Have you ever been approached by someone, say at the gym, for example, asking if you would like to try this awesome, crazy wrap from It Works that will tighten and tone your body with no diet or exercise? Too good to be true?
Does It Works work? Let’s unwrap this MLM and you decide for yourself if you could get behind the products and company culture of this MLM and become one of their distributors.
What is It Works?
It Works is a multi-level or network marketing company in the health/wellness/nutrition/beauty space. They sell a variety of products but their flagship product is their Ultimate Body Applicator which is a wrap that they say will ‘tighten, tone and firm’ target areas of your body. The retail price is $59.00.
Who is It Works For?
The promotional material for this company states that this business is ideal for stay-at-home moms, nurses, massage therapists, nurses, chiropractors, students and more.
By more, if they mean those of us in retirement, I couldn’t say. Being able to put a wrap on to tighten up all my loose areas these days would indeed be a miracle, which we all know isn’t going to happen.
They also have a portfolio of various supplements, weight loss, and personal care products which could be a benefit to the more mature among us, but I would be wary of these products since they have the inevitable disclaimer that they are not FDA approved.
I am not, by the way, affiliated in any way with It Works, either as a customer or distributor. My goal is to review products and businesses online and give you a report so that you can make up your own mind as to whether investing in these ‘opportunities’ is worth your time, effort and money.
Brief Details and Price
owners/developers: Mark and Cindy Pentecost
price: $99.00 to join as a distributor and obtain the business builder kit
It Works business builder distributor kit includes:
- 4 Ultimate Body Applicator body wraps
- 1 Fab Wrap
- 4 Mini Defining Gels
(note): the replicated website/back office has a fee of $20 to $30 a month
guarantee: there is no guarantee of income
rating (out of 10): 1
My Review of It Works
Founders and Company History
The company was founded in 2001 by Mike and Cindy Pentecost. In the 1990’s Mike was a high school math teacher, varsity basketball coach, and father of 3. Cindy was a homemaker.
Mike wanted to make an additional $500 a month to help support his family so in 1993 he became a part-time salesperson for Excel Telecommunications which was a reseller of long-distance calling plans for landlines. He was very successful in the direct selling arena and became the top salesperson of the company, earning half a million dollars a year. He quit his teaching job in 1995 but when the cell phone took over the world, Excel Telecommunications could not pay that high salary to him any longer so he quit.
Realizing his natural talent for direct sales, he and his wife began a line of cloth toning wraps that were marketed to us fitness crazy Baby Boomers called It Works! The company took off due to the networking efforts of the couple and in 2012 the company had achieved $200,000,000 in sales. It Works sells its products in 19 countries.
The couple now owns a 50,000 square foot head office in Palmetto Florida, a 1000 acre cattle ranch and an island off the coast of Florida where they have effectively created a resort that they invite their top achievers to as a reward.
Apart from their signature wrap, other products for nutrition/weight loss include:
- Skinny Brew Coffee – Fat burning coffee – retail $49.00 for 15 servings (no price posted for Loyal Customer)
- Advanced Formula Fat Fighter – $42.00 retail Loyal Customer price $25.00
- It Works Super Greens on the Go – $39.00 for 30 servings (no price posted for Loyal Customer)
- It Works Best Fat Fuel – retail $70.00 Loyal Customer price $42.00
- It Works Probiotic – retail $52.00 Loyal Customer price $31.00
- Illuminating Facial Pads – retail $67.00 Loyal Customer price $40.00
- Firming Neck Treatment – retail $92.00 Loyal Customer price $ $55.00
- It Works! Radiance Hydrating Serum – retail $65.00 Loyal Customer price $39.00
This appears at the bottom of each product description:
Joining It Works as a Distributor
When you first sign up for the $99.00 business builder kit you will automatically be signed up for 3 months (which many say is not disclosed at the time of joining). If you try to cancel within that time there is a penalty fee of $50.00.
You need to sign up 4 customers to be eligible for commissions. This is called to ‘pay to play’. You are required to sell $150.00 worth of product per month, every month, or you will not receive a commission. There is the option of paying $80.00 out of your own money towards that $150.00 requirement, however, you could end up receiving a commission of less than $80.00 for that month and be out of pocket.
Other red flags:
- There is an ongoing $20.00 – $30.00 fee per month to maintain your replicated website and back office.
- Many people have reported on consumer websites that they have experienced nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with some of the products.
- The products are not FDA approved
- Distributors are giving out medical advice to potential customers.
- Customer service seems to be a real issue such as not delivering products on time, difficulty resolving supply issues and continuous charging of credit cards.
- High-pressure sales. You must post multiple times daily on social media of yourself with the products.
- A significant amount of money is needed to attend events (conferences, trade shows etc).
- Other criticisms include telling people not to diet or exercise but that by using the products alone you can lose weight.
The compensation plan is, as always, very complex so I shall endeavor to break it down to it’s basics.
Ways to earn commissions include:
- Retail Customer – these are customers who make a one-time retail purchase of It Works products. When you sell them something from your own inventory, you earn the difference between the price you paid and the markup.
- Loyal Customer – this customer receives discounted pricing on their It Works product orders once they have agreed to the ‘Loyal Customer Agreement’. You can earn a percentage commission with sales to Loyal Customers. The more customers you have, the more money you will earn, directly from product sales to your Loyal Customers and indirectly from the product sales of the Distributors that you have recruited below you. Your downline.
- Distributors – These are members of your team (you’re downline), who have completed the Distributor enrollment process that you did. You will earn commissions from their recruits and the recruits in their downline and so on, depending upon which rank level you have achieved.
Here are some definition terms to know to better understand the plan:
- Bonus Volume (BV) = this is the assigned points value of a product for the purpose of qualifying and calculating bonuses and commissions for the distributor
- Personal Customer Volume (PCV) = the sum of the BV from all of your personally enrolled Loyal Customers
- Personal Bonus Volume (PBV) = the sum of the BV from personally enrolled retail customers, level one Loyal Customers, Distributors personal orders that have not been moved and any orders that may have been moved under the Distributor by another Distributor in the upline (those above you that recruited you).
- Group Volume (GV) = the sum of your PBV + the sum of the PBV of every Distributor that is in your downline.
- Leg = you grow legs when your first level Distributors begin to build their own teams (downlines)
- Personal Group Volume (PGV) = your PBV plus the PBV of all distributors in your downline (except Diamonds or above which are leadership levels)
There are 9 ranks within It Works from Distributor, at the bottom of the pyramid, to Ambassador Diamond, at the top.
To climb higher within each rank you need to recruit more and more people beneath you to create more ‘legs’ and then once you reach the lofty rank of ‘Diamond’, you will become a new ‘generation’. Each new Diamond that promotes in a Distributor’s downline starts a new ‘generation’ and that new generation is made up of the Diamond’s PGV.
That is about as simple as I can explain this!
Income Disclosure – so how much can you make?
To their credit, It Works does post their income disclosure on their website. As you can see, 83% of Distributors in the company are at the bottom of the pyramid and are making very little. It is only when you reach the Diamond level and have recruited many others in your downline who have in turn recruited others and everyone is buying lots of products that you will make any kind of significant income.
In small print below the Income Disclosure Statement is this:
When you read this, you see that the average monthly income for all Distributors is $173.00 a month, gross, and does not represent the profit because of all the other expenses involved with running a business.
There is no guarantee of income with It Works or any business for that matter, but these are paltry sums for the amount of marketing, promotion, travel, and products you will have to purchase to create any kind of income for yourself.
What former Distributors are saying
Rather than hearing it from me, I refer you to this website where you can read first-hand accounts of the experiences that former Distributors have had with this company.
Pros and Cons
- authentic owners/creators
- actual products to sell
- been in business since 2001
- aggressive sales ability needed
- will have to harass family and friends
- success rate very low for MLM
- products are not FDA approved
Final Thoughts on It Works
Unfortunately, for me, there is nothing attractive about It Works to help you make money. We have the same old hugely complex compensation plan, the hype about how great the products are and the required intense selling to family and friends plus aggressive recruiting of others to create a downline for you to claw your way on up the ranks.
I have spent hours reviewing It Works promotional videos which feature the owners’ luxurious ranch lifestyle and their private island in Florida. The footage of the conventions they hold is evangelical in nature to the point where it seems cult-like to me and that scares me and turns me off at the same time.
Sorry, but there is no magical wrap that will tone and tighten you up permanently. Good old fashioned exercise and watching your calories is what works and everyone knows this. There is no quick fix. They are excellent Marketers at It Works but I am not convinced. Nor should you be.
You might be able to make money at It Works if you have enough of your own savings to keep you going while you have all those expensive products on auto-ship and can train the people in your downline to sell aggressively. Maybe you love the products yourself and can’t wait to tell others. You may have the kind of personality and energy that is perfect for this business model. If you do, I applaud you and wish you well, but I certainly would not choose to be a distributor myself.
Mike and Cindy Pentecost have had enormous success, of course. This business is their baby and they created it and I am sure they worked very hard. However, realistically, can you expect to do the same? Before you join any online business and certainly a network marketing platform, I urge you to read my checklist to see if you feel you have the right kind of qualities needed to achieve success in the MLM business model. It is not a scam but I don’t think it is truly legit either.
The drop-out rate is very high in the network marketing business and only the very few at the top make money. This is well documented.
So no, It Works doesn’t work for me. Now that it has been unwrapped, it is up to you to decide if you think it is for you.
Have you ever been a Distributor for It Works? We would all love to hear about your experience in the comments section below if you would be willing to share it. Who knows, maybe It Works has worked for you?
How We Generate Income Online in Our Retirement
Personally, I don’t think that becoming a distributor for any multi-level marketing company is a good way to generate income.
Philip and I found ourselves absolutely needing to make some money as the retirement funds were just not going to be enough. We did cast our net into the cyber sea and found so many opportunities that it was overwhelming. MLM, Bitcoin, Online Trading, etc etc. The unknown was really scary.
One day, we came upon a way to make an income online that was much easier to understand. It is called Affiliate Marketing. It is not an overnight get rich quick system, but it beats the heck out of posting multiple times on Facebook daily and harassing family and friends and knocking yourself out selling a bunch of products that don’t really work.
Then, we had to find a platform where we could learn how to do this business that was authentic and didn’t cost thousands of dollars, which many do. We found our way to a friendly Canadian company that has been in business for 14 years and we are very happy with the training, tools and community support we have found there. Best of all, we were able to try it out for FREE before committing to anything.
As always, the decision is yours. We are always here to answer any questions you may have.
Wishing you every success,
The greatest years of your life are still ahead!