By Melissa Dylan
(Please note: some info has been updated based on valuable reader feedback. Corrections are noted throughout.)
Last month I wrote about the multi-level marketing company, masquerading as a health supplement company, Plexus. We determined that to reach Emerald level a person must recruit a minimum of 300 people, generating a minimum of $360,000 in sales for Plexus.
Funny thing about Plexus Ambassadors (their real titles), they brag openly about how great their lives are in order to recruit more of us to shill their masses. Are they actually making any money? It turns out, maybe not. In order to reach really high levels of success (e.g. Emerald Level) you must recruit a minimum of extra people, for which you will receive exactly zero dollars. What you DO earn is trips, a free car, and about $67,000 share in the Emerald Pool. (Which is not, sadly, a fancy hot tub. I called around.) Yet Emerald Level Plexus Girl brags about personal earning of $400,000 per year. How much Plexus is she unloading to make THAT happen? That’s today’s question.
Let’s keep in mind that in order to hit the minimum 300 recruits to hit Emerald level, each would have to be a direct recruit. This means you know and are capable of hypnotizing or blackmailing 300 other people to convince them to shill pink drink.
Chances are you’re not, though. Chances are you’ve recruited lots and lots of people, and each of them recruited people, etcetera, etcetera.
For the sake of arguments, let’s imagine our Emerald Ambassador is the mayor of their town and incredibly likable. She manages to direct recruit 50 people. (It still seems like a lot. I don’t even know 50 people, and cats don’t count.) This earns her 500 points. Each of her recruits recruits 5 more people at 4 points each and we’re at 1,250 points. Throw in 83 recruits under them at 3 apiece, and she’s an Emerald. We’re now up to 383 people, increasing annual yield for Plexus to $460,000/year. Taking the system to its logical conclusion, the highest number of recruits required to earn 1,500 points is 2,979 people (any more and you’re kicked up a level to Sapphire) yielding $3.5M per year just from ambassadors alone.
Let’s go back to the minimum of 300 recruits. It’s simpler and illustrates the minimum amount of revenue generation for each Emerald Ambassador. Each of the recruits is required to purchase $100 of Plexus products every month to “qualify” for commission. However, they don’t earn commission on that first $100 of product, even if they manage to turn around and sell it to someone else. This generates a minimum of $360,000 in gross product volume for Plexus–volume on which they’re not paying direct commission. This works out into a sweet deal for Plexus, but not so much for Plexus girl and her supposed $400,000/year.
Turns out that every qualified ambassador also earns a monthly stake in the general Ambassador Pool. The pool consists of 45% of the gross product volume for the month. This is where we’re actually seeing the fruit of those Qualification Sales. The size of the pool is divided by the number of Plexus Points in the entire company, and a dollar exchange amount is calculated monthly.
Using the reported annual product volume of $225,5701,000, that works out to $18,797,500 per month, forty-five percent of which is $8,458,875.
You have to divide that number by the overall number of points held by all active ambassadors in the Plexus Universe. Their literature assures us that it’s designed so that the amount per point is never lower than $1.80 per point, but that since the system was introduced it has ranged from $2.82 – $4.89. I have no way of knowing whether or not that’s true, but it’s plausible. That means that $8.5 million up there would be divided by 2,191,418 points, and considering Emerald Ambassadors alone account for 150,000 points minimum, that’s easily achieved.
What does that mean? Shut up, I’m getting there. It means our Emerald Plexus Girl is earning between $4,231 – $7,338 per month.
Imma let that sink in for a minute.
She is earning between 4 and 7 K without having to sell a single item.
So yeah. That’s significant. At the high end that’s earning us $94,817. Let’s be clear: there are only about 100 Plexus reps making this much money. A few make slightly more, but most make a lot less. If you’re a Plexus rep with only two recruits you earn exactly $30.86 in an average month from the pool.
As for Emerald Plexus Girl, we’re still far short of the bragged-about $400,000. Along the way she’s earned between $10 – $100 for about 100 of her Ambassadors and their recruits, and a series of Achievement bonuses as she reached Emerald level. This will put us roughly $6,950 closer to game time. Add in the $67,000 from her Emerald pool and we’re at $168,767. (Updated based on feedback from previous article. Additional calculations have been adjusted as well.)
Where does the rest come in? Does anyone actually sell this stuff?
Plexus Girl and her annoying Lexus and L-branded steak will have to make up the rest of her $400,000 on sales volume. She earns 25% commission on her own sales. To earn the remaining $231,233 Plexus Girl would have to sell $924,932 in Plexus Products.
That’s 11,000 packs of Plexus Slim.
That’s 917.5 packs per month. A pack lasts an entire month. That’s 918 people buying a pack per month.
Obviously there are other products, too, but you get the idea. Even if the average customer spends $300, she has to find 257 customers per month. People who aren’t dodging her phone calls or hiding her profile on Facebook because they’re so fed up with her. She can also direct-order from Plexus and sell her product directly and earn an extra 25% but that’s acquiring a huge financial risk and even still you’d need to sell 458 Plexus Slim packs per month, or find 129 $300 customers.
The alternative is that she is eligible to earn 5% of what her Level 1 Ambassadors earn on their sales. Even if she has 300 of those, they would need to generate $6,103,660 to make up the shortfall. So while it’s possible that they are selling a combined $6,103,656 in product, it’s not likely. So let’s break it down.
Things are even worse for our two-recruit Ambassador up there earning only $30.86 for the pool. She’d have to sell 48 packs per month just to earn $1,000. If she buys it in bulk to keep on hand she’ll only have to sell 24 packs, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you start thinking of the people you know. Of those people, how many could you convince to buy an $84 pack of powdered drink every month? Why would you even WANT to?
The bottom line is still that it ultimately doesn’t matter how much people sell–the profit for the company is in the Ambassadors themselves. Plexus pays out just over a third of the $360,000 (minimum) they earn through Emerald Plexus Girl’s recruits, and Plexus Girl doesn’t even reap all of the benefits. I’m not saying it’s NOT a pretty cushy girl for Plexus Girl and her $168,000 per year. She’s a rare gem, indeed, and honestly has my respect. She also has this guy’s respect:
I was surprised that the share in the Ambassador pool was so high for Emeralds, but was not surprised whatsoever to find that the actual commission structure is somewhat of a scam. I’m not calling anyone a liar, but the person bragging about their $400,000 in earnings each year might want to qualify that they’re talking about gross sales revenue, and that she doesn’t get to keep it. But then again, this person is purely theoretical and in no way someone who actually exists.