Saturday, June 24, 2017

Is it a good idea to join USANA?

USANA is one of the biggest and best-known health supplement MLMs on the market.

Its specialty is products that address your core nutritional needs and are targeted towards improving cellular health.

So did I get on board? This explains everything:

All good? Let’s continue…

The company invests heavily on the expertise and reputation of their founder, Myron Wentz, who has a PhD in microbiology and immunology.  Wentz’s knowledge, the company claims, is key when it comes to how the company’s products are distinguished from its competitors.

USANA is also known for its athletic sponsorships and partnerships with trusted names in the health and wellness sphere. The company is involved in deals with dozens of Olympians, including several Olympic medalists, and is listed as a trusted partner on the Dr. Oz show, who ought to need no introduction.

As you’d expect from a company with this kind of presence, search engine traffic for the company is quite high in an absolute sense.  Trends show evidence of good brand awareness, but also very deep market penetration.  This could indicate it’s hard to break into an already saturated market.

USANA has had a history of controversy over its business practices, but not to nearly the degree or severity as some of its competitors.  

An activist investor once published a 500-page report alleging pyramid-scheme like qualities in USANA’s business model, but although the report was reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigates financial fraud, no charges were ever brought, and the SEC recommended no changes to USANA’s business model.

This doesn’t mean you are totally in the clear, though.  Like with any MLM, you need to know what you are getting yourself into when it comes to the products you’ll be distributing and the earnings potential as outlined in the compensation plan.


Like with many of the biggest and most diversified MLMs, USANA has no core product or program that acts as a standard-bearer.  Instead, the brand offers many of the basic and advanced supplements you’d want to see from a large supplement provider: multivitamins, antioxidant supplements, protein powder, and so on.

What’s the quality of these products look like?  One of the most popular products that USANA offers is its Vita-Antioxidant.  It contains a mega-dose of B vitamins, providing over 1000% of several of the B vitamins.  Other vitamins and minerals are provided in high doses too.  

The antioxidant supplement also includes a laundry list of potent plant and herbal extracts that have been found to have antioxidant activity.  It’s definitely a shotgun approach: the Via-Antioxidant contains green tea extract, inositol, lycopene, resveratrol, among others.  Make no mistake, this is not a highly specialized formula that delivers one specific supplement.

This pattern holds steady for many of the company’s other supplements.  The other popular supplements, like MagneCal D (for bone health), Procosa (glucosamine and minerals), and CoreMinerals (trace elements) all use the same approach.  

There is no particular ‘hook,’ other than the combination of the ingredients.  The mineral ingredients, for example, are sourced from the same basic compounds you’d find in a drug store multivitamin.

Some of the product appeal for USANA comes from the simple breadth of products available.  This ties in with their athletic sponsorships.  

As purity and contamination-free ingredients are key concerns of international-caliber athletes, the fact that USANA is able to offer a guarantee on the purity and quality of its ingredients is a big selling point.  

You aren’t just selling the individual products; you are selling the convenience of ordering them from the same, reliable distributor (plus the convenience of having them shipped to your doorstep).

Compensation plan

Getting started as a USANA distributor only costs $29.95 to purchase a basic startup kit.  This gets you in on “preferred customer” discounts, which means you can buy products at wholesale prices and resell them for retail prices, keeping the profits.  

Unfortunately, the wholesale discount for USANA is not that good: only ten percent.  Other MLMs offer twenty to thirty percent off (sometimes even more) for distributors.

Retail profit is not the only way to earn money, of course.  USANA uses a binary compensation plan, meaning your downline is split into a “left” and a “right” leg.  

Your performance bonuses and your commissions are determined by the weaker leg, as is usually the case, so you have to pay extra care to pay attention to the performance of all of your downline distributors.

 You need to ensure you have a steady flow of customers demanding products, because you’ve got to sell 100 product volume every four weeks (worth around $120 in sales) to stay eligible to earn commissions.

This difficulty is reflected in the USANA income disclosure statement.  The numbers are pretty sobering.  Two thirds of distributors make no money at all, and three-quarters of all the income awarded to all distributors goes to the top two percent of earners.  The remaining 98% have to scramble for the rest.  


USANA’s products look solid, if uninnovative and largely unremarkable.  But the tricky part is the business opportunity.  The numbers, on paper, do not look good, especially considering that USANA is a very well-established name with deep market saturation.  

You’ll have a very hard time joining up now and building up a network of distributors below you, since so many people have already heard of, or tried, USANA’s products.  

Unless you’ve got a unique “in” (such as operating in an area you know is underserved by current USANA distributors), there are better, safer options for getting into the health supplement business.

You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without selling stuff to your family and friends.

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