Introduction to Shaklee Corporation MLM Compensation Plan
This past Christmas, I watched “The Big Short” in the movie theater with my family, and it made me decide to commit myself to a project I had been thinking about doing for a few years. By the time I left the movie theater that day, I had decided that I was going to write a review of every multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity for which I could find any substantial amount of information. If I were to point to when the impulse to write MLM reviews started, it has probably been building slowly through most of my life. I grew up in a medium-sized city in the Midwest, where the Trojan horse of MLM has been parked outside of our city walls since before I was born. I am sure that the mothers of some of the kids on my Little League team sold Amway or Mary Kay. None of them drove pink Cadillacs, but that is more a testament to how difficult it is to achieve pink Cadillac levels of success through MLM than it is evidence for a lack of MLM activity in our community. (And before you equate Mary Kay pink Cadillacs with financial security or satisfying work-life balance, the drivers of those pink Cadillacs have since spilled much of their bitterness online. The Internet makes it a lot harder to keep Mary Kayfabe.) When I dropped out of college, I worked a series of low-wage jobs, and I ran across more than a few co-workers who sold Amway and Herbalife and some ridiculous health drink things. Sometimes guys would come to the supermarket where I worked the night shift and try to sell me expensive protein powder or energy drinks. I always felt tempted to say, “Dude, I have a case of Red Bull in my hands right now that costs a fraction of the stuff you are trying to sell me. Besides, if I put a few of these cans of Red Bull in my pockets before clocking out, the worst thing that could happen is that I would get fired. Losing this meager wage would still be less of a financial setback than if I were to buy the stuff from you.” As I am a dude, I was happily spared some of the more preposterous MLM schemes, the ones that make you sell overpriced cosmetics and costume jewelry.
Once I decided I had had enough of working dead-end jobs and decided to go into business for myself, I was flooded with offers to become a distributor for this or that MLM. I must admit that, more than once, I was talked into giving it a try. Now it seems hopelessly naïve of me to have done it. I guess I joined because I am open to exploring all kinds of possibilities when it comes to business, and because the people who recruited me were people I knew, so I guess I wanted to strengthen our business relationship. It also didn’t seem like it would be that big a financial risk. I am sure you MLM veterans can guess what happened next, and the boxes of fungus coffee that are piled up in my basement to this day say that you are right. Much like you, I never wanted to think about MLM again. I just wanted to learn from my mistakes and move on. But when I saw “The Big Short”, it reminded me how many poorly informed financial decisions Americans make every day, and I decided it was better to say something than to say nothing. I think the recession made a lot of people feel that they cannot be sure that the steady paycheck they rely on will always be there, and it made people open their eyes to the importance of having at least one other source of income. Needless to say, most of the good ways to earn additional income do not involve MLM, but MLMs have a way of urging their distributors to flood the Internet with vague and spurious claims about what a great opportunity the MLM they are involved with is. I decided I had to set the record straight, so I started Notebook Crazy, the thinking man’s MLM blog.
Notebook Crazy, my MLM review project, has turned out to be even more fun than I expected. I have found out about a whole array of tropical fruits which MLM companies that deal in nutritional supplements have used as cover models. I have also found out about some MLM products which are so ridiculous they are entertaining, like the magic wand that puts your cytoplasm in the mood to dance and even makes the tomato cells on your pizza perk up. The research I have conducted for my MLM reviews has also turned up some really interesting findings on subjects only tangentially related to MLM. I learned about gold bugs, the folks who are skeptical about all currencies except gold. I learned a lot about the pets kept by U.S. presidents. Recently, I learned about the Nile monitor, the alligator-sized lizard that is on its way to taking over the state of Florida.
But today, while researching my Shaklee review, I kind of hit a wall. See, there are so many MLMs out there that sell nutritional supplements, and it is getting harder and harder to find something unique about each of them. Luckily, in the last few days, I have been reviewing non-nutraceutical MLMs, or if they were nutraceuticals, their products had a clear theme. For example, I recently reviewed Seacret, an MLM that makes skincare products that contain mud from the Dead Sea. If there is not a standout ingredient, there at least needs to be a juicy scandal, like the one where the father of an MLM founder testified in court that the founder’s claims of having learned about Chinese herbal medicine from ancient manuscripts as a child were false, or the one where an MLM founder had a whirlwind marriage to an exotic dancer named Dirty Dalton. Without the cheese fruit and the super-fungus and the juicy gossip, nutraceutical MLMS all start to sound the same. The same overpriced vitamin supplements. The same lawsuits.
While I was researching my Shaklee review today, what I found out was so boring, especially compared to what I found out yesterday about an impending showdown in Florida between the American alligator and the Nile monitor, that I almost wished I had made it my New Year’s resolution to write about a different monitor lizard every day instead of a different MLM. I promise to get to the meat of my Shaklee review soon, but please indulge me for just one paragraph.
Welcome to Notebook Crazy, where MLM stands for Midwesterners Love Monitors. Today, we will be talking about the Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo monitor. (In some other languages, its name translates to “land crocodile”.) The Komodo dragon is, hands down, the world’s largest lizard. While it once roamed the Australian mainland and the larger islands of Oceania, its present-day range is limited to the island of Komodo and a few other islands in Indonesia. The island of Komodo, with its Komodo dragons, was the inspiration for the island of dinosaurs in the movie King Kong. In the wild, they hunt in packs; a group of Komodo dragons will surround and attack a deer. They are, hands down, the largest animal in which parthenogenesis has been observed. (Because of the way sex chromosomes work in Komodo dragons, the offspring that result from parthenogenesis are always male.) In captivity, Komodo dragons have demonstrated ability to count and to play with toys. They are the biggest lizard in the world, sometimes reaching lengths of over ten feet long and weights of over 300 pounds. Their tail accounts for about half of their length. The Papua monitor, which lives on the island of New Guinea, may have a claim to being the world’s longest lizard, as it has an exceedingly long tail, but in my opinion, this is a quibble, because the Papua monitor is a fraction of the weight of the Komodo dragon, and its torso is not nearly as long.
Shaklee: The Company and Its Products
The Shaklee company was founded in the 1915 by Forrest Shaklee; its original product was called “Shaklee’s Vitalized Minerals.” In 1960, Shaklee and his sons began selling environmentally cleaning products, so I guess if there is anything unique to point out about Shaklee products, it is that Shaklee was into environmentally safe cleaning products before choosing products based on environmental considerations became a status symbol.
Beyond that, it really is the same old story you get with just about every other nutraceutical MLM. Shaklee products are really no different from the vitamins you can buy in the supermarket, but they cost a lot more. There have been some Shaklee lawsuit, some raised by Shaklee distributors who claimed that the Shaklee compensation plan was deceptive, and some relating to big names in the MLM industry who have held leadership positions in several MLMs, including Shaklee, have been sued by people they defrauded who had finally had enough of their antics. I really tried to find an interesting story about the Shaklee lawsuit, but it really was nothing you haven’t heard before. It was a lot less interesting than Komodo dragons, with their frightening size and their parthenogenesis.
The Shaklee business opportunity is available in the United States, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Taiwan. I do not claim to have any knowledge of Indonesian, but when I did a Google search for Shaklee, one of the search terms that Google recommended was “Shaklee haram”, so I tried it, and I found quite a few websites in Indonesian that seemed to be discussing whether it is haram (forbidden by Islamic law) to join the Shaklee business opportunity.
The Shaklee Compensation Plan
Ostensibly, the Shaklee compensation plan involves binary structure of your downline team. One of the claims in a Shaklee lawsuit, however, was that the upline sponsors would rearrange the downline teams of Shaklee distributors without the distributors’ knowledge, making it difficult for the distributors to know where to focus their energy or even how far away they were from their recruitment goals.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Komodo dragons seem intelligent, so you may be able to train them to be Shaklee distributors. In fact, if I could choose any species to recruit for MLM, I would choose Komodo dragons, because with parthenogenesis, they may be able to generate a big enough downline team to break even.
- If you still don’t know, I encourage you to read the “disadvantages” section of almost any other review on this site. The disadvantages of the Shaklee business opportunity are the same as the disadvantages of pretty much any other nutraceutical MLM.
I am not trying to knock saving the environment. There are so many awesome species of monitor lizards in the world, and with the exception of the Nile monitor, which is continuing its rampage through the state of Florida as we speak (Floridians, think twice before chaining up your dog outside the store when you go to Publix), most of them are endangered. All I am saying is that there are better ways to spend your money in ways that will help the environment. You can get less expensive environmentally friendly nutritional supplements and cleaning supplies at Whole Foods, and while Whole Foods may try to sell you dreams of being healthy and ecologically responsible, it will not try to sell you dreams of being rich.
Hey, Floridians, am I exaggerating about the havoc that the Nile monitor is wreaking on Florida? If I am, schedule a call with me, so we can settle this once and for all, but if you do, I do not want to hear some exaggerated claims about the health benefits of some MLM nutritional supplements, because two exaggerations do not cancel each other out.