Monday, June 19, 2017

Should you join Shaklee? Read this first

Shaklee is an old, well-established multilevel marketing company that sells supplements, weight loss products, and household goods, but is best known for its line of environmentally friendly “green cleaning” products.

You probably have a close family or friend that promotes them, the company is a veteran in the MLM space.

Have I been involved at all? This explains everything:

It was founded in the 1950s, and since then it has steadily grown.  It’s been bought and sold by larger corporations a number of times, but its mainstay product line and company mission has been essentially unchanged: providing healthy, environmentally friendly products through a direct sales marketing model.

You might expect a large, long-established MLM to be pretty stable when it comes to its popularity, but that’s not what the data show.  

Search engine volume for Shaklee has been quite variable over the last several years.  In late 2012, internet traffic shot up, and stayed at a high level for nearly two years.  

Since then, search volume has declined, but the company is still tracking over double its previous volume before this popularity spike: evidence of a lasting boost in name recognition.

The most likely explanation for this boost in popularity is, strangely, some legal trouble that ensnared one of the company’s top distributors.

After a series of investigations and fraud allegations, he was arrested, but the fraudulent practices appeared to be related to his own nefarious doings, not the company as a whole.  

Somehow, after all of this blew over, the company’s public profile was, if anything, higher than before.  So in this case at least, all PR is good PR.


As is the case with other MLMs that sell a wide variety of dietary, personal, and household products, your real task is to sell the lifestyle, not the individual products.

With Shaklee, the unique angle to the company is its focus on personal and environmental health.  They commit to using only ingredients that are nontoxic for you and the environment, and they are very rigorous about quality and purity testing.  

Shaklee was also the first company in the world to be certified as climate-neutral, meaning its net carbon emissions are zero and thus does not contribute to global climate change.  

The lifestyle solutions that Shaklee sells are represented well by the Get Clean Starter Kit.  This $115 retail package contains their famous Basic H2 cleaning concentrate, disinfectant wipes, dish soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and several other basic household cleaning goods.  

All of these products are never tested on animals and use less harmful ingredients than many of their competitors.

If Shaklee has a flagship product it might be the Basic H2 cleaning concentrate.  The first version of this product was initially released in 1960 and was one of the first nontoxic, biodegradable cleaners on the market.  

The current version uses alkyl glycoside as its principle ingredient, which is an organic compound that acts as a cleaner and as a surfectant (meaning it helps the solution break surface tension and get into the nooks and crannies of a rougher surface like a tile floor).  Unlike competitors’ products, the only safety warnings are that it may cause eye irritation if it gets in your eye.

Compensation plan

When you join up, the company tries to push you to buy an expensive start-up kit, but the only mandatory cost is actually just the $50 basic enrollment kit.  Once you’ve joined up, you can start earning discounts of 15-20% off retail price, and pocket the difference.  

The next way to earn money has to do with those expensive startup kits.  Every time you enroll someone new with a “gold” level startup kit ($350 or $650), you earn a $50 or $100 bonus.  There are similar bonuses for specific products that have cash rewards associated with them; this is the “power bonus” system.

Commissions from sales in your downline start at 4% and can grow up to 20% as your sales volume increases.  The minimum monthly sales volume required to start earning commissions is 250 product volume per month, which is equal to about $350 in actual dollar amount sales.  

If you can consistently enroll a new customer every month who purchases a gold level startup kit, this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve.

According to Shaklee’s own figures, distributors appear to make good money, if they stay active.  Directors, for example (the lowest rank), averaged an annual income just south of $10,000 per year.  Crucially, however, the company does not disclose what percentage of all distributors are eligible at this rank, and what proportion make no money at all.


In review, Shaklee looks like a pretty solid income opportunity if you can consistently structure your business to enroll new members.  

Sales help, of course, but the real way to exploit the compensation plan is by selling gold level startup kits.  If you sell at least one of those per month, you will always be eligible for commissions on your downline, plus you’ll be guaranteed a cash bonus.  This can stack up in addition to whatever retail profits you have from direct customers.

The products in isolation, given that they are relatively inexpensive, probably won’t generate a lot of revenue for you unless your sales are through the roof.  They are good quality, though, and the company’s commitment to personal and environmental safety is a good selling point.

Among MLMs selling a lifestyle and convenience, Shaklee is pretty good.  

Just make sure you set up and carry out your business plan in a way that’s going to maximize your income, given the structure and incentives of the compensation plan and the pricing of the products.

But if you’re just doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job.

You might like this coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling products to your family and friends.

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