How much can you earn with MLM Younique? (We calculate it’s probably less than $14 a month)

Tempted to join an MLM? Wonder how much you can earn with Younique? Find out why, when you do the maths, Younique presenters earn as little as $14 a month.

It’s hard not to be tempted by the many, many boastful posts MLM reps bombard your Facebook timeline with, if you’re unlucky enough to count one as a ‘friend’.

“Just love these girls!” “Another fun ‘work’ meeting with my team sisters!” “We’re smashing it this month!” “So proud of her for getting her diamond promotion!” “Who knew being a #bossbabe would be so much fun?” “Does YOUR employer send you gifts like these?”


Wow, what kind of company deserves that level of excitement, camaraderie and devotion? And as for the rewards, they seem amazing. Free cars, incentive holidays, surprise gifts…

But behind the boasts, the glitter and the fake positivity (MLM reps are trained to post in a particular way, and are even sometimes told exactly what to say), the reality is much grimmer. And poorer.

Why Younique reps earn as little as $14 a month (or less)

To demonstrate that, let’s take a look at a Facebook post from a Younique presenter (their term for a sales representative) that, on the face of it, seems quite an achievement:

$698,082 in sales in one year doesn’t seem too bad. But let’s break the number down to find out exactly what that means to an individual Younique presenter: $698,082 worth of makeup was sold in 2017 by 775 women – that’s a mean average of $900.75 each (or $75 a month).

But of course, that’s just sales. How much did those presenters actually earn?

The lowest level of commission you can earn in Younique is 20%, rising to 30% (plus generation royalties) for the very top ‘black level’:

To be generous, let’s assume all 775 of these women are earning an average of 30% commission on their individual sales. That means they will have each been paid $270.22 in commission in 2017.

BUT this doesn’t include expenses. At the very minimum, when you join Younique you need to buy a starter kit for $99. Of course, this is far from the only expense. In order to sell you’ll need to pay for your own samples and order forms. Then you have expenses for travel, training, postage and packing, and promotional materials, like flyers. But as these vary from rep to rep, let’s just take the basic startup cost here.

This figure also doesn’t take into account the returns (and therefore the commission you need to repay if customers return the products they bought). But for the purposes of this calculation we’ll assume no products were returned.

So from your average of $270.22 commission, you need to deduct your $99 starter kit, leaving you with just $171.22 earned from Younique over the year. That’s $14.26 a month.

How many of these ‘sales’ are to reps themselves?

There’s one other issue we need to address in this figure. MLM ‘sales’ aren’t always purchases made by customers. In order to maintain your rank in an MLM, and even remain with the company, you need to make a minimum number of sales in a given period.

But of course sale totals alone would be too simple for MLMs – you risk scaring off new reps if they see the amount of cold, hard cash they need to earn. So instead, most MLMs convert sales into points systems or units with terms like QV and PV, making it difficult to unravel their earnings structure.

Younique just takes the $ sign off the numbers. Here’s their status requirements table, showing the volume of sales each level presenter needs to make:

So what happens if you’re having a dry patch? If you’re not quite making your required volume for your rank, or you’re just short of the amount you need for a promotion? What if your downline aren’t meeting the sales they need to make for you to maintain your rank, or get a promotion?

Or even if you haven’t sold the bare minimum (“$125 in PRS for a rolling 3 months“) just to stay ‘active’ and not get terminated? (If you don’t make the bare minimum sales, you apparently have three months to contact support and ask for your account to be reactivated. You then have a month to sell $125 or you’ll become inactive again. If you’re not reactivated you’re “terminated as a presenter.” If you want to remain with Younique you’ll then need to rejoin from the start, and lose your downline.)

The answer, for many MLM reps, is to make purchases themselves (or encourage your downline to) in the hope you can sell them later on. Of course, this is a risky strategy that rarely pays off (and is why former Younique presenters like Elle Beau below have so much unsold stock sitting in their homes).

Younique presenters also buy product themselves to qualify for free postage and avoid the high delivery fees they’re apparently charged (you can see the current Younique delivery fees here):

We have no way of knowing exactly how much of the $698,082 we analysed includes purchases presenters themselves made, so for fairness we didn’t include this factor in our calculation. But we’d bet that a healthy amount of that sum includes reps’ own cash.

99.6% of reps, like Elle Beau, actually LOSE money

But, even without factoring in personal sales, it gets even worse. You see, $14 won’t be the average presenter’s monthly income. Among those 775 women there will be many who earned a larger share of that annual total (plus received commission on downline sales). There will be many who earned a lower level of commission. And there will be many who spent more on expenses.

Indeed, former Younique presenter Elle Beau got a nasty shock when she calculated her expenses:

This is why, as extensive research shows, an average of 99.6% of MLM reps will lose money. And remember, the sum we have just done is considered impressive! It’s this team’s best year ever, and is a Facebook boast intended to encourage you to join Younique!

You have to PAY to get your earnings from Younique

Even if you’ve made money selling Younique, you’re still not home and dry. Because you need to PAY to get your commission!

How? Because Younique apparently use a system called PayQuicker to pay their presenters, rather than pay directly into your bank account. And if you want to actually use the money you’ve earned, you need to pay US$0.50 every time you transfer money out of PayQuicker.

Once you’ve earned US$50 in commission, PayQuicker will send you a Younique Debit Card for your account. However, this also applies fees every time you use it to withdraw cash from an ATM, or use as a debit card to pay for goods. (It’s only free for transactions if you sign for purchases and are in the US.) Even a balance enquiry on an ATM will cost you US$1!

How much money CAN you earn with Younique?

If you were to read Younique’s website, or buy into the sales spiel of a Younique presenter, you’d believe that the earning potential with Younique was limitless. Indeed, Younique proudly display their worldwide Rising Stars on a leader board on their website:

However, it’s important to note that these figures aren’t PROFIT. They’re retail sales. The presenters’ incomes will be a percentage of these figures less expenses. Let’s assume they’ve all made Black status, and are on 30% commission.

This means their top earner from this group in the world, Shauna Stem, received $3,1,89.90 in commission on her sales in this month, before expenses are taken into account. And their worldwide number 10, Morgan McGinn, earned $1,073.70 this month, before expenses.

But as with all MLMs the real truth is hidden away in the small print, where Younique admit that these figures “are achieved by approximately less than the top 0.02% of Presenters”:

So, out of “a group of tens of thousands of Presenters” less than the top 0.02% will earn just $1,073.70 before expenses. In fact, if we assume that there are 99,999 presenters (the largest possible number for ‘tens of thousands’), this means that less than 20 will earn it.

Out of nearly 100,000 of Younique presenters, less than 20 will earn around $1,000 a month before expenses. 

Most, as we’ve discovered from our sums above, will be lucky to earn $14 a month with Younique. In fact, as we’ve learned with all MLMs, most will probably be lucky not to lose money.

Younique pays an average commission of $9 per presenter a month

Let’s look at one more sum to get a picture of the kind of money Younique presenters are earning. We looked at the independent auditor’s report on Younique’s 2016 annual accounts. According to these accounts, Younique paid out $87,349,881 in ‘Presenter incentives’ in 2016. It clarifies these are:

“Presenter incentives include cash payments made under the Company’s global sales compensation plan. Presenters earn incentives by arranging or facilitating a sale of commissionable product, with the ability to earn additional incentives for reaching volume objectives and other achievements.”

So this sum appears to be the total they paid out in commission to their presenters. They currently have a total of 945,083 presenters, according to their website at time of writing. As their commission payments relate to 2016, we’ll reduce the number of presenters to 800,000 for the purposes of this sum.

So if Younique paid $87,349,881 to 800,000 presenters, the average each would have received was $109.18. For a YEAR. Per month that’s just $9.09 – a sum that’s not too far off our calculation above.

And of course, as above, this is just an average figure. Some reps will earn much more, and many reps will earn much less. (It also doesn’t take into account expenses – and remember, it costs a minimum of $99 to get started.)

Whichever way you do the maths, Younique doesn’t appear to be an amazing income opportunity for most presenters.

Who do people buy into the MLM con?

So, given the slim chance you’ll ever make any money with them, why do people fall for MLMs? Are they dazzled by the large numbers, like $698,082, bandied around? Bamboozled by the deliberately complex commission structures and confusing ranking systems? Motivated by the fake, boastful Facebook posts and ‘free’ cars?

Or have they bought into the dream of finding an easy way to earn money from home for little apparent effort?

In order to join an MLM you need to suspect your critical disbelief. You need to overrule logic, dismiss alternative explanations and instead simply hope. (This is why so many MLMs convince you that success is down to mindset – because without blind faith you won’t stick to what is blatantly a model that doesn’t work for most.)

And hope is a powerful force. Someone who buys into an MLM is no different to a child who believes in Santa. It’s a desirable belief too – don’t we all want to discover that magic pot at the end of the rainbow?

This is why, when one MLM invariably fails for them, a rep will move their passion, enthusiasm and hope seamlessly onto another. This time, they tell themselves, it will work. (Not unlike the gambler who returns for ‘one more bet’ believing that this time they’ll make their money back. They can just feel it.)

Don’t believe the MLM hype

All we can say to you is, don’t buy into the MLM hype. We have yet to come across a single MLM (or network marketing or direct sales company… whatever terminology they choose to use) that we’d consider worthy of investing your money, time and hope in.

There’s no magic pot of money at the end of the MLM rainbow for 99.6% of people who sign up to them. If you really do want to earn money from home, or supplement your income, find a better way to do it. One that actually pays more more than (an optimistic) $14 a month.

This video explains the MLM ‘opportunity’ perfectly:

Read more MLM truths

Want to know more about the truth behind the MLM hype? Read these articles:

You can also read more about Younique on Timeless Vie and Elle Beau.

Please note: This is our analysis of information made publicly available by Younique and their presenters. If we have incorrectly interpreted this information, or you work for Younique and have factual income disclosure statements that contradict our findings here we would welcome seeing them, and will happily edit this article to reflect. Please note, we do not accept personal experiences from representatives as ‘factual income disclosure statements’. 

Photo by Matheus Ferrero