Is Amway a fraud group?

I was interested enough to go to an introductory session and ask enough questions that I was satisfied that I understod how it worked. Which is to say that if I had gone ahead with it I would have been walking in with my eyes open and I wouldn’t have been defrauded, at least in my own eyes, even if I had lost money. But I am not at all sure that the information I gleaned would have been handed out if I had not asked. It’s complex stuff with a lot of numbers.

The way it works, (or worked, a couple of decades ago in the UK,) is that the guys on the bottom rung make almost nothing — a few pounds here and there selling stuff. They might even lose money by buying product for demonstrators or that they can’t sell; the product isn’t flashy and it’s got rather a high price due to all the commission that has to be paid out. The people who recruited them get a percentage of their profits and the ones that recruited the recruiters also get a percentage. The percentage drops the higher up the tree you go and there is a limit to how high you can get — eventually you report direct to Amway. There is a top to the pyramid and that makes it work as a sales system rather than an obvious fraud.

So if you recruit a handful of people and they recruit a handful of people, then you might make a little pocket money. But if you recruit like crazy, literally everyone you meet, and you support them to recruit like crazy, then you might build a big enough network to make you a serious amount of money. People do make a lot of money and they aren’t the early adoptors; Amway has been going for a long time now; everyone has that chance.

That’s the game: building the network and supporting the people who work for you to buld their own networks. Eventually the high flyers will move out of your network but before that happens every pound they make puts money in your pocket. That is what you are seeing when you go to an introductory meeting: hard sell from the person recruiting you and the person running him. It’s not in their interests to lie to you; they need salesmen who can build the network, but they might paint it in brighter colours than it deserves.

It’s a game for salesmen. You need to be comfortable propositioning everyone from your favourite uncle to your hair-dresser, all day, every day. You need management skills to support your workers to do the same. You need to invest money and time in all of that. And you need to sell product too. If you are happy to do all that then, even if you’re not a great salesman now, the skills can probably be learned and it’s in everyone’s interests to teach you; it might be worth a try.

It wasn’t for me; I walked away.

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