Thursday, May 31, 2012

Amway - A Groupthink Phenomenon?

Other November 27 2011

I have read all of these posts. Interesting that everyone who supports Amway cannot spell very well. Lots of typos and grammatical errors in here by those who jump up and down reciting Amway's many virtues. It is a scam and a groupthink phenomenon of staggering proportions. From a psychological perspective, Amway does its best to separate people from those who would challenge its legitimacy and operations. This is not unlike how Hitler or any other leader would silence opponents or dissidents by having them "removed" from the equation. Same thing goes here, Amway teaches people to ignore and remove obstacles and people who challenge the system, even if said challenges are completely rational and offered by people with the IBO's best interest in mind. It hits IBO's in soft spots for family, friends, and freedom (the 3 F's), and it entices them to focus on emotional reasoning rather than very cognitive-based, rational dissection of information.

Amway IBO's are taught emotionalism, not rationalism. From a business perspective, it is a farce. IBO's are no entrepreneurs, as they wear the collars of their uplines. Over and over, I have been told to do as my uplines say. What if my upline is a total moron and I have a law degree and an MBA?? I'm supposed to follow these uplines?? According to the system, yes, the uplines' words are paramount. So no, IBO's are not entrepreneurs and do not gain any real experience. IBO is a fancy name for distributor, pure and simple.

I had the opportunity to meet a number of "diamonds" and "emeralds" recently, all of whom had either left the business to get real jobs or were still struggling bringing in about $30,000 per year. Many of them are posting massive losses, and by the way, the IRS does not consider pro-suming OR tickets to a convention (to hear Yager scream at you) to be business expenses. Good luck trying to recover those losses. It is a pyramid scheme simply because mathematically and considering the law of averages, a downline cannot really earn more than his upline. It just doesn't happen - it's a nice idea, but it doesn't happen. I worked through multiple scenarios with a friend, trying to see how I could out-earn my upline, and we found several variables that would keep that from happening.

Finally, on a personal level, this Amway monkey business cost me a great friendship, an IBO who decided that taking a chance on some crazy dream was more important than those who loved him most. I think he will continue prospecting and pushing "the plan" until there isn't anyone left. If you know someone in Amway or who is thinking seriously about it, you need to realize that they will soon be lost. Amway people are very much like crack users (very similar psychopathology, actually), and they will choose Amway over you, their family, their friends, and anything that gets in the way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tricked Into Attending An Amway Meeting?

A recent comment on another Amway blog:

Author: Nat Comment:

I'm still in recovery from my recent experience with Amway! Do you know how long did it take me to feel this way? One day! I recently met a couple with a kid in the park, while I was with my 7 years old daughter. They appeared to be very happy, positive and really liked me. Well, we exchanged the numbers and here we are, we are friends! One day they called me and said that they wanted to discuss a business opportunity. I met up with them and they went over it very briefly and when I asked if it was Amway, they didn't answer....

They convinced me to go with them to the centre and stupid me, I went. When we arrived, I saw Amway name on the building, I thought or NO! They practically opened my bag to join this cult! They made sure, that I came with them in their car and let me tell you, I felt trapped!

Amway is a scam, not to mention it's a cult, some sort of scary religion. People are so brainwashed and totally possessed.

Historical facts about Amway: China banned Amway as a multi level plan, allowing them to operate only as a retail shops, as they are treating the concept as FRAUD!!! People lost money, friends and family. 99% of all Amway sales people never earn even one penny of profit! These are the facts, not a theory, or an opinion!

THE GREATEST FACTOR SUSTAINING AMWAY IS NOT SALES, SINCE IT HAS NO CUSTOMERS, ONLY A REVOLVING GROUP OF FAILED SALES PEOPLE!!! Lastly, products are average and extremely expensive! Someone earlier posted a brilliant comment: Your garage will be filled with detergent and you will have no friends, or a family! It happened to me two days ago and I'm still boiling! These people, didn't just robed me of my sunday, they also violated me!!! Who ever thinks this is the way to make a fortune are sadly mistaking.....I do hope someone who is thinking to join, read some stories, as I would hate to see people investing time, money, heart, saul and health into this!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

8-12 Hours A Week To Freedom?

One of the myths that upline used to, and likely still perpetuate is the claim that you can build an Amway mega empire on 8-12 hours per week. I'm venturing an educated guess that this number is used because while it still represents time, it is probably less hours than working a part time job. But let's take a closer look at this 8-12 hours per week.

If you listen to one (1) cd per day as recommended by upline and read one of their "success" books 15 minutes each day, you are already close to nine hours of time used and neither of these activities produces any income for your Amway business. In fact, both activities cost you money and produce no tangible result. If you spend another 15 minutes a day contacting people, you are close to 12 hours per week. Where will you find additional time to show the plan and to expand your name and contact list? What about servicing customers, at least for IBOs who actually may have some customers.

What about attending meetings and functions? These are also non income producing activities. It's no wonder the vast majority of IBOs don't make money. Their upline has them running around participating in activities that produce no income for their businesses. Ironically, these non income producing activities such as listening to a cd, produces a lot of income for certain iplines who produce and sell them. To me, it is just an elaborate game of bait and switch played by upline. They tell you that their system is foolproof and that you will make it if you don't give up. Not true.

You sell the prospect the dream of financial freedom. You tell that that Amway is their best chance. You tell them that you can help them and that the tools of the business (standing order, voicemail, books, functions) are the key to their success. Those who are serious enough to commit to the system likely won't quit without making some effort and will allow uplines to earn some nice profits before these downline eventually realize they aren't profitable and quit. Because many IBOs are sponsored by family and friends, you don't see too many formal complaints about the business. Most people chalk it up as a life lesson and do not complain.

But IBOs and information seekers, do not be fooled into thinking that you will create a financial empire by working 8-12 hours a week. That would be far fetched. The number of highly successful Amway IBOs versus the number who sign up can be compared to lottery winners.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Amway Losers?

One of the things I recall as an IBO was thinking how sorry I felt for people who were not IBOs because we were all going to be rich and everyone else was a loser. Our upline used to tell us that we were winners - and if you weren't a winner, then obviously, you are a loser. Many times, the term "broke" was attached to the term loser. That was my mindset back then, but having been out of the system more than ten years, I can look back and laugh, realizing that the losers were the ones buying stuff they don't need, stalking people at malls and bookstores, and wasting their time and money on tapes (cds), books and functions. Doing all that only to lose money.

What goes unnoticed in many cases, is how much time and money really goes down the drain for IBOs who work the system. Your life revolves around the business if you are dedicated and hard core. You are always looking for prospects and people to show the plan to, and you have to rearrange your schedules, or outright skip social or family gatherings because of the neverending number of meetings and functions, many of which teach you nothing about running a profitable business. When I first left the Amway business, I was sort of angry at the time and effort that was wasted, along with the cash I threw down the crapper.

But after I did finally cut ties with the business and the people associated with it, I got back into a routine of sorts. I focused on my job and after some years of gaining experience and working my way up the corporate ladder, I received some promotions and I am scheduled to be retired before the age of 60 with a decent retirement income and will likely have my home paid off by then. So while I did have to work a dreaded job to be able to retire, pretty much all IBOs are also working a job or business PLUS having to expend their time and money to run their Amway business which has little to no chance of providing a long term stable and significant income. And if I may add, it is the systems such as WWDB or N21 that usually end up costing the IBOs the most money because of things like the functions.

So I will ask the question. Who's the real loser? The person diligently working and saving for their future or the person chasing a dream that is unlikely to materialize? Factoring in the expenditure of time also makes the systems even more costly than it appears on the surface.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can Amway IBOs Give A Straight Answer?

One of the humorous things about Amway IBOs is their ability to say a whole lot without having any substance. They'll talk about how great the business is and how much they have learned and then when you ask if they made any money, you either get dead silence or you get some answer about how they's seen a copy of a check from someone's upline diamond or something like that. But it's very rare that an IBO will be upfront about their earnings. Of course I can understand that someone brand new might not have made a whole lot, but I have seen some IBOs outright lie and say they've been in Amway a month and they're making $5000 a month or some other tall tale like like.

Even when discussing some Amway released information such as the average earnings of an IBO, you can hear all kinds of excuses provided by Amwayers. They will make excuses like most IBOs do nothing. As if that isn't a problem in itself. Or they make stupid analogies about people signing up for a gym membership and then not doing anything. As if owning a business and exercising are the same thing. I even hear questionable claims about how so many people sign up as IBOs to get lower prices. I chuckle when I hear that because Amway's prices in general, are not competitive with big retailers. I believe that is because Amway must add the cost of IBO bonuses in the cost of their goods and services. While an IBO might save from the full retail price of Amway products, you can (in most cases) find the same or a similar product cheaper online or at Walmart.

Another area where IBOs like to divert the discussion is when the discussion is about the success rate of IBOs in general. Based on Amway's own numbers, less than one half of one percent of IBOs reach the level of platinum. Platinum is the level where allegedly, an IBO either breaks even or starts to make some net profit. It would depend on whether the IBO is involved in the tools and to whet level of participation. But IBOs like to downplay this fact as if people simply did not work hard enough or did not learn enough, rather than simply acknowledging that the system itself might be flawed.

The last area I see issues is when talking about selling products. I suspect that product sales to no IBOs is relatively small. I believe there may be some exceptional people who can sell, but people in general, do not like to or do not possess the skills to sell products. Yet I see IBOs making all kinds of stories about "selling" to customers. I rarely get a straight answer about product sales as well. The fact that many Amway IBOs can't give a straight answer is quite telling.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why Do Amway IBOs Criticize Jobs?

One of the things that IBO leaders do quite often in their recruitment pitch for Amway, is to put down people's jobs. They criticize people's bosses and the fact that an employee needs to report somewhere to earn a living. They try to paint the picture of a job being compared to slavery. They do this apparently to make people feel uncomfortable with their present situation so they will be open to looking at the Amway opportunity as a means to make a living. They may call a job "just over broke" or "jackass of the boss".

So I will ask - What's wrong with a job? A job is not slavery. People apply for their jobs and they agree to a wage or salary in exchange for their services. Certainly, you can leverage a higher wage or salary if you have an education or a skill, such as being able to work in the construction field. A job ususally offers more than just a wage. A job often allows one to have benefits such as medical insurance, a 401K retirement plan, and some other benefits such as paid vacation and/or sick leave.

A recent site visitor bemoans concept of working for minimum wage, where a husband and wife would earn in the neighborhood of 30K if they both work full time at minimum wage. Of course, a high school student can earn minimum wage so two adults only able to generate that kind of income makes me think my site visitor is speaking of people with very little to offer an employer. Most people may start out as entry level, but earn more and more as they gain experience and can offer more to their employer. An employee might also be able to promote themselves if they can prove to the employer that they can manage more responsibility.

What does the average Amway business owner experience? $115 a month income (which is probably way above average)? Most IBOs as outlined in "the plan" earn about $10 a month and may have expenses such as standing order which will take away from that tiny profit. Thus an average business building IBO stands to net a loss. It is very easy to look at the math and make that conclusion. A dedicated IBO attending meetings and functions and buying the other tools will likely spend more than $200 a month on average to be on the system. Couples will spend more.

So I ask again. What's wrong with a job? You have a net gain each and every month, be able to pay for your living expenses, and allow you to contribute to society by paying taxes. The average CORE IBO is a drain on the US tax paying society by spending money on standing order and functions and then deducting these expenses when filing their taxes. The only beneficiary is the upline leaders who sell standing orders and function tickets. If the IRS actually took IBOs to task, I'd be interested to see what kinds of deductions would be not allowed? I bet it would help the US treasury to recover all that money.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Amway Systems Work?

Many IBOs and Amway supporters adhere to the idea that their system works. As far as I know, there is zero unbiased evidence that the system works. The system generally consists of a website, voicemail, standing orders and seminars or functions, as well as meetings to show the plan, etc. While Amway supporters will claim that nearly everyone who succeeds is on the system, they won't mention how everyone who succeeds also has hundreds if not thousands of downlines who do not succeed, even with earnest effort in building the business using the stsem.

Edward O. Thorpe was a math professor at M.I.T. who studied and wrote a theory on Blackjack, and found that it was mathematically possible for a blackjack player to have an edge over the house in a game of blackjack. Casinos scoffed at the theory and said it was just that. A theory with no real life application. Well, Mr. Thorpe started playing small and found that his theory was correct. He was counting cards in blackjack and making consistent money. His book eventually became a best seller. The casinos were ticked off and started kicking out people who were obviously winning and counting cards. Counting cards is not illegal but casinos can refuse to allow a player on their premises. But what casinos did not notice right away, was that their profits were skyrocketing because so many people knew the theory but could not or were not capable of executing the card counting system.

But hey, the system works so everyone should count cards for a living right? Afterall, it is proven by math that the cards will eventually favor a player and in the long run, you can make huge profits from playing blackjack. Of course not, it is ridiculous for people to think that card counting is a good way to make a buck. Not everyone has the bankroll, the skill, and the patience to succeed in card counting. Most people are better off not even trying this.

In my informed opinion, this card counting system is just like WWDB, BWW, LTD, N21 or other Amway systems. For one thing, card counting is a proven system. The Amway systems are not. But it can be viewed as similar in that very few people can use the system and make it work. Even when hundreds of thousands may try it, very few will succeed in both Amway and card counting. In both "systems", those who do not succeed can lose thousands of dollars. In both systems, doing things right can still result in losses.

In both systems, it is "possible" to succeed, but it is highly unlikely. The vast majority of people simply do not possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to make the systems work for them. You also need some money, some patience, and some luck in order to be a long term success. This article is not about comparing the Amway systems to gambling, it is about a person's ability to make the system work. The difference is that nobody promotes card counting as a good way to make a buck. The same holds true about Amway and their systems. It is not a good system to make money.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Bottom Line On Your Amway Business?

In my point of view. one of the most critical mistakes that many IBOs make is to ignore the bottom line when analyzing their Amway businesses. (Many IBOs don't even analyze their businesses) Most business building IBOs, sadly, are taught by their uplines to ignore losses, or to view losses as investments into their businesses, or that money is really not important. Some upline may teach that the business is more about making friends or being a nicer person. All of these things may be nice side benefits of reading personal development books, etc., but when running a business, the only goal should be to turn a profit.

For many IBOs, their businesses consist of listening to standing orders, attending functions and meetings, but not focused on selling products and earning a net profit. And for most IBOs, nobody can blame them as upline may give them bad advice and because the Amway business is person to person selling, it is so inefficient that many groups end up teaching IBOs to simply buy their own volume and get others to join the business. For groups who operate primarily in this manner, you are probably running an illegal business because new and existing IBOs can profit only by continuing to add more downline IBOs in the hope that they too, will buy their own volume and sponsor others.

When you look carefully at the business plan, whether it is 6-4-2, 9-4-2 or some other variation, the majority of these business building IBOs will have low volume and likely to earn only about $10 a month. But to earn that $10 a month, you are likely to have to spend $300 on products, and if you are on standing order, voicemail and functions, then you likely spend anywhere from $150 to $250 monthly to participate in the teaching system. Thus these IBO's bottom line is a net loss! It is only when you are able to sponsor many downline that your losses will get smaller and you will only profit when you have a sizable downline. That means your bottom line is a loss. And while Amway defender will argue that Walmart doesn't even give you $10 a month, you can certainly get more products from Walmart for $300 than you can get from Amway for the same price. Walmart will match any advertised price on a product that they and a competitor may carry. Also, Walmart's advertising reaching millions of people, which is much more effective than person to person. While Amway runs some ads now days, they do not directly drive customers to IBOs. The vast majority of IBO business is still to themselves and their downline, and not to non IBO customers.

I challenge IBOs to look objectively at their bottom lines. It is likely a new loss. If it is, ask your upline how long this is expected to last. Set hard goals and if you are doing what is advised by upline and results to not improve, you may have to ask yourself what willl change to make your business profitable. Basically, if you aren't adding active downlines and customers regularly, you aren't gooing anywhere and are likely to be running your business at a loss month after month after month. It won't take long before you realize that you have lost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars.

As a former IBO with a 4000 PV business with eagle parameters, I was not making a net profit. I saw my bottom line and although doing and achieving what my upline advised, there was no money. I decided the effort, time and money invested wasn't worth it. Plus my upline started to interfere in my personal life. I saw my bottom line and wasn't satisfied, and I left Amway. I later discovered the lies my upline had fed me to keep me in the business and to keep me buying tools. It is why I started blogging. For now, my bottom line is to get the truth out about the tools scam run by upline. That is Joecool's bottom line.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building An Amway Business?

When I was an IBO, many people would talk about "building a business". But many folks who spoke about building a business didn't know what that meant. I believe it is because they were taught that building a business meant listening to cds and attending functions. Or building a business might mean sponsoring others. In my segment of the Amway world, building a business pretty much meant recruiting and showing the plan. Apparently I was mislead and many others were as well.

Building a business, generally speaking means building a customer base. A business moves products and services for a profit. In groups that focus on buying from yourself or prosumer nonsense, generally will struggle because the revenue they generate in their business is coming from their own pockets. Or their jobs are actually supplying the money for their own bonuses. In this model, the only way to profit is to sponsor many downline so the pyramidal compensation plan can work in your favor.

Many IBOs compare themselves to a franchise. Can you imagine a true franchise where your long term success depended on your ability to open other franchises? What if you as the owner and your family accounted for the majority of the sales? Could this franchise survive? More than likely not. Yet this is exactly what many Amway IBOs do and they mistakenly think they will be successful. The only reason why Amway IBOs are able to play out this model longer than a traditional franchise owner is because they do not have to rent office space or hire employees.

If an Amway IBO ran their business like a traditional business, the lack of retail sales to non IBO customers would be immediately apparent when the first month's electric bill or lease payment arrived.

Building a business entails many things. These things may include advertising, marketing of products, and do not necessarily include any training. In its simplest form, the Amway business is about selling and using products, and getting others to do the same as you do. Why do IBOs think such extensive training (standing order and functions) is needed? I challenge IBOs to write up an actual business plan for their Amway business, including projected sales and expenses and see what you come up with. If you think I am just being negative, write up your Amway presentation and show it to a loan officer at a bank. See what they have to say. Seriously.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Amway Complaints?

Over the years, I have seen literally hundreds (if not more) blogs and testimonials about Amway. Most of them decry the pitfalls of being an Amway IBO. Most of the complaints cite the fact that Amway in general has higher prices than comparable retailers and the fact that the system consisting of voicemail, books, cds and seminars ate up any profits the IBO may have made and resulted in net losses for most. One particular Amway apologist bemoans the fact that the internet is full of bad testomonials about Amway. The reason why there are so many negative testimonials about Amway is because over the years, thousands, possibly millions either had a bad experience for the reasons I cited above, or personally know of someone who had a bad experience.

Amway defenders will often cite the fact that many IBOs sign up and "do nothing" as their defense to this. But I will easily point out that I haven't seen anyone say they signed up, failed to do anything or order products, quit and started blogging about a bad experience in Amway. These defenders will also compare Amway to the gym where people sign up and "do nothing". Whether true or not, I also do not see people who sign up and "do nothing" complain about not receiving health benefits by simply signing up. It is a very weak defense. Conversely, I have seen numerous accounts of folks like myself who did put in effort, some for many years, who did what upline advised and did not see the financial rewards that is promoted in "the plan".

Amway defenders will then try to justify themselves, saying that the better business bureau (BBB) receives few formal complaints about Amway. I will agree with this. Many IBOs never bother to file formal complaints to the BBB or to Amway because in many, probably most cases, the person who quits and may have had a bad experience, was sponsored into the business. The sponsor was often a friend or family member of the IBO who left the business. Many will simply leave and forget the episode and chalk it up to a learning experience in life. Some will complain, but really have to ne venue to voice their remorse about joining. Some of us have found the interent to be quite effective in sharing our experiences and our opinions on why the business did not work. This is what one Amway defender calls the "internet war". What I have pointed out is that critics most often simply point out what the IBOs themselves have done. In many cases, the IBO is his own worst enemy. Afterall, critics didn't deny Amway and Quixtar had a connection, nor did critics make up claims about perfect water, etc.

It would appear that most of the problems has a root in the AMO systems, such as WWDB, BWW, LTD, or N21. Now, not all upline leaders are unethical, but it appears that many are, and new IBOs have no way to identify the good from the bad. It also appears that some of these upline leaders will issue bad avice. Advice that is detrimental to the IBOs, but financially beneficial to themselves, such as telling IBOs to never miss a function, or to buy more cds. In many cases, these unethical uplines do not care about IBO success, their goal is just to move as many support materials as possible, so they can fund their "diamond" lifestyle. Sadly, it is also apparent that the diamond lifestyle may be a facade in some cases. An illusion of wealth portrayed as a recruiting tool.

If you recognize some of these warning signs, ask tough questions of your potential sponsor and visit this or some of the blogs linked to this one for more information.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amway As A Hobby?

Many Anway IBOs get into the business with high expectations. They get in with oftentimes, a dream of early retirement, living a fabulous lifestyle, mansions, sports cars and "walking the beaches. In order to do this, IBOs are taught that they need to "plug into the system". So IBOs get on standing order, they attend all the meetings and functions, they read books and show the plan. They think these activities will make them rich. The sad reality is that it lines their upline's pockets.

But because the Amway business has so many handicaps and shortfalls, the IBO soon falls into the trap of "playing Amway". The IBO will do their 100 PV, either by self consumption or selling, or a combination of the two, and will continue to listen to the cds or tapes, and will continue to attend every meeting. When I was an IBO, our group had many who did not sponsor a single person, yet they were at all of the meetings and functions. These folks, in my opinion, had Amway as a hobby.

A hobby is something you do in your spare time, usually something you enjoy. For many people, Amway meetings are a social event. It is evidenced when some people say they enjoy the meetings, being with "positive people", and they have become nicer as a result of their involvement. While this may or may not be a side benefit of the functions and meetings, it is not relative to the bottom line of a business. A business exists to make money. If a business is losing money, expenses are usually cut.

If you have been an IBO for more than a month or two, have you actually sponsored someone? If the excitement of being a new IBO has not resulted in acquiring new downline, it is unlikely that you will ever have a downline. If you have been in the system reading books, listening to stnding order and attending functions and showing the plan, and you have no results, you have Amway as a hobby and not a business. Don't feel bad, sponsoring other IBOs is not a common or easy feat. But as a business owner, you should think about your involvement in the business and if you find you are participating in a hobby rather than running a profitable business, then you should decide whether or not you are accomplishing what you set out to do.

Are you running a business (to make money) or are you playing Amway?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amway's Compensation Is "Fair"?

One of the major reasons why I think Amway is not such a good opportunity is because of the unfair multi tiered compensation plan. I have heard that Amway pays out about 32-33% to their IBOs, but I find it unfair in that you get rewarded for sponsoring people who move volume more than you do for actually selling products. I believe this is why so many IBOs are desperately trying to sponsor people and in some cases, deception and trickery is used in recruiting, which contributes to Amway's bad reputation.

This multi tiered compensation plan also rewards a few people at the expense of the masses. If an IBO works really hard and sold 100 PV worth of goods, that IBO would get $9 or $10 in a bonus from Amway and layers of upline would split up about $90. I fail to see how that is fair, especially when IBOs seemingly say "do the work and get paid". In this case, you do the work and your uplines get paid.

I think Amway would be more efficient by giving all IBO's 20-25% back as a bonus, with the remaining 8-13% in bonus (33 - 20 or 25) going to certain levels os achievers. I believe that this would truly allow someone to change their buying habits and gain some value. It would also be good for retention of IBOs because a 100 PV would get you a monthly bonus of about $60. If you sold 100 PV to customers, you would get the retail profit plus the bonus. I believe there would be less of an emphasis on sponsoring and more of an emphasis on selling. It would put less pressure on IBO's to recruit and sponsor, and I believe that Amway's reputation could be repaired in this manner. While you would have less emphasis on "going diamond", those who did achieve it could still get handsome bonuses.

I believe implementation of this type of compensation would also eliminate the endless need for cds and seminars. Sure, product expos and some teaching on salesmanship might help, but I believe that compensating the "majority" of IBOs would keep them interested in doing business and would lessen the need for tools. I believe this is a win-win for the majority of those in the business.

I'm sure some Amway apologists will find fault in my line of reasoning, but I believe this is a long term sustainable solution for Amway. Comments are welcome.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amway - Just The Facts?

So many people get caught up in hype about Amway. Perhaps not from Amway the company, but the Amway groups leaders such as WWDB, N21, or BWW. They may present themselves as the ultra rich, or you may be shown pictures of wealth such as jets, mansions and nice cars and jewelry. Amwayers dress up in suits and business attire. It is all to give prospects the illusion of success when the reality is a stark contrast. I remember as an IBO, seeing all kinds of IBOs driving clunkers to the meetings but dressed up in a nice suit. But the reality was cars on their last legs and (probably) car payments. These nice folks were probably just misled that Amway's opportunity could lead them out of debt, or they could earn enough for their wives to be "job optional" or they might even make enough to walk the beaches of the world while residual income rolls in. The audiences see hope, but it is false hope.

That fact is that IBOs on average earn a gross income of about $100 a month. Amway says the average income of IBOs is $204. But their small print also says only 46% of IBOs are considered active, and therefore, Amway did not count inactive IBOs. So that representation is not a true "average". I might also add that the $204 is gross income, and IBOs who attend functions and purchase voicemail and cds are more than likely operating at a net loss.

Amway presenters also like to talk about the money you can save by shopping with Amway. The fact is that you can get a great deal more value (and products) by shopping at Walmart or Costco. Some Amwayers will say that Walmart doesn't sell Amway products, and while that is true, Walmart does sell some similar or same products which will almost always be cheaper than obtaining them from an IBO. I can't imagine that laundry soap or shampoo would be cheaper through Amway. In past price comparisons that I posted, you can get up to 4 times more product for the same price. This is very plausible when you factor in the real money added to Amway's cost because of the IBO bonuses that they pay. That's not to say that you can't find a single Amway product that might be competitive, but overall, there is no comparison. If you use a cashback credit card like I do, then you too, can be "paid" for shopping at Walmart or Costco.

It is also a fact that diamonds are not the care free uber wealthy people they would lead you to believe they are. As time passes, we see examples of former and current diamonds who spoke of their incomes and in some cases, foreclosures and bankruptcy also revealed through public documents, some background on what a diamond might earn and spend. It is my educated guess that many diamonds, if they try to keep up with the Joneses, are in financial difficulty. Ask your diamond for the facts. In real business, financials are verified, but alas, diamonds and Amway presenters are secretive about their income. Because they don't want you to see the facts? '

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Amway And "Get Rich" Systems

Based on my experience in Amway, my blogging experience, and observations of other people who give financial advice such as real estate gurus who teach you to buy property with no money down, or others such as Robert Kiyosaki for that matter, all show testimonials of sucessful people. Obviously they do not show you the vast majority of people who try their systems and fail. They only show the best case scenario which might account of a fraction of 1% of the people who participate in their systems.

It is my informed opinion that whether it is Amway, WWDB, BWW, N21, real estate or the cashflow business, the vast majority of people who try these systems do not make any kind of significant income, if any income at all. Sure, some do, and those are shown as the possibilities. But if you watch infomercials, you will see in small print on the bottom of the screen, "unique experience", your results may vary. I believe that a similar message used to be at the end of Amway diamond recordings as well.

These systems in general do not work for various reasons. Many people simply do not have the acumen to work the system. Or the system has too many variables for the system to work, or the system calls for things beyond your control. For example, success in Amway generally requires you to sponsor others, something that is beyond the control of most people. Add in the lazy and people who are hoipng for a quick score and it is understandable that most will fail. But these systems are often set up where the majority simply cannot all succeed. Nowhere is that more true than the Amway business where the pyramidal compensation plan nearly guarantees failure for the lower level IBOs. People should also note that the common 6-4-2 Amway plan has 1 platinum with 78 downline. Most if not all of these downline will be losing money.

So what can someone do? Well, it may not be as sexy or attractive but a part time job and investing and saving might be something to think about. Even a part time business where you focus on selling products for a profit might work. It just seems prudent to avoid these "systems" as the primary beneficiary of these "systems" are the ones who directly profit from them. Do your due diligence!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Amway Or Costco?

In my informed opinion, Costco is a much better bargain than Amway. Since I was an IBO and a Costco member, I have seen noticeable differences. The main one being that when I leave Costco, if I spend $200, I leave with a cartload of stuff, as compared to an armful of goods that I got through Amway for the same price. I wrote a post about price comparisons between Costco and Amway a while back. Costco came out ahead in nearly all price comparisons. That is not to say you cannot get any good products from Amway, but overall, I believe Costco to be the better bargain.

I live about 10 miles from my nearest Costo but driving there takes me along the coast of the island (I am from Hawaii) and it's a nice drive. When I arrive, I can fill my gas tank and using an Amercian Express card, I can get a 4% rebate on my gas purchase. I can also stop for lunch and get a foot long hot dog and a bottomless soda for $1.50, a deal that is hard to top. Additionally, there are great deals there. For example, a case of water, 35 bottles is $5.99. (How much for a case of perfect water?) I can also purchase a whole slow roasted chicken for $5.99, or a full rack of BBQ ribs for $9.99 or a whole 20" pizza for $9.99. I might add that the food at Costco is great.

While Amway's laundry detergent and cosmetics might be somewhat competitive to other retailers and Costco, the overall array of products can be found cheaper at Costco and other big retailers. Additionally, I get up to a 2% rebate when I make my purchase with American express. No other strings attached! So yeah, I get "paid" to shop at Costco. I also get the rebate with no minimum quota.

But the biggest reason I like Costco? Nobody has ever tricked me into a Costco meeting which will try to sell me a Costco outlet! There is no Costco upline. Nobody has ever called me a broke loser because I didn't join or buy goods from Costco. Nobody tries to question my character if I decide not to shop at Costco. There are no Costco employees calling me names because I choose to shop elsewhere. There are no cds teaching me how to shop at Costco, nor do I have to attend any seminars to learn how to shop at Costco. I simply shop and save.

Some Amway defenders have tried to make price comparisons between Costco and Amway. If you compare Costco online to Amway, the prices are closer, with Costco prevailing, but Costco prices are much cheaper if you are there in person and you can really add to your savings using a cash back credit card. I challenge prospects and current IBOs to walk down the aisles at Costco and compare prices.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why IBOs Don't Make Money?

One of the things touted by many upline leaders as the "key to success" is CORE. I have outlined the elements of CORE here. I believe most AMO groups teach CORE as the key to success.

1 - Show the Plan

2 - Retail the Products

3 - Tapes/cds

4 - Books

5 - Functions

6 - Accountability

7 - Counsel with Upline (Be teachable!)

8 - Buy 100% of your own products

9 – Communikate

In these nine steps, only #2 may actually net the IBO a profit, but this step is not emphasized in many groups. Some leaders gloss over this step and instead, promote "buy from yourself". In all the other core steps, you either spend time and/or money doing things that do not produce income for your business. If you, as an IBO spend most of your time in non income producing activities, guess what? You will suffer losses. It is no wonder nearly all IBOs lose money, they are taught to spend most of their time in activities that do not produce income!

Imagine owning a brick and mortar store where you open the store for one hour a day. The rest of the day you are reading books, listening to tapes/cds, and paying to attend seminars and listening to voicemail messages. Oh, and in addition to opening your store for an hour a day, you don't advertise except for word of mouth. Could you survive in business? I think not. Amway now advertises, but you are not Amway, you are an independent business.

So can an IBO make money by spending most of his/her time in non income producing activity? I think not.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Amway IBO vs. A College Graduate?

According to a U.S. Census Department study entitled "The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings" (, over an adult's working life the following are average lifetime earnings based on educational level attained:

High school graduates - $1.2 million Bachelor's degree - $2.1 million Master's degree - $2.5 million Doctoral degrees - $3.4 million Professional degrees do best at $4.4 million.

In 1999, average annual earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates and $99,300 for the holders of professional degrees (medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians and lawyers).

Given empirical, verified and objective data demonstrating that a college education more than pays for itself, it is foolish for someone to suggest that they can't reasonably expect a return on their investment in a college education. It would take a real moron to suggest that they could exceed that return by wasting their time building an Amway business. Especially given the data showing miserable average results.

As far as the cost of that education and the implication that a person will incur massive debt, that too is a complete fabrication.

For those of you interested in the actual data on student loans and the effect of a college education on earnings, look here:

and here:

and here:

Oh, and if you are an "average" IBO, spending 40 years working Amway with the average earnings of $115 a month, your career of 40 years will gross you $55,200.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Amway Creates Millionaires?

I keep hearing from some IBOs that they belive that Amway has created more millionaires than any other company in the US. I call BS on that claim. I am not saying that Amway hasn't created any millionaires, obviously, the Amway owners are worth billions of dollars. But what the IBOs are apparently implying is that the diamonds are millionaires. I'm sure there are some diamonds who indeed are millionires, especially if they are tenured diamonds, in particular the double diamonds and higher. But conversely, I believe that many high level diamonds are not millionaires. I believe it is just as common for a diamond to be in debt as it is for a diamond to be living large. I also believe that many diamonds did not accumulate their alleged wealth exclusively from Amway.

The reason why this is an issue is because these big pins will stand on stage and show off excessive wealth and imply that it is their Amway income that pays for these mansions, sports cars, and in some cases, jets. In the US, I attended a function called "Dream Nite" where these kinds of trapping are displayed, to the tune of the song "I wanna be rich". The diamonds would say that you can have what they have, if only you will do what they advise. These functions still go on today and I believe it is now called Winter Conference.

Stanley and Danko's book, "The Millionaire Next Door"

This book makes some very interesting points which I believe applies to Amway diamonds. I will outline the significant ones and I will comment below:

**Predictably, the data shows that most people who you believe to be very rich are not.

**High net worth individuals, statistically, tend to be people that live within their means. They don’t spend a lot of money. They don’t waste money. They tend to be pretty frugal people.

**The authors point out that most of the richest people you know aren’t driving expensive luxury automobiles. That’s what the people who want everyone to think they’re rich drive.

Joe's commentary. The book does say that about 1/3 of millionaires acquired their wealth thru a J-O-B and saved and invested, but did mention that many millionaires were also business owners, such as a pest control company, etc. But based on the points made by the book above, I can see where it is likely that diamonds portray a wealthy lifestyle as a recruitment tactic, when the reality is they may be living very middle class lifestyles off stage, or may even be in debt. I have seen evidence of diamonds having their homes foreclosed and being in debt (Ruth Carter's book: Amway: Behind the Smoke and Mirrors). Recently, there was also a report that Triple Diamond Greg Duncan filed for bankruptcy. The report indicated that he could not make his mortgages, or something to that tune. Odd, because when I was in WWDB, some of the upline leaders said diamonds paid cash for everything because paying interest to the bank wasn't very smart.

My question is why IBOs continue to make up these claims? Try googling millionaire or Amway millionaire. There is nothing to indicate that Amway was responsible for creating the "most millionaires" of any US company. If this were true, wouldn't Amway state it on their website?