Whether you are looking to buy essential oils for some sort of treatment or make money working for Young Living, you probably have heard the word scam thrown around quite a bit and aren’t sure what information do believe. Is the young living business opportunity a scam? Are all other essential oils out there scams? Can you really trust what distributors working for this business tell you?
In this short post I will be giving you a high level overview of how this business works and whether or not it is worth getting involved with. First I will be going over the products, which consist mostly of essential oils, and whether or not I think they are worth their hefty price, followed by touching upon the business opportunity and why it isn’t nearly as good as it seems.
Overview of Young Living
Young Living, or YL as I will be referring to it by for short, was founded in 1994 and started out as a small family farm. However, today it has grown many times over and now sources from over 16 different farms in 11 countries.
It also went from being a small family run business venture to being a massive network marketing MLM (multilevel marketing) opportunity, which is likely the reason for much of its growth because anyone can easily join the business opportunity and promote the brand.
When you go to the YL website you have two choices, you can sign up to become a normal customer and by their products for your own use, or you can join and become a member where you will save 24% on products and you will have access to the business opportunity, which I’m going to get a lot more into in a bit.
A Look at the Products
Regular old pure essential oils are by far there main lineup of products, but they also sell some other health products such as cereal, lipstick, foot scrub, and more.
They sell the typical tiny little essential oil bottles that are extremely concentrated, which you can use in diffusers, apply topically, or even mix in with drinks. In addition to these products, they also have massage oils with essential oils mixed in and what they call “roll-ons”, which allow you to apply essential oils topically very easily from a roll-on bottle.
But anyways… Let’s take a look at some of the normal pure essential oil products that they sell…
Now if you are unfamiliar with essential oils then you may not know what prices are good/bad, but one thing for sure about YL is that their prices for the essential oils are quite high. They vary in price depending on the particular type of oil, but any oil they sell can easily be found on places like Amazon for much cheaper, and even good products that are from reputable brands.
So are these overpriced? Well… In my opinion they are, but I know a lot of people will argue with me on this till death, claiming that you can’t beat the quality provided by YL, which I agree with to some extent.
But Quality Is a Big Deal
There is no doubt that they go through a lot to make sure that the essential oils they sell are the best of quality. This is one upside to buying their oils, you know that you’re getting something good.
Besides having to “state of the art” labs where they perform a variety of scientific tests to ensure quality, they also work with third-party labs when it comes to product testing.
Once you consider all of the testing that goes on and the fact that they source their oils ethically and legally, and are transparent about it, and maybe is not as overpriced as it seems at first.
When you buy cheap oils you often have no idea what you are really getting and you don’t know the story behind them.
All this said… There is no doubt that the oils are still overpriced and once I explained the whole business side of things, you will understand that it is pretty much impossible to argue with me on this.
The Business Side of It
As mentioned in the beginning, you can become a retail customer or you can join as a member and save money on the products as well as make money promoting the brand.
As a member you will be able to save 24% when buying YL products, which means that you will then be able to turn around and resell products, earning 24% profit. However, the strange part is that they place almost no focus on this “retail profit” side of things when it comes to their compensation plan. Most of the focus is on recruiting other members (I’m talking about the distributors here, not normal customers).
Overall their compensation plan is pretty typical of a MLM business like this… A bit confusing and full of bonuses, levels, generations and more.
One of the quickest bonuses you will be able to earn as a distributor are the New Membership Bonuses which consist of $25 bonus is that you get paid when you enroll new members and they purchase the premium starter kit.
But most of the focus in the comp plan is on moving up the ranks and capitalizing on making money from the levels and generations beneath you.
Take the Uni-level structure that Young Living has in place for example… Here you are able to recruit in distributors beneath you and make money off them, as well as the distributors that they recruit in. When you recruit someone in personally they go to your level 1, when that person recruit someone in and they go to your level 2, when that level 2 person then recruit someone in the go to your level 3 and so on. At most, you can earn down to five levels deep…
But it is all about moving up the ranks. In order to earn from all five levels in the unit level structure, you have to make it to the rank of Executive.
There our 10 ranks total, as shown…
- Senior Star
- Crown Diamond
- Royal Crown Platinum
Moving up the ranks is all about recruitment for the most part. You are required to have a certain amount of PV (personal volume), which is the amount of products that you personally by, but this volume doesn’t change as you move up the ranks. What does change is the OGV (organizational group volume) and the PGV (personal group volume). Now I’m not going to get into the specifics of everything here, but basically these volumes are just the some volumes of purchases made in your downline.
So of course in order to increase the purchases in your downline, you are going to want to recruit more people
And when you make it to the Silver leadership rank, or I guess I should say “if” you make it there, you will start being able to earn from the generational bonuses, which go 8 generations deep.
No This Isn’t a Pyramid Scheme… But Are People Really Making Money With It?
If you are unfamiliar with MLM’s then you are probably thinking that this is really starting to look a lot like a pyramid scheme right about now. However, it isn’t.
The fact of the matter is that Young Living does sell legitimate products and they do have a decent customer base, that consists of people buying these products as normal customers. Pyramid schemes on the other hand are more focused on just recruiting more people in and less on product sales.
That said, just because it is a legitimate business model doesn’t mean that is a good opportunity.
Unfortunately, what the business opportunity is promoted as being and the reality of it are not the same. As you can see below from the official 2017 income disclosure, the Numbers aren’t looking that good and the majority of people really don’t make that much as distributors…
That said, I am even a bit suspicious that these numbers are even as good as shown. Why? Well… Because I was looking at their 2016 income disclosure and the numbers are much worse, with a whopping 94% of all members earning an average of $1 per month.
So how does a business like this go from from 94% of their distributors earning an average of one dollar per month to the numbers as shown above, which are much higher?
The answer… I have no idea but is it bit suspicious to me.
Exaggerated Income Claims & Exaggerated Benefits
The bottom line here is that the Young Living opportunity, whether be the business opportunity or the health benefits of essential oils, is no doubt exaggerated.
Since there is such a great focus on recruitment in the compensation plan, distributors often go out and recruit others in as portraying this as being the greatest thing ever, which is what causes MLM’s like this to spread like a contagion.
As far as the health benefits of essential oils go, there is a heck of a lot of misinformation spread by the masses and misinformation coming from distributors in essential oil MLM’s like this is nothing new. In fact, there was actually a warning letter released by the FDA stating that “consultants promote many of your Young Living Essential Oil Products for conditions such as, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), Parkinson’s disease, autism, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dementia, and multiple sclerosis, that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners”.
Yes… You read that right… According to the FDA there have been people promoting YL essential oils as treating viral infections as horrific as Ebola… Among many other things that are scientifically unproven.
They have released the same statement warning people about doTERRA as well, which is a similar mlm.
Scam or Not?
I don’t consider YL a scam. Much of the problem here comes from distributors running around saying whatever they want to say and giving the company a bad name, which I definitely do think the company should crackdown on.
That said, remember at the beginning when I said that their products are definitely overpriced and that it is pretty much a fact?
Well… If you don’t believe me consider this: when you recruit others in and they list you as their “enroller”, you make 25% commissions on their orders. On top of that, they are already getting their products at a 24% discount because they are a member.
So think about it… How is it possible that the business can afford doing all of this? The answer = the products are overpriced to begin with.
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