IBO = Independent Business Owner. Most Amway folks consider themselves IBOs, or independent business owners. To some, owning a business sounds cool. It sounds like you are achieving something and it may even seem that there is status involved in being a business owner. It is one of the reasons that may compel someone into signing up for the Amway opportunity. It was a small factor in gaining my interest many years ago when I was pitched the "plan".
Based on what I see and hear from Amway related blogs and forums, most people involved in the Amway opoprtunity are not business owners. They are simply Amway customers. They are customers of Amway and they are customers of the system consisting of voicemail, cds, books, and seminars. Does this sound confusing? Think about it. Many groups teach "buy from yourself" and get others to do the same. If you belong to one of these groups, you are being taught to be an Amway and system customer, nothing more and nothing less. Both Amway and the system profit from your loyal purchases and they fool you into thinking you are getting a good deal by giving you a tiny rebate each month. Only if you are able to lure enough gullible people into your downline will you finally be able to leverage their purchases to make a small profit. If you can get a large following, then you might make some nice coin, but it will come at the expense of the people who trusted you enough to sign up and follow you. It is unlikely to come from product sales since Amway products generally are generic in nature but premium in price.
If you stop for a minute and truly think about a business, what business can thrive without a whole lot of customers? I cannot think of any businesses where there are little or no customers. Why would the Amway opportunity be any different? If you are your only, or your own best customer, then maybe you are not even a business owner, but simply a customer of Amway and a customer of the system. Think about this for a moment. Certainly WalMart or Target would be out of business if they relied on sales nearly exclusively from their employees.
Without any sales to customers, or to people who are not Amway IBOs, any profit simply comes out of the pockets of the people in the Amway system. When you receive a rebate, you are simply getting some of your own money back. You have not generated any real profit. The only way to generate real profits is to sell to outside customers. This brings money into the system or Amway economy if you will. If not, an IBO is just a glorified customer bringing profits to Amway and the tools systems.