Company Name: Optavia
Industry: Weight Loss & Lifestyle
Do I Recommend Optavia?
If you were just focused on sales, you could certainly make money with Optavia. From that angle, the company even has a better plan than most network marketing companies. However, there are some serious limitations when it comes to team building that are going to limit your long-term chances of success with this business. The truth is, most people in network marketing companies that make big money, are the ones with big teams.
Personally, I hated that aspect of MLM. I was not excited about throwing “parties” or trying to talk friends and family into joining a biz op. I just wanted to sell stuff and make money online. That's why I started doing this. I was able to pick a bunch of different cool products in the same industry, and earn money from multiple sources. I didn't have to depend on one company for income, and was able to reach millions of people online with my own website and brand.
What Products Does Optavia Sell?
Optavia is basically a weight loss company. They promote themselves as offering a “Lifelong Transformation”, which includes teaching healthy habits and providing support.
Distributors from the company do offer some support and education, true. But, the actual weight loss system is entirely product based.
As part of this, they have two different sets of products: the Optavia Essential Fuelings and the Optavia Select Fuelings. Each option contains many different products and they’re fairly similar to each other. There aren’t that many differences at all.
- Optavia Select. From $22.95 per box. Includes ‘global flavors’, and is non-GMO. Doesn’t use preservatives from artificial sources.
- Optavia Essential. From $20.95 per box. Contains added vitamin D (50% of the daily value)
So basically, Optavia Essential Fuelings are slightly cheaper, have fewer flavors, may contain GMOs and some artificial preservatives. This makes the Essential range best for those on a budget and the Select best for anyone focused on health and natural ingredients.
Regardless of the choice, the product selection is roughly the same either way. This includes some boxed mixes that you use to make food, along with options like protein shakes, bars, snacks and drinks.
Honestly, the products aren’t very inspiring. Countless other weight loss programs offer similar selections at roughly the same price.
I’m sure many of these taste fine. But, they’re not going to be amazing and people aren’t going to get excited about them. That aspect severely limits your potential to make consistent sales. I mean, I can make much better meals at home for a fraction of the cost. The ones I make would be healthier too and could even be more powerful for weight loss.
There are also kits and weight loss plans on offer. For example, one is the 3 & 3 plan. This involves eating small nutritionally balanced meals every two to three hours. Three of those meals are ones you make yourself, the other three are products from either of the Fuelings lines.
The company also steps people through calculating their daily energy expenditure and then choosing a meal plan accordingly. This gives members details about the meals that they should be making themselves and there are meal plans on the site.
This aspect is better than the products alone. But, customers are still heavily relying on products that don’t look that exciting. To follow this plan, members buy an entire kit that lasts a month.
It’s an expensive kit, although it should save you on grocery shopping. I suppose the prices balance out. But, many people probably wouldn’t want to pay close to $300 per month for weight loss. That’s a lot of money.
There are other kits too and other plans, including a 5 & 1 option. The general pattern is the same and none of the items look very appealing.
One final thing to mention, the weight loss system focuses on standard dietary principles. That includes low-fat meals, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. There is also little allowance for allergens or foods that people are avoiding.
That style will suit some people and not others. For example, the system won’t work for anyone who focuses on low carb for weight loss or for people avoiding gluten. This limits your audience right from the beginning.
How Powerful Is Optavia?
Optavia claims to be radically different than other weight loss companies, mostly because it promotes a “Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time”.
That’s far from unique. Many weight loss products and plans focus on changing habits and creating long-term outcomes. For example, Beachbody is another MLM with the same general principle. I have problems with some of their products too and the service is certainly over-marketed. But, of the two, Beachbody is more powerful and offers approaches with some long-term potential.
And, that’s the thing.
For all the hype, Optavia isn’t promoting a long-term system or healthy habits. Their plans simply get people to rely on their products. Most of those items are meal replacements or snack alternatives. Many will be processed as well, especially as they need to be shelf-stable.
That pattern will never promote long-term change. Customers would have to keep buying those products every month to see benefits, which really isn’t a good pattern. The items aren’t particularly exciting either and honestly, most people would get bored fast.
The one advantage that Optavia has is coaching. The idea is that distributors would help to support people in their weight loss goals, providing encouragement and even teaching them to cook. Beachbody does the same thing actually.
The idea makes sense from a competitive perspective.
But, it’s not very practical for you. The process could easily get time-consuming and frustrating. Weight loss is a very emotional topic anyway and can be stressful. Supporting a friend through weight loss is one thing. Attempting to help and guide dozens of customers? No thanks.
Making Money With Weight Loss
Weight loss itself is a powerful industry, especially at the beginning of each year. There is plenty of money to be made and no shortage of interest.
But, there are also countless programs. Many even offer the same product range and approach that Optavia does. Realistically, if you want to make money in this field, you need something competitive. For that, it’s best to turn to affiliate programs.
I haven’t personally researched affiliate programs in the weight loss niche but I bet there are a ton of them. There are also many in related fields. What about cooking? There are many cooking affiliate programs, in every style that you can imagine.
Promoting cooking products is much more powerful than what Optavia offers. Learning how to cook healthy food is a critical aspect of long-term weight loss, one that many people haven’t mastered. Coaches from Optavia are meant to help in that area, sure. But, I can’t imagine they’d ever have enough time to do it well.
Even if you’re not sold on that idea, I wouldn’t recommend Optavia. Truthfully, I don’t see the products being competitive enough. There are too many similar ones out there. And, who can stick with bland meal replacements and snacks in the long-term?
Is Optavia A Good Business Opportunity?
Despite all of this, people do get passionate about weight loss. Some may even love what Optavia offers. After all, their meals are already made or are easy to prepare. That results in less work than many other weight loss plans.
So, what about making money? Optavia breaks this down into three categories, which are all typical for the industry. Each is associated with various bonuses that can increase your income potential.
- Client Acquisition and Support
- Coach Sponsoring and Team Building
- Leadership Development
The first area is commissions, paid monthly. You earn 15% base commission for purchases your clients make. This is on the low end for an MLM. But, you can increase the rate.
Optavia takes a different approach than any other company I’ve seen (and I’ve reviewed a lot of them). In particular, there are two criteria for increased compensation from sales. One is related to your sales volume. The higher your sales figures, the more potential for bonuses. That’s pretty normal.
The interesting part is that there are compensation bonuses for customer support and for coach certification. The full system looks like this:
If you can hit the highest level of support and sales volume, while remaining certified, you can make 31% commission on every sale. That’s an impressive rate. Even if you don’t get past the first sales threshold, you can still get the 3% bonus, making total commission 18%.
The certification refers to education that the company offers. This teaches people how to be effective health coaches and could help you be more supportive and useful to customers.
The catch is that there are multiple steps. You’d want to progress through at least the first few levels to get a decent commission from sales. This probably isn’t achievable for everyone.
There are also some bonuses from success with sales.
- Coach Consistency Bonus: This offers bonuses for maintaining levels of volume for three consecutive months. The lowest tier is 2,000 in volume and gives you $250 as a bonus. The highest is 6,000 in volume and gives a $1,000 bonus. You can get the bonus up to four times every 12 months.
- Client Acquisition Bonus: If you recruit five new clients or coaches and sell 1,000 in volume within your first 30 days, you earn a one-time bonus of $100.
The bonuses would be tough to hit, especially for new distributors. Still, the pattern is impressive. Optavia offers more potential for sales-based income than most companies that I’ve seen. This creates the chance to simply focus on sales and customer support, skipping the recruitment stage altogether.
On a side note, you earn the 15% commission weekly. The extra commission percentages are paid on a monthly basis. Also, there aren’t many ongoing requirements. The main costs are the initial Business Kit purchase, along with a $99 annual renewal fee.
There seems to be no need to buy products yourself on a monthly basis, which is fantastic.
Sponsorship and Team Building
Even with those bonuses, the highest income potential comes from building a team. Optavia uses a unilevel structure for this. With this structure, your team can be as wide as you want it to be. Any new customers or members are placed based on who recruited them. With a large team, this creates the following structure.
The amount you earn is based on your rank in the company and the level of sales. But, this is more complex with Optavia than with most other companies. In particular, your percentages are based on your rank compared to the rank of the representative in question.
So, if you’re a Senior Coach, you earn 4% from the Coaches in your team (Coach is the entry level). If you’re a Manager, you earn 6% from Coaches and 2% from Senior Coaches.
This style is unusual and problematic. It means that you need people within your team to get promoted. The higher their rank, the more you’ll earn from their sales.
You also need ranked members in your team so that you can progress through the ranks. For example, hitting the Manager rank requires having one Senior Coach. This pattern gets more significant in the higher ranks, particularly the ones not pictured on the previous image.
I don’t like the idea personally. You could easily have some team members that do great with regular sales but aren’t that good at recruiting. Others may simply not want to recruit.
Convincing people to join and make sales is one thing. But, getting them to recruit and improve their rank, that’s entirely different. You can’t ever force people to be successful and some simply won’t be interested.
Beyond this, there are various bonuses. There are also many more ranks, including an entire leadership set of ranks. Leadership ranks tend to pay much more and can be powerful. But, as always, the challenge is actually getting there.
Finding success in an MLM is never easy. You need to build a large enough team and ensure that they consistently perform. For Optavia, you also need them to progress through ranks. Is that possible? Of course. But, only a fraction of all members ever gets past the first few ranks.
Optivia is better than most if you’re simply interested in making sales. But, if you plan to recruit as well, the plan has some extra complexities that work against you.
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.