Amway IBOs like to call themselves "Independent Business Owners". But when you sit down and think about this for a minute, I believe that the Amway opportunity is more like a job. As an IBO, you are basically acting as a commissioned salesperson without any benefits coming from the Amway corporation. It's great for Amway as they only pay you for products that are moved. They are also a separate legal entity, thus they can distance themselves from IBO's who do stupid things. The defense being, "Amway didn't do that", even if Amway IBOs may have been responsible for something stupid.
The Amway corporation can sit back, and simply issue bonuses to downline IBOs. It is the IBOs themselves who recruit others, train others and move the products. Many IBOs are fiercely loyal to Amway products even when they could get the exact same product or a similar product, in many cases, at a fraction of the cost at a big box retailer, or even a local retailer. This is taught by the Amway Motivational Organizations (AMOs).
Uplines get you to see the world differently. That you do not equate an hourly wage with your business. But if IBOs did think of their earnings that way, they would easily see that they are working to lose money or to make pennies an hour. For the vast majority of IBOs, working minimum wage would be far more lucrative than spending countless hours and money chasing an Amway dream that is very unlikely to materialize. Uplines also get you to think you are "investing" in your business by purchasing tools, but in reality, you are just a customer of your upline's tool business. Uplines disguise this fact to many IBOs and the result is IBOs purchasing many tools even when their business is not growing or getting any results because of the tools.
You dedicate yourself to attending meetings, working the phones, meeting with uplines and downlines. You drive a lot of miles. But what many IBOs do not notice is that the priority in building a business should be a focus on getting more customers and expanding sales. But because Amway products can be hard to sell, most IBOs are focused on expanding their business by recruiting others. An endless chain of recruitment, which is why many people think of Amway as a pyramid scheme. Whether it's legal or not as is, is not my call. Some groups may teach "buy from yourself", which is okay, except that no business can succeed without actual sales to customers who are not participants (IBOs).
But the bottom line in my view, is that Amway is more like a job than an independent business. Call it what you will, but in either case, business or job, it doesn't pay well for most. The facts are there. The question is whether you can evaluate that answer objectively.