Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Past Business Failures Series: AMWAY part 1

Welcome to my new series that will look back and review my past business experiences and what went wrong, and what I learned or experienced from it. I'm starting from the beginning with my first "own your own business" experience, when in 1997, at the age of 17 and in my Junior year of high school, I was introduced to Amway. I intended on this being just 1 blog, but after getting some of this down, I realized my Amway experience will come in multiple parts, so with that, I bring you, Amway part 1:

I was introduced to this company by my dad (who I have to honestly say is notorious for falling for anything that claims to make you rich, and get you rich fast.) My dad was introduced to this opportunity by his boss (who owns a successful janitorial company with contracts across the country and even over seas,) and he was introduced to it by his accountant, and so on and so on (notice the pattern already.) All I knew so far was that my dad's boss was coming in from out of town, bringing some "business people" with him, and they were going to show my dad, our family, and anyone else my dad could get to come to our house, this great opportunity, OK cool. So the night arrives, food is on the table, people over, got a little party going on, works for me. The business people arrive, complete with dressed up attire and ready to do their thing. They bring out their dry erase board and they're ready to do this. So somehow things get going, and somehow I get targeted for the first question:

(For the sake of naming names, we'll refer to my Dads boss as "Mr. R."

Mr. R: So, tell me what your dream car is?

(Me, being brutally honest, state that the '91 Dodge Stealth sitting in the driveway that I had gotten a few months earlier was it....oops, guess i messed things up from the get go.)

Mr. R: OK, well, what's another car you'd get if money was no object?

(OK I'll play along this time)

Me: Uh, a Corvette.

Mr. R: What would you say if I told you in the next 5 years, you could make enough to buy that car, have a house, take vacations, basically not have to worry about money?

Me: Uh, well that sounds good

And from here, the push was on. The dry erase board was off and running, drawing circles that represented you (everyone in the little group), then connect another circle to your friend, your uncle, your co-worker, your cousins friends sister, etc. The basic idea being, why buy groceries and household products from a store, when you could buy it from your own business? They had their stats to show how much money is made from Walmart, Grocery Stores, etc., and how instead you could be making big money like they do. Buy everything from food to toiletries to vitamins and cleaning products from your own business, then get everyone you know to buy it from you too. Also while your doing all this, sign more people up "under" you, and when they repeat the process of buying products and getting their friends to buy, you'll get paid off that too. Yeah, basically they were making a dreaded pyramid out of bubbles on the dry erase board. They showed how if you signed up "X" amount of people under you working, ordering, etc., you'd make "Y" amount, and that "Y" amount would grow and grow as the number of new sign ups under you grew. Well, at 17, hearing these business guys tell everyone how "Fired Up" they were (and I don't know how many times I'd hear the term "Fired Up" in this meeting,) was kind of motivational, and the idea that you could sit back and be rich with a bunch of people under you working wasn't so bad I thought. These guys were ready to give up their jobs and be "walking on the beach" together, as they put it. They let everyone know that the "kit" to get things started was only $250.00. This kit was full of reading material and cassette tapes from the big timers in Amway who were gonna share all their tips on how to get where they were. Well i was 17 and in high school, so the $250.00 wasn't an issue to me, I figured I'd just help my Dad out and hopefully we could all be rich like these guys said. It sounded like we were joining this group of business professionals that were going to work together to get super rich and be financially free! These guys had a way to make you think they were excited about YOU, and your potential. They used the popular term FIRED UP (now that I think of it, the FIRED UP gets worse and worse as this story goes on), and AWESOME in reference to whoever they were talking to at the time in the group. So my Dad was in before this meeting ever took place, and him and his boss were set to do big things with this. We were officially Amway reps.

Not long after this initial meeting, we began buying the majority of our food and products from Amway. We had a giant catalogue and I had no problems ordering food items from it (mostly frozen food), but I wasn't picky, and they had a selection. We received boxes weekly with tons of products. My Dad was using the cleaning products for his business, we were eating the food, we were on our way. Pretty soon there was word that a huge cannot miss Amway convention was hitting Baton Rouge Louisiana, and my Dad wanted me to go. I'd get a free day off from school out of it, so off we went for our first Amway weekend….

To Be Continued…

Still to come: The Amway Convention, the red flags that told me something was wrong, becoming a rep. Myself, future conventions, more home meetings, Chris Hansen vs. Amway, and much more!


Anonymous said...

ok, so it looks like a pyramid, that doesn't matter, everywhere you go there are pyramids, just look at your church or job, foremen, supervisors, managers, ceo's and finally the lone single big boss! You get the picture. Does it it pay like a pyramid or does it pay according to where the volume is? The more product going through your business, the more money, the less product, less money?

Free Affiliate Business said...

Big difference between a Pyramid SCAM and a normal business setup.

Any MLM that is based entirely on self-consumption and consumption of downline is a big-time scam.