One of the things that many Amway IBOs do is to purchase cds, books, voicemail, websites, seminar tickets, etc. These materials are supposed to help an IBO to succeed, but apparently the people who sell these materials are far more successful than those who use them. What makes these materials potentially harmful to an IBO's resources is that many IBOs are told that these "tools" are an "investment" into their business. I believe that these tools are simply a drain on an IBO's bank account and not truly an investment. I will explain.
If you owned a tradional business, you would have to come up with a lot more money than opening an Amway business. That is true, but a traditional business will likely come with a building and possibly some real estate. This is a tangible investment. If your business doesn't work out, you can still sell the land and/or building, or transfer the lease to another business owner and recoup some of your initial investment. Contrast this with former IBOs who endup selling their Amway tools on ebay or craigslist for pennies on the dollar. I'm not even sure they have any takers, except for morons who think the tools have any value.
Also, in a traditional business, you may have to make other "investments" such as perhaps purchasing a company van or other equipment that will help your business be efficient. These materials, while they will depreciate, still carry value and can be liquidated if your business is sold. What can an IBO sell to offset losses if they stop their Amway business? Sell their white board and easel I suppose, or they can try to sell their excess inventory if any, but generally, an IBO's business doesn't gain any equity. You don't own your downline. You don't own anything really, except the right to distribute products.
The way I see it, the purchase of tools is an investment. An investment into your upline's business. The more you purchase, the more your upline prospers.