Is Isagenix a Pyramid Scheme? Legit MLM or Scam? [Full Review]

Isagenix Pyramid Scheme Banner

Welcome to my Isagenix Review

Before I get into the pyramid scheme and multi-level-marketing elements of Isagenix, can I just say one thing?

Their homepage looks delicious!

Isagenix Whole Blend IsaLean Shake

What is that? A caramel shake with caramel brulee in the background?

C'mon… that's not fair. I'm supposed to be unbiased here, but caramel brulee?

But in all seriousness, there's a lot more to this review than food.

I'm going to discuss both the products and the business opportunity. I'll explain who Isagenix is, how they work and I'll also go into the specifics around their compensation plan, recruitment, sales, and of course… whether it's a pyramid scheme.

I'll also discuss the products because let's face it, your success as a distributor depends on the products you're selling. If the products are no good, your ability to promote them will be difficult. 

Here are the topics I'm going to cover in this review, and I'll go into the details of each.  

  • What is Isagenix?
  • Is Isagenix a Pyramid Scheme?
  • Is it a Scam?
  • Can You Make Money With Isagenix?
  • How It Works
  • What I Like
  • What I Don't Like
  • Where Do You Go From Here?

Disclaimer:
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Isagenix. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info

What Is Isagenix?


Product/Company:Isagenix International
Owners: Jim Coover, Kathy Coover
Price (Business Opportunity)$272 – $639 / month

Isagenix International is a multi-level marketing company that specialized in nutritional supplements and personal care products. Founded by John Anderson, Jim Coover and Kathy Coover in 2002, Isagenix is headquartered in the US (Gilbert, Arizona) with operations in fourteen countries including:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Like many top MLM companies such as Mary Kay and Herbalife, Isagenix is a big company run by rich and powerful people.

I don't mean that in a derogatory way. It's just to say they are among the few direct sales companies that can claim revenues in the ballpark of a billion dollars or more, which puts them in a small group of wealthy and powerful business owners.

In 2017 they reported sales of $958 million, which was a few years ago. It's possible they've exceeded a billion since. 

Isagenix also has an estimated 850 employees and 200,000 active distributors (as reported in 2013).

In other words, this is not a fly-by-night MLM.

They sell roughly 140 products (individually and as collections) in the following categories…

  • Weight Loss
  • Performance
  • Vitality and Well-Being
  • Personal Care and Beauty
  • Kids supplements
  • Essential oils (including CBD oil)

Is It a Pyramid Scheme?


Legally, Isagenix is neither a pyramid scheme nor a scam. They are a member in good standing with the Direct Selling Association (DSA), an independent organization whose purpose is to promote, protect and police the direct selling industry. 

What authority does the Direct Selling Association have?

It's alleged that the Direct Selling Association drafted a decent portion of the language that makes up the Anti-Pyramid-Promotional Scheme Act; the legislation that limits the FTC from classifying companies like Isagenix as a pyramid scheme in the first place.

At the end of the day, Isagenix is NOT an illegal pyramid scheme and they follow the same code of ethics that governs other legitimate multi-level-marketing companies. 

Legality is not an issue if becoming a distributor is something you're considering. 

However, your personal definition of a pyramid scheme may differ.

Legal or not, it's true like all MLM's, Isagenix independent associates recruit new associates, and then those associates recruit more associates and so on… creating what is essentially a pyramid where the money flows from the bottom to the top.

Mathematically, if everyone who joined successfully recruited a dozen people (just as an example), it would not be sustainable. 

What differentiates companies like Isagenix from an illegal pyramid scheme is that they do not require you to be associate to purchase their products. In fact, as an associate, a certain percentage of your sales should come from retail customers, not associates. 

The Achilles Heel of MLM's though, is that the majority of sales are purchased by distributors (okay maybe their Achilles Heel is that 99% fail to make money, but this is also a big issue).

Their distributor network is their biggest customer base, and because there are multiple levels of commissions being paid to an upline, multi-level-marketing products are typically more expensive than their store bought equivalents.

As a result, this is a grey area where the actual purpose of the business is questionable. Is the primary purpose of the business to sell products to retail customers, or to sell a dream to recruits and build the pyramid? 

This question is often determined by the individual distributor, not necessarily the company. 

With that said, there are still many who succeed in network marketing.

Having seen how hard they work though, and continue to work, I wouldn't go as far as to say there are many who actually earn passive income… which is the promise of a pyramid scheme (legit or otherwise).

Is Isagenix a Scam?


Different from being a pyramid scheme, the question of Isagenix being a scam is whether their products and income opportunity can deliver on the promises they make. 

I'll be honest and say I'm skeptical about both, but that doesn't mean I'm right. So let's see what others are saying…

What Are People Saying About Isagenix Products?


First the products, and a disclaimer…

I'm not a doctor, nor am I qualified to provide health advice.

I'm also not unbiased when it comes to health supplements. I've tried many for my own health issues over the years (decades actually) and the only thing I've found to be helpful is not the things I add to my diet, but rather the things I remove from it… mainly refined sugars and processed foods. 

I suspect that's the case for most people. And it's also why people have different experiences. 

This review is primarily about the Isagenix MLM opportunity, but whether or not it's a good opportunity for you depends on the products you're selling.

Can you stand behind them?

Are the claims being made about the products a scam?

Here are a couple of positive product reviews… 

Isagenix Product Review 2 Life Changing Results
Source: TrustPilot

This reviewer (above) says they felt more energized and healthy within days of starting the 30-day weight loss plan. They also claim they slept better and that the weight melted off. 

Here's another…

Isagenix Product Review 1 Best Decision
Source: TrustPilot

This customer says their life was transformed. 

I don't doubt these claims and I think it's great that Isagenix has had such a positive impact on their lives. My question though, is how much of what they're feeling is a result of the products, and how much is from the other dietary and lifestyle changes they've made. 

We can only speculate, but either way, there are many positive reviews like this and whether it's the products or something else, the results are good. Life-changing in fact, according to some. 

But you also have reviews like this…

Isagenix Product Review 3 Did Not Work
Source: TrustPilot

This review says the products didn't work and that they did not lose any weight. 

In both instances (the positive and negative reviews), I think too much credit (or blame) is being given to Isagenix's products. They can't perform miracles, and if the reviewer who didn't lose weight increased their calorie intake with other foods based on the assumption Isagenix supplements could compensate for the added calories… that would explain their disappointment. 

They may also have underlying health issues that affected the outcome (and this is a warning you can find in their safety disclaimer).

Isagenix Safety Disclaimer
Source: Isagenix.com

The point here is that customer testimonials are a guide only and with so many other factors at play, claims made by supplement companies (not only Isagenix) are unique to each individual. They depend on someone's current health status and lifestyle. Do they drink and smoke? Do they follow a healthy diet otherwise? 

More Health and Wellness Claims


There are other claims that include supplements that deliver immune support, protect against aging, and promote brain health.

To determine the legitimacy of these claims would require lengthy (and costly) research trials for each individual one. And although Isagenix makes these claims… they are based on research conducted by others regarding the ingredients.

Therefore, these are the same claims made by other supplement companies selling comparable products that contain the same ingredients. 

Look, there's part of me that thinks supplements, in general, are a scam, but I'll say it again… I'm not a doctor. My opinion regarding anything that resembles medical advice, does not matter.  

Are their claims consistent with researcher claims regarding the ingredients that have been studied?

As far as I can tell, yes. So I cannot say Isagenix products are a scam. 

This is a comprehensive topic though, and if you'd like to research it further and go deeper down that rabbit hole, you may find this article by Harriet Hall a good place to start.    

The Business Opportunity


Similar to the weight loss products and dietary supplements, the question of whether the income opportunity is a scam depends on how it's being sold.  

Isagenix International as a company is not a scam. Their business structure and compensation model, which I'll discuss further below, are not scams either. 

However, when it comes to multi-level marketing, you're dealing with independent distributors who are trying to recruit you. And because their dreams of building a downline and achieving the promise of passive income themselves depend on you joining, their claims may be inflated and their promises false. 

In that case, you might call what you're being sold a scam. 

Not the company, not the products, and not the business structure. Those are legitimate.

But the “dream” you're being sold, and how hard it is to achieve, might be the scam, and what that dream looks like depends on the distributor, or their upline, who is selling it to you. 

As someone who spent a decent amount of time building an Amway business (many years ago) in an organization called World Wide Dreambuilders, you can guess what their focus was.

Dream building… 

Of course, Amway is not a scam either, nor are their products. But the dream I was being sold, that was kind of a scam.

I bumped into our Diamond Level distributor, who was supposed to be living that dream, several years later in a Mcdonald's. 

To protect his privacy I'll only call him Paul.

I didn't approach him, but I did watch from the corner of my eye as he showed the same plan (to a hopeful recruit) that he showed to me. At this point, he must've been showing that plan for ten years or longer, and I don't know about you, but I don't have that in me. 

Paul was one of the most impressive speakers and sales persons I've ever met. Still to this day, and I went on to spend nearly 20 years in the B2B sales and management field.

And yet, ten years later, he was still recruiting in a McDonalds. 

That's not the residual income that was promised to me. And he was one of the people who promised it to me.

Look, there is no question that multi-level marketing works for some people. Many people become incredibly successful this way. They buy the mansion, drive the Mercedes, and they earn something that resembles residual income. 

But those people are rare, so the question is this…

Can You Make Money with Isagenix? 


Absolutely but… 

Will you make money with Isagenix?

That's an entirely different question. 

Here's what they have to say about that… 

Isagenix Earnings Disclaimer
Source: Isagenix.com

What they say is true of all MLM's. 

The ability to earn income under the Isagenix Compensation Plan depends on many factors including an individual Associate's business, social, and sales skills; personal ambition and activity; availability of time and financial resources; and access to a large network of family, friends, and business contacts.

I wouldn't necessarily call this multi-level marketing's dirty little secret, but it's not exactly front and center during the recruitment stage either.

In most cases, depending on who's doing the recruiting, they'll show you the dream lifestyles of the top associates and say something like, “You can have that life too”. 

And some of you can. 

If you already have a big network of contacts, maybe you own a business or run a large organization for example, your chances are better.  

If you are outgoing, charismatic, have sales skills, and don't mind speaking to large crowds, the Isagenix opportunity might be exactly what you're looking for. 

On the other hand, if you're someone who's more introverted (as I am), prefers to avoid large crowds when possible, and would rather work from home behind a computer than do presentations in people's living rooms, it might not be the right opportunity. 

There's no right or wrong answer.

The truth is, the type of person who succeeds in a multi-level-marketing is rare. MLM's have a horrible record of success for a reason. 

Consider this statement from The Case (for and) against Multi-Level-Marketing by Jon M. Taylor of the Consumers Awareness Institute. 

This is an industry with few if any real customers (other than participants) and that is totally dependent on a network of tens of thousands of distributors, 99% of whom lose money.

To be fair, multi-level-marketing is not the only business model with a horrible success rate.

Online businesses are not much better (if they're better at all). And even small businesses don't do very well, with only one in three making it to the 10-year mark. 

Does that mean you shouldn't try? 

You should absolutely. In fact, I'd like to say, you must, but I also know being an entrepreneur is not for everyone and that's okay.  If it is for you though… the most important thing is choosing something that's consistent with your strengths and personality.  

Multi-level-marketing might be that thing, or it might not. But that's something only you know.  

How Does It Work (Isagenix Business Model)


Isagenix says their mission is to help ordinary people take control of their lives. I can relate, that's the goal of the website you're currently on. And what I can say about that, and I'm sure Isagenix would agree, is that the company can only do so much. 

At the end of the day, only you can take control of your life. But Isagenix would like to help.

I have no reason to doubt their sincerity.

They want to help people through the products they sell, improving their physical health, and also through their business opportunity, to improve their financial health.

Whether you're the right fit for either depends on you, which I discussed in detail above. If Isagenix is the opportunity you're considering though, this is how it works. 

Start-up Costs


Isagenix recommends its Value Pak to start.

The price is $639 USD per month and what you get are:

  • An App
  • A Website
  • Training
  • Coaching
  • Products
  • Online Store
  • Community

Since you're reading this, there's a good chance you've already been approached to join and I can't say for certain if the price and products being offered to start are the same. That will depend on your country and of course, the current price at the time you're reading this review.

The Value Pak is not required though. 

You can also get started with the Basic Pak which costs $272. 

Or, you can start with the Value Pak your first 30 days and then drop down the Basic Pak after. 

Business Expenses


Aside from those, there are expenses that often get overlooked. I know I overlooked them in my MLM career. 

Transportation is a big one. 

Food, fuel, and travel to the various events within and outside the city. Depending on where you live there may even be some multi-day events that include hotel costs. 

If you're currently on limited home-internet and cellular plans, you may be required to spend more on those as well. 

Lost Opportunity Costs


Consider lost opportunity costs. If you're spending three hours a day on your business that you'd otherwise be spending watching Netflix, your opportunity costs are low. 

If on the other hand, your business is costing you three hours of employment or earnings doing something else, rideshare as just one example, the money you're not making is a tangible cost that should be recorded. 

Personal Consumption


This is where most MLM's make their money. Distributors of any multi-level-marketing company are usually their biggest and most loyal customers. 

In most cases you end up buying products you would not normally buy, but because it's your business you make the justification. 

If they are products you would normally buy, your loyalty to your business means you may overlook competitive products found on store shelves which are usually much cheaper. 

At any rate, going back to my Amway experience, I was encouraged to use as many products as I could afford by my upline… which is of course because they earned a commission from them. And following the script and training, I encouraged my downline to do the same. 

The difference between what you'd normally spend on these products if you were not a distributor vs. what you're spending as a distributor is an added expense that must be calculated to determine if you're actually making money with your business, or losing it. 

Prices are subject to change so I can't promise these are accurate at the time you're reading this, but here are some of the current product bundle on their site (member's get 25% off retail)

  • Weight Loss Ultimate Pak – $1,550.14 USD ($1,162.61 preferred customer)
  • Shake and Cleanse Pak – $217.32 USD ($162.99 preferred customer)
  • Weight Loss 30-Day Premium Pak – $588.93 USD ($441.71 preferred customer)
  • Bedtime Belly Buster Bundle – $115.86 USD ($86.90 preferred customer)
  • 9-Day System – $207.94 USD ($155.96 preferred customer)
  • Amped Next Level Pack – $222.27 USD ($166.70 preferred customer)

Again, depending on when you're reading this review, their prices may change. But these are a rough guide and when it comes to something like the Ultimate Pak for example, the products included are…

  • 1 Whey Thins
  • 2 Isalean Bar or AMPED Bar
  • 2 Coffee
  • 1 IsaPro
  • 2 Isalean PRO
  • 1 Complete Essentials Daily Pack
  • 4 IsaLean Shakes
  • 2 Cleanse for Life
  • 2 Ionix Supreme
  • 1 Cleanse Support Bundle – Accelerator, IsaFlush, and Snacks, 1 IsaDelight
  • 1 Content™ Essential Oil Blend
  • 1 Complete Essentials with IsaGenesis
  • 4 Isagenix PROMiXX Shaker Bottle
  • 1 IsaGenesis – 120 softgels ( 60 servings)
  • 1 Flyer: Business Builder Pak
  • 1 Isagenix PROMiXX Blender
  • 1 Ageless Joint Support – 90 tablets and Ageless Pain Relief – 2 oz tube
  • 1 Brain and Sleep Support System
  • 1 e+ Natural Balanced Energy Shot + Adaptogens – Apple Pomegranate Flavor – 12 x 2 oz bottles
  • 1 Event Coupon $100
  • 1 Isagenix Greens!™ – canister – 30 servings
  • 1 System Guide – Weight Management 1ct
  • 1 IsaBody Look Book
  • 1 Ultimate Pak Product Information Tool
  • $50 Product Coupon
  • 4 Friends & Family Enrollment certificates 

Now, I'm not saying your business expenses will include the Isagenix Ultimate Pak. In fact, they probably won't… but you may find yourself consuming products you wouldn't normally consume if you were not an independent Isagenix associate. 

One reason for this is to lead by example. I ate a lot of extremely expensive Amway meal replacement bars, and Multi-Vitamins just to show my downline that I believed in the products I was selling.

And I didn't have to budget to do it. 

Income Disclosure Statement


The top one percent of Isagenix income earners made between $39,487 and $2.1 million in 2018. 

To get a better perspective, it's easier to flip those numbers around and say 99% of Isagenix income earners made less than $39,487. 

Those are gross numbers that can be found in Isagenix's income disclosure statement, and they don't include business expenses, taxes, and so on. 

These are just real numbers not meant to discourage you. As with any opportunity, MLM or otherwise, they'll usually put their best foot forward so to speak. But as someone who earns their income online and is not a millionaire, I can tell you that working from home full-time to make just a decent working-class income is a pretty good life. 

Multi-level-marketing is tough for most people, but as mentioned earlier, if you have a large network of friends, family and associates, as well as an outgoing personality, strong work ethic and sales experience, it's not impossible to be one of the 1%. 

If you're not an outgoing person though and your network of people is small, I hesitate to say it, but network marketing and direct sales are probably not for you. There's nothing wrong with that. It's not for me either. 

Isagenix Compensation Plan


Like most MLM's, Isagenix has a complex compensation plan with an extensive glossary of terms such as…

  • BV (Business Volume)
  • Personal Volume (PV)
  • Product Introduction Bonus (PIB)
  • Recognition Rank
  • Leadership Pools

… just to name a few (out of several dozen unique terms and meanings).

In addition to that, you'll find multiple levels such as…

  • Paid-As Consultant 
  • Crystal Manager 
  • Crystal Director
  • Crystal Executive 

In my opinion, compensation plans like this are made unnecessarily complex to make it easier to hide the abysmal success rates of MLM's. 

New people just see a bunch of numbers, calculations and algorithms. It's too complicated to figure out at the moment and instead of doing the math, they nod their head and focus on the lifestyle they're being sold.

If the plan were simple, you could calculate it yourself and see the challenge you were up against.

Example: Your average commission per month/per recruit is $50. To make $1000 per month ($1000 divided by $50), you need 20 recruits. 

To make $10,000 month, which is closer to the lifestyle most MLM's promote, you need 200 recruits ($10,000 / $50 = 200).

Building a team of 200 people is intimidating, especially if you're sitting in a room just hearing about it for the first time. And the quick math is likely to discourage prospective recruits.

Again… this is just an example.

I know I'm over-simplifying it, but the point I'm trying to make is that it would be difficult in my opinion, for any MLM (not just Isagenix) to get you excited about million-dollar homes, yachts, and exotic vacations if the math were simple.

If you could easily calculate the number of people you'd need in your downline, a 7-figure lifestyle would likely require thousands. A small stadium full.

To be clear, this is just my own skepticism regarding MLM's because I can't comprehend any other reason to create such complicated compensation plans. 

Isagenix uses a binary plan, meaning you must build two teams, a right team and a left team. Each one of those teams will be lead by someone who must also build a right team and left team. 

From there it gets complicated quickly. Dollars get broken down into BV (business volume) and PV (personal volume).

Your status will determine whether you qualify for commissions or bonuses, as will other qualifiers such as cyclesmega cyles and holdover volume

To better understand, Isagenix provides specific training to better understand the compensation plan and you can also learn more from this video, which explains it better than I can… 

What I Like About Isagenix


  • Inventory buyback policy (for products in marketable condition).  
  • Well established. Isagenix has been around since 2002. 
  • They provide extensive resources and training 
  • Products have a lot of good reviews.

What I Don't Like


  • Costly if you're on a tight budget. 
  • Recruiting. To make loads of money you must recruit friends, family, associates and strangers. This is not something the average person likes to do. And unless you're receiving a regular paycheck that you absolutely depend on… doing something you don't like doing is rarely sustainable.  

    Today there are online strategies to recruit people, and companies that teach it, but they are costly programs and often involve paid advertising which can also add up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars quickly.
  • I'm highly skeptical of dietary supplements. Claims are usually questionable. Combine them with the multi-level-marketing industry and you usually get expensive products that don't deliver on their promise. 

    I'm not making that accusation here, only highlighting my own skepticism of the nutritional supplement industry and MLM business in general. 
  • Again, this goes for the MLM industry in general, but I know firsthand how frustrating it is to be sold a dream that for most people is unattainable. I'm not saying the opportunity shouldn't be offered, or that dreaming of a better life is bad. But I am saying that expectations should be tempered. 

    Building a multi-level-marketing business, just like an online business, or a traditional business, is hard. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, it just means you shouldn't have any illusions about it.

Where Do You Go From Here?


Here's what I know…

You've probably been approached by an Isagenix distributor to join, or you are already a distributor having second thoughts. Again, I know the feeling, I've gone down the network marketing path before. 

I also know what it's like trying to keep up with credit card bills, car payments and rent while also going to a job you hate every day. You're looking for a way out. An annual income that comes in even when you take some time off to actually enjoy life instead of struggling day in and day out just to make ends meet. 

However, a direct sales type company, or let's be honest… what some might call an MLM “scheme”, might not be the answer.

If you've never given a sales pitch before, and have no interest of ever giving one, it's going to be difficult to build an entire team. 

It doesn't matter how much money you can make, happy people don't spend their days doing things they hate doing. I can say that from experience. I hated recruiting, and I hated that I hated it. I felt guilty when I wasn't doing it and as a result, I was miserable most of the time. That's my experience with network marketing. 

Now, that's not in any way a criticism of Isagenix.

Clearly, Jim and Kathy Coover have built a successful company that has helped many people. And, if you love being around people and enjoy things like public speaking and selling, becoming an Isagenix Millionaire and achieving financial freedom is not out of the question. 

And if you're not sure, it doesn't hurt to try. Just don't be hard on yourself if it's not your thing. You're not alone. 

I hope my Isagenix review has been helpful and if you have any comments, questions, or experience with Isagenix, please share in the comments below.  

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