Optavia is an MLM company that sells health care products. It is not a pyramid scheme, and it is one of the legit MLM companies.
There is a good chance that you heard about Optavia through someone – a friend or family member.
Many people these days are looking for additional income, and you are most likely one of them. There was then an opportunity to work from home by joining Optavia as one of their independent distributors.
However, as I’ll discuss in this review, there are some reasons why success with Optavia is unlikely. Experienced salespeople and well-funded recruiters are the only ones I can think of to have real success with this MLM program.
As a disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with Optavia. It means I’m not paid to write this review. So you can rest assured that you will get an honest and unbiased review from me.
At the end of this review, I’ll also tell you the best alternative to the Optavia MLM program that has enabled me to make a full-time passive income online.
Optavia MLM Review – Key Takeaways
- Name: Optavia MLM
- Pros: MLM opportunity to make money
- Cons: Optavia MLM has a very low success rate; You need to pay upfront to join the scheme
- Overall Rating: 1/5
- Who is Optavia MLM For: Optavia MLM is supposed for marketers to make money. But you are unlikely to make a penny because of the MLM nature and you may end up losing a lot of money.
- The Best Alternative: An All-in-One Platform to Make Passive Income Online
What is Optavia?
Optiva is a subsidiary of Medifast, Inc. (NYSE: MED) an American nutrition and weight loss company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Medifast manufactures, distributes, and sells weight loss and health products through websites, multi-level marketing, telemarketing, and franchise clinics for weight loss enthusiasts.
Optavia was originally called Take Shape For Life. In July 2017, Medifast changed its name to Optavia and launched a new product line, Optavia Essentials.
Optavia promotes and sells its meal replacement products through a network of Independent Health Coaches using a Multi-Level Marketing (or Network Marketing) business model.
This is one of many online money-making opportunities that involve either selling a company’s products or allowing others to join the company as a distributor to sell or buy products at a discount.
Unfortunately, since so many people can participate in this type of business model, you will have to compete with a large number of others.
It is extremely difficult to become a “6 figure network marketer” because there is so much competition selling the same product.
What Products Does Optavia Offer?
Optavia is best-known for its Optavia diet, a low-calorie, reduced-carb program that combines packaged foods, homemade meals, and personalized coaching to encourage weight loss.
There are several plans, all of which include a combination of packaged Optavia Fuelings and home-cooked meals called Lean and Green meals.
Optavia Fuelings are Optavia brand products that are low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and also contain probiotics – friendly bacteria that can promote gut health.
For those who don’t want to cook, the company offers Flavors of Home, a line of pre-made low-carb meals that can replace the Lean and Green meals.
To become an Optavia client, you must first meet with a coach. If you know the coach’s name, you can enter it on the website, or you can enter your contact information to be connected with a coach in your area.
After you sign up, you will meet with your coach daily for the first four days. After this initial period, you and your coach will determine the best time to meet in person and how you will stay in touch (call, text, email, etc.).
Since Optavia coaches are compensated on a commission basis, you order all Optavia products through a link provided by your coach.
Is Optavia An MLM?
Optavia is a legit MLM (multi-level marketing) company. It operates as a direct sales company, and the people who sell the products are called coaches. Many coaches are previous Optavia customers, although this is not a requirement. To become an Optavia coach, you don’t have to be a certified nutrition expert.
As a multi-level marketing firm, Optavia won’t provide its sales representatives with a regular salary. After joining Optavia’s MLM program and becoming one of the coaches, you’ll run your own business as an independent distributor of Optavia products.
However, it is unlikely that you can make a good income selling their products. As in the case of most MLM programs, your business relies on recruiting new members to work under you. You will earn a commission on the sales and new recruits generated by the people you hire once they begin producing results.
This is complex on a number of levels (hence multi-level).
Let’s imagine a triangle. Because everyone in the triangle is in your direct downline (in an MLM, the people beneath you are known as your “downline,” and you are their “upline”), you will earn commissions from everyone in the triangle if the person at the top recruits ten people, and each of these ten recruits ten more.
If you can bring in just 10 people, you’ll make $1100.
Most people in your MLM would rather earn a lifetime passive income from recruiting others than a one-time commission from selling products, even if your MLM offers a wide range of products.
Due to the way the money flows, those at the top of the triangle have the most financial success, while those at the base have the least.
Having a large number of people in one’s “downline” is essential for success in a multi-level marketing company like Optavia.
Is Optavia A Pyramid Scheme?
Optavia is not a pyramid scheme. It is a legit MLM company that allows members to make money by selling their health care products. However, Optavia is often referred to as a pyramid scheme because their coaches typically make more money from recruiting new members than from selling products.
Having said that, a direct sales company like Optavia is different from a pyramid scheme. Unlike Optavia, which is famous for its weight loss programs and supplements, a pyramid scheme almost never sells valuable goods or services. The scam’s only source of revenue is from recruiting new members and soliciting more money from current members.
A pyramid scheme recruits members by promising them money or services in return for recruiting others. It is unsustainable and often a scam because members at the bottom end are doomed to lose money.
Those who want to join must pay a membership fee to the company that runs the pyramid scheme. The company would share a portion of the funds raised from each additional member they recruit as a reward.
However, the scam is profitable only for the directors of the company, i.e., those at the top of the pyramid, since they can receive a portion of the payments from every newly recruited member. The scheme continues as long as members recruit and funnel money to the top of the pyramid.
A pyramid scheme would have to grow infinitely to make money for everyone who participates. This is impossible due to the finite population of the planet.
The scam will fail if there are no new recruits and other sources of income. Since the majority of members are at the lowest level of the pyramid, most of them will lose their money.
A good example of pyramid schemes is Vemma, a producer of energy and weight loss drinks. The FTC accused Vemma of operating a pyramid scheme in August 2015 that paid more to recruit new members than to sell products.
New members, who were typically college students and other young people promised high compensation, were required to pay $600 for starter packages and hundreds more for monthly products. According to the FTC, the majority of participants lost money.
Optavia Compensation Plan
With Optavia, you can make money in three main ways:
- Health Coach Income – Income for selling products to other people
- Business Coach Income – Income for supporting coaches & building teams
- Business Leader Income – Income for building & leading an organisation
1. Health Coach Income
Each product you sell to someone else earns you a commission. You can earn anywhere from 18 to 31 percent on each sale.
You can also get a “startup” or “consistency” bonus if you make a certain number of sales.
2. Business Coach Income
You can advance in the ranks as your team and income grow. As you advance in the ranks, you will be able to earn more money from the products and services sold by your “downline,” or the people you recruit into the program.
3. Business Leader Income
You earn “Business Leader Income” when you reach the rank of “Regional Director” and help your downline reach the rank of “Executive Director.”
Things get very confusing here, with people and numbers coming from everywhere. Optavia’s system deserves full credit for keeping track of everything.
You’ll realize that the only way to make a lot of money with Optavia is to recruit a large number of people to your “downline.”
11 Reasons Why You Should Not Join Optavia MLM Program
1. The Optavia Diet is Not Healthy
The Optavia diet relies heavily on packaged foods. Under the 5&1 plan, you would eat 150 tankfuls each month.
This is unhealthy because many of these foods are highly processed. Heavily processed foods contain less fiber and fewer beneficial nutrients than a balanced diet with a variety of whole fruits and vegetables.
In particular, these products contain large amounts of food additives, sugar substitutes, and processed vegetable oils that can harm your gut health and contribute to chronic inflammation.
Many fuelings also contain maltodextrin, a thickening agent that has been shown to spike blood sugar levels and alter the composition of gut bacteria.
While these additives are likely safe in small amounts, their frequent consumption as part of the Optavia diet may increase the risk of side effects.
As an Optavia sales representative, you are putting your customers’ health at risk when you sell their weight loss diet programs.
2. Very Few People Can Make Money With Optavia
Success is difficult to achieve with an MLM company like Optavia.
You can look at the statistic that says 72.5 percent to 99.9 percent of MLM members lose money.
The reason for this is that MLMs have sales quotas that require members to continue selling products in order to remain active and eligible for commissions.
They will not be paid if they do not meet the quota.
As a result, many MLM members lose a significant amount of money before even recruiting one person into the company.
3. Losses From Optavia MLM Program Are Reframed As Investments
Optavia MLM uplines often reframe their financial losses as ‘investments’ in their business so as to keep their reps in an MLM scheme, dangling the carrot of future financial freedom.
But the reality is that these are not investments. You are unlikely to get the money back. And the return on “investment” is negative in most cases. So saying that it’s an investment is cheating.
4. Optavia is a Cult
Why do people continue to work for Optavia if it appears to be so bad? Our investigation of MLMs revealed that they all have cult-like company cultures.
Critical thinking is actively discouraged among MLM representatives. They are chastised and even isolated when they ask questions that deviate from the ‘this company is a-mazing’ mindset.
MLMs, like abusive partners, encourage you to isolate yourself from anyone who questions your involvement.
Those who leave an MLM are labeled as failures or bad people/influences, and reps are not allowed to contact them.
Rejection from people they once considered practically family is one of the most devastating losses experienced by former MLM representatives.
MLMs frequently expect their representatives to prioritize their events and business over their personal lives in order to further embed them in the business while separating them from their family and friends.
5. You May Need to Purchase Optavia Products Yourself
If you don’t have a large network of friends, family, neighbors, and so on, you may have to buy products yourself each month. It’s a losing proposition all around.
I think it’s quite ridiculous when you have to buy the products you are trying to sell. But this is very common for people who join MLMs like Optavia. That’s why in the long term, you are going to lose a lot of money, not to mention making money.
6. Optavia Products are Overpriced
As with other MLMs, Optavia offers overpriced products. There are many other brands that offer similar products but at lower prices.
Therefore, you may find it difficult to sell Optavia products because your prospects can buy the same product elsewhere at a much cheaper price. This explains why most people who join MLMs only focus on recruitment instead of selling actual products.
7. Optavia’s MLM Business Model Has a Bad Reputation
Some people have benefited financially by joining a network marketing/MLM company. Unfortunately, most people who join MLMs are left with nothing but regret and a lot of useless products that they were unable to sell.
MLM like Optavia is fundamentally flawed. The distribution of commissions is skewed toward the top.
The majority of those in the top tier and pioneers make the most money, while those at the bottom will not even break even after a few months.
As a result, many people do not consider Optavia to be a legitimate business opportunity.
8. Exaggerated Claims Of Income
Optavia, like any other MLM company, makes exaggerated income claims, but in reality, very few people make a good living by promoting Optavia.
Optavia’s low retention rate can also be discouraging, as less than 41% of its distributors are active.
According to Optavia’s payouts to distributors, over 99 percent of Optavia distributors never make a profit.
9. Optavia Is Like A Pyramid Scheme In Disguise
If you want to avoid losing money every month, the MLM will actually encourage you to recruit people.
Every system that requires you to recruit people in order to make money eventually looks like this.
Optavia is not a pyramid scheme in the traditional sense because you can earn money by selling their products.
However, in order to make a living, you will need to hire others in reality.
10. Recruiting is Required to Succeed
I don’t recommend MLMs to people for this reason. MLMs like Optavia put a lot of effort into recruiting. Eight out of ten ways to earn money with Optavia require recruiting. If you don’t recruit, you are destined to lose money at the end of the day.
My #1 recommended platform is different. You can make a 4-figure, 5-figure or even 6-figure passive income by promoting and selling products you truly like. You don’t have to recruit people but recommend useful and great products. I will tell you more at the end of this Optavia review.
11. Optavia MLM Has a Complex Ranking System
In most MLMs, there is a ranking system that determines how much commission you can earn. Optavia’s system is more complicated than those of some other companies, though.
There are many different ranks at the company, and each rank has its own requirements to reach it. If you want to keep growing, you will need more and more people under you.
Is Optavia Legit?
Optavia is a legit MLM company. Its parent company Medifast is well-established and famous for its health products, especially nutritional supplements.
When you join Optavia, you can learn from other trainers. You can ask questions and get feedback on everything from marketing materials to sales plans.
Another benefit of Optavia is the 30-day return policy. If you decide within the first month of purchasing the business kit that the business isn’t for you, you can return it for a refund.
You can also use the return policy to attract new customers. If customers know there is a money-back guarantee, they’ll be more likely to give Optavia products a try.
Can You Really Make Money With Optavia?
To be successful in any MLM, you must be able to sell the company’s products and recruit new members. Selling and recruiting are more difficult than they appear on the surface.
Selling expensive health and wellness products will be more difficult than selling other MLM products. One reason is that some people can find healthier products for less money elsewhere.
Customers aged 18 to 65 will make up the majority of your target market. If you exclude children and teenagers, you will serve significantly fewer active consumers.
Health and fitness are also niche concepts. Some people might find it interesting, but not everyone. Because of all of these factors, you have severe restrictions on the number of customers you can sell to.
As a result, your chances of making money are much lower. How many of your friends would actually switch to more expensive meal replacements?
Yes, if you know the right people and are a good networker, you may be able to get ahead, but most people will not.
Almost all multilevel marketing companies rely heavily on their downline for revenue, which is a problem. As a result, how others perform affects your earnings (and rank).
Most people consider this to be one of the worst aspects of MLMs. You will never have complete control over your income.
How Much Does It Cost To Join Optavia MLM?
Optavia isn’t cheap to start, even though MLMs aren’t the most expensive investments in the world and are less expensive to start than a storefront business.
There are three costs to consider if you want to join Optavia.
Health Coach Business Kit ($199)
When you sign up, you will receive this kit. It explains how to sell products in Optavia. This training isn’t particularly noteworthy, and it’s more of a sunk cost to keep people trying to get personal discounts.
Yearly Business Renewal ($99)
Every year, you must pay $99 to keep your business running. You receive nothing other than the satisfaction of selling Optavia products. Optavia has over 20,000 “coaches,” and if all of them pay $99 per year, that’s an extra $2 million.
You must order one of the product packs each month to receive your commissions.
Optavia differs from most MLMs in terms of product pricing. Most MLMs sell individual products for less than $100 as well as supplies for a month or a set of products.
Every month, you’ll have to order one of the product bundles. These expenses quickly add up, and after a year, you may have spent $5,000 and made nothing.
Remember that less than 10% of Optavia users earn $5,000 or more per year, and it takes years to get there.
Optavia MLM Program Feedbacks By Real Users
Optavia MLM Positive Feedbacks
- The Better Business Bureau has given it an A+ rating.
- Refunds are available on the platform for 30 days.
- They embrace modern technology rather than the 3-foot rule or 2-way calls with your upline. Webinars are used to spread the word about the company.
- Client Support commissions are paid out on a weekly basis.
Optavia MLM Negative Feedbacks
- According to their income disclosures, 21 percent of Coaches earn no money after a year in business.
- Because of the product’s competitive market and high price, moving it may be difficult.
- The compensation plan is very extensive and can be very confusing with a 22-page compensation plan.
- Because the company’s compensation plan does not include override commissions like most MLMs, there is a focus on recruiting Coaches when building an organization.
- According to reviews, some members dislike the taste of the products.
Is Optavia a Scam?
Optavia is not a scam. It is a legit MLM company. A scam is defined as “a dishonest scheme; a fraud” by the Oxford Living Dictionary.
However, the structure of Optavia resembles a pyramid scheme. That is, a few people at the “top of the pyramid” who have recruited many people who rank lower than themselves make a lot of money, while the people at the bottom of the pyramid are likely to lose money when their start-up costs are included.
Optavia is considered predatory toward job seekers because coaches have to pay to participate, even though statistically they are extremely unlikely to earn a living wage.
A few people do make money but only if you put in a lot of effort. And usually, the way they make a lot of money from Optavia is by recruiting aggressively.
According to Optavia’s 2021 income statement, about 20% of the company’s coaches earned $0 in 2021, while only about 12% earned more than $10,000. Optavia’s starter package costs $199.
To recruit more coaches, Optavia blatantly makes disingenuous and irresponsible marketing claims. Therefore, some people do consider Optavia a scam.
My #1 recommended platform, however, has seen a lot of beginners earn four figures a month after joining it for a year.
I will tell more about my #1 recommended platform at the end of this review.
Final Verdict: Optavia MLM Review
Here comes the conclusion of my Optavia MLM review. Overall, I don’t recommend joining Optavia MLM to make money.
You will have a tough time in the beginning when you are prospecting and trying to find recruiters to add to your Optavia commission.
The worst part is that you practically have to ask your family and friends to join your Optavia business opportunity. It’s not fun.
Your upline is constantly following up with you to encourage you to buy more Business Support Material even as you struggle to get people to join your downline.
The reality is that you’re likely to lose more money. Statistics confirm this as well. 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money, according to a case study on the FTC’s website.
People who join these MLM-type businesses often feel under pressure to succeed, and that is one of the main reasons they leave.
Why not consider starting your own online business if you want to earn money and have a flexible schedule?
Thus, you can choose what you want to promote rather than having someone tell you what you must promote.
Let me tell you how to build an online business in a legit way to make passive income online in the next section. This has allowed me to make a full-time income in a year. Most importantly, unlike MLM models, It’s 100% legit and sustainable.
Best Alternative To Optavia MLM Program
If you’re beginning your online business journey, you deserve a program much better than the Optavia MLM program.
My #1 recommended platform is called Wealthy Affiliate.
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If you like the platform, you can then upgrade to the premium membership to get access to everything on the platform. There are no upsells afterwards.
But How Much Can You Earn with Wealthy Affiliate?
A 21-year old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just 1 week, which means he made more than $1k a day…all while applying what is taught inside Wealthy Affiliate.
Compared with Authority Hacker, Wealthy Affiliate has a much longer history, which has been established for 15 years and there are many success stories in the past decade. Actually, Wealthy Affiliate has more than a million members so far, so you can see how popular this platform is.
To give you more examples, here are some of the other inspiring success stories of Wealthy Affiliate members.
Where to Join Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate has a very simple pricing scheme. It has a free and premium membership. The premium membership only costs $49/month or $395/year.
If you want to feel about Wealthy Affiliate, you can sign up for the free starter membership here (no credit card required). You can select to be a free member with no time limit.
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Optavia MLM FAQs
1. What is the BBB Official Standing of Optavia MLM?
Optavia currently has 80 customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website.
Customers gave an average rating of 1.53 stars out of a perfect score of 5. According to the reviews, 517 complaints were resolved in the last three years, with 270 resolved in the last 12 months.
2. What does Optavia sell?
Optavia sells “Fuelings,” which range from light snacks to full meals and are available in kits or individually.
There are two product categories: Essential and Select.
3. What are Optavia’s most popular products?
The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan recommends eating six small, 800- to 1,000-calorie meals per day to promote fat loss while maintaining lean muscle mass. It is a method for making healthy eating a habit.
4. How long has Optavia been in business?
5. What is Optavia’s revenue?
Optavia rarely releases financial information, but Medifast (the parent company) reports strong earnings that are steadily growing.
The second quarter of 2018 was the most profitable and profitable quarter in Optavia’s history, with $117.3 million in revenue and profit.
6. How many Optavia distributors are there?
7. What lawsuits have been filed against Optavia MLM?
Medifast was sued in 2013 for lying about its revenue in order to deceive investors. The case was dropped.
Jason Pharmaceuticals, a Medifast subsidiary that manufactures Fuelings meals, settled a deceptive advertising case for $3.7 million in 2012.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, it made unsubstantiated claims about its weight-loss program.
8. Does Optavia pay its coaches?
Optavia coaches can earn a variety of salaries. Each business opportunity is unique.
Despite this, according to the company’s income disclosure from last year (2019), the majority of coaches (21%) earned nothing after a year in the business.
9. Is Optavia a Network Marketing Company?
Optavia does, in fact, have its own product. Typically, network marketing or multilevel marketing is used to market the products.
Health coaches are simply a fancy name for distributors, which is what they refer to as their sales force.
10. Is Optavia a Pyramid Scheme?
It is not the case. It is a multi-level marketing company that sells health and wellness products. Their products are genuine, and they are owned by genuine people.