One of the things I heard as an IBO and I believe is still said in some Amway meetings is that conventional businesses do not profit for up to five years. I don't know how true or untrue that is, but whether they do or not, how long does it take for an Amway business to profit? I believe Amway leaders say this because their IBOs are losing money and they want them to believe that most people will lose money for five years. During that time, the Amway leaders can profit by selling these folks cds and function tickets, which prevents IBOs from making a profit.
Despite the small start up costs and the little to no overhead costs, most IBOs never turn a profit. I will acknowledge that many IBOs probably never do a single thing once they sign up. I believe there is an underlying story behind this as well, but at the same time, people who do nothing end up getting what they deserve. Out of the more serious IBOs who make an effort to build a business, most of them will never make a net profit if they are using tools. The tools are ineffective in helping IBOs build a business and are usually the reason for business losses suffered by the vast majority of IBOs who use tools.
Factoring the cost of the website, the voicemail, standing orders, books and functions and cds, IBOs simply get drained of their money a couple hundred of bucks a month, sometimes more if an IBO is highly dedicated to consuming tools. Earning profits on product purchases is not something that IBOs typically do because you can only sell so much product when it's not priced to compete with retailers. In the end, sympathetic family and friends become the target customers of many IBOs.
Toss in other challenges such as a spotty reputation from IBO behavior such as tricking people into meetings or outright lies and you have an opportunity with nearly insurmountable handicaps. Yes, a few rare and usually charismatic people can overcome these odds, but only one or two out of tens of thousands are able to do so. And even those whe reach the pinnacle of diamond, may not be able to maintain qualification. There are many stories of former diamonds or diamonds who quit. So much for that residual income myth.
So I don't know the detailed statistics about how long it takes for a conventional business to turn a profit. It may take up to five years. But based on my experiences and some number crunching, I'd have to say that the vast majorty of Amway Business Owners NEVER TURN A PROFIT - EVER.