Product Name: ViSalus
Price: $49 to join
Other costs: Products, kits etc.
What is it?
A MLM company that focuses on weight loss products.
While some distributors may be able to make a decent amount of money from the company, the vast majority will not and many people will even lose money instead of earning it. Distributors for the company face significant competition, making it hard to sell products and to recruit others.
Before You Buy
Pay close attention to all of the terms and conditions with the company before you sign up for anything. Often companies like this make it really difficult to get any money refunded. Additionally, ViSalus has an autoship approach, which means that you often get products each month until you cancel. It’s easy to miss this when you purchase something, which can be expensive.
What I Liked
I do like the overall appearance of the ViSalus site and the company does go out of its way to make its products look appealing.
What I Didn’t Like
There are a lot of people interested in losing weight, but this doesn’t mean that the ViSalus opportunity is effective. The problem with big niches like weight loss is that there is also a huge amount of competition.
For example, even grocery stores sell many of the same types of products that ViSalus promotes, such as nutritional shake mix and protein-rich snacks.
The products at the grocery store might be lower quality (but then again, they mightn’t be), but regardless, they tend to be cheaper and much more accessible. If you were trying to promote ViSalus you would have to compete against all of these readily accessible products, which really is a bit of a tall order.
In fact, there really isn’t any evidence that ViSalus’s products are any better than what else is out there.
Now, the site does host a number of success stories, but really, that doesn’t mean anything. There are success stories all over the web about people who have lost weight under many different approaches, including making the right food and exercise decisions. There's even a guy who lost weight eating Twinkies. It doesn't mean I can sell a Twinkie for $10 a pop and call it a weight loss program.
The fact that some people have lost weight under ViSalus’s approach doesn’t mean that there is anything special about it at all. One important indication of this is that the site doesn’t offer much in the way of research to support its claims.
All of this is important.
If you are trying to sell anything at all, whether it is health products, cars, toys, computers or any number of things – you want to be selling something that is appealing.
There are so many products out there that basically sell themselves because people already want them and it’s clear why they are better than other products. Other times you might have an appealing product that just involves a little bit of effort to convince people that it is worth investing in.
The products from ViSalus don’t fall into either of these categories. Sure, they look nice, but there are relatively few people who have that kind of money to spend on products that aren’t that much better than what is already out there.
Furthermore, ViSalus distributors don’t have much evidence at hand to actually convince people to purchase the products. Instead, they have to rely on sales tactics and simply being convincing.
As you can imagine, this makes the process of actually selling products very difficult.
In fact, people often go into these types of companies expecting the process to be easy but find that they are fighting an uphill battle to make any sales at all.
Selling products is only half of the story at ViSalus. Instead, distributors are encouraged to recruit others. Distributors who don’t recruit are actually left at the lowest level of compensation.
Overall, the structure that ViSalus uses is very common, and it’s called MLM. This marketing structure has a lot of similarities to a pyramid scheme, with the notable exception that there is actual products involved.
Don’t be fooled though, the MLM structure still shares many of the issues that a pyramid scheme has.
This structure means that distributors are paid a percentage of commissions from people they recruit, from people those people recruit and so on for multiple tiers. In theory this can result in a lot of income, but in practice it rarely does. Success stories in MLM are few and far between, much less than they want to you think. Many people quietly quit along the way and are too ashamed (or jaded) to speak up.
One of the issues with this approach is that you have to successfully recruit people into the company who are going to be active and successful. This is much harder than simply selling products and it often means you have to mislead the people you recruit – because if you were honest about the income opportunity at ViSalus, then few people would join.
If you are worried about getting folks to sign up to sell stuff even though you haven't made any money yet yourself, you are not alone! This is a common fear. Some folks straight up lie, others focus on telling others' success stories or spin some number hocus-pocus spouting off how much you can make with a downline.
Additionally, the company maintains a complex compensation plan. This makes it difficult to work out how much money you should be earning or what the best ways are to earn money.
Another major issue with the company is that you have to remain active to earn money. Being active means you have to be making sales or buying a certain amount from the company.
This is where the process starts to get expensive.
The concept is that you order products yourself and then try to sell them. It’s an extremely challenging model, because you have to try and guess what stock you are going to need and you risk getting left with excess stock.
The whole process makes it very easy to spend money and much more challenging to earn it back. That is actually pretty standard with this type of model.
Now, there will always be some people who are successful at making money with this type of business. These people tend to be the ones with large networks that they can tap into for sales, and also ones that got into the program early.
For the average person just getting into ViSalus, the process of making money is likely to be very difficult and many people will end up losing money.
An Alternative To MLM
The entire MLM approach bothers me. It’s presented as this wonderful way of earning money, but it’s more like starting a race with a handicap. Most of the time you are selling overpriced products that don’t live up to the hype and have to work at convincing people to buy products and/or join the company.
In many ways, being a distributor for ViSalus (or for most MLM companies) is like being an employee, but with less benefits. You still rely on the rules and regulations of the company and are entirely dependent on the company, yet it is your own money you are risking and you don’t earn money for how much work you do.
If you are going to earn money outside of a normal job – do so by being your own boss. Working for a company like ViSalus is unlikely to ever be effective and you would be completely screwed if anything happened to the company.
This is why I like affiliate marketing so much.
It’s an approach that still involves promoting a product, but you get to pick the products and the companies yourself. So, you can promote products that people are actually interested in buying.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about purchasing or handling any physical stock, which certainly makes the entire process much easier and much less risky.
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