Can you really earn £20k a month with MLM Nu Skin?

Is it really possible to earn £20k a month with MLM Nu Skin? We investigate the boasts made in a rep’s recruitment video to find out how true they really are. 

A few weeks ago, a woman got in touch with us, concerned about a friend who had joined the MLM Nu Skin. She’d been convinced to join the business by a video made by a Nu Skin distributor (their term for a rep) boasting that she was earning £20,000 “every single month”, and that ‘”hundreds” of people in her team were earning an “incredible amount of money”, like £5,000 or £10,000 a month, too.

Here’s the video in question:

If you don’t fancy trawling through 30 minutes of the typical MLM rags to ‘riches’ story, here are a few key quotes from it:

  • A few months into my business I earned my first £10k a month
  • 12 months on I have doubled that income a month
  • I have hundreds of people doing exactly the same thing
  • I’ve been able to give my boys a full time dad within six months of starting this business
  • Show me another model that can give me £20k every month
  • I can help so many other people do the same
  • You just have to believe in it

Let’s look at the distributor’s earning claims to see if there’s any truth in them:

  • She’s earning £20,000 every month
  • Hundreds in her team are earning incredible amounts of money, like £5,000 and £10,000 a month

Nu Skin’s own income disclosure statement says this is a lie

To find out if these claims could be true, we looked at Nu Skin’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) income disclosure statement. As it’s in US$, we converted the UK earnings claims into US$ using today’s exchange rate:

  • £5k converts to $6.4k
  • £10k converts to £12.8k
  • £20k converts to $25.6k

So let’s look at the Nu Skin EMEA income disclosure statement for 2016 (the year the video was made):

(We investigate Nu Skin’s US income disclosure statement here.)

From the above table we can see that this distributor and ‘hundreds’ in her team must be at the very top of the pyramid-shaped earnings table:

  • To earn over $5k a month you must be in the top 0.08% of Nu Skin reps
  • To earn over $10k a month you must be in the top 0.04% of Nu Skin reps

Nu Skin had 84,982 active distributors in EMEA in 2016. So here are the actual number of people who earned each:

  • 67 people earned over $5k a month
  • 33 people earned over $9k a month

As you can see, it’s physically impossible for ‘hundreds’ of people in her team to be earning ‘incredible’ amounts of money like £5k a month.

88% of EMEA Nu Skin distributors earned NO commission in 2016

Not only does this distributor appear to be blatantly lying about the income of her team (and, we’d guess, very likely about her own), but she fails to mention that 88% of active Nu Skin distributors in EMEA in 2016 (the year she made this video) earned NO commission at all.

Wondering what an ‘active’ distributor is? This is how Nu Skin define active:

“An “active” Distributor is defined as any Distributor who made a personal purchase during the most recent three-month period in question.”

So not only have 88% of Nu Skin distributors earned no commission, but they’ve actually personally purchased products to remain active. Meaning they’re out of pocket.

On average, 99.6% of MLM participants will lose money

Of course this fact doesn’t surprise us. We already know, thanks to in-depth research published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and our own investigations that, on average, 99.6% of MLM participants will lose money when business expenses are taken into account.

And speaking of expenses, just how much might those 88% of Nu Skin distributors have lost? We know they have, at least, made personal purchases every three months from Nu Skin, because that is a condition of remaining ‘active’.

Nu Skin make it hard to work out exactly what financial commitment you need to make to remain with the company, but their cheapest monthly auto ship package (called Automatic Delivery Rewards, or ADR) is £152.65. We know from US research that this is the bare minimum you’d need to spend to stay active.

So at a minimum, to remain active for one year in Nu Skin, it looks like you’d need to purchase £1,831.80 of products.

Want to earn more with Nu Skin? It’ll cost you…

In the distributor’s video above, she makes a big deal about it costing you nothing to start your Nu Skin business. And indeed, you can join for free. But how can you sell without purchasing products?

In the video, the distributor claims she got started simply by using the products (in this case toothpaste) and sharing the results on Facebook. So clearly she invested in products to start.

Indeed, for all their ‘join for free’ fanfare, Nu Skin pushes you heavily towards either an introductory product package (the cheapest of which is £404.23) or one of the aforementioned ADRs (the cheapest of which is £152.65 a month).

And even once you’re in, if you want to progress up their ranks (essential if you want to earn the promised £5,000 a month) you need to recruit a team. And this doesn’t come cheaply.

As part of the research published by the FTC, the author joined Nu Skin for a year as an experiment. He rose to the top 1% of the company, but doing so came at a cost:

“In my one-year test of the Nu Skin program, the minimum total expenses to recruit successfully was over $18,000 per year (well over $25,000 in 2008 dollars), including products and services from the company, travel and telephone expenses, home office and rooms for opportunity meetings, printing and duplicating expenses, advertising, telephone and computer expenses, and miscellaneous supplies.”

If you fail, it’s your fault

If you believe the distributor’s claims in the video above, it’s easy to earn money in Nu Skin; all you need to do is stick with it and work hard. As she says:

“You can’t fail unless you quit.”

And yet Nu Skin’s own income disclosure statement shows that at least 88% of distributors earned no commission in 2016. And of those who did earn some commission, most will have lost money when they take into account their expenses.

So for the vast, vast majority of Nu Skin distributors, staying with the business will lead to inevitable failure. Year on year, in different markets, we see the same results: the vast majority of active Nu Skin reps earning no commission.

Saying that to quit is to fail is a lie and a psychological trick employed by many MLM companies and their reps. It makes you feel like failing is your fault, and that to leave is shameful.

But it’s not. The only failure here is the MLM business model, in our opinion.

Don’t listen to people who care about you

Like cults, MLMs also seek to isolate you from the people who care about you. People who have your best interests at heart (unlike MLMs who, we believe, just want your money). People who may talk you out of joining or staying with them.

So they tell you to ignore or stop listening to these people. As this distributor says in her video:

“Opinions do not put food on your family’s table.”

It’s clear from their income disclosure statement that Nu Skin is also very unlikely to put food on your family’s table. But of course, this distributor doesn’t mention this in her recruitment video.

MLM reps have also charmingly referred to friends as “speed bumps” and family as “caution lights” on the road to ‘success’. (Although as we know, ‘success’ is not the destination most MLM reps are really plunging towards – ‘debt’ and ‘misery’ are probably more accurate.)

So let’s be very clear. Any business or person who seeks to isolate you from people who care about you is toxic and abusive, and should be avoided at all costs. Just this statement alone by the Nu Skin distributor is a huge red flag that warns us to stay well clear.

Can you really earn £20,000 a month with MLM Nu Skin?

So let’s return to the question we started with:

Can you really earn £20,000 a month with MLM Nu Skin?

From the evidence we can find, looking through Nu Skin’s own publicly available documents, no you can’t. Only 33 people in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) earned £20,584 ($26,000 converted into £) a month in 2016 in commission. And this doesn’t take into account their expenses.

The other 84,949 active Nu Skin distributors earned nowhere near that amount. And at least 75,464 will almost definitely have lost money.

We’ve also proved that it’s impossible for this distributor’s claim that “hundreds” in her team are earning sums like £5,000 or £10,000 a month to be true. These appear to be cynical lies designed to deceive people into joining – bolstering her own profits through their personal purchases to join and remain active.

And as for her claim, after boasting about earning “a crazy income every single month” that “you can be that person too,” we’d say no, you can’t. And looking at the Nu Skin income disclosure statement, we don’t believe she is either.

Can you be your fame’s breadwinner with MLMs like Nu Skin?

But what if you don’t want to earn £5,000 or £10,000, or even £20,000 a month? What if you simply want the freedom of leaving your full time job and working for yourself from home? Here’s what the distributor says in her video:

“I have hundreds of people on my team that are making [an] incredible amount of money, that are leaving their full time jobs. I’ve got mums that are becoming breadwinners of their family now, I have people that are earning five grand a month, ten grand a month, plus that a month. That is just how it is.”

So hundreds of people on her team are apparently leaving their full time jobs, and becoming their family’s breadwinner. Can this really be true?

Again, let’s return to Nu Skin’s income disclosure statement to find out. To earn a very modest $2,021 (£1,575) a month in commission (remember, this is NOT profit), you’d need to be in the top 0.26% of active Nu Skin distributors in EMEA. That’s just 220 people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

So no, we don’t believe that hundreds of people in this woman’s team are leaving their full time jobs for Nu Skin. Nor do we believe that mums are ‘retiring their partners’ and becoming the family breadwinner. They’re much more likely to be getting into the debt she claims Nu Skin will save you from.

So please don’t fall for deceptive recruitment videos like this. We recommend you save your money, your relationships and your self-esteem and avoid MLMs like the plague.

Learn more about MLMs

We’ve investigate several MLM companies, as well as the business model as a whole. You can read more about MLMs in these income disclosure investigations:

And more here:

Here some of our articles looking at the MLM business model:

And finally, some more:

Photo by Jordan Whitfield