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Reader Story: Brent Hansen and Freedomhaha’s MLM Stories

August 11, 2014

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!

Read more reader stories here. If you wish to share yours, leave a comment below or send me an email.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. freedomhaha permalink
    August 11, 2014 8:13 am

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Melanie Morgan permalink
    August 11, 2014 10:59 am

    Thanks Amthrax, Brent & Freedomhaha!

    Now my hope is that those who read this, snap out of the self deception they have been force fed and feeding themselves for years, THINK for themselves, stop lying to others, quit justifying and dump the self denial. You are deceiving yourself and others and you know it….face your brutal reality, the ‘business’ isn’t yours and never will be, you are a pawn and slave for your OW the PC/LIEf coach (or whatever the TOP 3-5 call themselves now…they own your life! Glad I ‘m free!

  3. freedomhaha permalink
    August 11, 2014 11:25 am

    One small correction to my story was that I quit in 2011 not 2012. I was at the major where Orrin said they were going to ONE MILLION PEOPLE in five years. Sorry, I am unable to say “One Million People” without yelling.

  4. fastfruit2oo9 permalink
    August 11, 2014 2:28 pm

    Greetings Brent,

    1. The $250K was a sad loss.

    2. Sadder – the TIME for folks like yourself who also lost those precious School Nights with your invaluable children (5 school nights a week, with a Tuesday every week out making yourselves 5%’ers), yet people with this schedule are shorting their MVPs (most valuable Peoples – their children) 20%!

    3. THERE IS PROFIT for some…
    Please envision a Pipeline as a fool proof analogy that is clear to me now:

    – Imagine all the ‘others’…. in other words the NON-RT, and the NON-PC, and/or the non Big 1 and his Big

    6…into this picture of a Glass of Water:

    – Top – is the Big1 | Big6 |RT | PC [these are the Lips at the end of a Straw]
    – Middle – Pipeline Income [this is $ coming through the Straw to the Lips]
    – Bottom – (all the ‘others’ ie 95%er’s) [the Water – the wealth of the 95%’ers!!!]

    * The best thing they can hope for is people buy their goods and do not even read or listen to them… THEN THEY CAN SELL THE SAME GOODS A SECOND AND THIRD AND FORTH TIME..

    – This allows the Lips 95%’ers to SUCK as much Water from the 95%’ers as possible.

    If I had 20 people on my street, I would NOT like being the 5%’er, and having the rest be the 95%’ers FEEDING ME.

    4. Your example of such a huge COST to hang out with people to HF, M$, and MADiffernce… is a clear message which I learned on this site of “Juice Man”…

    – If you consider this or ANY other MLM, and are told of “Profit”, request to see the last 3 of their personal Tax Forms Schedule A’s to see what was really claimed.

    – That is advice from a savvy Accounting Controller when approached on this sure thing business opportunity (which is ONLY an opportunity for the LIPS)!

    [Editor’s note: Cleaned up formatting of comment for easier reading.]

  5. Heather permalink
    August 11, 2014 9:02 pm

    Fastfruit, you really make a good point. It’s been a year and a half since I woke up and realized the deception of Team. My husband and I still think about it sometimes and we truly feel bad for those still building the business. The truth is, according to LIFE Policies and Procedures, you don’t actually “own your own business.” Those who think they are building their own business are actually just customers of Orrin, Chris, and the other PC.

    Think I’m wrong? I did too, for several years. Once I read in the P&P that I didn’t actually own my own business and that my downline could be taken from me at any time for any reason, the blinders came off. It became clear to me that LIFE is Orrin & Chris’s business, and their business only. They make the rules. Those who try to build their own LIFE business are just customers of a training program that teaches sales skills.

    I remember reading an anti-MLM site years ago that warned that the creators of the business “system” were going to be the only ones to profit. It makes perfect business sense, but I ignored it at the time. In our economy, the creator or inventor of something is typically the one who makes the pipeline income. I feel foolish for ever thinking I could make a pipeline for myself off of someone else’s idea!!

  6. fastfruit2oo9 permalink
    August 12, 2014 4:01 am

    Heather!!!,

    Dead on – I do not recall anyone summarizing what is being done when one is On The System… your word was you are simply one of the Big 1 & big 6’s “CUSTOMERs!!!”.

    Great word, and very clear and what you really are!

    Except, as a true “NON-bullied” customer… I like going to a fast food place and deciding What I want, and getting what I ordered, and still like being a customer even if I decided NOT to visit for the last couple of days or weeks or months!, and still like being a customer even if I do NOT bring the rest of my family…

    Another great point is the “we are different from Amway…” yet, it is easy to find the entire “Amway Glossary of Terms” and point on point with the Tm/TOD/Tm in Hiding/Tm-M/v , Lief…

    ANOTHER new find is the ultimate “TRUTHer” within the Tm (name of the week can be inserted here..) is the learning of E S B I… all from 2 types of dads!!! or so the claim is, but in the end this appears to have been short circuited – the great Robert_K had 2 pappys.. with #1 = Failed Business attempts.. and #2 = Successful Business attempts (you know the “B” type, when he partnered up in the mid 198o’s with some swell Amway leaders and then became “a guru” and “a “B” type business owner who survived on NO RISK business of the LOWEST FORM called PIPELINE INCOME on the backs of 95%’ers….. .. you can read for yourself here>

    http://www.thesimpledollar.com/deconstructing-robert-kiyosaki/

    BUYer Beware..

  7. Heather permalink
    August 12, 2014 8:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing that article, FastFruit! It really gave me a different perspective on Kiyosaki. I had forgotten how much he advocates MLMs. Now I know why- they help him sell his Rich Dad Poor Dad book collection.

    The article discussed risk- Kiyosaki isn’t the only one who undervalues the risk of business startup. Team and LIFE members and speakers spent absolutely no time talking about the risks of their business, at least in beginning to moderate levels. Why? It’s not for the reasons they give you, such as, “Gotta stay positive for the rest of the Team!” Or, “Don’t scare the new people!” It’s because they’re salesman, not business owners. If someone wanted me to own a business WITH them, and I knew nothing or very little about it, I would expect that they would be discussing the risk at least a small portion of the time!

  8. Brent Hansen permalink
    August 13, 2014 4:51 am

    Great observations Heather! Once one is able to see through the ‘salesmanship’, the fact that we all were simply ‘customers’ becomes quite obvious.

    In normal business there is transparency, you know how every dollar comes in, and where it is paid out. You understand how profit is created, and also what type of investment and risk you face in the pursuit of that profit. After all, we are talking about business, right?

    You wrote, “I feel foolish for ever thinking I could make a pipeline for myself off of someone else’s idea!!, and I don’t think you are foolish for thinking that at all. There have been plenty of companies and or ideas that have created pipelines of income, and even for those who didn’t initially come up with the idea.

    The problem lies in the allocation of profit dollars, most MLM models are not sound because they violate every success principle they teach. Guys like Getty, Kroc, and many, many, others set up systems where almost all of the profits go to those who are taking the largest risks, and whose failure will hurt the entire organization as news begins to spread.

    Think about it, Getty once said “I would rather have 1 percent of the efforts of 100 men, than 100 percent of my own efforts.” That statement alone indicates that those 100 men would still retain 99% of the fruits of their efforts. Kroc realized that if he could help his franchisees become very successful then his small piece of the pie would compound through duplication as stories of success drew more people in.

    In most MLM models, over 95% of available compensation dollars are being held back, or reserved for less than 5% of participants. The devil is in the details, isn’t it? It is those details that are never shared or discussed in their ‘business’ meetings. Those meetings are designed to bring in more customers who think they are business owners, to entertain those current customers, and to breath a lie back into those customers who are about ready to cancel subscriptions.

    MLM models exist because people are bad with math.

  9. I QUIT (and glad I did) permalink
    August 13, 2014 6:05 am

    It’s all about the dream. The dream! The dream! Don’t worry about the details, focus on your dream! “The people who know how will always work for the person who knows why.” Remember that one? It’s all about deflecting you away from the how. As Brent has pointed out countless times, the how shows you the high probability of failure. But anyway, back to your dream of financial freedom…

  10. No-Mistake-Here permalink
    September 23, 2014 11:20 am

    I am so happy I found this site…..You have truly saved me from making a huge mistake!
    Thank you!!!!

  11. September 23, 2014 6:48 pm

    No-mistake, if your friend (or whoever contacted you) gives you a hard time about this site, ask them why Team/LIFE has people lecturing on finances when court records show they were going through bankruptcy. You can find those stories on this site along with copies of the court documents.

  12. freedomhaha permalink
    September 24, 2014 11:23 am

    No-mistake- Thank you for sharing!! If I can save one person from joining TEAM LIFE my time spent posting here is completely worth it. I wouldn’t wish serving Orrin on my worst enemy.

  13. Kickapoogirl permalink
    October 17, 2014 3:18 pm

    Thank you for this website. My troubled 50 year old brother is getting into this. He’s getting a lot out of it from the non-business standpoint, but I’m glad I explained about cost/benefit. He’s suckered into paying $300 for some big 3 day gathering in Milwaukee later this month, so glad I said no. Keep up the good work.

  14. Melanie Morgan permalink
    October 21, 2014 11:34 am

    Kickapoogirl~

    I feel for your brother, MLM’s prey on people at their most vulnerable,…it is key and is their “practice” to first find and play on people’s “wants” and worse their social needs. It may appear it is helping him now because he is probably falling for the bait. Hopefully he figures out it is not “HIS needs” they are trying to meet. It is a good thing he has you, he will need you one day when he gets deserted by these so called ” new friends.”

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