Forever Living is an Arizona-based network marketing company that specializes in products derived from two natural sources: aloe vera gel and bees. They’re also known for their three-part nutritional cleanse called F.I.T.
The company is quite old as far as MLMs go. It was founded in 1978 in Arizona and now does business across the world.
Did I get on board? This explains everything:
When it comes to search engine traffic and popularity, Forever Living has been steadily trending upwards over the past five years. There’s been a slight downturn since late 2015, but search traffic is still 75% of what it was at its peak.
Slow, steady growth is what you want to see when you’re looking for long term growth potential. The fact that the company focuses on a small niche of products means that you can pour more time and energy into expertise related to the product categories offered by the company (aloe vera gel and bee products, in this case).
Breaking down the product categories of Forever Living is pretty easy.
The honey bee products are all derived from bee activity byproducts. This includes the obvious (honey) as well as bee pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly.
While honey is great, you’re going to have a hard time selling it in a network marketing scheme. Royal jelly and propolis, however, have a more interesting story. Royal jelly is what bees use to feed their larvae and their hive queens, and propolis is a resin-like substance that bees use to seal the holes in their hive.
According to a 2008 review article in the Journal of Food Science, propolis has been used historically as an herbal remedy and medicine.
More modern, rigorous scientific investigation has identified several useful properties for this bee byproduct. Propolis appears to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory products, and it may even be useful for fighting ulcers.
The same scientific article suggests that royal jelly has many of the same properties, though other research suggests it is not quite as effective.
A 2001 study by researchers at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the National Fisheries University in Japan tested the relative antioxidant properties of propolis, royal jelly, and other bee byproducts.
After studying the antioxidant properties of all of the bee-related compounds, they found that propolis had a higher antioxidant activity than royal jelly, and royal jelly was in turn superior to standard honeys.
Notably, both royal jelly and propolis seem to have superior heat resistance compared to honey. When honey gets heated up, it loses its antioxidant properties, but the same is not true for propolis and royal jelly.
Forever Living’s aloe vera products have a variety of uses as well. Though it’s more well-known as a skin soothing salve, it can also be used as a dietary supplement.
Aloe vera has some interesting properties with respect to risk factors for type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. A study published in 2012 in the scientific journal Planta Medica examined the effects of an aloe vera supplement in people with type 2 diabetes and high blood lipids.
The study, which used a double-blind protocol, involved some sixty patients who were split into two groups.
One group was given an aloe vera gel supplement while the other was given a placebo pill to function as a control. The researchers tracked the blood lipids, cholesterol, and blood sugar of both groups for the duration of the two month study.
At the study’s conclusion, the authors analyzed the data and found that the aloe vera group had a statistically significant drop in their LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type that increases your risk of heart disease) as well as their blood glucose level.
Other markers of interest, like blood triglycerides or HDL (the “good” type of cholesterol) remained unchanged.
Since high LDL cholesterol is a substantial risk factor for heart disease, and high blood glucose is a risk factor for both metabolic syndrome and its more sinister cousin, type 2 diabetes, the researchers concluded that aloe vera gel could be a useful adjunctive treatment for people who are at risk for these conditions, or, in the case of this study, for people who already have type 2 diabetes.
Forever living has been blasted by other reviewers for its obscure, difficult to understand compensation plan. Sales are converted to “cc” units, which are used to determine the compensation structure.
When you decode it, the structure is pretty standard as far as MLMs go: distributors can get a wholesale discount, plus sign up additional distributors for a commission.
How much money does the average Forever Living distributor make? It’s impossible to say. For unknown reasons, Forever Living does not have an income disclosure statement available to the public and posted online.
This alone should raise suspicions. Many other MLMs, even those performing poorly and with bad numbers, still post their income disclosure statements. The absence of Forever Living’s income disclosure statement is one reason to be wary of their business model.
Forever Living has some interesting products that you can get a lot of good information on. Their focus on bee honey byproducts and aloe vera gel allows you to accumulate a good depths of knowledge on the potential problems that their products can help fix.
However, there are some red flags that you should be aware of. First, the incredibly complex and difficult to understand compensation plan isn’t good news. If it was easy to make money, wouldn’t they make it easy to understand how?
Second, the lack of an income disclosure statement means you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. Exercise real caution.
If you’re set on MLM, it’s not terrible, but there are definitely more profitable opportunities out there.
If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced products to your family and friends.