One of my concerns about the internet and Amway or Quixtar is that it's an ideal environment for the perspective of "critics" of our business model to get their word out and amplified, something I addressed in Amway/Quixtar Myths and the Internet Echo Chamber. This means of course, that a small number of voices can seem to reflect a larger problem, when in fact, it may only reflect the views and experiences of a small number. I wrote about this last week in The Problem of Context: Amway and Quixtar – it's bigger than you think!.
Well, today I had a different experience. I came across two bloggers talking about their Amway/Quixtar experiences. Neither of them are IBOs, but both give a different perspective to what we usually encounter on the 'net. In My Experiences at a Quixtar Recruitment Meeting, blogger Matthew Paulson reports –
I’m sure by now it’s become quite obvious that I am not a fan of Quixtar, Amway and similar multi-level marketing “sell to your self” programs. Very often recruiters for these programs use deceptive marketing techniques to try to get people to buy into the systems. I decided that I should go and see for my self if it’s really bad as the people such as my self who bash Quixtar on the internet claim it is. My room-mate happens to be an IBO for Quixtar, so I went with him to one of their recruitment meetings to see what all went on, I was quite surprised.
I recommend reading the whole post. I have no idea which group was running the Open Plan he attended, but full kudos to them. They obviously presented the opportunity in a professional manner. Indeed, Paulson says –
I was really impressed with the operation that I had found.
Now, he didn't join, with the common misunderstandings about products being overpriced and that he'd have to "bug all of my friends to sign up for a multi-level marketing program so that I will make some money", but he "no longer think there is anything inherently deceiving and evil about the business plan". An excellent result! Again, kudos to the IBOs involved. They've done their part to improve the Amway and Quixtar brand image .
A comment on that post lead me to another excellent site, ExtremePerspective. The blogger, Paul, actually built an Amway business up to the Direct level in the Yager organization in the '9s. Now, he's no longer an IBO, and admits he didn't profit much, investing earnings back in to his business, but here's some of his comments –
On "the system" –
The books, tapes and seminars really were the best financial education I have ever received and worth every penny. I also, had many opportunities to consult with millionaires and listened to millionaires who had succeeded outside the Amway business as well. Finally, I had the chance to hear President Reagan speak which was priceless. Even though I didn't get rich, I think that this experience was one of the best financial decisions of my life. (My Financial Resume )
On failing to succeed –
So why didn't I achieve the wild success that I thought possible when I first saw the marketing plan? I can only blame myself. My personality is not outgoing – I loath small talk and just could not interact one-on-one with people. I really do not make friends easily. I think success in that business required work, investment and people skills.
It's easy to assign blame for our failures but tough to look in the mirror. That opportunity was not the right one for me. Hopefully, real estate will be. I won't have to make friends with sellers or buyers. It's been a long time since I was involved with Amway. I wish those that participate the best. (Network Marketing Amway)
On product pricing –
I investigated the value of the Quixtar/ Amway products quite extensively when I was involved with that business (I don't think that their pricing philosophy has changed but can't vouch for it now.) What I found was that the products really performed far in excess of comparable products. Many companies make good quality products and people buy them. Some would say that a Mercedes or BMW is too expensive but these companies sell a lot of cars due to the value they provide (Quixtar/Amway prices and poverty thinking)
On critics –
In my years in Amway I heard every imaginable negative comment about making money and becoming wealthy. In fact, from this standpoint, I think that Network Marketing is the toughest businesses mentally to endure due to one on one attacks from financial trolls. If you talk to 1 people about network marketing 99 will try to justify their unwillingness to work by dissing your dreams or wealthy people in general. This is called "transference" in psychological terms and you just have to see it for what it really is – not an attack on you but a measure of that persons poverty consciousness, lack of confidence and poor self-image. (Becoming a Millionaire)
On getting advice –
Getting good data is also of paramont importance when evaluating a new business as well. Now when you are investing $1,, into a business you probably will do some due diligence. However, for businesses like Network Marketing with low entry costs, nearly no one does due diligence. So I found that people asked their "expert" friends about the business and they got information on how prices are too high or the market is saturated or whatever. When I got involved in the Amway business I did not ask one unsuccessful person what they thought of it. I investigated the pricing structure, the quality of the products, the payouts, the franchise "system", and interviewed people that had made the business work. (The llusion of Knowledge )
On change and personal growth –
I remember when it occurred to me that I might become very wealthy in Amway. It actually scared me to death! I wondered how I could be responsible for handling millions of dollars and dealing with hundreds of thousands of distributors. I thought that I could not change into the type of person I observed as successful in that business. Now I don't know what the heck I was thinking. We grow as we accumulate wealth and the changes are gradual. Success wasn't going to suddenly attack me in the middle of the night and change me into someone I am not. In fact, the changes happen first, then the success follows. Looking back now, I realized how much I personally grew during my years in Amway. (Success Will Not Attack You)
On responsibility for failure –
When I was in Amway I was able to observe hundred of people in my down line directly. I could see their words and (in)actions. What I mostly saw was people that failed to take responsibility for anything that happened. Blame, excuses, laziness, lack of commitment and failure mentality all permeated everything they said and did. I don't have any ill feelings towards Amway or anyone involved for my failure to become rich. I lay the blame entirely on myself. People don't fail in that business because its saturated or the products are too expensive. They fail because they fail to take responsibility to succeed. (Success Will Not Attack You)
On the Amway/Quixtar business model –
As far as business models go, the Amway model has a number of key components that really can help you succeed. The downside is that the cost of entry to this business is so low that people think it will be easy. Among the excellent attributes I saw:
Access to millionaires – I always had the opportunity to listen to and meet and personally talk on the phone to people that were extremely rich. If you want to be rich – you have got to associate with wealthy people. Broke people think like broke people.
A good "franchise" system (see E-Myth Revisited). One of the criticism's of Quixtar is that people make money on tapes. Well, the tapes are part of the success system that leaders in that business have put together. When you purchase a Franchise, what do you you think you are buying – hamburgers? Heck no, you are buying the system. What does that franchise system cost? From $1,'s to $1,,'s. The Quixtar franchise system is a bargain.
Good quality products. The Green blogger complains about the cost of the products. When I started that business I too was sceptical about the prices. What I found out was that the products are very high quality and very good value for what they did. Now when you start a business you can have a low cost pricing structure like Walmart (My Chinese wife claims the Chinese ship all their "crap" to Walmart – the quality of goods in China is much higher :)). Certainly Walmart makes a lot of money, but so do stores that cater to high-end customers like Neiman-Marcus. When you are in sales is it easier to justify good quality or have to explain poor quality? I always found it very easy to justify the higher quality products to people – much easier than handling complaints.
On why "higher pins" work –
I can remember when I was in Amway and the people that made it to the highest levels of success were on a mission. They were not in it just for the money anymore but seemed to have a higher purpose that allowed them to overcome their fears and move outside their comfort zone. I remember I had that sense for the first 3 months I was in the Amway business, but somehow started having a fear of success, fear of failure and no longer could see the people I was talking with as successful. In fact, I inwardly was very cynical of most people I talked with despite their braggadicio attitude. So it became more and more difficult for me to talk to anyone about the business. (Goal Setting )
Now, I don't agree with everything he says. I don't feel I need to be the boss to be a "real man" and I'm still a socialist/leftist/atheist (at least by American standards) and he's unfortunately bought in to the oil companies propaganda about Global Warming but I certainly recommend reading his posts. He has quite a few referencing Network Marketing.
So there you have it. A prospect and a former IBO. Neither are involved now or apparently plan to. One was "anti-Amway/Anti-Quixtar" but is no longer. The other, despite his "former IBO" status gives great credit to Amway and "the system" for his financial and personal growth. Unlike the small number of vocal Amway/Quixtar critics on the Internet, he takes full responsibility for his lack of continued success. I also strongly recommend a book he references often – Michael Gerber's E-Myth Revisited
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