Is Optavia a scam MLM or not? That’s a question many people have been asking about this weight loss network marketing company, so I wanted to check it out for myself. They talk up the products and business opportunity, but is it really worth joining or just a bunch of hype?
Read on to find out more about the Optavia MLM scheme….
Company Name: Optavia
Founders: Dr. Wayne S. Andersen & Bradley T. Macdonald
Price To Join: $199 To Start
My Rating: 5/10
~ Optavia Reviews ~
In the past few decades MLM schemes have been popping up like mushrooms. There seems to be nearly as many companies selling products with the network marketing method as there are regular retailers.
Multi level marketing has always been popular, even long before the days of the internet. Still, it always astounds me how many people are so keen to get on board with these schemes, either as customers, reps, or both.
Recently the Optavia opportunity came onto my radar. I kept seeing it mentioned on social media, so I wanted to do some research on the company and write up a review disclosing what I found out.
One of the main reasons I created my website is to help us all find legit and profitable ways to make some money, especially on the internet. That’s the main reason why I write so many product reviews on make money platforms and training schemes. These reviews help us sort the good stuff from the not so good.
I love the internet, especially because of all the opportunities it’s opened up when it comes to making cash from home, and being able to access a global audience to do it any time of the day or night.
The downside is the internet’s also attracted a lot of opportunistic scammers who target people looking to make money, so we always have to be diligent.
Congrats on finding your way to my review. It shows you’re smart and do your homework before joining something. Likely you’ll never get scammed, which is a good thing.
Let’s now see how Optavia rates overall and whether it’s worth your time or not.
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What Is Optavia About?
Optavia is the new name given to a well known health and wellness MLM called “Take Shape for Life”. The older version of the network marketing scheme was founded back in 2002 by Dr. Wayne S. Andersen & Bradley T. Macdonald.
The health and wellness niche is the most popular and most saturated niche there is in MLM at the moment, but yet this company seems to always be doing strong, no matter which name they use.
The change of name happened in 2017, by the way, but it’s the exact same company as the older version, with the same product line rebranded.
Take Shape for Life was originally governed by its parent company, Medifast, but under the new name of Optavia, the company is now independent of Medifast.
While Optavia falls under the general health and wellness category, one of their main focuses is on products to help people lose weight specifically. Not only lose the weight, but keep it off. Along with products is training and support to help people achieve their weight loss goals.
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I won’t go deep into what’s on offer in this section, because my review is more focused on the business aspect of Optavia. We’ll briefly take a look at Octavia’s products though, so you know what they have available.
The company has developed and sells a number of nutritional products such as health snacks, shakes and supplements. But it’s more than just products of this nature. Optavia also focuses on coaching people to achieve their health and fitness and weight loss goals. This is achieved through weight loss and health plans.
When you sign on with this MLM you offer up a bunch of personal information, which includes things like your goals and intentions.
Some of the foods and supplements available in the various health plans are:
- Nutrition Bars
- Health Drinks
- Ready Made Meals
- Nutrition Shakes
- And more…
The prices are typically very expensive (like they always are when it comes to MLM), and I’ll explain the reason why in the next section.
Why Are MLM Products Always So Expensive?
When you look at the product range of an MLM company like Optavia, and you ask someone involved why the products are so expensive compared to others on the market, you’ll always get a rehearsed response.
The reason will be that they are supposedly so much better than the competition, or they contain some secret magic ingredient.
These aren’t the real reasons though.
MLM products are generally ridiculously expensive because of how these companies have to structure their compensation plans. MLM is about building teams through downlines. These downlines run from the base of the pyramid all the way up to the summit, where the company is the head.
When a sale is made lower down the food chain, small commissions have to be paid out to every sponsor right back up to the top. The company also needs to make some money as well.
In order for the company to make some profit and cover all these commissions and bonuses, they need to charge astronomical prices.
Now they can’t say this to potential customers and new recruits, because that would just sound like they are ripping people off (and really they are in a way).
The Optavia Compensation Plan
Although there are a variety of different ways to earn with MLM, there are basically 2 major ways, and they are:
- Direct sales of products
- Recruitment and climbing the ranks
When you purchase a Starter Kit, you become known as a “Health Coach”. Instead of being called a distributor, you are given this more trendy sounding title.
The Starter Kits don’t contain any actual products, just business information. Therefore you also need to purchase products as well when you first get started.
A Starter Kit allows you 12 months eligibility to be a Health Coach and earn commissions and bonuses, as well as climb the ranking ladder. Optavia also issue you with your very own replica website to aid with sales and recruiting. This website won’t rank in search engines, because it’s just duplicate content, but it still helps to have a website to refer people to or send paid traffic to.
Commissions on sales are 15%, so not really all that impressive. On the flipside, you can get products at a discount if you want to use them yourself or give them away as gifts.
Selling products really isn’t the way to get anywhere in MLM though. That all happens with recruiting, building sales teams and moving up the ranks. Without rank advancement your MLM business will be dead in the water. It’s the only way to get to a level where you can make decent money.
Here are the ranks to aim for:
- Health Coach
- Senior Coach
- Assistant Director
- Executive Director
- Regional Director
- National Director
- Global Director
- Presidential Director
For more details on how the compensation plan works, you can take a look at the official Optavia PDF here.
Bonuses you can achieve include things like:
- Consistency Bonuses
- Client Acquisition Bonus
- Assist Bonuses
- Team Growth Bonuses
- Executive Director Generation Bonuses
- Rank Achievement Bonuses
- Elite Leadership Bonuses
- And more…
Optavia Income Disclosure Statement
I like to include details about the income you can earn with various network marketing schemes. I couldn’t actually find a recent income disclosure statement on the Optavia website (even though by law they’re required to display one), but I did manage to find their 2017 IDS on another website.
According to the company’s 2017 figures, nearly 30% of members made ZERO dollars in 2017. That’s almost a third of all business participants.
Not a very motivating figure, and that’s with an average of 17 months involvement in the business.
In fact, only about 4% of participants actually managed to make what I’d consider a liveable income for the 2017 year. Keep in mind, the figures in the statement are total earnings and not profit. There are plenty of expenses involved.
The MLM Business Opportunity
In the past I’ve been involved in MLM and I really don’t like the way these schemes are set up or how they compensate people. It’s all grossly unfair in my opinion, and one of the worst ways around to make money.
So many companies are adopting the network marketing business model these days because of all the advantages and money saving options it gives them. The company gets many benefits, but the distributors are stripped of theirs.
Essentially MLM companies amass a free workforce that works really hard for the promise of commissions and bonuses, and we’ve already seen that nearly a 3rd of all Optavia “coaches” make no money whatsoever.
The distributors (coaches) also have to pay all their own business related expenses. The company pays for nothing. Distributors actually pay the company for the right to work for them as unpaid sales reps.
The company saves heaps by not having to pay any wages or salaries, plus it’s the distributors who do most of the promotion, buying and selling of products, and all the recruiting that grows and expands the business. The company doesn’t have to pay for this either.
That’s a hell of a deal for the company, but a really shitty one for the workers. It’s no wonder so many businesses decide to take the MLM route. Why wouldn’t they? It’s an awesome business decision for them.
These schemes are always so over-hyped as well, especially if you sit in on one of their official seminars. You’ll be dazzled with opulent lifestyles, travelling to exotic locations, fast cars and wealth.
Well, guess what percentage of people were wealthy from Optavia in 2017?
Less than half of one percent of members, and I wouldn’t call their incomes true wealth either.
It’s all hyped up BS mostly, to get people excited and motivated about the possibility, but in MLM it’s very rarely ever a reality that’s attainable by the masses.
It’s like they’re selling a get rich quick scheme.
Another part of their spiel is you get to own your own business. No you don’t. The company owns it. The company controls everything. Distributors are merely unpaid sales reps. You can never sell any asset you’ve built with MLM because you don’t really own anything.
To top it all off, most network marketing companies practically force their distributors to purchase a certain amount of product every month to remain eligible to earn bonuses and commissions. So they are in effect making their sellers also the main buyers of their products.
This all totally sucks from the POV of distributors. Seriously, just about anything you do online or offline will work out to be a better deal that what any MLM company offers.
Is Optavia An Illegal Pyramid Scheme?
Just about all multi level marketing schemes operate on a pyramid compensation structure. Because of this, many people are quick to accuse them of being illegal, naked pyramid schemes.
There’s no secret I’m not a fan of MLM, but I will be fair and honest.
For the majority of MLM schemes out there, they are innocent of being naked pyramid schemes.
So what is considered and illegal style of pyramid business?
Well, one that relies solely on recruitment and the money earned by recruiting new members to survive. Everyone involved only makes money when new members join. These schemes have no products of a tangible value and rely on recruitment alone.
Optavia has products, and products that are sold outside of the distributor base. Because of this, despite relying heavily on recruitment, the company cannot be rated as a naked or illegal pyramid scheme.
MLM is really targeted at people looking to start some sort of business where the setup is already taken care of. It’s kind of like a “business in a box” type of deal.
Not everyone wants to start a business from scratch, but people are looking for opportunities to do something besides their regular job.
The only problem is, you never own your MLM business and it’s definitely one of the hardest roads anyone could take if you want to make good, consistent income and build your own saleable asset.
What I Like
- They give you a replica website to assist with recruitment and sales
- The company has been around (under a different name) since 2002
- They do have some pretty decent meal plans, health plans and products
What I Don’t Like and Red Flags
- The products and plans are mega expensive
- The title of “Health Coach” given to untrained distributors is a bit deceptive
- MLM is one of the hardest ways to make money
- Health and wellness is the most over-saturated niche in MLM, so lots of competition
- Nearly 30% of Optavia members have made zero dollars over a 17 month period
- You’re just an unpaid sales rep when you join MLM
How Much Does Optavia Cost To Join?
You must first buy a Starter Kit before you can become a distributor (coach) for Optavia. This kit is business materials only and contains no products. It costs $199.
Every 12 months there is also an annual renewal fee due.
In order to sell some products and health plans, or entice others to join the business under you, you’ll need some product to demonstrate. Product kits cost over $200 each, so it’s pretty expensive to get started with this one.
Is Optavia a Scam Or Legit?
Optavia is a legit business, as was its predecessor Take Shape for Life, and original parent company Medifast. There’s no scam here at all.
I just don’t like MLM because of the high prices of products (which is only necessary because it’s MLM), and the way members are compensated. It’s just a very poor business option for distributors.
Optavia operates in a niche that’s so saturated it’s ridiculous, and you’re going to have to try and peddle seriously expensive products in this hyper competitive niche.
The only way to succeed in MLM is to recruit like a maniac and climb the company ranks. If you join, that’s all you should focus on.
I’d personally recommend giving it a miss though, if you want to make some decent cash. Maybe just join for the weight loss and health plans.
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