Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Amway IBOs "Help" People?

One of the things I often thought odd as an IBO was how our upline would keep teaching us that the Amway business was all about "helping people". Somehow, our upline felt that showing someone the plan or talking to them about the business was helping someone. That is because our upline felt that everyone was dooomed for financial failure if they didn't join Amway. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth now that I am looking back. In fact, I would have to say that building the business and purchasing tools was the CAUSE of financial disaster for some of my fellow IBOs. I remember reading about more than one home foreclosure and a couple of bankruptcies within our group. I'm sure there were more than I as aware of.

It's like IBOs hold some dark secret and they could save the world by sharing this secret with prospects. So the theme of many voicemails (Amvox at the time) was about how IBOs in the group were saving the world by helping people. I used to wonder how we were helping people when we basically only "helped" IBOs who wanted to build the business. If someone declined to join, they were forgotten. Our upline said we threw them a life preserver but they rejected it, so we are moving on. It was often compared to a church activity where IBOs are saving souls. I actually found this very weird because we were often taught that we could give the church money in the future ($10,000 checks) and we could serve in ministry after we were "free". I find this ludicrous now, but at the time, we were told that this was delayed gratification. After I left Amway, I spoke to the senior pastor of my church and he opined that Amway was harmful to many because it simply held too many empty/false promises. In other words, they promote big dreams and wealth, but very few ever attain any success, for whatever reason. The pastor said the reason for the low success was not relevent. The fact that it was rare to see success was enough to conclude that Amway was not a good opportunity.

In fact, some diamonds can be seen as prosperity preachers. They speak about wealth attained through Amway when in reality their wealth may come from other sourcse, such as tools income, yet they falsely promote Amway as their primary source of success. Then they bait and switch IBOs and tell them that the tools system is the only way to succeed, all the while profiting handsomely from the tools. Then they justify their conflict of interest by claiming that IBOs are helping people and/or doing God's work by joining Amway. I believe many IBOs are giving false hope and promises to prospects as taught by upline leaders. All the while they themselves are losing money while thinking they are supporting a noble cause. I hope they awaken before it's too late.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Conflict Of Interest - Amway Tools?

Over my Amway and blogging experience, I have come to a conclusion which I will stand by. And this, in my informed opinion, is a signficant problem with the Amway opportunity. The Amway owner, Rich Devos acknowledged this issue back in 1983 in his "directly speaking" tape and unfortunately, nothing apparently substantial was ever done and therefore, the problem exists today.

The Amway opportunity is one part of the issue, with the tools systems being the other prong. Over the years, the Amway opportunity and the tools systems have formed a symbiotic relationship. It is as if Amway needs the system and the system needs Amway. What I mean is that Amway provides the opportunity, and then the system uses the opportunity to sell the system. In the meantime, the system leaders teach 100 PV, product loyalty, and do most if not all of the new IBO recruiting. Amway benefits as the system teaches movement of PV whether by sales or self consumption, and new IBO recruitment, and the system leaders benefit by having a captive audience to sell their cds, books, seminars, voicemail, and website fees.

The conflict of interest occurs when uplines tell their new IBOs that they "need" to attend a certain function, or that they "need" standing order to succeed. The upline is smart enough not to say the system is "required", but certainly, they will put a defacto requirement by sayimg things such as nobody has ever succeeded without the system, but you can try to be the first, or they may say the system is optional, but so is success. Of someone may say so and so diamond (insert) name is a multi millionaire and he advocates the system, but you can go against his advice if you think you know better.

The bigger problem is that these upline leaders will tell you that you basically cannot succeed without these tools, but at the same time, the more tools you buy, the more profit these uplines make. Some Amway apologists will justify this by saying a college professor may sell his own books to his students. But this is not the same thing. A college professor may spend years researching to write that one book. He will be teaching his expertise that is written in the book. When you attend seminars or listen to cds, you do not have one expert guiding you with clear documentation on how they succeeded. You have very general generic experiences coming from various speakers who may or may not have any common background with IBOs. Thus these upline leaders will profit from their downline IBO volume and also from tools that they advise downline to purchasem regardless of downline success or progress in the business.

As evidence of these bad practices by upline, consider this. If upline truly has "valuable" information that would help you succeed, they would get that information to you in whatever means they could. Either by voicemail, MP3, Youtube or whatever. Why would they withhold trade secrets if they really wanted your success? Has it ever occured to IBOs that maybe uplines doesn't want your success? Maybe it is why you must pay for any piece of advice or support you receive. Maybe upline is perfectly happy with people coming and going as long as there are tool purchases because then there are no new IBOs (platinums and up) to share the tool profits with.

There is a definite conflict of interest with profiting uplines advising you to buy tools. The question if whether you see it or not?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Amway Financial Freedom?

When I was an IBO, I often saw my upline diamond driving around town dressed in a business suit. I used to think why does he keep working if he can walk away and collect residual income? My sponsor told me that the diamond only works because he cares about his downline and wants to help them. So there are two possible scenarios, the diamond is working to help his downline out of a genuine concern, or possoibly he is working because he has to! The only difference now is that the diamond works the nite and/or graveyard shift, because many IBOs are building the business after they complete their day jobs. **We should also note that my former upline diamond dropped down to the emerald level around 2005 and has since re-established his diamond level.

Now Amway has stated that the average diamond earns about $150,000 a year. That is a decent income, but after taxes and paying for basic expenses such as medical and dental insurance, the average diamond probably lives a very middle class lifestyle. Keep in mind that a large portion of a diamond's income comes in the form of an annual bonus, thus a diamond's monthly income may be quite small. Yes, diamonds may have other sources of income such as speaking engagements and income from standing orders and functions. But this income depends on the diamond's continued appearances and efforts. Is that true "freedom" if you have to be in places at a certain day and time? Yeah, a diamond's job might not be backbreaking work but it's still work and doesn't carry the freedom that they lead you to believe.

So is it likely that a diamond is "free"? I would have to conclude that a diamond is not free, and may actually have to spend more time maintaining his group than if the diamond simply had a 9-5 job. For one thing, a diamond needs to maintain a personal group to keep qualifying for bonuses. With a poor retention rate in Amway, I am fairly sure that a diamond spends much time recruiting personally sponsored IBOs to maintain this group. Additionally, a diamond must help his six or more groups of downline platinums to maintain their businesses or face the possibility of falling out of qualification. My former diamond dropped down to the emerald level but has since re-qualified at diamond. A diamond must also dedicate time to reward up and coming movers and shakers, to keep them motivated. I got to spend time with my upline diamond when I was considered a promising up and coming pin.

In order to continue to receive tools income, a diamond must also travel to numerous functions and speaking engagements. Although the tools income allegedly doubles a diamond's income, it also adds a lot of expenses, especially if the diamond and his family travel first class to show off the diamond lifestyle.

After breaking down projected income and considering projected expenses, I can only conclude that a diamond probably lives a middle to upper middle class lifestyle, and probably works as much as a man with a 9-5 job, except that a diamond works nites and weekends. A good portrait of this is shown in Ruth Carter's book (Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind The Smoke and Mirrors). In the book, the diamond had a net income of over $300,000, but lived in debt, could barely pay his mortgage, and was always on the run from one function to the next.

I believe that diamonds may actually be busier at the diamond level than an average Joe who has a 9-5 J-O-B. The difference is that the diamond works the night shift. Is this the freedom you are seeking?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lying To Promote Amway?

The first time I was prospected for Amway, I was in college. I actually didn't know much about Amway but I had somehow formed a negative opinion of it. Needless to say, when I was invited to a beer bust and it turned instead to an Amway meeting, my impression of Amway wasn't that good. Some years later, I eventually did join because a close friend of mine had achieved platinum and he had assured me that it could be done and that he would make sure that I would also achieve it. I did achieve a level just below platinum (4000 PV), but I quit for several reasons. First of all, I didn't make a net profit as the expenses for tools ate up my profits. Secondly, the more I progressed in the busines, the more and more my upline wanted control of my life. For example, we were told that we should check upline before getting married, buying a car, or even having children, etc. I thought that was very strange and I eventually left the business for good.

But in the US at least, I believe Amway's name to be so battered that an IBO cannot sponsor downline and build a business without lies and deception. There are hoards of stories confirming testimony that lies and deceit are common in prospecting potential IBOs. This was extremely rampant when Amway changed their name to Quixtar. IBOs would deny the connection or IBOs would say they are with network 21 or WWDB and claim something ridiculous such as Amway simply being their supplier. The promotion of perfect water also brought on silly antics about a $50 case of water being capable of performing miracles. If the opportunity could stand on its own merits, then IBOs would not have to resort to such desperate measures.

Even the Amway presentation if often filled with deception and lies. I remember seeing the presentation and they said shopping through Amway, an IBO would save 30% over local retailers. When I actually saw the catalogs, I wondered where are the savings?? The 6-4-2 plan or similar variations are made to sound easy and the presenter talked about lifelong residuakl willable income, which I also find to be deceptive if not an outright lie.

But can Amway be successfully promoted without lies and deception? It is my opinion that an IBO has no chance of building a business by being completely upfront and honest about Amway and about being an IBO. Even with lies and deceit, many IBOs still cannot get people to see the plan or to buy products. An Amway rep has stated that very little Amway products are sold to non IBOs. So if you cannot sell products and you cannot get people to see the plan, you cannot build a business and if you are purchasing tools, you are simply digging yourself a financial hole that will only grow larger as time passes. The cost of 100 PV is alreay more than what most families and/or singles spend in a month on household products. This means that most people simply cannot sustain themselves in the business and it explains why most IBOs drop out in the first year.

It is why lies and/or deception are needed for an IBO to have a chance at promoting and building an Amway business.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amway Results In Broken Dreams?

One of the things Amway promoters often use to entice prospects into joining is to get them to think about financial dreams and goals that they would like to accomplish. After all, who wouldn't want to be retired at age 29 and walking on the exotic beaches of the world? Or who wouldn't want to live a life of leisure and excitement with unlimited barrels of cash rolling in to finance all of the fun and frivolity?
Of course most people get excited by this.

Sadly, the things that people get excited by, or the things that people join for, often become less accessible because of people's involvement in Amway. Not due to Amway itself, but because of the leach organizations that attach themselves to the Amway business. These organizations will promote their materials as the key to success in Amway, but in reality, these organizations reap handsome profits while basically bankrupting the downline IBOs. What is also sad is that the system does not deliver the success that is touted. Less than one half of one percent even reach the platinum level, which is allegedly the level where you break even or make a small profit.

During my tenure in the business, uplines taught us to buy all the materials. Books, standing order tapes/cds, functions, and other materials. In fact, in addition to standing order, upline wanted IBOs to purchase an additional 5-7 tapes or cds each week. Afterall, you should be listening to new material right? In fact, upline wanted people to "invest" or spend all of their income on these materials. In an open meeting setting, a diamond said that your famioly could skip a meal to get another tape/cd because the information was so valuable that you might hear the one thing that propels you to diamond. Almost as if buying a tape/cd was like some lottery ticket.

And sadly, some IBOs did go "all in". They bought tools like there was no tomorrow. In my crossline, there was a couple who went bankrupt and a couple whose home was foreclosed. Now was this financial difficulty all due to their involvement in Amway? I don't know, but certainly, buying hundreds of dollars of materials on a monthly basis cas certainly contribute to someone's financial problems. And these IBOs did this on upline's advice. Thus upline advised this even when they likely knew that these IBOs were in financial difficulty. If they would tell you to starve your kids, then surely they will not be concerned about your other issues. I also sat in a function where a diamond taught about how long you can put off paying a mortgage before foreclosure would occur. Probably so people could go in hock to attend a major function.

It is a sad thing indeed when uplines will try to sell you dreams. What's worse is when they are actually selling you broken dreams.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Amway Tools?

When I was an IBO and even now, I see IBOs and others claiming that the tools are vital. That tools are necessary to achieve success in Amway. When I was an IBO, and I suspect even now, that uplines tout tools as a defacto mandatory part of being an Amway business owner. That nobody can succeed without tools. That tools are optional, but so is success. Noone has ever succeeded without tools but you can try to be the first. But if an IBO stops and turns on their critical thinking, one should ask, what value is in the tools?

For hardworking and dedicated IBOs, the tools are likely to cost on average $200 a month or more. If you have to travel by plane to attend functions, then your cost may be even higher. Driving the miles to show the plan, standing orders, voicemail, website fees, books and other materials basically become the business. I would bet money that most IBO spend more time listening to cds or voicemail than they ever do selling and/or promoting products.

Can you learn from some of the tools? Yes, I believe you can, but what value do they add to your efforts as an IBO? If you are a real business owner, you don't spend more on tools than your monthly income for very long unless the tools will directly result in your ability to make more profit. Most IBOs don't even make enough income from Amway to cover the cost of their monthly voicemail bill, let alone the other materials and the functions. Most IBOs never sponsor anyone, which is the key to attempting to achieve the residual income that many are chasing but few (if any) have ever achieved.

I mean if you handed out 6 cds and the result was 6 people sponsored, I would say you had a great deal. But I personally don't know of anyone who ever handed out a standing order or any tape or cd that resulted in sponsoring a downline. I don't know of anyone whose business was profoundly affected positively because of the tools. Those who achieve in Amway appear to be natural leaders with a degree of charisma. It is why people gravitate towards them and are motivated by them. Lacking that, most other IBOs simply play a game called Amway that becomes expensive over a period of time. It is why there are stories of people losing tens of thousands of dollars in a business where there is "low risk". Your moneyis drained on function at a time, one standing order at a time. Thousands of people spending $200 a month on tools equals a nice income.

But do the tools have value? I don't see much there, unless you are selling the tools.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Better Options Than Amway?

One of the humorous things that IBOs say on my blog is if Amway isn't such a great deal, then why don't we offer a better solution? I guess it's not enough that there are facts and experiences posted here so that information seekers can find and make informed decisions about joining or not joining Amway, but we must also suggest better options? Well, I will offer some. While I am not advising anyone to listen to my thoughts, nor do I think you should act on what you read what's here without doing your due diligence and your own soul searching, here are my opinions on what may be better than Amway:

1. Be a better steward of the money you already have. Many people have enough income but simply channel too much of it to things they don't need. A daily $5 cup of starbucks for example. Disciplined saving and investing. Eliminating certain optional expenses can add up to a lot of money over the course of a month or a year.

2. Get a second job and set aside a portion for saving and investing. You will not only have more discretionary cash, but also more to be able to set aside for your golden years. Try to find a job that's not so stressful and something you may have fun with. For example, working part time at a sporting goods store would be something that I might enjoy.

3. Start your own small business. The biggest issue with Amway, in my opinion is the endless supply of training that uplines sell. It causes most "serious" IBOs to end up with a net loss. You can find a niche product and sell it on ebay or craigslist, unlike Amway products. Another type of small business might be something like learning to do minor household repairs or installing hardwood flooring. These kinds of services are quite common and can be lucrative.

4. Do nothing. Since most business building IBOs lose money, doing nothing, although comical, actually makes you bette off than losing money because of functions and standing orders.

5. Spend more time with your family. Ironically, many IBOs have this as a goal, but actually spend less time with family because of Amway related activities.

There you have it folks. There are some ideaas of what might be better than spending your time and money participating in the Amway business and the Amway motivational organizations. While these are only ideas, only you can decide what is best for you and your family. In whatever you decide to do, I wish you well.