If you ended up here, my guess is that you have come across Nu Skin from a friend or a friend’s friend who will not stop pushing you to come and listen to one of Nu Skin’s presentations that will change your life forever!
Read My Nu Skin Review Based On Experience From Being A Nu Skin Distributor
“Achieve financial freedom and live your dream life”.
Yes, this is how it sounds when attending one of Nu Skin’s “hype” company presentations. The event is meant to inspire and get your hopes up of living the dream.
“The representatives at Nu Skin know exactly how to encourage people
and get their hopes up. Usually, to tell the incredible success stories from the
“top dogs” of the organization”.
Who would not want to become a successful business owner and create a residential income, not having to lift a finger, IF reaching Team Elite level? The Team Elite level is the highest of levels as a Nu Skin distributor.
Well, let me tell you how it really works based on my personal experience trying to become an independent distributor with Nu Skin.
First, A Little About The Company Nu Skin And Their Business Model
I want to start by saying GOOD that you are doing your research before making any decision whether to join or not.
Every business opportunity that requires your commitment in the form of time or money should be well researched before jumping in.
Nu Skin Enterprises was founded in 1984 by Blake Roney, Sandie Tillotson, and Steve Lund in Provo, Utah. The company originated in the U.S. and began its first foreign operation in Canada, the year 1990.
The founders of Nu Skin decided to build a company that would combine innovative personal care products with ingredients that subscribed to the philosophy of “all of the good, none of the bad”.
I can no longer count the times I have heard that sales pitch. I used it numerous times like you were encouraged to.
I am not trying to go against Nu Skin and this particular statement, because their skincare products are pretty good after all. I used them for about a year and was happy with the results.
However, the products are over-priced and there are many products on the market that TOP the Nu Skin products for a MUCH LOWER cost.
Let Us Talk More About The Actual
Nu Skin Business
Nu Skin has been around for quite some time now. The company is global with representatives on 53 markets Worldwide.
Nu Skin Is Built On The Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Business Model
Nu Skin is a direct sales multi-level marketing (MLM) company that market and sell skincare products and nutritional supplements.
What Exactly Is Multi-Level Marketing?
In multi-level or network marketing, individuals sell products to the public, often by word of mouth and direct sales.
Typically, distributors earn commissions not only from their own sales, but also from sales made by the people they recruit to work beneath them
(source: FTC – Federal Trade Commission).
The most recognized Nu Skin product is the ageLOC skincare line. An anti-aging series with everything from skin creams and serums to home spa equipment.
They also offer Nu Skin 180 body care, hair products, and cosmetics. I purchased a spa system for cellulite removal but I never saw any results. I have to admit I did not have the patience to use it every day for 20 minutes like you were supposed to.
More products are home spas for face rejuvenation, Pharmanex vitamins, nutrition supplements, and weight management products in the form of shakes and tablets.
The ageLOC skincare series and the Pharmanex nutrition supplement brands are currently bought and marketed by 950,000 distributors. The ageLOC line was responsible for 43% of the total profit in 2012.
The representatives of the company do not like to call Nu Skin a multi-level marketing company. They know it does not ring well in peoples’ ears, so instead, they are using the somewhat less provocative wording of a network marketing company.
Many people associate the MLM business model with pyramid schemes.
This Takes Me To The Next Question –
Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?
With Nu Skin’s business model you earn an income from the sales you make, as well as from the people you have recruited to become distributors, also known as your downline.
The more people you can recruit to your organization – your downline – the more money you will make.
Most Nu Skin’ers are hoping to recruit remarkably good entrepreneurs who will build big organizations. This, in turn, gives the upline residential income without hardly any effort.
If you recruit several people with an entrepreneurial mindset that are also great salespeople, you can make residential income without lifting a finger.
Your earnings do not come from selling products but more from recruiting people to do the actual business which will grow your downline.
“Not all multilevel-marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel-marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money”.
Robert Fitzpatrick who operates the website Pyramid Scheme Alert, insists that more than 99% lose their money with the turnover rate at some companies exceeding 90% every year.
Fitzpatrick is explaining it like this: “If you have to recruit and then the ones you recruit have to recruit. Now you’re in a chain letter. And in a chain letter, most people are going to lose. Most, being 90% to 99%.”
It is difficult to get any concrete evidence if Nu Skin – like many other multi-level marketing companies – is based on a pyramid scheme because often Nu Skin makes their reports too complicated and just too long for investigators to go through.
I would claim they certainly are since the upline makes more when the downline grows its organization.
The Nu Skin representatives always protected themselves on the recruiting events by saying it could not be considered a pyramid scheme because the downline only goes 6 levels deep.
Another MLM giant I have been a victim of is Amway:
This Is What Nu Skin Tells Their Distributors
“Illustrations that show a person’s downline organization as a pyramid are prohibited. Nu Skin will not allow illustrations that show the structure of an organization without including customers in that structure. The illustration itself should not extend more than two levels deep”- Source: NuSkin.com.
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It sounds like a cover-up to me!
Nu Skin is very well aware of the fact that it is operating as a pyramid scheme when having to write a disclosure like this. No matter levels or pyramid schemes, the vast majority of distributors end up losing thousands of dollars joining Nu Skin, including me.
To hear my story, continue reading.
6 Things To Consider Before Joining
A MLM Company
The Federal Trade Commission Recommends You To Ask These 6 Questions Before Joining Any Of The MLMs:
#1. Can you make a sustainable profit from just selling products without having to recruit a single person?
#2. How many products are sold to pure retail customers (customers who are not also distributors in the network)?
#3. Does the company’s compensation plan recommend you to buy large amounts of products to qualify for a more senior position in the network and bonus checks?
#4. How long does it take to start earning an income and how many distributors do you need to recruit to make money?
#5. What is the failure rate and average compensation for both a part-time and full-time commitment?
#6. Are the expenses of promoting and running the business higher than the average distributor compensation?
I can answer question number 3 right away with regards to Nu Skin. Yes, they do encourage you to invest in a large number of products to be able to create your own organization.
This is where things get worse…To make any money whatsoever with Nu Skin, you have to be part of their monthly automatic delivery rewards (ADR) program. You have to continuously order products for a certain amount. They are forcing you to purchase from them while also getting free marketing from new and “old” recruits!
How could I fall for this voracity?
To defend this, they say: “Hey you have to buy skincare products from somewhere anyway right?!”
True, but I would not choose a shower gel for $35 when I can buy it for $5 at the local grocery store. Oooor if I am lucky, for $1 at the Dollar Store.
Foremost, You Should Not Have To Pay For A Business You
Are Heavily Marketing
However, when you are attending one of their “hype” meetings and are eager to fulfill your dream of being a business owner and achieving financial freedom, you want to believe it all makes sense.
How My Nu Skin Experience Started
I met a friend from my home country, Sweden, who I used to work with at a local gym in Stockholm (the capital city of Sweden). I met her in Miami, Florida. She had also left Sweden for sunny Miami so that was quite a coincidence.
She introduced me to Nu Skin and took me to one of their meetings. They made it sound like an amazing business opportunity and so easy to make a big income in no time.
Financial freedom is just around the corner, wihooo!
So they say, at least!
I left the meeting convinced this would be my thing. I was also happy to be able to work with my friend from back home.
She recommended me to go BIG if I was going to invest efforts in doing the business. She convinced me to start with buying the large inventory package, and so I did.
I Threw Away $1500 For Nothing!
Maybe not for “nothing” since you get products for the money but I did not really need them, so for me, the money was wasted. Even today, 3 years later, I still have products left.
You have to come up to 2500 points in order to qualify for starting an organization as an independent distributor. Every dollar is translated into points – so $1 is 1 point.
My friend told me when buying this package, I would earn 1000 points and it would give me a head start collecting the points. She also said it would not take long to collect the other 1500 points.
That was not the case!
I trusted her and went for it. I bought products for $1000 while sweating a bit. It is not every day you buy skincare products for $1000.
I did try hard reaching the 2500 points! We were running around to company after company related to the skincare industry and tried to book meetings with the store manager to sell Nu Skin products or to convince them to do the business.
It did not go well!
I Was So Frustrated To Have Invested Full-Time Efforts (More Or Less) For 3 Months And Lots Of Capital And Only Got One Sale! Are You Kidding Me?!
Three months seems like a LONG time when trying to promote a business with the same sales pitches over and over and you are not getting through to anybody.
The typical answers: “Let me think about it.” “No, I do not want to get involved in those pyramid schemes”….and so it went on and on.
After months of regular meetings that took time away from loved ones (they were always at night when people had finished their regular jobs), I threw in the towel and gave up.
The Lie And Rule I Never Approved Of
Another way of fishing people in is they tell you to start small on the side of your regular work. This is exactly how they are cashing in money by the monthly subscriptions from people trying to do the business besides their job.
Nu Skin knows you do not stand a chance to build an organization on the side of a full-time job.
It takes a 100% commitment and a portion of good luck to succeed. Nu Skin is using people and is making them belive they can build a business from only buying products each month.
Nu Skin also has this 3 feet rule I never approved of. Namely, to always share the business with anyone who is standing within 3 feet from you at the mall, in the grocery store, at the gym, etc.
No matter where you were at the time, you were told to apply this rule. I tried it a couple of times but was never comfortable with it. Instead, I tried to book real meetings with spa salons, hair dressers, and nail salons to try selling Nu Skin’s products and possibly also make them do the business.
Presenting Nu Skin’s Commission Plan
“To qualify for commissions and as an active distributor, you have to generate 100 PSV (personal sales volume) and have to purchase or sell a minimum of $100 in products every month.
$2,000 in monthly sales must be made by their team, accounting for the majority of Nu Skin’s sales. Most of them will lose thousands of dollars in this scheme and have unsold products in their basements”.- Source: Fortune
The commission data below are taken from Nu Skin’s report from 2013:
14.19% – An average of US active distributes who earned a commission check on a monthly basis. Observe that 85% of active distributors did not earn a cent.
5.38% – Earned a monthly average commission of $30.
$176 – Is the average commission paid to US Active Distributors each month. That is a yearly income of $2112, according to their numbers.
These are NOT the numbers they show you at the meetings! No, no…. at the meetings they make sure to bring lots of success stories to wow you. They bring people from high up the chain that makes millions.
There are a FEW people making millions with Nu Skin, but like mentioned, to get there you need lots of luck, know how to recruit people and be good at bending the truth more than a little.
I am saying “be good at bending the truth” since it is such a low success rate, and still, you are trying to convince your friends to invest time and money in the business.
Nu Skin claims it is so easy and their business is the solution to financial freedom.
Nu Skin means anyone can do the business just from being a user of their products. Well, I could not and I ended up spending way too much on their products!
The few people that do make a decent income are doing it from fooling their downline into investing in more and more products. Not morally right to me. But hey.. you have probably heard of ’em people walking over corps to get what they want.
Let Me Break It Down Further – What Will It Cost To Join Nu Skin?
Product Package Cost
Like you read in the summary of my experience with Nu Skin, you first have to purchase a product package. The product packages start from $475 up to $1519.
I did not purchase any prepared package. I hand-picked the products I wanted to purchase for $1000.
Automatic Delivery Rewards (ADR) Program
You will also have to sign up for a monthly automatic delivery rewards (ADR) program.
This is what it says on the website:
You Have To Be Enrolled In The ADR Program To Qualify For LOI,
Commission And Bonuses
Then they make it even more difficult to get your commissions by saying:
“Commissions and sales bonuses are paid only to active Distributors. See Glossary for explanation of Active Requirements, including retail sales requirements. You must have sold or consumed 80% of your inventory before your next order” – Source: NuSkin.com.
This is very odd. Why do they care about this? As long as you are continuing your monthly orders it should be okay right?!
Ways To Make Money With Nu Skin
It used to be 6 different levels you could earn with Nu Skin but Nu Skin seems to have increased it to 10 levels. They all come with lots of different rules and regulations.
Just To Earn $500 Extra Per Month, You Have To Reach The Gold Executive Level And Only 1.09% Of All Nu Skin Distributors Reach This Level
Also, from the commission plan only 1.59% actually makes more than $500 per month.
If Nu Skin would skip all success stories on its meetings and only focus on “real” numbers, you would soon realize that NO ONE should invest time and effort into this business.
Nu Skin knows this and is smart enough to invite the same two couples as speakers, an American couple and a Japanese couple who have made an incredible success with Nu Skin.
After trying to do the business, I cannot understand HOW they did it?? But I take my hat off for them and their successes.
Nu Skin Has been In Legal Hot-Waters
More Than Once
Important to add is that Nu Skin has been in legal hot-waters numerous times. For example in 1997, Nu Skin had to pay $1.5 million to resolve FTC charges over fat loss claims for supplements – Source: FTC.
In January 2014, the Chinese government announced it was investigating Nu Skin following a People’s Daily newspaper report calling it a “suspected illegal pyramid scheme – Source: Reuters.
Recently in 2016, Nu Skin settled $47 Million for operating a pyramid scheme after being sued by China in a Utah federal court. Nu Skin was also forced to pay another $750,000 for bribing a top Chinese official with funds from Nu Skin’s charitable division after a US Securities and Exchange Commission probe – Source: Wikipedia.
Nu Skin Pros & Cons
- Nu Skin is a reputable company that has been around for quite a while after it started back in 1984.
- They have a solid background and offer good quality products. Nu Skin’s products and the skincare niche are recession proof.
- No matter fluctuations in the economy, there is always going to be a high demand for products that keep you looking young and healthy.
Why don’t we start with this incident:
One of the co-founders of Nu Skin, Nedra Roney, was deleted from the website in an attempt to hide she is a co-founder because she has been involved in several lawsuits. She also pleaded guilty to prescription-drug fraud in 1996 –
This is only one of several outrageous stories with Nu Skin founders involved.
- With this being said, 85% of distributors earn NOTHING with Nu Skin!
- You have to bother friends and family or in fact everybody in your network and try to get them to join.
- You are becoming the black sheep that wants to fool people into a pyramid scheme.
- The money is in recruiting people into the business. Not in the actual products.
- You have to spend +$100 per month and sell or use 80% of your inventory to be eligible to earn any commission at all.
- You have to earn 2500 points to be able to qualify as an independent distributor which often forces you to purchase expensive starter packages.
- Pay extra attention to this con: The products are difficult to sell since they are quite pricey. Yes, this was always the issue when trying to sell. The products are ridiculously expensive so it is almost impossible to sell them!
Who Is Nu Skin For?
- Nu Skin is for the person who is comfortable with recruiting (mostly bothering) family and friends to get them to join in order to grow the downline and make an income off of it.
- Nu Skin is for the person who has tremendous sales skills and can convince people to join a pyramid scheme.
- Nu Skin is for the person who does not really care for selling products, but more want to focus on the “business opportunity”.
- Nu Skin is for the person who wants to keep paying the monthly ADR program to have a 14.9% chance to make a full-time residential income.
Well, how does this sound? Not too good right!?
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Final Summary Of My Nu Skin Experience
I now realize I was blindfolded when stepping into the Nu Skin business, because I believed in my friend and her success story.
She claimed she had made such a good residential income (from doing the Nu Skin business back in Sweden) that she was able to buy her own spa and live off the money she made from it.
When I asked her why she stopped doing the business (she had taken a break from Nu Skin when we met), she answered she got tired of it and wanted to do something else.
Why getting tired of residential income? You never get tired of money in this consumer society. Something was fishy with that story but I wanted to believe in her.
Since she recruited me, she automatically became my coach (upline). When experiencing the tough reality of constantly getting turned down and only making one tiny sale, I was temped to ask her for proof of income from when she did so well.
She never showed me anything testifying she had made an income from Nu Skin. I did not want to disrespect her and our short friendship. I did not want to appear like I did not believe what she was telling me and offend her.
I am saying short friendship, because this situation strained our relationship. I could not help feeling a bit fooled by her since I had invested in all products for nothing.
Not to mention, the time I spent that I could have used for other money making endavours.
Remember that she made a commission from my initial $1000 investment and also from being in the ADR program for three months. I was in her downline.
That is how the business model works.
Furthermore, I always had the feeling she was competing with me. I bet you recognize the feeling when a person acts nice to you but you feel it is not sincere and may accompany a hidden agenda.
She knew I am an entrepreneur and was probably hoping I would grow an organization in order to get her finances going again. But at the same time, she did not want me to do better than her.
We were both career driven and strong minded Scorpio women so maybe she felt a bit threatened by our similarities.
It later came to my attention she had back-stabbed me pretty badly but that is another story.
My Final Advice – If Someone Is Approaching You And Is Trying To Recruit You To Nu Skin Or Any MLM Company – Run!
You will end up investing more money and time than you will earn. It is such a small percentage that actually makes a good profit from MLMs.
I believe you have to have a huge network in form of business contacts or a comprehensive email list to be able to succeed. You cannot just turn to family and friends or people crossing your path in the streets to make money with an MLM.
You may also have to pay for other marketing efforts such as Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc., to spread the word and get people to buy products from you.
You will not sell enough products to benefit financially without help expanding your network. Take my word for it.
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There is a proven strategy to make legit money online which is called
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This is a typical ad from Google Adsense:
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You can read more about affiliate marketing in prior article:
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It is snowballing from there, which is really great.
I hope to hear from you.
I gladly accept feedback and comments on this article. You may have a different perspective or have another experience from being a Nu Skin distributor.
Stay out of trouble!
About The Author
Stina Pettersson is originally from Sweden but has resided in the U.S. for the past 6 years. She started her American journey in Miami, Florida, and recently moved to Austin, Texas.
Stina was active as a professional dancer for 21 years but she was forced to slow down her dancing after ACL surgery in both knees. She is now back to her roots, with her beloved horses and also enjoys daily nature walks with her two adorable dogs, Max and Abigail.
Stina has the gift of being able to receive communication from the spirit and extraterrestrial world which she loves sharing with her readers.
“My main goal is to maintain a flexible lifestyle, where I set my own schedule. Even that I work hard, I love what I do every day. I also have the opportunity to help other people which is a huge gift.”
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