My Strange 2-Week Stint with Controversial Herbalife

I was part of Amway for 3 years, from age 18 to 21.

I then joined Herbalife for about 2 weeks.

I joined because it seemed like they had a decent marketing plan for reaching beyond friends and family.

Turns out they didn’t.

12+ years ago, their “marketing plan” was to put up signs at every intersection across America with an 800 number to call to get more information.

Upline distributors were encouraging their downline distributors to put up 100+ signs a week. They even provided you with a way to order the signs, which probably generated more money for distributors than the Herbalife products.

I did some basic math and realized it’d only take a handful of generations of distributors to completely saturate the market with signs.

That’s exactly what happened in Douglas County, Colorado, where I live. Signs would go up at busy intersections until there were a dozen of them or more. The signs would be slashed within the week.

More new signs would replace the old ones. But the sign slashers were aggressive. It got to where new signs would be slashed within hours.

I also attended one local Herbalife event during those 2 weeks.

I swear it was one of the most awkward brainwashing sessions I’ve ever witnessed. And that’s saying something because I’d already attended a few dozen Amway events. Amway was tame compared to Herbalife.

Anyway, a few days after I joined I realized I’d made a super-stupid decision. I sent all the products back and got a refund, less a restocking fee or something.

It could have been worse. I was fortunate to lose only $200, give or take.

So that’s my Herbalife experience. Just one more thing I’ve tried that didn’t work out as I thought it would.

The reason I’m writing about Herbalife right now is because a hedge fund manager named Bill Ackman has recently taken a public stand — and made a large public bet — against Herbalife. Salty Droid reports:

Bill Ackman :: semi-famous hedge fund manager and hero to troublemakers everywhere … gave a three-hour presentation entitled Who wants to be a Millionaire? which argued — scarily conclusively — that Herbalife is an obvious pyramid scheme with no real business model whose stock should be valued at zero.

Ackman and his hedge fund Pershing Square :: along with a gaggle of other seriously rich people who I’ll call “The Shorts” … have made enormous bets {like more than a billion dollars} that Herbalife’s stock is going to tank. Of course … that’s not unusual in the land of milk and money. It’s all handshakes :: polo :: and fancy hats down at the club one day … I’m betting that your company sinks into the mud and reporting you to regulators the next. But what is unusual is making a bold public stand in a way likely to accomplish some genuine public good.

Based on my personal experience with the company, I wouldn’t be sad to see it go. In fact, the world would be better off without Herbalife and companies like it.

You can read more about how Herbalife works here: The Great Pyramid of Herbalife …and here: Is Herbalife a Scam? {Spam} (watch the video in the second post to see how distributors all use the same script to fill Google with spam search results).

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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