is significantly less.
The Forever FastBreak bars are Forever Living’s protein bars. $52.29 for 12! That’s $4.36 per bar!
Here are some protein bars from Amazon. These are all 12-packs:
You can see the prices are significantly less.
Are you telling me that Forever Living’s protein bars are so great that they’re worth $52.29?
Not buying it.
The reason Forever Living’s prices are so high is that, like all MLMs, they need to pay the compensation plan. It’s also a way to try to get customers and distributors. “Become a member and save 40%!”, or whatever it is.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Forever Living?
It’s free to join Forever Living, and that will get you a discount on the products.
(There’s always a but.)
If you plan to sell the products, you will need to know what the products are like. Therefore, you need to buy products. It’s optional, but it’s not.
Also, if you want to be an FBO (Forever Business Owner), you’ll need to be eligible with 2 CCs (case credits), and you can do this by purchasing a product pack.
For instance, here’s one that will qualify you because it’s worth 2 CCs:
This one will cost you $306.38.
There are some other options where you can mix and match to make 2 CCs. These options range from $98.28 – $406.60.
In order to qualify for all bonuses and payments, you will need to have 4 CCs in a month. (1 CC is approximately $140.) This can be done through sales that you make, or through personal purchases of the products.
This is where a lot of distributors in MLMs get into trouble.
Let’s say you’re going for a promotion, but you’re just not quite there with the number of sales you need for the month. What do distributors end up doing? They buy the products themselves.
This starts to add up over time if they continue to do this…
Forever Living Compensation Plan
I’m notoriously bad at understanding compensation plans, so I’ll send you to Behind MLM for the Forever Living compensation breakdown. I personally don’t care to understand them because I’m not going to recommend you join.
But, I also like to provide you as much information so that you can form your own opinions and make the best choice for you.
With that said, here’s a YouTube video explaining some of the compensation plan:
According to the video, there are three main phases with Forever Living:
- Retail Sales (Earn 15% – 30% by buying products wholesale and selling them retail)
- Team Leader (Up to Manager level)
- Business Builder (Senior Manager and above)
There are 12 ranks in Forever Living:
- New Distributor
- Assistant Supervisor
- Assistant Manager
- Senior Manager
- Soaring Manager
- Diamond Sapphire
- Double Diamond
- Triple Diamond
- Diamond Centurion
Each rank has its own qualifications. If you want to know all the nitty-gritty details, here’s the compensation plan straight from the Forever Living website.
It’s 54 pages, by the way.
Forever Living Income Disclosure
Forever Living’s Income Disclosure is a fairly small blurb on their site, which you can see here. It says all that it needs to say though. It says what every other MLM income disclosure says – almost no one makes money.
Let’s take a closer look.
In case this is hard for you to read, I’ll just hit a couple of the most important parts.
- Most people just join to get the discounted prices (I don’t really believe this, and I’ll explain why in a minute), or to make a little bit of money
- 88.6% of people who joined Forever Living didn’t make anything significant
- 11.4% of Forever Living monthly purchasers made some sort of money
- Within the 11.4% group, most of them earned an average of $105 per month ($1263) annually
- 30% of the 11.4% group earned an average of $17,916 per year
Basically, only the tiny, tiny top of the
pyramid, er, business earned a decent yearly wage. And this is all before expenses.
This report on the FTC’s website shows that over 99% of people lose money in an MLM.
My friend Mike did his own report and found that 92.3% of members lose money.
Why I Don’t Think Most People Join to Get Discounts
Here’s why I don’t think most people join MLMs just to get discounts. Maybe, MAYBE you might get your mom to do this. Or a friend.
But, generally speaking, why would anyone do this?
Even if you get the products at a discount, they’re still going to be higher priced than other places. Plus, you have to pay shipping, which is generally very high for MLMs. On top of that, you have to wait – sometimes weeks – to get your products.
It’s actually a pain in the ass to buy products from MLMs. (I did it for over a year with Young Living.)
The reason people join MLMs is that they want to make money. When they can’t, the income disclosure just puts them into this “they just wanted a discount bucket.”
I call BS.
I don’t have proof. I just have experience.
Forever Living Complaints & Positive Reviews
I always like to start at the BBB to see what customers say about a company. What’s weird though is that there aren’t any reviews or complaints for Forever Living at the BBB:
It shows they have been accredited since 1978, but there aren’t any reviews and there aren’t any complaints. I think they have found a way to get rid of these. And the reason I say that is that there are plenty of reviews from other sites.
One of those sites is TrustPilot.
Some of the positive reviewers on TrustPilot said thing like:
- These products are well worth the money
- I would recommend aloe propolis crepe for anyone with a skin problem
- Great products and excellent business opportunity for everyone
- Forever Living changed my life
Some of the Forever Living complaints are:
- The aloe vera gel has changed and it’s not as good
- The products aren’t anything special for the price
- I couldn’t work the business because some reps are too bitchy and clique-y
- This junk is overpriced and overrated
Then I headed over to Glassdoor to see what people had to say there.
This was quite interesting because quite a few reviews said things like:
- You have to work a lot to make any money. It’s a pyramid scheme company.
- Pyramid scheme. I don’t know how they get away with being called a legit multi-level marketing company.
- Bullying and constant manipulation, pressure to hit your targets, disingenuous upline with zero integrity
So, as you can see, people had some things to say here!
When you work with an MLM, you will get people that will straight up just say, “that’s a pyramid scheme.” Are they wrong? Is Forever Living a pyramid scheme?
We’ll talk about that a little later.
Truth in Advertising is a great place to go if you want to know a little more about a company’s shenanigans.
They have lists of distributors making unsubstantiated income and health claims for various MLM companies. And Forever Living is included in this. You can see everything here.
Let’s just take a look at a couple of the claims that TINA.org found.
One thing that people hate about health-related MLMs is that they try to say their products can cure certain diseases. They prey on people who have health issues. Here’s a post that TINA.org found that seems to be suggesting that Forever Living products can fix all of these issues.
I have seen many stories where distributors (“huns” as they’re called in the anti-MLM world) will contact someone who has cancer or some other terrible illness. While this person is struggling with their health, they’ll try to convince them that their product is a magic cure.
(FL = Forever Living)
Besides health claims, TrustPilot also looks at income claims. This is how distributors really try to draw you in. They make you feel like you want their luxurious lifestyle.
Here’s an example, and you can see the full image here on TrustPilot’s site.
All you need to see is the first line of this post. In case you can’t read it, it says:
“Did you know that once you join my team you will never be broke. You can enjoy unlimited income.”
Even though, as mentioned above, we know that at least 92% of distributors lose money in an MLM.
So yes. There’s a great chance that once you join her team you will be broke.
- Selling Essential Oils Online [MLM vs Affiliate Marketing]
- MLM vs Affiliate Marketing – Why Affiliate Marketing Beats Any MLM Opportunity
- Why I Quit Young Living [Any Why I’m Now Anti-MLM]
Is Forever Living a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
First, I hope I answered the question, “Is Forever Living an MLM?” It sure is! Any time you can find a compensation plan for a company, it’s an MLM.
No other type of company uses those that I know of. (And why would they? They’re so confusing!)
Is Forever Living a Scam? I’ll get back to that in a minute with a video.
Is Forever Living a pyramid scheme? Technically it’s not. The FTC hasn’t made that determination yet, and it’s possible they never will. There is a decent focus on selling the products retail, which would make them a legit MLM company.
The problem with MLMs is that just selling products retail is tough. You’re never going to be able to make the big bucks just selling retail. If you want to make the big money, you’ll need to recruit. And if recruiting becomes the main focus for an MLM, it goes into pyramid scheme territory.
- Fairly inexpensive startup cost (you can even become an affiliate for free)
- There are people who genuinely like the products
- People are extremely skeptical of MLMs and will call them scams and pyramid schemes, even if they aren’t technically
- It’s extremely hard to make money in an MLM. The vast majority of people lose money
- The products are overpriced, which makes them hard to sell retail
- Recruiting is really the only way to make good money in an MLM, but then it becomes a pyramid scheme
- From what I’ve read, overall, Forever Living does not have a great reputation
- You’ll have to bother your friends and family to sign up with you, which is always awkward
- Once you start recruiting people, you’ll understand that they are now your competition
- You’ll be pressured to buy products – a lot of them (that’s how your upline makes money)
Is Forever Living a Scam?
I don’t personally consider Forever Living a scam, exactly. Some people think that all MLMs are scams because of the way they prey on vulnerable people. I think of a scam more like a company that takes your money and runs never to be heard from again.
So, I think it just depends on your definition.
Ethan Vanderbuilt does think it’s a scam. You can see why in his video:
He says there’s very little opportunity for you to make money retailing the products.
“In that case, you’re going to end up with just a recruiting scheme where the vast majority of people are just profiting off of the personal purchases of other people that are joining for the same opportunity to make money with this business opportunity.”
I mean, that pretty much sums up every MLM I’ve looked at.
An Alternative to Forever Living
I’m an honest person.
This is where I try to convince you that joining Forever Living is not a good idea, and where I try to get you to consider affiliate marketing instead.
Here’s the thing.
If I just convinced you to not join Forever Living, and that’s all that happens, that’s a win in my book. You WILL lose money if you join Forever Living. It’s almost guaranteed.
But, if you want to learn how to make money from the comfort of your home (or anywhere) and you like the idea of being a boss babe, then let me introduce you to the world of blogging and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products for a commission.
Does that sound like an MLM? Maybe. But that’s about the only thing they have in common.
With affiliate marketing, there’s no:
- Hard sales
- Uplines or downlines
- Cold messaging
- Bothering your friends and family
- Worry about your company being shut down by the FTC
- Starter kits
- Monthly inventory or sales requirements
I have experience in both MLMs and affiliate marketing, and let me tell you, affiliate marketing blows MLMs out of the water. (See my MLM vs Affiliate Marketing post to see how they’re different.)
Do you see the images I included at the very top of the post that show you alternative products on Amazon that are cheaper than the Forever Living products?
Those include affiliate links.
If someone clicked on those and then bought items on Amazon, I’d get a commission.
There’s more to affiliate marketing than I can explain in this one little paragraph, so I invite you to check out my free guide to affiliate marketing here.
Is Forever Living an MLM? Yes. Yes, it is. You can recruit people and get paid on multiple levels, therefore it’s an MLM. Can you actually make money with Forever Living and is it worth joining?
In my opinion, it’s not a great idea to join Forever Living or any MLM. From my research (and my personal experience, and through the experience of talking with others in MLMs), it’s extremely hard to earn an income. In fact, almost everyone ends up losing money.
Of course, it’s your choice. I just wanted to give you as much information as I can as to why I think it’s not a good idea.
If you love the idea of making an income on your own time, I highly recommend affiliate marketing instead. You can promote what you like, create sources of multiple (and passive income), and not have to worry about recruiting your friends and family or buying starter kits or inventory. This is my #1 recommendation for teaching you how to create an affiliate marketing website step by step that will pay you over and over again.
Other related content:
- Best Programs to Make Money Online
- Learn How to Make a Site That Pays You Over and Over Again
- How To: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners (FREE Guide)
- Ultimate Wealthy Affiliate Review