Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Deceptive Amway IBO?

Author: Wally

I live in the DC metro area and was approached by a guy in Best Buy about a "business opportunity". The word Amway was never mentioned once in the entire conversation. Instead, the focus was on his business and how there was a solid opportunity that shouldn't be missed. I figured it can't hurt, so I was open to listening. Even on his business card, it said nothing of Amway. The guy forwarded me a link to my email of his business which explored social networking. Again, kind of vague. It all came together when I went to my first Amway meeting.

Going in, I had no idea this was Amway. They all took pride in calling themselves entrepreneurs and were all extremely upbeat, positive, and social. The whole session was interesting, but when the speaker started talking about using your existing social networks on Facebook to potentially mine for sales clients...I was a little put off.

At this point, I basically said to my "sponsor", thanks but no thanks. However, he was strategic about his approach. He stayed away for a while, but came back later with a new opportunity to explore the world of the business. Honestly, even though I wasn't all that attracted to the business itself, I figured I may give it a go simply because it is taking me out of my comfort zone, is something brand new, involves numerous highly optimistic, social people, and seems harmless.

We reconnected, my sponsor and I, and I laid out the cash to get up and rolling. Every word out of my sponsor's mouth was a battle cry for victory. He did not know the meaning of defeat, or even the prospect of failing. He was relentless in his perspective that he is "winning". He is victorious in life and life is his to be conquered. It's here that I began to think that he is brainwashed. He seemed almost in denial to some things. Intentionally avoiding reality and choosing to be absorbed in a false notion. Weird.

After I was up and rolling, I attended the meetings, attended the social events, and mingled. I bought a bunch of stuff to meet the monthly PV goals, and also sold what I could. The selling was a lot more difficult than just buying the items myself. Even though the quality of the products are quite good, the prices are not exactly bargains.

After a few months of doing this, I realized that pitching products to family and friends, and in turn, alienating some of them, was not something I wanted to pursue any longer. It quickly became unappealing. And all the friendships made through Amway were friendships crafted through the desire for money. They were all financial transactions in form and substance. I was encouraged strongly to constantly bring new people in, and get them involved. Essentially, I would instruct them in the very same way that I was instructed by my sponsor. Inevitably, I would do my best to mentor them so that they have success, and their success became my success. Once one starts picturing how big the web can be, it can be hard to disengage.

My sponsor embodied very strong conservative Christian beliefs. He seemed to be infatuated with the Bible, and quoted freely from it. I think he thought of himself as a spiritual warrior as well as an entrepreneur. But it's not his products that he's selling. It's Amway's products. And he wasn't a savior; he is just a guy doing the best he can to motivate others to...sell products that are overpriced.

When I finally disentangled myself, he expectedly did not take it well. In so many words, he told me that your life won't be very meaningful once you leave Amway. He also said that he'll make a ton of money and is a part of a multi-million dollar business. That's all well and fine, but does he actually expect to be making millions? He is definitely brain washed by his upline guys. There's pictures of them rolling around in Ferraris and beautiful women...I guess he thinks this is his future.

In any case, I think the Amway business succeeds....at being a total failure. Why encourage marketing to family and friends? What does this say about the seller? That they value what the people closest to them can do for them on a monetary basis? What happens when the answer is no? Does this mean that this friend or family member is reprehensible or a traitor? Also, the products Amway makes can be bought at more or less the same quality at Target or Walmart, but cheaper. What's so special about Amway? Nothing. Starting a "business" is very different than "selling Amway stuff"".

And why the false sense of optimism, even when the reality is staring you right in the face? I suppose that a lot of these hardcore Amway folks are brainwashed into thinking that displaying vulnerability, or anything that might make you appear...human, is weakness. Too bad.

I think the correct term is used by the poster above, Terrance, "suckered". Please don't get suckered in. It all will look appealing. The Amway rep will likely be extraordinarily charismatic, friendly, social, and overall look like a very successful person. The people he's associated with will also be a positive, engaging bunch. However, beneath the surface lies a business, if it can be called that, which is a sham and a waste of time.

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