Is Optavia a pyramid scheme? Technically, Optavia is not a pyramid scheme, as it does not require individuals to pay money upfront in exchange for goods or services.
Instead, Optavia promotes its products through independent coaches who help customers develop healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes.
The coaches make money by selling the products, rather than by recruiting new members or receiving payments from them.
Customers can purchase from the company directly or through an individual coach, and coaches only earn commissions when a customer purchases from them.
This structure prevents Optavia from being classified as a pyramid scheme, as those at the top do not benefit financially from recruiting others into the system.
How Optavia compares to a pyramid scheme?
Optavia is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells health and wellness products.
It relies on recruiting members to purchase its products to make money.
The concept behind Optavia is not about selling products in traditional retail stores or through direct sales.
Instead, it relies on recruiting members to become “Independent Optavia coaches” who sell the products to their friends and family.
In this article, we’ll discuss why Optavia is considered a pyramid scheme and how it works. We’ll also look at the risks associated with joining and participating in this business model.
Definition of a Pyramid Scheme
Imagine you have a big group of friends, and you convince some of them to join a club with you.
You promise that they’ll get rewards for joining, but only if they get other people to join too. And then those people have to get more people to join, and so on.
That’s how a pyramid scheme works.
These schemes try to trick people to recruit new members to make money.
Did you know that pyramid schemes are illegal?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), they are considered fraud and fall under the category of “franchise fraud.”
A pyramid scheme offers individuals the opportunity to market a product and make money by recruiting new distributors, rather than selling the product.
This emphasis on recruitment eventually leads to a point where there aren’t enough new investors to sustain the scheme, and it collapses.
How does it work?
The people at the top of the pyramid make the most money because they joined early and have recruited many people underneath them.
The people at the bottom, who join later, are often left with little to no profit and end up losing money.
That sounds unfair.
Why do people even join pyramid schemes in the first place?
People who are recruited into the Optavia pyramid scheme have a desire for weight loss and/or to improve their health.
How do I know this? I’ve been doing Optavia myself.
From my experience with Optavia, I’ve noticed that many of the people who join the program have tried various diets in the past without achieving the desired effects.
This resonates with me because I, too, was struggling to lose weight and had been on a rollercoaster of ups and downs with other diets.
I wasn’t motivated by financial gain or the desire to become a coach. I’ve never bought the Optavia business kit.
I was looking for a solution to my weight problem.
Therefore, I can relate to why many others might believe in the Optavia weight loss products AND coaching program.
What does the Optavia business kit include?
Optavia provides an extensive business kit for those interested in becoming a coach.
The kit includes a coach’s manual, coaching tools, Optavia-branded materials and supplies, and a variety of resources to help coaches get started.
It also includes information on how to set up an online store, access to exclusive training videos, as well as access to the Optavia Coach Dashboard.
All of these materials are designed to give coaches the knowledge they need to become successful in the program.
Additionally, coaches have access to ongoing support from Optavia’s Corporate Coaching Team and can take part in regular webinars and events hosted by the company.
With everything included in the Optavia business kit, coaches are well-equipped with the necessary resources needed for success.
Is Optavia a pyramid scheme?
No. Optavia’s business model doesn’t use pyramid scheme methods.
Optavia is a company that sells health and wellness products. Instead of using traditional advertising, they have people called “coaches” who sell the products and earn money from doing so.
The coaches don’t make money from recruiting new coaches or from getting payments from them.
This is important because it means that Optavia is not a type of business that is illegal called a pyramid scheme.
The Optavia program uses 1:1 coaching sessions in addition to the traditional products offered, making it seem like this program is more personalized.
The reality is that the role of Optavia coaches gets commission from sales, so they are compensated to recruit new members into the program.
- Recruiters often use persuasive language and social proof to present the program in a positive light.
- Optavia’s scheme allows the founders and top-level distributors to earn profits from the sales made by their downline distributors.
- New coaches can earn bonuses and commissions for every new member they recruit into the scheme, and they may also receive bonuses for reaching certain recruitment milestones.
- Optavia encourages new coaches to recruit friends and family members into the scheme, creating situations where people feel pressured to join.
Optavia uses persuasive language and social proof
Nowadays, most people use Instagram or Facebook, and it’s not uncommon to come across posts from friends or family members showcasing their weight loss progress.
- These posts often include impressive before-and-after photos of real people, motivational success stories, and rapid weight loss.
- They talk about passive income opportunities, online business, and average commissions.
- You see pictures of meal replacement products and quotes about healthy lifestyles.
(You kind of like get the impression that everything works perfectly fine, all the time.)
Seeing these kinds of posts through rose-tinted glasses is not easy. Especially for someone struggling to lose weight.
And especially from someone people know (and trust) can be very tempting
They may feel vulnerable and desperate for help, and seeing others achieve success can make them think that this program could work for them too.
On the other hand, you don’t see the other side of the story. Optavia coaches don’t post pictures or share information in a fully transparent way:
- You don’t see information explaining these are MLM products, not just homemade cooked meals.
- You don’t hear about common side effects and thousands of people who failed to lose weight.
- You don’t read about the overwhelming list of customer service complaints, return policy issues, and lawsuits.
- And you definitively don’t hear that most of the coaches are NOT healthcare professionals.
Top-level distributors earn profits from the sales
Optavia operates as a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme. Their revenue structure profits top-level distributors from selling Optavia Fuelings.
If I were an Optavia coach, and you would be my downline, I get a commission from things that you buy from me.
But, here’s the tricky part.
In this hypothetical situation, the people who got me to join the program also get a share of the money I make from you!
So, it’s like a big team where the people on the top get the most money, and the people on the bottom get less.
New coaches can earn bonuses and commissions
One of the ways for Coaches to earn money is by selling products, as distributors receive a commission of 15% of the sale.
According to the Optavia Integrated Compensation Plan, there are other ways to earn money too, such as through Client Support Commissions, Client Support Bonus, Coach Consistency Bonus, and Coach Accelerator Bonus.
Although I have no issue with people receiving money for their efforts, I know from experience that some coaches prioritize financial rewards over the well-being of their clients.
Recruiting friends and family members
In my opinion, Optavia recruits friends and family members to leverage the trust that exists between them.
When you trust someone, you’re more likely to take their recommendations seriously, so Optavia may be able to establish credibility more easily with people you know.
Also, friends and family members may have their networks, which could help Optavia reach even more people.
However, emotional manipulation and pressure tactics might also be used to convince loved ones to join.
For example, people might feel obligated to support their family or friends, or they might be afraid of damaging the relationship if they don’t participate.
Another red flag is if the business opportunity seems too good to be true.