Introduction to SoZo Global MLM Compensation Plan
What did you use to do on teacher planning days when you were a kid? If you did so little that you have blocked out the memory of what teacher planning days even are, I will remind you. In elementary, middle, and high schools, at the end of every nine-week session, there is a Friday where the students do not come to school, and the teachers submit grades for report cards, which will be released the following week. I am sure that every school is a little bit different, but I remember teacher planning days as an exhilarating time, because my mother is a teacher, so teacher planning days were a truly special occasion for me brothers and me.
The fact that my mother had to go to school and do her school-related duties on teacher planning days, while my brothers and I got to goof off, made teacher planning days exhilarating in the way that makes “turnabout days” more fun than other ceremonious occasions. They were fun the same way that April Fool’s Day is fun, the way that Mardi Gras is fun, the way that the Feast of Fools must have been fun in the Middle Ages, and for the same reasons that children will declare almost any day “opposite day” if given the opportunity. My brothers and I would spend the days bouncing playground balls in the hallways or playing with the limited selection of electronic games available to children of our generation. There was a computer in the school that had the game Oregon Trail on it, so my brother Brian and I would spend much of the day each gloating when the other one’s alter ego came down with a case of dysentery or typhoid fever, while my youngest brother Bryce would play this game called Simon, which was a plastic device with four different colored buttons that each played a different musical pitch, and the purpose of the game was to replicate melodies of increasing length after the device played them. If you guessed that it would be annoying to have your brother playing Simon in the room with you in a pre-headphones era, you have guessed correctly, but you must keep in mind that the teachers were all too busy finishing their reports, and my brother Brian and I were too busy shooting pixelated squirrels and cackling about dysentery to be bothered by the incessant bleeps and bloops of a Simon device.
As I have mentioned before on this blog, my mother has taught for most of her career at private schools where teachers write detailed reports of students’ progress, so there may have been more writing and less calculation at my mother’s school than at some other places, but no matter where you go, teacher planning days have one thing in common, namely that teachers have a lot of work to accomplish on one day. Even if they did not spend a moment procrastinating all quarter, they still have more than a day’s worth of work to accomplish in one day.
At my mom’s school, two things made this herculean task possible. One was camaraderie. Rather than each teacher holing up in a separate room and writing furiously in her teacher-neat handwriting or tapping her press-on nails on the buttons of a calculator, my mom and her colleagues would gather a few of them around a table, occasionally blurting out pieces of anecdotes about students as they formed their thoughts about what they wanted to write. The other was coffee. Every teacher had a coffee mug in front of her. Some were quite plain mugs, some souvenirs from places like Disney World, some with schmaltzy slogans about being a teacher or a mother, and some personalized, but no matter the design, each mug had a different colored lipstick print on it.
I am probably making myself sound old by telling this story. The range of things teachers can ingest in order to get all their work done on their lone teacher planning day after a sleep-deprived quarter is a lot wider now. Instead of lipstick prints on ceramic mugs full of plain old coffee, there are Starbucks cups with misspelled names written on them in Sharpee marker by steady-handed baristas. I am sure there are teachers out there who drink Red Bull to make it through a teacher planning day, or even just a day of teaching.
Out of my respect for the teaching profession, I have chosen not to allow my imagination to wander beyond half skim double espressos, pumpkin spice lattes, and Red Bull, but in other pursuits that require you to stay awake and write coherently for days on end, there are other stimulants out there. I will let you fill in the blanks about what the kids in your college dorm did to stay awake and write their final papers. Almost everyone agrees that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the second draft of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in about three days, but there are varying versions of what happened to the first draft, how long it took to write the third and final draft, whether or not the book’s title should contain the definite article, and what sort of stimulant, if any, Stevenson took in order to stay awake during the marathon writing session. Some say that Stevenson was under the influence of cocaine while writing the second draft of the book. Others say he took ergot, which is a hallucinogenic fungus that grows on rye and was probably the cause of the rye fungus madness that swept Europe in the Middle Ages. The most likely story, however, is that Stevenson, ill and bedridden during the writing of the book, as for much of his life (some say that thinking up fantastically interesting stories was Robert Louis Stevenson’s way of coping with the fact that he was often not healthy enough to have any real adventures of his own), stayed awake and wrote the second draft fueled by pure determination.
But this isn’t just about coffee, and it isn’t just about stimulants. It never is, when you are dealing with the multilevel marketing (MLM) industry. The reason that I have chosen to give a shout out to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the introduction to my SoZo review is that, much like Dr. Jekyll’s potion, MLM companies like SoZo, with their beverages, which MLM distributors refer to as “potions” with no apparent irony, eventually bring out the shameless and self-serving coward in all of us.
SoZo: The Company and Its Products
SoZo is a multilevel marketing (MLM) company that sells coffee sachets. That, by itself, is not very surprising; there are a lot of companies that use an MLM business model to sell coffee sachets with flagship ingredients of varying degrees of gimmickry. Don’t get me started on the MLM company that autoshipped fungus coffee to my address for much longer than I care to admit.
You may be wondering what is so special about SoZo products, about their flagship ingredient. Sozo does describe its products as “the world’s healthiest coffee”, but, mercifully, the SoZo business opportunity does not tie its health claims to a fungus. No, the ingredient that makes SoZo products special is coffee berries. What are coffee berries? They are the fruit from which coffee beans are taken. Generally, there are two coffee beans inside each coffee berry. One of the legends about the origin of coffee is that, long ago in Ethiopia, a goatherd named Kaldi noticed that, when his goats ate coffee berries, they would frolic tirelessly instead of just standing around, languidly munching on leaves and tree bark. For the most part, though, humans do not consume coffee berries. The berries are usually discarded during the coffee making process. It stands to reason that coffee is fine without coffee berries. Using coffee berries as a flagship ingredient in SoZo products sounds a bit like, if I were to add some peanut shells to ordinary peanut butter and market it as the world’s healthiest peanut butter.
The SoZo Compensation Plan
SoZo products by themselves are quite inoffensive, as are many of the products sold by nutraceutical MLM companies. The real trouble is MLM compensation plans like the SoZo compensation plan. The SoZo compensation plan document is 32 pages long. When you see an MLM compensation plan document of that size, you know that there must be all kinds of bonuses you can earn, and all kinds of hurdles that you have to overcome to earn them. Do not get me started on how difficult it is to earn sums of money in the triple digits or higher through MLM.
As I expected when I saw its length, the SoZo compensation plan is quite complicated. It determines eligibility for some bonuses, but not for others, according to a binary structure, in which your downline sales team is organized in two “legs”, and your commissions are paid based on the sales made by the weaker leg of the team.
The leadership ranks in the SoZo compensation plan are called Distributor, Builder, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Blue Diamond, Black Diamond, Presidential, and Crown Ambassador. There are car bonuses, dream home bonuses, and “lifestyle” (cash) bonuses for distributors at the highest levels. Again,, do not get me started on how much time (and, more importantly, money) you have to spend in order to qualify for bonuses that are anything beyond pocket change.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- There are people in the world who actually drink coffee made from sachets, so selling SoZo products is not the most far-fetched idea. It is not like those other MLM companies that make their distributors sell hologram patches as a form of alternative medicine or the ones that expect you to sell plastic lockets to adult women, who will supposedly buy these lockets with money they earned from their full time jobs.
- The coffee berries in the SoZo logo do look quite a bit like real coffee berries if you look at them carefully, so I cannot accuse the company of having a pointless logo.
- The packaging of SoZo products is quite handsome.
- SoZo pays health insurance for its highest ranking members.
- The icons representing the various leadership ranks in the SoZo compensation plan document are quite cool looking.
- World’s healthiest coffee? Seriously? Step away from the potion before phrases like “world’s healthiest coffee” start coming out of your mouth to describe SoZo products in a desperate bid to lure more SoZo distributors. MLM turns everyone into Mr. Hyde sooner or later.
- The starter kits are quite pricey; the least expensive ones are $199, and they go up to more than $1,000.
If Robert Louis Stevenson had enough imagination to write Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, certainly you can think of some other way to make money besides joining the SoZobusiness opportunity. He didn’t have the Internet. You obviously do, or else you would not be reading this SoZo review.
I honestly don’t know what the SoZo business opportunity is doing on my list of the Top Ten Money Making MLMs. It must have been my doppelganger who included it on the list, the one who still thinks he can get rich through MLM. I always think he is finally gone, but then I see the boxes of MLM coffee piled up in my basement, and I know that it takes more than reading a few cautionary tales to get rid of your greedy, short-sighted, cowardly, desperate doppelganger who falls for get rich quick schemes like the SoZo business opportunity or any other MLM built around the sale of a beverage.
Hey, teachers! What do you do to get all your work done on teacher planning days? Schedule a call with me and let me know, and I will tell you about by laid back existence with my successful Internet business.