A Tough Choice: My Journey to Choosing an Essential Oil Company

Dropper With Amber Bottle and Green BackgroundOnce upon a time, I had never heard of essential oils. Then out of nowhere—bam! Every single one of my friends was sharing stuff about EOs on Facebook; inviting me to home parties; recommending these strange, aromatic concoctions for my kids’ owies; and on and on. I was mystified by this weird, new craze—but I was also intrigued.

What made me explore essential oils in earnest, however, was that my employer unexpectedly changed my work status to part time. Suddenly, my family was without insurance. You might know what that feels like—like you’re letting your family down, and you live in fear of the next injury or illness. I was there. I felt that sense of helplessness. So I decided to take my family’s well-being into my own hands. I started to research the oils my friends were raving about.

I asked around and tried different products. Everyone sang the praises of a different essential oil company, to the disparagement of another. A simple Google search was no more help—offering information about a million different companies, as well as dozens of blogs with competing opinions. Three multilevel marketing (MLM) companies’ names—doTERRA, Young Living, and a new essential oil company called Zija—kept coming up, however, so that’s where I decided to dive in.

I was interested in the wellness benefits of the oils, certainly, but my new part-time status also made me reevaluate the way I earn income for my family. So not only did I compare product quality, but I also began to think seriously about taking advantage of these companies’ compensation plans—that is, creating an income by sharing the products with others. I’m savvy enough to know that in the same ways not all products are created equal, neither are all compensation plans. Between the three companies, here’s what I found:


8614252256_88f89163bc_oIt turns out that mommyblog darling doTERRA essential oils was actually created by former employees of the more established Young Living Essential Oils. This explains a lot of the company’s products, which seem to mimic Young Living’s more extensive line—especially their flagship On Guard line of home products, which has more than a passing resemblance to YL’s Thieves line.

I think a lot of doTERRA’s success is due to their marketing. I loved the beautiful, understated apothecary look of their packaging, and the labels’ Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade designation was reassuring. However, I later learned that Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is just a trademark owned by the company with nothing to back it up—a pretty meaningless marketing gimmick.

The compensation plan seemed pretty good, with a solid model and bonuses just for people like me who were getting started. But it didn’t quite stack up to that of their rival, Young Living. More on that later.


Of the three companies, Zija essential oils is the newest. Launching their oil line in 2014, these guys got me excited with their fresh approach and enthusiasm. Their products were little more limited, but also seemed very well thought out. I could definitely see my family using the products.

I ended up talking to one of their consultants, “Jim.” I liked the guy instantly and was all ears as he told me about Zija’s compensation plan. The plan, he told me, is a quick-growth, two-leg model where you grow two branches, or legs, of your team and earn big bucks on the smaller leg. Wait, what?

“The smaller leg?” I asked him. “Well, yeah,” he admitted. “You do earn commissions on the smaller leg, but there’s actually a lot more to be earned in bonuses. And when you get in on the ‘ground floor’—which is the opportunity you’ve got right now—you stand to earn a lot of money.” Sigh. I had heard this ground floor talk from my friends and family before, and as I watched new MLM venture after new MLM venture fail for them, I became wary of anyone who pitched their business this way. The companies just seemed to fizzle so quickly. Plus, I wasn’t impressed by the idea of my income being somewhat limited by the compensation plan’s very structure.

I was almost back on board, however, when Jim mentioned that Zija only sells oils that are the product of “first distillation.” He explained it as being like the first pressing of olive oil—the first pressing produces the best oil. That one fact gave me a lot to think about, and we’ll come back to it in a minute.

Young Living

4790508727_f944404044_oYoung Living looms large in the essential oils scene. It has been around for 20 years, an almost unheard-of run in the MLM industry. As I began to investigate Young Living Essential Oils, Jim’s “ground-floor” talk, no matter how suspicious to me, still nagged at the back of my mind. How could I make Young Living work for me if the market was already so saturated?

Well, it turns out that if the company’s top earners are any indication, there was plenty of room for a newcomer like me at the table. I learned about one of the company’s newest “Royal Crown Diamonds” (the highest rank of income and achievement possible at Young Living). She joined the company only two years ago and rapidly built an essential oil empire through social media. And she’s far from the only Young Living consultant enjoying such huge success, even two decades into the game.

I looked into the compensation plan to see how this sort of growth is possible. Like I said, Young Living’s and doTERRA’s were somewhat similar—a compensation model called “unilevel” that offers greater stability and support for long-term growth. Plus, I loved the bonuses. Each one seemed tailored to help support a different kind of member—new, more established, or accelerated.

But what really seemed unique about YL is this process they call “Seed to Seal.” Basically, they keep an incredibly tight watch over production processes. Everything from the variety and quality of seeds that are planted and the way their botanicals are grown and harvested, to distillation practices and rigorous internal and third-party testing of the oils, is carefully monitored by Young Living. I was concerned when I learned that their products come from first, second, and third distillations, but additional research revealed that critical aromatherapeutic compounds don’t emerge until the third distillation. This meant that “first distillation” oils don’t necessarily capture the full potential of the essential oil. It became clear to me that this Seed to Seal process was more than a marketing gimmick like “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” or “first distillation only.” This was the real deal, a process that ensured that I could care for my family with true peace of mind.

I’m sure you can tell where I landed with my decision. After investigating my top options, Young Living Essential Oils came out the clear winner, and I haven’t looked back since. My family is feeling better than ever, and I am well on my way to earning the kind of supplemental income that could make a real difference in our lives.

If you are looking to get involved in essential oils, I encourage you to do your homework like I did. I hope my story has helped offer you some useful information. Good luck on your journey!