Wake Up Now is a company that promises to help you save, manage, and make money by offering fantastic discounts, free software, financial guidance and so much more. But is it a legitimate multi-level marketing group or an illegal pyramid scheme?
Wake Up Now (WUN) takes its name from an idea with spiritual overtones — that most people go through life asleep and only a few are truly awake. According to the company’s logic, anyone can partner with them to ‘wake up now’ to financial enlightenment, a life-changing perspective on work, and freedom from the shackles of a 9-to-5 job.
Let’s take a closer look at what Wake Up Now offers
There are several ways to get involved with WUN: As a basic member with access to limited services; as a paying retail customer with access to premium services; and as an independent business owner (IBO).
Basic membership in WUN is free. At that level, pretty much all you get to do is search what’s called ‘the HUB,’ a centralized website that offers discounted deals on many different products. The HUB offers the kind of deals that are similar to what you’d find on the deal-a-day websites, except the HUB deals are aggregated all in one place rather than being spread out on multiple websites.
Access to additional premium services — tax and other financial software, corporate discounts, magazine subscriptions, computer security software, and more — is sold by monthly subscription at a cost of $24.95. There is no emphasis on recruiting others into the organization at this level. And while I love saving money with discounts, I’ll explain my reservations about this option a bit later.
If you want to be an IBO, you have to pay $99 to get into the program. Then the emphasis is almost wholly on recruiting others into your team. If you recruit 3 other people, the $99 monthly fee is waived and you still have access to all the discounted premium services.
The WUN pitch
The pitch for WUN comes in a variety of ways. One of the most riveting ways I saw as I researched this article were homemade promotional videos produced by IBOs.
Often shot in their homes, the amateur videos were filled with enticing aphorisms about how ‘saving money is making money’ and how you’ll be ‘making money in your sleep.’ Several of the videos even led you to believe they were produced by disgruntled employees…and then cleverly turned out to be promotional pitches!
There’s an aspirational sense to almost everything involved with WUN, and the passion for the mission is palpable among the IBOs. Some IBOs cite influences like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Donald Trump to great effect in their videos. They’re held up as examples of people who ‘woke up,’ thought outside of the box, and got ahead in life.
Yet the sad reality is that 82% of IBOs earn zero dollars and zero cents a year from WUN, according to the company’s own income disclosure statement.
Sooo…is Wake Up Now a scam or not?
There’s a prevailing feeling that WUN is…well, kind of suspicious. ‘Scam’ is a word with heavy legal implications and one that I can’t use; the courts will ultimately have to decide if WUN is illegal in any way.
That said, I want to suggest a simple test you can do on the WUN business model or any other.
If the big push is about recruiting other people into an organization, if that’s where all the money is made, then it will tend toward being a pyramid.
On the other hand, if the real money is made selling products or services to those not involved in the organization, then it is likely a legitimate multi-level marketing organization.
Why WUN may not be worth it
As I mentioned earlier, you can pay $24.95 a month for access to premium discounted services through the company. Among the services are discounted vacations, identity theft protection, car rental discounts, cellphone discounts, and even a proprietary energy drink!
But here’s the thing: I believe you can get the services they offer cheaper elsewhere:
- Discounted vacations – You can easily get discounts of 30% or more using Priceline and Hotwire. Here are my booking tips.
- Identity Theft Protection – A credit freeze offers more ironclad protection that an identity theft alert and only involves a one-time fee of between zero to $30. See my guide to putting one in place on your credit files.
- Car rentals discounts – This video explains my strategy for saving on car rentals.
- Magazine subscriptions – Amazon is just one place that offers a variety of popular subscriptions for as little as $5 a month.
- 22% cell phone discount – There are a variety of cheap options for smartphone service that begin at zero dollars a month and are available to anyone. See my complete list here.
So is it WUN worth your money? As a retail customer, it’s very iffy. As I’ve shown you, I think you can get many of the services for cheap or free elsewhere. As a business owner, I think the income disclosure statement says it all. It’s only less than 1% who making real money with the company.
But you’ll have to be the ultimate judge of if WUN is right for you or not…