Hi, and thanks for stopping by to check out my doTERRA review. Let me say right away, I'm not a fan of multi-level-marketing companies, which doTERRA is. However, if building a network marketing business is something you're considering, there are reasons that doTERRA is worth looking at.
There are some things you might like about doTERRA, and some that you won’t. The success rate of MLM’s (I’ll go over some of those numbers below) will definitely be one of the things you don’t. Is that reason enough not to try though? And, is there anything you can do to improve your odds?
Stick around to the end because I’m going to talk about the reasons people struggle, and what you can do to avoid them.
Please note, I am not a member or affiliated with doTERRA in any way. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What is doTERRA?
doTERRA, as mentioned above, is a direct sales (networking marketing) company that focuses on health and wellness through the use of therapeutic grade essential oils. What exactly are essential oils, and how do they work (if they work at all)? I’ll get to that in a moment.
doTERRA is a relatively new company, founded in 2008 by a group of healthcare and business individuals. Their goal has been to share these oils with the world.
My guess… after learning how much the oils cost… is that their goal is also to get extremely rich. There’s nothing wrong with that, we all need to make money… but I’m a natural skeptic, and when it comes to products whose results can’t be proven or easily measured, I become a little cynical.
Currently, doTERRA operates out of Utah. And, if you’re curious what the name doTERRA means, it’s rooted in latin, meaning “gift of the Earth”
Essential Oils - Gift of the Earth
Essential oils are found naturally occurring in things such as fruit (citrus oils for example), as well as flowers, stems, roots, bark, seeds and various other parts of a plant.
I believe in the healing power of plants, but as a whole food that we eat… not put into a burner and inhale.
If it makes you feel good though, who am I to say it doesn’t work. When something makes us feel good, positive signals are sent to our brain releasing endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. These are counter to the stress chemicals adrenaline and cortisol which have a detrimental effect on our health.
I would argue that yoga or meditation gives you equally, if not better results for free… but I’m not a medical professional or researcher, so it's just my opinion.
Even though I don’t necessarily believe essential oils can heal us, my wife and I do use them around our house (because they smell good). That means, if you decide to sell them, your market is much larger than those simply looking for the health benefits.
Everyone is a potential buyer, which is probably why this market is a billion-dollar industry. That surprised me, I had no idea essential oils were that popular.
Being a billion-dollar industry however, does not mean they work as advertised. There is no significant proof to make that claim, and for the prices they are asking (I’ll get to those in a moment), I think doTERRA oils should do more than smell good.
Aromatherapy can be pleasant, but specific claims that certain oils can relieve nausea, lift your mood, reduce anxiety and help you sleep better simply don’t have the science to back them up.
You can find experts in this field such as Dr Gary Young but let’s be honest. With Young Living Farms cultivating, harvesting and distilling essential oils all around the globe from the US and Canada, to Equador and France... he has significant financial stake in these products.
This is only my opinion, but I find it difficult to believe his research is 100% unbiased.
The Young Living Essential Oils Scientific Advisory Council has several scientific and medical professionals on it, but again, I have to question if they are being financially compensated at a level that would compromise their integrity?
But, this isn’t a review on Dr Gary Young, or Young Living Farms. I just want to make the point that, similar to the pharmaceutical industry, natural healing also has a financial incentive to stretch the truth of their claims.
When it comes to people’s actual experiences, you get all kinds of of passionate opinions from reading comments online. It’s clear that this is a topic people are enthusiastic about. If you have experience with aromatherapy yourself, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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The doTERRA Opportunity
Rather than mass market their brand of oils in stores, doTERRA chose a direct selling, or multi-level-marketing, approach.
They say on their website that this decision was made because the MLM model is unique, just like their product. They do word it a little differently,
“Sharing essential oils is a unique experience, and the founders of doTERRA recognized that a sales model just as unique would be needed. In order to best facilitate personal essential oil experiences, doTERRA utilizes a direct selling model”
MLM’s, nor essential oils are not really all that unique.
In my opinion, I think the founders of doTERRA understand that the power of network marketing or pyramid type organizations is passion. People become passionate about the lifestyle potential, and that enthusiasm spills over onto an otherwise average group of products.
This isn’t just doTERRA. Most MLM’s claim that their products are unique, of a higher quality and usually... unmatched in the industry.
In fact, MLM’s often lead to cult-like followings, and choosing to market doTERRA oils this way injects an energy into the product that traditional sales strategies would not.
Is doTERRA a scam?
Not at all. While some of the deceptive marketing tactics used by distributors push the limits and get into scam territory (I’m speaking of MLM distributors in general, not necessarily doTERRA)… doTERRA operates within the legal boundaries of an MLM. They’re approaching their 10th year in business and have nothing to gain by doing something illegal.
As far as it being a pyramid scheme, that all depends on how you define one. Here again, they are not “legally” a pyramid scheme, but my opinion is that enough money was spent lobbying governments decades ago that the legal definition of a pyramid scheme has since been written to accommodate those who are making millions (and even billions) from them.
But… in some countries, there’s nothing illegal about lobbying governments to pass laws in your favor, so you’ll have to rely on your own definition as to whether you consider it to be a pyramid scheme or not.
The law says they are not.
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How Does It Work?
Whatever their reasons for choosing a direct selling strategy, the end result is that it creates an opportunity for you to build a home-based business with doTERRA.
If you’re passionate about essential oils and the benefits they may provide, this might be for you.
It works like all MLM’s do. You build your business in two ways. The first is through retail sales, and the second is by recruiting others… and this, in my opinion, is where the opportunity falls apart for most people.
One thing that doTERRA has done well is keep the barrier to entry low. You can set up a wholesale account and start selling their oils for $35. This cost is waived if you purchase one of their starter kits which range from $150 - $275. Compared to some other MLM’s which cost significantly more to start, doTERRA is a good choice.
I’ll get more into the compensation structure in a moment, but the way you build financial independence (which is really what MLM’s are selling) is by earning commissions from your downline sales.
You can build your downline by focusing on width (sponsoring more people yourself), depth (working with someone in your downline and helping them sponsor someone, and then helping that person and so on…), or by doing a combination of both strategies. The strategy you chose depends on the compensation structure which I’ll talk about in a moment.
Typically, you have someone in your upline help you build your business, which is one of the benefits of the pyramid style opportunity. Another benefit is being able to plug into their marketing and distribution system.
But, while multi-level-marketing may seem great at first, they also have some serious flaws.
One of those flaws is the motive behind the help and support you get.
The distributors (or Wellness Advocates in doTERRA’s case) under you don’t just belong to your organization, they also belong to your upline’s organization.
Likewise, the people you enrol also have their own downlines… and although they are part of your overall organization, those people have their own businesses they are building.
And the entire pyramid belongs to the company.
Why Is That a Problem?
Because you can never take it with you. The business you build is never really yours. You will have spent countless hours… even years building up a business and organization, but it doesn’t belongs to you.
Add to the fact that you can never introduce your own products, switch suppliers or adjust pricing to suit your needs… and it becomes clear that what seems like your own business is more like being locked into another job.
There was a time when MLM’s were a really good option for someone wanting to start a home-based business, but now that we are all connected online, there are much better options and opportunities to build a business that is 100% yours… and still get all of the benefits of a system and support.
doTERRA’s Compensation Structure
doTERRA’s compensation plan gets a little complicated with all the acronyms such as PV, WA and LRP. And then there are multiple levels of commissions and bonuses.
So, rather than having me mess it up, I thought a better explanation could be given by someone who understands it better than I.
Please note, I don’t endorse this video. It’s for informational purposes only.
Price of Oils
doTERRA boasts one of the most generous compensation plans in the business, but that money doesn’t come from thin air. If they are paying out higher than average commissions, that’s because they have higher than average prices.
This is another significant problem with MLM’s. Many levels of compensation need to be paid, including the company who manufactures, packages and ships the products.
Here are some examples of doTERRA’s prices.
Compare those prices to OnePure. OnePure also claims to be of high quality saying their essential oils use the latest steam-pressing technique, and are pure with no additives, fillers, bases or carriers added. I’m no expert, but I don’t see any evidence that doTERRA’s oils are superior to OnePure’s… at least not enough to justify the price difference.
I realize that these are not direct comparisons, but if you just compare the Lavender oil here... OnePure has a 10ml bottle as part of a $15.95 six-pack, while doTERRA's $18.33. Even the wholesale price for that single bottle is almost the cost of six of OnePure's oils.
Another comparison is Plant Therapy's 100% PURE FRANKINCENSE SERRATA OIL: Steam-distilled from the fragrant resin of the frankincense tree to produce a high-quality essential oil with absolutely no additives or fillers.
As I said a moment, I not an expert here... but are doTERRA oils that much better than these other brands? doTERRA's Frankincense oil $65.67. Even the wholesale price is $45.50 while you can get a bottle of the Plant Therapy Frankinsence for $11.95.
I find it difficult to believe that the reason they cost 600% more is down to quality… and not because there are many levels of commissions that need to be paid.
As a Wellness Associate (distributor), this is the competition you’re up against. Not to mention, that in some areas (depending on the product) Amazon can deliver overnight, if not the same day.
You also have to ask yourself if taking money from people knowing they can get a comparable product for significantly less is something you’re comfortable with.
Another serious flaw with MLM’s is one that most (more than 99% of people) can’t overcome.
At the beginning of this review I mentioned the numbers (the success rate) of MLM’s and the reasons why people struggle.
According to research… when calculating for expenses, 997 out of 1,000 people who get involved with an MLM will lose money. And that doesn’t include your time.
If you can dance, have a decent singing voice, or some other talent… you might have better odds of winning one of TV’s big singing, dance or talent shows.
And just like those shows, succeeding in multi-level-marketing requires talent, skill and unique circumstances that most don’t have. The numbers don’t lie.
The main reason people don’t succeed here is that people don’t like recruiting others. And people also don’t like being recruited.
I’ve witnessed it, and maybe you have too, family and friend relationships being ruined over this. Not out of anger, or an argument, but simply because people start avoiding you when they think you’re trying to get them into something. If it’s not managed well, your business can become a big wedge between you and the people you care about.
So that leaves you recruiting people you don’t know.
In the mid-90’s I spent a couple years building an Amway business and my strategy was to hang out at supermarket magazine racks and strike up conversations with people. It worked, but I hated doing it. There was no possible way I could sustain it.
I was miserable. Every single person I met, every place that I went, I was trying to find an angle… an opening to introduce my opportunity.
Those who succeed at multi-level marketing not only have that kind of commitment, but they also have a unique skill-set and an uncommon personality. They can withstand consistent rejection and more importantly, unlike me, it doesn’t bother them or make them unhappy; which why they can keep doing it.
On paper, the opportunity might look good, but you must ask yourself if you have what it takes to be one of the three in a thousand that don’t lose money.
We can do something we don’t like for a short while, but sooner or later we will either stop or accept that we’re going to be really unhappy. In my opinion, life is too short for unhappy.
What do you do if you don’t like selling and recruiting? I mentioned earlier about strategies that could help you turn the odds in your favor.
To be successful at something, you must do something you enjoy. This is critical.
Achieving your goals takes time. Usually more time than we would like. You’re going to get frustrated, discouraged, and there are going to be times when you just want to quit. There’s no way to survive and push on through the challenge if, on top of everything else, you hate what you’re doing.
And, what’s the point? Even if you do succeed, you’ll succeed at something you don’t like. That makes no sense.
If you have a passion for essential oils and enjoy talking to people (or even making YouTube videos as I’ve noticed that’s become a common strategy), then doTERRA might be the right choice for you.
For me, network marketing was definitely not my thing.
I’m far more comfortable with an online business. I don’t have to recruit, my friends and family are fascinated by what I do (instead of being uncomfortable around me be because of it)… and I don’t have sell overpriced products. Through affiliate marketing I’m able to partner with thousands of online suppliers such as Amazon and build a business that is 100% my own… no upline or downline.
To build your business at home with a computer, rather than SOMEONE ELSE’S home drawing circles on a whiteboard, check out the exact strategy I use to make money online here.
I hope you found my doTERRA review helpful.
Please leave a comment below; your opinions are valuable. Do you use essential oils, or have experience with doTERRA?
And... if you found this article useful, or think it might be helpful for others… Please share. 😀