Real, Unbiased It Works! Review from an Ex-MLMer
Table of Contents
- Call Us Crazy
- It Works! Company Overview
- Who Owns It Works! and When Did They Start?
- Do It Works! Products Actually Work?
- Are It Works! Products Safe, Vegan, and Gluten-Free?
- Pros: Why It Works!
- Cons: Why It Works! Is Bad
- Compensation Plan: Can It Works! Make You Money?
- Bottom Line
Call Us Crazy
If you Google “It Works”, the description for the MLM company’s website asks:
Have You Tried That Crazy Wrap Thing?
Smart marketing right there.
MLMs are always floggin’ products with ridiculous, overblown, and/or unprovable claims.
So it’s not surprising to hear people refer to an MLM as “the one with the crazy juice” or “the one with the crazy knives”.
But It Works! takes it a step further by referring to their OWN product as crazy.
So why not use that to your advantage?
And, as their name implies, apparently It Works!
Not their main product, though – I think it’s basically junk (more ‘bout that later).
But their marketing style is absolutely and verifiably working.
You might’ve even seen some It Works! before and after pics on social media.
If you’ve never seen them on Facebook, you clearly don’t have as many gullible friends as I do.
But the real question is, can YOU get any of that sweet cash? Or is that just more crazy talk?
Let’s find out.
It Works! Company Overview
It Works! is based in Palmetto, Florida, and offers skin care and nutritional products which are geared towards making your body look and feel better.
But what they really bring to the table is one of the most aggressive and successful social media campaigns we’ve seen from an MLM company to date.
Mary Kay may have their pink Cadillacs, but It Works! is absolutely crushing the social media landscape.
They have more posts on Facebook and Instagram than any other MLM company in recent memory.
Given that they dominate the World Wide Web, it’s no surprise that they’ve expanded the company worldwide as well.
It Works! is now doing business in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and eight other European countries.
And it’s doing enough business that in 2013, It Works! found its way onto the Inc. 500 List.
So aside from hope, what exactly are they selling?
Well, as mentioned above, their flagship product is their “Crazy Wrap Thing” to the point where they even call their sales reps “Wrapreneurs”.
This is obviously a combo of “wrap” and “entrepreneur”, but to me it sounds a lot more like “wrap-manure”.
Which makes sense, because it just might be a load of…
Well, you get the point.
Anyway, in addition to the body wrap, It Works! has continued to expand their product line.
But this may be the biggest testament to the company’s overall success:
Their social media campaign has worked so well, that people are willing to buy random objects branded with “It Works!”, instead of what the company is actually selling.
They also have a charitable wing called the It Works! Gives Back Foundation – a non-profit organization that donates to cancer research, homeless outreach, and similar humanitarian causes.
Now, a cynical person might say that any MLM contributing to charity is just another smart marketing campaign.
But even if that’s true, it’s definitely worth applauding companies that advertise by giving money to worthwhile causes, rather than greedy corporate execs.
In 2018, the foundation partnered with The Payton Wright Foundation, The V Foundation, Children’s Cup, Selah Freedom, and Samaritan’s Purse.
Meanwhile, the It Works! corporate office is trying hard to model Google’s approach of being known as a “cool” place to work.
To accomplish that, apparently every day at 3:05 pm, all of the It Works! corporate employees stop what they’re doing to give each other high fives.
I’d love to see the reaction of some of their no-so-enthusiastic employees at high five time.
But let’s go back to the beginning and see how it all started.
Who Owns It Works! and When Did They Start?
Mark and Cindy Pentecost founded the company back in 2001 by selling the Ultimate Body Applicator (aka Crazy Wrap), the company’s flagship product.
Mark Pentecost was originally a public school teacher in Michigan.
He also worked for a few direct-sales companies before realizing the way to make real money was to start his own.
All he needed was a product and eventually settled on the body wrap idea, which his wife Cindy was willing to try out.
She loved it so much that she immediately called a friend to share her results.
“That was when I knew that we had a perfect product for direct selling,” Mark explained.
In 2005, they added a line of supplements. In 2010, they began expanding internationally through Australia and Europe.
The following year, they also expanded at home – moving from Michigan to sunny Florida.
2014 was also the year that the first person (whose last name wasn’t Pentecost) managed to achieve multi-millionaire status with It Works!
But certainly Mark Pentecost remains the largest money-maker from his company, and it’s safe to say that he loves to invest in real estate.
He paid a paltry $3.5 million for some land in 2014.
Then a year later, he decided to drop another $14.5 million on his own private island.
And less than a year after that, another $7 million on a ranch.
All this real estate buying definitely fits in perfectly with Mark Pentecost’s personal motto:
“We like to make money like Warren Buffet, but we like to hang out like Jimmy Buffett.”
Can’t blame ’em for that — I’m a capitalist and not hating on the man’s success.
But one thing’s for sure:
At least for Mark Pentecost, It definitely Works!
Do It Works! Products Actually Work?
It Works! has a whole range of products but if there’s one that defines the company, it’s definitely their body wrap.
It’s the one that put ’em on the map and made the company famous.
It’s also the one behind all the social media posts from folks who claim how much weight it helped them to lose.
Check out the official It Works! video explaining their 3-step system below:
Now forgive me “Dr. Don”, but I gotta go off the rails here for a second cuz I’ve had just about enough of this wrap crap.
Newsflash: You can’t lose weight by rubbing cream on your belly or wrapping yourself in anything.
Even if it’s a “non-woven cloth wrap infused with a powerful, botanically based cream formula.”
Reminds me of this scene from the movie “The Full Monty”:
Sure, if you wrap yourself in plastic for an hour – and even eat a Snickers bar – you might sweat and lose a little water weight.
If you throw in a moisturizing cream underneath the wrap, you might even experience an improved appearance of your skin (temporarily).
But that’s just the illusion of weight loss, and any water weight will only stay off if you plan to never eat or drink again.
Which, although effective, unfortunately results in death 100% of the time.
So I would suggest that if you wanna get similar results – and feel a LOT better about yourself – try going to a hot yoga class.
But then again, that would actually require folks to do some physical WORK – which unfortunately ain’t gonna happen in most cases.
Like it or not, medical science has agreed that:
“Weight loss is an internal metabolic process. Nothing you wear or apply to the skin can cause substantial weight loss.”
So the ONLY way a body wrap is gonna result in serious weight loss…
Is by wrapping it over your FACE to prevent yourself from eating.
Kinda like this:
Now, I can already hear the It Works! defenders who’ll say:
“But what about all the people who did the full program as instructed and actually lost weight?!”
Yeah, because step two and three of the It Works! system involves (gasp!) eating healthier foods and taking some weight loss supplements.
Hate to burst your bubble wrap, but body wraps had nothing to do with it.
Sure, that could happen.
But it ain’t because I’m wearing a special “anti-blubber bandana” with “skinny cream” lol.
The reviews on Amazon.com seem to agree.
Moving along, the It Works! skin care products include toners, cleansers, moisturizers, anti-aging creams and something called It Works! WOW.
Gotta admit that’s a great product name.
And some customers even report that WOW seems to make wrinkles temporarily disappear – if only for a short time.
Then again, some also report that it can leave a chalky white residue resembling a clown, and that it looks bad if you try to put any makeup over it.
But at least you’ll look like a young clown, right?
Are It Works! Products Safe, Vegan, and Gluten-Free?
Well, that depends on which products we’re talking about.
Here’s what the It Works! Product Coach website has to say:
Question: Medical Issues and Medications
Answer: We know many people with various medical conditions do use our products. However, if you have a medical issue, allergy, or are on any medication, we recommend that you consult with your health care provider before using any of our products. Most often it is just a matter of faxing or dropping off the product ingredient lists with your doctor or pharmacist for their review and then a phone call to get their opinion. The ingredients lists for any of our products can be found by browsing through our products section on our website. Simply click on the product you are interested in, and then click on “view Ingredients” on that product’s page.
Question: Pregnant / Nursing / Breastfeeding
Answer: To be conservative, we recommend that you not use the Body Applicators, Defining Gel or supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Because the ingredients are herbal based and formulated to help adults, we suggest that you wait to use them until after your pregnancy or when you are through nursing your baby. Also, for nursing moms, the Applicators and Defining Gel’s fragrance is too strong for baby. Before using any new product, whether a nutritional supplement, topical cream or treatment, or any other item, you should always consult your physician to find out if it is safe for you and your baby.
Question: What products do your recommend for pregnant and nursing moms?
Answer: Our products are carefully formulated to safely blend cosmetic science with ingredients from nature. We do recommend that pregnant and/or nursing women always consult with their physician prior to the use of any It Works! products, especially those that could inadvertently come into contact by your newborn as our products are not intended for use in children, or are come in contact with body for an extended period of time. We also suggest for all pregnant and/or nursing Mom’s to consult with their physician prior to using any It Works! dietary supplements.
Question: What products are considered vegan?
Question: Do any It Works! products contain gluten?
Answer: Fat Fighter and WOW contain gluten. Profit is gluten free (discontinued in 2019). All other It Works! products do not contain any gluten ingredients in the formulation. While our manufacturer follows extremely rigorous cleaning routines designed to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination, it is not an allergen-free facility.
Question: Are It Works! products organic?
Answer: No, our products are not certified organic.
The It Works! Greens products include powder supplements that claim to be: “Soy-Free. Non-GMO. Dairy-Free. Vegan.”
They also contain “no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners” and are said to help you in three ways:
ALKALIZE: The natural blend of ingredients in Greens is designed to help alkalize the body, restore pH balance, and support the immune system for overall health and wellness.†
BALANCE: Greens contains a powerful blend of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes in their bioactive, bioavailable form so you experience maximum absorption by your body for a big nutritional boost.†
DETOXIFY: With the natural detoxifying properties of Matcha Green Tea and a complex blend of 34 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, Greens delivers the best nutrients to support your body’s natural detoxification and help your body to naturally cleanse and balance for a healthier you.†
Sounds pretty good to me.
But it’s only fair to point out the small cross at the end of each description above, which leads to the following disclaimer:
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
So keep in mind that these claims may or may not be completely accurate.
The It Works! Lifestyle section offers too many supplements to list, ranging from Omega-3s to fat-fighters.
But my personal favorite is the Ultimate ProFIT protein powder.
Not because it’s any better than other protein powders, though.
Maybe it’s just the hardcore entrepreneur in me, but I gotta admire any company that has the sheer balls to sell a little protein powder at $70-$115, and actually name it “Ultimate Profit”.
(Update: The Ultimate ProFIT protein powder is now discontinued.)
There are plenty of other product categories in the It Works! arsenal, but the last one I want to highlight is their apparel.
Because if you’re gonna buy one thing from this company, I can whole-heartedly recommend their branded clothing.
At $28 for a t-shirt, the high markup isn’t any worse than what you’re paying for the rest of their products.
And hell, if you buy them a size up, they might even make you look a lil’ thinner.
Pros: Why It Works!
✓ It Works! is very active on social media.
And that’s just the company.
You’ve also got a hundred thousand sales reps blowing up their social media as well.
So the good news is: If you need ideas on how to promote your own It Works! biz, you can simply jack them from your fellow Distributors all day long.
Like Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.”
✓ Promotions help make your first month easier.
Mostly for recruitment purposes, It Works! offers limited-time promotions for new sign-ups.
One month, you might find a serious reduction in their $100 starter kit fee (aka Business Builder Kit).
Another month, you might discover a couple extra goodies in your starter kit.
The website support (with training, assistance, and your own sub-site) is also free during your first month.
✓ Extensive catalog choices makes pitching products easier.
Most MLM companies have a pretty narrow focus – they only sell a juice, or make-up, nutritional supplements, etc.
The downside is that if your potential customer doesn’t like that specific product, the sale is never gonna happen.
When It Works! first launched in 2001, they just had a body wrap.
And while a surprising number of suckers people have been convinced to buy it, there are plenty of others who never would.
Fast-forward to today and their catalog has vastly expanded.
Sure, if you want a body wrap, skin cream, or supplements – they got you covered.
But now they also have It Works! clothing. Essential oils. Tote bags.
They even have their own friggin’ line of coffee.
From a sales perspective, I gotta give ‘em credit here.
It Works! has so many different product categories these days, that basically everyone is a potential customer.
(Except for this guy.)
Cons: Why It Works! Is Bad
✗ It Works! is very active on social media.
“Wait a second! You already listed that as a Pro!”
I’m aware of that, smarty pants.
But it’s no accident.
While there ARE advantages to having your MLM plastered everywhere on Facebook, there are also disadvantages.
For example, if most of your Facebook friends have already seen the It Works! FB posts, there’s a good chance they’re either:
A) Sick of seeing them, or
B) Have already bought some It Works! products from someone who isn’t you.
More importantly, friends who might even be interested in selling this stuff, may have already signed up with someone else.
Which makes it that much harder for you to find new recruits to build a downline.
And in the MLM world, we all know that if you’re not building a downline to sell more products, you ain’t gonna survive for very long.
Speaking of which…
✗ The products you’re selling are available elsewhere for less money.
This certainly isn’t unique to It Works!, as it applies to most MLMs out there.
But nevertheless, you’ve got the following problems working against you:
(E.g. A magical body wrap that claims it will help you lose weight.)
2) A savvy buyer will realize they can buy similar products in a retail store or online (Amazon, eBay) at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy from you.
Why does this seem to always be the case with MLM companies?
Simple: MLMs tend to give their sales reps discounts for buying in bulk.
So in theory, the “best” way to make money as a Distributor is to buy a big order on discount, and then sell it for the full retail price.
But not so fast.
For many folks, this is also the best way to lose money if they end up with a trunk, basement, or garage full of overpriced crap that nobody wants to buy.
When the soon-to-be-ex-MLMer realizes they’re out thousands of dollars with no buyers on the horizon…
Things can start to get ugly:
Not that you’d expect any MLM to get a particularly great rating from the BBB, given that most sales reps for an MLM will actually lose money.
But It Works! has so many negative reviews that the BBB has given the company a C+ rating for having a “pattern of complaints”.
They also have racked up nearly 300 complaints filed with the FTC.
Long story short, customers are complaining that it’s difficult to cancel their monthly product orders.
Basically, if someone signs up for the It Works! auto-shipment program, they’re agreeing to receive monthly products for a minimum of 3 months.
If they wanna cancel before the 3 months is up, there’s a $50 “membership fee” if they bail.
After the initial 3 months, a customer can cancel any time with no fees.
But the company would receive less flak if they made it easier to cancel and called this what it really is:
A cancellation fee aka “money grab”.
Compensation Plan: Can It Works! Make You Money?
If you wanna know about the It Works! compensation plan, you can start by reading their official 22-page document.
TLDR (too long, didn’t read)?
Okay, let me summarize the most important parts for you.
The biggest thing you need to know is that even if you sell a couple of products, you get nothing, nada, zilch, ZERO commission dollars…
Unless you meet your monthly “Commission Qualified” goal.
How’d you do that?
Well, there are only three ways:
1) Sell and/or buy a total of 150 PBV (Personal Bonus Volume) of It Works! products every month.
Every It Works! product has a point value assigned to it.
Most of them are dollar for dollar meaning that if you sell a product that costs $30, you’ll get 30 BV points.
However, what happens if you worked your butt off this month and only sold 100 PBV ($100) worth of products – not the required $150?
Too bad, no soup for you!
Or maybe you think it’s worth covering that last $50 yourself, just to qualify for commissions?
You sneaky lil’ devil, you!
But your commission rate is only ten percent and 10% of $150 is $15.
So in this example, you’d be spending $50 to make $15.
Okay, so maybe it’s tough to sell $150 of products every month, but you can also achieve Commission Qualified status by…
2) Enrolling customers into the auto-shipment program for 80 PBV ($80) worth of products.
The good news is, in this scenario you only have to sell half as much.
The bad news is – as mentioned earlier – their auto-renew policy makes it difficult to cancel.
(Can take up to 3 months, $50 cancellation fee.)
Which can ultimately hurt your reputation if your pissed off customers also happen to be your friends and/or family members.
So what’s the third way?
3) During your first month only, if you bought the $100 Business Builder Kit, you’re automatically Commission Qualified.
This is the easiest method to qualify for your first month’s commissions.
But unfortunately, it only works in your first month – after that, you’re on your own and have to qualify via options 1 and 2 above.
Now, in all fairness, if you DO manage to sell enough to stay Commission Qualified, you can earn some decent money.
But since your basic commission on purchases is 10%, you’ll need to sell $1,000 worth of products just to make back your initial $100 investment.
Obviously not exactly the road to riches.
Of course, as with all MLMs, the real way to make money is to recruit more Distributors and grow your downline.
Cue the “Fast Start Bonus”.
In a single month: If you buy the $100 Business Builder Kit, sell 150 PBV (or 80 PBV auto-ship) of products, AND recruit two other distributors who do the same, you get a $100 one-time bonus.
So if you can recruit many successful reps who recruit many other successful reps, you can start receiving bonuses and move up the It Works! ranks.
These include “management levels” of Executive, Ruby, and Emerald.
The higher you go, the more commission levels you get paid on and higher bonuses you earn.
If you climb the It Works! ladder high enough, you can reach the “leadership levels” of Diamond where you can really start to make some serious cash.
Just remember that only about 2.5% of distributors ever reach Diamond level or above.
But those are pretty standard odds of making it to the top of any MLM.
It Works!: Bottom Line
|It Works! is a 500-pound gorilla on social media, with heavy visibility on Facebook and Instagram, offering lots of brand recognition.||Because It Works! is plastered all over social media, it may be more difficult for you to enroll people who haven't already been exposed to the company.|
|It Works! Gives Back foundation donates money to important humanitarian causes, such as fighting cancer and aiding the homeless.||For a company that has mastered social media, it's pretty easy to classify charitable giving as just another savvy marketing technique.|
|Your first month with It Works! may go well if you buy their $100 Business Builder Kit which includes business cards, free e-Suite access, and makes you Commission Qualified.||After your first month, you have to do a lot more work to be eligible to receive any commissions and their e-Suite now has a monthly fee.|
|An extensive product catalog means that It Works! is more than just body wraps, it has something for almost everyone.||Some of the products you're selling have made extraordinary claims which are not backed up by any scientific evidence or proof (e.g. weight loss body wraps).|
|The It Works! company culture seems to be very strong and the owners are well-respected by its Distributors.||The volume of complaints against It Works! can drive away many potential customers and hurt your reputation among your own clients.|
Is It Works! a Scam or Will They Go Outta Business?
First off, no one can accurately predict how long a company will last.
But It Works! has been around for nearly 20 years now, and they’re still going strong.
As far as the business opportunity goes, I’m sure “it” does work… especially for some people.
But let’s take a quick peek at the It Works! income disclosure statement.
According to their own chart, around 80% of all active Distributors make an average income of $51 a month.
That’s less than $2 a day.
Can’t even buy a decent cup of coffee for that.
Now, if you can make it to the Diamond levels, you can pull in as much as $30 grand a month.
A thousand bucks a day ain’t too shabby!
Which is no big surprise since most network marketing companies have similar success rates.
To be fair though, how many folks make that kinda money in ANY business?
The small percentage who put in the most time and effort.
And as much as I don’t like the MLM business model in general — there definitely are some legit companies out there.
However, some network marketing companies are better than others and when it comes to It Works! I’m just not a fan.
That said, there are some entrepreneurs having tremendous success with the company.
Just ask these pissed off customers.
You know what they say about the truth?
(Just ask me.)
You know what doesn’t hurt as much, though?