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Realism, Friendship and 0.0035%

August 13, 2010

I’ve been following the exploits and thoughts of a WWDB IBO named Shaun on his web site, Expeditions of Truth. I like how he is generally open about his experiences building an Amway business in Canada. What’s even more impressive are the comments. Friends, IBOs, and critics are all participating and maintaining a level of civility not seen since the days of the now-defunct Speaking of Amway blog.

Recently, Shaun wrote a blog post about what people will think of what he’s doing. In the comments section, rocket states that he’s having a difficult time seeing how Shaun and his wife are profiting each month when they are traveling all over the country for functions. Contained within Shaun’s reply was this:

Not sure where you get the Diamond average from but that may be old numbers. The Diamond average is $627K now. Since you’ve built this business a lot of things have changed such as more bonus’s have been put back into the system.

I found a PDF of this Business Overview document that Shaun refers to on Google. Here’s the relevant section, along with the important fine print:

Step 4: (Goal: 2–5 Years)–Diamond—(Second Vision) Help six or more people create 7,500 PV for six months (Platinum) they achieve a potential of $2,436.00 per year in savings and $117,176 in earnings. They also receive an Achievers Incentive Trip with an approximate value of $5,500.00. You achieve an average annual income of $627,000.‡ See “Growth Incentive Brochure” for details.

‡The following are approximate percentages of direct fulfillment IBOs of record in North America who achieved the illustrated levels of success in the performance year ending 2008. 0.0726% achieved an annual income of $95,036 and 0.0035% achieved an annual income of $627,000 or more.

Note that it’s not 0.0035 but 0.0035%, which translates to 0.000035. Of currently enrolled distributors on direct fulfillment, one out of nearly 28,600 will achieve an annual income of $627,000 or more1. Of course, there are more people who were either distributors in the past or never got involved in the first place. If you figure those people, the percentages look even less appealing.

As a former IBO, I’ve seen first-hand how once-strong Amway businesses have crumbled to be shells of their former selves (or disappear altogether). Like his friends, I too am concerned about how far down the rabbit hole Shaun is going. While I want him to be successful, I wouldn’t want that success to come at the expense of a large group of people who might not be making money at the end of each month.

Shaun and his wife have a long road ahead of them to reach these lofty levels in the business. While I wish them luck, I don’t envy the task ahead of them. What I would like to impart on them is that dreams can be realized through multiple means. Amway via WWDB is not the only way to get there. Should they falter in this venture, there are more opportunities out there.

Today, I am rarely in contact with anyone from my days in the business. My friends before Amway, however, are still my friends today, and that says a lot about the enduring strength of those relationships. Judging from the comments and related blog posts by his friends, I’m certain the same will be said for Shaun and Lindsay’s friends from before Amway too.


1 Also note that the first half of this PDF is a Worldwide Dreambuilders (WWDB) document that has been approved by Amway.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Joecool permalink
    August 13, 2010 2:48 pm

    Good post. I agree, this blog has critics and supporters alike and the comments have been civil and brought up good discussion. But as some have pointed out, I believe Shaun is being misled. Apparently there is still teaching of buying homes in cash, and that Amway/WWDB has a 2% divorce rate and the rest of the world is at 60%.

    Other puzzling tidbits was how Shaun managed to get a big tax refund even if he made enough from the business to fund all of his trips. I know he’s planning to retire his wife on August 27th of this year (this month) but his blog stories don’t indicate that the Amway business was the reason for his success. For example, he made a blog post about paying off $26K in debt, but in realiaty he had cashed out a 401K or something to settle that debt.

    I truly hope he makes it and his downline can profit also, but I suspect even if Shaun makes it, most of his downline won’t. He does seem like a good man though. I wish him well.

  2. August 13, 2010 4:43 pm

    Good post. I do have to say thanks to the majority of people who’ve keep the conversation and comments on my blog to an adult level where we can respect each others opinions. I might not often agree or get “passionate” about my view however I am open to hearing whatever. I know what we are doing is right that we build with integrity which I think sets us apart from some of the negative stuff that’s been out there. I’ll continue to uphold that integrity and open way of doing business, it’s been working so far, why stop or change.

    I do realize there are some odds stacked against us but in my life I’ve always been behind the odds for the most of it. I love a challenge and have always risen above when needed.

    The Alberta market here in Canada is an exception to these averages from what we’ve heard directly from Amway Canada. We have a great steady growth with little failure because of the way we build business. I do realize this is not THE only way to be successful however it’s the way we’ve chosen and I’d say being 96% debt free because of the choices we’ve made alone is pretty darn successful. Not saying it’s all from the business but the mentality and such as I’ve written about lots is what has contributed to that success.

    I hope that whatever anyone does be it Amway, some other MLM, a Job or whatever, that people are successful in their own way.

  3. Joecool permalink
    August 16, 2010 8:45 am

    So it appears that 1 in 28,000 active IBOs earn $627,000 and that is not the average diamond income as Shaun was thinking it was.

  4. Steve permalink
    August 17, 2010 11:43 am

    Thank you for your insightful post and reasonable discussion.

    As a former Q12 Platinum (and yes, now also recently former IBO) I believe that the numbers from Amway and particularly World Wide Dreambuilders are intentionally misleading and the terminology carefully chosen. Your paragraph is quite enlightening indeed:

    “Note that it’s not 0.0035 but 0.0035%, which translates to 0.000035. Of currently enrolled distributors on direct fulfillment, one out of nearly 28,600 will achieve an annual income of $627,000 or more. Of course, there are more people who were either distributors in the past or never got involved in the first place. If you figure those people, the percentages look even less appealing.”

    You nailed it by pointing out the use of “currently enrolled distributors on direct fulfillment,” and also in your mention of those who were previously involved. This has a huge impact on the true picture, Amthrax, and cannot be overstated.

    Although it is all but impossible to get clean and accurate statistics, the most conservative estimates are that as many as three hundred thousand people per year do not renew their businesses. Other estimates put the number closer to half a million per year.

    Obviously, these are people who got involved in the business to achieve various goals that were not met for whatever reason. For most, earning $10 per month would give them their renewal fee times two, so they likely never even accomplished that. But regardless, if we’re going to look at what percentage of all IBOs achieve Platinum, Q12, Emerald, Diamond or above status, these folks who left certainly need to be included in the calculation.

    Just over the last 11 years since the introduction of Quixtar, this would add 3,300,000 – 5,500,000 people to the equation, resulting in a fraction of their published percentage, a number so small that I will leave it to my engineer friends to calculate 🙂

    As for Shaun, I agree with you and Joecool that he is a good man with good intentions and a good heart. In fact, I have seen him stop on a dime and post a correction to his blog if he has found himself to be in error. At the same time, it appears he is in a line of sponsorship that is notorious within WWDB for manipulating its members by conditional love techniques and passive-aggressive behavior.

    Very scary having witnessed and lived it firsthand.

  5. August 17, 2010 2:09 pm

    Great comment, Steve. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences in Amway and WWDB.

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  1. Expedition of Truths » Success Rate of Other Business’s

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