If you’re wondering if Life Leadership is a scam, I’m going to break it all down for you in this article.
I came across a post about Life Leadership in a Facebook group, and the person said she felt it is “the most harmful MLM out there” so I knew I had to take a closer look.
After researching quite a few multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, and being a part of them myself in the past, I have come to realize that they are not all they’re cracked up to be.
And this one is particularly interesting, so I’m glad you’re doing your research before deciding to join.
Let’s dive in.
What is Life Leadership?
Life Leadership is a direct sales company mostly that produces educational material in these three main categories:
- Financial Development
- Professional Development
- Personal Development
Life Leadership was started in 2011 by Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, Dan Hawkins and George Guzzardo. Orrin Woodward is someone with an interesting past. We’ll get back to him in a minute.
After doing some research on Life Leadership, it seems they now have an App that you can download. The app allows you to:
- Shop and use coupons / discounts
- Use Groupon’s savings
- Gain an additional 1% back on their virtual currency they call dibs
- Purchase bitcoin
- Earn trip credits toward a cruise or a trip to Hawaii
- Use it for financial education
There are three levels of the app membership:
(Note: I’ve downloaded the app through someone’s referral link as an experiment. I want to see if the person contacts me and if there are any aggressive sales tactics. I’ll keep you posted.)
Who is Orrin Woodward?
Orrin Woodward started off designing fuel pumps for General Motors, and started selling Amway on the side. He eventually left General Motors to sell Amway full time. He then founded Team, which were sales tools for Amway consultants. Amway didn’t really like this, but it made the company money. Eventually, he parted ways with Amway (there were some lawsuits involved) and struck a deal with MonaVie’s founder Dallin Larsen.
That’s a short summary from this Forbes article, which states that Orrin basically created a “pyramid within a pyramid”. And Forbes also mentions that while Orrin had tools to help sell MonaVie, what he was really selling was hope and motivation. Team eventually broke off and became Life (aka Life Leadership).
You can also check out this blog post to learn a little more about Orrin.
In order to make themselves look like top leaders, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady have used some tricks, lies and deceptions. (Which ultimately made them look worse.) If you’d like to read more about it, here’s an article for you. And another.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Life Leadership?
According to their compensation plan (more about that next, including a link), Life Leadership says:
“There are no Life Member purchase, monthly purchase, or autoship requirements for participation in any of this compensation plan.”
If you want decide you do want to build a team with Life Leadership, there are some monthly sales requirements needed in order to qualify for all the income earnings and bonuses. These can be sales that you make for yourself, or customer sales. (Except starting in month 7 you are required to have customer sales. More about this in the next section.)
Life Leadership Compensation Plan
According to Life Leadership’s compensation plan, there are 16 (and a 1/2) ways you can earn an income as an independent consultant. I’m not going to go into everything in detail because it’s freaking hard to understand, but you can get the full details here.
The 16 (and 1/2) ways to earn an income with Life Leadership:
- Retail Sales Commissions – (15% commissions)
- The “3 for free” customer referral programs (Sign up 3 customers and you get your subscription free. This is the 1/2 way you can earn)
- Customer Pool Bonus (earn an additional bonus, depending on your total Registered Customer sales per quarter)
- Cumulative Customer Bonus (another bonus dependent on your total Registered Customer sales per year)
- Personal Bonus (money you get back on your personal volume)
- Customer Bonus (money you earn on customer sales in addition to what’s already been mentioned)
- Differential Bonus (get paid for helping develop your team’s sales)
- Product Scholarship Program (this one’s hard to understand, but it encourages you to help your team members make sales)
- Scholarship Development Bonus (similar to Product Scholarship Program, please refer to the details in the link I posted above.)
- Fun in the Sun Cruise (earn a trip by being a Leader or above for 12 months)
- Balanced Business Bonus (bonus for having a balanced business with Leaders in width and depth)
- Annual Cash Awards (Leaders and above who remain at that rank will receive a yearly cash bonus)
- Leader Bonus (help team members become Leaders and get a bonus)
- Depth Bonus – 2% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
- Depth Bonus – 1% above the 2% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
- Depth Bonus – .5% above the 2% and 1% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
- Depth Bonus – .25% above the other three depth bonuses (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
The Life Leadership Ranks
Every MLM needs a ranking system. Here’s what Life Leadership uses and you can see what each level needs to rank up on their compensation plan (starts at page 7).
- Senior Performer
- Senior Coordinator
- Senior Advisor
- Life Coach
- Executive Life Coach
- Double Life Coach
- Triple Life Coach
- Crown Life Coach
- Crown Ambassador Life Coach
You can earn compensation for regular retail sales, plus the Customer Pool Bonus and Cumulative Customer Bonus without a monthly minimum order. But in order to qualify for all other income, you need to have a monthly minimum of $100 or $400 for the Financial Fitness Bullion Reserve products.
These sales can come from your own personal orders, sales that you make to Registered Customers or a combination of both.
Starting in your 7th month, you need to have at least $50 in Registerd Customer sales per month.
Here’s a “helpful” chart to break all this information down for you:
Yea, I have no idea either. I think they make these convoluted on purpose so you don’t ask too many questions.
Life Leadership Income Disclosure
I took pieces of the Income Disclosure I thought were most important. You can get the full disclosure here. (Page 20) It’s sideways though, so not the easiest to read.
What’s kind of good about this income chart is that it’s broken up between Customer Qualified Members and non-Qualified Customer Members.
I just included the section on the Qualified Customer Members since the non-qualified members maybe were just tire kickers and not really interested in building a business. I think this chart tells us enough though.
99.478% of qualified members are in the first level (Student). The best Students are making over $5,000 a month. That’s not bad. But, as you can see, the average monthly income tells a different story.
The averages for the Student 6,000 and Student 8,000 are around $400 – $500 per month. (Although the median is much lower.) It took an average of 45 months to get there. That’s a lot of time and effort for not much pay. And that’s just if you’re pretty good at this.
By the way, these income amounts don’t include expenses like purchasing products, going to conventions, buying tools, brochures, business cards and other materials.
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Positive Reviews and Complaints
I did happen to find quite a few happy Life Leadership people. They said things like:
- Great company
- Helped me pay off my debt
- This is a fabulous opportunity
- Love the products
Here’s a positive review from someone on Facebook:
Of course, I found plenty of Life Leadership complaints as well. The people who complained said things like:
- It has a cult-like atmosphere
- This is a complete scam
- They charged my credit card without my consent
- They won’t give me my money back
Here’s an interesting complaint from the BBB website:
Is Life Leadership a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
So, the big question. Is Life Leadership a scam? I think that’s a hard question to answer. In fact, I’m not going to answer it. This is something for the FTC to decide. I have seen plenty of people calling it a scam and a pyramid scheme.
From my research, it seems that almost all MLMs are right on the border of being a pyramid scheme. Yes, most of them have a product that they can sell to the public, which technically prevents them from being a pyramid scheme.
But let’s face it, most people outside of the company are not buying the products because they are almost always overpriced. The people who are buying the products are the distributors themselves. Which means that recruiting people becomes the most lucrative part, which then turns it into a pyramid scheme.
- You can start at no cost
- Most people seem to love the products
- Plenty of good reviews on the company
- More than one person has called Life “cult-like”
- You are very likely to lose money
- If you do make any money, it’s because people below you are losing money
- When in an MLM, you are the customer making the people at the top rich
- Top leaders are not trustworthy
Life Leadership is best for the people at the very top – the owners. While you’re stuck at the bottom of the pile trying to make a few bucks here and there, the owners at the top are laughing all the way to the bank…
An Alternative to Life Leadership
I know it’s tempting to get sucked into an MLM because of all the promises of “work from home”, “work at your own pace”, “spend more time with your family”, “get the financial freedom you deserve”. But unfortunately, that’s not how they end up. Ever.
What happens in over 99% of cases is that you end up spending more and more money on the products and you can’t find anyone to sell them to because no one wants overpriced products. Then you try to recruit, but people are skeptical. They do their research (as you are doing now). They don’t want to join a pyramid scheme (that’s what they’ll call it even if it isn’t).
I have an alternative for you. It’s called affiliate marketing, and you can learn more about it here. If you love the idea of promoting self-development books and courses, you can do it through affiliate marketing instead. With affiliate marketing, there’s no:
- Monthly sales quotas
- Monthly subscriptions
- Uplines or downlines
- Customer service
You can join an affiliate program like Amazon or Hay House and you can promote self-development programs without all the pressure of recruiting others. Read more about affiliate marketing here.
Life Leadership is an MLM where you could spend days going down different rabbit holes. There is a lot to this particular company and its leaders, and I would really do more research before you jump in. Just because you don’t “need” to spend money to be involved doesn’t mean you won’t.
In fact, because YOU are actually the customer, I will guarantee that you’ll be pressured into buying plenty of things. I read that someone who made it to the top 50 in company sales (and made only a little over $200 in a month as a result) talked about the conventions and how they charge $20 for a t-shirt, $25 for a pizza cutter (I don’t even get that one?), etc. Oh, you’ll be paying alright.
If you like the idea of working from home promoting things that you like, including self-development programs and materials without all the recruiting hassle, then affiliate marketing may be perfect for you. Read more about it here and see if it’s just what you’re looking for.