Friday, October 17, 2014

The Amway Retirement Myth?

I was watching a show on Discovery channel the other night about Sasquatch. It was followed by a show about evidence of UFOs. It made me start to think about these phenomena. It seems like everyone has heard about or knows something about Sasquatch (Big foot) and/or UFOs. There are many documentaries showing pictures and evidence of both, but to date, there is no bonafide evidence that these things exist. You'd think that a body or bones of a Sasquatch would turn up somewhere, sooner or later, or we would find compelling evidence of a spaceship from another galaxy.

It sounds just like stories of people who built a diamondship, then "walked away" from their businesses, retired in the lap of luxury and did nothing while the money kept rolling in. I heard numerous scenarios about this happening, but looking back, all the diamonds kept working and since Joecool left the business, the diamond either kept working, or quit or got terminated or died while working as a diamond. But I never heard anyone name some higher up Amway pin who built a business, and then walked away from it to travel the beaches of the world while hundreds of thousands of dollars kept rolling in. Many have heard about it but nobody seems to be able to name any of these folks. I mean after over 50 years in existence, you'd think some of these folks would exist, especially when it seems to be a selling point of the business for many AMOs.

It is my opinion that Sasquatch, UFOs and retired Amways diamonds (with significant Amway income) are non existent. If these folks existed, there should be at least some shred of evidence of it. The lack of evidence indicates to me that it is either non existent or so rare that nobody can display bonafide proof. I mean there aren't any T-Rexs roaming the earth anymore but fossil evidence proves that they existed at one time.

Keeping in mind that the Amway business has a high attrition rate, coupled with low sales to non IBOs and you can easily conclude that residual and significant income is nearly impossible. An Amway business that is left alone will deteriorate like a sandcastle does as the waves wash it away. You (in theory) could possible walk away from an Amway business for a while and collect some income, but you won't be collecting enough income to live the "diamond lifestyle" as portrayed by diamonds in their functions and open meetings. I'm not even sure that active diamonds can comfortably afford that lifestyle even when building their businesses. There is ample evidence to support my claim. Diamonds losing homes to foreclosure, former diamonds revealing secrets about their income. If you really believe you can walk away from your Amway business and collect untold wealth, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A JOB Versus Amway?

One of the ways that upline diamonds would put down jobs was to toss in the phrase that a job was simply trading hours for dollars. As if it were demeaning to have a job where you got paid for your time. I believe it's all relative. Being that many IBos are young and maybe working in more entry level types of jobs, then yeah, your hourly wage might not be that great. If you earn say $10 an hour, then you might be struggling financially and it may take time before your skills and knowledge increase to a point where your experience is worth more money. What if you had a job paying $1000 an hour and earned $160,000 a month? Is that a lousy deal trading hours for dollars? I think not!

Conversely, having a business can be good or bad also. If you have an Amway business earnning less than $100 a month and you spend $200 on functions, standing orders and other training and motivational materials, then you are losing money. You would be better off working for free. That is still a better alternative than working a business where you are losing money. I think most people agree that a platinum group typically has a 100 or more IBOs. Thus a platinum is in the top 1% of all IBOs. I have heard that the platinum level is where you start to break even or make a little profit, depending on your level of tool consumption. If platinums are barely making a profit, then the other 99+% of IBOs are likely losing money. How much is that worth per hour?

I think uplines cleverly trick IBOs into thinking that a job is bad. Trading hours for dollars, afterall, sounds like some kind of indentured servant of sorts. But in the end, what matters is your bottom line. If you are an IBO with little or no downline, and/or not much in terms of sales to non IBOs/customers, then you are losing money each and every month if you are attending functions and buying standing orders. Your 10-12 hours a week of Amway work is costing you money! But if you spend 10-12 hours a week, even at minimum wage, then you might be making about 300 to 350 a month gross income. After taxes, you make about 250 to 300. At least trading hours for dollars gets you a guaranteed net gain at the end of the month, whereas Amway is getting you a net loss.

Uplines trick you into a "business mentality" where you think that working for a net loss is just a part of business. IBOs should realize that a business promoted as low risk and no overhead should be one where you can profit right away. Instead, IBOs are taught to delay gratification, or to reinvest any profit back into their business in the form of tools and functions, which results in a net loss. If that's the case I would choose trading hours for dollars.

Remember, trading hours for dollars is not a bad deal if you are making enough dollars per hour. And even those who make less, are better off that those who "run a business" but end up with a net loss. It's all relative and hopefully, this message will help new or prospective IBOs who are being enticed to join the Amway business opportunity. Good luck to those with jobs and those with businesses. You can be successful either way. Remember that!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

People Quitting Amway?

I often see commentary about people quitting Amway and Amway loyalists are quick to call them broke, losers, lazy, lacking guts. Ironically, these same lazy and loser types of people were "sharp" and motivated prospects before they signed up for the Amway opportunity. Someone recently left a comment on my blog about how AMOs should conduct exit interviews with departing IBOs to get to the root of the problems. The root of the problem in my opinion is that Amway products are priced too high and the business opportunity is a poor one. It really is that simple.

However, based on my years of blogging and Amway experiences, I can honestly say I believe that people quit Amway primarily for one reason. The money isn't there. Amway's own numbers show that the averahe IBO earns just over $100 a month and that is before taxes and expenses. Business building IBOs earn most of the bonuses, but business building IBOs generally have the most expenses, often participating in the system of standing orders and functions.

When I was an IBO, I did as upline advised and I achieved a fairly significant level (4000 PV), but due to the expenses associated with tools and helping downline, I didn't earn net profit. This is confirmed by a study done by the Wisconsin attroney general who examined the tax returns of platinume and found that they averaged a net loss of about $1000 a year. While the study was a bit dated, I would suggest it is still very valid as platinums today, have more tools (business building materials) that they are expected to buy from upline. If I made nothing at 4000 PV, anyone with half a brain can conclude that IBOs below 4000 PV and fully participating on the system would end up with a net loss because their expenses would be similar to mine, but with less bonus money.

The bottom line is that people are very likely quitting because they aren't profitable. If people made a few hundred a month with 8-15 hours of work per week, they would continue to run their businesses. But those who work and make nothing or lose money have no reason or motivation to continue. Thus they simply make a wise business decision and quit. What seemed like a good idea during the presentation simply did not pan out when reality set in. It's also reasonable to conclude that the products are not that great either because if they were, those who quit would become loyal customers, thus even if the sales force turned over, sales would consistently rise as former IBOs would become customers. It's apparent that most former IBOs do not become loyal Amway customers. In fact, for those who later discover they were lied to or deceived about the Amway opportunity, become critical of Amway instead.

Why do people quit Amway? I think the answer is crystal clear.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amway Systems?

Many uplines and IBOs will talk about their system. More often than not, the various systems such as WWDB or Network 21 will tout themselves as the best, fastest growing, proven, and most profitable. I know that was promoted when I was an IBO and I believe it is still promoted this way. There are many comments on the internet from IBOs and recently former IBOs that indicate that this is true. But let's take a look at these claims.

How does one determine the best? You really can't. The best is an opinion unless there are established criteria on what constitutes the best. Of course, every upline will think their group is the best, but what can factually be derived from that claim? If you are an IBO or prospect of Amway, try asking that question. Based on what do you make the claim of being the "best" group or system?

Fastest growing can be proven or disproved. But for the most part, we know that Amway isn't growing by leaps and bounds in North America. During the Quixtar tenure, it appeared that Amway sales in NA either stagnated or even shrank. Amway supporters cite overall Amway sales going up, but it's reasonable to conclude that the increase in sales is primarily in foreign countries. For some odd reason, Amway no longer reports North American sales, but simply lumps everyhing into a global sales figure.

As for any system to be making claims of proven, all these systems have basically done is proven that they are dismal failures. Based on Amway's own figures, we can deduce that less than half of one percent of IBOs ever reach the platinum level. The platinum level is approximately where you might see a small profit if that platinum is CORE. There is some documentation indicating that platinums might lose money at that level. While the study is dated, the expenses associated with being a platinum have gone up significantly since that study (Wisconsin Attorney General) so it can be very possible that platinums continue to see a net loss these days. It's also very visible that there are fewer diamonds in north America today than a dozen years ago. Diamonds have quit and some were terminated. It appears that most new diamonds come from foreign countries where Amway has not yet suffered reputation issues.

Makng claims of fastest growing is also one that can be proven. However, try asking your sponsor or upline for evidence of this claim. Also, is the growth occuring in your area? Are you from the US or Canada? Citing growth in Korea for example, is unlikely to mean anything for the vast majority of IBOs. And even if there is some growth, how does that translate as leverage or an advantage for you? Ask these questions and see what answer you receive, if any.

The system is proven for sure. But it's proven to be a failure. The numbers supplied by Amway clearly back up this claim.

Friday, October 10, 2014

WalMart versus Amway?

I recently saw an Amway supporter talk about how Walmart is so bad and Amway is good. But let's just look at the details. Walmart and Amway are both billion dollar companies, although Walmart makes Amway look like a midget. Walmart has over 400 billion in sales while Amway last reported about 11-12 billion.
I might add that Walmart has millions and millions of customers. I'm not sure if that's the case with Amway as it seems that most of their customers are the IBOs themselves. What company can make a living selling products primarily to their sales force? But based on my experience, I would say that the vast majority of Amway products are consumed by the IBOs.

Walmart eliminates the middleman and sells all kinds of products to consumers at rock bottom prices. Amway adds middlemen (upline and downline) and to the process, thus making distribution inefficient and the result is $50 cases of water or $80 for a month's supply of double x vitamins. While Amway apologists will make quality and concentration claims, there's no unbiased evidence that organic vitamins have any special advantage over the much cheaper vitamins you can get at Walmart. Even if products may be concentrated, it doesn't necessarily mean they are better or cheaper than Walmart. Walmart will match any advertised price for an exact same product. Thus if Walgreen's has an ad for something cheaper than Walmart, take the ad to Walmart and you get that price. Walmart's slogan is live better, save money. Amway's slogan is "now you know". LOL That is not to say you cannot find any goo deals from Amway, but overall, you will save much more by shopping elsewhere.

Additionally, Walmart's employees all get paid and have a net paycheck at the end of the month. Amway's salesforce of comissioned sales people often make nothing or lose money if the IBO is caught up in the training program (cds and functions) Walmart adds to the local economy by providing jobs and good prices whereas Amway might be a drain on local economies as the profits go to Michigan and/or the tools companies. Also, the IBOs bear the risk for Amway as they spend their time and money to move products and to advertise person to person for Amway.

Yes, you can google and find all kinds of negatives about Walmart. Walmart sometimes ends up shutting down mom and pop stores, they may have customers slip on their floors. But unlike Amway, Walmart doesn't have the terms "scam" or "pyramid scheme" attached to them when you google their names. Amway does and because of unethical IBOs and tool companies, it would seem that the (bad) reputation is well earned over the years. The diamonds who lied and deceived people over the tools don't help the cause either.

In the end, Amway is no competition to Walmart, where you live better and save money.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Reality Of An Amway Business?

One of the things that attracts many IBOs to the Amway opportunity is the idea that they can work part time, 2-5 years and gain a "shortcut" to ongoing and voluminous wealth. Many of the prospects don't have the kind of income or resources that they would like, so the possibility of a shortcut to these trappings sounds like a good idea. They sign up and get started, and then the realities of the business sets in.

100 PV, is the defacto minimum quota for business building IBOs. It costs about $300 to purchase 100 PV worth of products. How many young and single people or couples for that matter, use and/or need $300 worth of household products each month? How many of these same people can actually afford to expend that much cash on household products? The pitch is to change where you shop but how many people were buying these kinds of good prior to Amway? My guess is none. I know I purchased many items, including vitamins, and I didn't need or use before Amway. But my desire to be teachable and to be an example to my downline kept me buying the goods, and trying to pawn off some stuff on friends and relatives to lessen my PV burden.

I also found that getting people to see the plan was no easy task. While my business was growing, it took more and more effort to recruit downline and I can see where many IBOs would reach the saturation point where there simply aren't anymore viable recruits and they might need to resort to cold contacting in order to generate potential prospects. This is probably why there are stories of IBOs stalking people in bookstores, malls and supermarkets. Even when people saw the plan, there wasn't a high percentage of new people signing up. It is why building and maintaining a business is a nearly impossible task, and it is why I believe there aren't people who retire, walk away from their Amway businesses and enjoy six figure residual incomes for life.

The more likely scenario is an IBO signing up, buy and using the products and tools and slowly but surely build up debt. There are countless stories of ex IBOs who got fired up, started building the business and fouond that in a relatively short period of time, found themselves in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in debt. All the while upline was encouraging them to buy more tools and attend more function, even when they were not profitable. In my opinion, this is confirmation that uplines care more about their tools profits that they do about downline success. I sat in functions where upline would teach about reducing debt, but in the same breath, say it was okay to go deeper in debt if it was to purchase more tools. Self serving advice.

It is why I believe this opportunity, along with the tools system, will nearly guarantee IBO failure. It is sad, but it is also a reality.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IBOs Or Customers?

I've been debating with others about the concept of customers. Amway's most prolific defender is arguing that IBOs are customers and holds the position that there are alot of people who register with Amway simply to be customers. Now I don't know how anyone can possibly make that determination, but regardless of whether it's true or not, these folks are still considered IBOs. I don't want to debate the legal ramifications about the 1979 FTC ruling and the 70% rule, although the spirit of the rule was to prevent IBOs from buying their bonus. I would also note that Amway doesn't consider IBOs as customers and Amway defines a retail sale as a sale to a non IBO.

IBOFB/Insider/Icerat/David Steadson apparently contends that IBOs who purchase and then resell to downline are meeting the retail sales requirements and the downline are customers. Okay, let's go with that. But wait, IBOs do not buy and then resell to their downline. IBOs order directly from Amway do they not? If IBOs order directly from Amway, their upline gets some volume credit for downline purchases but the upline doesn't buy and then resell anything to downline. So are IBOs actually making any sales to non IBOs, save for sympathetic friends and family?

If in fact, IBOs are not selling their goods, and are primarily self consuming them, it means that most of the upline bonus is basically generated from the pockets of the downline. I believe the tools business is a pyramid as only IBOs are buying standing orders and attending functions. The lack of selling Amway products to the public would put the Amway business opportunity in pretty much the same category. I wonder what the FTC would rule today if that were the case? I wonder what the FTC would rule on the tools systems as it is today?

Something to think seriously about. If you are an Amway business owner, and you are selling little or nothing, where do you think your bonus comes from? It either comes from your own pockets, or it comes from taking advantage of your downline, who then pony up a portion of your bonus from their pockets. In a system such as this, the only way to maximize your bonus is to recruit as many downline as possible. Because the more people you can leverage, the more bonus you can get. The problem with this system is that people realize they aren't making money, and that paying in some cases, ridiculous high prices for "prestigious" soap and vitamins is not worth it, and they quit. When these folks lose their Amway dream of mansions and jets, they somehow lose their desire to keep making purchases and revert to shopping at WalMart or Costco.

If former IBOs kept on buying Amway goods, then Amway sales would climb pretty much every year as the former IBO's purchases coupled with current IBO purchases should keep going up, not down. But that's not really the case is it? In what business can the employees or company owners be the primary customers and prosper. The answer is none and Amway is not an exception.