A high school student, Ashley, recently reached out to me to interview me about my experience Beachbody coaching. She was working on a project for her English class in which she needed to interview a few people in a field she was interested in potentially pursuing so that she could weigh the pros and cons and make an educated decision as to whether or not this was the right opportunity for her.
I have been interviewed by a few different people regarding my experience including Lauren Gensler at Forbes, Michael Dinich at Your Money Geek, and now Ashley. Here are a few of the questions posed by all three interviewers.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, read my full disclosure here.
What caused you to get into multi-level marketing?
I’ve always looked for ways to grow my income, and actually, Beachbody coaching wasn’t my first multi-level marketing attempt. About 15 years ago, I signed on to be a Mary Kay representative. The local “Director” drove a pretty pink Cadillac and talked a good game about the “opportunity” to make money while helping women feel beautiful.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial hustle about me, and I believe this makes me a good target for multi-level marketers looking to recruit rock stars. Before I knew it, I had taken out an unsecured loan at my local bank to the tune of $1800 worth of inventory. I was 20 years old, and this has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve done in my adult life. Here’s where you’d think I would have learned my lesson. After returning my inventory to the company for 50% return of my money and paying off the loan, I vowed to never join another multi-level marketing pyramid scheme again.
Fast Forward 10 Years Later
In 2014, after having just moved to a new area and starting over with no friends, I started looking for ways to get into shape. I thought exercise might be the way to curb some of the depression I was experiencing as a result of feeling so isolated and living in a place I really didn’t want to be. My ex-sister-in-law Jocelyn had been a Beachbody coach and already grown to “Diamond” status in just a few short months. Her posts filled my newsfeed every day with motivational posts that seemed like novels, and she was all about Beachbody.
I reached out to her because I was recently a stay-at-home Mom (new territory for me as I’d always been a working Mom), and I was trying to save money and just wanted information on Turbo Fire, a workout program I knew Jocelyn had some success with herself. Truthfully, I was going to get the information that I sought and purchase Turbo Fire on Craigslist. I’d already found it listed for sale. I was just super careful about my spending and didn’t want to blow $40 on something without researching it first.
Then came the sales pitch from Jocelyn about the “opportunity”. It didn’t take long before I was pulling out my credit card to pay for a challenge pack. (insert face slap here)
What is the appeal? (Why do you think so many turn to MLM)
As a stay at home Mom with 3 kids, in a new area with no friends, a community of support was something that excited me. Having the opportunity to “join” others in their “journey” to health and fitness was appealing because I felt so lonely and depressed. I longed for friendship and belonging.
The opportunity to make money was also a big factor for me. As I said before, I have always looked at ways of supplementing our income, and if I was already going to be doing the workouts and drinking the shakes (which are a massive waste of money, by the way), I might as well share my story with others and get paid for referring them and helping them as well.
I think multi-level marketing companies prey on women (and men, but especially women) because there’s a mass amount of women who crave to be able to stay at home with their kids. If making money from home is as easy as signing people up under you (hence the term pyramid scheme), lots of women are willing to try it.
What was it that turned you away from Beachbody?
Where do I begin? First off, Beachbody’s #1 money-maker is Shakeology, a “superfoods” rich protein shake marketed as a meal replacement. Now that I know better, I realize that nothing replaces the healthiness of clean eating and moderation. Supplements are meant to compliment your nutrition and workouts..not to replace full meals. You don’t need Shakeology to be healthy and lose weight/get into shape. You need a clean diet along with a fitness plan. That’s it. But without Shakeology, coaches can’t be successful. The entire business model revolves around Shakeology. Side note: Every time I mention that you must sell Shakeology to be successful, coaches chime in and say “We don’t HAVE to sell Shakeology. We WANT to!” Of course, you do….it’s the only way to make decent money with Beachbody.
Beachbody Coaching Business Models
- Discount Coaches-Those customers who just want a discount on their products and have no intention of coaching others.
- Hobby Coaches-Those that sign up for coaching for a few extra bucks and to have fun while promoting products.
- Full-time or Business-Builders-People who are serious about earning a full-time income from home, achieving financial freedom and encouraging others to do the same by walking the walk (aka drinking the kool-aid…or Shakeology)
I don’t quite understand the value in being a discount coach or hobby coach with the cost it takes to maintain active coaching status and achieve your discount (especially if you don’t believe in the product). Shakeology is no special thang….when you replace a full meal with a 125-calorie protein shake, you’ll probably lose some weight. It’s just simple math. Calorie deficit = weight loss.
And most full-time coaches that are successful are already six-pack abs and a walking advertisement for Beachbody. It’s easy to sell a weight loss supplement and programs targeted at people who want to look like you….fit and gorgeous. Just take a look at the top elite coaches of last year.
Friend Requesting Strangers with the Intent to Sell
One of the other things that irritates me about MLM’s, in general, is the expectation to befriend complete strangers with the ulterior motive to sell to them. For example, Beachbody operates on 3 vital behaviors. One of those is “Invite, Invite, Invite”. Coaches are expected to compliment strangers (either in person or through Facebook), and then offer them a “life-changing opportunity” to “Join us in our journey to a healthier life”. They have scripts for the purpose of this, and they’ve got it down to a science.
- Friend request 5 new people per day.
- Send the new friend a “Hi, hun! Thanks for the add! You have a beautiful family!”……5 back and forth sentences and then BAM!
- Invite to the opportunity.
It’s so sleazy, and I just can’t stand it. Anytime I get a friend request from someone, they are fully vetted before I click the “add friend” button.
So many women have resonated with your experience. What are you doing to help them?
Yes, I have actually had hundreds of women comment on a post that I wrote about Why I Quit Beachbody Coaching. So many women were experiencing the same feelings, questioning whether coaching was truly right for them. So I compiled several of the comments together in this post where women can feel validated in their questioning of the coaching “opportunity”. I will never be silenced about my opinion on multi-level marketing. Coaches hate me, but women who’ve experienced the cult-like atmosphere appreciate my honesty.
I think women relate to my experience. Many either already stay at home with the kids and want to earn an income to help out their spouse. Others are working the home but desperately want to quit their 9-5 and start a side hustle to help make that dream a reality.
Fulfilling a Love for Business Through Blogging
I started my blog as an outlet and a way to fulfill my calling of helping other women achieve their financial and professional goals without having to sign up for a multi-level marketing gig. After always having a passion for helping others with their finances, I’ve found that a blog is THE perfect place to do that! I only wish I would have started blogging years ago (when I first had the entrepreneurial itch). When I read success stories of other bloggers who have made six and even seven figure incomes, I am blown away, but it helps me realize that it is possible for anyone.
Everybody has a hobby or a passion, and I think everyone should build a business and monetize their efforts. Whether they enjoy writing, creating videos for YouTube, or doing some affiliate marketing, there are so many ways to start an online business. Of course, there are other side hustles one can start.
An Easy Side Hustle with Low Overhead
One of my favorite side hustle ideas is photography. You can invest in a good camera, like this Canon t6i Video Creator Kit I use for my YouTube videos and blog photos, and it’s such a versatile business model. If you love sports, you could set up at football games, baseball games, etc., and take action photography shots. Have some business cards with your website, and hand them out to the parents at the games. Let them know that you’ll have a portfolio up in the next couple of days with photos of their child available for purchase. If you sell the photos for $25-30 a piece (digital copies), you have almost no overhead and immediate profit!
You could also get started really quickly by offering mini-sessions at a price more affordable than studio prices. For $50, families can have photos taken in 15-20 minute time slots on a Saturday. Book 10 sessions on a Saturday, and you’ve made $500 in a day!
The one good thing Beachbody coaching taught me is that personal development is key and investing in yourself will always pay off. Nowadays, I choose to invest in courses to help me grow my blog and income instead of meal replacement shakes.
Check out my Money & Blogging Resources Page!
If you want to know what resources I used to start my blog, check out this page. I’ve compiled all of my favorite money and blogging resources and listed them in order of necessity and then budget/cost. I spent way too much time searching the internet for information on all of these. So I wanted to make it easier for my readers to find the information they need to get started. 🙂