Herbalife is a worldwide nutrition, weight-loss and skin-care company founded in 1980 by entrepreneur Mark Hughes. What began as a small door-to-door business run from the trunk of his car grew into a multi-level marketing company—Los Angeles, Calfornia-based Herbalife Industries. The company reported more than $3.8 billion in earnings for 2009.
Pros of Taking Herbalife Products
Herbalife products are intended to help people maintain healthier lifestyles. The weight-loss plans are fairly simple to follow and offer a variety of shakes and meal replacements to cater to each individual's taste. The shakes, protein bars, snacks and supplements are easy to take with you on the go. The careful monitoring of your fat and caloric intake help retrain you on how to eat and live better.
Cons of Taking Products
The products sold by Herbalife International representatives can be very expensive. Products with the same ingredients may be purchased at significantly lower prices at health food stores. While the weight-loss program plans provide healthy alternatives to unhealthy eating patterns, there simply isn't enough scientific evidence to support the claims that taking Herbalife will make you lose weight. In the past, some Herbalife weight-loss supplements contained the dangerous appetite suppressant ephedrine. Although the products no longer contain this ingredient, a scientific study was started in 2007 by doctors at the University Hospital of Bern in Switzerland and the liver unit of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel to determine if a correlation exists between use of Herbalife products and development hepatitis.
Pros of Selling Herbalife Products
Starting your own Herbalife company is a relatively easy feat. With low start-up costs around $108 for the standard opportunity pack or $78 or so for the mini-pack, the initial venture into the organization represents minimal risks. Herbalife allows you to sell at your own pace and set your own hours. The opportunity to work from home may allow you to spend more time with family and friends. No prior sales experience is required to become a successful advocate for the company.
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Cons of selling Herbalife Products
Many people claim that Herbalife is a scam and that very few people can make a sustainable living by selling the products. While the initial start-up fee is low, critics assert that sponsors exert exorbitant pressure to purchase a large quantity of costly merchandise—under the illusion that your business will be so profitable over the next two or three months that the products you purchase for thousands of dollars will be flying off your shelves. In 2004, a lawsuit seeking class action status—filed on behalf of 8,700 former and current distributors as of that time—alleged that the company was merely a pyramid scheme. In the settlement that was reached, Herbalife International Inc. and a group of its top-earning distributors agreed—without admitting wrongdoing—to pay $6 million to the plaintiffs.
There are risks involved in taking any type of supplement or dietary product and risk in starting your own home-based business. Always read the fine print and be sure that you are fully informed before making these big decisions.
Alex Harmon began her writing and editing career in 2000. She was the head staff writer for the "River News Herald" in Rio Vista, Calif., and has contributed to the "Weatherford Democrat," "Hood County News," "Abilene Reporter," "McKinney Courier-Gazette," "Hood County News," "Stephenville Empire Tribune" and "Coppell Gazette." Harmon holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University.