Young living is a multilevel marketing network that specializes in selling essential oils. The Utah-based company has been around since 1993, and manufactures and extracts its own essential oils so it can monitor the extraction process closely.
Young Living made headlines in 2014 for some bad reasons. The United States Food and Drug Administration came down hard on the company for promoting its essential oils as a potential treatment or preventative agent for the ebola virus, during the midst of the Ebola outbreak, no less.
Did I get on board? This explains everything:
Young Living was one of three companies warned by the FDA for making unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of its products.
The company has also been involved in some civil suits regarding theft of corporate secrets, but these don’t necessarily reflect poorly on the company’s products or business practices.
The allegation had to do with another essential oil manufacturer who was accused of stealing corporate secrets and proprietary manufacturing technology.
When it comes to popularity, Young Living is on the up and up. The FDA’s action against it seemed to have no lasting repercussions, as search engine traffic has increased in a linear fashion over the last several years.
Public interest in the company is the highest it’s ever been, which might be explained by a similar rise in the popularity of essential oils.
Indeed, search trends for essential oils generally have tracked upwards in a steady fashion. This means the market for Young Living’s products is expanding, so it’s a good time to get into the business if the products are solid and the compensation plan is fair.
The essential oils offered by Young Living span an impressive range. The company offers “single” essential oils isolated from one individual plan, along with blends that combine multiple oils into purpose-crafted combinations.
The single oils include sources like carrot seed, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender, patchouli, and more, while the blends are given more creative names, like Awake, Christmas Spirit, Brain Power, and Stress Away. Young Living also sells diffusers and resin burners, among other essential oil related accessories.
While the company does sell antioxidant supplements, superfood drinks, and weight management solutions, there’s no denying the flagship product line is their essential oils and accessories. As such, you might as well become familiar with the basic tenets of the practice of aromatherapy.
In brief, aromatherapy preaches the idea that natural extracts from plants and herbs can have therapeutic and healing properties when the extracts are infused into the air or applie directly to the skin via massage.
These extracts are called essential oils, and they are isolated by steaming or cold-pressing part or all of the source plant material. The resulting extract once all solid products are removed is a water-insoluble oil: the plant’s essential oil.
Though aromatherapy is squarely in the alternative treatments camp, there is some medical research on its usefulness. A large study done by researchers at Carolinas Medical Center University tested the effects of an aromatherapy protocol on post-surgical nausea.
When patients have surgery that requires anesthesia, they often have nausea and vomiting once they wake up. The trial tested aromatherapy using ginger essential oil, a blend of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamon essential oil, or a placebo (isopropyl rubbing alcohol) in treating post-operative nausea.
The results showed a significant reduction in self-reported nausea post-surgery in the patients who received the ginger essential oil and the blend, but not in the placebo group.
The number of requests for anti-vomiting medication also decreased significantly in the aromatherapy group, which provides a more concrete measurement of the benefits.
Aromatherapy in general has more of a checkered record. A review study by Brian Cook and Edzard Ernst at the University of Exeter in the UK analyzed the results of a dozen different scientific studies on aromatherapy using essential oils.
In six cases, the authors found that aromatherapy, especially when combined with massage, produces a mild calming effect. However, the bulk of the evidence found no proof for any legitimate medical use beyond short-term, relatively minor reductions in anxiety.
Still, aromatherapy has a wide following, and adherents claim that it helps with their own subjective perception of their well-being.
Given Young Living’s success as a company and the rising interest in essential oils, it’s a good bet there will continue to be a market for its products.
Like with many MLMs, you must purchase a starter kit to join the company as a distributor. Young Living has several different starter kits; the cheapest is $45. This entitles you to a wholesale discount of 24% and sets you up as part of the compensation structure.
At the lowest rank, you can buy products at wholesale prices and sell them at retail prices for a profit, plus you can earn commissions, provided you keep your product volume high enough.
At product volumes of 100 and up, you are entitled to two levels of commission (at 8% and 5%) in Young Living’s unilevel compensation structure. As you increase your group volume, the compensation structure deepens and more bonuses become available.
Sadly, these commission and retail discount rates–which are pretty good–still don’t let most distributors make any money.
According to the company’s income disclosure statement, some 93% of all active distributors in a year are stuck at the first rank. Their average monthly earnings? One dollar. Yikes.
Young Living presents a strange paradox. With products that seem pretty good, and a definite market opportunity for essential oils, and a fairly solid compensation structure, why don’t distributors earn any money?
The most obvious answer might be that the products aren’t competitively priced, but there could be mistrust in the brand name or unfamiliarity with using the brand’s specific products or any number of other potential problems.
If you can crack this code, there could be some good money to be made, but you’ll need to run the numbers yourself before you join Young Living, because the average earnings are some of the worst in the industry.
If you’re set on MLM, it’s not terrible, but probably not the best, either.
If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced juice to your family and friends.