Ex-TEAM Q&A: Former Turbo 25 P.J. Talks About His Recent Departure
Here’s another entry in the Ex-TEAM Q&A. Former Turbo 25, P.J. talks about his recent departure from TEAM/LIFE.
P.J. emphasizes that having verifiable facts was instrumental in his departure from TEAM/LIFE. This blog has revealed bankruptcies of high-level TEAM/LIFE members, a strategic foreclosure by a TEAM Policy Council member, gaming of best seller book lists, gamed and dubious leadership awards, and more. These aren’t opinions, these are facts. The bankruptcies are in the public record. The IAB was shut down by the U.S. Government as a health insurance scam.
Furthermore, we’ve analyzed the LIFE Income Disclosure Statement, and concluded that most of the money goes to the top of the organization. Combined with the personal stories from ex-TEAM members, a different picture of TEAM/LIFE can be contrasted with what will be said on the Summer Conference stage this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Whom should one believe?
Without further ado, here’s P.J.’s story:
Tell us a little bit about your situation prior to joining TEAM?
I was a 9-to-5’er who didn’t like his job.
How were you approached to join TEAM?
A guy at work contacted me with a CD.
What attracted you to TEAM?
The prospect of self-improvement and making a little money at the same time. I was contacted with some CDs and later on referred to some books. I liked what I heard and who can argue with self-improvement?
At the time you joined, what MLM company was TEAM aligned with? For instance, what products were you trying to sell?
It was sold to me as what would become LIFE but it didn’t have a name yet. Team was still with Monavie but I told the guy at work that I didn’t want to sell juice. He promised me “something huge was coming” and encouraged me to hold my spot. He showed me how to STP without talking about Monavie. I started going to seminars and started getting people to hold their spots. I was Power Player (PP) on paper before LIFE even started, without a selling a single ‘real’ product. How great is that?
How much money was told one could/would make and in what time frame (or implied)?
At my first house plan it was shown how you could (supposedly) make 30k/yr in 6 months by going PP every month. Of course, that assumes those you sign up do the same, which now seems so ridiculous. It looked easy on the whiteboard. 10 and 4, 5 and 2 with lots of help from your first team on the 10. It seemed very doable.
Did they entice you with what they were making?
Directly, they talked about the fact that they were regular Joes like me “before this opportunity” but now they were job-optional. Indirectly, they had their lapdogs quietly entice their downline & prospects by casually saying things like ‘oh yeah, he’s almost at a 7-figure income’. I believe that was on purpose so that we could never tie it back to the presenter. If you did happen to have the guts to ask the presenter or even the RT how much they made, well, ‘they’ve got a program for that’. Be prepared to receive questions to your questions. And lots of them.
Were their promises of passive, residual, ongoing income promoted?
Yes. The Cashflow Quadrant B business was front and center.
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. They were a short drive from my house.
Did you attend all the monthly seminars?
Yes. They were in my hometown.
Did you attend all the quarterly Major Functions?
No, I missed a few, please let me digress for a moment and explain.
I never 100% bought into the aura the leaders attempt to shine. They’re really big on using the chance to spend time with your RT or PC as rewards for building the biz and to me, that was lame. I mean, if I build RT & PC’s business for them and they paid for an all-inclusive trip to Orrin’s, that’s one thing. But continually killing yourself just to have the chance to spend YOUR money to travel to Orrin’s or other PC’s beach houses, I never was ‘fired up’ about that.
Even the smaller rewards, like getting to hang out with our PC when he’s in town, were a joke. Big deal. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but those who’ve been around Team know that these are just men. Men with fancy things, some of which are financed. Our RT would set a PP goal and the big reward was getting to breathe the same air as our PC for an hour, 2 hrs if you went Double PP. Inevitably, the day for the reward would come up and there wouldn’t be but 1 or 2 qualifiers. That’s when the texts would come down at 1:30 PM that day from RT saying “anyone who made 3 phone calls last month qualifies for PC BBQ today at 3 PM”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that business must not be “exploding” if they’re dropping the bar for the PC reward (this also clued me in that maybe this Team biz wasn’t as great as portrayed, more on that later).
I can imagine the pounding our RT took when the PC showed up and saw how many he had “inspired” to reach their PP goal. For that reason, if you don’t drop everything that you’re doing and go to the ends of the earth to hang out with RT or PC, you will never be in the innermost circle. Even though I hit the required Turbo levels, I never bought into this silliness. For this reason, I never was voted in as a director (I also let my upline know I wasn’t interested in being forced to buy $600 per month in tools in order to maintain director qualification, that didn’t help).
To tie this all to my initial point: since I didn’t get paid directly for getting people to the major and I was paying for the exact same talks that would be on next month’s system or LIFE subscription anyway. I saw no value in the majors. They were the easiest to skip.
Did you ever miss any meeting? If so, for what reason?
Yes, see previous answer.
With all this time spent in meetings, when did you go out and prospect people?
I had a huge initial contact list & a few lists that prospects had given me.
What places did you go to do your prospecting?
Anywhere. I’d look for friendly people & chat them up.
How much time did you spend working your business each week? Include time spent at meetings and prospecting.
15-20 not including reading or CD listening.
Were you aware of websites or individuals critical to TEAM?
What was your opinion of the critics?
As I’ve stated in earlier posts, it’s easy to ignore or spin a lot of the criticism because most of the claims are hard to verify from an independent 3rd party. ‘He said/she said’ internet blogs aren’t exactly the best sources for accurate information, especially when you’re in a hurry. When you’re evaluating what is good information and what isn’t, it’s helpful to have indisputable facts that can easily and quickly be verified without a bunch of cross-referencing (like the Top 30 list removal of Orrin and Chris, recent bankruptcies, the IAB award).
When I first came to this site, it seemed to be a mixture of whining and one-off bad experiences with people that went overboard with tool spending. It was spun to me as bitterness from the outcome of old events brought on by the evil Amway departure. On the Team side of the wall, we were told tales of heroes that fought an unfair company and won. Since I’d never heard anything positive about Amway, it was easy to accept my upline’s spin and move on. Those on this site were portrayed as people who either didn’t work hard enough or were nasty, underachieving haters who found it easier to criticize than to do the hard work necessary to succeed in Team/Life.
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?
I became aware when prospects would ask about topics from this site. Critics were routinely dismissed as whiners & quitters by speakers on stage and on CD.
Did you shun people who didn’t join TEAM?
Were the people you now hung out with just TEAM members?
I still had other friends but just as a function of working the biz so hard, I didn’t have time to hang out with other people.
What did you do outside of your TEAM business? For instance, sporting activities, date nights, volunteer work, etc.
Not much. On a rare night that there were no plans or meetings, I found myself not wanting to do much except relax. This was even hard to do because you’re taught that relaxing is a big no-no unless you’ve set a goal to go Triple PP, hit it, and can afford to travel and relax at Orrin’s house for a few days.
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?
I didn’t know how much exactly, but I did the math. I knew it had to go somewhere.
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?
It was technically Monavie, but it was more Team by itself. See my answer to the 4th question for more.
When did you start having doubts about the effectiveness of TEAM and the business opportunity?
I knew that to be successful, I had to “build my community” & get people to seminars and eventually to majors. I went Triple PP once, and at the next seminar after the major, I was a Turbo 4 (28 in my first, 4 in my 2nd). I had gone PP 5 times, hit Turbo 25 prior, and still couldn’t get people to see value in the Tuesday nights or seminars. And of course, I was told that the system “works if you do”, so it was my fault for not building that value.
If it the system and business was so great, why is it incumbent upon ME to get people to see value in seminars and majors? After roughly 2 1/2 yrs, it was the same old “community” consisting of a few hardcore Team lapdogs and hardly anyone new that stuck around.
That’s when it hit me: if the numbers at seminars are on the declining side of static, then the only people making money are my upline RT/PC. They get paid by the status quo, which is maintained by people like me constantly signing people up who leave, then are replaced by the new people I sign up next month. Theoretically, yes, you could theoretically pass your upline and have bigger numbers at a seminar or seminars. But in actuality, numbers for actives are down across the Team and unless you’re given a new market, you can plan on being the one who pays for seminars and not by seminars. My upline was given this market & is the only one making decent money (or so I thought). The rest of us are just suckers who keep showing up and struggle to bring people to these meetings.
Do you know your group’s attrition rate? Upline and downline groups.
Very high. 80-85% in both of my teams never even came to a seminar.
How many were ‘on system’ (and got off) out of total numbers in group during your time in TEAM?
30-40% would get on system, almost 100% dropped within a few months. I say ‘almost 100%’ because in my entire time with Team, 2 people I sponsored signed up and stayed on system even after I left. I don’t have an exact % but you don’t need an abacus to know it ain’t good.
What finally pushed you over the edge and made you quit TEAM?
When I found out that the Top 30 Leadership Guru List was scammed by 3 voters, I was incensed. That list was pitched to us as an objective, independent entity with no affiliation with Team who picked Orrin & Chris based on merit. This and their NYT Best-selling book LLR (another faked accomplishment, thank you for the explanation, Amthrax) were what not only made them great leaders but actually put them above the rest because they’re the only 2 from same company on the list blah blah you know the rest. THAT’S the entire basis for the LIFE business pitch on Tuesday nights or the plan your friend shows you at Tim Horton’s. You are slammed in the head with this shammery before you even hear about Team. Their supposed leadership credentials are the entire reason I joined Team. Once that brick of the pyramid was yanked, the other 7 F bricks crumbled down. I don’t care if it’s regurgitated or not, I cannot heed a message when it comes out of the mouth of any of the PC or high-ranking RT.
Conservatively, how much money did you spend as part of TEAM?
Over $10,000. It didn’t seem like much at the time but it really adds up after a few years.
How much time did you ultimately spend on the business?
More than I’m proud to admit.
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?
If it was someone who had recently spoke at a seminar, webcast or CD, then yes.
What did you do with all of the tools that you purchased?
I gave most away. My downline never bought them from me (I should’ve listened to more tool moving CDs, right?). I didn’t go crazy with it though, I knew when to say when.
Given the choice to join TEAM again, would you do it?
Obviously, I wouldn’t just because I’d have no use for people that I know for a fact aren’t walking the walk.
What lessons did you learn from your TEAM experience?
I learned that grown men will believe anything if they think the ends are worth it.
What advice would you give to people who have left TEAM?
If you were like me and lucky enough to actually develop some good habits without going into debt, ruining your marriage, or becoming a post-Jesus man-worshiper, then continue to improve yourself. Go find these principles in the Bible so that when you want a lesson on financial responsibility, you’ll hear God’s voice and not Claude Hamilton’s.
What advice would you give to current TEAM members?
While you’re not doing anything illegal (yet), you know in your heart this business as it is taught (sponsoring vs moving products) does not benefit the new guy. The most eager go-getter in your downline doesn’t have a chance unless his/her dad is the CEO of UPS who’s never heard of Google and has no friends/family with an internet connection. Every time you sponsor a new person, you’re perpetuating what you know is a lie.
Any last words?
Look at the data. When I joined Team & eventually LIFE, my belief was built on was it was going to be, not on what it actually done for people. There’s data available now to prove it’s never going to be more than a PC cash funnel with a lucky few actually making money. I had to laugh at somebody’s post in another thread that was defending Team and backed their argument with “and by next summer, I’ll be job optional!” My advice: find someone who started a little before or around the time LIFE launched, went from 0 to job-optional, and did not know any RT or PC prior. If you can’t find any, are you really going to be the first?
Ask your upline why the Team bankruptcies were infused with so much credit card debt despite what is taught from stage. Don’t be afraid to chalk up your wasted time, effort, and money so far to sunk cost; quit Team, and move on to something worth your talents. If you truly learned anything, use it and make that decision on principle. Don’t be the ‘over-stated, it’ll-be-true if-I-spew-it-at-every-plan’ person whose results can’t match their belief and keeps having to move that “I’ll be cartwheeling out of my job like Tim Marks” date out as it continually passes with time.
I was that guy. Don’t be that guy.
Thanks to P.J. for sharing his story. If you’re an ex-TEAM member, consider sharing your story by participating in the Ex-TEAM Questions and Answers Series.