Ex-TEAM Reader Q&A: Out in PA TEAM/LIFE Statement
Out in PA is a former TEAM/LIFE member who recently participated in the Ex-TEAM Questions and Answers series.
Tell us a little bit about your situation prior to joining TEAM?
I was working in sales and it was December of 2009 and my employer’s company was struggling and was told I may get laid off. I had been self employed for many years before and only in this job 3 years at this point. I had a wife, four kids, and mortgage and was very scared.
How were you approached to join TEAM?
A couple days later I was approached by a long time friend about a business opportunity but he could not tell me anything about it. I had to meet with him and some of his partners at his house. He approached me in person.
What attracted you to TEAM?
I was immediately attracted to TEAM because it was an opportunity to have my own business and be my own boss, at least that was what I was told. I could control my own destiny and reach all my dreams.
At the time you joined, what MLM company was TEAM aligned with? For instance, what products were you trying to sell?
At the time I joined in late December of 2009, the MLM company that Team was aligned with was Monavie. We were trying to sell this healthy juice and were taught you could build a pipeline of residual income so you would never have to work for anyone else again. As soon as I saw the upline/downline was sure it was a pyramid.
How much money was told she could/would make and in what time frame (or implied)?
They showed an IDS statement with all these different levels of what could be made for working very few hours per week, ranging from about $30 per month all the way to millions per month.
Did they entice you with what they were making?
The big leaders at the open meetings and seminars always talked about their big houses, boats, cars, planes, tour buses, dream vacations etc… and I was never comfortable with the focus on material and money. Every now and then they would mention about helping others or getting out of debt but the focus seemed to be more on money and material.
Was their promises of passive, residual, ongoing income promoted?
They always promoted how the passive, residual, ongoing income could even be passed on to your children. made it sound like the money would never run out. Always compared it to McDonald’s and were always promoting Robert Kyosaki and his cash flow quadrant.
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?
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?
On the scale of 1-10, we worked the system very hard in the beginning, probably an 8. We attended and participated in everything. Tuesday opens, monthly seminars, men’s and women’s leadership, the major functions quarterly, and even went to meetings when sick. If you ever missed a meeting for any reason, you were told you were not serious about getting free from your J.O.B. which they always called Just Over Broke.
With all this time spent in meetings, when did you go out and prospect people?
What places did you go to do your prospecting?
We were taught to prospect people everywhere… grocery stores, restaurants, pumping gas, where you work, and on and on. It really started to affect me on my real job as I was burned out during the day after chasing people every night, trying to take care of my four kids, aging parents, be a husband, there was just not enough time.
How much time did you spend working your business each week? Include time spent at meetings and prospecting.
We spent about another 30-40 hours per week trying to build a business which was never really ours to begin with.
Were you aware of websites or individuals critical to TEAM?
What was your opinion of the critics?
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?
We were constantly told by the leaders to stay off negative websites, that those people were losers, and that you could find negative things about anyone including Mother Theresa on the internet.
In the beginning I fell for this and agreed with them that anyone who was nameless could take free shots at people. But as more and more red flags went up, I wanted to hear the other side of the story, because I did not believe that this opportunity could be so perfect.
Did you shun people who didn’t join TEAM?
I did not shun people who did not join team but was taught to move on to the next one and that if they did not get in they were just “95 percenters.”
Were the people you now hung out with just TEAM members?
What did you do outside of your TEAM business? For instance, sporting activities, date nights, volunteer work, etc.
After a while, all we did was hang around with people from team and began to lose contact with family, friends, our kids, and even our spouses as the only thing we were doing was working. Did not go to concerts, sporting events, movies, got rid of TV cable. They preached delayed gratification and with the money you saved, buy more CD’s, tickets to events, invest in your business. What really hit home was when my youngest daughter told us “all you care about is the business”. We were told by upline that building the business was more important than going to our childrens events if we want to get free.
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?
When we joined we were told nothing about the money that the big leaders were making from sales of tools, tapes, CD’s, function tickets. It did not make sense to me that they were making enough to retire from just the sale of juice. It was a well-kept secret that we were only told about after about a year in the business. Then we were told you had to be a director to profit share on the tool side.
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?
One of the red flags that went up for me was that after being in Monavie for a short time they were changing the business to LIFE. then I came to find out they had changed the business name and MLM about seven times starting with Amway, then Quixtar, then Team of Destiny, then Team, then Team Monavie, then Team Life, then Life Training. So every time they changed of course there were new tools and packaging rolled out which many people would then buy the same things all over again. we went through at least three of the big Open Meeting Flip Charts at $150. each. And would find out about the other products they used to say were the greatest in the world on old cd’s that were being passed around.
[Editor’s note: Amway, Quixtar, MonaVie, and LIFE are the MLMs that LIFE Traning has been aligned with. The LIFE Training organization itself has been named Team of Destiny, TEAM, TEAM MonaVie, TEAM LIFE and LIFE Training over the years. Forbes Magazine described the TEAM business as being a pyramid atop a pyramid.]
When did you start having doubts about the effectiveness of TEAM and the business opportunity
I started to have many doubts about this business. We were spending money at a pace of about $1,200. per month including all events and tools. Our credit card debt was increasing at an alarming rate and we were told that there are initial investment costs in starting any business and that it was cheaper than buying a franchise.
I always had trouble with not being able to tell people what the business was about especially when we were preached to about integrity and character. There was an actual calling script to in my opinion deceive people into meeting with you. There was a CD on handling objections.
There is a rule about talking cross line to other people building the business and not being friends with them. My daughter was even told she could not go on a mission trip with the son of another leader because they were cross line. Who ever heard of a business where you could not talk to other business associates about the business? I later figured out that this whole cross line thing was to cover up all the bad things that were happening to people trying to build this business including credit card debt, marriage problems, bankruptcies, house foreclosures, people leaving their churches.
It was more and more cult like all the time. They wanted you to listen to as many CD’s as possible and now I can see the brainwashing effects that they have. My wife would walk around the house all day with her ear buds in and we did not even get to talk to each other. We stopped communicating with each other. All discussion was about building the business.
Do you know your group’s attrition rate? Upline and downline groups.
How many were ‘on system’ (and got off) out of total numbers in group during your time in TEAM?
People were dropping out of the business much faster than you could get them in. And I realized it was all a numbers game. Put them in faster than they get out. it is a pyramid on top of a pyramid with the Life and team sides and is all about recruiting people into the business and not about selling product to customers in my opinion.
What finally pushed you over the edge and made you quit TEAM?
Conservatively, how much money did you spend as part of TEAM?
How much time did you ultimately spend on the business?
If you knew about the public records of some of the TEAM leadership — bankruptcies, strategic defaults, and foreclosures — would this have hasten your departure from TEAM?
What did you do with all of the tools that you purchased?
In three years in this business we have had losses of $10,000, $9,000, and $6,000 respectively. The last year is lower because I got out halfway through the year and my wife refuses to get out.
We had to refinance our home to get out of credit card debt. If I would have learned about the bankruptcies, foreclosures, and debt incurred of some of the leaders at the highest level I would have got out much sooner. But see they hit you at your most vulnerable parts of your being… “don’t be a quitter, don’t be a loser.” I have heard them degrade going to college and the lowest of all, they use religion when it is beneficial to them. Only the top 8 policy council members make the big money and it is a fact that 97% of the people doing this lose money.
I tried to call Pastor Dickie when I found out he was no longer involved with Team and left a voice mail for him. His Associate Pastor called back and told me to talk with my pastor at my church about what the God and the bible teach about greed and the love of money. That was enough evidence for me. Along with a round table texting me and telling me that Orrin Woodward instructs everyone to go to his blog and leave a comment. Now, most people would do that if they were inspired to do so, not told to do so. So much for it being my own business.
Given the choice to join TEAM again, would you do it?
What lessons did you learn from your TEAM experience?
What advice would you give to people who have left TEAM?
What advice would you give to current TEAM members?
Any last words?
Given what I have learned, I would never get involved in any Multi Level Marketing Company and especially not Team. I lost money, almost lost friends and family, am fighting for my marriage, found out who my true and real friends are, and fully believe that the Federal Trade Commission will eventually catch up with people at the highest level of Team and close them down. Of course this is all my opinion and based on my experiences with Team.
Definitely OUT IN PA
Out in PA’s story is a little different from the others in that his wife is still involved with the business. Financial losses (thus far) have totaled $25,000 dollars over three years. Hours spent away from family. A wife and son who are still heavily involved with chasing the dream; this doesn’t sound like a business opportunity that many would choose if they knew of these costs.
Readers of this site are encouraged to share their thoughts on how Out in PA can get his family members out of the business.
Finally, if you are a former member of TEAM/LIFE and want to share your experiences, consider filling out the questionnaire. Your story may help other people decide that the LIFE business opportunity is not the right one for them.
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- Ex-TEAM Reader Q&A: Soon2BOut
- Ex-TEAM Reader Q&A: I QUIT (and glad I did)
- Ex-TEAM Reader Q&A: Glad to be Free of the LIFE TEAM
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