February 15, 2022

Is Shaklee a Pyramid Scheme, or Easy Money Opportunity?

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You're probably here because someone has recently introduced the opportunity to work from home with Shaklee to you. 

But you're still wondering... is Shaklee a pyramid scheme or a scam?

Shaklee MLM review is Shaklee a Pyramid scheme

First of all I want to congratulate you on doing your research.

The majority of people lose money from MLMs because so many people jump into it without spending a few minutes figuring out what they actually need to do. 

This honest Shaklee MLM review, with videos, will show you exactly what to expect from the company with the pros and cons of joining. That way you can make an informed decision about it. 

Shaklee Review

The overview and rankings

Name: Shaklee

Founder: Forrest C. Shaklee in 1956

Type: Health and Wellness MLM

Products (Including Pricing): 40 out of 100

Success Stories: 5 out of 100

Price To Join MLM: $49.95 + $276 to $1,000 success pack to start

100PV monthly sales quota = ~$150 a month to remain active (30 out of 100)

What To Look For In An MLM:

  • Low start-up fee & maintenance cost
  • High-quality affordable products
  • You don’t have to carry inventory
  • An affiliate-like system 
  • Generous compensation plan
  • Company is in the early momentum phase

Shaklee Pros

  • Proven history
  • Positive product reviews
  • Environmentally friendly

Shaklee Cons

  • Expensive products
  • Hidden monthly expenses
  • Pyramid scheme in disguise?
  • Outdated sales techniques
  • Downward trend

Summary: Shaklee is a health and wellness MLM that sells legit protein shakes and supplements. 

However, it's hard for distributors to make good money from Shaklee due to the expensive products and monthly sales quota they need to hit. The only way you can make a good income is by recruiting people into the MLM opportunity. 

This makes Shaklee similar to a pyramid scheme in disguise, which is impossible for everyone to make good money from. 

Make Time Online Rating: 25 out of 100 

Recommended: No

What is Shaklee?

Shaklee is a health and wellness Multi-Level-Marketing company that sells a range of shakes and supplements to help with weight loss.

They have even expanded to sell beauty and home products too.

It was founded in 1956 and is currently based in Pleasanton, California but it also operates in 6 other countries:

  • Canada 
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Taiwan
  • China
  • Indonesia

Shaklee offers an opportunity for everyday people to make money from the company by selling their products. 

You can learn more about this opportunity in the 1-minute video below...

But you're smart enough to realise this is just a sales video. 

So you're probably still wondering...

Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

No Shaklee is not a pyramid scheme.

They sell legit products and it's possible for their distributors to make commission by selling these products. 

However, Shaklee has signs of being a "pyramid scheme in disguise".

Now, I can hear your mind asking...

"What you talkin' about Mike?"

Let me explain...

What is a pyramid scheme?

A company that promises payment to its members for recruiting more people into the company instead of selling a product or service

These are illegal in almost every country because it is impossible for everyone to make money inside a pyramid scheme.

Just check out the Wikipedia diagram below to see why...

Most MLMs do sell legit products or services so they are not outright pyramid schemes. 

However, many MLMs (including Shaklee) have expensive products and require their distributors to sell a certain amount each month.

Due to the way the compensation plan is structured it's only possible to "move up the ranks" and benefit from "residual income" if you recruit more people in your "downline". 

The 5 minute video below explains this a bit better...

Success is hard to find with Shaklee MLM

In fact, it's hard to find success inside any MLM company.

It's been proven that between 73% and 99% of all MLM representatives lose money. 

MLM FTC Fact Stat

Shaklee doesn't provide any income disclosure of how much their reps earnt in previous years like many MLMs do, which is a bit of a red flag.

They do provide some figures of what different ranks earn (as you'll see later), but this is pretty much useless information as it doesn't show the number of distributors at each rank. 

This makes it very hard to tell if Shaklee is in line with the MLM stats above or not.

However, this Shaklee MLM review will dig into this is more detail later. 

Ready to make passive income online?

Hey, I'm Mike.

I created a passive income online within a year. I had no marketing skills or online experience when I started. 

Mike Beatty

How does Shaklee Work?

So Shaklee produces a range of health and wellness products. But they don't need to spend as much money on advertising and marketing as a lot of these types of companies. 

That's because they let everyday people do it for them!

In return, these "distributors" can earn commission from any sales they make and are offered the opportunity to "work from home".

In theory it's a win-win.

Shaklee products

When considering joining any company it's so important to understand their products or services. This is even more important if you are thinking about joining an MLM as you will have to sell these products and become a raving fan!

So Shaklee provides dozens of different products under the following categories:

  • Nutrition
  • Healthy Weight
  • Beauty
  • Sports
  • Green Home
Shaklee MLM review

There are far too many products to go into detail about them all in this Shaklee MLM review. But you can find all of the products on the Shaklee website.

It is important to be aware that there are hundreds on MLM companies that offer a very similar range of products, such as:

So what makes Shaklee stand out?

Normally it is the MLM companies "flagship product"...

Shaklee Prove It Challenge- flagship product

Shaklee puts a huge emphasis on the "Prove It Challenge".

This is basically a 30 day challenge to lose weight and feel healthier...

Shaklee MLM review

It includes 2 protein shakes, a vitamin supplement and the 7 day Shaklee cleanse.

A pilot study by Shaklee found that this challenge:

  • Improves focus and energy (in 80% of participants)
  • Enhances mood and sleep quality (in 60% of participants)
  • Supports detox and healthy digestion 
  • Jump-starts weight loss and reduces cravings (in 72% of participants)

It's important to note this is a study carried out by Shaklee themselves. So any of the results need to be taken with a grain of salt (even though the results aren't very conclusive anyway!)

Therefore the results are clearly not guaranteed from this challenge. 

This Shaklee review will look into what customers think about their products and this challenge later on. 

But you can learn more about the Prove It Challenge in the 50 second sales video below...

Can you really make money with Shaklee

It is possible to make money, but it is very hard to make anything more than $1,000 a month. 

The people that tend to do the best in any MLM company are outgoing people that are good at selling and recruiting.

That's because there are only 2 ways you can make money as a Shaklee distributor:

  1. Sell Shaklee products and earn a commission
  2. Recruit people and earn bonuses from the sales your downline makes

And as you will find out later on, the only way you can make consistent good income from Shaklee is by recruiting a lot of people. 

How much does it cost to join Shaklee?

It costs $49.95 to get started with Shaklee.

This provides you with the distributor tools and your "online store" for 3 months. 

Or you can try the "Prove It" challenge and pay an additional $159...

Shaklee MLM review

If you are serious about making money from Shaklee then you absolutely will need to try the products. 

Most distributors use Facebook constantly to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) share "how amazing" Shaklee products are. 

So it costs between $276-$1,000 for a "success pack" with a load of additional products for you to try yourself or sell on. 

Shaklee MLM review

But the costs to not end there...

Shaklee monthly cost

You need to sell 100 PV each month to remain active and to be eligible to earn commissions...

Is Shaklee a scam

This is around $150 a month.

And if you cannot sell that much in a month, then you will need to purchase the products yourself. 

But Shaklee helps you out here...

You can use the "autoship" to make sure you never get suspended and always hit your monthly sales quota...

Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

How very kind of them to make sure you ALWAYS pay $150+ a month (apologies for the sarcasm).

So the total cost you need to allow for in your first year is:

  1. $49.95
  2. $276-$1,000
  3. $150 x 12

Total year 1 expenses = $2,125.95- $2,849.95

And this is before spending any of your own money on additional training or marketing materials that you will definitely need to learn to if you want to be able to sell anything. 

Shaklee compensation plan

For some reason most MLM companies make their compensation harder to understand than a drunk Scotsman.

Shaklee is no different. 

So I will do my best to keep this simple. 

There are 8 ways to get paid:

  1. Gold bonus (recruit someone who purchases the Gold Pak or the Gold Pak Plus and earn $50 or $100)
  2. Power bonus (accumulate 15 power bonus points by recruiting loads of people to earn $150)
  3. Price Differential (Direct sales commission of 16%-36%)
  4. Personal group bonuses (4-20% bonus of generated sales by your downline)
  5. FastTrack program (get promoted quickly by recruiting loads of people to earn more bonuses)
  6. Incentives (get special trips when you earn loads of group volume points... only possible by recruiting people and building a team)
  7. Car bonus (3000 PGV points to get $250 monthly bonus for a car)
  8. Leadership bonuses (3-6% bonuses for the PGV of your downline if they are a "business leader")
Is Shaklee a scam

Seriously, just look at that diagram above with all the PV, PGV and weird names!

It's a wonder anyone actually understands how they will get paid... it must be a surprise if the distributors get money at the end of the month. 

But you really don't need to know all of this to start. All you need to know is WHAT you need to do to get paid.

Remember all that is:

  • Sell products
  • Recruit people

And do you notice that 7 out of  8 ways to get paid requires you to recruit?

The 11 minute video below is a bit outdated. But you can get the idea of how the compensation plan actually works if you're still confused...

Or you can find the full 20 page compensation plan here.

Is Shaklee a scam?

Shaklee is technically not a scam.

They sell legit products and pay the distributors just like they claim they will. 

However, it has become increasingly common knowledge that many MLMs work like "pyramid schemes in disguise".

Any "opportunity" that requires you to recruit people to make decent money actually means that most people that join it lose money. 

The rest of this Shaklee review will help you to make an informed decision about the company.

Just to be fully transparent with you, I am not a distributor myself and I do not endorse Shaklee in any way.

I have researched the website, testimonials and information on the Internet to get to the bottom of what this program genuinely does. This is because I have been burnt from programs just like this in the past and I want to prevent others from making the same mistakes. If you’d like to learn how to “Spot an Online Marketing Scam” then click the highlighted text.

Common positive reviews

Here are some of the best common positive reviews about its job opportunity that we have found in Indeed...

  • "I love being an independent distributor! I get to make my own schedule, work from home, be my own boss and compensation reflects how hard I work. It honestly doesn't get better than that."

Common negative reviews

And here are the common negative reviews people are saying about its job opportunity in Indeed...

  • "Shaklee had been a pioneer of innovation and cutting edge health and nutrition for over 25 years. They were also head of an MLM corporation that people loved. However, due to the lack of vision for the future of the company, innovation, morale, leadership, and culture it is no longer a great company to work for. Benefits are great, culture and management are terrible."

Tired of MLMs? Check out how I make money online here!

What I like about Shaklee

There are some good parts about the company...

Key Terms:

  • Pyramid Scheme – recruits members via a promise for payment from referring others to the service rather than providing a product
  • Affiliate Marketing- Connecting a customer to a product they are looking for and receiving a commission for doing so
  • Red Flag - A warning sign

#1 Proven history

Did you know that only 1 out of 3 MLMs survive longer than 10 years?

Is Shaklee a scam

Well, Shaklee has been around since the 1950's.

This means the company is not likely to just disappear overnight like many newer MLM companies do. 

This is another great sign that Shaklee is not a scam.

#2 Positive product reviews

You can also find many positive reviews about the Shaklee products and the "Prove It" challenge...

Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

This is just one example from Best Company.

The thing I would say about these reviews is that it's hard to tell whether these people are just distributors trying to make the products sound amazing or if they are legit customers. 

#3 Environmentally friendly

Everyone knows the world needs to make more effort to improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions....

Is Shaklee a scam

Well, Shaklee is Climate Neutral Certified by the Climate Neutral Network

They were actually one of the first companies to do this in the early 2000's, which shows they are trying to make an effort on not polluting the world. 

What I don't like about Shaklee

There are some hidden truths about Shaklee. 

Most distributors do not find out about these truths until they join the company. And this contributes to the reason that so many MLM distributors lose money...

#1 Expensive products

The first thing I always check in any MLM is the price of their products.

If they are overly expensive this is the first sign that an MLM may be a pyramid scheme in disguise...

  • Shaklee shake = $2.93 per serving
  • Highly rated Amazon shake = $1.25 per serving

Shaklee is over 125% more expensive that similar alternatives. 

Now, I can almost hear your mind saying... but surely Shaklee has better quality products?

Well that's what I thought I'd check too...

Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

There is nothing in the Shaklee shakes that isn't in the shake from Amazon.

But it doesn't end with the expensive shakes. I thought I'd also see how much it costs to buy the whole "Prove It" challenge elsewhere... 

  • Optimum nutrition protein powder (4.6 stars out of 5 from over 14,000 reviews) = $34.12 per 30 day supply
  • Dr Tobias Multivitamin (4.4 stars out of 5 from over 3,000 reviews) = $21.59 for 30 day supply
  • NewRythym probiotics (4.4 stars out of 5 from over 3,000 reviews) = $8 per 30 day supply
  • Total cost from Amazon = $63.71

The Shaklee "Prove it" Challenge costs $248.15 or $159 at the special discount!

That is almost 300% more expensive than highly rated equivalents on Amazon. Even with the "special discount" Shaklee's products are 200% more expensive! 

Seriously, just think about it...

Who in their right mind would willingly spend 200% or more for the same thing?...

#2 Hidden monthly expenses

Do you want to know who would spend these crazy prices more just to get Shaklee products?

The Shaklee distributors...

The reason the Shaklee MLM distributors end up spending money EVERY month on this overpriced stuff is that they need to hit a "monthly sales quota"...

Is Shaklee a scam
Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

Once they find out that it's hard to actually get any normal human being to spend this insane amount on some supplements and protein shakes, they feel a bit silly. 

But rather than admitting defeat, many people hold onto that dream of "being your own boss" because their upline tells them "it will get easier". 

What they really mean is... "hang in a bit longer so I can keep making commission".

When you combine this with the expensive products you figure out that...

#3 Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise?

I'm going to come out and say it...

Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise.

The only way you can make any decent money and realistically cover your monthly sales quota is by recruiting people into the MLM. I mean just look at their "dreamplan"...

Is Shaklee a scam

When the main focus to make money from any company is by recruiting people into it you end up with this...

MLM pyramid scheme

You get a handful of people that make some GREAT money... and everyone else loses money. 

This is why Shaklee produces an "income disclosure" that looks like this and misses off how many people are at this level or how many people don't make a penny...

Note how they seem to have forgotten to put how much the beginner distributors make or how many people are at each "rank".

#4 Face to face selling that's hard to scale

Just look at what I found in the Shaklee guide...

Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?

The main thing you will need to do is have "conversations with new people". 

This may have been a great "business model" pre-Internet but this is not effective for the 2020's. 

You cannot scale how many people you have "conversations" with. You will need to spend the time to actually speak to them and your time is limited, especially if you have a family and a full time job. 

This isn't the case for any online business and almost every business is utilising online marketing in the 2020's (the internet can sell for you 24/7 if set up in the right way).

#5 Downward trend

The final nail in the coffin for Shaklee is found on Google Trends...

Is Shaklee a scam

You probably know that the MLM members that "get in early" are the ones that benefit the most. However Shaklee is not in that early momentum phase any more.

When you compare it to other newer MLMs like Farmasi you can see that Shaklee is going the wrong way.

Ready to make passive income online?

I've created a growing passive income online with no previous marketing skills or online experience... 

I've made a special video for you to explain exactly how I did this. 

MTO Income

My opinion - Shaklee

So Shaklee clearly does sell some legit products that people seem to like.

It may even help you to lose weight because if you're spending that much money on it you'll probably be more likely to stick to it! 

But, what do I think about the MLM opportunity to "be your own boss and work from home"?...

The only way you can make and serious money from Shaklee is by recruiting people. 

And when recruiting is needed to make money, you are guaranteed that most people will lose money.

So you'll need to decide if you're happy recommending this program to other people, knowing there's a 99% chance they'll lose money.

Unfortunately, Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise.

How I make passive income online

MLMs are not scams or illegal. However, I'm not a fan of them because of the restrictions to the expensive products you have to promote.

Once I learnt about affiliate marketing, I realised it's a far superior business model because:

  • You can promote anything you want and truly own the business
  • You never need to sell to friends and family
  • It's completely free to start

In 2018 I had no idea what affiliate marketing was.

But I went from a full time PE teacher to making a passive income online within one year...

Mike PE teacher to Passive Income Online

If you want to discover how I did it then check out this special video I created which explains exactly how. You can also get your free 7-day bootcamp to get started.

Make Time Online Income

Ready to make passive income online?

In 2018 I had no idea how to make money online. I was a full time PE teacher with no marketing skills or online experience.

I fell for scams along the way but I've managed to create a growing passive income online. 

If I can do it, anyone can.

Mike Beatty

About the Author

Mike Beatty has built a passive income online whilst working as a full-time PE teacher without any marketing or technical experience. Learn more about how he's done it here.

Mike Beatty

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  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. The first time I heard about shaklee, I was skeptical about even though it was my friends telling me about it. I didn’t understand fully what they were all about but now I know

  2. This is an expensive “money-making opportunity”, so I’m very thankful to find comprehensive research on the workings of the system. For me, I have to LOVE the products that I’m working with and want them to be both high-quality and affordable. The pricing of Shaklee immediately feels like a barrier even if they are selling legit protein shakes and supplements. I appreciate the details behind your review – this one is a hard “pass” for me.

    1. Too true Aly! Expensive products are always harder to sell in today’s world where people can type a couple of words into AMazon and find something for a fraction of the price!

  3. Thank for sharing beautiful article about Shaklee. Shaklee has been selling their products through multi-level marketing since 1956.  Now over 60 years old, the company has over 1.2 million members in 8 countries.  They have grown to become a global company.Shaklee makes a wide range of more than 200 products which include health, nutrition, weight loss, cosmetics and home cleaning.   One thing we liked right away, is that the cleaning products are all environmentally friendly and biodegradable.  Being eco-friendly is something we believe in.

    A pyramid scheme in its pure form sells no products and relies completely on the recruitment of new investors–and the new incoming money is used to pay off earlier investors.
    The problem is that most pyramid schemes are in disguise. They do sell products, but simply sell them just to be able to operate legally–and place an overwhelming emphasis on recruitment into the business–usually forcing new recruits to purchase products.

    While Shaklee does place a lot of emphasis on recruitment and such, they are not nearly as close to being a pyramid scheme as many of the other MLM opportunities I have looked into–other MLM opportunities that have been operating legally for years.
    With that said, I wouldn’t call this place a pyramid scheme although it definitely resembles one to some extent!

    1. I couldn’t agree more! Shaklee isn’t a pyramid scheme but is very close to a pyramid scheme in disguise, due to the nature of recruitment to make money

  4. This was a great review on the Shaklee product. I had only heard about this product, but it resembles so many other products out there. It is amazing that for a MLM company that it has been around for so long. There are a few other ones out there that have survived, but I think it is mostly because their distributors really just like the products.

    I have been involved in many MLM companies and it always ends the same. Now, granted I have enjoyed many of the products, but the money never really amounts to anything. Thank you for sharing such great information so people can make an informed decision. 

    1. That’s such a common story from MLM members, unfortunately. Sorry to hear that they haven’t worked out for you. 

  5. Hey Mike,

    Another thorough review, you research on this was almost flawless.  

    I say almost to me a minute thing – reviews/video excerpt from distributors who had stayed in hoping to float but learned or discovered what you shared.  That/those distributors will likely emote more as they speak the language of those that might be in and digging in their heels to give it another go?

    You’re providing an awesome service in helping others to make more informed decisions before venturing into to such programmes. Continued stellar success!

  6. Two of my friends had been members of Shaklee and tried to convince me but I refused because I am a shy type of person and from the very start, I didn’t like their system wherein you need to recruit people to join your group and the more you recruit, the more your chance to have commissions. Learning from this article and my two friends how Shaklee exactly operates, I would rather choose your recommendation to join yours instead. But before doing that, please let me know based on your experience, how many months would it really take before you can consistently make money? and how many quality posts should you publish that can guarantee your consistent income?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hey Julius, great questions. 

      Using affiliate marketing and any online business is very similar to creating a normal bricks and mortar business… it does take time and effort to see results! However, the skills that you learn from affiliate marketing and building your own website means that your income can grow over time and these are valuable skills that any business would benefit from. 

      If you are consistent and can dedicate consistent time each week it’s possible to make some money within a few months of starting. I made money after about 3 months and after a year of writing 3 high-quality articles a week I was making a consistent income that has continued to grow exponentially. 

      Like any business, it’s different for everyone, but the more I genuinely help people, the more money I make as an affiliate marketer. 

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