I have been hearing about Optavia for a while now so I decided to investigate what this company is all about.
Now, I have to add a little disclaimer here that I have never been a customer of Optavia, so I’m relying on information & feedback collected from the customers and current (& ex) “health coaches”.
However, I have reviewed tons of money-making opportunities with a similar business model that Optavia is using, so I’m familiar with the pros & cons of what an opportunity like this has to offer.
My aim with this review is to see if you can make money with Optavia’s business model rather than focusing solely on whether the products itself are good or bad.
Is Optavia a scam or can you really make life-changing money with their business model?
Let’s find out.
What Is Optavia?
Optavia is MLM-company selling meal replacements, weight-loss food kits, and programs that are advertised to support a healthier lifestyle.
The Optavia brand is rather new as it was founded in 2017 but the company has a long background history under different brand names reaching the early 1980’s.
Before rebranding in 2017, the company was known as “Take Shape For Life” which was founded in 2002 and it was also considered to be part of another company called Medifast which in turn was founded in 1980.
The background is somewhat complicated but the point is that they have been around for a long time and some of the leaders still work under the Optavia brand.
Let’s check out the products next.
Optavia’s products are said to support a healthy lifestyle and therefore their flagship products are the meal replacements.
Meal replacements are a substitute for solid food meals and they contain controlled quantities of calories and nutrients to help you lose weight.
Optavia calls these “fuelings” and their food kits include:
- & More
In addition to meal replacements, Optavia has created a community around losing weight which plays a major role in achieving a healthier lifestyle for their customers.
This community has a coaching system available for members to help each other out with their health goals and in fact — the whole business model of Optavia is dependent on these “health coaches” which I will be discussing next.
Let’s move on.
How Does The Optavia Business Model Work?
As I mentioned in the beginning — Optavia is an MLM-company.
MLM stands for Multi-Level-Marketing which is also known as direct selling or network marketing.
(MLM doesn’t equal a scam or a pyramid scheme in legal terms even though many believe so)
How this plays out in practice is that you can’t buy Optavia’s products from your typical local supermarket.
Instead, you have to purchase the products from “independent distributors” which in this case are the “health coaches” — or in even simpler terms; other Optavia customers.
Yes, the health coaches are mostly normal customers and anyone can become one without a medical degree.
Basically, the customers are the ones marketing and spreading the word of the company which is the case with most MLM’s.
If you take part in the business opportunity:
This means you are essentially paying to promote a company.
But is it worth it?
Let’s find out.
How Can You Make Money With Optavia?
First, you need to get in touch with your health coach and if you don’t have one — you can find one using the zip code search in Optavia’s site.
You’ll be assigned a coach that’s living closest to the zip code you entered and after that, you have to enter your name, email, and phone number so the coach can contact you.
That coach will become your “upline” in the multi-level-system and will make commissions whenever you or your “downline” purchases Optavia’s products.
How do you get your own downline then?
Well, the next step is to buy Optavia Business Kit so you can start recruiting people to your downline and make commissions from their purchases.
The kit costs $199 and you get basic tools, marketing materials, and 12 months of free access to your own website where people can buy Optavia products and become your downline.
I don’t know about the quality of the business training but if I had to make an educated guess — you are instructed to market this opportunity to your friends and family in face-to-face setup and also in your social media e.g Facebook.
Those would be the typical instructions you get from most MLM opportunities.
Optavia Compensation Plan
Optavia’s compensation plan is unique in a good way when compared to other typical MLM companies.
The difference is that Optavia distributors don’t get paid directly for enrolling new members — they get paid when a member purchases a product.
This eliminates the pyramid scheme aspect as the emphasis is more on selling the products rather than recruiting new members as a way to make money.
The downside being; you need to recruit more people to your downline to increase sales.
As your downline and sales grow — you will advance in ranks that enable higher payouts.
The compensation plan has 3 competency levels for coaches and every level has higher rewards:
- Health Coach – You earn income for supporting clients = client buys a product
- Business Coach – You earn income for supporting health coaches & building teams
- Business Leader – You earn income for developing leadership in your team
For more details, you can check out the compensation plan here.
Is The Optavia Business Model Worth Joining?
In my perspective, this opportunity has some major flaws and not everyone can make this into a successful business.
Let me explain.
First, you need to have actually used the products yourself with positive results to effectively sell the same product for potential customers.
The potential customers, in this case, are mainly the people who want to lose weight — which there are plenty in this day and era — but how many are there in your social reach who fit this category?
How many of those people are ready to pay around $360 per month for meal replacements — which in my opinion is very expensive and narrows down your potential customers to a small number.
Sure, you get very good commissions from prices of that caliber but I just don’t see many people having enough money to afford products like that for very long.
And to make this into a worthwhile business — you need to recruit tons of people to be able to do this full-time.
So don’t expect to become rich solely from your relatives’ wallets.
Consider this; do you have enough people in your social reach or do you meet new people every day?
If you do meet new people every day — then this could work for you.
In fact, you do get a website for 12 months and you can leverage the ever-growing population of the Internet to reach new potential customers — I’m just not very confident in MLM companies’ ability to teach online marketing.
I don’t know about Optavia’s methods but the usual marketing advice among most MLM’s seems to be “post your website link in Facebook and watch the magic happen” — as an affiliate marketer, I can tell you that’s not how it works.
Whether Optavia’s business aspect is worth joining — that I’ll depend on your ability to constantly recruit new people and how well you can lead a team.
Some Pros And Cons Of Optavia
PRO: The Company Has A Long History
Like I explained earlier, Optavia has long roots as a subsidiary of Medifast which has been around since 1980 — that’s almost 40 years.
They are definitely doing something right to stay in business for that long.
Some other notable things about Medifast:
- Surprisingly low amount of complaints in the Better Business Bureau
- Over 20,000 doctors have recommended the products (though I’m a bit skeptical on this one)
- The products are backed by science
PRO: The Community
Apparently, the community inside Optavia is very friendly and full of like-minded people ready to help others achieve their weight goals.
Community plays a big role in one’s success whether it is weight loss or business-related.
I know that from personal experience since the community behind my online business training played a big role in how fast I learned the ropes.
PRO: The Compensation Plan Is Good
Even though I believe that every compensation plan in existence is made overly complicated — Optavia’s plan is way better than most.
This is because:
- It doesn’t rely solely on recruiting
- The focus is on helping
- I actually understood most of it
The emphasis on products rather than enrolling is what makes a big difference here.
CON: Expensive Products
Let’s face it — the products are extremely expensive and not many people will have the chance to try them out or maintain the costs for long periods.
Even less if you plan to introduce your whole family to this new diet.
One 30-day fueling kit will cost you $300-400 and you can probably do the math yourself how much that would cost per year just for one person.
(Hint: it’s around $4.3k)
Sure, you can buy individual snacks but the emphasis is definitely on pushing these 30-day fuelings and following the program to the core for getting positive results.
And that wasn’t everything:
If you want to make this into a business — you need to pay even more.
- $199 Business Kit – To get started promoting this company, you need to pay this one-time investment which gives you basic business information, marketing materials, and tools.
- $99 for “renewing your business” every year – This is the slightly shady part as you need to “renew” your business which is ridiculous. To me this sounds like a money grab with no clear benefit for you — again, you basically pay to promote a company.
- Monthly orders – This is pretty common in most MLM’s as you need to keep buying the products to be eligible for commissions and rank advances.
I think it’s clear that this is not the cheapest opportunity out there.
CON: “Health Coaches”
I’m not a big fan of how some Optavia coaches call themselves “health coaches” even though they don’t have any kind of degree in the medical field.
Yes, they might have succeeded in achieving a healthier lifestyle but that doesn’t make them any more qualified to provide health-related advice.
As a new customer, you might think these “health coaches” are certified experts in the medical field and you’ll be in good hands once you join.
In reality, you’ll be assigned to a coach who is in no position to give you health advice and in the worst-case scenario — only cares about the business benefits of recruiting you.
CON: Hard To Find And Sustain Customers
The price of this opportunity narrows down your potential customers considerably and most of them might not stay as a customer for long because the recurring costs are so high.
It’s true that you are not supposed to be using fuelings for the rest of your life and from a business standpoint — this is not a good thing.
Other than that, Optavia as a business opportunity has the same problems that are present in most MLM’s:
- Your potential customers are often tied to your social circle
- You are stuck to one geographical location
- You are expected to be brand loyal and can’t promote other products
Optavia Reviews And Complaints
I researched feedback about this company and there were a couple of complaints that popped up again and again.
The majority of the complaints were about customer support and people having problems getting in touch with them.
The customers mainly reported having problems getting a response to their emails or phone calls.
In some cases, the clients were instructed to contact their coach if they wanted to get in touch with the company — which resulted in frustration because the coaches weren’t necessarily in any better position to contact the company in problem cases.
Another major complaint was about the food tasting bad — which obviously is a very personal opinion — but in my personal view, I can imagine meal replacement not being the most delicious food on the planet.
Is Optavia A Pyramid Scheme Or A Scam?
No, Optavia is neither a pyramid scheme or a scam.
Some people think MLM’s equal pyramid schemes but this is not the case — at least in legal terms. Pyramid schemes are illegal and if Optavia was seen as one, the Federal Trade Commission would bring them down rather quickly.
The company has a long solid history and they wouldn’t have been able to stay in business for 40 years if this was a pyramid scheme or a scam.
What makes the big difference — is the emphasis on selling the products and helping people achieve their optimal weight rather than recruiting tons of people as the only way to make money.
My Opinion On Optavia
Well, personally I would never start a business in the MLM category as there are just cheaper, less-riskier, and more rewarding business models existing.
I also lack the proper skills to conduct face-to-face marketing and I’m not really the target audience for Optavia’s products so I would have a hard time selling the opportunity to others.
I find that someone who has found positive results with the products, is out-going and meets new people every day and can also lead a team — could make this opportunity work for them.
However, It’s not the right business model for me.
A Worthwhile Alternative
If you want to go with Optavia’s MLM route and you feel like it is the right program for you, feel free to do so.
I’m not writing this to bash the opportunity or to change your mind — I want you to make an educated decision.
With that said:
If you are like me and don’t see yourself fitting the mold of Optavia — it would be highly irresponsible of me to not show you a worthwhile alternative.
Affiliate Marketing vs MLM
What I personally do is called affiliate marketing which has similarities with MLM but I see it as a far better option.
Probably the biggest difference between the two is the fact that:
I don’t have to pay to promote a company nor do I have to recruit people.
And yet the companies — which are not limited to just one — pay me for my efforts.
I’m not required to be brand loyal to just one company and I can promote any product I want from any company I want.
Neither do I have to buy the products or hold inventory to be eligible for payouts.
As you can imagine — this method is cheaper and less-riskier by tenfold when compared to any MLM.
If you are interested in making money the same way I do and want a proper way to build an online business — then look no further than the same free to get started affiliate marketing course that I used to learn everything.
Optavia Review: Closing Words
Is Optavia a Scam?
Definitely not, as I have provided my insight already.
The company has a solid background and will most likely keep going for many years to come so I believe it is a safe bet if someone wants to try the MLM business aspect they are offering.
I don’t see the company coming crashing down overnight.
Can you make money with the Optavia business model?
Yes, you most definitely can.
There are however lots of ways to make money and you shouldn’t limit yourself to MLM’s only.
The affiliate marketing training I suggested would definitely help your MLM efforts since Optavia provides you with a personal website and I’m not very confident that they teach you how to take full advantage of online marketing.
Thanks again for reading my review and hopefully you can make an educated decision based on this.
I’ll leave you to it.