Selling Your Soul to Usana Health Sciences for $27,000 a Year


If you were going to join a multi-level marketing company like Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA), what would your goal be? Would you aspire to be one of their million dollar earners? That sounds awfully prestigious, doesn’t it?

Well check out this excerpt from a recent press release by the company, and then catch my comments at the end.

SALT LAKE CITY – January 22, 2009 – Colette Evans was approached by her husband, Allen, 14 years ago about starting a home-based business with USANA Health Sciences. Though skeptical at first, Colette started taking USANA’s nutritional products and saw an improvement in her health. Once she saw firsthand the effectiveness of the products, Colette decided to work side-by-side with her husband introducing USANA to others and building a successful business

Through hard work and determination, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida residents recently reached a major milestone with the company, becoming the newest members of USANA’s Million Dollar Club.

USANA’s Million Dollar Club is made up of distributors who have earned at least $1 million in commissions through their USANA business. To be officially inducted into USANA’s exclusive club, Colette was treated on Jan. 22 to a “million dollar day” as part of an unforgettable trip to USANA corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City.

That all sounds so fabulous, until you do the math. It took these two people 14 years to get to the $1 million commission mark. Divide that million by 14, and you see that each of them was grossing about $35,000 a year in commissions, on average.

Then, of course, you must subtract business expenses, because they surely didn’t earn those commissions without spending some money. Let’s be very conservative and assume that they spent only 25%  of their commissions on business expenses. (It’s probably a lot more than that, but I’m being generous .)

That means each of these people earned just under $27,000 a year for the last 14 years of their Usana lives. How impressive is that?

It’s just indicative of the spin that MLMs constantly have to put on their numbers. They’re not going to announce to everyone that this couple made $27,000 a year each in Usana. That’s not impressive. Instead, we’ll throw around the $1 million figure and hope no one ever does the math.

40 thoughts on “Selling Your Soul to Usana Health Sciences for $27,000 a Year

  1. Tracy Coenen

    Yes, Miguel, it equals $71,428. There were two of them working full-time, which equals about $35,000 each.

  2. Hello,

    I´m a proud Usana Distribuitor and I truly believe that everybody is entitled to express their opinion. That doesn’t mean that you have to talk without knowledge.

    Have you ever tried to work on MLM, because I have done it for the past year and it has help my wife in ways we can not describe. Besides that we decided to work hard on the business and as everything else in life, if you work just a bit you will earn small money, but if you work hard you will earn a lot.

    That is fact of life. I learned to play drums when I was 14 years old and work my but off. I got to be the best drum player and my other friends didn´t practice at all and did not acomplished anything, so by your way of thinking is playing drums a fraud because they spended 4 years trying without practicing, and for that reason I should be called “Lucky” or “Gifted” NOOOO. I work my but off. That why I played better.

    But you can not talk about playing drums or MLM because you have not done either of them. So maybe you should try to do so before considering talking about something you don´t have the moral authority to talk about.

    If you try MLM and fail, you’ll be a looser because you quit, because anybody that works constantly will succeed in anything, not just MLM.

    By the way I have my own company which I’ve worked for the past 10 years and I’m consider a succesful business man, supporting more than 44 families and now with Usana I have great health and I’m building the greatest MLM business.

    ¿What have you done for someone else in your life?

    Yours Truly.

    Ramiro Berner

  3. steven

    This claim is incorrect as it neglict the fact that you earn annually large sum of income each year even before the couple reached its annual income of 1 million. If it was 1 million for the last year, 600000 for the five years before that and 300000 for the five years before that and the first 3 years they earned nothing at all just to set up the business, they are still much better off as they have earned accumulatively 5.5 million dollars over 14 years which is equivalent to 392857.14 dollars for the couple per annum. This is more than most people earn in this country. Furthermore, it is residual, another word, you don’t need to work to receive the 1000000 a year for the rest of their lives. Well done to the couple is my opinion.


  4. Shane

    Unfortunately, your energy is spent to tear down a couple who did something great and who continue being pillars of society. Your self-serving blog designed to sell your book requires you to implement a strategy of tearing others down.

    Your comments are an interesting view which are not bound in reality or logic. I actually know Collette and Allen as friends. In fact, I am in the process of becoming a distributor now being directly sponsored by them.

    There are a few major challenges with your premise. You hold yourself to be a forensic accountant and yet, you don’t use simple accounting principles in your derision of the Evans’. First, you presume that both Collette and Allen worked the business full time and invested 25% of their earnings for the entire 14 years. What evidence do you have to support your premise of either their time or monetary investment? Additionally, you don’t account that their earnings will be continuing ad infinitum and are able to be passed on to their heirs. Finally, you simply divide the income by two since they both are in the business.

    It is laughable that you would indicate that a part time income of 70,000 annually (which, in actuality is probably more) is somehow mediocre for a nominal investment of time (especially considering that 70,000 exceeds many household incomes…).

    Did you know that an average veterans retirement is less than 35,000 per year? Based on your logic, this is a shameful amount of money. How many Americans would be glad to have a 35,000 residual income in perpetuity? Now, how many couples would be glad to have 70,000 in perpetuity?

    Admittedly, network marketing is a challenging road which few people actually accomplish the lucrative levels. However, how many people develop a sustainable business which provides a predictable income of 70,000 plus annually?

    The blame game society in which we live is pathetic. It is always somebody else who is to blame. The Evans’ are fantastic examples of strong ethics who took charge of their life and reap the rewards thereof.

    My hope is you post this to your blog for people to see through your veiled attempt to peddle your book while seeing the lunacy of minimizing what the Evans’ have accomplished.


  5. Tracy Coenen

    Awwww Shane… Nice try to slam me, but this article has nothing to do with selling my books. My books aren’t directed at anyone who participates in MLMs, so none of the posts about MLMs are meant to sell books. They’re simply informational articles to aid consumers.

    Now I agree with you that a $35,000 a year salary would be quite a lot for some people. But here’s why it’s a problem in the case of Usana (and MLM in general):

    1. Terms like “million dollar earners” are used instead to make it seem like these people are living the high life.
    2. Saying $70,000 a year income mischaracterizes things. This is two people working full time. So it’s a $35,000 job.
    3. People in MLMs are notorious for understating the amount of time and effort put in for the small earnings. I’m willing to bet your “friends” put in more than 40 hours a week on a consistent basis.
    4. The lie of residual income – This couple will not continue to earn $35,000 each for the rest of their lives unless they keep working at or above the level they are now.

    This article and all others here are not part of any “blame game,” as you suggest. They are simply part of an effort to educate the public that they will be wasting time, effort, and money by getting involved in MLM. MLM is not a real business, and it’s been proven time and again with the data produced by the MLMs themselves that over 99% who get involved lose money. These are not profit-making ventures except for the owners of the MLMs and a tiny handful of people at the top of the pyramid.

  6. Shane

    I’m impressed that you posted my comments.

    Here is my reply:

    How can you state so plainly that your intent is not to sell books? The very intent of the blog is to dissuade people from entering an MLM through articles as well as your books. Your advertisements are clearly posted on this very page.

    1. A million dollar earner IS a substantial income over a 14 year period. Please show me an American who would not like to have an additional million dollars BEYOND their normal income from part time effort.

    2. 70,000 annualized is neither misleading nor a mischarachterization. On the contrary, 70,000 is a conservative estimate of the earnings when you consider that 70,000 does not account for the early years where the income was less. Furthermore, you simply divide the income in half because you determined that both Collete and Allen invested and continue investing 40 hours each in the business. Again, as in the first post, what evidence do you have that supports this specious claim? You have provided no data as to the hours they specifically invested.

    3. You lump the Evans’ into a nebulous group of MLM people who understate the time and effort for the small earnings. The logic you follow lacks the evidence specific to the Evans’. Therefore, it (your logic) fails the litmus test.

    4. You indicate the income will not continue into the future without continued investment of 40 hours per week. Here is my question to you; What evidence do you have that supports this claim as it relates to the Evans’ previous earnings in relation to time invested? Also what evidence do you have specific to the Evans’ that indicates lack of future potentiality?

    Finally, this certainly is a blame game. This is misdirected anger at various MLM’s that are deemed legitimate businesses as defined by the FTC. Frankly speaking, the credibility of the FTC opinion trumps your accomplishments.

    The fact of the matter is that few people attain substantial levels in ANY large corporation or any endeavor, period. How many CEO’s are there per company? How many Presidents are there per company? How many businesses fail in the first five years? Of the remaining businesses that survive the initial five years, how many last another five years? How many athletes in the world make the Olympics? How many of the Olympians actually win a medal? How many athletes win gold?

    Just because the MLM model is difficult and requires time, energy, and money does not negate it as a viable alternative for an entrepreneur. MLM is not a get rich quick plan. But then again, what is?

    In the interest of time, this will be my last comment on your blog. Thank you for the post. I wish you unbound success and happiness and prosperity.



  7. Tracy Coenen

    Shane – Apparently you’re having a hard time understanding that my books have nothing to do with MLM and are not marketed to anyone who’s into MLMs. There’s a completely different market for them. I don’t sell books by writing about MLMs. But that doesn’t mean I’ll apologize for having my books posted on the site.

    Whether or not $35,000 income per year is something to get excited about is in the eye of the beholder. Let’s not pretend that this couple spent a “few hours a week” on Usana as a side venture. Let’s tell the real story. They eat, sleep, and breathe Usana. $35,000 is not an impressive income for that. (Notice again, that I reject your usage of $70,000 a year income because it was really $35,000 per worker.)

    Common sense and a working knowledge of MLMs is all you need to in order to know that the $35,000 income will not be a “residual income” nor will it last forever without a significant investment of time and effort by these people.

    Fortunately for me, I don’t use the FTC as the authority on what’s a legitimate business and what is not. The Direct Selling Association is a lobbying organization funded by the many MLMs, and its sole purpose for existing is to induce politicians and government organizations to not do anything to curb the activities of MLMs. So unfortunately, the FTC can’t really be relied upon to determine what is or is not a legitimate business, as they’re notorious for turning a blind eye to the abuses of MLMs.

    Your comparison of MLM to regular corporations fails. In corporations, the participants receive paychecks. In MLMs, the lower levels are all paying to play. They’re putting money into these scams, and 99% of them will never turn a profit (i.e. recover their investment). So MLMs and legitimate businesses aren’t the same thing at all.

    You’re right. MLM is not “get rick quick.” It’s “get rich never.” It’s “guaranteed losses for 99%.”

  8. If I was living in a tarpaper shack in the slums outsite Sao Paulo, Brazil I imagine that I’d be thrilled at an annual income of $35K a year.

    However, that is not the case.

  9. kingdavid

    Ms. Coenen, how do you know that the million dollar figure is cumulative and not an annual number that the couple has reached?

  10. Tracy Coenen

    Read the article.

    “USANA’s Million Dollar Club is made up of distributors who have earned at least $1 million in commissions through their USANA business.”

    And if the words themselves don’t convince you, you could do the math on how much the downline would have to order in a year, and see that it’s not $1 million in commissions for the year.

  11. Poor reading comprehension and basic innumeracy seem to be the defining hallmarks of commentators who defend MLM’s. This explains much about the target demographic that these schemes appeal to.

  12. Wizardman

    Dear fellows and Miss Tracy Coenen,

    Just want to know whether that extracted article is talking about Colette. Cause only Colette was offered for the trip. Her husband might sitting at home the whole day doing nothing but just motivating his wife. If what his husband was doing earn him 35,000 per year then I wish I could be that husband too.

    Another question, I wish to know did Miss Coenen ever tried to do any of these MLM? For me the cost of doing this business might be $ 20 (a cup of coffee, foot by cute prospects), my time and my transport fuel.(not really cause I was enjoying the same time)

    To be frank, MLM will earn you money, but whether sustainable is another question. I used to earned $10k per month for a year or two in a year time. I did my professional degree on accounting and I have never got paid for more than 2k per month.

    I wonder how much a forensic accountant earns per month….. Might be more than 10k because they will receive a cheque after they successfully detected fraud? Is it a fraud for professionals to receive fee when they are doing jobs that they cant guarantee the outcome themselves? Such as I might not get to detect the fraud but you still have to pay me?

  13. Raul Mejia

    Hi Tracy, i just wanted to thank you for your Article, i was recently invited to join Usana in Mexico and there is something suspicious about this, i could be wrong of course, but the person who invited me is a very good and close friend of mine and there is something different now with him, it’s seems like everything now has to do with this company, i would like to get in touch with you via email to know more on how this operate, in your honest opinion, will this model work? where exactly is the small print on this? is this similar to Amway? (a model i have been in contact with in the past and know more about. I really dont’t know if this is a good business opportunity and for the moment don’t really care that much as i’m not a money driven person, i just want more information on this because i’m really concerned about my friend and his family. Maybe i’m paranoid but the meeting i went to hear about this seems more like a CULT than a business venture!! Please any Information or Point of View on this company will be Greatly appreciated!! … Sincerely: Raul Mejia

  14. I’ve been laughing inside while reading this thread. I live in Japan, but this article resembles something that was written by an American about an American company.

    It just so happens that I also am an associate of Usana.

    As I read the article, I never understood the motivation for someone to downplay someone making money in business. The accused worked hard and made money….the American dream….and they are now on trial.

    How Sad……Tracey.

    Do you seek to defame the hard workers because you make much more than $35,000 / year…..or because you have never made that much. I’m really curious.

    Do you down play me, too? ….. because I’m a simple English teacher in a foreign country who earns much less and works probably much harder than the accused….. or am I better in your book?

    What profits do you have to gain?…..I didn’t realize you were selling books and I won’t accuse you for doing so. You go!

    But, maybe you could do your peddling honestly and respectfully of others who work hard in this life. I don’t even care if it’s your body that you are selling to feed your children. I won’t judge you. Maybe you should stop judging people and the companies and people they choose as friends.

  15. Tracy Coenen

    Kyle – I don’t care how much money anyone makes, as long as they are doing it legitimately. MLM is not legitimate. It is a con game which swindles millions of people every year. Those who participate are selling their souls to the devil And really, if you’re going to team up with Satan, you ought to be making much more for it than $27k a year.

    I look at participants in MLMs the same way I look at drug dealers – They are not participating in legitimate business, and therefore do not deserve any respect.

  16. Tracy, I just realized I misspelled your name in my last comment. I apologize for that.

    I’m also sorry that you feel that way about me.

    I think once the business model war is over we could probably have coffee and enjoy each others company.

    I don’t want to downplay your feelings about network marketing. I acknowledge them as yours.

    However, may I ask you what you feel is not legitimate about network marketing and which business model *is* legitimate and why it is?

    If the language were rewritten to say the “One hundred dollar earner” would this help? Is the issue here the language of celebration?….is the amount?……I’m trying to understand why I’m being compared to a drug dealer. Is it that the products I provide customers have illegal substances or that they don’t work and it’s because of Network marketing that they don’t work?

    Please help me understand.

  17. Tracy Coenen

    Multi-level marketing is not a “business model.” It’s a pyramid scheme. A con game. It swindles people.

    Real businesses are businesses. MLM is not business. Sure, those who own the MLM companies are considered business owners. But they have no honor. And the MLM participants do not have a business. They have simply paid for the right to participate in a scheme.

  18. Tracy,……and to whomever else out there that is in doubt….

    MLM (Multi Level Marketing / Network Marketing *is* a legitimate business model.

    If you are in such disagreement with MLM then I pose the following question to you…..

    Do you have automobile insurance? Do you have health insurance? Do you have life insurance? Have you heard of such companies as ING, AIG, and believe me the list goes on……then you have been victimized by the Devil. After all, where do you think MLM started?……Amway?……hahahahahah… my friend… was with your dollars that you were giving to an insurance agent. If your father has life insurance, auto insurance, health insurance or the likes, then you should go thank him and the MLM agent that helped him. Why do I say these things with such boldness…..because I too worked for the devil as you put it when I sold insurance.

    So, when you use general statements with words of drug dealers, devil, pyramid scheme, you might want to add some credibility to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. Because in all honesty you sound like the network marketing agent that you are trying to curse.

    You do not make your *legitimate business* sound attractive at all because of the way you are selling it. I really don’t think anyone here is buying it either.

    By the way, if you would like to have your own business that has dignity, I can help you.

  19. Tracy Coenen

    Insurance is not like MLM. It is the legitimate sale of a legitimate profit for which a commission is paid. The commission is generally paid to the selling agent and/or their agency. That’s it. Not 8 or 10 levels of commission like in MLM.

    The purpose of MLM is to recruit into a pyramid infinitely. The purpose of an insurance business is to sell insurance. That is a big, big difference.

  20. Again Tracy, you haven’t done your research…..because yes……Insurance does pay on multiple levels ….. encouraging agents to recruit other agents…..

    It is in the purest form MLM. You may not like it…..but it is……and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    But, now that you are giving me more information …..why do you have a problem with 8 or 10 levels…..are you saying 2 or 3 is ok? Are you saying that you have the magic number in your head in which one is or isn’t worshiping the devil?

    After all…..there is *NO* company that has less than three levels. I’m NOT talking about MLM….at least not in the sense that you are……Amazon is on the 2nd or 3rd level of a network marketing company……or is that ok….because it’s amazon.

    Would you like to re-think or even do a little research about your position.

  21. Tracy Coenen

    Yes, Kyle, general agencies do recruit agents, but not on multiple levels, and not for the purpose of recruiting other agents. Agents are recruiting to actually sell insurance, while in MLM, people are recruited for the purpose of recruiting other people.

    Corporate America is often compared to MLM because real businesses have multiple levels of management. Yet it’s not the same thing.

    In a real business, everyone gets a paycheck. There are fewer managers as you move to the top of an organization, but in spite of the numbers getting smaller at the top, it’s not a pyramid scheme because everyone gets paid. In contrast, almost everyone involved in MLM loses money. They pay for the right to participate, and never receive a profit (a paycheck) from the scheme. So you see, the difference is that in a legitimate business everyone receives money, while in an MLM, everyone pays money.

    I have been researching MLM for years, and I know all the arguments MLM supporters have, and they all fail once you look at the facts and apply logic.

  22. Doo Dilly

    Good grief. Tracy hasn’t done her research??? Tracy needs help to create a dignified business??? Obviously our USANA rep has only read this one article.

    All MLMers use the same old tired talking points: specious arguments designed to obfuscate and blur the obvious differences:
    1. The old realtor/insurance agent independent contractor comparison–but they sell their wares, they don’t recruit competitors.
    2. The old all businesses are pyramids–pyramid scheme vs. pyramidal structure.
    3. The old MLMs are a legitimate business model–well they’re legal, but legitimate… not so much. is a network marketing company??? An MLM??? Wow. That’s a new one. They have affiliate marketing, and other retailers sell through them, but I’m stumped as to how to categorize that one–other than just: fail.

    1. Read Tracy’s bio.
    2. Read the other articles on the blog about pyramid schemes & MLM
    3. Get out of USANA before you incur debt and/or cause others to do the same. (your choice, of course, but sage advice)


  23. Wow, we have attracted another person who is against opportunity. Thank you for joining in Doo Dilly.

    Since Tracy obviously doesn’t know her industry, I may be better off talking to you. At least I haven’t heard the words “devil, drug dealer, etc from you.”

    But, first in reply for a second or third time to Tracy’s comment. I don’t know how much clearer it is to say. My words were not read in the order that I wrote them apparently.

    1. Like your understanding of MLM, insurance agents also do not get paid for lack of performance
    2. Not the insurance company, but the agents actually recruit other agents….hence my comment about my experience.
    3. Insurance agents make money off the efforts of other agents.

    This is the purest form of multi-level marketing.

    As far as the network marketing part…..agents are largely dependent on the same marketing activities of those in your accused network marketing organizations.

    1. An agent must contact others and let them know what business they are in and offer their services.
    2. Agents may purchase leads or advertise incurring personal financial loss if performance is not present.
    3. But, in the end, creating a network is eminent for the agent or she or he will be looking elsewhere for employment.

    These are very large claims that network marketing doesn’t pay their associates. I work for a “traditional company” as you might word it and they didn’t pay their teachers for several months. The government ended up footing the bill. Believe me…the company I work for is NOT MLM. And frankly, I don’t like my company. I’m glad that I have options to help people in other ways.

    I have heard of no other associate in my networking organization not getting paid for performing their agreed upon contracts.

    Is it ok for Amazon to have associates but not for Usana, Amway, DogCatchersOfTheWorld, or whomever else? Is this wrong….to provide incentive for personal level of marketing ? Is it wrong for an individual to set out with a dream to become something more than what potential may lie in a dead end job. Why aren’t the average companies being accused here. Because they *usually* make their minimum wage payments on time. Is this the message to the world.

    My comparison of Amazon was yes…..they do have an affiliate program which I’m also happily involved in and I’ve never made a sale….except once thank you…..all because of my own lack of effort. But, two, because Amazon is not the original manufacturer of the products they sell. They are getting them from 1st or 2nd levels of distributorship putting Amazon on the 2nd or third level of a pyramid scheme and further increasing the pyramid scheme with associates.

    Now, … you know of course that I don’t believe Amazon is a pyramid business because pyramid businesses are illegal. That means *NOT* Legal. But, there are more than 20 major network marketing businesses that I’m aware of traded actively by the best of the best traders on the NASDAQ and other exchanges. NASDAQ having some of the strictest rules to trade on their exchange which is secondary to the laws of the the government…we’ll say the United States in this case. How is it that you can sleep at night with the name calling you support of a company or set of companies that chooses to use a marketing practice that has awarded millions of people who are willing to work the opportunity of success? Is it because you were not successful and you had a bad experience….or maybe a family member.

    Most of my bad experiences are with regular 9 to 5 jobs. I’ve been layed off numerous times in the software development industry.

    I think you need to be much more clear about what is illegal about these companies and give concrete evidence. Because so far, I haven’t met the devil or a drug dealer. Myself as well as those around me are satisfied with their products that are shipped on time and early. This is not a marketing spill. But only goes to show that many people’s experiences contradicts the one you are portraying….which I’m not still absolutely clear what that is.

    But, if the experience is that people are not making money…..well…even when I wasn’t able to close an insurance deal….guess what ….I didn’t get paid. I still had to go to the meetings. I was still responsible for making my calls and doing my work.

    The bottom line is people have to get off their *** and get to work. Nothing is free. You can blame the industry falsly all you want. But, you are correct. The industry doesn’t pay. Only companies pay people who work.

    Now, obviously, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to get a positive response on a site like this called “Fraud Alert”, because you have vested interest in being negative about someone’s industry. Let me guess….do you moan about people’s religion also……maybe the one you were in before, but you didn’t like the rules so you quit and blamed religion instead of stepping aside quietly so others could continue on their way…..or do you just like to setup a website such as this one because their were no other “wordtracker” categories left for you to align with.

    When you begin to talk about fraud….look in the mirror first before you begin to accuse me….someone you don’t even know.

  24. Tracy Coenen

    Insurance companies and Amazon are completely different from MLM, so your analogy fails. Insurance companies and Amazon are in business to truly sell real products and services to people. Insurance companies and Amazon do look for additional agents and affiliates, but they do not have an endless recruiting chain model like MLM does. MLMs are in the business of recruiting. They only offer products and services to look legitimate and to technically abide by the laws. But the real business is not the products, its the recruiting.

    Yes, MLM is legal in the U.S. And even the MLMs that are clearly in violation of the law usually aren’t stopped. The government agencies in the U.S. have decided not to pursue MLMs for scamming millions of people each year. That doesn’t make it right.

    Here’s the bottom line: You can hide behind the concept of pay for performance all you want. The fact is that something on the order of 98% to 99% of people who join MLMs lose money. It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s because MLM is a system that is designed to fail. No other “business model” has such high failure rates. And of course, I don’t consider pyramid schemes to be a business model at all.

    There are a few at the top who make a living wage, but it’s only because of money transfers from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. There are massive amounts of people in MLM who are losing money. The companies peddle products and services that look legitimate, because they’re the hook that is needed to get people into the companies. The truth is that these products and services are almost always very overpriced, and not a good value for anyone. Yet the companies tout magic juice and secret ingredients to give them a plausible reason for their high prices.

    Millions of people lose money to bogus opportunities offered by MLMs each year. I’m simply here to educate the public about what these companies REALLY do.

  25. Bonkers

    “There’s no other industry with a 99% failure rate”


    You’ve never been involved in the financial planning industry have you, including insurance?! The attrition rate in all the peronsal financial services sectors is well over 90%.

    What happens to the clients that of the 9 out of ten new agents who quit? They get transferred to the one who stays. Sounds ok, until you look at it this way:

    The industry KNOWS that 90% of new agents will fail. The numbers are in their reports every month. Yet they **still** continue to recruit new agents, promise them the moon, and let them pay for leads, education and transportation expenses. After a few months, the companies tell the new agents they aren’t meeting quota, and kick them out, transferring their hard-won clients to the “insiders” at the “top of the pyramid.”

    When you look at it that way, it seems like their only purpose is to recruit sales people they know will fail in order to have them bring in more clients for the few insiders at lower expense.

    Does that make financial services sales illegitimate? Maybe. But I could do the same “analysis” with just about any business model.

    If MLM is inherently evil, then ALL of the companies, like Ford Motor Company and Sears, that are co-marketing with them are evil too. If you are going to be morally consistent, you need to find EVERY company that co-markets with Amway or any other MLM and purge them from your shopping list. You also need to review the hiring practices of ALL sales agencies and make sure that they don’t have such high drop-out rates. Because any that do, by your own analysis, are recruiting for the sake of the insiders who stay at the expense of the 50-90% of those who quit.

  26. kaylynn

    Ahh shut up. I know a guy who works for Usana and he stays broke like a joke. Please. All of you on here who defend this MLM crap are only pawns, paid to make these statements. And thank you.

  27. ekk

    It’s obvious there is a selective moderating going on this site therefore Tracy loses credibility. I majored in mathematics and I can tell you her math is way off.. or better way we are all earning less that 27k a year from her incorrect calculations. I had posted that info technically and because she knows she is wrong, she decides not to post it.. just like how this won’t be posted. Maybe I should create a blog to go against her site and post my technically correct mathematics and make her lose credibility.

  28. Tracy Coenen

    EKK – Your numbers were completely false and inaccurate, so they were not posted, so as not to mislead other readers.

  29. Juan

    @Tracy, trying to argue with “sect”b elievers is useless, but thanks for using your time instructing others. A cousin of mine has entered this nonsense and keeps trying to convince me to enter (so he can get some money back), I’ve run a real business for over 20 years and been invited to Amway, Usana, Herbalife and else, all the same. An interesting observation will be that people needs to believe in “something” to give sense to life, this is a new type of religion, Regards, Juan.

  30. Juan

    I forgot to add, I’ve been thinking on starting some pyramid business, the owners get very rich, very fast. (I live in Mexico), My father used to have a pharmacy and he always said to us: “Selling vitamins is good business, people takes them for all and ar good for nothing” haha, sorry Usana guys this might sond like “blasphemy”, but you might as well sell tickets for paradise…

  31. Brian

    @Juan. I am disappointed by what you are saying due to the fact that you have run a ‘real’ business for over 20 years. By you stating a pyramid business means you have not done your research in what a pyramid really means thoroughly. If it is really an illegal scheme do you think the government would’ve let this or amway to existing for over 20 years to scam people? It will get shut down within 5 years. Please get a clue like Tracy whom I’m also disapoointed in her closemindedness.

    Not to mention I have to say you are a hypocrite by your wordings:
    “An interesting observation will be that people needs to believe in “something” to give sense to life, this is a new type of religion,”

    We all have to believe in something. period. whether it is right or wrong. You yourself is already believing in something and that is “anti-MLM” or in your case anti-pyramid. Without believing in something how can you really operate a business for 20 years? You have to make judgment calls with uncertainties sometimes..and you are telling me you are a business owner? Do you really own a business or more like are you really the driver behind the business or just a worker because your dad owns a business. You are believing in YOURSELF..and If you are religious, you are believing in god over yourself. So please get with the program. You lost your credibility in saying these hyprocritical statements.

    Like wise similar to what you say, trying to argue with nonbelevers is useless, And no, I am not usana affiliated nor MLM related. I just disrespect people who are close-minded and hypocrits and forces me to respond. Again, a hyprocritical statement.

    But knowing that Tracy moderates this, what I’m posting might not even be posted because it’s selective posting by her.

  32. Tracy Coenen

    “Brian” who is also “ekk” – Your prior comments included false information, which is why they were not posted.

  33. Heather

    Multi-level marketing is not the same thing as a pyramid scheme. It is a legitimate business model. Mary Kay is a multi-level marketing company. Are you suggesting that this company is illegitimate or, in your words, in league with the devil? How about AVON? USANA is another company like these. You may not like the model, and people may not make money at it (I have many friends that do USANA, Mary Kay, and other MLM businesses, and the amount of money they make is typically in direct proportion to the amount of time and effort that they put in), but it is not a con. A pyramid scheme is different. In a pyramid scheme, there is not a viable product that can stand on its own and distributors must recruit other distributors to make any money. In all of the above businesses, there is a viable product. Although I am not a USANA distributor, I use and appreciate their products. I also use and appreciate Mary Kay products. I have used AVON products in the past. These products stand on their own and, if sold in a different way, they would still be purchased by customers. This is the difference between a pyramid scheme and a MLM company.

  34. Tracy Coenen

    Heather – MLMs are pyramid schemes with some window dressing to hide the truth. Yes, I am suggesting that all multi-level marketing companies are “illegitimate” when it comes to the “business opportunity.” Almost everyone loses money. That’s not a business, that’s a scam. This “viable product” you mention is simply part of the window dressing. It gives the MLM legitimacy, despite the fact that very little actual retailing to third party customers (non-distributors) ever occurs.

  35. USANA anonymous

    My brother just got involved with the USANA multi level marketing “business” sometime last year. I’m worried about him because he has a good job as an engineer and seems ready to give up his real life career to pursue this pipedream. At this point he is new to this and perhaps out of desperation and hatred for his current job has been blinded by the reality he’s up against. I guess my question is what is the best way to confront people who are true believers? How do you convince someone that all the spots at the top of the pyramid are probably already taken?

  36. Tracy Coenen

    Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get through to people who are sucked in. All they care about is one person who “did it,” which proves ANYONE can do it!. They don’t understand MLM is play to pay (i.e. 99% of the people end up paying/losing money rather than making money). You can present them with some facts, but then the rest is up to them.

  37. Xander

    Hey Tracy,

    Just found this as one of the hits for “Is USANA a pyramid scheme”. Had a business patron offer up some USANA recruitment material to me this previous evening and wanted to do some reading up on it. They said they thought of me so quickly because of my interest in exercise, fitness, endurance events along with my personality and so on would make be a good ‘business partner’ or something of the like.

    What does Tracy gain by warding people away from MLM’s? Nothing, really. Aside from any intrinsic good feels for her free community service via the internet.

    What do people already involved with USANA/Herbalife/MLM’s gain by convincing people to try them for themselves? Someone’s downline grows and that recruiting representative makes more money. The incentive is already there.

    I must hand it to you, Tracy, still getting traffic on here while both moderating and responding to the content more than 4 years after the publish date. I’m someone who is morally unable to get involved in these sorts of things. Life should not be defined by financial success alone. If you would just as quickly burden a friend with an expense you knew they didn’t need to live a healthy life for the sake of your personal gain, then you need to reevaluate your personal definitions of “friend” and “victim”. Friends don’t use their friends for money thereby making them victims of financial exploitation via recruitment into scammy MLM businesses.

    The only thing I’ll disagree with you on is the ‘drug dealers’ bit. Just because Uncle Sam tells us what we can and can’t do with our bodies (and makes a boon of tax money off us at the same time for it) doesn’t mean that drug dealers don’t make an honest living selling a product to a customer base that has a demand. I would hope we could both agree even THAT is quite an honest business compared to the focus of this thread.

    Keep up the good work, Tracy!

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