Product: Rodan and Fields
Owners: Dr. Katie Rodan, Dr. Kathy Fields
Price: $45 (Purchase of Business Portfolio)
I must admit, with all the talk of this being a pyramid scheme, I thought Rodan and Fields would be a scam. But my first impressions have turned out to be good. Rodan and Fields has an active community and loyal following, a good indicator that it's not a scam. But is it the opportunity you've been looking for? Are the product claims legitimate? In this review, we'll dig deeper and find out.
Please note, I am not affiliated with Rodan and Field' 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.
There are two parts to Rodan and Fields. The product line and the business opportunity. The business opportunity can be broken down further into product sales, and recruitment.
If you're here to find out if Rodan and Fields is a good way to make a part-time income, or even a full-time income, then you'll be interested in both the home-based business review, AND the product line. These are the products you (as a distributor) will sell, so they’d better be good.
Although I won’t go into product specifics, we will have a look at what people are saying. I'm neither qualified (both my 11 and 7-year old daughters know more about cosmetics than I do), nor do I have personal experience with to say they’re good or bad. But, from the discussions online, people seem to like them. You certainly have nothing to worry about if you're considering selling them (or using them).
What I do know about however are business opportunities, and this review will be looking at Rodan and Fields from that perspective.
The main topics I'll cover in this review are,
- Who Rodan and Fields are, and what they do.
- Are they are pyramid scheme, and is it a scam? (of course, this is the most common question)
- The Rodan and Fields community, and what people are saying.
- Will you make money as an independent consultant?
- The realities of multi-level marketing
- My recommendations
What is Rodan and Fields?
Rodan and Fields is a direct sales and marketing company that specializes in skin care products. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields.
If you're new to Rodan and Fields, it will give you some comfort to know that Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields are the original creators of the acne skin care product, Proactiv Solution.
So, this is not a "fly-by-night" company, and the owners know a little something about business and skin care.
Is It A Pyramid Scheme?
That depends on your definition of a pyramid scheme.
Rodan and Fields is a multi-level-marketing company. Like Amway, Avon and Mary-Kay Cosmetics the real income comes from building a network of distributors below you. Your downline.
People involved in these businesses will passionately tell you it's not a pyramid scheme.
According to Wikipedia, "A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services."
Does Rodan and Fields promise payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme (as defined by Wikipedia)?
No, they do not. They promise you payments based on the SALES made by others you enroll, but there are no direct payments simply for getting them to join.
So, according to Wikipedia... Rodan and Fields is not a pyramid "scheme". They are a reputable company and they operate within the guidelines set out by the Federal Trade Commission's Amway decision.
Having said that, although not legally a pyramid scheme, as mentiioned a moment ago... whether you consider Rodan + Fields a pyramid depends on your opinion. They are definitely structured as a pyramid with uplines and downlines... and that's where the big money is. So, you can be the judge. .
If you're comfortable with direct-selling and recruiting people that you know (and don't know), continue reading.
If it's not your cup of tea, there are other ways you can earn a part-time income that does NOT include direct selling, or recruiting people.
Personally speaking, as someone who spent a couple of years in Amway recruiting people at gas stations and supermarkets during the late 90's, getting people to join my downline is not my thing.
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Is Rodan + Fields A Scam?
I have a quick checklist when reviewing "make-money" products. Most are unfortunately scams, but there are a few simple things you can look at to determine whether or not it’s worth your time to investigate further. The three things I check first are,
- Site Security?
- Proper Contact Information?
If all three are okay, we’re off to a good start.
With a company the size of Rodan and Fields though, I wasn't too concerned.
Their website is exceptionally professional, and there is nothing “scammy” going on here. They use SSL (secure socket layers), which is just a geeky way to say your connection to their site is encypted and safe.
Their contact page includes everything from a physical address, to phone numbers and even the hours they’re available, so all the contact information you would want is there.
It goes without saying that Rodan and Fields is a legitimate opportunity, and not a scam.
Next on my list is the community. If people are gathering online to say good things about a product or company, it's a good sign. And that’s what I found here.
Rodan and Fields has a community that's both massive and passionate, with hundreds of thousands of likes and follows on various social sharing platforms. For a company whose sales reached $627 million in 2015, this is the kind of community you'd expect.
What Are People Saying?
Rodan and Fields gets mixed reviews. They're not selling politics and religion, but skin care products and MLM's can also be controversial.
Most online conversations are about the products.
The vast majority are saying good things, but of course, skin creams (moisturizers, lotions etc.) affect each person differently. So, you can also find many upset individuals with poor results, and adverse side effects from using Rodan and Field’s products.
However, the good comments by far outweigh the bad. Here's an example of both.
If you're thinking about selling Rodan + Fields products, you will be glad to know that most people are happy with them and you can be confident you are standing behind a company that considers quality and customers satisfaction important.
Home-Based Business Comments
Moving away from product discussions and onto the business side, you have upbeat and optimistic consultants on one hand and the annoyed and frustrated people who are tired of hearing about Rodan and Fields on the other.
It's the modern era of network marketing, and instead of prospecting face-to-face, thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs have turned to social media. They use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and all the other platforms to promote their products and recruit people into their downline.
It may seem easier than having to talk to people. Unfortunately, it also allows you to pi## them off faster, more often, and all at once.
Social Media didn't exist during my era of pyramid schemes and legit MLM's. After I had hit up my family and friends, I hung out at supermarket magazine stands (I wasn't joking about supermarkets and gas stations) and struck up conversations with people.
I could only annoy one person at a time... not so today.
It's hard for me to believe that was 20 years ago.
Can You Make Money Selling Rodan and Fields?
Clearly, some people are making money and having success.
But, can YOU make money, and should you join Rodan and Fields?
Do you have the personality for it? Is selling one of your strengths? Can you handle constant rejection? Is it something you enjoy, or just put up with hoping for easier days ahead?
The truth is, the vast majority of people never achieve anything close to the financial independence programs like these promote.
And, although they are legally not a scam or pyramid scam, due to the nature of companies that use individual distributors... some of the business practices are certainly deceptive and not always fully controlled by the company itself.
Success in network marketing is not that promising. According to MLM research done by Dr. Jon M. Taylor of the Consumer Awareness Institute,
- 50% drop out within the first year.
- 90% leave the company before year five.
- 95% will be gone within a decade, leaving those few at the very top of the pyramid to keep recruiting more people.
That doesn’t sound like the picture being painted by recruiters. They use terms like “financial independence” and “being able to have it all”.
But, statistically speaking, most of the people selling the dream are no closer to it than you are, and with people dropping out at a rate of 90+ percent, even those at the top need to keep their entire organizations motivated and growing.
That’s why MLM’s rely heavily on motivational events and pep rally’s.
The pyramid plan might not be a scam, but the sales pitch might be (in my opinion). On paper, the math works out, and if you recruit people according to the plan (and your downline does the same), you can become a top earner.
But that never happens. Even the best need to keep working on their downline, talking at events, helping their distributors to build their organizations...
They promote lavish lifestyles and residual incomes, while downplaying the time, the effort and unique circumstances required to achieve it.
During the recruitment process, you are presented with bio’s of their biggest superstars, complete with family pictures and inspiring stories.
Like this one.
I don’t doubt Debbi’s story. In fact, if I met her I'd like to pick her brain and learn a few things.
And there are others just like her on featured on the Rodan and Fields website.
Most have found success, according to their profiles, by working part-time hours for roughly 6 months to 3 years.
“In less than six months of working her business 20 to 25 hours a week, Debbi was promoted to Level V Executive Consultant and earned many rewards, including a Level V Arrival Trip to California Wine Country. Within a year, she earned a new Starfire Pearl Lexus through the Road to RFx Car Incentive Program, and is now a RFx Circle Achiever.”
But what about the 90% who quit in the first 5 years?
According to Rodan and Field’s 2015 Income Disclosure, the average earnings of a Level III Executive Consultant was a whopping $14,623/per year. On the higher end (which is probably a small minority), you can expect to make just over $90,000. But ONLY 6.3% of paid consultants reach Level III Executive Consultant status (with an even smaller percentage taking home the high side income).
Another important takeaway from this disclosure statement, is the average income of a Level V EC is $64,394, and only 2.3% of paid consultants reach this level.
These numbers are consistent with Dr. Jon M. Taylor’s research that 95% quit within 10 years, because 95% never make it over the "hump" and reach residual income status.
If you're only making 64K per year, and 90% of your recruits keep dropping out, it would be exhausting to constantly rebuild your downline.
I’m not suggesting $64K per year is insignificant. But these numbers are before expenses, and certainly won’t afford you the lifestyle that’s so heavily promoted by MLM’s. And yet, that's the dream you will have to sell so people keep signing up, and the commissions keep flowing upward.
A 2016 Forbes article said this about Rodan + Fields... including at quote by Dr. Kathy Fields,
"The company's independent reps also sell the dream that any woman can easily achieve financial independence and success by becoming a Rodan + Fields saleswoman. "This is an opportunity for women to have it all," Fields says.
But the truth is that the dream is financially out of reach for the vast majority of women who sell Rodan + Fields products. According to data from its 2015 income disclosure, 42% didn't get a single paycheck last year."
I realize no one at Rodan and Fields has promised financial independence, and they only show what’s possible (in a perfect world), but there’s a deeper issue here.
The Effects Of Failure
It takes tremendous motivation to keep your organization growing.
Being a 20+ year personal development junkie, I believe in motivation. But not like this.
You can’t build someone up and get them hyper-excited about their dreams and goals without consequences.
Since the numbers (the compensation plan) make sense, and it’s hammered into you that the system works, it must be your fault when it doesn’t, right?
That's a terrible burden to put on someone. But I get it. You can't market the opportunity by saying "you might make a little bit of money if you can handle a lot of rejection." Is there a middle ground?
The system is not designed for everyone to succeed. That's the nature of pyramid structured programs. But still, people blame themselves if they don't reach their goals...
That's the real tragedy of these pyramid programs. Failure (especially when you think it's your own fault) has long lasting effects. But it takes a special kind of personality to succeed at MLM's. It's not your fault if you struggle.
Let’s Talk About Success
The reason most people fail to make money with Rodan and Fields (or any MLM) is simple. Selling and recruiting requires a particular skillset, personality, and uncommon ability to handle rejection (over and over and over).
It's a simple fact that most people don't fit this profile.
Think of it this way. When you look at a packed audience during one of their events, how many would even make it past the resume stage to get an interview if they were hiring, instead of recruiting?
Also, many of the top earners start with existing networks. Some even have celebrity status.
Britney Spears’ Mom is a Rodan and Fields consultant, as is Miley Cyrus’ Mom. They have influence and reach the vast majority of people just don’t have.
And even if some bizarre miracle happens and you get all the ingredients right, do you even want to be a Rodan and Fields consultant?
A lot of people will quit simply because they have lost interest in it.
Success is hard. If the things you do are inconsistent with your passions and your strengths, it's next to impossible.
Success is hard. If the things you do are inconsistent with your passions and your strengths, it's next to impossible.
If you don’t care about skin care products, and recruiting people feels like pulling teeth, how will you succeed at selling skin care products and recruiting people?
If public speaking makes you uncomfortable, how will you stand in front of your organization and inspire them?
Of course, you can learn these skills, but if it’s something you hate doing, it's not sustainable.
To get to the top of an MLM pyramid requires high-energy selling, public speaking and the unique ability to sell and recruit. This is NOT most people, and that’s why most people don’t succeed at MLM’s.
I believe success (however you define it) is attainable for everyone. But to achieve it, your plan must be in sync with your strengths and your passions.
That’s why I enjoy internet marketing so much. Whatever your passion is; kids books, antique cars, music, travel or anything in between, you can build a business around it.
If you’re an introvert, you can succeed at it. If you’re an extrovert, you can succeed at it.
Now, if skin care products are your passion, and you’re really good at (and enjoy) direct selling and recruiting I recommend Rodan and Fields. It’s a professional organization, and their products are successful.
Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields are authorities in the industry and having celebrities involved will help when prospecting.
If your goal is to sell a few products to pay for your own purchases, or even to make a little part-time money, they are a good choice.
But if your passions and strengths are different than those required to succeed at Rodan and Fields, my advice is to think twice.
If you want to make money by doing something you love, and that you’re good at, an online business is my recommendation.
Please leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have experience with MLM's, and if so what do you think the pros and cons are?
If you found this article useful, or think it might be helpful for others… Please share. 😀
PS - If you want to learn more about building an online business using a strategy that's designed to leverage your strengths and passions, check you my book The Indie Start Up.