Q Sciences and the problem with mental health MLMs

Q Sciences is a fairly new MLM that specializes in nutritional supplements with a twist.

Rather than helping with weight loss or physical ailments (hint: Herbalife, Isagenix, and Zija), these nutritional supplements claim to cure mental illness.

It’s a big claim to make, especially with all the regulations surrounding psychiatry and mental health claims.

So have I been involved?

This video explains:

 

All good? Let’s continue…

Overview

Founded in 2012 by Daren Hogge, Q Sciences is headquartered in Pleasant Grove, Utah…the promised land of MLMs. They’ve got an annual revenue of $5 million and around 50 full-time employees – small but mighty.

Hogge is another direct sales vet with some impressive credentials. He’s been in the industry for over 30 years, and eventually retired at an impressively young age with all his top-tier earnings.

As the story goes, he came out of a happy life in retirement playing golf and day drinking to start up Q Sciences a few years ago…supposedly the product he discovered is that good.

Mark Wilson showed him this formula he’d been pushing up in Canada. It had actually been around for 17 years before Hogge discovered it, and there were countless people who claimed that their stress and anxiety disappeared after using the supplement. It was particularly effective in children with stress problems.

Hogge purchased exclusive rights to market the product through direct sales, and the rest is history.

Within a year of launch the company had already greatly exceeded their profit hopes, and they doubled sales numbers in their second quarter of 2013. Those numbers have continued to double every single year since they were founded. [1]

They now operate in Canada, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Germany. They’ve currently got plans to expand into Mexico and Central America, with goals to be operational in 25 countries within 5 years and 50 within 10 years. High hopes, but their numbers just might be on track to do it. [2]

One of the foremost problems that causes MLMs to fail is this: they don’t have a real product or a real customer base. When you see an MLM that doesn’t make a distinction between its customers and its distributors, it’s usually wise to run in the other direction. They won’t be around for the long run.

Q Sciences, however, has 4x more customers than they do distributors. This means that lots and lots of people are buying in not because they’ve been conned into recruiting for a pyramid scheme, but because they genuinely like the product. What’s more, they’ve got a 65% customer retention rate.

However, where there’s a nutritional product that might have some health benefits, there’s a distributor around greatly exaggerating those benefits and putting people’s health at risk. An article in the Salt Lake City Weekly shed some pretty unflattering light on some of their distributors’ sales practices.

The reporters found that distributors had purchased a booth at the 2013 National Alliance on Mental Illness event, and they were telling attendees that their miraculous vitamins could cure all kinds of mental disorders, from bipolar and ADHD to OCD and even schizophrenia. It’s super illegal to market vitamins as mental health medication, and convincing someone with bipolar disorder to skip their meds and take your herbal supplement instead is downright dangerous. [3]

CEO Daren Hogge denounced these sales tactics, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. If they don’t, Q Sciences could become the next Enron of MLM.

How much does Q Sciences cost?
$49.95.

This start-up fee comes with no product. The company advises starting with their Business Acceleration Kit, which comes with product to sell and costs $484.95.

To qualify for commissions, you must sell at least 100 PV per month.

Products

Q Sciences markets a number of different nutritional products that target various mental functions. Their signature formula is made up of 36 different minerals and vitamins. There are over 25 published university studied and $25 million worth of independent research backing this formula.

EMPowerplus Q96

This is their flagship product, the one that made Hogge come out of retirement. Wilson created this product for children in the beginning – both of his kids were diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a very young age after his wife committed suicide. While no one wants to be on pharmaceutical drugs if they can avoid it, putting kids on these drugs is even riskier. Wilson sought to discover a natural supplement that could help his kids.

QBiotics

QBiotics is the second product marketed by Q Sciences. It’s a patented probiotic that uses a controlled release to benefit your digestive and immune systems more effectively.

Q Omegas

This is an omega-3 fatty acids supplement which helps improve heart health.

Q Amino Acids

Their amino acid supplement improves digestion and helps build muscle.

Finally, they also market Q Fiber, Q Cleanse, Q Repair Cream, and Q Spray.

Benefits:
Over 20 studies on the company’s flagship product show that it can in fact relieve stress and improve mental health. However, none of these studies are randomized and controlled.

Furthermore, nutrition is an important factor in mental health, and there’s no evidence to suggest that Q Sciences supplements are all that different from other nutritional products.

Side Effects:
There are no known side effects associated with taking Q Sciences products, but it’s not advisable to replace any medication you’re taking with Q Sciences products without speaking to your doctor first.

Compensation Plan

The Q Sciences compensation plan, or their Q eXponential Infinity Plan, practically offers infinity ways to earn money from home as a distributor.

You know that kid from high school who just discovered Axe deodorant and thought that the more he sprayed on himself, the more ladies he would attract? But actually he just gave you a headache from a mile away with his overpowering cologne? That’s kind of how these compensation plans go. They want you to think that more ways to earn means more money, but in the end, it doesn’t always work that way.

Here are a few…

Retail Sales

If you sell at least 100 PV in a month, you qualify for retail profits. With Q Sciences, your profits from personal sales are the difference between your discounted wholesale price and the retail price that customers pay you.

Unilevel Commission

As long as you have active recruits, you can earn unilevel commissions off their sales, up to 10 levels deep. You earn 5% on your first 5 levels and 1-4% on your next 5 levels. The higher up your rank, the more levels you have access to.

Bonuses

Q Sciences offers more bonuses than a slot machine. They’ve got a Team of 3 Bonus, that gives you $50/month if at least 3 of your personal recruits can total 500 PV or more.

Quick Start Bonuses give you extra cash for hitting at least 40 PV (which you need to do anyway to qualify for commission) in your first 30 days. Most of these are petty change until you start moving up in rank high enough. A Global Leadership Bonus, Power 30 Bonus Pool, Elite Bonus, Bronze Bonus, Car Bonus, and Generational Matching Bonus are all available to distributors who can build up a big team of high performing distributors.

Recap

I like that they have a unique product and that they seem to be really customer-focused. However, it does worry me that they have so many more customers than they do distributors. If they’re having trouble recruiting, that might mean that the direct sales model just isn’t a good fit for their product.

The compensation plan is pretty standard. While all of the bonuses sound really impressive, the truth is, most people aren’t earning them. Most people aren’t earning anything.

Of course, the most concerning thing here is their sales practices. They’re going to have to be very, very careful marketing vitamins as mental health solutions, and with MLM, you can’t control what your sales people say.

They’re technically not your employees, and they’re not even really trained. If they don’t get this on lock, the company could end up with some serious liabilities.

Look, I’m certainly not a hater of Q Sciences. It’s just that if you like passive income streams, there are much better opportunities out there.

In other words, you might like our training because it teaches the “good life” without selling anything to your family and friends.

See our top 22 small business ideas of 2017

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Jeremy Page

Jeremy Page created Multiple Streams for ballers, big thinkers and online business owners. You can follow him on Instagram here.

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