Is doTERRA A Legit MLM?

Is doTERRA A Legit MLM? Here’s What They Don’t Tell You…

I am writing this post during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Many MLM companies are using coronavirus to recruit new distributors aggressively.

I guess that’s why you’re here because you’ve been “targeted” by doTERRA distributor, and he/she might be your best friend or relative.

You get bombarded by their sales pitch asking you to join the program and earn lucrative commissions. But the old sayings applied here: “When it sounds too good to be true, it is!”

And then, you self-asked this question: “Is doTERRA A Legit MLM?” You want an honest answer desperately, am I right?

If so, you’re in the right place.

Hey, this is Zac Phua here, the owner of Life Goal Finisher. First of all, I must thank you for clicking on this page and read my review on the company.

Rest assured, I’m not an associate with doTERRA (and I never will), so I won’t pitch you to buy any products or even join the company.

I spent over 11 hours writing this review based on my research and information available on Google. So you don’t need to.

That said, any recommendation and conclusions are only opinions and may not apply to all persons or situations.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Company Overview

Is doTERRA A Legit MLM - doTERRA Logo

Company Name: doTERRA

Business Niche: Health & Wellness MLM (Mainly Essential Oils) 

Startup Cost: $200~$3000+ one-time fee and then $100 monthly recurring fee to stay active.

Founder: David Stirling


Direct Competitors: MelaleucaTotal Life Changes, and Young Living


1) Well-Established Company
2) Great Reputation

1) Product Benefits Hype
2) Monthly Recurring Fee
3) Untold Truths Behind Income Disclosure

Overall SCAM Rating: 10/100 (Legit MLM)

Recommended: Not Really

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What Is doTERRA?

Based in Utah, United States, doTERRA is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company that operates in the health & wellness niche, and they primarily sell the therapeutic grade Essential Oils. 

For the sake of people who want to know the meaning behind “doTERRA”, it’s actually rooted in Latin, meaning “gift of the Earth”.

Founded in 2008 by David Stirling, doTERRA is considered a relatively “young” company compared to other giant rivals like MelaleucaTotal Life Changes, and Young Living that already in the business for a few decades.

Who Is David Stirling?

Founder of doTERRA - David Stirling
David Stirling is a former executive of Young Living. 
Obviously, he adopted what’s already working with the company, and remodel into better strategies to build his own empire. 
I guess that’s why Young Living filed suit in mid-2013 for theft of trade secrets. But the lawsuit was eventually dismissed in October 2014.
Through David’s hard works, doTERRA is growing rapidly and surpass a billion-dollar mark within a few years since established.

doTERRA Product Line

doTERRA Product Line

Like Young Living, doTERRA has a wide range of products that covers personal care to weight loss supplements, but essential oils are still their most popular products, for sure.

Here’s a list of their main product categories:

  • Single Oils 
  • Proprietary Blends
  • doTerra On Guard Series
  • doTerra Breath Series
  • Deep Blue Products
  • DigestZen Products
  • Personal Care
  • Supplements
  • Weight Loss
  • And much more…

As there’re too many of them, I can’t list all the products down one-by-one. You can always explore their product catalogs on their official website.

How To Join doTERRA?

To be a part of doTerra, you can either join as their Whosale Customer or distributor (aka “Wellness Advocate” in doTERRA-term).
doTERRA has clarified the differences of both memberships in a table form:
The differences between Whosale Customer and Wellness Advocate in doTERRA.
The differences between Whosale Customer and Wellness Advocate in doTERRA.

If you just want to be a regular member to enjoy discounted prices when buying doTERRA’s products, you can go for their Whosale Customer plan, which will only cost you a $35 registration fee and then $25 annual renewal fee.

But if you want to earn money with their MLM compensation plan, being a Wellness Advocate is your only choice. But you’ll need to purchase an enrolment kit to get started.

The price of the enrolment kit ranges from $200 up to $3000+. So it’s not cheap for beginners who’re running on a tight budget, and the success rate of their MLM program is quite low. I will explain more about that later.

How To Make Money With doTERRA?

Making money with MLM is relatively simple IF we don’t talk about their compensation plan that is full of complex and confusing terms. Note that I say it can be simple, but not easy.
The overall process will be something that looks like this:
How you can make money with MLM

By sticking to the framework above, I will further explain how you can actually make money with doTERRA.

1) Paying The Joining Fee

This is basically asking you to be their “Wellness Advocate” by buying into their enrolment kit. You can refer back to the previous chapter for more precise info on how to be one of them.

2) Ways To Earn Commissions & Bonuses

All in all, there’re 5 main ways to earn commissions and bonuses out of doTERRA.

i. Retail Commissions

You can earn 25% commission by selling their products to retail customers.

ii. Residual Commissions

This commission is paid out via an unilevel compensation structure (as shown in the figure below), and it highly depends on your ranking on their MLM leaderboard.

Illustration on MLM Program.
Even though it’s only shown until the second level, there’re 12 rank levels in doTERRA. Imagine how significant is the number of your downlines at the 12th level.
That said, the bigger your downline team, the higher you’ll be ranked, and hence the more commissions and bonuses you’re eligible to earn.

iii. Fast Start Bonus

The Fast Start Bonus is paid out on any product purchases made by your newly recruited downlines within the first 60 days with the company, up to 3 levels deep.

  • 1st Level Downlines: 20% commission
  • 2nd Level Downlines: 10% commission
  • 3rd Level Downlines: 5% commission

iv. Power of 3 Team Bonus

Power of 3 Team Bonus is cash bonuses that range from $50~$1500.

It rewards those distributors who signed up for monthly auto-ship order, manage to recruit at least 3 downlines, and ask them to do the same.

v. Infinity Performance Pool

The Infinite Performance Pool is made up of 3% of doTerra’s company-wide sales volume.

The pool is split into two smaller pools;

  • 2% going into a Leadership Performance Pool
  • 1% into a Diamond Performance Pool

doTERRA MLM high achievers will be qualified to get a slice of this big pie, which will be paid monthly.

I’ve just given you a brief explanation of their compensation plan. For a more detailed explanation, please watch the video below:

3) Leveraging Your Downline Team

doTERRA is a billion-dollar MLM company. You can already tell that.

So, it’s clear that every aspect of the MLM company’s strategic direction revolves around two main objectives:

  • Educating people about the benefits of using their products.
  • Recruit others into the MLM business.

Literally, the last thing you should do is recruit as many downlines as possible to branch out your circle and maximizes your earning potential.

It’s tough to earn a stable income just by selling stuff. The high achievers often have numerous downlines signed up beneath them.

If you don’t like recruiting, you’re not alone, fella…

MLM falls in the grey area between direct selling and pyramid scheme. I guess that’s why it often has a bad name in public.

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1) Well-Established Company

As I mentioned earlier, doTERRA and Young Living are pretty much the 2 biggest companies in the essential oils market.

Take a look at the graph below. It compares the public interests toward the essential oils manufactured by the 2 different companies.

Comparison of the public interests toward the essential oils from the 2 different companies.
As you can see, both companies have very close data in terms of public interests over the past 5 years.
Meanwhile, I’ve just done another search on Google Trends and found out that the public interests toward doTERRA have been growing exponentially over the years as compared to the year 2008 when it was established.
doTERRA on Google Trends since 2008
Remember, doTERRA is 10+ years younger than Young Living. They could get such decent growth is very remarkable. 
This can further prove doTERRA’s solid business foundation, and Young Living might not be the essential oils giant for long.

2) Great Reputation

doTERRA has an outstanding reputation across the internet so far.

They’re accredited by Better Business Bureau (BBB) and rated “A” by BBB. 

Even though they’re still getting customer complaints, but compared to other MLM companies like Melaleuca and Total Life Changes that get hundreds of complaints, doTERRA is doing quite well in customer service as they only get 30+ complaints in the past 3 years.

Likewise, doTERRA’s products and MLM opportunity also get pretty decent reviews on other platforms like, Facebook review page, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

Customer reviews on doTERRA, as seen on different platforms.
Customer reviews on doTERRA, as seen on different platforms.


1) Product Benefits Hype

Not just doTERRA, one of the problems with many health and wellness MLM out there is that their distributors aren’t medically trained.

This could lead to inappropriate marketing tactics used by the distributors in selling their products and recruit members.

For instance, many doTERRA’s distributors claim that essential oils can cure Ebola, cancer, asthma, and arthritis among others. 

Well, this is not true at all, as there’s no scientific evidence that proves essential oils can cure such serious diseases.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) formally warned doTERRA about their reps making unverified claims about their products in 2014.

2) Monthly Recurring Fee

To eligible for their commission, you’re forced into their monthly autoship, which will cost you another $100 of expense every month.

For the sake of those who don’t know what autoship is, you can think of it as a monthly recurring fee to stay active. 

And then they’ll send you a set of products every month. You can keep it for personal usage, or resell it for retail profits.

3) Untold Truths Behind Income Disclosure

MLM’s negative stereotype makes us often think that only the people who joined the program early can earn good money.


When I have a first glimpse inside their 2018 income disclosure, I was quite amazed by the numbers.

2018 doTERRA's income disclosure
2018 doTERRA's income disclosure

As you can see from the table, it seems like everyone in doTERRA is making enough money to “fire their bosses” and live on their own terms.

Hold on, buddy. Don’t be fooled by their misleading income disclosure like I did.

Remember, there’re 12 rank levels in doTERRA. The table only shows the results obtained by the high achievers in doTERRA. 

In other words, doTERRA is leaving out critical information. They only show the results of the top 6 levels of “Leaders”.

And as you can see from the screenshot below, there are 6 different ranks below Silver.

doTERRA MLM Leaderboard

According to research by FTC, 99% of people who get involved in MLM will lose money. 

Here’s the screenshot of the report to prove that I am not lying to you.

FTC states that only 1% of people are actually making money in any MLM program.
FTC Report

Hence, I can guarantee AT LEAST more than 90% of the distributors failed to make a sustainable income with doTERRA.

doTERRA is trying to hide the facts behind their income disclosure, just to make the numbers look “pretty” to mislead you into their program. Get it?

So, Is doTERRA A Legit MLM?

Don’t you dare lie to me GIF

Now to the most crucial verdict: Is doTERRA A Legit MLM?

My answer for that is ABSOLUTELY YES. They aren’t a pyramid scheme, nor a scam.

They are a fast-growing MLM company in the essential oils niche. Overtaking Young Living and become the No.1 in the field is just a matter of time.

However, their MLM opportunity might not as promising as you think. Their income disclosure already tells the truths.

They’re trying to hide the earnings of distributors who ranked below the Silver because the income potential is meager. I can guarantee a far majority of them don’t even manage to cover their investment in the MLM program.

I recommend their products, but their business opportunity is a big NO-NO. I can’t introduce you to a business opportunity where most people lose money, right?

You Deserve A Better Opportunity

Kudos to you! You’ve just read 2100+ words and still counting. If you make it this far, I commend your commitment.

Meanwhile, I can also feel how serious you’re when it comes to finding a proper way to make money from home.

MLM is great. 

I am also not saying that people can’t make a decent living with MLM. But it often represents a tiny group of people who joined the program early.

That said, it’s challenging for people who’re BOPs (bottom-of-pyramid) to make some serious dough because they’re running out of people to “recruit”.

MLM Unilevel Compensation Structure

Instead, Affiliate Marketing is my top recommended business model for anyone to make money from home.

The reason is simple…

Advantage 1: No Recruitment Needed

  • You don’t need to “chase” after people and talk them into MLM opportunity where most people lose money.

Advantage 2: Freedom of Choice

  • You can promote any products you love and not be restricted only to promote the products from one MLM company.

Advantage 3: Low Startup Cost

  • Unlike MLM, where you’ll need to pay a pricy introductory fee to join, it takes little to no startup cost to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey in Affiliate Marketing.

You might think I’m biased, but I’m just telling the truths…

If you are sick and tired of MLM and “Biz Opp” Scams, click the “Learn More” button to discover my top recommended learning platform that can help you turn your passion into profits with Affiliate Marketing!

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Zac Phua

Zac Phua

Phua is an internet business enthusiast who loves to talk about online business ideas, affiliate marketing tools, tips, and other sources of income available on the internet. He launched and use it as a resource center where he can share his thoughts and experiences to benefit any newbie who wants to learn more about internet marketing.

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6 thoughts on “Is doTERRA A Legit MLM? Here’s What They Don’t Tell You…”

  1. I’d like to aware prospective enrollees of these companies that when they said they want you to become their business partner, what they actually mean is, they want you to become a committed customer of their products. Why do I said this? It’s because once you become a member of companies like doTerra, you will be compelled to product some personal sales to stay active in the compensation plan. If you fail to produce personal sales, your commission from your team will be forfeited. So, what usually happens is, you will be forced to buy products to cover the required sales, buy products with your own money. I have personally made big money in MLM but later I realized that the money I’ve ,made was plowed back to the company trying to remain qualified in the compensation plan.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gomer.

      Indeed, MLM is also not my first choice when it comes to making money from home.

      It’s not because it’s illegal or not profitable, but because of all the restrictions and the expensive costs involved.

      Instead, Affiliate Marketing is my top recommended business model for anyone to make money online.

      I already stated the benefits of it clearly in the article.

      If you’re interested in getting started with Affiliate Marketing, I suggest you give Wealthy Affiliate a try.

      To me, they’re the best learning platform for affiliate marketing.

      I hope this helps, peace.

  2. hello there. amazing review you have here it really dragged my attention as i was glancing through it i just could not ignore   it i really think that that this article is going to help a lot of people as it is going to help me also well this is a very helpful information you have here and i really hope that more people come across it  thanks for sharing this with us 

  3. Thanks so much for sharing a beautiful, informative article with us. The principal element of this article is doTERRA A Legit MLM Review. It’s really amazing that you covered this subject so well in your post. I have learned a lot from reading your post and gained a lot of knowledge about Health & Wellness MLM. I like doTERRA Product Line of the points mentioned in your article. The main reason for liking its product line is that I have been using this company’s product for a long time.

    I don’t just use the products of this MLM company I get a commission by arranging to sell them from where I would say it is a legitimate company.

    1. Thanks for your honest comment, my friend. It seems like this business opportunity is a great fit for you.

      If you’re doing great with doTERRA, then keep going!

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