One of the things that many Amway defenders will cite is that the people who don't succeed didn't work hard enough or didn't put in enough effort. While I agree that one must work hard to succeed in many endeavors, I will also state my informed opinion that working hard and success in Amway may not be related. I say this because I have seen so many testimonies of people who worked the Amway business hard and achieved little or no results. I put in tremendous effort when I was building my business only to see negligible results.
Part of the problem is that many uplines emphasize recruiting as their focus, even though there is no direct compensation for doing so. In fact, recruiting downline often comes with much expenses such as gas, babysitters, and the false belief that an IBO needs standing orders and seminars to learn this. Also, Amway has a spotty reputation in the US, thus making recruiting potential downline a very difficult task. Also, the focus on recruiting often takes away the emphasis on product sales, which is where you actually earn money for some of your efforts. No business can survive without sales. Amway is no different, even if you upline pushes "buy from yourself".
An important part of any business is to find customers to buy your goods. Because IBOs already spend much of their time recruiting and not selling, they are already at a disadvantage over many other businesses. Add in the seemingly un-competetive prices of Amway and Amway partner store products and you give IBOs yet another disadvantage over most other businesses. If there were better value in these goods and services, then IBOs who sell instead of recruit would be much more common. Also, the Amway compensation plan often rewards uplines rather than the IBOs who actually do the work of moving the volume. If I'm a rank and file IBO and move 100 PV, I earn about $10 in Amway bonuses. My 100 PV generates about $100 in Amway bonuses, thus somewhere upline gets the other $90 for no reason other than they signed up before me. How is that fair?
I also believe that the Amway business is so outdated and inefficient. While you may have a website to sell your goods, you have restrictions that severely limit the ability of an IBO to drive traffic to their website. The person to person touch may sound nice and flowery, but it is the most inefficient way to make sales. It is why people pay millions to advertise during the Superbowl, because you may have several hundred million people watching the advertisement and can drive up your name recognition and sales.
While working hard is definitely important to succeeding in any venture, I don't believe there is any bonafide correlation that working hard equates success in the Amway business for the reasons I have outlined in this post.