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Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back?

January 11, 2011

This post is directed more to current distributors in an MLM business instead of former ones. After all, there are countless posts and comments about why we’ve left. I’d like to hear from active people about what would constitute a valid reason for leaving their business.

I remember once saying that I would never quit the business. That was over ten years ago, and I’m happy to have made the change. Please don’t start with the line, “Winners never quit and quitters never win,” cause we’ve all heard it before. Let’s be serious and drop the motivational catchphrases.

To start the discussion, might a good reason be:

  • Lack of profitability after two years in the business?
  • Lack of quantifiable results from the products?
  • New opportunities opening up in other areas?
  • Boredom?

And, if you’re not planning on quitting for whatever reason, please explain yourself why you would back yourself into such a position? To use a football analogy, if you are pinned on your 5-yard line and it’s Fourth-and-10, would you go for it or punt?

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Joecool permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:20 am

    At the 4000 PV level in Amway, I was starting to have doubts because I did all I was told, achieved the level with the parameters that was recommended and my net income was about break even or a small loss. My upline also became increasingly controlling of my life and wanted consultation before I could do anything, even mundane things like purchasing a new camera for example. But when I was told to ditch my fiance’ because she was holding me back, I decided to quit and I told my downline about it and all of them quit except for I think 2 people.

  2. aurora permalink
    January 14, 2011 4:32 am

    This commenter requested that her comments be removed from this site.

  3. January 14, 2011 10:33 am

    I think it’s more people within a System that start dictating the lives of their downline. Amway just says you have a responsibility for teaching and supporting them. Uplines within bad Systems have perverted that statement over the years.

  4. happy girl permalink
    January 14, 2011 2:53 pm

    Joe that advice is exactly what I am so upset about. Where you told to sit down with Paul Tsika like we where? Paul ended up giving my husband the advice that if I was not supportive or willing to change my dress to accommodate the WWDB culture that he would need to leave me !!

    Just like Amthrax said when LOA’s start to control peoples lives beyond the basic Amway rules it become a cult.

    Why are none of you talking about Paul? you must have heard many things about him and how mixing religion into the LOA rules creates a worshiping type nature.

  5. aurora permalink
    January 19, 2011 3:54 am

    This commenter requested that her comments be removed from this site.

  6. techanator permalink
    February 11, 2011 12:19 pm

    I was kinda hoping this thread would get more posts but alas, 99% of those who are still “Working” an MLM, are told to stay clear of all the negative talk. So I suspect most of the people posting here are very much against the whole MLM world.

    I am posting for the first time here in response to the question…
    “And, if you’re not planning on quitting for whatever reason, please explain yourself why you would back yourself into such a position?”

    I am an active Amway IBO and have been for the last 18 years. The side income my wife and I have developed has played a big role in helping us to get debt free. We have 5 kids who live at home and no one needs to be convinced that raising a family costs a lot of money. Both my wife and I work and at times it is still not quite enough. The meager yet sufficient side income I derive from Amway has helped to keep food on the table and keep a few dollars in the bank.

    I am not fortunate enough to have a job that easily covers the basic bills and needs for my family. Doing things on the side has been the only thing making up the difference. I chose to stay in Amway because I have a nice retail business that brings income every month and the customers are very happy with our service.

    Yes… I did the whole sponsor people and function things for about 10 years. I won’t go into details but a couple things occurred that brought the whole “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” concept to reality for me. Trying to get people to change, quite literally takes an act of God and it should be left up to Him in my opinion. So I stopped sponsoring, and only focused on what I could do and not would I could get others to do.

    My upline has always been extremely supportive along with the friends we have that are also cross line distributors. I have a hard time believing we are the only distributors that do not have an over bearing sponsor that is hell bent on forcing me to go to meetings, sponsor people and forget about anyone that is not a fellow MLM member. However I cannot deny the over whelming evidence that plenty of people get pumped full of lies and false info in a vain hope of making them something they are not. It is no wonder there is giant canyon between the two points of view.

    I am making money, I enjoy the retail side of things and I have no reason to walk away from that. I am not saying any of this to convince anyone of anything, just answering a question from my perspective.

  7. February 11, 2011 1:08 pm

    @techanator – thanks for your post and for your perspective. It looks like you have realistic goals with regards to your Amway business, which includes a healthy does of retail, something that isn’t emphasized enough by many Systems in North America.

  8. techanator permalink
    February 11, 2011 1:46 pm

    Thank you Amthrax, I thought it was a reasonable counter question considering the topic of the thread.

    Out of sheer curiosity, would it be ok if I ask which of those 4 reasons you might fall under?
    Or if you could direct me to an existing post with that info, I would be happy to read up.

  9. aurora permalink
    February 11, 2011 2:58 pm

    This commenter requested that her comments be removed from this site.

  10. February 11, 2011 4:07 pm

    @techanator – For me it was a combination of all four things mentioned in the post. Lack of results by doing the same thing over and over again resulted in boredom with the business. Opportunities were opening up in other markets — think Internet in the late 90s, early 2000s. Finally, many of the coreline products that we were encouraged to purchase were too expensive, in my opinion, relative to their value.

    If you read my About page on this site, you will see that I’m more critical of the Systems than I am the corporation; at the same time, the corporation shares some measure of responsibility for letting System transgressions happen over the past 30+ years.

  11. techanator permalink
    February 11, 2011 5:20 pm

    It is definitely a tangled web trying to sort out the business from the people that implement it. I do however believe that the foundational concept of the Amway business is sound, which I believe to be the simple process of moving a commodity of some kind. Having people turn the business inside out by focusing on getting others to sell for them is just sad. Any business that promotes sponsoring over the movement of a product or service of some kind will be flooded with problems.

  12. Will permalink
    February 11, 2011 9:20 pm

    Techanator – In respons to your quote above… “Any business that promotes sponsoring over the movement of a product or service of some kind will be flooded with problems.

    …I could not agree more.

    What is your position of other Amway/Quixtar kingpins over the years that focused on personal product consumption as a means to build the business vs. retailing the actual product? For instance, I used to be part of Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and Tim Marks’ organization known as TEAM. They were notorious for teaching their group to sponsor, sponsor, sponsor and then sponsor some more, and then teach all those that you sponsor to personally consume the product to build volume. I was in the business for 7+ years and they never once encouraged distributors to RETAIL the product. Obviously, this breaks all FTC and Amway regulations. Looking back it is no wonder that AMWAY terminated them from their business in August 2007.

    However, I am curious to see what your views are personally towards Orrin Woodward and Team. Being that you are on a different line of sponsorship and still affiliated with Amway (A company that Orrin was terminated from and accused them of being an illegal pyramid), what did you and other business owners think of TEAM and Orrin Woodward as a person? How did Orrin’s lawsuit and negative publicity with the Quixtar separation effect your business?

  13. February 12, 2011 12:01 am

    “They were notorious for teaching their group to sponsor, sponsor, sponsor and then sponsor some more, and then teach all those that you sponsor to personally consume the product to build volume.”

    I believe this is the sign of a classic pyramid scheme. I wonder why government regulatory agencies like the FTC cannot or do not investigate valid claims like this, including Amway and other opportunities?

  14. techanator permalink
    February 12, 2011 7:35 pm

    I honestly have no position on any of the cross line challenges that have gone on over the years. I got caught in the mess that ensued when Dory first left the World Wide Group years ago. I had my fill of the soap opera side of MLMs back then. Ever since then I tend to avoid all the dirty laundry. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to miss, I just avoid participating in it.

    The only reason I even found this site was because I did a Google search of a certain Ex Amway individual that has been the topic of a couple threads here recently. I read several posts by Amthrax which indicated a very level perspective on things, and I simply posted in reply to a question here. I have no beef with any of my upline or others in the business, so I am ill equipped to talk about the practices of other groups.

    @ Joecool
    “Some people confuse pyramid and Ponzi schemes with legitimate multilevel marketing. Multilevel marketing programs are known as MLM’s,(4) and unlike pyramid or Ponzi schemes, MLM’s have a real product to sell. More importantly, MLM’s actually sell their product to members of the general public, without requiring these consumers to pay anything extra or to join the MLM system. MLM’s may pay commissions to a long string of distributors, but these commission are paid for real retail sales, not for new recruits.”

    The FTC has already investigated Amway many times, and has deemed it a legitimate business. What you are referring to is the individuals IBOs and how they run their local groups. So many people want to strike at the company when it is the employees that pose 90% of the problem. I know many blame the company for turning an apparent blind eye to many things. But I stand on the unpopular opinion that responsibility should be put on the people who sponsored and/or continue to council these out of control IBOs .

    I find it hard to believe that an upline could not collect enough evidence to have people who do not follow the guide lines kicked out. They would have a far simpler time making a case against someone than the company itself which tends to be off on the side lines supplying the products, not participating in the building of businesses.

    Sad truth is, Amthrax’s assumption on his About page that $ is the main reason that a business would turn a blind eye…
    is most likely the truth.

  15. Will permalink
    February 12, 2011 9:02 pm

    Techanator – I think a better example of a clean MLM would be Pampered Chef, Mary Kay etc. As the main focus is not recruitment or personal consumption, but rather on selling a high quality product/service at a fair market price.

    In regards to Amway, I truly feel that they have overpriced products and the company should be held responsible to train and educate distributors on proper ‘MLM’ building guidelines (i.e meeting FTC regulations and retailing the product vs. sponsoring and internal consumption.) I agree, that the leaders in the business are to blame as well, as in the end they are the ones mentoring and teaching their downline on how to build the business.

    When I was involved with Orrin Woodward’s Team in Amway, they never talked about retailing products, because they knew the products were not retail-able as they were overpriced. People could not sign up a member or client if their lives depended on it. Orrin knew the big bucks were in sponsoring massive amounts of FRESH MEAT and then teaching these new folks to personally consume the pv/bv to build volume within their teams, as this is exactly what he taught my team to do. Now, if you are doing things different within your organization, then kudos to you! Not many people will focus on retailing the product these days due to the fact that they can make more money by teaching people to product load.

    Another major area of disappointment with Orrin Woodward and Team is that he uses MLMs as a front to push his real agenda and real money maker, which is his TOOL SCAM. He makes way more money with selling ‘false hope’ via his Team leadership development system than he did peddling soap at Amway and juice with MonaVie. Thousands of people are losing THOUSANDS of $$$ and the sad thing is that Amway and MonaVie have let their Diamond KingPins and large leaders operate these TOOL SCAMS. So, until they clean up the mess that their Diamonds have created, I am not going to feel to sorry for Amway or MonaVie when people say that they should be investigated further by the FTC. I think that the companies are to blame for allowing people like Orrin Woodward to operate their businesses wrecklessly. Likewise, the FTC should looking into all of the tool scam companies such as Team and any other company swindling leadership products that supposedly teach people how to build a business that does not work. Numbers do not lie. .05% of anyone building Amway/MonaVie will ever reach financial freedom, but yet the leaders will gladly tell new prospects that it is a 2-5 year plan and that they are going to make lots of money. That is absolutely false and wrong on so many levels.

    It sounds like you do not focus on the two major cardinal sins in the MLM industry (product loading and tool scams), so again ‘Kudos’ to you on that. And if you are able to survive for 18 years actually selling Amway products at retail to customers, then I got to imagine that you would put Dale Carnegie to shame in the ‘sales’ arena. My experience trying to retail amway products was way different. Don’t even get me started on what it was like trying to retail monavie juice….that was a joke!! I can’t believe people will still try to even attempt to retail a bottle of MV with what it costs. I guess, that is why Team does not focus on retailing monavie juice either, they are still sticking to the same game, which is sponsor, sponsor, sponsor…teach people to product load and then “Oh by the way, we are going to save your marriage and give you religion with these CDs that come out weekly. Isn’t this the best business on the planet?”

  16. techanator permalink
    February 12, 2011 10:22 pm

    I’m sorry Will and I mean no disrespect, but you lost me at
    “Another major area of disappointment with Orrin Woodward and Team is…”

    I was not kidding when I said “I tend to avoid all the dirty laundry”

    I am very sorry you got into a group that seems to have been such a disaster. I really mean that, but I have no intention of debating the ins and outs of how bad distributors run their show. I can only speak for my own experience. Off the top of my head I can count over two hundred IBOs within shouting distance of me that have been taught the same business building practices as I have. It’s very possible I was raise in a completely different Amway/Quixtar universe then everyone else. The fact is, not one single open, second look, house meeting, circle drawing meeting I ever went to, did I EVER feel the kind of pressure you are referring to. Again, that does not negate the fact that you and many others here apparently have been run through a MLM chipper and spit out on the other side of the fence. I just have no intention of rehashing any of it.

    Again… I saw the Thread topic as “what would constitute a valid reason for leaving their business.”. I was not prepared to discuss fresh meat or tool scams.

  17. Will permalink
    February 12, 2011 10:36 pm

    No offense taken, I can see that you clearly come from a different type of team where things seem to have been more on the up and up (not that I agree with you that Amway is a legitimate mlm though). However, I experienced a dirty dirty unethical side to this business working with woodward and watching the way that he builds his business. It is no wonder that so many ‘ex-Team’ members are bent towards the atrocities that have occurred by woodward over the years. Obviously, your team and your leaders did not sink to the lows of woodward and his other minions, or else I am positive that you all would be on here crying FOUL as well.

  18. February 13, 2011 7:27 am

    @technator – There was another commenter awhile back called the Big Apple in NY who focused on retail too. I always used him as an example of someone who ran his business like a business. Now I have someone else to point to.

  19. techanator permalink
    February 13, 2011 1:41 pm

    Thanks for letting me voice my thoughts here Amthrax.
    Although I knew my time here was destined to be short lived, I did not expect to get as much out of all this as I did. My impression of blogs aimed at being pro or critical of any business, government, religion or idea, tend to be very one sided. The reading material on this blog only serves to prove that point. That certainly should not imply there is anything wrong with this site at all. Just that I am not able to visit conversations like this long term.

    I’ve spent the last couple of days reading about more nightmarish disasters than I have in the last 18 years combined. I have no counter comment on it all, except to say how sad it was see the folly of men on such a grand scale. It was like standing on a hill watching a hand to hand battle ensue before me. While there were casualties on all sides, no one was making any significant headway.

    I part knowing better why people are so bitter against Amway and whole concept of an MLM.

    I will continue to build my business with a greater understanding of what I am up against. For me personally, the FTC approved side the MLM world is alive and well. The only down-line I have are those who just want to buy stuff without me being involved, or people who understand like I do that selling is the foundational way to make a stable income. They do it for themselves, not me.

    Good luck everyone and thank you again
    May we all find whatever it is we’re looking for

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