Plexus Worldwide burst onto the health and wellness scene in 2006 as a promising newcomer to the crowded multi-level marketing supplements industry. Founded by Alfred Pettersen and Tarl Robinson, Arizona-based Plexus markets vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbal blends, nutrition shakes, skincare for weight loss, blood sugar control, and more.
The company promotes a direct sales model that empowers passionate “Ambassadors” to take control of their financial freedom and build thriving entrepreneurial businesses. By recruiting a team and earning commissions on those sales, top performers boast of reaching high ranks with luxurious six-figure incomes.
Over the past several years, however, an alarming trend has raised questions about why an increasing number of once loyal Ambassadors are deciding to exit Plexus altogether – often at significant personal cost ultimately. This concerning exodus points to deeper issues plaguing the brand and opportunity. Through an evidence-based analysis, this comprehensive article will uncover the complex reasons people are leaving, the impacts of this attrition, alternatives Ambassadors have, and tips for gracefully moving on.
Background on Plexus
Before investigating why Plexus Ambassadors are departing, providing context around the company’s origins, leadership, products, and business structure helps frame the current situation.
When Alfred Pettersen first discovered a micro-nutrient supplement called Plexus Slim that showed promise for weight management, he partnered with fellow entrepreneur Tarl Robinson to form Plexus Worldwide. Their mission focused on helping people achieve optimal health while offering an income platform for motivated Ambassadors.
The brand’s product line has expanded extensively since its early beginnings to encompass dozens of separate vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbal formulations, nutrition shakes, skin care creams, and serums, among other items. Package bundles target specific health goals ranging from weight loss to glucose support, digestive health, athletic performance, and more.
Plexus leadership has faced turmoil in recent years – likely tied to Ambassador dissatisfaction. In 2018, allegations emerged accusing then-CEO Tarl Robinson of inappropriate conduct towards employees as well as fostering a toxic workplace environment. This resulted in his abrupt departure and replacement by Alec Clark.
Current CEO Meg Wells similarly had to address accusations last year around potential conflicts of interest and preferential treatment involving her husband’s Ambassador position within the company. While ultimately cleared of formal wrongdoing, these repeated controversies surrounding leadership shake confidence in corporate standards.
Product Defects & Recalls
Plexus supplements have faced alarming product defects and safety issues triggering recalls in recent years – eroding trust in quality control. Most notably, in 2021, Plexus voluntarily recalled several batches of its famous P96 Protein shake after customers reported allergic reactions and gastrointestinal distress symptoms potentially tied to mold contamination in manufacturing.
Earlier in 2016, the company pulled its Bio Cleanse colon cleansing supplement over side effect concerns, followed by its Lean meal replacement shakes in 2020 due to formula inconsistencies. These frequent product recalls inevitably damage brand reputation – causing some Ambassadors to leave.
Plexus utilizes a multi-level network marketing structure to promote and sell its products. The company recruits passionate Ambassadors who purchase inventory at wholesale costs directly from Plexus to market and resell to customers at higher retail pricing – pocketing the difference as personal income.
Ambassadors earn additional bonuses by building “downlines” – teams of other distributors recruited under them. A percentage of sales from their downline also flows back to Ambassadors at the top. Attaining higher ranks within the program unlocks escalating benefits and earnings potential – incentivizing ambition to the apex “Crown” levels. However, in reality, just a tiny fraction of Ambassadors reach those elusive upper tiers while most struggle in lower ranks – fueling dissatisfaction with the system.
Reasons For Leaving Plexus
While a small minority of top Plexus performers flaunt lavish 6 and 7-figure incomes, car bonuses, and exotic vacations – suggesting a path to financial freedom – the vast majority find lackluster results and leave the brand altogether. Examining the underlying reasons for this growing attrition helps diagnose the disease, weakening this ambitious opportunity.
Product Defects & Safety Concerns
As highlighted in the earlier recalls, serious questions surround various Plexus offerings’ quality and safety processes. Whether issues like mold contamination or side effects stem from manufacturing flaws by contractors or inherently unsafe formulations – the brand’s reputation suffers, scaring away consumers. Ambassadors with integrity cannot in good conscience continue promoting and selling supplements with dangerous defects – deciding non-renewal, or termination is the only ethical choice despite loss of income.
Health Claims Controversies
Beyond alarming product defects, Plexus has faced repeated compliance actions from government regulators like the FDA challenging dubious health benefit claims about their supplements that lack proper scientific substantiation.
For instance, in 2020, Plexus received warnings questioning statements that products like Bio Cleanse, Lean, and ProBio5 treat, cure, or prevent various health conditions – violating federal law around permissible marketing language and requiring corrective action.
While these health claims helped Ambassadors sell more products initially, crackdowns forcing the company to walk back bold promises undermine credibility – leaving distributors with fewer tools or competitive edges to convince potential customers.
Since Plexus Worldwide’s launch over 15 years ago, the network has expanded dramatically along with market penetration – simply reaching a saturation point after so much recruitment success. With tens of thousands of active Ambassadors already operating nationwide after years of exponential growth – the pool of prospects keeps shrinking.
Compounding challenges broader public wariness about risks with multi-level marketing schemes also reduces viable targets. Ambassadors in incredibly oversaturated regions face immense struggles finding anyone local left to sell to. With so much competition, retaining customers grows harder if they know dozens of other Plexus reps able to supply products quickly.
Unrealistic Income Expectations
A considerable factor fueling Ambassador discontent involves increasing recognition of unrealistic financial expectations promulgated by Plexus’ marketing materials and leadership, enough to constitute fraud for some legal experts.
For example, promotional brochures and presentations highlight only exceptional ‘Diamond’ level Ambassadors enjoying $200k+ annual earnings, luxury cars, dream vacations, and other trappings of financial success. However, income disclosure data reveals that 61% of all active Plexus reps earn just $500 or LESS in a year – barely pocket change relative to time investments. In comparison, the diamonds represent less than 1%.
These polar income dichotomies become discouraging and unsustainable for Ambassadors stuck resigning themselves to meager earnings contrary to the income potentials touted during recruitment. They ultimately exit resentful over betrayal and wasted effort.
Toxic Culture & Unreasonable Expectations
Angry former Ambassadors describe demoralizing elements of Plexus’ internal culture that pushed them over the edge to depart what began as a once-promising opportunity. This includes high-pressure sales tactics imposed by upline sponsors and an environment of intimidation centered around achieving specific monthly quotas or team sizes to qualify for decent commissions and remain active – unreasonable bars for most especially newcomers.
Leadership emphasized acquiring inventory volumes through starter packages and loyalty subscriptions exceeding reasonable personal needs. Mandatory big-ticket events, training, and expensive marketing material added costs straining Ambassador budgets.
The culmination left Ambassadors feeling more like victims of manipulation in a pyramid scheme dependent on downline recruitment over actual product sales to hopeful customers. Walking away offered liberation from the relentless demands, fear, and anxieties – despite income loss.
Lack of Meaningful Support
Many Ambassadors express immense frustration over the lack of meaningful support from their Plexus sponsors or other upline leaders when struggling to generate sales and recruits.
Having invested so substantially between enrollment fees, inventory purchases, training, and more – the meager guidance, coaching, and troubleshooting tips provided often prove inadequate to build success. Requests for additional assistance from upper-level Ambassadors typically get ignored or delayed as they focus on their teams, leaving newcomers powerless.
The absence of accessible mentorship where promised causes Ambassadors once eager about the Plexus business opportunity to become jaded and then quit and cut losses when impossible barriers emerge.
Problems With Compensation Plan
By design, Plexus’ compensation plan inherently favors those at the top levels while making income growth virtually impossible for most working the bottom tiers – fueling resentment that pushes many to leave for greener pastures.
For example, Ambassadors only begin earning marginal commissions on their downline’s sales after reaching the Senior and Executive ranks – which have steep requirements like recruiting at least 6 who each recruit another 3 under them. Even attaining the entry level of Ambassador itself demands enrolling 3 product purchasing affiliates.
With an already exhausted market, newer Ambassadors find hitting such volume, sales, and capital thresholds unrealistic – delaying desperately needed commission payouts indefinitely, no matter how hard they work. Yet the few at the upper Emerald, Ruby, Diamond, and Crown Ambassador ranks reap unlimited benefits.
These systemic barriers brew tremendous frustrations for anyone below who cannot ascend the system regardless of effort. Seeking fairer opportunities that properly reward hard work motivates Plexus.
Effects of Leaving Plexus
The ramifications of abandoning Plexus as an Ambassador extend deeply – impacting finances, identity, community, and the future viability of the brand itself. Appreciating these outcomes provides proper context around why thoroughly considering all options matters before deciding to leave.
With 61% of Ambassadors earning just $500 or less annually from Plexus, the monetary impact of walking away hardly proves catastrophic for most. However, those able to build moderately reliable income streams, taking home several thousand dollars monthly, face more brutal realities, suddenly losing that cash flow tolerated.
Beyond lost commissions, departing also leaves ex-ambassadors stuck with unused inventory bought at wholesale. They now struggle to recoup costs reselling at lower prices – amounting to sunken investments. Ambassadors leased luxury car bonuses also require a prompt return.
Even without significant financial wreckage, choosing to leave Plexus exacts deep emotional turmoil and identity crises after committing so intensely to the program. Walking away evokes immense feelings of grief, self-blame, bitterness, and defeat.
Once prideful Ambassadors have achieved hard-won milestones, reaching various program ranks suddenly see that identity, status, and community evaporate – forcing dramatic mental adjustments and abandoning what they worked toward. These side effects should not be discounted.
Loss of Contacts & Customers
Plexus prohibits former Ambassadors from retaining contact information for any customers or team affiliates recruited during their tenure. Rights get signed over to the company, or upline sponsor opted into.
This forces those exiting to start all marketing, networking, and prospecting efforts from scratch when launching any new venture – posing major disadvantages trying to rebuild without access to past connections.
Brand Instability & Market Doubt
If current attrition trajectories accelerate and the masses of once passionate Plexus Ambassadors continue fleeing disgruntled, the company faces existential stability threats and more profound market credibility damage.
These negative ripples may repel newcomers skeptical about seeing the droves abandoning ship, while demands on upper-level Ambassadors to backfill vacant lower ranks continually burn them out, creating a cascading collapse effect. Plexus must, therefore, urgently confront the internal issues eroding Ambassador loyalty before reaching this dire tipping point.
Alternatives to Leaving Plexus
Before deciding to terminate one’s Ambassadorship, carefully weighing all options and possible alternative paths may offer solutions that prevent abandoning Plexus altogether.
Switching Product Bundles
Current Plexus product bundles feature different supplements targeting weight control, vitamin nourishment, glucose regulation, digestive health, and more. Ambassadors frustrated with sales from their existing package focus could experiment with shifting to alternative bundles aligning better health with customer needs. This mix-up may reinvigorate interest.
One repeated grievance from struggling Ambassadors centers on a lack of support and guidance from sponsors or upper-level team leaders too occupied with their success. However, before altogether quitting, seeking advice and troubleshooting help from the many veteran Plexus leaders who managed to build prosperity could provide answers to turning things around. Willingness to mentor likely exists somewhere. Leveraging that knowledge could save an Ambassadorship on the brink.
Tapping New Markets
Current or prospective Ambassadors feel hopeless about lost opportunities locally exhausting friends, family, co-workers, and community circles as customers should explore expanding into new untapped markets. Thanks to eCommerce and social media, selling Plexus products across states or even nationally knows no bounds – offering renewed possibilities and reigniting growth.
Rather than silently resigning over grievances with aspects of Plexus – like product safety issues, complaints about unrealistic income expectations set by marketing materials or leadership, lack of support, unreasonable sales pressures, and more – airing those complaints directly to corporate could drive meaningful policy changes. Collective voices hold the power to influence enhancements that benefit all.
Transitioning to Preferred Customer
Ambassadors considering severing affiliation with Plexus can convert to simply becoming Preferred Customers. This retains discount pricing on products for personal use rather than business sales. It also frees time investment stresses trying to operate as a distributor. Products can still be purchased without obligations as an Ambassador.
Tips for Smoothly Leaving Plexus
If exhausting all alternatives proves necessary and the decision cements to close one’s Ambassadorship, properly executing a graceful transition protects relationships while avoiding unnecessary risks or headaches.
Provide Sufficient Notice
Announcing intentions to leave only days before halting Ambassador commitments leaves teams scrambling and reacting to abrupt vacancies rather than gradual transitions smoothing the impact. Be sure to inform upline sponsors and downline Ambassadors at least several weeks in advance.
Sell Off Remaining Inventory
Rather than discarding unused product inventory after resigning, attempt liquidating to other Ambassadors first or consider donating unexpired items to local charities for tax deductions to offset some sunk costs. Destroying products proves completely wasteful.
Remove Online Ties
Any websites, social media profiles, email addresses, or assets still displaying Plexus branding and Ambassador affiliation should be promptly removed or rebranded to prevent confusion and conflicts over nonsolicitation rights. However, maintain professionalism, avoiding disparaging Plexus.
Save Important Documents
Retain copies of past income statements, achievements recognized, customer contacts imported, and other validating information that later helps reconstitute one’s Ambassador progress if rejoining Plexus or providing proof advocating for policy changes.
Forge New Directions
Rather than harboring resentment after leaving Plexus, look for new opportunities or ventures that spark passion utilizing the many talents built as an Ambassador. Whether employment, education, starting a small business, or enjoying more excellent work-life balance – embrace positivity.
In closing, a confluence of product safety scandals, leadership controversies, market saturation, growing legal compliance pressures, unrealistic income portrayals, and problematic compensation barriers have sparked a modern-day exodus, eroding Plexus Worldwide’s once-loyal Ambassador base. Justified outrage over wasted investments demands accountability. However, smooth transitions protecting all parties keep doors open should internal changes emerge, reversing Plexus’ deterioration – to regain the brand esteem and prosperity both Ambassadors and executives once cherished. Only together, through compassion and courage, can healing pave brighter directions.