Back in the day my Mum sold Herbalife.
I remember we had a garage full of Formulas 1 and 2 along with half a dozen other products that never seemed to go anywhere.
At the time there was quite a lot of excitement at home…partly because I had an endless supply of Formula 1 (aka vanilla protein powder), but also because Herbalife seemed like quite a nice way for my Mum to earn a few extra quid and help her friends and colleagues lose a few pounds along the way.
On the face of it, Herbalife didn’t seem all that bad…
Oh how wrong I was.
First of all, the supplements are mostly crap. For example, one serving of their lynchpin ‘Formula 1’ provides a whopping 9g of protein and an equal amount of sugar.
Oh, and they’re over priced…their ‘Formula 2’ multivitamin is the same as any other multi but 5x the price.
But this isn’t unique…the supplement industry is literally built on products that are ineffective and over priced.
What makes Herbalife particularly repulsive is it’s sales model (combined with crap, overpriced products).
Herbalife uses Multi Level Marketing (MLM)…as do Juice Plus, Isagenix and Forever Living (amongst others).
For a primer on MLM, watch this John Oliver episode (it’s very very very good).
Basically, a person buys a load of supplements and then has to sell them at a profit to make any money…
The end goal is to recruit other people to sell products, thus putting them in your ‘down line’…so anything they sell will give you profit. And this effect is exponential…i.e the more people in your down line, the more profit you receive.
If you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed right now I bet there’s SOMEONE who’s just discovered this amazing supplement and is feeling the best they’ve ever felt…
(Maybe they’ve even got an amazing business opportunity for ten lucky people who want to earn some more money and have more freedom?)
But hold on, this person on your newsfeed who’s dishing out nutrition advice works in an office…when did they learn so much about nutrition?
Spoiler alert – they didn’t. They’re likely making it up or copy and pasting it out of a sales brochure.
The problem is, when you have a garage full of Formula 1 and 2, and you NEED to sell it to make your money back, you’ll say anything to offload it…
Ranging from the mildly annoying (“lose 10lbs in 5 days” etc) to the outrageously stupid (like claims that supplements will cure diseases).
I’m not trying to say that all Herbalife distributors are shysters (hi Mum), I’m sure the majority are good people on the hustle to make some extra honest income…
BUT…for those of you thinking about buying Herbalife, Juice Plus, Forever Living etc, remember where the sellers are getting their information from (i.e they’re probably regurgitating information from sales brochures).
And for those of you thinking about distributing Herbalife, Juice Plus, Isagenix, Forever Living…PLEASE bear in mind that 99% of MLM participants DO NOT MAKE A PROFIT!!!!!
Stay vigilant people.
Confused about nutrition and supplements? The 12 Week Transformation includes a full nutrition plan and supplement recommendations (no Herbalife…)