Company Name: 4Life
What Is It
A health and wellness MLM that largely sells supplements and pills.
Even though 4Life has a big emphasis on the science behind its health products, there really isn’t that much evidence of it. Personally, I’m not even sure the products work, although I’m sure diehard associates would disagree with me.
Regardless of the products, 4Life is a fairly typical MLM, with a complex compensation plan that has you jumping for hoops to earn money. If you’re passionate about their products and have good selling skills, it might be an okay choice, but for most people, there are many better options out there.
4Life offers a wide range of products, all with a focus on health and wellness. Most of these are various types of pills and supplements, although there are some other products also, such as protein shakes, tea and (for some reason) pet health products.
As you might expect, most of the products are on the expensive side. For example, around 1lb of protein shake mix costs $38.45 and the price of pills varies widely.
Many of the company’s products are being sold on Amazon. Some of them have a decent number of reviews, which suggests that they are at least partially popular (although some reviews are probably distributors themselves).
For supplements, the reviews tend to be pretty good, like the rating below for the Tri Factor Formula from the company.
Normally a distribution like this suggests that many reviewers are happy with the product. If distributors were manipulating the ratings, you would see many 5-star reviews and many 1-star reviews.
Honestly though, reviews for supplements really aren’t that useful. With very few exceptions, you won’t notice much of a difference when you take a supplement compared to when you don’t.
Exceptions to this rule would be cases where you were actually nutrient deficient. For example, if you were deficient in vitamin D or iron and started to supplement them, the difference can be quite large. This doesn’t normally apply to multivitamins or the complex supplements that 4Life offers. “Just feeling better” has placebo written all over it.
If the supplement is effective, people might see very small impacts, like getting sick slightly less often or having a little bit more energy. However, these changes are almost impossible to detect with large sample sizes and detailed tracking. At the same time, people tend to convince themselves that they see changes, even when they don’t actually.
In general, this means that most reviews of supplements will be positive, regardless of whether the vitamin actually works or not. This makes it hard to know whether the products from the company actually do what they are supposed to or not.
I can see the same effect on myself! I started taking fish oil, multivitamins, and “concentration” supplements this year at various points. All seemed to have an effect, but not enough of an effect that I could tell if they really worked. In the end, I stopped taking all of them because they were just another expense and didn’t produce obvious results.
The Science Behind The Products
Many of the products from 4Life are specifically designed to improve health in some way. This includes areas like heart health, eye health, digestive health and weight management. Because of this, a critical thing about the company is whether the products actually work.
The site does employ a team of researchers and scientists, which is a step that many similar companies don’t both taking. Of course, having a scientific team doesn’t actually mean that the team is any good.
For me, one concerning part is the studies and patents page on the site. This should be a place to highlight the studies the company has conducted. Instead, only two specific studies are discussed. One is highlighted as a preliminary test and the other is just called a test.
Using that terminology suggests that neither of those were actual scientific studies, which undermines their validity. Additionally, the site gives no links to the actual scientific studies it has commissioned, making it hard to know whether they are even relevant. Remember – none of these pills are regulated by the FDA!
Also, the information given on the scientific part of the site largely focuses on the immune system and a couple of very specific approaches, including Targeted Transfer Factor and nanofraction molecules.
Whether these approaches are actually any good remains to be seen. However, there certainly isn’t much in the way of scientific evidence supporting them. That’s concerning when the company hypes up the scientific support for its products so much.
Overall, there is a chance that the products from the company work as claimed, but it’s more likely that they don’t. With the high price tag of most products, the lack of scientific backing makes the products a hard sell to people that care about facts, as opposed to hype.
The opportunity is where it’s all at. There are some encouraging things about the opportunity with this company. For one, the site has a separate section that gives more information about the direct selling approach and some (but not all) of the challenges involved. This is more information than many companies provide.
A second encouraging thing is that the company has scored an A+ BBB rating. Additionally, there have only been 3 closed complaints through the BBB in the last month. This doesn’t mean a whole lot, because most people with issues don’t go to the BBB. However, it is some indication of the quality of the opportunity, because scam companies tend to have more complaints and often have a lower rating.
As tends to be the case, the compensation plan for the company is based on two factors. One is the product you directly sell to customers, the other is the people that you recruit into the company (and by extension, the success of those people).
While it is possible to make money just by selling products, this tends to be challenging to achieve in practice. Instead, the most effective way for members to make money is through recruitment – which is also much more difficult. Have you ever pitched a “biz op” to someone? It sucks. I’ve tried it once or twice, and never did it again. Most people are skeptical and disinterested, and you come off looking like a shady vacuum cleaner salesman.
The basic structure of recruitment looks like the image below, where you recruit people who then recruit others and so forth. You and the people you recruit will be aiming to recruit others and also to get customers simply buying the product.
The company offers bonuses for progressing through the ranks of the plan. Doing this involves meeting certain requirements. For example, the image below shows the qualifications for the first four ranks of the company (there are another three after that).
As you go up in the ranks, your potential to earn money increases. However, the complexity of the requirements also increases. For example, getting to the second rank involves ordering 100 LP (I’ll explain this in a minute) personally each month through autoship. You also have to recruit at least four people, who also order at least that much each month.
Having a structure like this also means that if people you recruit drop out or decrease what they are spending, it can dramatically decrease your own potential to make money and your rank. Some people also find it difficult to keep track of what they are supposed to be doing.
LP is also an interesting (and frustrating) approach. The acronym stands for Life Points, and it refers to how much product you are ordering, or is being ordered through the people you recruit. Regardless of the size of your business, you still have to order either 50 or 100 LP every month.
A lot of MLMs use this approach.
By using a points system, the company can present nice, easy, round numbers in their plans. More importantly, the approach makes how much money people need to spend less visible.
For example, the supplements I discussed before that were $61.45 have a LP of exactly 50. Other products vary, but in general, you would need to spend around $60 per month in the first rank of the company and $120 in any subsequent rank.
That’s quite a bit of money every month, especially if you have hard time selling products. Additionally, the people you recruit have to meet this volume also, which is another challenge.
Making Money. Is It Realistic?
Companies like this are appealing, because their model looks so good on paper. There are so many different bonuses along the way and it almost seems like it would be difficult to not earn money. Despite all the bonuses, making money with a MLM can be challenging.
For starters, it’s a network marketing approach. This means that you have to talk to and connect with people to make sales and to recruit. The personal nature can seem appealing, but it is also challenging. Realistically, selling in person can be difficult for people who are trained and skilled in the field, and it is much more challenging for someone with no real experience.
You may have your own personal connections to leverage, like friends and family, but sooner or later you will have to seek out more customers.
There are other challenges too. For example, you are competing against everyone selling for the company and against similar products from other companies. This is particular problematic nowadays, because so many people go online to buy products. In fact, 4Life’s products on Amazon are often less expensive than distributors sell them for, like this:
Likewise, your success also depends on how successful your team is. Often this means you have to spend a lot of time handholding and making sure your team members are successful. That’s a lot of extra work.
This model for making money creates far more challenges than it should. You are taking an overpriced product (that might or might not work), finding people and then trying to convince them to buy it. At the same time, you are trying to recruit people into the company. You are also spending your own money each month to buy products that you might not even want.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an alternative approach for making money and it’s a lot simpler. For one thing, it is an online approach. You also aren’t trying to pitch a product that people aren’t really interested in. Instead, you use the internet to draw interested people to your site and the site becomes a sales tool.
You get to pick what you promote, so you can sell things that you are passionate about and that other people are actually going to want. You don’t have to recruit, you don’t have to buy stock, and you don’t have to train anyone to sell anything (like with team building in MLM)
Instead, you end up with an online business that you can grow over time and profit directly from your own efforts.