Thursday, March 17, 2011

IBO Expenses?

The actual cost to register as an IBO, I believe is in the neighborhood of $50. Many motivational groups such as BWW or WWDB or others, may have different costs because of product samples and/or tools included in the signup process. But aside from the cost of registration, what does it cost an IBO to run a Amway powered business? Many, if not most IBOs probably sign up thinking they will make money right away, only to find out that ongoing costs easily turn small profits into losses. Some of the costs I will display are optional, but often promoted as mandatory. Listed below are monthly costs:

100 PV = $300
KATE (voicemail) = $20
Website fees + $20
Standing Order (Tape/cd subcription) $42
Extra tapes/cds (two per week) $56
Book of the Month $10
Functions/Major functions (averaged out) $125
Monthly Open Meeting $8

These somewhat minimal estimates of monthly expenses add up to $581. Were you informed that a business building IBO would have to spend in the neighborhood of $600a month? Would you have been interested if this were disclosed? I woudn't have joined if this was disclosed to me. These costs are actually lowball estimates if you are a hard core IBO. These estimates would run you about $7000 a year. In five years, you may have spent $35,000 to build a business where you have a fraction of a one percent chance of making any real money. Are these the kinds of probabilities you can live with? Couldn't you find better investments of your time and money?

What could you do with an extra $7,000 a year? What could you do with an $35,000, say 5 years from now? Buy a car in cash? Take a dream vacation? Put a downpayment on a home? The possibilities are almost endless.

The average active IBO earns less than $1,500 a year.

Do the math!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paid What You Are Worth?

One of the things I saw and I believe is still taught today, is that Amway recruiters will talk about people's jobs and how you can only earn what the job is worth, and not what you are worth. Then they tell you to join the Amway business as a means to rectify that situation.

When you stop and really think twice about this, you have to wonder. If your employer doesn't pay you what you think you deserve, you are welcome to offer your services to a higher bidder. If you are unable to find a higher bidder, then you either need to increase what you have to offer, or you have overestimated your value as an employee. But at least as an employee, you have a paycheck that you can depend on, and more than likely, you know when your paydays are.

Now you get excited about being a business owner. Are you now paid what you're worth? Or at least, are you on your way to being paid what you are worth? Have you even asked or thought about what you are worth? Most IBOs, not counting the ones who "do nothing". end up moving 100 PV and getting $10 back from Amway. If they are on the system, they are likely to have spent over $100 a month to participate. Are you now "paid what you are worth?". You are in the negative, and even adding some downline is unlikely to change your situation significantly.

When you spend about $300 to make 100 PV, Amway gets paid. When you earn your 100 PV, Amway will give back about $75 in bonus money. Middle men in your upline take about $65, leaving you with $10. Are you paid what you are worth? Who did the work and who got the lion's share of the reward?

Let's say you worked really hard for a couple of years. You finally reach platinum and you earn $50,000 (before taxes). After taxes and business expenses, let's say you net $25,000. Have you now earned what you are worth? A platinum is in the top 1% of all IBOs and they net maybe $25,000 to $30,000. Are they paid what they are worth? If you can't answer yes to any of these questions, you have to ask yourself if the whole thing is worth it?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Questionable Upline Advice?

Looking back at my IBO days, I can now laugh at some of the weird stuff we did and believe it or not, I have reason to believe that my old LOS, WWDB still teaches some of this and some other major groups also teach it. I believe some of these practices were the reason why some people refer to the Amway business as cult or having cult like qualities. If you recognize some of these practices, you might be in an unethical group and you should ask your upline the tough questions and possibly reconsider or reprioritize your involvement in the business.

Submission to upline was one of the things we were told. Our group was told that upline would never purposely lead us astray so we should trust them and never try anything without checking upline. Afterall, upline had experience and probably had all the answers. Some of this checking upline included asking permission to get married, buy a car or a home, or even something as small as purchasing a camera. The upline said maybe someone upline might have advice on how to get a good deal on a camera so no harm in checking upline before making a purchase. It is my guess that upline didn't want your disposable income being spent on anything other than standing orders and functions.

Late meetings. Our upline was into late meetings, many occuring after midnight. I suppose it was a show of loyalty and dedication to the upline and the system. In reality, it made most people angry at their jobs because they had to wake up early to go to work. For me it made me mad at our upline because the meetings taught us nothing of substance and it just made us tired. Our upline used to talk about time being important but it was never important enough to make him show up on time for his own late night meetings. Another cult like factor - sleep deprivation.

Secrets. Anytime we asked about how much income uplines may have been earning, we were either told it's none of our business or shown a photocopy of a 5 year old bonus check that someone upline may have received. Our proof that the business worked was upline showing off pictures of sports cars and mansions. Of course we now find that some WWDB diamonds had homes foreclosed, and one prominent triple diamond had some dealings in bankruptcy court. Looking back, I suspect that many diamonds have mortgages, which would be nor problem except that these leaders scoffed at the sutpidity of having a loan. That diamonds pay cash for everything, including homes. My former sponsor still lives in a run down rented home beause he won't purchase a home unless he's got the cash. My former sponsor is a physician so I find his position on buying a home preposterous. His oldest child, a son probably grew up deprived of his parents because of dedication to the system and the functions.

Losing money is success. Many times, our group was told that losing money was a sign of success. It was success because we were investing in our futures. That the business really is not about money but about friendships. I suppose upline taught this because everyone was losing money so it was nice to hear that success was around the corner, and that we were all nicer people and on our way to success if we just attended more functions and bought more standing orders. People who sold off some of their personal property were edified if they did so to attend a function. Obviously these folks were not advised to run their business within their means. Upline even said that going into debt was okay, but only if the debt was to invest in the business or to buy extra function tickets.

While some of these practices seem bizarre, I believe it is because the upline advice was self serving and meant to channel their downline's dollars into tool purchases. It is the only conclusion I can make. What's your conclusion?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Amway - Friends For Life?

You hang out with friends, generally people you like and have similar interests. You have good and bad times, but your true friends are there for you when you need them. You move residences, your friends are there to help you move. They may play a round of golf with you, or watch some sporting events, dinners, backyard barbeques, etc. These are folks you will likely end up retiring with and enjoying your golden years.

But suddenly, you get enticed to join Amway. You see the "chance" to get rich, with a shortcut (not get rich quick, but a "shortcut"). You sign up and your sponsor is your new "best" friend. Most of the people you enjoyed being with think Amway is a questionable venture to get involved in. Suddenly, because of what you have been told or taught, you view these same nice people as "broke" or "losers", simply because they do not share the same ambition of untold wealth working 12-15 hours a weeek. Suddenly, your friends become prospects, or people you want to sponsor so you start recruiting them. Some may join, but most won't. Suddenly you are immersed in recruitment meetings, functions, and avoiding "negative", which is people and events that do not support your Amway business.

Now you are missing birthday parties, barbeques, and other social events. Your social events are now recruitment meetings, seminars and Amway business related events. You are taught that these events can be put off and your gratification delayed. You can do whatever you want when you go diamond. (Even though there me be only one (1) diamond out of every ten or twenty thousand IBOs) Your dedication will pay off right? Sadly, for most people, even very dedicated people, all they will see is losses on their yearly business tax returns, mainly due to the purchase of cds, books, voicemail and function tickets. But these are your "friends" right?

Here's my take on it. Try missing a few meetings or functions. Stop buying cds and see how many "friends" remain from the business. It is likely that your upline will claim that you walked away from the friendship by slowing down on the "system". If that happens, then you have conditional friends, or fairweather friends. They are your "friends" while you are pursuing the same cause. They are your friends when you are attending functions. Are they there for you in bad times?

A short while after I attended my last function (I was still an IBO, just not a business builder), my dad passed away. Not a single one of my IBO "friends" bothered to attend the memorial service. Not a single one of my IBO friends called or dropped by the home to pay their respects. All of my "real" friends, who saw through the AMO smoke and mirrors called to talk to me and/or attended the memorial service.

Are your fellow IBOs really "friends for life"?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Save Money, Live Better?

It's what WalMart is about:

Sam Walton said it best,
“If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.

Saving People Money So They Can Live Better
Saving people money to help them live better was the goal that Sam Walton, our founder, envisioned when he opened the doors to the first Walmart.

Today, more than 40 years later with operations in 15 countries worldwide, we continue to deliver that promise to families around the globe. It’s the focus that underlies everything we do at Walmart.

And for the millions of customers who shop in our stores and clubs around the world each week, it means a lot.

Save Money
We know that price matters to our customers, whether they live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina or Japan. That's why we offer the best quality merchandise at the lowest prices in all our stores, from school supplies, to household items and top quality groceries.

We also look at savings that go beyond the prices you see in our stores. For example, we are working with our suppliers to introduce more energy efficient products that can save customers money for years to come.

And because every Walmart store or Sam's Club is designed to reflect the local community, our customers know they will find the lowest prices around on the products that match their lifestyle.

Live Better
Saving money is a means to helping our customers live better. By offering the best possible prices on the products our customers need, we can help them afford something a little extra.

Whether it's a grandmother who can buy her grandchildren a special gift because she saved money on her prescriptions, or a young family saving money to buy their first home, we see our mission come to life every day.

We also see opportunities to help people live better beyond the walls of our Walmart stores and Sam's Club locations. That’s why we support causes that are important to our communities, like education, and why we are working hard to do our part in protecting our planet and conserving our natural resources for generations to come.

It’s the reason why we joined with Mercy Corps and USAID to help small farmers in Guatemala, and it’s the reason why you see Fair Trade Coffee on the shelves at Sam’s Club. By working closely with our communities and suppliers, we can reach beyond just our customers to help improve the lives of people around the globe.

Saving people money so they can live better is at the heart of everything we do, and these are just a few examples of the many ways we bring that mission to the community each and every day. Simply put, helping people live better is more than something we do -- it’s who we are.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Amway Critics, Amway Defenders?

Ever since the "tools scam" in Amway was exposed by the internet and further confirmed by Dateline and previously by 60 Minutes in expose's, there has been a sort of "internet war" between Amway critics and defenders. The defender's mantra is almost always "we don't do that", which I find ironic, because often, these same defenders admit they are from the more abusive of the lines of sponsorship. While I admit there may be some "rogue" IBOs who focus on selling product, they are the rare exception and not the rule. Most IBOs belong to an LOS who sells tools such as cds, voicemail, seminars/function and other support materials. In the past, uplines lied and denied that they made any tools profits. Now that the lie has been exposed, the IBOs seemingly have just forgotten about this and gave upline a free pass while uplines continue to display a lack of transparency about the tools business.

I will also acknowledge that Amway may have tried to make some changes to clean up some of the abuse, but at the same time, many of the changes appear to be cosmetic and meaningful changes are not apparent. Take accreditation for example, what did it truly accomplish? Not much in my opinion.

The most hard core defenders of Amway act like internet trolls at times, setting up alerts and dropping uninvited into conversations whenever the word Amway comes up. The weaker defenders of Amway will drop into a conversation and will disappear in a flash once they get schooled by the facts. One good example was someone denying that diamonds spoke about buying homes in cash. When other commentators confirmed hearing this claim, the Amway defender tucked tail and ran. The more elusive defenders of Amway will try to get a critic to defend an extreme postion, or will try to say that critics paint too broad of a picture. For example, when you say upline, why refer to all upline. A valid point, but when making a defense, these same defenders will paint all of the upline as "rosy" by saying things like "we" don't do that, implying that not a single person in the LOS does that, which is almost always false.

But the most important thing that information seekers should note is that Amway defenders have something to gain by defending Amway. Amway defenders may have something to gain and may even lie and cheat to make Amway look good. Some diamonds in the past even made ridiculous claims just to sell their "perfect" water product. Amway critics have nothing to gain. Some of us do this only because there are many injustices placed upon the masses of downline, and not only did the upline get away with past offenses, many of them continue their practice of bilking their downline for personal benefits. They prop up someone's dreams and when the person buys in, they sell them tools and profit, regardless of what happens in the end.

How many people actually achieved their dreams as a result of attending functions? How many people benefited from standing order? How many people got rich from voicemail? Seems like only the ones selling these tools benefit from them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Much Do You Value Your Time?

As an IBO, I used to wonder how much my upline valued my time and efforts. Afterall, I wasn't an employee of my upline but sometimes it felt like we were unpaid employees with high demands and high expectations. To be honest I don't think the uplines value your time at all. What's more, they said in meetings and functions that Amway was a 24/7 endeavor if you were serious about achieving.

I thought it was odd that they would speak about vertical alignment. That God was #1, spouse was #2, family #3, job #4, and amway #5. Oddly enough, anytime something interfered with Amway, we were expected to skip it or rearrange our schedules to fit in the Amway meetings. One of my crossline has arranged for his wedding more than a year in advance. It probably took a lot of planning and arranging. Well, sure enough, a regional function (not even a major function) took place on the weekend of the wedding and I remember the couple scrambling to rearrange the wedding for fear of not being CORE.

It was okay to call in sick or even quit a job as long as it was to attend a meeting or a function. I remember a function where a diamond said to quit your job if your boss won't give you time off to attend a function. He said you can always get another job. Sadly, I know of at least two people who did this and more than likely regretted it later.

The upline leaders also said it was okay to build the business at night because your kids will be sleeping and won't remember you missing when you take them to disneyland as a diamond. That's all fine and dandy. How many diamonds have been popping up in the US lately? You really think your kids won't remember your absences later on in life? The leaders call it delayed gratification but in reality, some border on neglect and those IBOs who hang in for a long time might have years and years pass without any success and their kids will be the ones who pay.

More than likely your uplines don't value your time. If they did, they wouldn't do so many activities (at your expense) that takes you away from your family. I remember our uplines even had contests where the winner got the honor or driving the diamond to the airport! Wow, so you work hard to achieve something and your prize is to take more time away from your family to be an unpaid chauffeur for the upline!

How much do you value your time?