I love essential oils myself. There is nothing like putting a few drops of lavender oil into a diffuser to help create a calming atmosphere. But, is there a way to generate income selling essential oils using the network marketing business model, and is this something we can do to successfully create retirement income? Well, that is my job, to research and report back to you so that you can make an informed decision about whether you think it is worth joining this essential oil MLM or not. So, I pose the question, what is doTERRA?
Let’s find out now.
What Is doTERRA?
DoTERRA is a multi-level marketing company that sells essential oils and related products via a global network of over two million distributors, or “Wellness Advocates”. The company claims that it is committed to providing the highest quality certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils that appeal to everyone and that can be used safely on your loved ones. Annual sales for doTERRA exceeded one billion dollars in 2015.
Who Is doTERRA For?
Those who may be looking to generate a part-time income could be interested in joining doTerra. Making a full-time income is highly unlikely. Most MLM’s target women and this one is no different. Stay at home moms, military spouses, and students will be their target audience as well as retirees, like us. As we progress through this review, I will leave it up to you to decide if anyone should join.
Brief Details and Price
founder(s): David Sterling, David Hill, Emily Wright, Gregory P. Cook, Corey B. Lindley, Mark A. Wolfert, and Robert A. Young
price to join and what’s included:
$35 joining fee
You will also need to purchase an enrollment kit to promote the products. The basic is the ‘Simple Solutions Kit” which costs $105
- lemon essential oil 15ml.
- essential oil blends ‘On Guard’ and ‘Serenity’ 15 ml
- Deep Blue Rub 420ml
guarantee: there is no income guarantee
CRIO rating (out of 10): 3.3
My Review Of doTERRA
DoTerra was founded in 2008 by David Sterling, David Hill, Emily Wright, Gregory P. Cook, Corey B. Lindley, Mark A. Wolfert, and Robert A. Young. Sterling, Hill, and Wright had formerly been executives at Young Living which is a similar MLM company that also sells essential oils. Company headquarters are in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
The company has experienced a great deal of controversy and attention from the FTC , (Federal Trade Commission), as recently as 2020. Some distributors had made false claims about the immune-boosting properties of some of its products and how they could treat/prevent the Coronavirus despite no scientific evidence to support those claims. The letter, which you can view here, also notes exaggerated and misleading income claims made by doTerra representatives.
DoTerra features, in addition to essential oils:
- skincare products
- body care products
- vitamins and supplements
- weight management shakes
- accessories related to essential oils such as bottles and pumps
DoTerra highlights the fact that its essential oils are CPTG which stands for Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. In fact, this is a rather clever marketing term created by doTerra itself and really doesn’t mean anything. No quality standards for authenticating essential oils actually exists. For more extensive information on this subject, you may find the following article useful.
DoTerra does sell a wide range of essential oils and they include a free e-book in pdf format on their website called “Aromatic Use of Essential Oils“. They are of course promoting their own products in the ebook but it still gives you some tips on how to use the oils in diffusers, in spray bottles, laundry, and other uses. Another free e-book doTerra has is called “The Internal Use of Essential Oils” and this has gotten them in hot water as well. Oils can be very potent and, though they do have a training course you can take for an extra fee (more on that later), the company has come under criticism for advising people to consume these oils internally.
As far as pricing, essential oils sold by doTerra do tend to be on the expensive side compared to what you can buy yourself from Amazon for example, but this is because of the MLM format. Everyone is needing a piece of the pie in the hierarchy. This is quite common in network marketing.
Some other products featured in the doTerra portfolio are:
- diffusers – ranging in price from $62.67 retail $47 wholesale to $93 retail $70 wholesale
- lip balm – $8.67 retail $6.50 wholesale
- exfoliating body scrub – 8 oz. jar $26 retail $19.50 wholesale
- spa citrus bliss bath bar – $9 for one bar retail $6.75 wholesale
Many of their products are meant to work synergistically to aid you with things such as weight loss. For example the “Slim and Sassy Trim Kit” which is two tubs of TrimShake and 4, 15 ml bottles of Slim and Sassy Metabolic Blend for $200 retail, $150 wholesale. This is a 40 day supply.
It should be noted that doTerra products are not approved by the FDA.
how to join
You will need to join through a doTerra Wellness Advocate and this person will be your Enroller. The person who enrolled you will decide where to place you in their organization after finding out a bit more about you and what your motivation was to join as a Wellness Advocate.
Once you have filled out the application and paid the $35 joining fee, you will be given a wholesale membership number and you will be entitled to purchase the oils and other products at a 25% discount.
When you want to order products you have two options:
- Standard Order – this can be placed at any time either through member services or online. This is a wholesale order that entitles you to 25% off the retail price.
- LRP or Loyalty Rewards Order – this is an auto-ship program which, in addition to the wholesale discount, gives you the chance to earn 10% to 30% of your total purchase in free product points.
You will have to purchase an enrollment kit once you join as a Wellness Advocate because you will need some samples to promote your business. These kits range in price from the ‘Simple Solutions Kit’ which is $105, to the ‘Natural Solutions Kit’ which is $570.
You promote the doTerra products online using your own social media accounts, via your replicated website, or in-person, the good old-fashioned direct selling way.
the doTERRA essential oil certification course
DoTerra offers what they call “Essential Oil Specialist Certification’ at a cost of $97.
Aromatherapy is a vast subject and, from my research, one needs to have an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, safety, synergy/antagonism, and application of oils. I cannot in all honesty say if this course doTerra offers goes into enough depth on these subjects. My concern is, if you join as a Wellness Advocate but opt not to take this course, how can you recommend these oils with any kind of credibility?
the doTERRA compensation plan
There are 5 ways to earn with the doTerra compensation plan: A term to know is PV = Personal Volume. Every product is given a point value and this is used in the commission qualifications.
- Retail Profit – you will earn the 25% difference between retail and wholesale
- Fast Start – Here you can earn a bonus on new customer purchases. DoTerra will pay you 20% of the PV on anything that customer purchases within their first 60 days. This is paid weekly.
- Power of 3 – with this bonus, if you place a 100PV order and 3 of your downline team achieve 100PV within a month, and your total Team Volume exceeds 600PV, you will be paid a $50 bonus. Then, if you help those 3 people in your downline earn the $50 bonus, you will receive a $250 bonus from doTerra. Now if you help their teams achieve this same thing, your bonus will increase to $1500. This is network marketing in action! This illustrates the need to be recruiting and selling and getting those in your downline to do the same because the only way you can make any kind of meaningful income is by recruiting more and more people and build up your team sales. The image at the right gives you a visual on the Power of 3.
- Unilevel Organizational Bonus – after 60 days, all accounts are put into a Unilevel system. You earn an increasing rate of commission on each of your levels, 7 levels deep. DoTerra is different in this way because the commission usually decreases with other companies. Another incentive to keep recruiting! Bear in mind that at Level 1, which is 3 members, you will earn 2%. To get to Level 7 you will have to have 2,187 members below you to earn the highest 7% commission. I hope your network extends to a lot of people!
- Bonus Pool – you must be at the rank of Premier or above to earn this bonus. This bonus is a percentage of a global pool of commissionable volume which is shared out monthly to Wellness Advocates who qualify. The amount you earn depends on your rank.
the doTERRA income disclosure statement
I have to give credit where it is due here because doTerra is transparent when it comes to their income disclosure statement. They come right out and say that entry-level Wellness Advocates, which form 62% of the Advocates in the US, earned an average of $380 in 2018.
They also state that those in the highest ranks, which is Silver and above, represent approximately 1% of all doTerra Wellness Advocates. Most people will make a very small income, as you can see, but if it is enough for you to cover the cost of the products you want, then that might be all you are looking for.
Is this essential oil MLM worth joining to generate some income in retirement for you? I say no.
Here is the doTerra income disclosure statement for 2018:
Remember that all these above figures are gross income, not net. You will have to cover the cost of running your business yourself such as going to events to showcase the products or trade shows, for example. Gas, food, lodging, all of these things will start to add up and should be carefully considered before joining as a Wellness Advocate.
In addition to the 2020 FTC warning letter, there are other lawsuits and so many controversies surrounding this company which you can read about here.
Pros and Cons
- actual products
- free e-book
- transparent with their income disclosure statement
- lawsuits and FTC/FDA warnings
- the flawed MLM business model
- expensive products
- have to hassle/recruit family and friends
Final Thoughts About doTERRA
As I stated at the beginning of this review, I love essential oils. My husband Philip and I owned day spas in the past and we used to put lavender, eucalyptus, or rosemary oil in diffusers to create a nice ambiance and our guests loved it. We did not recommend them to people for ailments or health issues. I certainly would not have advised people to ingest them! I knew they were powerful and that I did not have the necessary training and education to advise people on how to use them. We just loved the smell and our clients did, too!
Is doTerra a scam? Well, they may be surrounded by controversy but they do sell actual products so I can’t really use that word. Would I recommend joining their business opportunity to generate income? No, not when you can see the figures I have shown you, which, in fairness, they do not attempt to hide in their income disclosure statement.
I do not recommend that you join any network marketing company because I really believe the whole business model is flawed. Most people that join an MLM, 97% to put a number on it, make very little to nothing, or even lose money. This is a fact. You can read the dismal statistics for yourself in this article from the Consumer Awareness Institute.
I always suggest that if you are approached by anyone with a network marketing business opportunity that sounds too good to be true, please read my checklist because it details for you what you need to be asking before committing any of your money or your time.
If You Would Like A Better Alternative
You can sell essential oils or anything else that interests you, without joining an MLM. You can do what Philip and I do which is Affiliate Marketing. As an Affiliate, you have your very own website, not some replicated corporate creation. You also don’t need to harass your family and friends by recruiting them into your business. There is no multi-level tier or pyramid of people above you.
Philip and I realized very quickly that we needed to supplement our retirement income. We looked at the MLM business model and discarded it immediately. Who wants to have to recruit people all the time and build a team and meet sales quotas? Not me, that’s for sure.
After extensive research, we found a friendly, authentic Canadian company that has taught us everything we need to know about affiliate marketing. You can read all about this company, called Wealthy Affiliate, right here in Philip’s review. We love working online and truly being our own boss without ever having to go out and harass people.
If you would like to see what we do, come on in and visit the Wealthy Affiliate platform for FREE. There is no obligation. We are very happy we joined.
Wishing you every success in your retirement and beyond,
The greatest years of your life are still ahead!