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"""Disclaimer: The thoughts in this blog are my own opinions. Names (if any) have been changed in order to protect everyone's privacy. The thoughts in this blog do not address Amway directly, but rather the motivational organization known as URAssociation (URA).
Money. We need it, we want it, we want more. There's no argument to that. Even the most content of content always like to have a little extra. Well a few years ago, I was in need of not only the little extra...but a base income PERIOD! I received a call from a friend I hadn't heard from in two years. To be honest, I was surprised he still had my number. He was calling me from Washington DC. He, along with a few other people I knew were at a "business conference" and were dying to get me to join their "team."
I had come across something similar a few years ago. In retrospect, I actually believe it was Amway as well. Problem was it wasn't presented right and I passed on the "opportunity." But this guy brought a lot of enthusiasm. I'm an enthusiastic person myself, so I took an appreciation to it. I met him (we'll call him Mike) a few weeks later with a couple of the other guys I knew. One of them was the "upline leader" (we'll call him Matthew).
It was Amway alright. I had heard OF Amway, but never knew much about it. As a matter of fact, I confused it with Amtrak if that shows you my level of ignorance. The plan sounded great. A phenomenal way to make some extra money and if I did well enough, I could earn five to six figures. I had come very close to getting a couple jobs in sales and was constantly told by people that my personality was perfect for sales, so this seemed like a good way to use that strength.
I thought I had found something tangible.
A year later, I went to the Summer Conference. I was told these weekend seminars were the key to being a successful IBO. We drove from our area to Baltimore (about 10-11 hours) in vans we had rented. When we got to the hotel, I found out I was staying with 4 other people. It was a little irritating, but the way Matthew and Mike made said it was WORTH IT to help motivate individuals to succeed. He DID have a point. The atmosphere was like a concert/sporting event. A band played upbeat, well-known music to get the crowd going. There was even a conga line at one point! I was taking it all in and was so amazed that people could be so hyped up about a "business." My thought at the time: They MUST be making some serious coin to get this excited!
The conference had three sessions in two days. A Friday night session that lasted from 8 till midnight, a morning session from 8 am to Noon, then an evening session that ran the same as Friday's session. The speakers were well-dressed, charismatic and just radiated with a successful, confident heir. I thought to myself "WOW! These people are the real deal making six figures or more! They're sales/marketing/networking geniuses!"
At the finale Friday night, I heard the URA leader speak. He had a phenomenal story of perseverance, wisdom, etc. His son in law, who was also a diamond, spoke before him and was explosive with energy and had the same kind of intensity/passion that I tend to have. I was sold, although I didn't officially register until a year later. I had a "grand opening" where Matthew helped run it. It went pretty solid (though only family and one friend came). And before you know it, it was Summer Conference time again! I even had a friend who was about to join my team, and he was going with us. 1 month in and I ALREADY HAVE A DOWNLINE GOING! I was psyched. He was psyched. We were gonna set the Amway world on fire.
Then...we left for DC.
A year ago at Summer Conference, we had a dozen people in our group. THIS SUMMER, it was a huge turnover. More than half the group had dropped out. In the year before I joined, our upline platinum RAVED about how "our team was growing" and we were "on fire." Yet here we were, 50% turnover.
In addition, the year before, we rented two vans. This year, we piled into two cars belonging to team members because it would "save money." We were encouraged to pack lunch meat, peanut butter and jelly, etc. and NOT go out to eat. Our upline platinum even sent a rather unpleasant voice message to us the night before about being frugal with our money, going in on our hotel rooms, etc. This sent a bad vibe to my friend and I, and would be the first of many that weekend.
After the 10 hour car ride, we arrived in DC. I was absolutely exhausted because I didn't get much sleep. I then found out that SIX of us full grown men are going to be sharing a room (kind of illegal, but whatever, OUR BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO GROW RIGHT?) My friend and I along with another team member (who was kind of a stooge) get in the room. I laid on the comfortable bed to catch my breath. Stooge immediately says "Don't get comfortable, we gotta get changed and get down early to get good seats."
You gotta be shittin' me.
We had an hour or so before everyone arrived so we unpacked and showered up. Eventually all the guys arrived and we go down to the hotel conference center and wait in line for an hour or two to get "good seats." By this point, I'm irked to say the least. My friend (who was my #1 priority considering I brought him in) was a little put off by everything as well. Nevertheless, we got our "good seats." And proceeded with the festivities. It was lively at first, the band played some good songs and positive vibes were flowing, but after a while, my vibe died because the event was so dragged out.
I'm sleepy, a little hungry, and when I'm either, or worse yet both...I'm not friendly. One of the speakers had went diamond just a year ago. He was well-spoken and held my attention but then his wife took the stage. She gets up there and tries to tell a story about being the "sharpest knife in the drawer." Out of NOWHERE, she digressed into a long story about a raccoon that was living in her attic that only liked glazed donuts.
I sat there trying to determine if she was legitimately lit.
When she (finally) got back on track, it finally hit me...SHE IS WINGIN' THIS!
This speech COULD NOT have been prepared. No way does someone practice a speech that went from A to M, over to Z and THEN back to B. There was no revolutionary advice, there was no "secret" that would help us build our business. There was a lot of great MOTIVATIONAL speaking, I'll give them that, but that only goes so far. This broad was just incessantly blabbing about stuff that no one cared about. Even the crowd wasn't responding to her idiotic drivel and a majority of them were apart of their team.
Before midnight, the URA leader and his wife took the stage to a roar from the crowd. As much as I thought he was going to bring some serious knowledge, I was severely let down. He spoke about jalapenos and something rather, while the wife tried to tell a story about Navy Seals that fell about 100 feet shy of being relevant or interesting. We're paying out the tailpipe to come to these seminars to LEARN the best ways to make money in this business, NOT THIS. I even asked one of our team members what the hell she was droning on about. He said "well...this stuff is more focused on wisdom."
If I want wisdom, I'll talk to my grandfather. Wisest man I've ever known. Just teach me how to make money like you did with Amway! K? K!
They finally wrapped up. It was midnight, I was dead tired, over it, unenthusiastic and ready to hit the hay. But not so fast...
It's time for the NIGHT OWL!!!!!!!!!
What's a "Night Owl" you ask? Some concerts have encores, Amway Motivational Organizations have Night Owl's. But unlike an encore...these suck. After three straight hours of speakers gloating about their riches, raccoons, donuts, and jalapenos, we get A BONUS seminar! And of course, you HAVE to stay because you'll deprive yourself of even more wisdom...even if you're brain has shut down for the night. But like a good loyal solider, following orders in hopes it would generate income for my business, I toughened it out and made it to bed around 2 am...only to realize that I had to get up at 7 am the next morning. That's like being served the best steak ever made and finding out that you only get one bite.
Surprisingly, I was able to get up and drag myself into the morning conference with the rest of my exhausted group. This time, they did a little bit of teaching but mostly just focused on goals rather than how to achieve them. You'd think there would be training and methods of how to sell the product. Eh not really. To add insult to injury, my fatigue was catching up to me so I went upstairs to the hotel lobby to their coffee shop. I've heard stories about how uplines will run you down if you try to leave. Luckily, Matthew was a little smarter than that...either that or he was too tired to notice considering he slept for only an hour before jetting down to the conference center doors at 4 am to make sure we got "good seats" for Saturday.
He was starting to scare me.
When I got back, one of our team members was struggling to stay awake (plot twist). He asked if he could have a sip of my coffee. I gave him a sip and told him where he could get some. He said he didn't have enough to buy his own cup. Without thought, I handed him some cash to go get some. I felt horrible for him. Coffee Shop's in hotel lobby's are a bit pricy, but still...five bucks??? He felt bad for taking my money but I wouldn't allow him to feel any such way. I told him we're a team, and we help each other. He thanked me a ton and headed upstairs. I sat there baffled. This is a business where you can make good money, yet a guy who had been in the business a few months didn't even have enough cash to buy a cup of coffee??? My brain was starting to put things together in spite of the fact that sleep was at a premium that weekend.
After the morning session, the teams within the URA split up for a mini-team session. We got to say hi to our upline emerald who in all fairness is a really great guy. Then...lunch! Now, a year ago we went to a nice restaurant right on the Baltimore harbor. This time? We chipped in a few bucks and got pizza while sitting in the 90 degree heat. Once again, a team is growing with the best business opportunity in the world, yet....
Then we had some downtime so what should we do? Sleep? Go check out the many things DC has to offer? Check out the Smithsonian? PLEEEEEASE! We've got our team in DC! The fever is in the air! Lets make phone calls to people and try to set up appointments to show the plan! Make the same call that I got two years ago from Mike (who ironically had also quit the business by this time). Besides, historical American monuments are overrated. Succeed in this business and you can BUY ONE OF THEM! (Lame joke I know)
Well, the night session rolled around, and it felt to me like more of the same repetitive lameness. The first summer conference it was impactful, but this time, not so much. It's like a movie you see once and it's cool, but the second time around, it just doesn't resonate. At midnight, the seminar ended, but there was going to be....you guessed it...a night owl!!!
My friend and I didn't care. We had our fill. Much to the dismay of our team, We headed back to the room, ordered some food, and watched Kevin Hart on Comedy Central's Secret Stash. To be honest, that was the most fun he and I had all weekend. We were in Washington DC. The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the White House were all a stone's throw away but no time for fun stuff or enjoyment. Let's stay cooped up in the hotel and focus on the business!
The day after we got back, my friend, who was DEAD-SET committed to joining the team decided not to. He was completely turned off by everything. He said the speakers were materialistic and felt the message was dishonest. To sum it up: He saw the seminar, the business and the URA for what it TRULY was. I was hurt, but honestly I wasn't mad. If anything, I was just confused. These conferences were supposed to be what MADE PEOPLE want to join the business. Not deter them! Eventually his decision to quit prompted me to do some soul searching (as well as other incidents I'll talk about in this blog). I quit the team two months later, and Amway a year later.
Over time I did some research and eventually I've come to this conclusion: URA, WWDB, BWW and any other Amway Motivational Organization are one thing:
You may not move away to some remote location away from your family, or participate in mass suicide, but organizations like the URA perform those deeds in a more subtle way. Groups like these kill your SOUL. AMO's have broken up marriages, put people in insurmountable debt, and left a huge void in people's dreams and self-worth. People distance themselves from family and friends and you dump dollar after dollar into an account that never grows, but instead transfer to the accounts of your upline emeralds and diamonds.
In the movie "Casino," Robert DeNiro's character said that running a casino was like "selling people dreams for cash." There isn't a more perfect description of what an AMO is. Everybody wants to be rich and these despicable people will nurture that dream for $100 a ticket, four times a year. Not to mention the revenue from books, tapes, CD's and other functions these people do...and sadly, most of their income COMES FROM THIS, NOT the selling of Amway products. Oh URA wants you to keep your dream alive alright! Because people will do anything to be rich...including paying ridiculous sums of money to hear people drone on about the same old thing and believe it can help them as well, because THEY said it would.
I was blessed to have to foresight to see the business for what it was without going too far, but there are still thousands of people who have become brainwashed that this is the way to financial freedom. DON'T BE FOOLED!
Many of my blogs to come will focus on incidents at the conferences, as well as other incidents that occurred once I had joined. If I can stop just one person from going down this destructive path, then I've served my fellow man more than any of those cultists could do in a lifetime. """