Company Name: Plexus Worldwide
Costs: $34.99 + $99 or $199 to start, then additional costs to order products
What Is It
Plexus is a MLM company with a strong focus on weight loss products and some health products.
Most of the products have no proven benefits and are little more than a cocktail of chemicals. Additionally, the compensation plan for the company makes it challenging and potentially expensive to actually make money.
The emphasis of Plexus is on weight loss, and the company offers a range of products to help with this, including the Plexus Slim line. One specific example I’m going to talk about is Plexus Slim, which is the basic product that the company has become most strongly associated with.
The product is basically marketed as a miracle in a supplement. Basically, you just take this supplement and start to lose weight. The theory seems to be that it helps people to reduce their desire to eat and helps them to burn fat.
However, there almost no information on the website about how the product is supposed to do this. Perhaps we find out once we're in “the club”, but it would be nice if there was more information about WHAT we're supposed to buy, other than a mystical, natural, weight loss formula.
One of the more interesting things about the label is that a key ingredient of the ‘Plexus Slim Blend’ is green coffee bean.
The concept of using green coffee bean extract for weight loss has been around for a while now, and it is controversial at best. Most of the claims what green coffee bean extract can do were greatly hyped and there isn’t any solid evidence out there to suggest that it actually can help people lose weight.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission even sued some of companies selling green coffee bean extract because of misleading advertising and ‘invented health claims’. Remember the Dr Oz scandal over green coffee extract? I can't stand Dr. Oz, so, here's another one for good measure, with him getting his butt chewed out by a US senator.
With those three links above, the whole “green coffee extract” thing pretty much falls apart, and so does this product.
Realistically, the only real evidence that any of these products work is testimonials. However, testimonials are inherently flawed because only the good ones are promoted. Additionally, people often take supplements and see results because of what they expected rather than because of the supplement (the placebo effect, or results from other activities like keeping a diet journal).
Many of the products are also expensive. For example, a seven day trial of the Plexus Slim costs $24.95 and 3 ounces of body cream costs just under $50. Holy smokes! Who's got that kind of money lying around?
That’s a lot of money for products when the company doesn’t provide any real evidence that they are better than anything else on the market.
In fact, in 2013 the Australian Department of Health issued a safety warning for the Accelerator capsules that Plexus sells:
Likewise, Canada issued a similar safety warning for the same product.
Similar warnings haven’t been made in the United States, largely because each country differs in what it considers safe and unsafe. Nevertheless, the fact that any government issues a warning on a product from Plexus is a serious issue and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I also want to add that Slim promotes itself as all natural, and containing no stimulants, but the company also pushes a product called Plexus Accelerator which is quite the opposite. It's basically pure stimulants, but is marketed as a way to “help increase the effectiveness of Plexus Slim.”
It's pretty strange that they would market a non-natural way to compliment a natural way to lose weight.
The products from Plexus get pretty mixed reviews. There are a lot of really positive reviews about the products, but at the same time there are many negative ones.
Part of this issue comes from the nature of the company. With Plexus, you have distributors trying to sell the product, which means that they need to make it look as good as possible. This means that many distributors will overhype the products, making them seem like they can do things that they can’t.
In fact, some distributors may even have talked themselves into believing that the products work.
One of the more honest reviews that I found contained a list of side effects that the person experienced:
The company has also taken efforts to prevent their products being distributed on channels like Amazon, which also makes it much harder for people interested in the products to find out whether they are any good or not. This is common for MLM do prevent people from starting a ‘race to the bottom', selling the product for cheaper and cheaper. In a sense, they want to prevent any real competition and jack up the prices of their products.
The hook of Plexus is of course the income opportunity. In concept, this approach allows you to make money by sharing and promoting products that you are already interested in. In practice, this is nowhere near as simple as it seems.
The compensation plan for the company is a pretty big indication of just how complex the whole thing is. To start off with, the company boasts 11 ways to earn money. 11! This might sound like a good thing, but it is a strong indication that the plan is much more complicated than it really needs to be.
“Marketing-Speak” is often used to confuse people into thinking more ways to earn = more income in their pocket. But it actually just means recruiting anyone into the MLM is a complicated, hour long process explaining how you can (or can't) get paid.
One oft-forgotten element of the commission plan is the need to qualify.
Specifically, this means that you have to have an active membership, and have what they call a Backup Order. That Backup Order is an automatic order to the company for at least $100 a month. There are ways around this last criteria, but they are either more expensive or very time consuming.
This means that to earn money with the company, you have to be investing quite a bit in it. Every month you start out in the red, and have to claw you way up to break even. Then you can start to turn a small profit, if you haven't exhausted your list of family and friends yet.
Breaking down the confusion of compensation, there are two general ways to earn money with Plexus. The first is to sell products, the second is to recruit people into the company (and earn from their earnings). This second way is the area that Plexus really focuses on.
This structure is why the approach is called multilevel marketing (or MLM) and it means that your income is dependent on how successful the people you recruit are. Almost no one makes good money just by selling the product, and all the “income success stories” are the folks that focus on recruiting rather than selling.
On paper it looks like a great way of earning money, but it never really works out that way. One reason is that it is pretty challenging to actually recruit people into a company like Plexus and even harder to get them to be successful within the company. If anyone does research on the company, they'll see all the negative stuff I've pointed out so far. Then, before you've even made a sale, you have to do some damage control and defend the company.
Doing so requires a lot of time and effort on your part. At the same time you are also competing against other distributors that are doing the same thing and all of the other products on the market.
This type of compensation also means that members are only really going to earn money if new recruits and new customers can constantly be found. Without a large network of family and friends to market to, or a business plan of how to ake your business online, you're stuck.
The second way to earn money with this company is through selling products with Plexus, but it isn’t simple either.
As I mentioned before, the products that the company offers aren’t exactly great and they are way overpriced as well. This can make selling the products quite difficult. Plus, do you know that many people that want to lose weight? Of those folks, how many have the money to invest in this product? Of that small group, how many will stick with it for more than a month or two?
Considering you also have competition from competing products, sold WITHOUT the MLM buzz, and sold for cheaper, you are going to need an awesome sales pitch. Can Plexus provide you with good enough training to actually make decent sales?
Profit Sharing Pool
A final thing I want to touch on about the opportunity side of Plexus is the concept of a profit sharing pool. This is part of the Plexus model and its where half of the net sales from Plexus are split between all of the qualified distributors (or Ambassadors as Plexus calls them) each month.
Plexus promotes this as a fantastic model for its distributors, but it’s really not. The approach means that the same amount of work and outcome may have different rewards from one month to the next.
It also means that the amount you earn can change based on the number of distributors. So, if the number of distributors grew but most of them weren’t very successful, the pooled model would mean you earn less for your work, not more.
At the end of the day, making money through Plexus involves jumping through a lot of hoops and promoting a product that really isn’t that great. It is an approach that takes large amounts of effort and there’s simply no guarantee that what you do will be successful in the long-term.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
The MLM model is great for the company but it is a horrible model for the individual trying to make money from it. With MLM and with Plexus, the company has so much control over the money you earn, while you have almost no control. Plus, you are trying to convince people to buy a product that they really aren’t interested in.
An alternative approach to earning money is a method called affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is more online focused, which means that you don’t have to sell to your friends or family. It is also an approach that allows you to promote products that people actually want to buy and that are worth spending money on.
Many people shy away from affiliate marketing because it sounds hard, but honesty, that isn’t true at all. Affiliate marketing is easy to pick up regardless of your background because most of the work is just researching and writing about topics you find interesting.
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.