Friday, May 29, 2015

Amway Diamonds Pay Cash?

When I was an IBO, I was always taught that diamonds pay cash for everything. That one day, after following the foolproof WWDB system, that I too, would be strolling on the beaches of the world, with cash rolling into my bank account with no worries in the world. We were told that diamonds pay cash for all purchases, even homes and other large ticket items. As evidence, the diamonds would show slideshows of mansions and sports cars, golf club memberships and other lavish items. All paid for in cash we were told. I have reason to believe that WWDB still teaches this except that it is more than likey a bunch of lies.

First of all, in looking back, our group really had no way of knowing what was paid for or not. We just assumed that diamond made so much money that everything the diamonds spoke of were true. However, there have been events, some fairly recent, that exposed some of the apparent lies told by these diamonds. There were two (2) diamonds whose home foreclosures became public knowledge and a prominent triple diamond who was involved in bankruptcy (chapter 7) proceedings. Now your home cannot be foreclosed if it's paid for in cach right? Technically, nobody would care whether a diamond's home was mortgaged or paid for, but when diamonds parade in front of a crowd bragging about wealth, and then telling the audience that they too will achieve the same success by following the system and upline advice, well that's a bit misleading in my opinion. So many people in the audience are practically crying because they want (so badly) what the diamonds are flaunting, except that possibly, many of these diamonds don't even have what they are selling.

An average (non founders) diamond might make about $150,000 (according to Amway) and let's just say another $150,000 from selling support materials. When you factor in taxes and business expenses such as travel to and from functions, what's left over certainly is not going to allow you tp purchase million dollar mansions. Some higher up pins might make a bit more, but still, purchasing mansions and other luxuries in cash is a stretch. It would be my guess that most diamonds indeed have a mortgage on their homes and may even have car payments. That's not a crime but it is unethical and maybe illegal to lie about your income in order to recruit new downlines.

For IBOs and other newbies, if your uplines are bragging about paying for homes and other things in cash, ask them to show proof of these claims. I can show you pictures of multi million dollar mansions and sports cars, it doesn't mean that I paid for them in cash. But then again, admitting to having a mortgage or having monthly car payments aren't quite as attractive or exciting as claiming to pay for these things in cash.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amway Sales Or Charity?

I know Amway defenders will talk about some of the sales they make, and that's fine and good, but when I look at the kinds of sales they make, it is usually insignificant. I recently read some comments that sort of made me laugh. A prospect apparently was invited to an Amway recruitment meeting by a friend, and out of courtesy, sat through the presentation (which nobody else attended) and politely declined to register. The commenter went on to say that after the meeting, he felt sorry for his friend and purchased something off of his friend's IBO website, and it felt like making a charitable contribution. Makes me wonder since Amway's products are mostly consumed by IBOs themselves and I believe less than 5% of Amway good actually made it into the hands of a non IBO customer.

But now I wonder out of the tiny amount of IBO retail sales, how many of those sales are basically charitable contributions made to IBOs by family and friends who simply feel sorry for their acquainted IBO? When I first declined to join Amway under my eventual sponsor, they did ask me to buy some of their goods. But being a single male, my age group demographic didn't really match me with the products they were pushing. If I remember correctly, I ended up buying the liquid Amway car wax. While the car wax worked as well as the other leading brands, I recall that I paid about $12 for it back in 1995 or so. I can currently get a jumbo sized bottle od Nu-Finish or Astroshield liquid car wax for $8.99 at Target or other local retailers, and at times, the store puts them on special sales for $5.99. So basically, I am getting about twice as much car wax for the price if I purchase my car wax on a store special. I know Amway zealots will want to compare the price with an online sourcem but as I said, I make my purchase in person and wait for store soecials which occurs every couple of months.

I know at times, I have seen other family and friends involved in MLM. And while I was once there, I now see their attempts as somewhat pathetic, especially when they are basically walking the same path I did about 12 years ago as an IBO. I do not discourage them, but simply decline to see their plan or register as a downline. I have at times, also made charitable contributions to some friends who had become involved in MLM. If nothing else, just to be supportive of a friend. Ultimately, these MLM friends eventually figured things out on their own and quit as I did. Some of them follow my blog and some just quietly faded into the sunset. They do not run an informative blog as I do, but not everyone can or will. (Sound familar?)

However, after reading the comments about the polite friend who bought an Amway product from a friend, I have to wonder whether IBOs are making true retail sales or merely receiving charitable contributions from friends and family in the form of Amway product purchases?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Amway Losers?

One of the things I heard as an IBO and still hear today, is that people who do not view Amway as favorable, or decided to quit and walk away from the Amway opportunity are "broke" or "losers" or "broke losers". As an IBO I remember one of the upline saying that IBOs are winners, and therefore, if you are not an IBO, you must be a loser. I still see much of that today. I'm not sure why that kind of teaching still exists, especially when most people who work for minimum wage earn more than most IBOs.

I suppose it's a form of subtle pressure used by upline to prevent people from quitting, as nobody wants to be labeled a loser. It creates an "us" versus "them" attitude. One of Amway's co founders, Rich DeVos, stated quite clearly in a speech that IBOs should not use the term loser just because someone doesn't agree that Amway is the greatest. And I agree.

Many people who are not IBOs are very successful and many people are simply not suited for or want to run a "side" business. Some people are not in need of an extra income and some people do not want to sacrifice family time. IBOs should respect other people's wishes if they are turned down when offering the opportunity to others. Also, because of previous unethical behaviors of IBOs, many people simply do not wish to get involved in an opportunity where such behavior exists. Sure, not all IBOs act that way, but enough of them still exists. And what's more, it appears that not much, if anything has been done about it.

But here's the biggest reason, in my opinion, why IBOs should be calling anyone derogatory names just because the prospect does not wish to join Amway or purchase goods. There's no reason to burn bridges with a potential customer or future IBO. Let's say I entered a store but for whatever reason, decided not to make a purchase that day. As I exit the store, the store owner calls me a loser or broke, or not having guts. What is the chance that I would want to do business with that store or store owner ever again? Furthermore, many or most Amway business owners conduct business person to person and face to face. If I insult people who don't initially do business with me, then I am doing a lousy job of PR and chances are by business will fail. Yet that is exactly what many IBOs do.

IBOs and upline leaders should read this and think twice before using the term loser or broke loser. You could be burning bridges with potential future customers or IBOs.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Amway Teaching?

One thing is clear. Many Amway recruits are shown fancy cars and toys, along with luxurious vacations and trappings. This is a way to get prospects excited and interested in signing up for the Amway opportunity. Many sign up, and the excitement fades and they quit. Many do little or nothing. But what many people do not understand or realize is that there is a reason for this. Many do little or nothing, I suspect because the business is much harder to build than adevrtised.

Because Amway has a stigma in the US (and growing in other locations), finding prospects is a daunting task. Add in the high prices of Amway products and you have major challenges that IBOs simply cannot overcome. Most simply quit and fade away into society. Some, like myself were lied to and abused, with upline leaders (WWDB)who were never held accountable for their actions. Thus I blog so others may share my experiences and can decide if they wish to climb insurmountable challenges for a miniscule chance of financial success. Maybe they will realize they are being fed the same lies I heard as an IBO. Maybe some little nugget of information will get through and help a prospect or ongoing IBO.

What many leaders do is evolve their teachings. They start to teach their IBOs that the Amway opportunity may have made them nicer people, better fathers or husbands and other nice to hear stories because it covers up the fact that these IBOs are not making money. Sometimes I wonder how someone can be a better person by deceiving others about the business opportunity, or how you can be a better father or husband when Amway meetings become a priority over your family and friends? Or how you can be a nicer person and leave threatening messages on forums with those who disagree about Amway being a great business opportunity?

Rather that justifying your involvement or looking ar side benefits, IBOs should be looking at their bottom line. If your Amway "Business" is not generating enough money to pay for your voicemail and other expenses and leaving you with a net profit, then what exactly is your upline teaching you that is worth the ongoing expense? If you are like most, you are told that Amway has no overhead and has little risk. Well, that becomes untrue after months pass by and you have spent hundreds if not thousands on support materials that do not deliver you a net profit. Are you being taught that you're successful simply by showing up for a function?

Are you new or a tenured IBO? Has your teaching from upline evolved away from making money as the bottom line? If so, what do you do next?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Amway IBOs "Help" People?

One of the things I often thought odd as an IBO was how our upline would keep teaching us that the Amway business was all about "helping people". Somehow, our upline felt that showing someone the plan or talking to them about the business was helping someone. That is because our upline felt that everyone was dooomed for financial failure if they didn't join Amway. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth now that I am looking back. In fact, I would have to say that building the business and purchasing tools was the CAUSE of financial disaster for some of my fellow IBOs. I remember reading about more than one home foreclosure and a couple of bankruptcies within our group. I'm sure there were more than I as aware of.

It's like IBOs hold some dark secret and they could save the world by sharing this secret with prospects. So the theme of many voicemails (Amvox at the time) was about how IBOs in the group were saving the world by helping people. I used to wonder how we were helping people when we basically only "helped" IBOs who wanted to build the business. If someone declined to join, they were forgotten. Our upline said we threw them a life preserver but they rejected it, so we are moving on. It was often compared to a church activity where IBOs are saving souls. I actually found this very weird because we were often taught that we could give the church money in the future ($10,000 checks) and we could serve in ministry after we were "free". I find this ludicrous now, but at the time, we were told that this was delayed gratification. After I left Amway, I spoke to the senior pastor of my church and he opined that Amway was harmful to many because it simply held too many empty/false promises. In other words, they promote big dreams and wealth, but very few ever attain any success, for whatever reason. The pastor said the reason for the low success was not relevent. The fact that it was rare to see success was enough to conclude that Amway was not a good opportunity.

In fact, some diamonds can be seen as prosperity preachers. They speak about wealth attained through Amway when in reality their wealth may come from other sourcse, such as tools income, yet they falsely promote Amway as their primary source of success. Then they bait and switch IBOs and tell them that the tools system is the only way to succeed, all the while profiting handsomely from the tools. Then they justify their conflict of interest by claiming that IBOs are helping people and/or doing God's work by joining Amway. I believe many IBOs are giving false hope and promises to prospects as taught by upline leaders. All the while they themselves are losing money while thinking they are supporting a noble cause. I hope they awaken before it's too late.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Conflict Of Interest - Amway Tools?

Over my Amway and blogging experience, I have come to a conclusion which I will stand by. And this, in my informed opinion, is a signficant problem with the Amway opportunity. The Amway owner, Rich Devos acknowledged this issue back in 1983 in his "directly speaking" tape and unfortunately, nothing apparently substantial was ever done and therefore, the problem exists today.

The Amway opportunity is one part of the issue, with the tools systems being the other prong. Over the years, the Amway opportunity and the tools systems have formed a symbiotic relationship. It is as if Amway needs the system and the system needs Amway. What I mean is that Amway provides the opportunity, and then the system uses the opportunity to sell the system. In the meantime, the system leaders teach 100 PV, product loyalty, and do most if not all of the new IBO recruiting. Amway benefits as the system teaches movement of PV whether by sales or self consumption, and new IBO recruitment, and the system leaders benefit by having a captive audience to sell their cds, books, seminars, voicemail, and website fees.

The conflict of interest occurs when uplines tell their new IBOs that they "need" to attend a certain function, or that they "need" standing order to succeed. The upline is smart enough not to say the system is "required", but certainly, they will put a defacto requirement by sayimg things such as nobody has ever succeeded without the system, but you can try to be the first, or they may say the system is optional, but so is success. Of someone may say so and so diamond (insert) name is a multi millionaire and he advocates the system, but you can go against his advice if you think you know better.

The bigger problem is that these upline leaders will tell you that you basically cannot succeed without these tools, but at the same time, the more tools you buy, the more profit these uplines make. Some Amway apologists will justify this by saying a college professor may sell his own books to his students. But this is not the same thing. A college professor may spend years researching to write that one book. He will be teaching his expertise that is written in the book. When you attend seminars or listen to cds, you do not have one expert guiding you with clear documentation on how they succeeded. You have very general generic experiences coming from various speakers who may or may not have any common background with IBOs. Thus these upline leaders will profit from their downline IBO volume and also from tools that they advise downline to purchasem regardless of downline success or progress in the business.

As evidence of these bad practices by upline, consider this. If upline truly has "valuable" information that would help you succeed, they would get that information to you in whatever means they could. Either by voicemail, MP3, Youtube or whatever. Why would they withhold trade secrets if they really wanted your success? Has it ever occured to IBOs that maybe uplines doesn't want your success? Maybe it is why you must pay for any piece of advice or support you receive. Maybe upline is perfectly happy with people coming and going as long as there are tool purchases because then there are no new IBOs (platinums and up) to share the tool profits with.

There is a definite conflict of interest with profiting uplines advising you to buy tools. The question if whether you see it or not?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Amway Financial Freedom?

When I was an IBO, I often saw my upline diamond driving around town dressed in a business suit. I used to think why does he keep working if he can walk away and collect residual income? My sponsor told me that the diamond only works because he cares about his downline and wants to help them. So there are two possible scenarios, the diamond is working to help his downline out of a genuine concern, or possoibly he is working because he has to! The only difference now is that the diamond works the nite and/or graveyard shift, because many IBOs are building the business after they complete their day jobs. **We should also note that my former upline diamond dropped down to the emerald level around 2005 and has since re-established his diamond level.

Now Amway has stated that the average diamond earns about $150,000 a year. That is a decent income, but after taxes and paying for basic expenses such as medical and dental insurance, the average diamond probably lives a very middle class lifestyle. Keep in mind that a large portion of a diamond's income comes in the form of an annual bonus, thus a diamond's monthly income may be quite small. Yes, diamonds may have other sources of income such as speaking engagements and income from standing orders and functions. But this income depends on the diamond's continued appearances and efforts. Is that true "freedom" if you have to be in places at a certain day and time? Yeah, a diamond's job might not be backbreaking work but it's still work and doesn't carry the freedom that they lead you to believe.

So is it likely that a diamond is "free"? I would have to conclude that a diamond is not free, and may actually have to spend more time maintaining his group than if the diamond simply had a 9-5 job. For one thing, a diamond needs to maintain a personal group to keep qualifying for bonuses. With a poor retention rate in Amway, I am fairly sure that a diamond spends much time recruiting personally sponsored IBOs to maintain this group. Additionally, a diamond must help his six or more groups of downline platinums to maintain their businesses or face the possibility of falling out of qualification. My former diamond dropped down to the emerald level but has since re-qualified at diamond. A diamond must also dedicate time to reward up and coming movers and shakers, to keep them motivated. I got to spend time with my upline diamond when I was considered a promising up and coming pin.

In order to continue to receive tools income, a diamond must also travel to numerous functions and speaking engagements. Although the tools income allegedly doubles a diamond's income, it also adds a lot of expenses, especially if the diamond and his family travel first class to show off the diamond lifestyle.

After breaking down projected income and considering projected expenses, I can only conclude that a diamond probably lives a middle to upper middle class lifestyle, and probably works as much as a man with a 9-5 job, except that a diamond works nites and weekends. A good portrait of this is shown in Ruth Carter's book (Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind The Smoke and Mirrors). In the book, the diamond had a net income of over $300,000, but lived in debt, could barely pay his mortgage, and was always on the run from one function to the next.

I believe that diamonds may actually be busier at the diamond level than an average Joe who has a 9-5 J-O-B. The difference is that the diamond works the night shift. Is this the freedom you are seeking?