Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amway - Business Owner Mentality?

One of the catch phrases that IBOs spout quite often is that you need a "business mentality". Those of us who have an "employee mentality" simply cannot cut the mustard in Amway. I find this ironic since the vast majority of Amway IBOs have a job. A job that they NEED in order to pay for their Amway business. A job that pays for their voicemail, cds, functions and books, in addition to the cost of the Amway products. Basically, most IBOs would be out of business almost immediately without their job income to support their Amway business.

Apparently, a business mentality, as taught by AMO leaders, is one that doesn't expect quick profits, despite upline's claim that the Amway business has low risk and low overhead. A business mentality is also one where you reinvest any or all profits back into buying support materials. A business owner doesn't expect to make a profit for 5 years. Many of these claims are taught by unethical uplines and unfortunately, many IBOs accept the teaching and buy into it. They lure in prospects by talking about low risk and the ability to profit right away, but the teaching later changes to reinvesting money into their business and not expecting profit for several years. A bait and switch of sorts.

Now it is true that a business owner might have to think and view things differently than an employee. For example, an employee might do a great job from 9-5 but after 5:00 pm, that employee may be headed home to care for his or her family, or to participate in some exercise or recreation. The business owner might be inclined to stay after hours to finish a job because he or she may have invested much, and will want to make sure that the business succeeds. However, Amway is promoted as part time, do as much or as little as you want, on your own time, when you have time.

It is my suspicion that uplines want their downline IBOs to adopt a business owner mentality, not because they want downline to succeed, but because it instills a dedication to the tools purchases and it also takes an IBO's focus off profits for a few years. Thus IBOs think they are successful (without profit) if they are listening to standing order, attending all the functions and showing the plan. It is a gimmick used to retain IBOs who are not profitable. If IBOs were actually making money, there would be little need to continue to motivate them with an endless supply of cds and functions. But because most IBOs lose money or make little, the average IBO must be taught that a "business owner" commonly loses money for a number of years, or that they must continue to reinvest their profits in order to succeed.

In posting this, I say to IBOs, just make a profit by selling goods. That is all the motivation you need. Keep track of your bottom line and look at the return on your investment of time and money. That is the action of a real business owner and the real "business owner mentality". Which are you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Amway - Upline Credentials?

I recently read a comment from an Amway zealot on another blog. She mentions that someone's credentials must be considered when looking at information that is presented. I will comment that showing me a sports car or a fancy suit is not proof of financial success, nor is it any evidence of credentials. But it seems that most IBOs consider this display of material goods as a sign of credibility or evidence of financial success. It is clearly not.

I find this subject ironic because not one single upline leader, as far as I know, has ever supplied bonafide credentials about themselves. The audience assumes that the person on stage has certain credentials, but do they really? I will say that certainly, if someone is wearing a diamond pin for example, that this person has at least achieved the diamond level as recognized by Amway, but the level may not be current, and the level doesn't indicate the kind of income this person earns from Amway. (Joecool is criticized for being outdated even though I was at 4000 PV at one point in my Amway career)

What many people assume is that the diamonds buy homes and cars in cash, possibly because the diamonds said so. Or that the diamonds wake up at noon every day and participate in leisure activities all day while the cash rolls in. I have heard from some new IBOs, that their upline makes more money taking a crap in the morning than a critic makes in a whole year at a job. That IBO became quiet when some critics offered to take that bet. And frankly I would still be willing to take that bet.

But the truth of the matter is that as far as I know, only former diamonds have come clean about their Amway income. They are the only ones who spoke of credentials and accomplishments. Even critics of Amway will often openly speak about their experiences and achieved levels in the business. In the REAL business world, showing business tax returns and credentials are a normal part of doing business. It appears that only in the world of Amway is the supply of credentials and financial statements a big secret. Now I am not suggesting that IBOs or upline leaders should disclose their financials to the entire world, but certainly prospects and some downline should be able to see what their upline is doing financially, especially if that is the basis for purchasing their standing orders and function tickets. And I refer to business (Amway and Tools) income and expenses only, not from other personal sources.

I believe that IBOs and upline leaders do not disclose that information because it would not be beneficial to them. If it were, they would likely publish it freely, just as they flash around copies of checks. IBOs and prospects should take this to heart and ask upline the tough questions. I would venture an educated guess, based on estimated income and expenses and I would say that most diamonds live very ordinary middle calls lives, except for the shows they put on called functions.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Amway - Are You A Business Owner Or A Glorified Customer?

One of the silly things IBOs say is how they need to be their own best customer. That a McDonald's owner would never eat at Burger King, etc. That is complete hogwash. While there is nothing wrong with supporting your own business, IBOs are blinded by the fact that their business produces nothing. They are simply middlemen distributors. Do you really think someone like Bill Britt consumes thousands of dollars of standing orders because he owns BWW, a for profit company that produces training materials? Of course not. When you purchase something from your Amway business, you make no profit. Any "false" profit you see is simply money out of your own pocket moving to the other pocket. Yes, you may receive a volume bonus, but that is still a lot of your own money being given back to you. Spend $300 and get back $10. If you can get enough people to follow you and move volume, your bonus will increase, but the increase then comes out of your follower's pockets instead of your own.

I know some business owners and they are never the best or sole customer of their own stores. Many Amway business owners are their only customers or their best customer. That simply is not how a business is run. Any REAL business cannot support itself by having the owners and perhaps the owner's employees as the primary customer base. For any business to thrive, you need customers and a demand for products. Without customers and a demand for products, you have no business. But some upline leaders still teach "buy from yourself" as the primary means of doing business. Other leaders may ask you to sell, but to focus on sponsoring others because they are hopeful that this will result in increased volume. Sadly, most IBOs will never sponsor a downline and many will never acquire a customer other than themselves.

It seems as though many IBOs think they are business owners but the reality is that they are simply glorified customers of their own business. Their only hope of making a profit is to sponsor others. In my opinion, this method of doing business is a pyramid because the only way to eventually make a profit is to sponsor enough downline until you can leverage enough volume to fimally break even or profit. An IBO with a real customer (and not buying tools) can make a profit by selling a single product. But many IBOs are not taught this because their upline makes a much bigger profit by selling their downline IBOs standing orders, voicemail, books and seminar tickets. Many IBOs do not realize that they are simply customers of Amway and of the upline tools system owners.

For people already involved or considering involvement in the Amway opportunity, you are highly encouraged to seek more information and to fully understand how a profit is made in this business. Simply seeing circles drawn oversimplifies the process as most IBOs never get close to finding six (6) like minded people. Even those who find six are unlikely to be able to retain them. Over time, the cost of the products and the cost of the training will start to add up and the losses will escalate. For real business owners, an assessment of profit/loss and return on investment should be done and if the return is not good, a real business owner would consider other options.

So are you a business owner or a glorified customer?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amway - Trusting Your Upline?

One of the things that was emphasized in my days as an IBO was to trust your upline. They said they had my best interests at heart and that they would never intentionally lead me astray as they wanted my success. At the time I believed them but looking back, I see that it was a charade and the upline really wanted their own success at my expense. For many groups, I believe this is still true although some upline leaders may have backed off just a bit since the heyday of the AMOs, which was the mid to late 90's.

Upline's profits from tools are spoken about today, alhough I believe most IBOs do not know exactly how they can qualify, nor do they know how much they would receive when they qualify. Back when I was an IBO, uplines stood on stage and proclaimed that NOBODY made a profit from the sale of tools. None of these leaders were ever made to account for their lies and with some revisionist history, the whole episode was covered up.

Some groups also teach submission and faith in the upline. Some will say there is no need to reinvent the wheel, simply copy or duplicate your upline and you will be successful That makes me wonder why so many tools and functions are needed. Also, I find it odd that someone who has my best interest at heart and truly cared about my success, get compensated for every action he/she takes to "help" my business. Voicemail, standing orders, books and functions are all profit centers for some upline leaders and therefore, just about any meeting or material designed to help an IBO puts money in the pokcets of upline. Some upline even went so far as to say you should check upline before purchasing a new car, or even before having children.

Despite the reuqest for trust and faith in upline, I fid it odd that uplines never take responsibility for the outcome of an IBO's fortunes. Many IBOs work hard and earnestly do all the recommended steps of CORE, only to fail. These IBOs are told they did not work hard enough or did not follow the steps properly. Uplines, as far as I know, have never taken responsibility for their downlines. They only take credit for downline success, but not failures.

I find a huge conflict of interest for an upline to profit from any help that he provides to downline, and then to tell downlines that training materials are vital to their business. I also see a problem when these same uplines take no responsibility when an IBO does the work but does not profit. Ironically, it is often the cost of the training materials that prevents the IBO from making a net profit. Now not all uplines are like this, but I am hopeful that some of the red flags mentioned here can be an alert for IBOs and information seekers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amway - Better Than a J-O-B?

One of the things upline leaders apparently do is to disparage people with jobs. Oh, they would say we needed people to wait on our tables and clean our toilets, but in general, jobs were put down and basically the group was told that Amway is their best chance at achieving financial freedom, giving them the ability to flush their jobs. Ironically, IBO's jobs are what funds their Amway businesses. Most IBOs would be out of business within weeks if not for their job income funding their Amway businesses.

The key selling point appears to be the 2-5 years of part time work rather than working a job for 30 - 40 years and then retiring on social security which may or may not be there when you retire. This plants a fear in people about the future and then the Amway opportunity is presented in a positive light because the Amway opportunity comes with a low start up cost. What uplines do not mention is how the opportunity can become a money pit as the monthly defacto 100 PV quota starts to add up. It is my guess that if people only bought items they truly needed, these IBOs would likely move 100 PV every three months, unless they are actively selling goods to non IBO customers.

When an IBO finally agrees to register, it is then that the hidden costs are revealed. Many uplines will introduce standing orders and functions and present these tools as vital to IBO success. Most new IBOs don't know better and feel subtle pressure to conform and give it a try. Some upline may loan some tools to downline in the beginning but evemtually, the IBO will be encouraged to be a "serious" business owner who should be purchasing their own tools to loan to their downline and the cycle goes on.

If you examine some version of the Amway recruitment plan, you will see that most IBOs are at the 100 PV level, which will reward you with a monthly bonus of about $10or so. If that same IBO subscribes to the tools system, than IBO will likely be losing over $100 a month not including the product purchases. And because many IBOs have been convinced that working a job is so horrible, that they can be convinced that this condition of losing money is temporary and that untold wealth is right around the corner. Sadly, for most, this condition is the norm and even the sponsorship of a few downline, the losses continue to mount. Yet many are convinced that this is better than a job.

Ironically, a job allows people to pay their monthly bills, feed their families and many people enjoy their work and co workers. While upline leaders may convince you otherwise, it is this very same excuse upline leaders use when asked why they are still working instead of walking the beaches of the world collecting massive amounts of residual income. I would encourage IBOs to truly analyze their efforts in Amway and determine if it is beneficial to your finances. In most cases, your Amway efforts ONLY benefits your upline's finances. For most who get involved, the Amway opportunity is not better than a job. Be careful!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Amway's Reputation?

One thing I am fairly certain of. That is Amway's reputation in North America is badly tarnished. It seems that everyone you can speak to will have had, or will know someone who had a bad experiece in Amway. My first contact with the Amway opportunity was being tricked into attending a meeting. I was in college and I was invited to a "beerbust" only to see men in suits and a white board. I did later join when a good friend of mine had joined and achieved platinum. But in that incident, I was then a participant in what some call the "tool scam".

I believe it is for this very reason that prospects are often discouraged from seeking information about Amway prior to joining. Some uplines still teach that the internet is the bathroom walls of society only filled with negatives. Of course uplines are simply afraid that their prospects and new IBOs will simply uncover the truth about some of the unethical practices of the upline. What many will often find is that there are lies told about the opportunity and some deception about the tools systems. There are common phrases such as "we don't make money until you do" that some uplines use which are blatantly false. But it does make some prospects feel at ease when they hear these terms, especially when prospects are often the friends and/or family of potential sponsoring IBOs.

The curiosity approach used by many IBOs also leaves a bad impression on people because many questions are not answered, or a question is answered with a question. This is a planned strategy used by many IBOs to confuse prospects. It is why many people felt deceived when they finally revealed the name Amway in a presentation. As if a prospect is supposed to ask all of the correct questions before full disclosure. It is quite sad because it is the behavior of IBOs who have crippled the Amway name, and not the Amway corporation itself. However, I believe the corporation could have done more about curbing bad or unethical behavior by IBOs.

But the thing that irks me and many others, is the attitude and revisionist history tactics used my many uplines. In the past, many uplines used bold lies about the tools. I was in WWDD and heard from stage that nobody made a cent of profit from the tools. These leaders have never been held accountable for these lies that have caused untold financial damages to their faithful downline. They also fabricated stories or simply made people disappear when various diamond leaders got divorced or involved themselves in embarrassing situations. Because of the IBO attrition, many newer IBOs never knew the truth about the upline lies and deception. I believe some of the diamond leaders are now suffering as it seems that there are no new Amway advocates, possibly because too much information is freely available with a simple google search.

I believe Amway has a soiled reputation in the US and Canada. I also believe it is well earned.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amway - Why IBOs Should Not Use The Term "Broke" or "Loser"

One of the things I heard as an IBO and still hear today, is that people who do not view Amway as favorable, or decided to quit and walk away from the Amway opportunity are "broke" or "losers" or "broke losers". As an IBO I remember one of the upline saying that IBOs are winners, and therefore, if you are not an IBO, you must be a loser. I still see much of that today. I'm not sure why that kind of teaching still exists, especially when most people who work for minimum wage earn more than most IBOs.

I suppose it's a form of subtle pressure used by upline to prevent people from quitting, as nobody wants to be labeled a loser. It creates an "us" versus "them" attitude. One of Amway's co founders, Rich DeVos, stated quite clearly in a speech that IBOs should not use the term loser just because someone doesn't agree that Amway is the greatest. And I agree.

Many people who are not IBOs are very successful and many people are simply not suited for or want to run a "side" business. Some people are not in need of an extra income and some people do not want to sacrifice family time. IBOs should respect other people's wishes if they are turned down when offering the opportunity to others. Also, because of previous unethical behaviors of IBOs, many people simply do not wish to get involved in an opportunity where such behavior exists. Sure, not all IBOs act that way, but enough of them still exists. And what's more, it appears that not much, if anything has been done about it.

But here's the biggest reason, in my opinion, why IBOs should be calling anyone derogatory names just because the prospect does not wish to join Amway or purchase goods. There's no reason to burn bridges with a potential customer or future IBO. Let's say I entered a store but for whatever reason, decided not to make a purchase that day. As I exit the store, the store owner calls me a loser or broke, or not having guts. What is the chance that I would want to do business with that store or store owner ever again? Furthermore, many or most Amway business owners conduct business person to person and face to face. If I insult people who don't initially do business with me, then I am doing a lousy job of PR and chances are by business will fail. Yet that is exactly what many IBOs do.

IBOs and upline leaders should read this and think twice before using the term loser or broke loser. You could be burning bridges with potential future customers or IBOs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amway - Here's The "Catch"

In the Amway business, most active IBOs are advused to trust upline. To think of upline as a coach or a mentor. These upline mentors or coaches are supposed to have your best interest at heart and they will guide you to success if only you will be open to learning. Many uplines, including my former uplines used to coin the term "copy" or duplicate. If you can do that you will be successful. Even the simplest of people can copy. The upline may crack a joke about getting thru school by copying. Thus, many IBOs follow exactly what their upline advises them to do.

But then uplines turn the responsibility away from themselves. Many Amway defenders will also claim that downline should not simply follow the advice of upline. They may make a ridiculous claim that standing orders and functions contain advice that must be discerned. That information is like a buffet. You pick and choose what you need and discard the rest. If you are a new IBO or prospect, let me tell you that is a load of guano (crap) that is being heaped on you. Your upline is touted as having experience and wisdom in the Amway business, which is why you are paying good money for voicemail, books, cds, and functions. So why would their advice be something you pick and choose? How would a new IBO know what to pick and choose?

Imagine hiring a guide for a trek in the wilderness. The guide is supposed to be an experienced outdoorsman, perhaps an expert. So if he recommends that you eat certain plants or fruits, you trust that he is going to guide you right. Imagine eating something that made you sick to your stomach, only to have the guide tell you that he just points out plants and fruits and you have to discern which is good for you and which is not. You would fire the guide and tell everyone you know not to use that guide anymore.

But here we have these "systems" such as Network 21, WWDB or BWW that have been "guiding" IBOs for up to 20 years or more in some cases, and the number of diamonds are negligible. Sure there are many new platinums, but many tool consuming platinums have been found to be losing money or making very little money for their efforts. What's more, it would appear that Amway is losing ground in North America based on sales. One can reasonably guess that any new platinums that break are simply replacing the volume for a platinum that no longer exists or a platinum that no longer qualifies. My former upline diamond appears to have all new qualifying platinums from the time I was in the business and here's the kicker. My former diamond had 6 downline rubies. As far as I know, none of these rubies are qualified as platinum anymore, although I have heard that some of these are still active.

Uplines also program their downline to take responsibility for the failure. Thus you have IBOs who did everything that was asked of them, only to fail. Yet these IBOs often blame themselves for their failure. It is my opinion that former IBOs who did everything asked of them only to fail should file a formal complaint against their LOS with the better business bureau. Amway defenders like to think that a lack of formal complaints means that the system works when clearly, there is no unbiased substantial evidence to suggest that the system works. It looks like some succeed in spite of the system, not because of.

The catch in all this is uplines skirting responsibility for the outcomes of those they "mentor" and profit from. IBOs should ask if upline really cared about their success, why do you have to pay for any help that you receive from your upline diamond?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amway - You Cannot Simply Choose To Succeed!

Many IBOs seem to think that success in business or in other aspects of life is simply a choice. They mistakenly believe that you can actually choose to succeed or not. They apparently believe that persistence and choosing to win will eventually land them a premiere spot at diamond club. If that were truly the case, wouldn't we see hoards of new diamonds each and every year? Instead, we see one here and one there, and while there are a few new diamonds in the US every so often, we see others quitting, dropping out or leaving Amway for greener pastures. Make you wonder if the prize is worth pursuing in the first place.

But IBOs and information seekers should understand quite clearly. You cannot simply "choose" to win or succeed. In a football game, both sides can believe and choose to win, but still, only one can be the victor. In Amway, it is common for a platinum to have 100 to 200 downline. Thus to be a platinum, you need to be in the top one half of one percent of IBOs. To be a diamond, you will need to be in the top 600 to 1200 IBOs, not counting the masses of IBOs who register and do nothing or register and do a little and quit. Only one in about ten to twenty thousand will ever reach diamond in North America.

Sure, IBOs may cite some touching story like "Rudy". Basically a nobody who dreamed of playing for Notre Dame. He busted his butt and did whatever it took to make the team and the movie ends with him getting in a game, making a sack and being carried off the field by his teammates in a blaze of glory. A great and inspiring movie. But what you don't see is the possible tens of thousands of young men who had the same dream, may have worked every bit as hard but circumstances and situations prevented them from achieving the same limited success. Uplines want you to think these kinds of stories can happen to everyone, but the fact is that there is only a little room at the top. If stories like Rudy were common, then there would have been nothing special about it. An elite athlete like a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods only comes along once or twice in a lifetime. It is like achieving diamond. It happens but it is a rare occasion, especially in North America where Amway appears to be shrinking instead of growing.

In the Amway business, many prospects and IBOs are motivated and driven to succeed. Many of them are fine young men and women who want more in life. But the vast majority of those who try will not achieve their dreams via the Amway opportunity no matter how hard they work and no matter how badly they want it. The reason is because there are too many variables that are not in direct control of the IBO. The Amway reputation in North America is spotty at best so sponsoring downline is nearly impossible. And when you can sponsor, chances are your downline will do little or nothing. Many new IBOs will work hard, but quit because they are faced with the challenges I just mentioned. And even if you can overcome the overwhelming odds, you still need to keeping working hard constantly to maintain the business, all for an unstable average diamond income of $146,995, which doesn't consider taxes, medical insurance and other perks you may receive at a job. All told, I believe the diamond income is not all it's cracked up to be when you consider the charade you must play to display the diamond lifestyle. Do the math and you will be able to see for yourself.

In the end, it seems as though the prize isn't as great as it seems, and the trail to success is one that most cannot endure. And even if you achieve diamond, you can lose it quite easily as others have discovered. The bottom line is that you cannot simply choose to succeed in Amway or any other endeavor. Good luck if you decide to attempt it anyway.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amway - Portrait Of A Millionaire

From Stanley and Danko. Guess what? Amway diamonds don't fit the portrait.


Who is the prototypical American millionaire? What would he tell you about himself?(*)

* I am a fifty-seven-year-old male, married with three children. About 70 percent of us earn 80 percent or more of our household's income.

* About one in five of us is retired. About two-thirds of us who are working are self-employed. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants.

* Many of the types of businesses we are in could be classified as dullnormal. We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.

* About half of our wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher.

* Our household's total annual realized (taxable) income is $131,000 (median, or 50th percentile), while our average income is $247,000. Note that those of us who have incomes in the $500,000 to $999,999 category (8 percent) and the $1 million or more category (5 percent) skew the average upward.

* We have an average household net worth of $3.7 million. Of course, some of our cohorts have accumulated much more. Nearly 6 percent have a net worth of over $10 million. Again, these people skew our average upward. The typical (median, or 50th percentile) millionaire household has a net worth of $1.6 million.

* On average, our total annual realized income is less than 7 percent of our wealth. In other words, we live on less than 7 percent of our wealth.

* Most of us (97 percent) are homeowners. We live in homes currently valued at an average of $320,000. About half of us have occupied the same home for more than twenty years. Thus, we have enjoyed significant increases in the value of our homes.

* Most of us have never felt at a disadvantage because we did not receive any inheritance. About 80 percent of us are first-generation affluent.

* We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles.

* Most of our wives are planners and meticulous budgeters. In fact, only 18 percent of us disagreed with the statement "Charity begins at home." Most of us will tell you that our wives are a lot more conservative with money than we are.

* We have a "go-to-hell fund." In other words, we have accumulated enough wealth to live without working for ten or more years. Thus, those of us with a net worth of $1.6 million could live comfortably for more than twelve years. Actually, we could live longer than that, since we save at least 15 percent of our earned income.

* We have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of our nonmillionaire neighbors, but, in our neighborhood, these nonmillionaires outnumber us better than three to one. Could it be that they have chosen to trade wealth for acquiring high-status material possessions?

* As a group, we are fairly well educated. Only about one in five are not college graduates. Many of us hold advanced degrees. Eighteen percent have master's degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D.s.

* Only 17 percent of us or our spouses ever attended a private elementary or private high school. But 55 percent of our children are currently attending or have attended private schools.

* As a group, we believe that education is extremely important for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We spend heavily for the educations of our offspring.

* About two-thirds of us work between forty-five and fifty-five hours per week.

* We are fastidious investors. On average, we invest nearly 20 percent of our household realized income each year. Most of us invest at least 15 percent. Seventy-nine percent of us have at least one account with a brokerage company. But we make our own investment decisions.

* We hold nearly 20 percent of our household's wealth in transaction securities such as publicly traded stocks and mutual funds. But we rarely sell our equity investments. We hold even more in our pension plans. On average, 21 percent of our household's wealth is in our private businesses.

* As a group, we feel that our daughters are financially handicapped in comparison to our sons. Men seem to make much more money even within the same occupational categories. That is why most of us would not hesitate to share some of our wealth with our daughters. Our sons, and men in general, have the deck of economic cards stacked in their favor. They should not need subsidies from their parents.

* What would be the ideal occupations for our sons and daughters? There are about 3.5 millionaire households like ours. Our numbers are growing much faster than the general population. Our kids should consider providing affluent people with some valuable service. Overall, our most trusted financial advisors are our accountants. Our attorneys are also very important. So we recommend accounting and law to our children. Tax advisors and estate-planning experts will be in big demand over the next fifteen years.

* I am a tightwad. That's one of the main reasons I completed a long questionnaire for a crispy $1 bill. Why else would I spend two or three hours being personally interviewed by these authors? They paid me $100, $200, or $250. Oh, they made me another offer--to donate in my name the money I earned for my interview to my favorite charity. But I told them, "I am my favorite charity."


Ask the average American to define the term wealthy. Most would give the same definition found in Webster's. Wealthy to them refers to people who have an abundance of material possessions.

We define wealthy differently. We do not define wealthy, affluent, or rich in terms of material possessions. Many people who display a high-consumption lifestyle have little or no investments, appreciable assets, income-producing assets, common stocks, bonds, private businesses, oil/gas rights, or timber land. Conversely, those people whom we define as being wealthy get much more pleasure from owning substantial amounts of appreciable assets than from displaying a high-consumption lifestyle.

Amway - Amway Tools, False Hope?

Many IBOs who participate in the teaching systems sold by groups such as BWW, N21, or WWDB are often "hopeful" of getting wealthy through the Anway opportunity and they are hopeful that they can eventually walk away from their business and collect willable and residual income. That they will one day enjoy fabulous vacations and luxuries, all from selling soap via the Amway opportunity. They feel that 2-5 years of work and learning and changing their buying habits will create this wealth.

It appears that much of the training systems emphasis is not on instruction, but on how they can have hope. There are countless touching stories of couples or individuals who were downtrodden, but were offered the Amway opportunity. While they struggled and doubted, they never gave up and eventually endured. Many, possibly most of the standing orders are stories of how people struggled but kept on going until they finally reached diamond, the apparent crowning achievement of the Amway business.

Nobody denies that hopes and dreams are important in someone's life. It gives you the perseverance you need to keep working, knowing that there is something better waiting for you in the future. Many people dream of wealth and being able to enjoy the finer things in life. But I find it very unethical and somewhat cruel when upline leaders imply that everyone can achieve these lofty goals and dreams. It seems cruel to fill someone's mind with false hopes and dreams. Imagine promising your kids a trip to Disneyland for example, knowing that you will never takem them there. That's a pretty good comparison to standing on stage and saying everyone can go diamond if they will only follow the system.

Then when an IBO is convinced that they are a surefire future millionaire, filled with hope, then they need to go and peddle their soap. Sadly, even with all of the hope, most IBOs find that they can't sell soap. Many of Amway's products are not competitive with similar products that can be purchased at big box retailers. It makes a tough sell, thus many IBOs are told to simply buy their own goods without an emphasis on selling to others, thus producing an unsustainable business. In this environment, only those who profit from the tools can endure, because the tools system has many customers - the downline IBOs. However, the downline IBOs, lacking Amway product customers, end up losing money, often directly related to tool purchases.

In many cases, an IBO does not realize that his own upline or sponsor is really his or her dream stealer. The downline's money is slowly drained and channeled upline in the form of tool purchases. Many IBOs realize later that at least some of their dreams could have been financed simply by not purchasing tools from their upline, or by avoiding the Amway opportunity altogether! While some people do make some money in Amway, their numbers are insignificant. Are you a victim of false hope?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Amway - Why Most Amway Businesses Aren't Sustainable?

One thing that is very clear to me after having researched and blogged about the subject of Amway and the Amway Motivational Organizations (AMOs) is that most Amway businesses are not sustainable. It is why I believe there is such a high drop out rate and why there are so many people who have formed a bad opinion about Amway. Now a real business relies on income from customers. The customers purchase goods and services from a business, and it they like it and/or find value in the goods and services, they become repeat customers and as long as there continues to be value in the goods and services, sales are made.

In the Amway, business, there appears to be a "perceived" value to the goods and services. In many groups (such as BWW or WWDB), the perceived value is that the purchase and use of Amway products will lead to untold wealth and the possibility of early retirement. Sadly for most IBOs, the reality sets and and the IBOs end up quitting, and more often than not, the products that had great value and price to an IBO, suddenly becomes expensive and irrelevent to non IBOs. If former IBOs had continued to buy Amway products, the company growth would be significant even with the high attrition rate. It appears that the dreams and aspirations of a new IBO are directly related to their dedication to Amway products.

But why aren't most Amway businesses sustainable? Isn't it simple? Do your 100 PV and get others to do the same? In my opinion, this is what has destroyed the Amway reputation. All too many IBOs in the past have done all kinds of crazy and in some cases, deceitful or unethical things in an attempt to recruit other IBOs. What probably in mentioned, but not a meaningful way is the absolute need for IBOs to get customers, and plenty of them. Even groups that may teach some need to get customers do not advise IBOs focus primarily on customers. They still advise many/most IBOs to sponsor downline. The lack of customers means that the diamond wealth seen on stage at functions comes primarily from IBO purchases of Amway goods and business support materials (standing order, voicemail and functions)

But you may wonder why a diamond appears so successful? It's because a diamond business has many customers. All downline who purchase voicemail, standing orders, books and functions are all customers of the diamonds. The are all generally repaet customers as well. A diamond or higher may have hundreds to even thousands of downline who purchase support materials (on the diamond's advice). That is why in many cases, a diamond will seem successful, because they have all their downline as customers or potential customers. However, with the apparent illusion of a diamond lifestyle, even that diamond income may not be enough to sustain the "diamond lifestyle". It appears that the downturn of grosth in north america may have affected the north american diamonds (bankruptcy, foreclosures, etc).

And if a diammond may not have enough customers to sustain their business and likestyle, what chance do you have with little or no downline, and little sales to people who are not IBOs? I suspect if you're reading this, you already know the answer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Amway - Diamonds Are Broke?

I recently read an article on what constitutes wealth. Some say an annual income of $100,000 would make them wealthy, some say assets exceeding $4 million would do it, and some estimated that $2 million would make them "rich". Of course, everything is relative and someone earning $25,000 a year would think that $100,000 a year is wealth, etc. College students might think $40,000 a year is awesome because many have little money to begin with. I'm sure someone like Bill Gates would not consider $4 million to be astonishing. It's all relative. If you are content with what you have, you are likely relatively well off already.

But let's talk about Amway diamonds. I say diamond because it is basically the pinnacle of success. It is the crowning achievement of the 6-4-2 plan (or other variations) that many groups show. The average diamond earns about $150,000, according to Amway. Now $150,000 sounds like a lot of money to young people or to those with lower wage types of jobs, or those who are just starting out in their careers. But we also know that diamonds earn income from the sale of tools. Some groups advertise (verbally) that someone might earn $100,000 a year from the tools/speaking income.

Let's be generous and say the diamond earns $300,000 a year from Amway and tools income. Income tax and medical insurance for the family will eat up about 40% of that right off the top, leaving about $180,000. Fantastic you might say? Well, a diamond certainly would live in a million dollar mansion, which would give you about a $6000 a month mortgage or $72,000 a year, leaving $108,000. (Although many - a - diamond pays for their homes in cash) Fantastic right? Well, diamonds are constantly traveling to various functions, flying first class and staying only at 5 star hotels right? So an average of 1 trip per month with a family, first class and a 5 star hotel would probably cost about $5000 or more per trip, or about $60,000 a year, now leaving $68,000 for this diamond's yearly budget. A good diamond with a family surely consumes 300 PV per month for household goods, or about $900 a month or about $11,000 a year, leaving $57,000 for the rest of the year. A good diamond is often a Christian who would faithfully tithe 10% of his income, or about $30,000 a year, leaving the diamond with $27,000 a year, or about $2250 a month to pay for their monthly electric and utility bills, gas, car payments, meals and entertainment.

Yes, some expenses may be slightly higher or lower, but what I am trying to illustrate is that even an above average diamond with tools income is more likely to be broke than wealthy if they live the lifestyles porttrayed at functions such as dream night or other major functions. Do the math. It is unlikely that diamonds pay cash for everything and it is unlikely that fabulous lifestyles can be sustained on a diamond income. There is plenty of evidence out there. Diamond's homes foreclosed, diamonds behind on income taxes, a prominent triple diamond in bankruptcy proceeding, many diamonds selling off their homes in a bad real estate market.

I truly believe that it is quite possible for many diamonds to be broke. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Amway - What Is Your Dream?

One of the things that Amway leaders use to attract new IBOs is to talk about the dreams that these folks have. They may talk about how having a job will wear you out and dreams that you once had as a child or young adult gets suppressed and/or completely forgotten. They try to revive some of these dreams in the hopes that they can convince prospects that Amway is the only way, or the easiest or best way to accomplish these dreams. They also try to instill the notion that people can choose to succeed in Amway. Being that success in Amway has so many variables out of the direct control of an IBO, nobody can simply choose to make it big in Amway anymore than they can choose to win the lottery. And by the way, the chances of going diamond and maintaining it is about as remote as winning a lottery.

What is somewhat cruel is reviving dreams that for many, will never come to fruition, no matter how much work is done, and no matter how many tools are consumed. There are many instances where no matter how big the dream, it will never come to pass because of physical and financial limitations. For example, as a child, many of us had dreams of playing professional football, hockey or basketball, and living in the glory of winning. However, no matter how many hours you put in and no matter how hard you work, the vast majority of people will never be pro athletes. And even out of the ones who become pro athletes, very few are considered "elite".

Yet the Amway promoters will have people believe that just buying a few products and selling a few products and 2-5 years of "hard" work, people will join the financially elite in the world. As if home care and beauty and nutritional products moved from person to person is going to make you achieve your dreams. That you will quit your jobs and walk the beaches of the world while the cash rolls in by the barrel full. Sadly, many young people become attracted to a propostion that allows them a shortcut to retirement instead of working until age 62 or whatever the standard retirement age is. They are basically promoting false hopes and promises to the vast majority of people who get involved. I believe those who are deemed as "dream stealers" might be doing their family and friends a favor by stealing their dream, which will not come to pass anyway.

With about 1 out of 240 IBOs reaching platinum (the alleged break even point) and about 1 in 20,000 IBOs reaching diamond, the dream is a stretch indeed. Even for the select few who can overcome major challenges and hurdles, maintaining their status often becomes impossible and and not worthwhile (many diamonds have quit).
Also, if you do make it, you will leave behind a trail of people who could not or did not come close to that level of success. It means that in many cases, your success will come at the expense of those you sponsor. It is why many claim that Amway is a legal pyramid.

Having dreams and goals is a good thing. But do you want to accomplish your ultimate dream by hurting (financially) those who trusted you and agreed to be your downline? Is it your dream to go diamond and have 500 to 1000 or more downline IBOs losing money? Is it your dream to be wealthy by exploiting people who trust you and believe that they can achieve the same level of success, when the opposite is true?

What is your dream? Are you willing to hurt others to achieve it? Your answer to this will say a lot.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Amway Motivational Organizations (AMOs) - Behind The Smoke And Mirrors?

There is a book called "Amway Motivational Organization - Behind the Smoke and Mirrors", written by Ruth Carter in 1999. Ruth Carter was an IBO and also worked as an employee of a diamond. Her close and personal insight into the life and finances of a diamond is quite horrifying when you see the details. Based on my observations and years of blogging experience, I believe that this diamond as described in this book, is more typical than not. I believe this because this diamond had a nice income. but also was living in debt. Basically the diamond in the book (not identified) lived a lifestyle to portray wealth, but behind the illusion of wealth was a pile of debt.

This diamond operated in the mid 1990's, the heyday of the AMO abuse. While Amway pundits will make claims such as the story is a bit dated, I still say the story is quite valid because not much has changed in the business. Yes, online shipping replaced the call in and pick up method of delivering goods, and for some groups, the voicemail system changed, but the diamonds in the business still portray wealth. My old LOS, WWDB, still has a function called Dream Night, where the diamonds parade around and show off mansions, sports cars, jet skis and other luxuries. The diamonds still make claims of buying bit ticket items in cash, and they apparently still have the nerve to teach that the Amway opportunity can save your marriage.

The diamond in the book had a nice home, a couple of fancy cars and a nice income. The diamond in the book had a gross income of just over 3 million dollars. But after business expenses, this diamond have a net of $323,000, with only $96,000 of the income coming from Amway. For the Amway defenders who like to cite religion and call Amway a God pleasing business, I will note that this diamond only had $10,000 of their income given to charity. This diamond had the fancy suits, a couple of nice cars and a nice home. This diamond also had a mortgage and a home with little equity. The diamond had not paid their income taxes for several years and this diamond also had credit card debts in the hundreds of thousands.

How can someone who has achieved the Amway pinnacle of success be in debt? Simple, by portraying a illusion of wealth that cannot be sustained on the income generated by Amway volume and tools sales. An income of $323,000 is certainly nice, and more than most people will ever achieve. But the lifestyle they live might require a million dollar a year income or more. Amway reports that the average diamond earns about $147,0000 a year. I might add that a diamond's monthly income may not be that great as much of the income of a diamond comes from annual bonuses.

So why do diamonds live a lifestyle that they cannot sustain? It is my guess that diamonds need to keep recruiting new IBOs in order to maintain what they have. Thus they portray an easy lifestyle with no job and tons of luxuries. Some diamonds show off more than others. But in order to entice prospects, you need to show things that most people cannot attain with a job. I believe it is why there have been other signs of financial trouble in diamond land. Other diamonds have had homes foreclosed. A prominent triple diamond was in bankruptcy (chapter 7) proceedings, and a host of diamonds were selling off mansions in a bad real estate market. The signs are there. You can believe your own eyes of continue to deny what appears to be the norm in this business.

Amway Motivational Organizations and their diamonds are creating illusions of wealth, behind the smoke and mirrors, I suspect many of them are in financial difficulty, living month to month and bordering on massive debts. The evidence of there. The question is whether or not you believe it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amway - The System Is Broken

If you are an IBO or being recruited to be an IBO, it is almost certain that you are being recruited by an IBO in a "system". Now the system will likely have a name such as Network 21, WWDB, BWW, LTD or some others. Most if not all of these groups or systems will claim they are the best, fastest growing, or the most profitable. Now we know that they all cannot be the fastest growing or whatever. Most if not all of these systems will advise their IBOs to participate in their system. The system generally consists of websites, voicemail, books, cds, standing order cds, seminars and perhaps other workshops. The pressure to participate may varyt amongst groups, but it appears that the more you participate, the greater the pressure placed on you. Sort of like the analogy of boiling the frog.

All of these system companies are for profit companies, and generally the profits go to the diamonds and higher pins who own and run these companies. Some of the system diamonds earn most of their income from the sale of these tools. Now these system promoters may tell you that the system is vital to your success and some may claim that you cannot succeed without them. However, these system companies profit from selling you these materials whether you as an IBO profit or not. These systems profit even if you work hard and still go broke. While the system owners may claim that all success is attributable to the system, the same claim can be made of an even greater number of failures. Even the IBOs who put in an earnest amount of effort have an insignificant rate of success, perhaps lower than 1%. It is easy to conclude this because many and possibly most platinum businesses will consist of 100 or more IBOs. The platinum level is allegedly where an IBO breaks even or starts to make a small profit. Factor in the people who come and go (quit) and it is easy to conclude that the vast majority of IBOs either make nothing or lose money.

When you factor in the system expenses, then the number of IBOs who lose money goes up significantly. Looking at the 6-4-2 plan or whatever version your group uses, the lower levels of IBOs will earn less than $50 in a month, with most IBOs earning less than $20 per month. These IBOs won't even earn enough to cover the cost of their voicemail. If an IBO is participating in all of the system tools such as functions, it is nearly guaranteed that these IBOs will lose money due to the system expenses.

My conclusion is that the system just does not work. There is no unbiased documentation that suggests that the system works. Sure there may be some biased testimonials, but that would probably be it. If you are an active IBO, you can easily see if the system works as there would be new platinums, emerelads and diamonds emerging frequently, but that is not the case. It seems Amway is declining in the US and therefore, any new success (pins) will simply be replacing former pins who fall out of qualification or those who quit. The system does not work. However, I also came to the conclusion that nearly all of these financial systems do not work, including real estate gurus, Kiyosaki etal. It is why when they show success testimonials, there is usually a diaclaimer saying "unique experience".

In most if not all of these systems, including the Amway systems, apparently success is a unique experience. My conclusion? The system is broken. The system does not work. Some people can succeed in spite of the system, but rarely ever because of the system.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Amway - A JOB = Trading Hours For Dollars?

One of the things I heard as an IBO, and I believe still taught today is that a job is a disaster, or "just over broke". Uplines apparently use this tactic as a means to get prospects and IBOs to buy into the concept that a job limits your earning potential and that a business mentality doesn't look at an hourly wage. While it may be true that many business owners do not earn a wage, you can bet that they are aware of how much time they put into their business against how much they take in. A true business owner, if he determines that he isn't earning enough for his return on his investment of time and money, will often make adjustments to what is done to become more efficient, or fold up the business and start another one, or may even get a job.

It appears to me, that the context in which IBOs are told not to look at their business as a job is because many/most IBOs don't earn a net profit, and the few that do, probably earn less than a minimum wage equivalent when factoring in the hours spent building the business and costs associated with doing so. But hey, it's ok because you think like a "business owner", right? This appears to be just another distraction given to IBOs so they overlook monthly losses, just as how IBOs think the business is about being a nicer person, or that running the business actually makes you a better spouse or parent, when in fact, the opposite may be true.

In this day and age, there is nothing wrong with having a job. There is nothing wrong with earning an honest living trading hours for dollars. Many people live comfortable lives and have even ammassed wealth with a job. The problem for many, as I see it is that they do not currently earn enough to fulfill the dreams that they see displayed on the stage at a function. For example, a job that pays $10 an hour will gross you about $1600 or $1700 a month. Certainly not enough to retire at the age of 30. But what if you earned $1000 an hour. That would bring you $160,000 to $170,000 a month. Would that make a job enticing? Of course! So the problem is not that you trade hours for dollars, the important factor is how much you earn per hour. The same goes for a business.

Real business owners look at the bottom line. For example, if you earned $6,000 a month in a business, but you spent 80 hours a week to earn that, then your hourly pay is less than $20 an hour. But if you spent 10 hours a week to earn that, you are now getting about $150 an hour equivalent. Many Amway promoters will tell you that the business will take up 10 to 15 hours per week, but the average IBO, according to Amway, earns just about $115 a month (and most earn less than that), which averages out to less than $3.00 per hour on average. This is why your upline might be saying don't look at an hourly wage as a way to rate your business, because the income is embarrassing.

IBOs and information seekers, do the math. Ask tough questions and demand answers. Don't be discouraged if you have a job. Most IBOs have jobs, Don't worry about trading hours for dollars. It is very likely that trading hours for dollars is a more efficient way of earning money than what you are being presented with.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Amway - Amway Changed My Life?

One of the things that was heavily promoted when I was an IBO, and I believe is still promoted, is the control of time and money. I recall hearing that "broke" people often have lots of time, but can't do much because of a lack of money, or how a very hard working man might have money but a lack of time as he is working 80 hours per week. So why not join Amway, work hard for 2-5 years and have all the time and money you need for life?

Well, it sounds good on the surface, but how many people actually do that? I don't know of any IBO who worked the business 2-5 years and walked away from their business to enjoy control of time and money forever. And there are reasons for that. Attrition. Most IBOs who join don't do much and more than half of all IBOs won't even be in business for more than a year. IBOs also need to be active and moving side volume in order to qualify for some of the bonuses. It is why I believe that there aren't any diamonds who left to enjoy their time and money because of passive ongoing Amway income. Diamonds and above must continually work the business or their businesses will fall apart like the waves would erode a sand castle at the beach.

For many IBOs ironically, what they desire most, time and money, is what they have less of because of their involvement in the Amway oppoprtunity. It is because of the way many IBOs are taught by the systems such as WWDB, BWW or N21. Many of these groups will teach a defacto PV requirement of 100 PV which costs about $300 monthly. In some cases, you are getting a small box of goods for the same amount of cash that would have gotten you a cartload of goods at WalMart or Costco. For system IBOs, you are also paying for instruction that basically tells you that this is a great idea and that you should never quit.

So now when your family and friends have backyard barbeques or birthday parties, you are absent because you are securing your financial future. Your kids surely won't mind you missing their baseball games or sending them to the sitters while you attend a function. Your family and friends will be wowed when you retire next year and throw them a part to end all parties. It all seems surreal, and for most, it truly is. There may be $10 or even $50 monthly checks rolling in from Amway but is never covers the cost of your expenses. You can't quit because success might be right around the corner.

Suddenly your sponsor or upline might tell you that the Amway business is not about money. You might be told that you are a nicer person or a better parent (even if you neglect your kids to attend functions), or that the business opportunity has saved your marriage. Which leads to my question. What have you achieved in the Amway business that has given you more control of time and money? Do you have less time and money as a result of your involvement with Amway?

During my involvement with Amway, my life was changed, but not for the better. And it wasn't because of Amway. It was self serving teaching by WWDB leaders designed to suck the life out of IBOs. We were to attend all meetings. All means all. We were to submit to upline. Check your ego at the door. We were to buy extra tapes/cds because you can;'t listen to the same ones each day. Wives and husbands needed seperate standing orders. If downline quit, you don't cancel standing order. It is why I saw crosslines go bankrupt, lose a home to foreclosure and many ended up quitting and with large financial loss.

I hope this message of personal experience helps information seekers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Amway - Follow Your Dreams!

I was working in my yard recently and I was conversing with my neighbor. She told me that she just returned from a trip to Las Vegas, but alas, her dreams didn't come true. I guess she had hoped to hit the "megabucks" jackpot, which is a slot machine linked to various casinos and has a minimum payout of ten million dollars. It got me thinking about how the Amway business is sold by the AMOs and it has a similar concept.

While Amway apologists will jump on the part where the Amway business is not a game of chance like a slot machine, and I agree. Amway is a business and not a game of chance. But what is eerily similar is the dismal rate of success that most Amwayers achieve. It would appear based on Amway numbers that maybe 1 in 20,000 or so reach diamond (similar to lottery winners) and even those who reach diamond often cannot hold onto it. Many people will agree that a platinum-ship business will often have about 100 to 150 downline IBOs. And many people also agree that a platinum business, if fully dedicated to tools, will break even or make a small profit, and possibly a small loss, depending on the dedication to tools and functions.

Many prospects and IBOs are tempted to join and stay in Amway by talks of dreams. For many people, the thought of working another 20 - 30 years sounds mundane so the idea that you can work hard for 2-5 years and then retire while enjoying untold luxuries will sound great to many people, especially those who haven't yet achieved any financial security in life. I was once there and I speak from experience. To entice prospects and IBOs to bite into the dream achievement mode, they show pictures of nice cars, mansions, yachts, jets, golfing in exclusive clubs, etc. the diamonds may even make claims such as paying for all these goodies in cash or imply that barrels of cash rolls in once you go diamond. But what we now know is that many diamonds do what they teach - fake it.

I have seen stories of diamonds renting these items to appear wealthier than they are. We also know that many diamonds had/have mortgages and some have financial problems. Sure, diamonds are just people, but they earn a portion of their living because they are suppposedly successful and IBOs want to learn from them and their experiences. How dedicated to the system would you be if you knew your diamond was bankrupt or lied about buying a home in cash? How dedicated would you be if your diamond had lied to you or others in the past about their success? How loyal would you be to a diamond who says Amway saves marriages, and then gets divorced? Sure, diamonds are people, but they have put themselves into positions where more is expected and required of them. They are leaders and should be held to a higher standard.

Joecool says follow your dreams. But most importantly, remember that you don't need the Amway opportunity, and you don't need Amway tools and functions to achieve those dreams.