Introduction to Young Living MLM Compensation Plan
Most people either love diet soda or hate it, but I don’t really have an opinion on the matter. I can take it or leave it. Today is one of those instances in which I am favorably disposed to diet soda. I have several cases of diet Vernors in my basement, and they are mine, all mine.
Let me explain. This whose series of events started at the kitchen table in my brother Bryce’s house on New Year’s Eve. While most of the other guests were in the living room waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on TV, I was sitting at the kitchen table with the other Brad, the co-founder of Notebook Crazy, and we were talking business, which is our usual modus operandi. 2015 had been a year of ups and downs for our business, thanks in no small part to a multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity that one of the other Brad’s gym buddies talked us into joining. To make a long story short, this MLM fiasco left me with a credit card balance after I had gone several years without carrying a balance, and even worse, it left me with a basement full of coffee sachets laced with a proprietary blend of fungus that it supposed to make you lose weight.
One of the things that makes the other Brad such a great business partner (and a great friend) is that he and I have divergent views on just about everything, so we have to make decisions by presenting compelling arguments until we agree. Sometimes it takes years of counter-arguments and interesting analogies before we make a decision on something. (The fungus coffee MLM was a decision we made quickly, which should have been a red flag.) The other Brad said something and I disagreed with it, and instead of this leading to escalating rhetoric and Rap Olympics-worthy metaphors, as it usually does when the other Brad and I disagree, that night there was enough beer in our bellies and enough New Year’s Eve sense of possibility in the air that it ended in one of us saying, “Oh yeah? Wanna bet?” and we ended up making a bet with so many clauses that it could only have been drawn up by people experienced in running their own business.
On the surface of it, the bet was about fitness, since the other Brad is so fit that he has actually worked as a personal trainer, while I prefer to spend my time sitting on my keister and doing research on the Internet. We made a bet that I would run X number of miles on the treadmill by March 21. We agreed on a formal definition of “run”, in terms of how fast I had to be going and how often I could take breaks for it to count toward my goal. If I won, the other Brad was going to buy me dinner at Oley’s Pizza, home of the best garlic knots in the Midwest. If I lost, I had to buy the other Brad as much diet Vernors as he could drink in my presence between March 21 and June 21. Needless to say, I lost, and I bought a lot of diet Vernor’s for Brad. (Don’t worry. I got my garlic knot fix on Mother’s Day, thanks to another bet I won, but that is a story for another day.)
There were a few reasons we chose to bet diet Vernors, none of which have to do with Vernors being the most awesome beverage in the world. For one thing, it is physically impossible to guzzle Vernors, so even if the other Brad had spent every waking hour this spring drinking Vernors in my basement, there is only so much he could drink. (If you don’t believe me that it is impossible to guzzle Vernors, I dare you to try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.) The reason that we chose diet Vernors is that Brad has ingested neither sugar nor any other empty carb since 1998. (He does not consider beer an empty carb.) Therefore, if I had bet him regular Vernors, he never would have accepted the conditions of the bet, so diet Vernors it is. And now it’s mine.
That story really does not have anything to do with my Young Living review, except for the fact that Vernors smells strongly of ginger (to say the least) and that Young Living products, being made from essential oils, are quite fragrant themselves, but I thought I would start my Young Living review with an update on the aftermath of my fitness bet with the other Brad, because I am sure that there are dedicated Notebook Crazy readers out there who have their calendars marked for June 21 and were waiting to hear what happened.
Young Living: The Company and Its Products
Young Living is not the only MLM company I have reviewed on this site that is based in Lehi, Utah, which is part of the Provo, metropolitan area. It is not even the only MLM company I have reviewed this week that has its headquarters in Lehi. The Young Living business opportunity was founded by D. Gary Young and his wife Mary. I was very relieved to find this out, because, when I read the company’s name, my first thought was that it was going to be yet another anti-aging skincare product MLM, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the company is named after the family that founded it. (If you are not convinced that family names for businesses have more long-lasting appeal than gimmicky names, consider that the two great Midwestern supermarket chains were named after Bernard Kroger and Hendrik Meijer of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Walker, Michigan, respectively, neither of which is too far from here. A long time ago, before I started my own business, I used to work the midnight shift in one of those great Midwestern supermarkets, but that is a story for another day.)
Young Living is also not the only MLM company I have reviewed on this site that has essential oils as its flagship products. Early on in my quest to review every MLM business opportunity out there, I write a review of the DoTerra business opportunity, and I remember being astounded at some of the stinky oils that DoTerra expected people to buy. In that review, I concluded that no one would want to buy catnip oil and black pepper oil for topical use unless they were going on a first date with Oscar the Grouch. Well, as I was researching this Young Living review, I found out that there had been a Young Living lawsuit, in which Young Living sued DoTerra for stealing its essential oils concept. The outcome of the lawsuit was not anything to scandalous; the Young Living lawsuit was very tame, as MLM lawsuits go. I have reviewed other MLM companies in which court documents reveal MLM founders making false claims about having learned about Chinese herbal medicine from ancient manuscripts found at a monastery and about an MLM founder lavishing money on an exotic dancer named Dirty Dalton, which, I am still convinced, would be an awesome name for an Internet troll.
Even if DoTerra did try to copy Young Living by selling stinky essential oils through an MLM business model, the Young Living website displays an inimitable array of essential oils. The catalog of Young Living products goes far beyond essential oils that I never imagined anyone would want their skin or their house to smell like and into the territory of essential oils I never even knew existed. The most memorable one was carrot seed oil. I never knew carrots even had seeds, but I guess it makes sense. The Young Living website advertises both carrot seed oil and celery seed oil and includes instructions for topical use. I guess you can wear them if you go on a first date with Peter Rabbit.
For the most part, the Young Living website does not go on and on about the health benefits of Young Living products. The FDA did, however, send a letter to Young Living, warning them that Young Living distributors must not promote Young Living products as a cure for Ebola.
The most interesting part of the Young Living website, however, is Gary Young’s personal blog. The site has one page for the company blog and another for Young’s personal blog. One of the most recent posts was about him planting frankincense trees and myrrh trees in Oman, which looks beautiful in the pictures on his blog. I had never thought about visiting Oman before, but now it is on my list of places to visit. I read a few of the posts, and it sounds as though Gary Young had a successful business and then suffered a serious injury that required him to use a wheelchair for a long time, but the posts I read made it sound like he has recovered, so it seems like a pretty inspiring story.
The Young Living Compensation Plan
The Young Living compensation plan document is available for download from the Young Living website. Like so many other MLM compensation plans, it bases commissions and bonuses on nebulous things like “personal volume” and “legs of downline”, rather than just straight up how many dollars’ worth of merchandise you sell.
The leadership levels in the Young Living compensation plan are Distributor, Star, Senior Star, Executive, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Crown Diamond, and Royal Crown Diamond. The Young Living compensation plan pays commissions on the sale of Young Living products made by up to five levels of downline salespeople. Once a Young Living distributor reaches the Silver level, he or she becomes eligible for a share of the bonus pool. The higher your leadership level, the more shares of the bonus pool you get.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- I know I made a big deal of all the stinky essential oils you can buy from Young Living, but actually some, if not most, of the Young Living products look like they smell pretty good.
- The “Generation Leadership Bonus” graphic on the Young Living compensation plan document is quite cool looking.
- There are worse things than having Young Living products pile up in your basement. Having a basement full of essential oils is better than having a basement full of fungus coffee sachets. Take it from someone who knows.
- If you want to buy essential oils, or even if you want to sell them, there are simpler and less expensive ways to do it than through the Young Living business opportunity.
- I don’t want to think about the events that led to the warning about not promoting Young Living products as a cure for Ebola.
I have nothing against essential oils. A lot of them smell really nice. The trouble with the Young Living business opportunity is not the essential oils; it is the MLM business model itself. If you want to sell products, there are many more straightforward ways to do it. In the time you took to read this Young Living review, you could do enough research on wholesale prices of essential oils to get a few insights about how much they cost and how you should price them for retail.
I know that a lot of times I come across as a grouch on Notebook Crazy, but I am not trying to discourage you from entrepreneurship. I am convinced, however, that MLM companies with their promises of health and wealth and their heavy concentration in Utah and Florida, are not your only options. I encourage you to spend half an hour Googling products and then another half hour debating the marketability of these products with a trusted friend. That’s what friends are for.
Want to know about the best business decision the other Brad and I ever made? Schedule a call with me, and I will tell you the details.