Reader Story: Brent Hansen and Freedomhaha’s MLM Stories
Taken from the comments section of this site are two stories from longtime readers, Brent Hansen and Freedomhaha.
From Brent Hansen wrote about his experiences in Amway, Quixtar, TEAM, and MonaVie:
@Sasha, great to hear from someone who knows how to think critically. Over a 12 year “career” with Amway – Yager – Quixtar – Legacy – Team & Monavie, I became a 5 percenter.
We worked very, very hard, built an organization that less than 5% of those involved in MLM are ever able to build, reached ranks that less than 5% of those involved in MLM ever reach, and still amassed net losses that exceed $250,000 over the span of that career.
The amount of people who ever earn from MLM is negligible, and your family will most likely end up in the exact same position. Brace yourself for the mathematically inevitable.
Asked to elaborate on his experience Brent provided additional details:
@Rascal, without getting in to too much of the gory details, and really exposing my foolishness I’ll try to give a summarized version to help you understand.
At age 25 (I’m now 45) I was blessed with an above average income and career in sales. I was earning around 80K a year and living on 30K, with zero debt, no mortgage, and no children to support.
When I saw the ‘opportunity’ it rang true to me, so I was all in from day one, and I wasn’t afraid to invest in what I thought would one day payoff.
Our teams were in rural areas in the west (closest meeting was around 50 miles away), so working with people to build required lots of cash flow. Between flights, hotels, meals, and wearing out a car every year and a half, the losses quickly accumulated. I remember several months that I put on enough miles I was changing the oil in my sharp car (cadillac, haha, so stupid) every 10 days. I recall spending around $20,000 in travel expenses when Amway launched the Philippines, and I was determined to get in on the ground floor since I had ties to the country.
I remember when they began promoting the 300 PV club which would cost us about $750 – $900 a month in products alone (yes, there were no real customers), and many, many $1,000 tool orders, sometimes on a weekly basis.
The first 6 or 7 years weren’t difficult to fund yet we were never able to produce a positive cash flow. As children came, along with that whole ball of wax, the following years became increasingly difficult to continue to ‘run the roads’, and stay in the game.
Every time it looked like we could turn a profit, something would happen with a group (they would quit) , a transmission would go out, or something else would happen that would prevent us from turning a profit.
I could honestly never get the deal to produce enough profit above expenses to become ‘job optional’, and apparently from all of the bankruptcies, and discussions I’ve had with other high level achievers, neither could they.
The biggest difference between them and all of us is we actually tell the truth, while they continue to bury their heads in the sand and rob Peter to pay Paul. It is a horrible state to be in when you always believe that success is just around the next corner, while not even understanding the principles that really determine success.
Brent continued in this comment:
@Rascal Teamster, convincing a choleric or high D personality that the should ‘quit’ takes more than just a few bumps in the road. Reality set it when I placed a $30,000 mortgage on a 25 acre parcel that I owned free and clear as a means to continue to make ends meet.
The subsequent loss of that property when I failed to meet a $500 a month payment began to open my eyes, but ultimately, I made a conscience decision to leave when I began to think critically and ask questions about everything. I was instantly labeled as a dissenter by those who had feigned loyalty all during the 12 years, and ostracized from the very groups that I had worked so hard to create. My undying loyalty to my ‘upline’ failed, and they slandered me to everyone in our organization.
The financial devastation wasn’t sufficient, but the loss of friends, relationships, and self-dignity did the job. I basically hit rock bottom as I watched a $120,000 piece of property (with a $30,000 loan against it) go to creditors because I couldn’t scrape together 4 or 5 payments to bring the loan current.
While Freedomhaha did not reach the same levels in the MLM business as Brent did, s/he discovered the dark underbelly quicker, allowing him or her to leave with minimal loss. Freedomhaha frequently asks MLM proponents one simple interrogative:
What percentage of your downline is making a profit?
This question is important, because it has been shown that MLM profits are heavily skewed towards the top of the pyramidal organization.
Freedomhaha recently shared his/her TEAM/MonaVie/LIFE story in this comment:
Amthrax- When I was being prospected none of the TEAMs history with Amway was ever shared with me. It was drilled into my head many times that this was the opposite of Amway. It was about 11 months into my 12 months into TEAM that I started to learn the history with Amway. When I approached my upline about it they told me that “Orrin and Chris left to fix everything they thought was wrong with Amway. In TEAM history this was the buildup and the initial launch of LIFE. I remember hearing about how “finally Orrin could run his own company and do things the exact right way”. Due to this being the first company change I thought nothing of this. From my perspective it would be much easier to get someone to start on the LIFE system than sell them $45 bottles of juice.
It was when I started to learn about the TEAM history (coupled with the fact that I had lost roughly $1,500- $2,000) that I had an uneasy feeling about what was going on. I had a two week stretch where I distinctly remember that I couldn’t listen to any of Orrin’s tapes. I still don’t completely know why, but they just made me feel slimy inside. I used Chris and Bill’s tapes to make me feel better about the business at that point. However, even they did not do the trick and I one day when I was looking up Darkagelo’s blog I saw that Amthrax link to the bankruptcies. I did my due diligence and checked them out. The very next day my LIFE into box, or whatever it was called, came to my door. I didn’t even open the material and dumped it straight in the trash.
After finding out the truth I let my former TEAM know that I was out and why. That was in fall of 2012, and I have felt it is my duty to continue to help others through this blog. I never reached a high level, or even went Power Player, but Orrin and TEAM still robbed me of a whole lot.
If any current TEAM members would ever like help on dealing with leaving TEAM we can work out a way to talk. It was rough, painful, and embarrassing for all of us but I promise it does get so much better!