It Works! Scam: Pyramid Scheme or MLM? [Review]

Are you on the hunt for a way to make some extra money online? Maybe you’ve come across It Works! and are wondering if it’s a pyramid scheme or a legitimate opportunity. It’s possible that a friend or family member has introduced you to the program, and now you’re curious about it.

As an online entrepreneur, I’ve reviewed many similar programs like It Works! over the years. And now, I want to share my thoughts on this program with you.

First things first – I want to make it clear that I’m not affiliated with It Works! in any way. That means you can trust that my review will be honest and unbiased.

In this review, I’ll take a deep dive into the It Works! program and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. And to top it off, I’ll even share with you the best alternative to It Works! that has allowed me to earn a full-time passive income online.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is It Works!?

It Works! is a company based in Florida that sells all kinds of products through a network of people. You might be wondering what kind of products they sell, right? Well, they have items that make your skin look and feel amazing, as well as things that are good for your body.

It Works! was created in 2001 by Mark and Cindy Pentecost. But did you know that before that, Mark was actually a public school teacher in Michigan? He even tried working for a few different multi-level marketing companies, but he didn’t make enough money. That’s when he realized that starting his own company was the way to go if he wanted to make real money.

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Who Founded It Works!?

Meet Cindy and Mark Pentecost, the power couple behind It Works! They started the company in 2001 with one product: the Ultimate Body Applicator, which they nicknamed the Crazy Wrap. Mark was a former public school teacher from Michigan who tried his hand at direct sales with a few different companies before starting his own. He hit the jackpot with the body wrap idea, which was something his wife Cindy was willing to test out.

Over the years, the company grew to offer a supplement line in 2005 and expanded internationally to Australia and Europe in 2010. They also decided to soak up some sunshine and relocated the company from Michigan to Florida the following year. Their sales skyrocketed, hitting over $500 million in 2014, a massive jump from $100 million in 2012.

Mark Pentecost is the top earner in the company, and he’s not shy about investing his earnings. In 2014, he bought some land for a cool $3.5 million. A year later, he splurged on his own private island for $14.5 million. And less than a year after that, he spent another $7 million on a ranch.

It’s clear that the Pentecosts know how to make things happen, and It Works! continues to be a hugely successful direct-sales company.

What Products Does It Works! Offer?

It Works!’s most famous product is the “Ultimate Body Applicator,” which claims to smooth out cellulite and improve your figure in just 45 minutes. But hold on a sec before you get too excited. None of It Works! products have been evaluated or approved by the FDA, and the company hasn’t provided any clinical evidence to back up their health claims. Plus, the FDA has issued warnings about body wraps, stating that the effects are temporary and don’t lead to long-term body shaping.

If you’re hoping to shed some pounds, It Works! also offers healthy protein powders and hair supplements, as well as other health and wellness products. Just keep in mind that the markup on these products is pretty steep, so don’t expect a huge discount as a distributor or “loyal client.” 

While It Works! may offer some fun and interesting products, be sure to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new supplements or wellness regimens.

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Is It Works! An MLM?

Yes, It Works! is an MLM company. Multilevel marketing companies (MLMs) are also referred to as direct sales or network marketing companies. In an MLM, you don’t get paid a salary. Instead, you earn money by recruiting others to join the business, rather than just selling products.

Here’s how it works: if you bring someone into the business, and they start making sales and recruiting new members, you’ll earn a commission on their sales and recruitment efforts. This is what’s known as your ‘downline’ (the people you recruit) and your ‘upline’ (the person who recruited you).

In essence, MLMs work like a triangle, with the person at the top recruiting others, who then recruit more people, and so on. The more people you have in your downline, the more money you can make. For example, by recruiting 10 people, you can earn $1100!

While MLM companies often offer a wide range of products, most people prefer to recruit others because it can lead to a lifetime of passive income. That’s why people at the top of the triangle make the most money, while those at the bottom make the least.

So, if you work for a company like It Works!, your ultimate goal is to have as many people in your downline as possible, allowing you to earn large amounts of passive income.

You may also want to read our article on the top MLM companies.

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Is It Works! A Pyramid Scheme?

No, It Works! Is not a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are fraudulent and unsustainable, where members are lured with promises of money or services in exchange for enrolling others. But with It Works!, you can earn money by selling their products, not just through recruiting others.

In a pyramid scheme, you have to pay a fee to join, and the organization will reward you with a portion of the funds collected from each new member you recruit. This structure is unsustainable, and the only way to make money is by recruiting more people to join. The scam is profitable for the people at the top of the pyramid, while those at the bottom usually lose money.

However, with It Works!, you can make money by selling their products instead of just recruiting others. This means that you can earn money based on your sales and not solely by recruiting new members. It Works! offers a range of products, including skincare, nutrition, and weight loss products.

In a pyramid scheme, the majority of people live in the bottom layer, and those at the top make the most profit. But with It Works!, anyone can make money by selling their products. There is no pressure to recruit new members, and you can make money based on your own efforts.

Watch the short video below to learn more:

How Does It Works! Work?

Unlike other companies, It Works! doesn’t rely on brick-and-mortar stores to sell its products. Instead, it uses a network of “Distributors” who promote and sell items online through social media.

These distributors don’t just sell products; they also recruit new members into the scheme. As they bring more people into their downline, they earn more money. It’s a classic example of online marketing, with compensation for both sales and recruitment.

But what sets It Works! apart from other MLM companies is its charitable arm – the It Works! Charity Foundation. This foundation works towards improving the lives of people in need, donating to causes such as disaster relief, human trafficking, and supporting local communities.

In a nutshell, It Works! is all about selling their products online and building a team of distributors to expand their reach. And with their charitable foundation, they’re not just focused on profits but also on giving back to society.

It Works! Compensation Plan

As a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, It Works! gives you two main ways to earn money: selling their products and recruiting others to join the MLM program.

To avoid being classified as a pyramid scheme, It Works! ensures that at least 70% of its earnings come from sales to the general public, rather than from recruiting new members. It Works! Distributors often showcase the products on their websites, using before and after photos and detailed descriptions of how the products have helped them.

You can earn money by selling It Works! products through “Retail Payment” and “Faithful Consumer Compensation.” However, the real money lies in “Team Commission.” This is the money that comes from your downline, the people you recruit to join the program. The more people you bring in, the more money and benefits you’ll receive. As you move up in rank, your share of everyone’s earnings increases.

It Works! offers six different ways to make money:

  1. Retail commission
  2. Customer loyalty commission (45% of all orders received)
  3. Fast start bonus ($100 for enrolling a new distributor who completes the fast track program)
  4. Uni-Level management bonus (earn a commission on downline sales)
  5. Diamond generation bonus (receive between $80 and $150 when someone in your downline signs up for the fast track program)
  6. Leadership bonuses, such as incentive journeys.

In summary, if you’re interested in making money through It Works!, you’ll need to focus on building your downline and recruiting new members. With six different ways to earn money, there’s plenty of opportunity to increase your income. Just be aware that MLMs can be challenging and require hard work, dedication, and persistence.

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How Much Does It Cost To Join It Works!?

If you’re interested in becoming an It Works! “Wrapreneur,” there are a few costs to consider before diving in.

First, you’ll need to purchase the Business Builder Representative Package for $99. This package includes a pack of wraps, small samples of the gel, and some brochures to get you started.

Once you’ve purchased the package, you’ll receive your own website. This website primarily consists of links to affiliate marketing websites. You’ll need to pay $20 per month to maintain this website.

To receive any kind of commission, you must maintain a monthly auto-ship of 80 system points, which costs approximately $112. You can count your sales toward this, but keep in mind that you’ll need to use the products yourself and show off the results on social media sites to successfully sell them.

In addition to the monthly auto-ship, you’ll also need to sell 400 units of your products per month, which amounts to $560. If you don’t sell $560 in a month, you won’t be paid for the items you did sell.

All in all, running an It Works! business costs at least $1500 per year when you factor in these costs. It’s important to note that this is more than 83 percent of Distributors make.

Is It Works! a Scam?

Legally, It Works! is not a scam. According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, a scam is “a dishonest scheme; a fraud.” So, from a legal perspective, It Works! is in the clear.

But can you actually make money selling It Works! products? Well, the unfortunate truth is that a majority of It Works! reps don’t earn any money. That being said, there are a few people who have been successful in making money with It Works!, but it takes a lot of effort and hard work. And oftentimes, these successful individuals are earning their money through aggressive recruiting tactics.

To make matters worse, It Works! has been known to make disingenuous and irresponsible marketing claims in order to attract new members. This has led some people to believe that It Works! is a scam.

So, what’s the bottom line? While It Works! may not be a scam in the legal sense, there are certainly some ethical concerns surrounding the company.

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Reasons Why I Don’t Recommend It Works!

Thinking about joining It Works!’s MLM program? While there may be some positives, it’s important to consider the potential issues before you make any decisions. 

The Good Reviews are Written by It Works!’s Affiliates

Be wary of glowing reviews you find online. Many of these are actually written by affiliates who will receive a commission if you join through their link. You’re better off looking for reviews from non-affiliates who can give a more objective opinion.

Very Few People Can Make Money With It Works!

MLM success is hard to achieve, and It Works! is no exception. The majority of MLM members, up to 99.9%, lose money due to sales quotas that require them to keep selling products in order to remain eligible for commissions.

Losses From It Works! Are Reframed As Investments

Don’t be fooled by the idea that financial losses in It Works! are actually “investments” in your business. In reality, you are unlikely to recoup your losses and the return on investment is negative.

It Works! is a Cult

MLMs can have a cult-like atmosphere that discourages critical thinking and isolates members from outside opinions. Leaving an MLM can result in rejection and isolation from former friends and colleagues.

You May Need to Purchase It Works! Products Yourself

If you don’t have a strong network to sell to, you may end up purchasing products yourself each month. This can be costly and ultimately lead to financial losses.

Exaggerated Claims Of Income

It Works! and other MLMs often make exaggerated income claims, but the reality is that very few people actually make a good living from them.

Recruiting is Required to Succeed

Recruiting is a major aspect of MLMs like It Works!, with eight out of ten ways to earn money requiring recruitment. If you’re not comfortable with recruiting, you may struggle to make a profit.

People are Sick of Seeing It Works! Products on Social Media

One of the biggest drawbacks of promoting It Works! on social media is that people are sick of seeing the same products over and over again. Most of your Facebook friends have already seen It Works! If you see FB posts, it means that you are either sick of seeing them or that It Works products have already been purchased by someone other than yourself. This makes it harder for you to recruit new members and build a downline, which is essential for success in the MLM world.

Similar Products Can Be Found Elsewhere at a Cheaper Price

While It Works! products may seem unique, similar products can be found elsewhere at a cheaper price. Moreover, the company has made extraordinary claims about the products that are unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. The astute buyer realizes they can get comparable products at a lower price in a retail store or online (Amazon, eBay) than from you.

It Works! Has a Bad BBB Rating

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given It Works! a low rating due to the numerous complaints filed against the company. Because most MLM reps lose money in the business, it’s unlikely that any MLM would receive a particularly high BBB rating. It has received 484 complaints in the last three years and has received a 2.2 rating out of 5 or a C+ grade.

FTC Has Received Many Complaints About It Works!

The FTC has received nearly 300 complaints about It Works!, with the majority of them related to the difficulty in canceling monthly orders. Participants in the It Works auto-shipment program agree to receive products on a monthly basis for a minimum of three months if they sign up with a credit card. If they want to cancel before the three months are up, there is a $50 “membership fee.”

It Works Has Poor Rating on Trustpilot

Many customers, as well as some distributors, claim that It Works is not their favorite. They have a rating of 2.3/5 on Trustpilot, with 63 percent of the reviews being one star! There have been numerous complaints about It Works resembling pyramid schemes. Body wraps are also heavily criticized in reviews.

The “Loyal Customer Program” Scam

One of the most common complaints about It Works! is its “Loyal Customer Program.” There is no “membership fee” in the Loyal Customer Program. Instead, you will be charged for products for a three-month period. If you try to cancel your program before three months, you will be charged $50.

It Works! Has Expensive Start-Up Costs

While the $99 start-up fee may seem reasonable, the additional costs quickly escalate. You’ll have to pay $20 per month for your website and an additional $100 per month for products to remain active. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if you are just starting.

Misleading Refund Policy of It Works!

The It Works! website has several issues, including misleading information about the return policy. Despite the fact that they claim the product is 100% guaranteed, many customers have complained that they cannot get a refund.

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Pros and Cons of Joining It Works!


  • Supporting good causes: It Works Gives Back foundation donates to important humanitarian causes like cancer research and homelessness assistance. By joining, you’ll also have the opportunity to make a positive impact.
  • Quick success: It’s possible to succeed in your first month with the purchase of It Works’ $100 Business Builder Kit. This includes business cards, free e-Suite access, and commission qualification.
  • Wide range of products: It Works offers a variety of products that cater to almost every taste, not just body wraps.


  • Difficulty in convincing people: If people haven’t heard of It Works through social media, it may be difficult to convince them to sign up.
  • Additional work required: After the first month, you must do more work to be paid, and their e-Suite now has a monthly fee.
  • Outlandish claims: It Works sells products that make outlandish claims that cannot be supported by science, like weight loss body wraps.
  • Reputation issues: With the number of complaints about It Works, many potential customers may be turned off, and your reputation with your current clients may suffer.

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Final Verdict

it’s time for my final thoughts on It Works! and I’ll be honest with you – I don’t recommend joining it to make money. If you’re considering it, you might want to reconsider. Here’s why:

First of all, the beginning stage of prospecting and finding recruiters to add to your It Works! commission is really tough. It can be demotivating when you’re not making any progress.

The worst part is that you’re pretty much required to ask your family and friends to join your It Works! business opportunity. And let’s be real, that’s not fun.

Plus, your upline will constantly pressure you to buy more Business Support Material even when you’re struggling to get people to join your downline. It can add up and be quite expensive.

The truth is, you’re more likely to lose money than make any significant amount. The FTC’s website even confirms this, with a case study showing that 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money. That’s not encouraging.

Furthermore, people who join these MLM-type businesses often feel under a lot of pressure to succeed, and that’s one of the main reasons why they end up leaving.

Instead of joining an MLM like It Works!, why not start your own online business and earn money on your terms? You can choose what you want to promote, rather than being told what you must promote.

In the next section, I’ll explain how you can build an online business in a legitimate way and make passive income online. It’s what I did, and I’ve been able to make a full-time income in a year. The best part? It’s 100% legit and sustainable, unlike MLM models.

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Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re looking for a better platform to kickstart your online business, forget about It Works!. Instead, I highly recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate, my #1 recommended platform.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform that provides everything you need to build your affiliate marketing business from scratch. When you join, you’ll get access to top-notch web hosting services, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software to help you build your business step-by-step.

The best part? You can sign up for a free account and get started with affiliate marketing right away, without paying a penny. And if you love the platform, you can upgrade to premium membership and get access to everything Wealthy Affiliate has to offer. There are no upsells or hidden costs afterwards, so you can trust that you’re getting the best value for your money.

You may read our article about the difference between MLM and affiliate marketing.

But you might be wondering, how much can you earn with Wealthy Affiliate? Well, let me tell you about a 21-year old student who earned $7,395 in just 1 week using the techniques he learned from Wealthy Affiliate. That’s over $1k a day! This is just one of many inspiring success stories from Wealthy Affiliate members.

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Wealthy Affiliate has a long-standing reputation and has been around for 15 years with over a million members worldwide. So you can trust that this platform is popular and effective.

To join Wealthy Affiliate, you can choose between a free starter membership or a premium membership that costs only $49/month or $395/year. As a starter member, you’ll get instant access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, 2 classrooms, networking, commenting, 1 free website, and access to the keyword tool. All of this is completely free with no time limit!

So, what are you waiting for? Register a free account with Wealthy Affiliate today and see for yourself how it can help you succeed in your online business journey.

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