Disclaimer: If you’re a returning reader, welcome back. If you’re new to BOTTLESOUP, thanks for visiting! Please note that all posts are the opinion of the author and should not be taken in place of professional legal or financial advice. No one on the BOTTLESOUP team is or ever has been a doTerra Wellness Advocate, nor are we now nor have ever been employed or contracted by doTerra in any way.
If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve probably seen mention of essential oils. The global aromatherapy market is set to increase by 8.4% through 2024. But the essential oils you’re seeing online are likely from a direct sales company like Young Living or doTerra. Perhaps you’ve used essential oils and really like them. Maybe you’re interested in becoming a #bossbabe and noticed a few of your friends are selling essential oils. Whatever the reason, you’re curious whether or not you can earn an income with doTerra. Let’s find out.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What doTerra Wellness Advocates do
- How much it costs to become a doTerra “Wellness Advocate”
- How much commission you can earn from selling doTerra products
- The volume of doTerra products you need to sell to earn the equivalent of a minimum wage job
- How much doTerra Wellness Advocates earn, according to the doTerra Income Disclosure Statement
What is a doTerra Wellness Advocate?
A doTerra Wellness Advocate is a person who is passionate about doTerra products and wants to share that passion with others by selling doTerra products. Translation: doTerra Wellness Advocates are direct sales people who earn a commission from the selling doTerra products to their friends, family, and (theoretically) the greater public. doTerra claims most of their Wellness Advocates are just “focused on the use of essentials oils for the benefit of their family and friends, some want to develop a profitable business.” So according to doTerra, some people just want to pay $35 to become doTerra Wellness Advocates to purchase doTerra products at wholesale cost. This premise isn’t implausible; people pay to be members of wholesale clubs all the time. However, the major difference is that people who become members of wholesale clubs are not converted into salespeople for wholesale club membership. And those people are also not told “there’s a significant opportunity to supplement your income” by becoming members and selling products.
How much does it cost to become a doTerra Wellness Advocate?
Technically, you can become a doTerra Wellness Advocate for just $35. This entitles you to the wholesale cost purchase discount. If you want to earn money for selling products or bringing additional Wellness Advocates on, you need a Personal Volume (PV) of 100 per month. Your earnings on sales and recruiting are also calculated by PV value, which is not always directly equal to dollar value at wholesale or retail price. To become a doTerra Wellness Advocate who has the “opportunity” to earn commission, you need to have a 100 PV per month (typically greater than $100 in purchases per month) and spend $35 on the membership. This makes the annual cost of the sales opportunity approximately $1,235 in year one, and $1,225 in year two. (In year two, your renewal fee for membership is $25 instead of $35.)
Why are you counting the 100PV as a cost?
Simply: if you do not sell 100PV per month, you cannot earn a commission. So if you sell 90PV, you will not earn 20% or $18 in commission. You will earn zero. For this reason, we’ve calculated it as a cost to demonstrate how the minimum PV for commission impacts earnings. Someone could sell 1188PV for the year ($99/month) in product and earn zero commission. And yes, many doTerra Wellness Advocates are purchasing their 100PV in order to qualify for commission. Note that if you do personally purchase 100PV per month, you’ll need to sell an additional 400PV to total 500PV and just to earn back the $100 you invested each month.
How much of a commission can you earn from selling doTerra products?
According to this page, doTerra Wellness Advocates earn 20% of PV. The example on that page outlines a doTerra Wellness Advocate who is participating in the Fast Start incentive. According to the graphic, this example doTerra Wellness Advocate would earn $71.40 for recruiting three new doTerra Wellness Advocates in the first 60 days.
But, this does not take into account a few factors. And keep in mind that this example shows Lisa 357PV total to earn $71.40 commission.
Why lisa DIDn’T ACTUALLY MAKE $71.40
In order for “Lisa” to enroll “Megan,” Lisa would need to have paid $35 to become a doTerra Wellness Advocate and have purchased the equivalent of 100PV in product. For the sake of simplicity, let’s make PV = actual cost. While doTerra does state it’s not always the case, it just makes for easier math. So, Lisa needs to spend $100 per month to be eligible to earn 20% of the PV on Megan’s purchase. Because Megan purchase 357PV, Lisa qualifies for commission. And to get the Fast Start incentive, Lisa needs to do this within 60 days, or two months, of becoming a doTerra Wellness Advocate. In the best case scenario, Lisa has spent $35 ($35 membership fee) to earn $71.40 commission. Lisa has $36.40 profit for selling 357PV. If it takes Lisa 60 days, then Lisa has spent $135 (100PV from month one + $35 membership fee) to earn $71.40 commission. Lisa has -$63.60. Why has Lisa lost money? Well, let’s assume that the first month Lisa was learning and didn’t earn any commissions. To stay active, she needed 100PV to be eligible for commission. So she bought her own products or kit, which are not eligible for commission but count toward PV.
sidebar: who the F*&% knows a megan?
How many friends do you have who spend $357 on anything – let alone essential oils?
Also – if Megan only made the 78PV in the first 30 days, Lisa will not earn commission on that at all. She would only earn commission during months with 100PV. Meaning her total commission would be $55.80 in that scenario, – $35 membership fee, for a total of $20.80 commission for selling $357 in product.
Another point: Lisa recruited Megan to become a Wellness Advocate. This means Megan doesn’t need Lisa anymore after the first 60 days. Megan can place orders on her own. So, Lisa made between $20.80 and $36.40 in two months, and lost her best buying customer.
How much doTerra product a doTerra Wellness Advocate needs to sell to earn the equivalent of a minimum wage job
Odds aside, let’s talk numbers. If you earn a commission of 20% PV, theoretically it’s possible to come out on top. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and assuming a 35-hour work week, the target earnings would be $253.75/week (before taxes). Of course if you want to become a doTerra Wellness Advocate, you’re probably imagining a salary of much more than minimum wage, but this is an example. After all, if you’ve never sold a product before, it’s good to set your expectations to something achievable, right? (Note: The author of this post is not saying this is achievable. In fact, please see the doTerra Income Disclosure Statement section for feasibility statistics.)
how much doterra needed to sell
To earn the equivalent of a full-time, minimum wage job , you’ll need to sell 1269PV ($1,269 in product). If you want to recoup your membership fee, add 175PV (which 20% of that = $35). To break even and earn the equivalent of a full-time, minimum wage job in your first month, you’ll need to sell 1444PV ($1,444) of doTerra per week. Or 5251PV ($5,251) in doTerra Personal Volume sales in the first month to recoup your investment and earn the equivalent of a full-time, minimum wage job. After month one, you’ll need to sell 5076PV ($5,076) per month to earn the equivalent of a full-time, minimum wage job. It’s 175PV ($175) less because you’ve earned back the membership in full during the first month, assuming you made $5,251 in sales and earned a 20% commission. If you did this, your monthly income would be $1,015.20. But how much product do you need to sell to have a PV of 5076 per month?
Let’s take a look at doTerra’s most popular essential oil, according to their website. It’s Arborvitae Oil, and the wholesale cost is $22. Let’s say wholesale cost = PV. So 22PV per oil sold. 5076/22 = 230.72. Since you can’t sell 0.72 of a product, we’ll round up. You’ll need to sell 231 oils at 22PV per month in order to earn the equivalent of a minimum wage job. That’s 7.7 oils per day sold.
Are doTerra Wellness Advocates making money?
If you take a look at the doTerra Income Disclosure Statement, you’ll find answers.
According to the doTerra “Opportunity and Earning Disclosure Summary,” 17% of doTerra Wellness Advocates earn between $350 and $1,370 in commissions annually. Note that commissions does not equal profit. Like the example with Lisa before – which is a doTerra example – commission earned does not mean true dollars earned. It means commission. And if that is annual commission, and we assume that a doTerra Wellness Advocate is active for a full 12 months, are these people making a profit?
annual cost of selling doterra
The annual cost of being a doTerra Wellness Advocate is $1,235. If a doTerra Wellness Advocate earned $350 in commissions, that person is -$885 for the year. If they earned $1,370 in commission, that person is $135 for the year. Technically, they’ve turned a profit. And we’ll assume, for simplicity, that there were no other fees involved. However, we have a hunch that a more robust enrollment kit, website fees, and other “business expenses” are likely required to become a doTerra Wellness Advocate. (If you know what other costs are involved, please leave a comment below!) But, let’s keep it simple. If you earned $1,370 in commission, then you came out ahead at $135 for the year, or $11.25 per month.
If you take a look at the Income Disclosure Statement, do not be mislead by the following:
At first glance, it’s easy to think that 62% of doTerra Wellness Advocates earn an average of $26k and 23% earn an average of $57k. But if you read the paragraph before the chart, you’ll see that this chart represents just 0.5% of all doTerra Wellness Advocates. The Percent of Leaders column represents the distribution within that 0.05%. So in that 0.5%, 62% earn $26k and so on and so forth.
how many doterra wellness advocates are making real money?
As an Elite or Premier doTerra Wellness Advocate, earnings are on the low end. An Elite doTerra Wellness Advocate caps out commission at approximately $1,370. And that’s the tip-top of the scale. How many doTerra Wellness Advocates are this rank? 68.94%. This means the overwhelming majority of doTerra Wellness Advocates make a profit of just $135 a year – if they’re super high performers in the Elite class. If they make less commission, they earn zero profit. Many spend more than they earn in commissions for the “opportunity” to sell. Premier doTerra Wellness Advocates represent 16.34% of those earning commission. But as sourced earlier, only 4% of that 16.34% earn between $3,650 and $8,900 in commission annually. And 14.7% of doTerra Wellness Advocates are in the “Leadership” ranks, but just 62% of 0.5% are making $26k+. Is your head spinning, yet? We’d welcome a fact check, but according to our math? It’s possible that only 22 people are earning more than $26k as doTerra Wellness Advocates.
Should I become a doTerra Wellness Advocate?
Ultimately, it is your decision. There are a few things to consider before entering a direct sales or MLM company. First, check out the FTC Business Guidance Concerning Multi-Level Marketing. Then, ask yourself a few questions and be realistic:
- Do you have experience selling products?
- Are you comfortable with potentially losing $1,235 over the course of a year?
- Do you think you can reasonably sell 7.7 oils or the equivalent PV per day?
- How many hours are you going to invest in direct sales each day?
- Do you feel comfortable recruiting friends, family members, and strangers to also potentially lose money?
The bottom line
It’s not our place to tell you if you should or shouldn’t become a doTerra Wellness Advocate. But it’s a well-known fact in reputable business communities that direct sales is at best lacking transparency and at worst a scam. Every business has risk. But not every business has the same level of risk. Many people will try to tell you that starting your own business is more risky than becoming part of a direct sales company. But statistically that is not true. Statistically, “About two-thirds of business survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and one-third will survive 10.” Compare this to 50% of direct sales and MLM “owners” who leave within the first year. And even those who stay may not be profitable. Many direct sales and MLM companies prey on people who are optimistic but down on their luck. They make money off of your sign up fees. They make money whether you profit or not. You’re their customer. And they don’t care if you don’t make money; they’ve already won.
Other factors to consider
what you don’t get with direct sales
You need to consider the fact that by investing your time in a direct sales or MLM company, there’s an opportunity cost. You’re sacrificing your ability to search for a higher paying, salaried job. You’re sacrificing the time you could invest in getting more education or training for a great position. And you’re not an employee, so even if you do make it into the small minority of direct sales earners, you don’t have benefits. You’ll pay a self-employment tax on all of your income, too.
Follow your dreams, not someone else’s
Is it your lifelong dream to become a direct sales or MLM salesperson? Probably not. Think about what your true passion and interests are. Work towards creating the future you’ve dreamed of, not a fantasy of an “easy way” to earn that you’re being sold.
Data Junkie says
Thank you Ms. Bottlesoup! You do such great work, and this is so enlightening. These MLMs are so mysterious about how money is made. Just look how hard they work to obscure the facts that you have revealed in this post. Normal jobs are easy to understand, “Work this many hours and get this many dollars (and possibly benefits) in return.”. Even proper franchises have very clear, easy to understand financials, not to mention necessary territorial protection from internal competition.
doTerra offers no such clarity or protections. They in fact create direct incentives to Advocates to undermine their own sales prospects by recruiting down-line folks (who also recruit down-line folks) who will compete directly with their own up-line (and untold numbers of parallel networks within doTerra) for end-consumers of the product. When every consumer of the product is also selling, the sellers, by definition, become the only buyers.
So once it becomes clear that the Advocate is the true target customer of doTerra, and that sales outside the network are completely unnecessary for corporate success, these incentives make perfect sense from doTerra corporate’s perspective. But how very sad for the Advocates.
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
Thanks, Data Junkie! I was surprised by the effort to conceal information in the Income Disclosure Statement. It was also interesting to see the pyramid-like structure they illustrate in their literature.
Have you done a post on tiber river?
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
Nope! What’s tiber river?