What is the Herbalife Business and Is Herbalife a Scam?

Is herbalife a scam

Chances are you have probably heard of Herbalife, tried the product or even been involved or tempted by joining its business opportunity. So to the big question, ‘Is Herbalife a scam?’ Surely a company which has been around this long and been this successful, cannot be.

Herbalife is huge. It’s up there with Amway as one of the world’s largest Multi-Level-Marketing programs and has been around since 1980. It is available in 91 countries and has a company valuation of $8 billion.  So it’s pretty big. And it far surpasses its competition in terms of sales. So something is working..

Let’s delve a little deeper and find out what is the Herbalife Business?


Company Name: Herbalife

Website URL: http://www.herbalife.com/ OR www.herbalife.co.uk

Cost: Starter distributor membership $94.10. Odd number?

My Ranking: 3.5 out of 5

My recommendation: Herbalife is one of the big ones, but that doesn’t mean that you will be successful. If you want a surefire way to make an income online, check out my top recommendation

So What is the Herbalife Business?

It’s a classic Mulit-Level Marketing progam which involves direct selling. The ‘Herbalife independent distributor’ is the core of the business and they are what make the products sell. If you were to join you would become an independent distributor. When you join Herbalife you get a member pack which is $94.10, plus you will have to pay about $40 a month for your company website, if you want one. This member pack also includes some products samples and the rights to buy Herbalife products at a discounted rate.

You then make money by selling on these products at a pre-defined mark-up OR you recruit others into the Herbalife program to become your downline and make money on all the sales they make plus a little bit for the initial referral.

Sound simple?

Is herbalife a scam?


Herbalife Product Summary

Herbalife claims it is ‘no 1 in the world in the meal replacement shake category’. More widely, they cover the diet and health products including vitamins, protein drink, snacks all targeted specifically at different categories such as mens health, womens health, childrne, allegies, digesties, immune system and stress. The also have a range of beauty products.

The best selling product at the moment is the Formula One protein shake which is a whole meal with 21 vitamins and minerals included and was one of the first products ever to be launched with Herbalife.

Is herbalife a scam


Who can be a Herbalife Independent Distributor?

This is a question about mentality rather than capability. I believe to be direct seller and someone who recruits people face to face into a business takes a certain kind of person. You have to be strong willed, have thick skin and let’s be honest, be good at selling. Pushy even.

Most MLM schemes request that you start by selling to friends and family. So you have to be prepared to host parties, and have some friends maybe even shy away from you. It can be really awkward.  Some people don’t mind at all and some excel at hard selling, but it’s not for everyone. So before you give up your money, have a think if you can be this kind of person.

If you would prefer to have your customers approach you rather than the other way around, see if this business could be for you instead. 

Can you make money being Herbalife distributor?

Absolutely. The company wouldn’t have existed for all this time and be one of the big boys if it weren’t possible. It’s true that most make a little extra income but few make it really big. Big enough to make it your full time income. The unfortunate thing is that those who make a little extra income have to put in alot of work to get even that.

These are some numbers from their income sheets for 2014. So you see it’s possible to make A LOT of money, but highly likely that you will make nothing or very little. with 71.9% making less than $300 a month.

is herbalife a scam

How to Join Herbalife

It’s quite simple. You just go to the website Herbalife.com and fill in the form and someone will contact you to talk you through the business proposition, so make sure that you have the questions ready to ask. There isn’t that much information on the website as to the business proposition itself or the level of training or support you get, because they want to talk this through with you. Slightly annoying as I like to see what’s on offer first before I commit.

Think about how they suggest to gather your leads as this could be key to success or failure. Each team within Herbalife may have a different strategy. Ask them how much work you might need to put in, how many hours and how you would structure your week. Also what support would you et and what training is included, and importantly, are there any hidden extras? Would you mostly be working from home, mostly going out to venues, or parties to sell products? What are their expecctations. Each team has different standards and different protocols.

If you are happy you are asked to pay for the member pack and you get access to the training. Then off you go!


The benefits

  • Is herbalife a scamThey are a well established company
  • People have been really successful, so it could be you
  • The Herbalife independent distributors as a whole have been paid out a lot of money over the years. See the above table
  • The products are strong and of good quality and well known globally. They are some of the best in the industry, which gives you a great grounding to work with

The drawbacks

  • The awkwardness of direct selling is the biggest drawback here. I have been approached by many friends over the years to come to a ‘party’ where you know you will be guilted into buying a product. It’s just not conformable to me.
  • The generation of leads. If initially you are selling to your friends and family, and they all fun out, then where next. The training isn’t comprehensive enough to guide you on how to find new leads.
  • As you can see from the table above, you have to be in the top 30% to make anything anywhere near decent. And that takes a long time. I have no issue with working hard for your reward, in fact I believe that is the the way to spot a scam, but is it asking for you to work TOO hard? You decide. These people who have achieved a lot of income, are usually the ones who were there from the beginning and have benefited from years of downline commissions. This skews the numbers even more unfairly/.


My Verdict

To answer the question, Is Herbalife a scam? Herbalife is definitely NOT a scam. It’s completely legitimate. The reason why some people view it as a scam is they expect to just join and get rich quick. This is not possible in any viable business opportunity. You have to work hard to get the rewards. It’s as simple as that.

BUT my words of warning are more about Direct selling and MLM in general rather than about Herbalife itself. You have to think about whether this business will suit your personality. Are you happy going out there, recruiting people, talking and selling to your friends and family and essentially using PUSH marketing tactics where you go and seek the business?

This, to me, feels like the hard way. I prefer more of a PULL marketing method where the customers are actively searching for you and your business and come to you looking for you and the hard sell is done for you. You provide them with the information so they can make their decision. And I prefer to work online, so if they don’t want to buy, there is no awkward knockback.

If Pull marketing is for you instead, have a look at my review on this business and see if this suits you better.




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As always, if you have any questions, please let me know below. I hope I was of some help!

29 thoughts on “What is the Herbalife Business and Is Herbalife a Scam?

  1. Michelle says:

    Herbalife has indeed been around for a few years now. I agree it’s not a scam but it takes a true seller to get it going.

    I remember attending a few meetings, it was like some strange cult. This is going back about 15-20 years ago mind you. At that time you had to take 20 odd tablets. I couldn’t have run faster if I tried! You certainly bought back some memories! Thanks for sharing.

    Kind Regards


    • Ruth says:

      Ha thanks Michelle for sharing your experiences. These are the stories I love. Real life experiences. That is how i came across it too, at a ‘party’. It was just so awkward. I knew nothing about these businesses then, and the whole approach was so foreign to me. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Molly says:

    I was wondering about Herbalife, and your review helped clarify some things for me. They have been around a long time, but I don’t know anyone personally selling Herbalife. I have tried a couple of direct marketing and MLM companies, so maybe Herbalife isn’t for me. Are there other companies you’d recommend? I have trouble talking to people, so I’ve been searching for internet businesses.

    • Ruth says:

      Hi Molly.

      Typically, I don’t recommend MLM businesses, as I don’t really like the model. I find the sell really hard work and the sales pitch is tough. I am not a hard sell person. So I have learnt my online marketing skills through Wealthy Affiliate which is a training course in affiliate marketing. The course teaches you to build an online business where you sell other peoples products, such as amazon, and make a commission off every sale.

      Have a read of my article and try it out, It might be the one for you. I have never made such a good decision in my life!

      Let me know how you get on!

  3. Chloe says:

    Ah, Herbalife. A topic pretty close to my heart….and not in the way that you’d think.
    I’ve recently started eating a much healthier diet, and so I’ve been paying more attention to the nutritional value of the food that goes in my mouth. I have a friend who’s using Herbalife products, so out of interest, I took a look at the nutritional value of the shakes.
    The ‘meal replacement’ powders contained anything up to 35% sugar. That’s insane!
    Now, I’m quite used to using protein shakes, and make sure I buy ones that have no sugar, just protein in them. And they still taste good.
    So I guess that what I’m saying is that, as someone that cares about their health, I cannot begin to make my peace with how much sugar is packed into these ‘healthy’ products. I don’t have an issue with the company, as such, but I think the products are genuinely bad for your health. For that reason, I would never buy from them.
    Anyway….I’ve just realised how long this rant has got, so sorry about that! But in short- scam, no. Bad product, yes.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Ruth says:

      Thanks Chloe, that’s really interesting. I had read reviews about the products and whether they work for weight loss, but I hadn’t come across the fact that they have so much sugar. Thats really not good for a wellness product! That would make it even harder to promote. I will look into this further and add this to my article, so thanks for your feedback. Have you heard of Forever Living, they are a similar product? I wondered if you had tried them?

  4. I worked Herbalife for over two years. It is a hard way to make money. I love the products and still use them, but I quit being a distributor. I was so tired of trying to upsell the system, instead of the products, so I stopped. You have to have a very outgoing personality, be able to cold call, and have the mentality of a used car salesman to do Herbalife well. I didn’t have it.

    • Ah, great to hear your story! And good on you for sticking it out for 2 years. I think that shows determination. What are you up to now for business? Did you carry on down the MLM route?

  5. Martina says:

    The thought of trying to sell to friends and families really doesn’t appeal to me either. Even approaching a stranger trying to sell something is uncomfortable to me. It may be partially because I don’t like when others do it to me, especially if they keep trying when you make it clear you’re not interested.

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      Yes I know what you mean. I hate being trapped at someone’s house, knowing they are trying so hard just to make money but then having to find the cheapest product to buy out of pity! Awkward!

  6. Deb says:

    Good review 🙂
    My sister sold Herbalife for a while and was very carried away with it. They do a good job of motivating their distributors. While it isn’t a scam I do think there are some serious downsides around the products that you have to sell. They are really expensive for one thing. You can buy pretty much the same thing from the supermarket a lot cheaper. My sister would go on about how great she felt but when I read the ingredients there was actually a lot of caffeine.
    In any business like this where you are promoting someone else product it’s really important to make sure the product is good. I’ve been with Wealthy Affiliate for a few months now and it seems to be a top quality product.

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      yes absolutely, it’s all about the product. If you believe in the product you can sell it. You’re right in answer to the question, is Herbalife a scam, it’s a no, but again it’s about finding a business that suits you. Good luck with your business

  7. Great explanation of Herbalife. You description of the company and how their system works. This will help a lot of people who are on the fence about whether or not to join the Herbalife program. The site is very well put together and flows well. Jim

  8. Roope says:

    Thank you for your review on Herbalife! I think I haven’t heard about it before because maybe it’s not so popular in Finland. I need to admit that I’m a bit sceptic for these kind of products that sell them as they would be the best for your health or something like that. But I haven’t tried these products or made the research about their products so it’s hard to say if they are good or not.. Have you used these products?

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      I have tried a couple of the products but I can’t claim to have tried them all. The ones I did try were good, by that, I mean average, nothing particularly special but not bad. I think they are a bit expensive compared to what you can get elsewhere, but they need to be to account for all the levels of commission that have to come out of them

  9. Cathy says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I totally agree with you about the push marketing techniques used by many MLM members. I was one of them before and no matter how much I tried, I just can’t bring myself to do it without sounding like I am forcing someone to buy something that they don’t want.

    I call them the cold market audience because they obviously give you the cold shoulder whenever you try to strike a promotional conversation with them.

    The hot market audience – the people that are searching on the internet everyday – are easier to communicate with and I like the fact that there are so many niches that you can get involved with and not restricted to one type of brand or company.

    Affiliate marketing offers that kind of opportunity and those who don’t feel comfortable doing MLM should really consider joining affiliate programs instead.

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      Spot on Cathy, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Some people are cut out for face to face selling. I’m just not. Different strokes and all that! Good luck in your affiliate marketing plans.

  10. NemiraB says:

    Hello here. I see that you have really convincing description of Herbalife. I heard previously about it what helps to burn fat.
    As I see, that they use the same ranking system as everywhere, where dealers or distributors are involved. Of course, if you have plenty friends or relatives, who want to use this product, it is okay.
    I checked feedbacks of customers and see a lot various opinions.
    I never use this product and I can not tell how it works.
    I wish that you would bring health and happiness with these products to your customers.
    All the best, happy writing, Nemira.

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      Thanks Nemira. There are so many opinions out there. Unfortunately, you can’t try it for free, so you would have to dive in and pay nearly $100 before you decide whether its for you or not. It’s a risk really, but a personal choice!

  11. Lynne says:

    I’m familiar with Herbalife and know someone that is an independent distributor and she does quite well with it.
    I do think you are right though that one must be certain type of person to do well with Herbalife. She is quite pushy and thick-skinned, plus her idea of earning enough to live on is quite modest. Well certainly in relation to what I would want to earn!
    Herbalife is not something I would want to go into but I think it is suitable for a lot of people.

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      You are right Lynne, It totally depends on personality! And it can be really great for some people. I do know a few friends who have gone into it thinking they could get around this factor of personality and its not worked out for them, so considering if its the right fit is totally key!

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