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. If you work very hard but sell little or nothing, Amway pays you little or nothing. Even if you work hard but move less than 100 PV, Amway pays you nothing.
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. Take a look at Amway's flagship vitamin (double x). Do you really need to pay $75 or more for a one month supply of multi vitamins? That isn't t say Amway has no products of value, but overall, you can get much more product at less cost by shopping at a retail outlet. Amway must add the cost of IBO bonuses to their prices, therefore their prices are abound to be higher than competing products.
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 larger 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. Some of you upline might me making most of their income selling cds and function tickets. Tool profits are higher than the profits on Amway so the math is simlpe.
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.
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 (or at all) for most.