Top MLM Companies and Network Marketing Opportunities
As we navigate the evolving terrain of direct sales and entrepreneurship in 2023, Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Network Marketing stand out as influential and often misunderstood facets of the business world. Attracting a diverse demographic seeking flexible and potentially lucrative opportunities, these models have firmly established themselves in the global market. This comprehensive exploration seeks to demystify MLM, guided by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) definition, and highlight the top players shaping this industry.
What is MLM? A Definition Guided by the FTC
Multi-level marketing, commonly referred to as MLM, is a business model that the FTC describes as involving selling products or services through a network of distributors. These distributors earn income based on their personal sales and also from the sales made by the distributors they recruit. This layered approach to sales and recruitment creates multiple compensation levels, hence the term ‘multi-level.’ According to the FTC, MLM is a legitimate business model distinct from illegal pyramid schemes prioritizing recruitment over actual product sales and lacking a sustainable market offering.
The Dual Nature of MLM
The essence of MLM lies in its twofold approach: direct sales and network expansion. Representatives are encouraged to sell products directly to consumers while also recruiting new members. This approach can create a dynamic growth in revenue and network size, particularly appealing to those with robust sales and networking skills.
Addressing Misconceptions: Is MLM a Scam?
The MLM industry frequently faces skepticism, leading to the question, “Is MLM a scam?” This skepticism is often fueled by the history of pyramid schemes disguised as MLM companies. Pyramid schemes focused more on recruitment than actual product sales are illegal and unsustainable. In contrast, as defined by the FTC, legitimate MLM companies strongly emphasize actual product sales, providing a more stable and ethical business model.
The Appeal of Network Marketing
Network marketing, often synonymous with MLM, offers a unique blend of personal selling and network building. This model appeals to entrepreneurs due to its low initial investment, its independence, and the potential for significant earnings through personal and network sales. Network marketing’s appeal lies in its combination of individual effort and collaborative success.
The MLM and network marketing sectors continually adapt to new market trends, technological innovations, and consumer preferences. This article will delve into the top MLM companies of 2023, examining their revenue models, compensation structures, product portfolios, leadership, historical development, customer feedback, and growth outlook.
Here are the profiles of a few of the top MLM companies in the US.
Overview Herbalife Nutrition Ltd., founded in 1980 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, operates globally, offering health and wellness products. This prominent MLM specializes in dietary supplements and wellness products, catering to a global market through independent distributors. Its product range includes protein shakes, snack bars, and teas targeted at individuals focusing on weight management and health improvement.
Herbalife’s diverse product offerings are categorized into various lines:
Core Products: Includes the Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix, Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex, and Cell Activator. These products come in various flavors and offer options like pea, quinoa, and rice protein for vegetarians. The price range for Core Products varies from $25 to $42.
- Healthy Weight: This line features the Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake, Total Control tea, and caffeine metabolism enhancers. Herbalife also provides a three-day trial pack in this category.
- Specialized Nutrition: Includes Joint Support Advanced, Herbal Aloe Concentrate, and products designed for new mothers. Most products in this category are available individually, starting at around $13.
- Energy and Fitness: Designed to aid in athletic recovery and endurance, this line includes protein powders, fitness drinks, and green tea supplements, starting at $37.35.
- Skin and Hair Care: Targets dry skin, wrinkles, and acne with comprehensive SKIN programs for various skin types, starting around $100.
Customer Reviews and Perception
As per ConsumerAffairs, the overall rating for Herbalife as of November 2023 stands at 1.1 out of 5. This rating comprises 25% 5-star reviews, 11% 4-star reviews, 8% 3-star reviews, 10% 2-star reviews, and 46% 1-star reviews. These ratings reflect customer experiences and perceptions regarding Herbalife’s products and business model.
Challenges and Adaptations
In response to macroeconomic challenges and sales declines in 2022, Herbalife has shifted its focus towards faster-growing segments like vitamins, dietary supplements, and sports nutrition. Additionally, it’s targeting the Gen Z consumer base with vegan and non-GMO options, aligning its product portfolio with emerging market trends and consumer preferences.
Mark R. Hughes founded Herbalife in February 1980. The initial motivation behind the company was Hughes’ desire to create products that would help people manage their weight effectively, inspired by his mother’s struggles with weight loss. The first product he sold was a protein shake, which he marketed directly from the trunk of his car. Hughes adopted a direct-selling, multi-level marketing model for the business.
The journey of Herbalife has seen its share of challenges and triumphs. Early on, the company faced scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding claims made about certain products. In 1984, the Canadian Department of Justice filed charges against Herbalife for misleading medical claims. These challenges led to a reformulation of products and changes in product claims.
Despite these early hurdles, by 1985, Herbalife had become the fastest-growing private company in the U.S., with a remarkable increase in sales. However, the company also faced lawsuits, including one by the California Attorney General for inflated claims, resulting in a settlement without admitting wrongdoing. Herbalife went public on NASDAQ in 1986 and rebranded as Herbalife International. Despite the negative publicity, the company continued to expand globally and diversify its product line.
In 2016, Richard Goudis was announced as the next CEO, with Michael O. Johnson transitioning to executive chairman. The company underwent significant changes, including a stock repurchase and a name change to Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. in 2018. However, in 2019, Goudis was replaced, and Johnson took over as interim CEO. In March 2020, John Agwunobi was named CEO but departed in October 2022, with Johnson resuming the role of Chairman and interim CEO.
The current leadership team of Herbalife, as of 2023, includes:
- Michael O. Johnson: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- Alex Amezquita: Chief Financial Officer
- Bosco Chiu: Chief Risk Officer
- Stephen Conchie: Regional President, Asia Pacific and China
- Stephan Gratziani: Chief Strategy Officer
Avon was founded by David H. McConnell in September 1886, originally as a door-to-door book salesman in New York before transitioning to perfumes. The business, initially named the California Perfume Company, saw the entry of Alexander D. Henderson in 1894, who played a key role in its growth. The company was incorporated in New York in 1909 and renamed Avon in 1939. It has expanded to over 100 countries, with Brazil being its largest market since 2010. The North American business was separated in 2016 to form New Avon LLC, which was later purchased by LG Household & Health Care in 2019. Angela Cretu serves as the CEO of Avon, a role she assumed in January 2020.
Top Selling Products
Avon’s extensive product range includes some all-time favorites. At the top of their list is the Skin So Soft Bath Oil, known for its hydrating properties and herbal scent. Wild Country Cologne stands out in the fragrance category with its blend of bergamot, sandalwood, and aromatic woods, a favorite for over 50 years. The Ultimate Multi-Performance Night Cream is acclaimed for its anti-aging properties, improving skin texture and reducing wrinkles. For makeup removal, the True Color Moisturizing Eye Make-Up Remover Lotion is a go-to product known for its gentle and effective cleansing. The Foot Works Maximum StrengthHeal Cream is another popular choice, especially for dry and cracked feet. Avon’s Skin So Soft Shower Gel and Radiant Moisture Body Lotion are also highly favored for their moisturizing effects and pleasant scents. Other notable products include the Soft Pink Bubble Bath for relaxation, the Mesmerize Cologne with its lasting fragrance, and the Black Suede Cologne, a classic masculine scent.
The reviews for Avon are varied, with some products receiving high praise while others face criticism. For instance, the Skin So Soft Bug Guard SPF 30 Sunscreen received negative feedback for inadequate sun protection. Some customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of clothing items. However, many users have found Avon’s skincare products effectively reduce wrinkles and lines.
Business Opportunity Overview
Becoming an Avon Representative requires a minimal start-up cost of $25 in products. The company offers the KickStart Program to help new representatives begin with a higher commission rate. As sales volume increases, representatives can earn up to a 50% commission. However, the business demands significant effort and time, and competition can be intense in certain markets. Representatives receive their web portals, which tend to be similar, reducing online visibility. Success often relies on recruiting other active and motivated representatives.
Pros and Cons
Avon is a well-established brand with a solid customer base and offers high-quality and effective products. Joining as a distributor is relatively affordable. However, there are concerns about product consistency, and some customers have reported allergic reactions.
Amway, short for “American Way,” is an American multi-level marketing company founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos in Ada, Michigan. It is the world’s largest MLM company by revenue, with reported sales of $8.9 billion in 2019. Amway began with the organic cleaner Frisk, later renamed LOC (Liquid Organic Cleaner), and expanded its product line with SA8 laundry detergent, Satinique hair care, and Artistry cosmetics. The company acquired a controlling interest in Nutrilite in 1972 and full ownership in 1994. Amway operates globally through affiliated companies in over a hundred countries and territories. The company, along with its sister companies, is part of Alticor.
Top Selling Products Amway’s product line includes:
- Artistry: A range of beauty and skincare products.
- Satinique: Haircare products.
- Hymm: Personal care products for men.
- Body Series: Body care products.
- Glister: Oral care products.
- Moiskin (South America): Skincare products.
- Nutrilite: A brand of food supplements.
- eSpring, Atmosphere, and iCook: Home products.
- XS and XL Energy Drinks. In 2018, nutrition and wellness products accounted for 52% of total sales, with beauty and personal care products comprising 26%.
Customer Reviews Customer experiences with Amway are varied:
- Some users express satisfaction with the product’s quality and effectiveness.
- However, others report issues with the company’s service, including difficulties in processing returns and receiving refunds.
- There are also complaints about the company’s MLM business model, with some customers feeling misled by the business opportunities presented.
Business Opportunity Overview
Amway operates a direct selling business model combined with multi-level marketing. Independent Business Owners (IBOs) can earn in three ways: retail margin from product sales, bonuses based on business growth, and incentives upon reaching key milestones. IBOs market products directly to customers and can sponsor and mentor others to become IBOs, earning income from direct sales and the sales volume generated by their downline.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Amway offers diverse health, beauty, and home care products. It has a global presence and is recognized as a significant player in the MLM industry.
Cons: The company has faced criticism and complaints about its MLM business model, with some customers reporting negative experiences regarding service, product delivery, and the actual profitability of the business opportunity.
Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1984 in Provo, Utah. It operates globally in the skincare and wellness industry, specializing in anti-aging products. Over the years, Nu Skin has expanded to over 50 markets worldwide.
Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc., a pioneering skincare and wellness industry company, was established in 1984 in the vibrant city of Provo, nestled in the picturesque state of Utah, USA. With a fervent dedication to providing revolutionary anti-aging products, Nu Skin quickly gained recognition as a leading force within the industry.
Harnessing cutting-edge scientific advancements and innovative technologies, Nu Skin has embarked on a remarkable global expansion journey. Today, the company’s influence transcends borders, proudly extending its reach to over 50 diverse and thriving markets worldwide.
Driven by a steadfast commitment to empowering individuals to pursue youthful vitality, Nu Skin has earned the trust and loyalty of countless customers worldwide. By meticulously crafting an extensive range of premium skincare solutions, the company’s passionate team of experts continuously strives to elevate the standards of beauty and wellness.
- Chairman: Steven J. Lund
- CEO: Ryan Napierski
- President: Mark Lawrence
Top Selling Products
Nu Skin offers a range of top-selling products that cater to various skincare and wellness needs. Their skincare line includes innovative anti-aging solutions, such as serums, creams, and masks, designed to nourish and rejuvenate the skin. The company also offers a range of personal care products, including body cleansers, lotions, and hair care essentials that promote healthy and vibrant grooming. Nu Skin’s wellness products encompass dietary supplements and nutritional support designed to enhance overall well-being and vitality. With a commitment to using high-quality ingredients and advanced scientific research, Nu Skin’s top-selling products have garnered a reputation for delivering effective results and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of NuSkin Enterprises top selling products
- ageLOC: A popular anti-aging line known for its skin rejuvenation properties.
- Pharmanex: Nutritional supplements promoting wellness.
- Epoch: Features botanical-based products inspired by global traditions.
Customer opinions on Nu Skin vary. Some report positive results in skincare and wellness, while others express concerns about product pricing and effectiveness.
Nu Skin Business Opportunity
Nu Skin’s multi-level marketing (MLM) model allows Independent Distributors to earn commissions and bonuses. Distributors can sell products and recruit new Distributors. Nu Skin emphasizes anti-aging products and its global presence as key selling points.
Nu Skin, a renowned company in the beauty and wellness industry, presents a lucrative and exciting business opportunity through its multi-level marketing (MLM) model. This unique approach enables Independent Distributors to earn substantial commissions and unlock bonuses and rewards.
One of the primary advantages of joining Nu Skin as an Independent Distributor is the ability to sell a wide range of high-quality products. Nu Skin’s product portfolio predominantly revolves around anti-aging solutions, catering to the ever-growing demand for age-defying and rejuvenating skincare and wellness products. With an emphasis on cutting-edge technology and scientific research, Nu Skin products are known for their effectiveness, reliability, and ability to deliver visible results.
As Independent Distributors, individuals can work on their terms. They can choose their hours and determine the level of commitment they wish to invest in their Nu Skin business. This autonomy allows for a perfect work-life balance, making it an ideal opportunity for individuals seeking financial independence without compromising their personal lives.
Young Living, established in 1993 and headquartered in Lehi, Utah, is renowned for its extensive range of essential oils and related wellness products. The company’s emphasis on a seed-to-seal production process ensures the purity and potency of its offerings, which extend to personal care, home cleaning, and pet care products. Founded by Donald “Gary” Young, Young Living operates globally through a multi-level marketing model, targeting consumers seeking natural and holistic health solutions.
Young Living has experienced significant growth over the years. While specific revenue figures for 2023 are not publicly disclosed, the company reported annual sales exceeding $1 billion between 2015 and 2017.
Young Living’s diverse product lines cater to various wellness needs, including:
- Essential Oils: The cornerstone of their product line, offering a wide range of single oils and blends.
- Savvy Minerals: A line of natural, mineral-based makeup products.
- Thieves: Natural cleaning and personal care products.
- NingXia: Nutritional supplements centered around the NingXia wolfberry.
- Seedlings: Baby care products with gentle, natural ingredients.
Customer Reviews and Perception
Young Living’s customer reviews present a mixed picture:
- Sitejabber shows a rating of 1.84 stars from 88 reviews, indicating general dissatisfaction, with frequent complaints about customer service and essential oils problems.
- Trustpilot rated them at 3.3/5 stars from 48 reviews, while the Better Business Bureau (BBB) customer reviews point to a rating of 1.58/5 stars based on 66 reviews.
- These reviews often reflect concerns about poor customer service and delivery issues.
Young Living has faced challenges, including scrutiny over product claims and legal issues concerning its business practices. The company has tried to address these challenges by emphasizing product quality and compliance with industry standards.
Founded in 1993 by Donald “Gary” Young, Young Living started in Riverton, Utah. The company began with a 160-acre farm in St. Maries, Idaho, and expanded with additional farms and distilleries worldwide. Gary Young served as CEO until 2015, and his wife, Mary Young, succeeded him after his passing in 2018.
Young Living Business Opportunity
The Young Living business opportunity is an exciting and lucrative way for individuals to achieve financial independence while promoting wellness and natural living. Young Living is a leading provider of essential oils, offering a wide range of high-quality products derived from plants and designed to enhance physical and emotional well-being.
Individuals can build their essential oils businesses and create a passive income stream by becoming a Young Living distributor. Distributors have the flexibility to work from home, set their hours, and determine their level of commitment and success. This opportunity particularly appeals to those seeking to escape the confines of traditional employment and gain control over their financial future.
Younique, an American multi-level marketing company founded in 2012 by Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft, specializes in beauty products. Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, Younique gained popularity through its unique approach to online marketing, especially on social media. The company has a significant global presence and was partially owned by Coty, Inc. between 2017 and 2019.
Specific revenue figures for Younique in 2023 are not publicly available. However, the company’s innovative approach and product range have contributed to its competitive growth in the beauty and cosmetics industry.
Younique’s product line includes:
- Makeup products for eyes, lips, and faces.
- Skincare products, including the Younique Royalty anti-aging range.
- The Moodstruck Epic 4D One-Step Fiber Mascara a notable success.
Customer Reviews and Perception
Younique’s customer reviews are mixed:
- Sitejabber shows a rating of 3.44 stars from 18 reviews but also indicates a 1.9-star rating based on 323 customer reviews, suggesting general dissatisfaction.
- Dermatology Review notes that reviews are mixed, with some customers happy with certain products, especially lip and eye products, while others report issues, particularly with foundations for oily skin types.
Younique’s business model centers on a multi-level marketing distribution strategy, focusing on online and social media promotion. To join Younique as a presenter, there are two options:
- Premium Kit: $199
- Standard Kit: $99 Presenters must sell at least $125 worth of products every three months to maintain their status, often purchasing products to meet this requirement. The commission starts at 20%, increasing to 25% after $1,000 in total sales.
Younique has navigated challenges typical of MLM companies, such as maintaining product quality and managing the dynamics of a sales force primarily driven by social media marketing.
Founded in 2012, Younique brought a fresh approach to the beauty industry, emphasizing online marketing and social media engagement. The company’s ownership changed hands between 2017 and 2019, with Coty, Inc. owning a 60% stake before selling it back to the founders.
- Derek Maxfield: CEO
- Melanie Huscroft: Co-Founder
Top MLM Companies in 2023
Here is a complete list of the top US-based MLM and Network Marketing companies:
- eXp Realty
- Avon Products
- Nu Skin
- Mary Kay
- Young Living
- Forever Living Products
- Rodan & Fields
Common MLM Complaints from Critics
The multi-level marketing (MLM) industry has faced significant criticism and issues, leading to challenges for many companies in this sector. The criticisms and factors contributing to the difficulties faced by MLM companies include:
- Dependence on Recruitment Over Sales: A core criticism of MLMs is that their business model often relies more on recruiting new members than selling products. This can create unsustainable growth models, where only those at the top of the pyramid make significant income. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notes that most MLM participants lose money once expenses are considered.
- Declining Earnings for Representatives: Representatives in MLMs reportedly earn less now than they were years ago. For instance, MLM reps in the US in 2019 earned less than they did in 2004, based on data from the Direct Selling Association (DSA).
- Increased Public Awareness and Media Exposure: The negative aspects of MLMs are becoming more widely known, thanks in part to media exposure. Documentaries, critical articles, and podcasts have shed light on the less savory aspects of MLM practices, contributing to a growing negative public perception.
- Regulatory Actions: The FTC has increased its crackdown on MLMs, especially those operating like illegal pyramid schemes. For example, the FTC fined Herbalife $200 million, and other MLMs have faced similar actions for unfair compensation structures or deceptive practices.
- Market Decline and Legal Challenges: The number of MLM companies is decreasing, and sales volumes are declining. Additionally, several MLMs have faced class-action lawsuits alleging that they operate as pyramid schemes.
- Social Media Restrictions: Platforms like TikTok have banned MLM-related content, categorizing it as fraud or scam. Such actions by major social media platforms indicate a shift in the digital landscape that previously enabled MLMs to flourish.
- Shift in Sales Strategy: Previously, MLMs focused on selling products to their representatives for personal use, a strategy now considered legally and morally questionable. The need to shift away from this model has posed challenges for many MLMs.
- Lawsuits and Settlements: MLMs like LuLaRoe have faced lawsuits accusing them of operating as pyramid schemes, resulting in substantial settlements and further damaging the reputation of the MLM model.
- Post-Pandemic Struggles: Post-Covid, many MLMs are finding it difficult to sustain growth. Companies like Juice Plus+ have seen significant declines in revenue and struggle to attract and retain distributors.
- Loss of Members: MLMs such as doTERRA have experienced significant losses in their member base. For example, doTERRA lost 41% of its wellness advocates over two years.
- Closure of Operations: Some MLMs, like The Body Shop at Home, have closed their direct selling operations in certain regions, reflecting the challenges in sustaining the business model.
- Financial Struggles: Prominent MLMs, including Tupperware, have faced financial difficulties, with concerns about their ability to continue as a going concern.
Frequently Asked Questions About MLM Business Opportunites
Q: What is MLM? A: MLM stands for multilevel marketing. It is a business model where intermediaries sell products to end consumers, earning commissions on personal and indirect sales made through their recruits.
Q: How do you start a part-time MLM business? A: You can start a part-time MLM business alongside a full-time job by dedicating a few hours daily to promote the business through your network of friends and family.
Q: How do you make money through MLM business? A: In MLM, you earn through personal sales and commissions from sales made by your team members. The commission rate depends on the organization’s plan, usually a percentage of the sales.
Q: How do you recruit new members in the MLM business? A: Recruitment can be done by reaching out to family and friends and explaining the products and business benefits using tools like company manuals and videos.
Q: What type of products are used for this business? A: MLM typically focuses on consumable products like healthcare, beauty products, nutritional items, etc.
Q: How do you promote MLM products in network marketing? A: Promotion strategies include contacting your downlines and network, organizing meetings, sending emails, leveraging social media, and conducting product demos and seminars.
Q: Are MLM Businesses a Pyramid Scheme? A: MLM is a legal business model. While pyramid schemes are illegal, MLM’s structure is legal, focusing on product sales rather than just recruiting members.
Q: Is MLM a scam? A: MLM itself is not a scam, but it can attract individuals who use misleading business practices. Success in MLM, like any business, requires genuine effort and time.
Q: What is the success rate in MLM? A: Success varies based on individual effort and time invested. While many may not earn significant income, others achieve substantial earnings.
Q: Can I build multiple MLM businesses concurrently? A: This depends on the company’s policy. Some allow it, while others have non-compete clauses. Focusing on a single MLM company is generally advised for better results.