You always wanted to have a “tight, tone and firm” skin. So when one of your friends invited you over for a pajama party to try some sort of “crazy wrap” that could help you to fix your saggy skin, you excitedly agreed. There, you found yourself applying some cream and being wrapped with a piece of cloth. After a few minutes, what joy you felt when your friends told you that it worked and, being gullible you are, you believed them! Then, one of them told you the best part: making money with It Works! Ohhh… Okay. You know you were in the middle of a pajama/recruitment party. Dang. But, really, can you make money with It Works!?
- Company: It Works!
- Founders: Mark and Cindy Pentecost
- Products: Beauty and Nutrition Products
- Website: ItWorks.com
- Cost to Join: $99
You know what seems to be genius about businesses investing in replenishable products? It’s because they're replenishable! I mean, isn’t it just purely genius to invest on something that people would always need? Something that people would always buy? Something that would just keep them asking for more? Well, Brother, I am not talking about another sequel of Avengers (though we all want that). Anyway, what I am talking about are the products being offered in the market, especially in multi-level marketing (MLM). To keep your pace in this industry, you need to think of products that would be continuously patronized by the market. It Works! knows how to play this game.
Working originally as a public school teacher in Michigan and spending moments for a few direct-sales companies, Mark Pentecost braved the marketing industry when he realized that the way to earn fair profit is by starting his own business.
While watching his wife, Cindy Pentecost, trying a body wrap that seemed to produce the instant look of slimming, he had his light bulb moment: the perfect product that would be continuously coveted in the market! Ding! Ding! Ding!
With patronizing customers, It Works! that started in 2001 made its way to the limelight of MLM world when it claimed that its revenue soared from $27 million in 2010 to $538 million in 2014. Its influence just keeps on consuming the market when the company found a better and easier way to present its products in the market: social media. This shouldn’t surprise you as armies of It Works! Distributors lurk everywhere from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter. Indeed, an invasion of “Wrapreneurs”, as they call themselves. I assume it’s a mixture of “wrap” and “entrepreneur” though the last part rhymes with seizure, manure and vulture.
Anyway, It Works! seems to prove that the MLM industry, as Mark Pentecost said, is really “the American Dream back alive” for him when it helped him build the multimillion dollar company. With a 50,000-square-foot office in Palmetto, Florida and a $14.5 million private island off the coast of Florida, it is undeniable that life in the MLM industry really works for Mark Pentecost! But would it also work for someone like you?
The “Crazy” Products
With lots of skeptics doubting the company’s products like skincare and nutritional supplements, its flagship product, the Ultimate Body Applicator, gets the most attention from the cynics. You might really think of it as something of a crazy hoax idea. I mean, is it really possible to “tight, tone and firm” your skin or “lose weight” (as others claim it) just by wrapping yourself with such a product? Call it “crazy” but It Works! seems to be using that word for its own advantage by highlighting and claiming how unbelievably crazy its products work. (*Crazy for You – Madonna, chorus)
With lots of It Works! Distributors promoting the company’s products online, you wouldn’t be surprised by the overwhelming numbers of claims you would see on Facebook and Twitter. Even review articles opposing the efficacy of products are no exception to the It Works! armies’ comments, testimonies and rage (I am expecting some for this article but, hell, I’m just stating freaking facts!). Nevertheless, despite the relentless “proofs” being presented by the company’s fanatics, a lot of individuals are still not buying it.
In 2015, an article interview by Molly Mulshine, a Business Insider journalist, Mark Pentecost was asked how the wrap works to which he answered with a “vague” response: “It’s herbal. Four or five things are going on. It’s a detox using herbal, all-natural … detoxing the area and feeding the area. There’s about five or six all-natural things happening there to tighten, tone, and firm.”
Reasoning that the applicator would “work better” and since “everyone needs water”, individuals using the wraps are suggested to drink a lot of water to see better results. Hmm… but why? Well, even your college chemistry professor surely doesn’t even know the answer but who cares? Let’s drink water!
To continue, Mulshine sought another opinion for the possible reason behind the crazy magic through the help of a Sydney-based clinical exercise physiologist, Dr. Bill Sukala, who attributed the alleged slimming instant effect to “sweating.” In the article, Dr. Sukala stated:
“I am unaware of any product in existence that you can apply topically that will melt away fat and cause weight loss,” he said. “If you wrap yourself in plastic, with or without the herbal lotion, you will probably sweat a bit more than usual and lose water weight on the scale. But this is a short-lived effect and the water will be replaced with the next meal or drink.”
With the idea that the temporary tight-skin phenomenon must be caused by water weight loss, the market still seems to patronize the company’s products. Oh, I mean no one wants saggy skin resembling a 70-year old man’s scrotum but, despite that fact… Seriously? It’s really a crazy world!
Compensation Plan: Does it Work?
You know what, if there is one thing that I really hate about MLMs, it is the compensation plan part. It is harder to sit and try to decipher it yourself than watching your boo cheating on you. Compensation plans help me realize that it is possible for me to curse in five different languages. Once you find yourself in the middle of comprehending its detail, you’d realize that you are in the middle of a maze while trying to find your way out. This sometimes causes us to wonder why MLM companies make it hard to understand their compensation plans if they are really intending to impress people. Is it because this freaking Pollock-like compensation plan thingy is just purely hard to explain? Or is it because of the complexity bias these companies are trying to inject into their compensation plans thinking that complexity sells better than simplicity? If there is one thing I am sure of, understanding these plans doesn’t sell like hotcakes to me. Nevertheless, let us try to decipher It Works! Compensation Plan together and judge it yourself if it is compensating enough.
According to It Works!, these are the ways a Distributor can enjoy the company’s Compensation Plan.
- Wrap Cash
Basically, this is the individual markup (profit) you get by directly selling the products you bought at wholesale prices to your customers at the recommended retail price. The individual markup you could earn depends of course to the It Works! products you are selling. Hence, the more products you are selling, the more profit you are earning! Denise Walsh, one of the high-ranking It Works! Distributors described it as “your daily ATM” and enthusiastically said if you need cash today, “go sell some products!” Well, that would be awkward if you are in the middle of a date and found your wallet empty and your bag full of It Works! products. Uhm… Ultimate Body Applicator, anyone? Free demo included!
- Fast Start Bonus
Walsh, in one of her It Works! Compensation Plan videos, said that the company wants to “support you in your new business and teach you how to experience success.” She also referred to the bonus as a “Training Bonus” for new Distributors. How true is it? How does Fast Start Bonus work?
Fast Start Bonus is a bonus that can be obtained by enrolling new Distributors who meet specific qualifications in their first 30 days. The qualifications of the recruits include accumulating 150 Personal Bonus Volume (PBV or the sum of the points or Bonus Volume you earn from the products you sell to your personally enrolled Retail Customers, Level 1 Loyal Customers, and your personal orders – which we will all explain later) on their first thirty days. Accumulating the minimum 150 PBV can impose a challenge to new recruits. With this, It Works! offers other ways to get through this: either purchase your Business Builder Kit (0 BV), which is a one-time starter kit purchase and only saves you to your first 30 days, or process your optional minimum 80 BV auto shipment during that first 30 days.
Furthermore, in order for the recruited Distributors to be considered qualified, you must also help them to get their first two Loyal Customers (Tier 1). These customers pay the Membership Fee, or currently in the process of it, or has fulfilled the It Works! Loyal Customer Agreement with a minimum monthly 25 BV auto-shipment total.
Helping your recruited Distributors to find their Loyal Customers give them Product Rewards credit that they can use to purchase various eligible products at a reduced price. While you, the enroller, who recruited them and helped them to be “qualified” by getting the required BV and finding their first two Loyal Customers would receive a $50 bonus. So, basically, money for the enroller and product credits to the recruits who worked hard. Fair enough, you think? Oh, well.
Anyway, if you want to continue earning more dollars, you need to help your recruited Distributor to find more Loyal Customers in their first 30 days. Remember that all of this should be done in their first 30 freaking days. By helping your recruits to find two more Loyal Customers, they unlock Tier 2 which would give them additional product credits and an additional of $50 to you. To unlock the Tier 3, they need to do the same thing and get two more additional Loyal Customers. This gives them their product credit and you getting your $50. Again, dollars for you and product credit for your hard working recruit. Oh, stop the pity and the conscience! Don’t mind it. By helping them to do it, you also help them to be considered as a qualified Distributor who could do the same thing. What do I mean? By being Tier 1 qualified, your recruits are considered now as Distributors who can also start recruiting others to do the things they did. It is their time to earn the dollars while their future recruits would receive the product credits. Payback time! Thus, if you are a new recruit who managed to unlock Tier 1 just within your first 30 days, you could start finding your own Distributors and enroll them despite the fact that you yourself are new in the business. Perhaps, this is the reason why Mark Pentecost calls It Works! as a customer-generating machine. Should have called it the Distributor-generating machine, as well, I must say.
- Enroller Bonus
The fact that Fast Start Bonus inclines Distributors to recruit other individuals to be a part of the company actually leads to other benefits such as Enroller Bonus. This bonus gives eligible Distributors to earn 5 percent bonus on volume orders placed by personally enrolled Distributors or Loyal Customers who fall on their Level 1. Thus, if your Level 1 gets a total of 1000 Bonus Volume, you would get the 5 percent of that volume which is $50.
- Team and Personal Sales Commission
This represents the commissions you would get as your downline keeps on branching out. To be eligible for this commission, of course, you need to meet certain requirements like the minimum 150 PBV for the month or, if it seems hard for you to reach the minimum, have the optional 80 BV auto-shipment.
The level and the percentage of the commission you would get depend on the rank you have apparently. It starts at the Qualified Distributor rank, which is eligible for 10 percent commission from both Level 1 and 2, up to Emerald rank which enjoys 10 percent commission from Level 1 and 2, 5 percent commission from 3 to 5, and 2 percent commission from Level 6. Once reaching the Emerald level, that individual is allowed to earn an additional 2 percent payout on the BV on unlimited levels starting with Level 6 and going through the Level 5 of the first paid-as Emerald or higher in any Leg.
- Leadership Bonus
This covers the Leadership Levels starting from the Diamond rank to the Ambassador Diamond rank. Generations start to be produced at the Diamond rank. Hence, whenever a new Distributor is promoted to a Diamond rank, a new Generation will be produced. To be eligible for this bonus, the ranks must meet specific Group Volume (GV) quotas. GV is the sum of these leaders’ PBV and PBV of every Distributor in their downline organization. Obviously, as the rank goes higher, the amount of GV quota also increases.
The percentage of the commission that would be received from the Personal Group Volume (PGV or your PBV combined with the PBV of all Distributors in your downline) depends on the rank and Generation under you. When you reach the Ambassador Diamond rank, you would be eligible to 2 percent of your 1st Generation’s PGV, 4 percent of your 2nd Generation’s PGV, 2 percent of your 3rd Generation’s PGV, and 1 percent from both 4th Generation and 5th Generation’s PGVs.
Also, helping your personally enrolled Distributor to be promoted to Diamond rank, thus forming his or her own Generation, would also benefit you. Having a Generation formed by your personally enrolled Distributor would give you additional PGV percentage. For example, if a Double Diamond rank managed to produce a Diamond from one of his or her personally enrolled Distributors, he or she would be eligible for a 9 percent PGV commission instead of 4 percent from his 2nd Generation.
- New Distributor Leadership Bonus
A Distributor would also be able to unlock this bonus upon reaching the Leadership Levels. This simply means that the ranks in the Leadership Levels are eligible of commission whenever there is a new Distributor enrolled. The grant of this bonus depends on Leadership Level Sponsor of the enroller. Let’s say that the enroller who enrolled the new Distributor is not a Diamond, then the sponsor who would receive the New Distributor Leadership Bonus would be enroller’s sponsor. What if the enroller is a Diamond who has upline above him or her? Then, that Diamond enroller would be the Leadership Level Sponsor for each level up until the recruit matches the sponsor of that Diamond enroller.
With this, here is the succession of ranks at It Works! that you need to reach to enjoy certain bonuses and bigger commission percentages.
- Double Diamond
- Triple Diamond
- Presidential Diamond
- Ambassador Diamond
Income Disclosure: Does it Really Work?
It Works! Compensation Plan is one of those plans that favor its people… especially those at the high ranking levels. Just like other compensation plans, it promises great profit, compensations and bonuses. I mean, who can blame them? Luring compensations and promises seem to be some of the capitals needed to build an empire in the MLM industry. Whoever manages to weave the most intricate fantasies would get the most numbers of fanatics and believers. Nevertheless, despite the armies claiming how the opportunity and the products of It Works! work wonders in their lives, it is still the truth being told by the concrete written numbers would tell us the reality: Income Disclosure Statement. Let’s see it and hope that the numbers aren’t as “tight” as your arms after using the crazy wrap.
Looking at the figures of Ambassador Diamond rank would surely make anyone envious. Why not? With the possibility of earning $144,249 at most each month, I could buy myself a week in Bahamas or maybe a date with Michelle Obama. I hate to break it to you, Buddy, but it is just enjoyed by 0.07 percent of active Ambassador Diamonds in 2019. It didn’t even reach one percent.
Of 83.50 percent Active Distributors, some managed to reach $2,317 as their highest monthly income while others hit the lowest at $1 despite being active.
On the other hand, the Active Emerald Distributors still fell at $246 as its lowest monthly income and $667 as its average income. This is quite bothering given the fact that Emerald Distributors have 5,000 GV quota and have been already gaining commissions from one Qualified Leg and two Ruby Legs working under it. Even the average income of $667 a month for this rank is still quite bothersome. On the other hand, the Income Disclosure Statement states that the rank reached $35,450 as its highest possible income in a month. Nevertheless, the fact that the numbers or percentage of Active Emerald Distributors constituting the low, average and high earners is not mentioned left us with more questions. How many Emerald Distributors enjoyed that high income? How about those who hit the lowest? No clue. Even Sherlock would find it hard to determine the answer unless It Works! provides every single detail needed.
No MLM company wants its people to suffer. That’s for sure. But all MLM companies are eager to make profits. That’s also sure. Sadly, most of them are willing to do it even at the expense of those at the bottom of the system. With the numbers presented above, you know where It Works! falls.
Diving In: Can You Make Money With It Works!?
Of course you can make money with It Works! but if you are referring to a large sum of income, the answer would be no. Unless, you are willing to invest a great deal of time, diligence and hard work, maybe you would have the chance to earn a fair amount of income. Maybe.
It Works! Compensation Plan truly aspires and offers nothing but success to its Distributors. Nonetheless, with the numbers presented above, it proves that it generally favors those at the top while leaving those at the bottom behind. For sure, this statement would be opposed by It Works! online armies reading this but, Honey, I tell you: numbers don’t lie. These are fact-coated statements. So suck it up, Buttercup.
You see, the journey at the top of the MLM industry, not just at It Works!, would require you to gamble. It is a game of gamble. In spite of the dream-like future being described to you by that agent you are with now in that café, you still can’t be certain. No matter how many Disneyland photos or beach photos he shows, the fact that life in MLM industry is a world of uncertainty won’t change. Why? Because MLMs have high failure rates. All MLMs.
According to the Appendix 7E (MLM Profit and Loss Rates VS. Various Income Options) of the study entitled The Case (for and) Against Multi-level Marketing by Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D. (Consumer Awareness Institute), 99 percent of MLM recruits lose money. The study also made comparisons among the profitability of various opportunities such as wage earner (100 percent profit), legitimate direct selling (80 percent profit), and small businesses (39 percent profit).
Furthermore, the study says that “the claim by MLM promoters that many participants work for part-time or seasonal income is a bogus argument because without full-time and long-sustained effort, MLM participants cannot build and maintain a large enough downline to meet expenses, and therefore do not profit.”
But why are there still MLM companies thriving at the present times like Rodan + Fields, Pink Zebra, Paparazzi Accessories, Ruby Ribbons, Scentsy, and others? Well, the failure rate pertains to the small people trying to take part in those big and well-established companies: the people at the bottom of the system and the ones taking all the burdens of finding patrons for the companies’ products. They are the ones who lose.
Joining It Works! this time might also not be a good idea since it has already saturated the market. With thousands of Distributors roaming the market, you would find yourself as a grain of sand under a huge mountain. But you wouldn’t mind that, would you?
Weighing Things: Pros and Cons
Before we come down into our conclusion, let us first look at the pros and cons you’d be facing at It Works! in any case you decide to dive in.
- The products, especially that crazy wrap thing, claim to be effective. Again, claims. I am not saying that everyone posting their before-and-after photos are making those things up. But, if someone uses those products and follows the suggestion of observing a balanced diet and exercising, certain improvements would surely come.
- There are lots of Distributors online and you can join them in promoting the products!
- Despite the unproved claims, there seems to be a great mass of people patronizing the products. I know! It’s crazy!
- The products focus not just in one target market. I mean, even us boys want some firm skin and even Madonna hates skin resembling her… resembling a cow’s saggy skin. Hence, you can sell it almost to anyone!
- The products are not scientifically proven. I mean, It Works! armies out there can contest this and use some scientific jargons all they want but face it, Baby, claims can only be proven through study-based facts. The end.
- There are lots of Distributors online. Yeah, I included it as a pro but it can also impose problems to you. Why? It just simply means that the market is already saturated by It Works! Distributors. Competitions everywhere.
- Its compensation plan apparently favors those at the top. I mean, it is natural for those ranks to receive more bonuses and higher commissions but, hell, at the absolute expense of those at the bottom!
- It is an MLM. Legit or not, it is an MLM with 99 percent of failure rate.
Conclusion: The Verdict
If there is one thing that It Works! is best at, it is the capacity of this company to generate believers among people. I don’t have anything against this crazy wrap. Cover yourself with that lotion and wrap yourself like a burrito all you want. Blow some money just to feel skin tighten for some moments. Believe all you want. But this question must always be given a fact-based answer: can you really make money with It Works? You don’t need Captain Obvious to answer this.
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