Joecool has an excellent post up about his observations from watching IBO bloggers and commenters over the past five years. I’d like to comment on these five observations:
Observation #1: In general, IBOs are less successful in life than others. That is why they are open to the business and why they can be convinced that there is a shortcut to retirement and perpetual wealth. When I was an IBO, I was not where I wanted to be financially, as I was younger and at the earlier stages of my career. I would not be open to “options” right now.
This was the case with me eleven years ago when I saw the plan. I was graduating from college and knew that I wanted to have my own business. The way the business was presented to me at the time gelled with my other business ideas, so I was open to trying it out. It was only later that I discovered that the two businesses were vastly different.
Observation #2: The biggest zealots/supporters appear to have the smallest businesses.
(Tex/IBOFB) They talk the talk – but no evidence of walk the walk. Also, any discussion about their personal success with the business is limited and shrouded in secrecy.
I was always taught to fake it till I made it, something that I really had a problem with. I also got tired of saying, “I’m just getting started,” even after two years in the business. When I sat down and really looked at my profits and losses, it was clear that the business was not working for me. This is why — when I speak with IBOs who dream of hitting it big — I ask them about their financials.
Observation #3: The business has a bad reputation and cannot be marketed to the general public without some degree of deception. It’s why there are so many testimonials of people tricked into attending meetings (including myself). Being straight forward with information will likely get you a resounding “No thanks”.
I had no conscious preconceived notions of Amway before I joined, so I was confused why I couldn’t just be upfront about the Amway name when talking with prospects. I felt that if I had to hide the name from prospects, I was being somewhat dishonest. The curiosity approach left a bad taste in my mouth.
Observation #4: It would appear that much upline teaching is not focused on actually running a profitable business, but dedication to the system. It’s why so many IBOs don’t seem to know what a profit loss statement is, and don’t bother keeping one themselves. It’s also why the content of many BSMs is to purchase more BSMs.
I have written numerous posts on the tools business and how the upline leaders would always be promoting the System as one of the most, if not the most, important thing to follow. The abuse by the System leaders is one of the things I continue to rail against today. Amway has enacted accreditation for Amway Motivational Organizations, but what I want to see more than ever is actual enforcement of the accreditation guidelines.
Observation #5: IBOs in general don’t seem to have planned out their retirement. They are convinced that the Quixtar opportunity will provide for them when they reach their retirement years. They put down people who are working jobs and investing for their futures. They feel that purchasing function tickets is their investment for retirement. While a fraction of 1% might make some significant money in Quixtar, the vast majority do not. The fact that the majority may not have put forth a Herculean effort is irrelevant in my opinion. The bottom line is that the vast majority will not make an income from this opportunity. To ignore this fact is burying your head in the sand.
I consider myself fortunate to have left just two and half years later. My career was not terribly impacted by my time in the business. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to diversify my income streams and investments. I only hope that those in the business do not put all of their eggs in one basket. It is interesting to note that many of the upline kingpins have diversified their income streams even as they promote on stage that Amway/Quixtar is the best business opportunity out there. Bill Britt owns several outside businesses in the North Carolina area, Greg Duncan is the part-owner of XS Energy and All In Energy, among other things, and the Amway founders themselves own hotels and sports teams like the Orlando Magic. You don’t need to be a kingpin to diversify; a “lowly” IBO can also and should also do the same. Don’t put all of your eggs into the Amway/Quixtar/MonaVie and System basket!