Shaklee was established in 1956 and is often considered one of the founding health and wellness network marketing companies. Health and wellness is a huge field, covering many different types of products and goals. The field is so expansive that many MLMs fall into the health category to some degree or another.
It isn't so surprising that there are countless different health MLMs. After all, health is a key concern for many people. There is no single way to improve health either. As a result, customers turn to many different companies for products that might help. Shaklee is one such company.
Shaklee's long history and decent product range means that it remains a strong competitor and sells products regularly. Shaklee fares surprisingly well in reviews too. It doesn't attract the same controversy that seems to follow many other health MLMs.
Even so, the competition in the field is substantial. This makes it critical to be certain of the company and your audience before you get involved.
Shaklee follows the same old MLM pattern that is seen time and time again. Distributors start by simply selling the products. They can consider recruiting others and building a downline if they want the chance to increase their income further.
This post will cover how these two areas work for Shaklee and what you can expect. I also take a look at the overall picture, which includes whether it is possible to make a sustainable income with Shaklee.
The first thing to mention about the products from Shaklee is the sheer number of them. Key categories include the following:
- Healthy Weight
- Green Home
- Shaklee Style (apparel, drinkware and accessories)
Some of these areas are comprehensive, with dozens of different types of products. Many of these are what you might expect, such as protein shake mixes, protein bars and multivitamin supplements.
The familiarity of the various products has advantages and disadvantages. One benefit is that potential customers will already have a rough idea of what to expect. You're not trying to sell a completely unfamiliar product.
One serious disadvantage is that there are many such products in the marketplace already. Some of these are less expensive or easier to access. That type of competition can make it more difficult to sell the products.
Thankfully, there are some more unusual items too, like the drink featured in the RX for Health set shown below. Products like this should help with sales.
Everywhere you turn, you hear about a company, a neighbor (maybe even your wife) who is “going green”. Environmental consciousness has become popular, and it's also a great selling point. This is one area where Shaklee shines.
Shaklee's skincare line is made from ingredients that are deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration. The cleaning solution and laundry detergent are touted as gentle for people yet effective against dirt. And they are made from biodegradable materials that are also safe for the environment.
One other cool feature is personalized health. This is a tool that Shaklee uses that provides potential customers with personalized recommendations and information about their health. The tool is useful for customers and also provides distributors with a useful angle to get people interested in the company.
Shaklee uses an approach that it calls Price Differential to calculate your commission. Under this system, your commission rate is based on the difference between the price that you pay (Director Price) and the price that your customer pays.
If the customer pays the full retail price, the average difference is around 36%. When customers pay the member price instead, you're only getting around 16% price differential. This pattern means that your commission rate varies from around 16% to 36%, depending on the type of customer.
This style has another implication too. It means that you need to purchase products first and then sell them to customers (when making in-person sales). I'm not fond of this approach, as it places too much risk on the distributor.
It's also difficult to optimize your income when you need to buy products first. After all, you don't know what items customers are going to want and there is a huge product selection to choose from.
Shaklee's compensation plan claims that there are nine different income streams. This type of claim is beyond frustrating. In practice, there are just two ways to earn money. One is by selling the products and the other is through your team's success.
The different ways that Shaklee suggests are mostly bonuses that come from growing your team. For example, there is a Personal Group Bonus, which is achieved by hitting volume targets in your Personal Group.
Shaklee follows a rank-based structure, which is common across MLMs. This approach means that you need to progress up through ranks in the company. Each new rank opens up more chances to earn from your team.
You'll notice that each rank comes with specific requirements. These requirements increase as you go up the ranks.
This style also means that you cannot just rely on ranks. You also need to grow your team as much as possible, while also making sure team members are successful. Doing so becomes even more important as you go up the ranks because your income ends up strongly dependent on your team.
Joining the company isn't too expensive. The basic starter kit costs $49.95. It doesn't contain any products and mostly provides information about getting started with Shaklee.
There is also a Gold Plus PAK and a Super Gold PAK. These cost $599 and $999, respectively. The prices are so high because the kits contain a large selection of products. You also get access to two Shaklee websites for nine months.
The larger packs could potentially earn you more money, as you have the chance to resell the products. Even so, it's important to be wary. The packs represent a significant investment and you're buying them before you know how well Shaklee is going to work for you.
It is theoretically possible to make reliable income with Shaklee. Honestly, this is true for almost every MLM out there. The underlying model does work, it's just that making money isn't nearly as simple as the marketing likes to suggest.
The biggest problem for Shaklee is that you need to purchase products first. It's far to easy to end up out of pocket this way, especially as Shaklee doesn't appear to provide comprehensive training.
To make a decent income, building a team is essential. Doing so really involves having strong social and salesman skills. While some people are natural in this field, most aren't. Do you really want to get involved in a business ‘opportunity' that relies on constantly convincing others to join?
I also have one personal problem with the whole MLM model. Being successful takes a lot of time and effort, yet you don't even end up owning your own business. You're basically just working for Shaklee. If anything happens to that company, you could lose your entire income stream.
I would much rather invest my time and money in a business venture that I had control over.
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