Ex-TEAM Reader Q&A: Katie
This is a first in a series of Questions and Answers with former TEAM members. People join TEAM from all walks of life. They may be college students, young professionals, business owners, homemakers or retired. The purpose of this series is to shed light on the details between joining and leaving. We’ll answer questions such as, “What attracted you to TEAM in the first place?” and “What doubts about the business ultimately prompted you to leave?” In addition, we’ll learn how much time and money was spent building this business.
There will be four sections to each Q&A:
- Joining TEAM: How the person was prospected and what attracted them to join and stay in.
- Working The Business: How dedicated the person was to the business.
- Concerns About The Business: How the person began to have doubts about the business or its leadership.
- Last Words: Lessons learned from being in TEAM and advice for current and former members.
First up is Katie, who previously shared with us the story of her co-worker’s sad tale with TEAM/MonaVie and TEAM/LIFE.
Tell us a little bit about your situation prior to joining TEAM?
I was recently graduated from college working as a contract employee in a corporate headquarters, living with my mom and trying to move out of the house. I was also unmarried, but in a long-distance relationship which meant I was going out of town about 2 or 3 weekends a month to see my boyfriend. For the record, I am also a Democrat and staunchly non-religious.
How were you approached to join TEAM?
The person I shared a cubicle with first approached me about TEAM. He offered me an EMV energy drink at work which I drank and was pleasantly surprised by. A few weeks later, he asked if I wanted to get together – and I had no idea what he wanted to talk about, he just seemed like he wanted to hang out – and since I was living with my mom at the time, his insistence on coming over to my house was very weird. We finally settled on dinner out, and after an hour or so of normal conversation, that’s when he sprang TEAM/Monavie on me.
What attracted you to TEAM?
The reason I eventually got “fired up” about it was because someone told me I couldn’t do it – they were playing to my personality and they hit it on the head. As soon as someone told me I might be one of the ones who failed, I made up my mind to at least TRY, so that if it didn’t work, they couldn’t blame me. Once I was more involved, it was specifically the idea of being job-optional. As my relationship with my boyfriend got more and more serious, the dream of being able to afford a beautiful wedding and then being able to stay home with our children was very appealing.
At the time you joined, what MLM company was TEAM aligned with? For instance, what products were you trying to sell?
MonaVie. EMV, the four juice blends (Active, Immune, Original, and Pulse), and in the midst of my time they released RVL, the weight-loss foods.
How much money was told you could/would make and in what time frame (or implied)?
I was told you could be job optional in 3-5 years. The PC always talked about Tim Marks who was the fastest Diamond ever, I believe his time frame was 39 months to go from sign-up to Diamond (or so they say). To accomplish this, you would have to go Power Player every three-month cycle.
Did they entice you with what they were making?
Haha. No, because no one would ever tell me what they were making. When anyone asked, they would get very shady, and just talk about the amazing amounts of money that it’s POSSIBLE to make. But honestly, I have no idea what anyone in my upline made from TEAM or Monavie.
Was their promises of passive, residual, ongoing income promoted?
Constantly. And it makes sense – of course the idea of a residual income that you don’t have to manage is appealing. The typical promotion was, “It worked for Ray Kroc with McDonalds, by building a duplicatable system (yellow and red, drive thru on the left, bathrooms on the right) that could be copied by the people underneath him, and he became a trillionaire, able to sit on a beach while his empire carried on without him! And he left his family trillions! Don’t you want that? MonaVie offers that.” We heard this at every Tuesday Open Meeting and every plan we showed.
Working the Business
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how hard would you say you worked the system?
Did you attend all the weekly meetings?
Yes except one when I had the flu – and I actually left my house and got halfway to the meeting before turning around.
Did you attend all the monthly seminars?
Did you attend all the quarterly Major Functions?
Did you ever miss any meeting? If so, for what reason?
One, when I had the flu
With all this time spent in meetings, when did you go out and prospect people?
We had “business launch” meetings a few times a month – usually once or twice on a weeknight at someone’s house, and then a big one the day after the monthly seminar when people were the most “fired up” and we would make lists of people, make calls, and set up plans. I showed plans on weeknights – but never a Tuesday, because I couldn’t miss an open meeting!
What places did you go to do your prospecting?
Made most of my calls from business launches
How much time did you spend working your business each week? Include time spent at meetings and prospecting.
Including driving? about 8 hours a week
Were you aware of websites or individuals critical to TEAM?
What was your opinion of the critics?
They had a point – especially Forbes – but I tried to block it out because that’s what my upline said to do.
How did you become aware of websites or individuals critical to TEAM? Did they criticize the critics from stage at every seminar and or just behind the scenes?
Google. When they first mentioned the Top Leadership Guru statistic, I promoted it to a few people and then finally did my research and figured out for myself what a sham that website was. That led me to look at other websites like this one and the Team Scam website as well. I don’t recall anyone on stage mentioning a specific critic, but they would talk about the criticism they recieved while showing plans and such. I remember a Dan Hawkins CD where he said he showed a plan to a guy who didn’t sign up because of things he’d read online. The point was, Dan Hawkins claims to have proof (his upline) that this business works, people who would gladly come meet with the guy and tell him it works, while the “nameless, faceless people” on websites are too cowardly to believe. Personally, I would love to go with that guy and sit across from Dan Hawkins and be the proof for our side.
Did you shun people who didn’t join TEAM?
No – none of my friends joined and if I had shunned them all I would have no friends left.
Were the people you now hung out with just TEAM members?
No, fortunately I was able to maintain a healthy work/life/TEAM balance. Mainly, I suppose, because none of my family or friends got involved or really approved of my involvement in TEAM.
What did you do outside of your TEAM business? For instance, sporting activities, date nights, volunteer work, etc.
Mostly work on maintaining my long-distance relationship, volunteering for a local hospital, and of course, my 40/hr week job.
Concerns About the Business
When you joined, did you know that the TEAM leadership made a substantial amount of money from the sale of tools (tapes, CD’s, marketing materials) and function tickets?
No, I can honestly say I never thought about it.
During your time, did TEAM join another MLM company or start selling other company’s products? If so, how was this change communicated? Did you have any problems or concerns regarding this transition?
Not during my time – it was only about 6 months
When did you start having doubts about the effectiveness of TEAM and the business opportunity?
I always had doubts. I wanted to believe that it was true because I wanted to believe the people I met in TEAM, and I wanted to believe that I could afford someday to be job-optional.
Do you know your group’s attrition rate? Upline and downline groups?
I do not. During the time I was involved, there was only one other person I saw who got involved briefly and quit – there were always people who were less “committed” so I may not have noticed if their attendance was just poor or if it had dropped off all together.
How many were ‘on system’ (and got off) out of total numbers in group during the 6 months time frame?
Another question I couldn’t really answer. I was really low on the totem pole, and I also did not recruit anyone, so there wasn’t anyone I was personally keeping track of their involvement. In our group I felt it would have been considered rude to ask where someone was in their progress towards power player – “Do you own the Top 50 yet?” would be almost the equivalent of asking a woman you don’t know “How far along are you?” It was sort of something you would only discuss with your sponsor.
What finally pushed you over the edge and made you quit TEAM?
- At the last Major I went to, I heard some very disturbing things from the policy council leadership that I strongly disagreed with. I won’t recount them here, but they were just plain hateful, and worse, ignorant. I looked around me, and not a single other person seemed to hear anything amiss. What could I do? Question it and be told I wasn’t a winner? Or sit by and let the PC feed rubbish to its faithful followers? That was when I knew in my heart that I did not belong there and would never succeed.
- I received a scathing email from a man I had prospected, calling me a thief, a cheater, and threatening to call the police on me. Although his reaction was over-the-top, to this day it makes me sick to think that some of my close friends that I had shown the plan to might be thinking the same things about me. I actually sent a copy of that email to my sponsor when I told him I was quitting.
Conservatively, how much money did you spend as part of TEAM?
$2,000 in about 6 months
How much time did you ultimately spend on the business?
Considering I was only involved for 6 months – way too much. I missed out on some valuable time with my family and friends.
If you knew about the public records of some of the TEAM leadership — bankruptcies, strategic defaults, and foreclosures — would this have hastened your departure from TEAM?
Yes. It shows they do not practice what they preach, and that they are dishonest to their loyal fans.
What did you do with all of the tools that you purchased?
Gave them to my sponsor to give out to whoever he wanted. It was about $900 worth of tools, and he paid me back about $120 for them.
Given the choice to join TEAM again, would you do it?
Never. Looking back now, I feel so much shame and guilt for having bought into such a corrupt system, and wasting so much time and money, and most of all embarrassment that my friends must think I am an idiot to have believed it.
What lessons did you learn from your TEAM experience?
If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Never be a part of something where dissent is outlawed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if you don’t get answers, run away screaming.
What advice would you give to people who have left TEAM?
Join a community of people who understand your struggle, like this blog. It helps SO MUCH to know there are other people out there who made the same mistakes and who feel the same way you do. Together we can help keep people truly free – free of the brainwashing and dishonest ways of TEAM.
What advice would you give to current TEAM members?
For one day, take the policy council off its pedestal and ask the hard questions – look at yourself and say, how am I spending my time? How much have I invested, and how much have I made? Is my lifestyle with TEAM really sustainable? If you don’t like the answers, or worse, if you don’t know the answers, please reconsider your commitment to that organization.
Any last words?
I would totally attend an AMTHRAX convention.