LifeMax Review: Chia seed based superfood mix
LifeMax launched in 2008 and are based out of Florida in the US.
Heading up the company are Founders are Jim and Sherri Wear (bottom right), with Mitch Huhem serving as CEO.
So the story goes back in 2007 after concerns about their health were raised, the Wear’s “close friend” Dr. Murray introduced them to Chia seeds.
After just a few days of experiencing the product, it was as if the fog had lifted. What the Wears had to do became immediately apparent.
And that’s how LifeMax came about roughly a year later.
The Wears have been together since 1993 and are credited with having ‘created and launched a multitude of businesses’. The Wears success in real estate is what led to their early retirement in 2006 (a year before the concept for LifeMax came about).
As far as I can tell none of the businesses prior to LifeMax that the Wears have been involved in were MLM companies.
CEO Mitch Huhem (right) has a long history in MLM, dating back to the late 80s/early 90s. At age 25 Huhem joined Rexall Showcase International (now known as Unicity International) and, according to his corporate bio,
led a direct sales organization of over 500,000 distributors in 22 countries to collectively reach 480 million in annual sales.
After Unicity International Huhem went on to focus on non-MLM ventures but eventually returned to the industry. I’m not sure if this was his first MLM venture but Huhem signed on as “Chief Visionary” with Regeneca (personal care and health and nutrition) in 2011.
I’m not sure what happened with Regeneca but by early’ish 2012 Huhem had signed up as CEO of Foru International (formerly known as Genewize).
As best I can tell, Huhem left Foru International in early 2013, and only just recently signed on as CEO of LifeMax in May 2013.
Update 14th August 2013 – Just two months after accepting the position of CEO at LifeMax it appears Mitch Huhem is out.
LifeMax appears to have been bought out by Genesis Pure (health and nutrition), headed up by CEO Lindsey Duncan.
The LifeMax website currently lists Sherri Wear as the company’s CEO.
Read on for a full review of the LifeMax MLM business opportunity.
The LifeMax Product Line
LifeMax’s flagship product is a “proprietary blend” of chia seed (salvia hispanica) which the company claims is “nature’s perfect super-food”.
Mila is a whole, raw food, a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients and is a superior plant-based source of protein and fiber.
As an added benefit, Mila is gluten-free, trans fat-free, sugar-free and non-GMO. Mila can also be deliciously combined with many foods, including oatmeal, yogurt and cereals.
Wikipedia has an entry on chia seeds, stating that
According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein.
The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese, similar in nutrient content to other edible seeds such as flax or sesame.
Although preliminary research indicates potential for dietary health benefits, this work remains sparse and inconclusive.
LifeMax sell Mila in 16 oz (435g) bags for $55.
The LifeMax Compensation Plan
The LifeMax compensation plan provides weekly commissions via a unilevel and residual monthly volume based commissions using a binary compensation structure.
Several other bonuses and incentives are also made available to affiliates, mostly focused on sales volume (tracked either as personal or group volume).
LifeMax offer all affiliates retail commissions on the sale of products to retail customers (including preferred customers).
LifeMax define retail commissions as the difference between the wholesale cost of the product and its retail price.
Activation Order Bonus
The Activation Order Bonus pays out when a newly recruited affiliate places their first product pack order with LifeMax (optional).
There are three product packs available, with each paying out a fixed commission if a newly recruited affiliate purchases one within 60 days of joining LifeMax:
- Retailer – $35
- Gold – $100
- Platinum – $200
LifeMax Affiliate Membership Levels
There are fourteen affiliate membership levels within the LifeMax compensation plan and, along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Distributor – sign up as an affiliate, only qualified to receive retail commissions
- Apprentice – 60 PV a month or 120 PV every two months, have recruited at least two affiliates with a downline generating at least 650 GV a month
- Marketer – 60 PV a month or 120 PV every two months, have recruited at least three affiliates with a downline generating at least 2000 GV a month (no more than 1000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Entrepreneur – 90 PV a month or 180 PV every two months, have recruited at least four affiliates with a downline generating at least 3500 GV a month (no more than 1500 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Director – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates with a downline generating at least 5500 GV a month (no more than 2000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Ruby Director – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (one of which is a Director) with a downline generating at least 10,000 GV a month (no more than 5000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Emerald Director – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (three of which are Directors) with a downline generating at least 17,500 GV a month (no more than 8000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Sapphire Director – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (three of which are Directors) with a downline generating at least 35,000 GV a month (no more than 15,000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
- Diamond Director – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (two of which are Emerald Directors) with a downline generating at least 70,000 GV a month
- 1 Star Diamond Ambassador – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (two of which are Sapphire Directors) with a downline generating at least 140,000 GV a month
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (two of which are Diamond Directors) with a downline generating at least 350,000 GV a month
- 3 Star Diamond Ambassador – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (three of which are 1 Star Diamond Ambassadors) with a downline generating at least 700,000 GV a month
- 1 Star Presidential Diamond – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (three of which are 2 Star Diamond Ambassadors) with a downline generating at least 1,750,000 GV a month
- 2 Star Presidential Diamond – 120 PV a month or 240 PV every two months, have recruited at least five affiliates (three of which are 3 Star Diamond Ambassadors) with a downline generating at least 3,500,000 GV a month
Residual weekly commissions in LifeMax are paid out using a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of the structure, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1).
If any level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 2 of the unilevel. If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretically unlimited number of levels.
LifeMax pay out on up to eight levels of recruitment, with affiliates earning 5% of the commissionable sales volume generated by affiliates in the unilevel (their own purchases and that of their customers).
How many unilevel levels LifeMax pay out on depends on an affiliates membership rank:
- Apprentice – level 1
- Marketer – level 2
- Entrepreneur – level 3
- Director – level 4
- Ruby Director – level 5
- Emerald Director – level 6
- Sapphire Director – level 7
- Diamond Director and above – level 8
Platinum Power Up Bonus
The Platinum Power Up Bonus increases an affiliate’s unilevel commissions commission by up to 3%.
- Director to Sapphire Director – an additional 1%
- Diamond Director and 1 Star Diamond Ambassador an additional 2%
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador and above – an additional 3%
In order to qualify for the Platinum Power Up Bonus, an affiliate must become a Platinum affiliate within 60 days of joining the company. If this criteria is met, when an affiliate reaches the “Director” affiliate rank, they will receive an additional 1-3% on their weekly unilevel commissions for 26 weeks.
After this 26 week initial period if an affiliate wishes to retain their Platinum Bonus they must recruit at least one Director or higher ranked affiliate every 13 months (meeting this qualification criteria qualifies an affiliate for 13 months).
The Accelerator Bonus is a matching bonus paid out on an affiliate’s unilevel commissions generated by orders made by new affiliates and their recruited affiliates.
New affiliates are defined as affiliates who have joined the company within 60 days prior to the commissionable order being placed (recruited affiliates on level 2 of the unilevel have their own 60 day qualification period).
The Accelerator Bonus is also only available to affiliates who are either at or below the Director affiliate rank:
- Apprentice – 5% on level 1
- Marketer to Director – 5% on levels 1 and 2
Unilevel Matching Bonus
Referred to as the Leadership Matching Bonus, LifeMax pay out a matching bonus on Director or higher ranked affiliates in their downline.
How much of a matching bonus is paid out depends on the affiliate membership level of the affiliate whose income is being matched:
- Director – 15%
- Ruby Director – 17%
- Emerald Director – 20%
- Sapphire Director – 22%
- Diamond Director – 25%
- 1 Star Diamond Ambassador – 27%
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador and above – 30%
Note that when multiple affiliates’ unilevel commission are being matched, all affiliates are matched per the lowest affiliate rank of all affiliates being matched on.
LifeMax keep track of an affiliate’s downline using a unilevel compensation structure, paying out a matching bonus on up to 5 Director or higher ranked affiliates in any given unilevel leg.
- Ruby Director – 1 affiliate, capped at $2000
- Emerald Director – 1 affiliate, capped at $3000
- Sapphire Director – 2 affiliates, capped at $5000 per affiliate
- Diamond Director – 2 affiliates, capped at $7500 per affiliate
- 1 Star Diamond Ambassador – 3 affiliates, capped at $10,000 per affiliate
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador – 3 affiliates
- 3 Star and 1 Star Diamond Ambassadors – 4 affiliates
- 2 Star Presidential Diamond – 5 affiliates
Group Volume Bonus
LifeMax pay out an additional commission on the group volume generated by an affiliate’s downline. A binary compensation structure is used for the Group Volume Bonus, with positions able to be filled either by direct recruitment or the recruitment efforts of an affiliates up and downlines.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of the structure with two positions directly under them.
These two positions form the beginning of two sides, with the Group Volume Bonus paying out 10% of the commissionable group volume generated by the weaker of the two legs.
When the weaker of the two legs generates at least 300 GV a week, LifeMax pay up to 10% of the volume generated:
- Apprentice – 6%, capped at $300 weekly
- Marketer – 7%, capped at $300 weekly
- Entrepreneur – 8%, capped at $500 weekly
- Director – 9%, capped at $1000 weekly
- Ruby Director – 10%, capped at $2000 weekly
- Emerald Director – 10%, capped at $3000 weekly
- Sapphire Director – 10%, capped at $5000 weekly
- Diamond Director – 10%, capped at $10,000 weekly
- 1 Star Diamond Ambassador – 10%, capped at $15,000 weekly
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador – 10%, capped at $20,000 weekly
- 3 Star Diamond Ambassador – 10%, capped at $25,000 weekly
- 1 Star Presidential Diamond – 10%, capped at $30,000 weekly
- 2 Star Presidential Diamond – 10%, capped at $50,000 weekly
If a LifeMax affiliate becomes a Gold or Platinum affiliate within 60 days of joining the company, they qualify for a Car Bonus once achieving the Ruby Director membership rank.
The Ruby Director affiliate membership rank must be maintained for three consecutive months, or for four out of 5 consecutive months.
Once the above qualification criteria is met, LifeMax pay out a monthly Car Bonus of up to $2800:
- Ruby Director – $400
- Emerald Director – $600
- Sapphire Director – $800
- Diamond Director – $1000
- 1 Star Diamond Ambassador – $1200
- 2 Star Diamond Ambassador – $1600
- 3 Star Diamond Ambassador – $2000
- 1 Star Presidential Diamond – $2400
- 2 Star Presidential Diamond – $2800
Leadership Travel Award
Based on annually changing qualification criteria, LifeMax invite qualifying Diamond Executive affiliates on an ‘all expenses paid trip held in exotic locations throughout the world‘.
Sapphire Directors can work towards qualifying for the trip but must pay the difference remaining at the end of qualification if they wish to attend.
Basic Affiliate membership to LifeMax is $69.95.
With a tangible product and retail commissions offered, the potential for a strong focus on retail clearly exists within the LifeMax MLM business opportunity.
I can sign up as an affiliate for $69.95 and get started focusing on the retail sale of products to customers. The expansion of monthly volume requirements to two months is a nice touch too, offering affiliates some flexibility in potentially erratic sales order volume.
On the MLM side of things, If I wish to start building a LifeMax downline I’m only looking at 2 recruits to start a binary, capping out at five as I progress down the compensation plan ranks.
That this is entirely optional is great to see, however improvement could still be made in the commissions tied to the Starter, Gold and Platinum packs.
I can wholly appreciate the incentivisation of pack purchases to encourage affiliates to sign up with one. Even the linking of certain commissions to the purchase of such packs is permissible however as it stands there’s simply no alternative qualification method which, as I see it, is a problem.
Both the Car Bonus and Platinum Power Up Bonus are not accessible to affiliates who do not purchase product packs. This isn’t a deal-breaker on the legitimacy side of things however a retail volume based qualification alternative would go a long way to balancing out the criteria required.
Mandating product purchases for affiliates in any compensation plan is generally frowned upon as it calls into the question the intent of the purchase.
If an affiliate is purchasing products for their own use (and to a limited extent that of their relatives), there’s no issue. If they’re just purchasing products to qualify for commissions (which could very well be the case with LifeMax and the Gold and Platinum product packs), there are potential issues with a disproportionate focus on affiliate recruitment (sign ’em up, get them to purchase a pack and then move onto recruiting the next affiliate).
As I said earlier though it’s not a complete breaker on the legitimacy side of things (both bonuses are complimentary to the plan rather than focal points), it’d just be nice to see a volume qualification equivalent introduced along side the pack purchase qualification.
Other than that you’re looking at what appears to be a solid compensation plan with a solid product. With Chia seeds being an established product (with presumably an established market), some homework on the price of the seeds in your area certainly wouldn’t hurt. And if you plan to market online, definitely extend that research into what’s comparatively available around the web.
One thing to keep in mind though is that LifeMax’s Mila mix isn’t just a straight Chia seed product, so keep that in mind when researching the competition. That said, how much more or less one might be willing to pay for the Mila mix is definitely something to take into consideration, both from the perspective of an affiliate and customer.
The latter is especially important as given the price-point of the Mila packs, an affiliate is definitely going to need to focus on retail customer acquisition if they plan on any long-term success with the LifeMax opportunity.