It Works? Not Likely: The Dangers of Multi-Level Marketing

Prioritize Health Before Get-Rich-Quick Schemes and Fad Diets

By: Lauren Silverman

Instead of looking for quick fixes, opt for lifestyle changes that will nourish your body in the long run. (Credit:

Few things are more important than our health. However, as the semesters drag on and assignments start piling up, college students may neglect their bodies’ needs.

Since our bodies require constant care, it is easy to fall out of a beneficial routine and into an unhealthy one. By the time they’ve realized that they have to sustain themselves in a better way, they might look for quick fixes to bounce back into health.

In addition to health, college students might be looking for ways to make extra cash in a way that complements their packed schedules.

For both of these reasons, they might fall in with companies such as It Works.

Stylized as It Works!, the brand offers a wide variety of health products that claim to offer quick results, such as body wraps and dietary supplements. Most of their popularity comes from the seller’s side, where people can join the team and attempt to sell products for profit.

It Works markets its distributor positions to people who are looking for a quick way to make money, such as stay-at-home mothers and college students. However, like most promises of little work and instant cash, it’s just too good to be true.

It Works is considered a MLM, or Multi-Level Marketing company. MLMs are characterized by their focus on recruitment and membership over sales, and have many levels of product distributors that determine pay.

The products offered by It Works are by no means unique, but since they focus on health and beauty, they appeal to a wide range of people and are always popular.

Some of their products are challenged because of their controversial claims. For example, they offer a detox line which claims to “alkalize, balance, and detoxify” the body.

Extensive research has shown that the human body cannot be alkalized manually- it balances pH on its own. “Detoxing” claims to remove unnamed toxins from the body. But we have our own detox system: the liver and the kidneys.

Other controversial items include body wraps, a product popular with young women. Body wraps claim to burn fat by squeezing your midsection.

Some consumers seem to like the offerings on the It Works website. In reality, their arrangement of products is typical of fad diets. The real problems arise when people become distributors.

There are several levels that distributors must focus on when they join the It Works team: retail customers, loyal customers, and other distributors. There are many different management ranks as well, and with each rank, one’s bonus increases.

In order to make profit, a distributor must attain a high rank in the company, amass a large team of other distributors to sell products, make sure those team members raise their ranks as well, and sell as much product as possible overall.

It Works feeds off this seemingly-simple goal. While it seems attainable, most distributors end up getting locked at the first level because of the intense difficulty that comes with recruiting and selling.

One reviewer on stated that, despite selling 350 volume units and getting multiple customers, she averaged a profit of $40 a month. She also noted that it is impossible to move up ranks from just sales; the company expects its distributors to sell products down to their recruits, who then sell those products to customers.

Some people have accused It Works of being a pyramid scheme. This accusation holds up in some aspects, especially because it is extremely difficult to make any profit without spending money out of pocket.

However, it is different than a pyramid scheme because the company sells legitimate product (regardless of how well they work), and it is actually possible to make money, even if it is extremely difficult and requires a ridiculous amount of effort.

Can you possibly profit from a company like It Works? Maybe, but as a busy college student, it’s better to invest your time and money into a lifestyle change.

By balancing your diet to ensure consumption of necessary vitamins and nutrients, you will feel energized, and you will be taking care of your body. It is also a good idea to engage in some sort of physical activity a few times a week, such as going to the gym, walking, or playing a sport.

And if you’re looking for a convenient job, look at what the College of Staten Island has to offer on their website. Jobs like tutoring are convenient and can be scheduled around your classes.

As the semester gets more intense, take time to prioritize your health. Taking time to improve your lifestyle has no shortcuts.

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