Is Life Leadership a Scam? [The Most Harmful MLM…?]

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 homepage.

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:

Life Leadership app pricing

(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.

Leadership Gurus?

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:

  1. Retail Sales Commissions – (15% commissions)
  2. 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)
  3. Customer Pool Bonus (earn an additional bonus, depending on your total Registered Customer sales per quarter)
  4. Cumulative Customer Bonus (another bonus dependent on your total Registered Customer sales per year)
  5. Personal Bonus (money you get back on your personal volume)
  6. Customer Bonus (money you earn on customer sales in addition to what’s already been mentioned)
  7. Differential Bonus (get paid for helping develop your team’s sales)
  8. Product Scholarship Program (this one’s hard to understand, but it encourages you to help your team members make sales)
  9. Scholarship Development Bonus (similar to Product Scholarship Program, please refer to the details in the link I posted above.)
  10. Fun in the Sun Cruise (earn a trip by being a Leader or above for 12 months)
  11. Balanced Business Bonus (bonus for having a balanced business with Leaders in width and depth)
  12. Annual Cash Awards (Leaders and above who remain at that rank will receive a yearly cash bonus)
  13. Leader Bonus (help team members become Leaders and get a bonus)
  14. Depth Bonus – 2% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
  15. Depth Bonus – 1% above the 2% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
  16. Depth Bonus – .5% above the 2% and 1% additional earnings (bonuses for hitting a higher rank)
  17. 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).

  1. Student
  2. Performer
  3. Senior Performer
  4. Coordinator
  5. Senior Coordinator
  6. Advisor
  7. Senior Advisor
  8. Life Coach
  9. Executive Life Coach
  10. Double Life Coach
  11. Triple Life Coach
  12. Crown Life Coach
  13. 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:

Life Leadership compensation plan chart.

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.

Life Leadership income disclosure

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.

Related articles: 

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:

Positive review for Life Leadership from 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:

Life Leadership complaint says they harass her non-stop.

You can also read this account from someone who purchased and tried to get a return as well as this enlightening thread on Reddit.

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:

  • Recruiting
  • Monthly sales quotas
  • Monthly subscriptions
  • Uplines or downlines
  • Inventory
  • Customer service
  • Training

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.

29 thoughts on “Is Life Leadership a Scam? [The Most Harmful MLM…?]”

  1. Thankfully I decided to research more before making the decision of joining this life leadership platform. When I saw the claim of a review calling it a “cult-like” platform, I got taken aback and decided to learn more about them. Thanks for unveiling all these information about them and how they operate. This platform is in no way meant for me and I will never think of joining it. Thanks

    • Very smart of you to do your research before joining Life Leadership. I can’t personally say if it’s cult-like since I haven’t had that experience with them, but it was alarming to me to read that. And it wasn’t just from one person. 

      I saw quite a few posts from people who had a friend or family member who joined and they were really worried for them. That is concerning! 

    • My friends and family grew up in a cult sobits very easy for us to get sucked into things right now my cousin is trying to get me to join this life app and its really hard for me to say no to people this will definitely be good practice in saying no lol

  2. I have generally never ben a fan of MLM programmes and this one is not an exception. The more I learn about programmes using this business model, I feel annoyed. It’s not easy to make money from this type of business and when you do, it’s because your downlines are not making money. It’ll be very bad to ask people to join something you’d want them to lose from. For life leadership, it’s a big from me. Nice review.

    • That’s the exact issue with MLMs. It’s almost a no-win situation unless you get in super early or you’re really, really lucky. Even then, will you feel good about making money knowing it’s because the people below you are losing money? 

      Not that 99% of people will have to worry about that since they’ll be the ones losing money… 

  3. Hello Christina, there are lots of similar companies around today in our society and I must admit they have some of the best approaches to making you join thier business and at the end of the day you’re left hanging there waiting for nothing. Looking at the program, although it looks good and that would make anyone wants to go into it. But first the MLM scheme there is a big turn off for me and also these feedback are enough reason to make me stay back. Best regards.

    • To be fair, Life Leadership does have a lot of positive reviews. But, the articles about them, the people worried for their friends and family who have joined and the people that say its cult-like make me feel something is very amiss with this company. 

      In any case, because it’s an MLM, you’re almost guaranteed to lose money, which is reason enough to stay away. 

  4. SCAM ALERT!! Do NOT fall for their MLM Pyramid scheme scam. I was once a member. They only exist just to take money from poor and desperate people, and get them to recruit more and more poor desperate people. Their only intent is just to take your money; not make you money as they do claim.

    I love your honest review.


    • Thanks for your thoughts and for relaying your experience, Jordan! 

  5. Thanks for this eyeopening review, in my opinion It is unclear why the company would detail the history of the founder’s experience in personal development and leadership skills, but not detail what teachings they deliver. A proper business skills are crucial for operating a successful business, and the lack of transparency here is a cause for concern and definitely a “No Go Area”.

    • Going off of the company’s website, it is really unclear exactly what they sell. They definitely do lack some transparency. 

      For instance, I downloaded the app, but I don’t understand all the details of what it does. There isn’t a lot of information on how to earn cruise credits (although, I think that has to do with recruiting and building a team under you since that was in the compensation plan) or how to buy bitcoin from the app. 

      I do think transparency is important and you need to know what exactly you’re getting yourself into when you sign up for something. 

  6. Oh, this is a very nice review of the platform here. I am very glad that you can do this review Christina. Many times I see people who go into MLM programmes and you have written here why it is not ideal. I think that an MLM is simply a pyramid scheme with a product to sell. Nicely written here.

    • MLMs basically are pyramid schemes with a product to sell. You hit the nail on the head with that one. I suppose there are some legitimate MLMs out there where the focus is on selling the product to actual customers. But chances are, that’s not the case and YOU become the customer when you sign up in an MLM. 

  7. Everyone is willing to go online and shop for stuff and I’m not surprised to see such programs coming up to scam other people. I’m glad to have come across this post as I now have a better understanding of this program. However MLM programs haven’t been my thing as I find it hard to talk people into doing business, now I know what it means when they say “not all that glitter is gold “. Thanks for the information.

    • It is very hard to talk people into doing business with an MLM. While the internet allows more MLMs to rise up, it also allows more people to research and find out what they’re really about. Therefore, more and more people are skeptical. 

      And with good reason! 

  8. Thank you for an excellent review of what, at face value, might seem like a decent enough opportunity. I, like many, am always on the lookout for legitimate businesses and also the scams that maquerade as something they’re not. This would seem to fall in the latter category.

    I have had personal experience of being in a ‘borderline’ MLM company. I say that because on paper everything looks like it should set you rolling in the right direction. The products were good quality and maybe a tad on the high price side. Friends and family will only support you so far and one person can only eat so many health bars. Ultimatley you end up buying more for personal use, to keep your quota up to qualify for the better commission rate.

    As per the script, the only way to really make a go of it is by recruiting and like you say, everyone is very sceptical these days and although you can pitch the idea as being the next best thing, ninety nine percent of those you talk to will just laugh and say it sounds like a ‘Pyramid scheme’, which in essence it really is, no matter which way you dress it up. If it walks like a duck, then it probably is.

    So, another one that goes on the ever increasing list of schemes to avoid. Although this one is one to steer clear of, your review is very fair and you’ve given enough information for us to actually make a decision, here and now, or investigate further. I thank you for that. 

    • I completely understand your experience in your MLM. That’s exactly what I experienced as well in mine. The worst part is that you feel like you’re never doing enough and you feel like a failure at every moment because all you’re doing is spending money instead of making it. 

      I never even realized how we end up being the customers in an MLM until I really started to look into them for my site. It makes total sense now looking back. That’s why people in your upline want you to buy, buy, buy more products! 

      Now I want to warn as many people as possible about MLMs because it’s almost always going to end up with a loss of money. 

      Maybe you like the products. I get that. But chances are, you can find the same thing outside of an MLM for a much better price. 

  9. I joined Life and have made some wonderful friends. The nice thing about Life is that unlike nearly all MLMs, ALL Life members are on the same payment plan. We don’t sell products like Amway or others. We leave that to others, with the exception below. Additionally, the company is now only marketing the Life Super App. All the other previous products, the financial and leadership instruction, are all now part of the App at no extra charge. You were correct that the travel credit is available, but it’s not just Hawaii or a cruise. Life has partnered with Priceline and the monthly user fee for customers (as well as members) is returned 1-to-1 as a travel credit that can be used immediately, in addition to the travel discounts. Also, we now have a marketplace where businesses directly market their products thru the app. Currently, there are around 300 regional and national businesses on the app (Ace Hardware, Best Buy, Captain D’s, Carnival Cruises, Lowes, Amtrak, Delta Airlines, The Gap, etc.) that offer cash back on each purchase, as well as digital coupons and Groupon which are ‘stackable.’ There’s also foreign language courses, as well as the Life On Life initiative which gives back to the community. One last thing – Woodward and Brady have both been named as Forbes Top 50 leadership expects in history. No other company, of any kind, can boast that.

  10. Loved this article. Something about me… I was introduced to LIFE when I was 13. Back when they were still associated with MonaVie. I grew up feeling brainwashed like I was living in a cult. My parents forced me to go to all the Tuesday meetings and seminars and the big events 3-4 times a year. It was awful. And I was a teenager. I will say, I did like some of the content. But it’s all information you can get anywhere and for much much cheaper.
    Anyways, for 8 years I watch my parents struggle and get into more debt trying to succeed in that business while they shoved the MLM philosophy down my throat. Companies like this make you alienate everyone that you ever cared about. “You’re not on board with what I’m doing? You’re out of my life.” When I turned 18 and I told my parents I didn’t want to do it, they started treating me terribly. I moved out as soon as I could.
    They got out a few years ago and it’s nice to see my mom not freaking out trying to get more people signed up and getting customers. Being in MLM’s consumes you. LIFE Leadership really is one of the worst out there. Fake professionalism. Not to mention, it’s a very conservative group. Very Christian based, but the Old Testament. Women are slaves to their husbands kinda stuff… that’s their philosophy.
    I could go on for days about this.

    • Wow, what a story! Thank you for sharing. I know getting out of one of these companies is actually very freeing. Like a weight has been lifted. I’m happy to hear your parents finally got out too. I feel sad that they were in debt for this cultish company, but at least they’re out.

    • Um. With all due respect, your parents do not represent anyone that I’ve seen in over 4 years. You were dragged by your parents at age 13? Kindly request which audio or book from inside or outside the training system would even hint at anything like that? None.
      My sincere apologies for what you experienced. Nr. 2 book of the Top 5 Book list is “How to Win Friends…” by Carnegie. Does Dale suggest that? Also not.
      Your parents obviously did not apply what is recommended. Again, my sincere apologies, but please do not blame a “driving teacher”, when “Student” decides to do their own thing.
      I wish you well and hope that books from Dale Carnegie and Stephen Covey for example (all recommended by LIFE and thousands of others) may give you a better reflection of Personal Development.

  11. Hm. Ms. Piccoli makes a “review” of something she hasn’t tried out herself and pitches “affiliate marketing”.

    That’s like saying Ford makes a bad car cause someone complained but my Nissan is fantastic!

    Thank goodness that most people don’t fall for these cheap marketing tricks!

    Last but not least, notice how Ms. Piccoli neglects to discuss the actual Product? By golly!

    Do yourself a favor: when you are shown the SuperApp, test it and see how much money it saves you 😉
    You’ll see that it’s at least $100 for average family.

    And no, I won’t leave my download link here.

  12. Thank you Michael. I thought the same thing. I have a friend involved with affiliate marketing and have yet to see him making any money, but spending hours a day working on it, on top of his day job. Maybe he loves it. Also, the principles of life leadership teach getting out of debt, not going into debt. We are using the information to get out of debt, and have a better marriage. It is also fun to watch my cash back grow through my normal shopping at Walmart and Barnes and noble. Getting out of debt reduces stress in my life. Which makes me more enjoyable to be around. Merry Christmas!!!

  13. If you want to talk about Pyramids, you have no further to look than Corporate America. As far as Life Leadership, it is what you make of it, my 26 year old son learned a lot about Financial Fitness and Leadership and is much further ahead in those areas than most young people his age. He possess Leadership qualities without going to the expense of going to college, which is pushing Socialist beliefs.

    • I know a lot of people argue that corporate America is like a pyramid scheme, and I get the idea around that. However, you don’t have to pay to work in corporate America. You get a salary. You don’t have a downline or upline. You don’t have to recruit people to your team. It’s not the same thing.

      And I’m happy for your son. I’m glad he did well. 99% of people don’t. I am more profitable playing slot machines at the casino than I was with Young Living.

  14. This info is NOT up to date for 2023 at all. This post should be REMOVED or greatly & ACCURATELY edited. It’s a shame to discourage people to get the facts & make an informed decision for themselves. Inflation sucks & people are at a deficit of self improvement information. I am at the 1 year mark with this company. The profit structure is in fact designed for any ambitious person to make more (way more!) money than those who came before them. The current $60. year “product” yielded a 1263% ROI for me! Plus on the profit side, I have not overworked and have a consistent $600. (Some months more) coming in. This amount will increase ONLY because of me helping others profit! I don’t have time to respond further now but it’s sad to discourage people. You can’t read a blog written by someone NOT involved & make an informed decision!

    • Even if the information on this particular company isn’t 100% up-to-date (I don’t have time to update every single article I’ve written…), the statistics about MLMs overall don’t lie.

      According to these survey results, only about 25% of people in MLMs make a profit (and I think that’s being generous), and 95% quit within 10 years.

      I would love to know how many people under you are also profitable? My guess is 0.

      I wish you luck in your business.


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