Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Shot Heard 'Round The Upline

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this blog are my own opinions. Names (if any) have been changed in order to protect everyone's privacy. The thoughts in this blog do not address Amway directly, but rather the motivational organization known as URAssociation (URA).

I was fatigued.

I was being worn down bit by bit since getting back from Summer CONference. It started off with our upline platinum's comment about the first order of business being to get our fall tickets locked in, which of course was passed down from the higher ups (a.k.a. the speakers who make their money by taking ours). I was driving 30 minutes once a week for "weekly business briefings" which was a whole much ado about nothing. We'd listen to a speaker via facetime, or go through more of the same motions we got from CONferences: Make calls, build your business, 6% circles, yadayadayadayada.

I wasn't making much money from my job at the time and I couldn't keep dropping gas money and time to listen to the same old same old. Even our upline diamond, the upline leaders son-in-law who we'll refer to as "Mr. Prince" had lost his appeal with me. I called into a conference call right after work that he was holding, and I was bored in the first five minutes. I sat there thinking "WHAT am I doing here? This is doing NOTHING." We would have "accountability calls" and I'd have nothing to report, it just seemed like there was always something going on and NONE of it was focused on building the business.

Granted, had I had a better paying job, I would've been able to take more action, but after coming to the end result like some of my other blogging allies, I couldn't be happier I was poor. I know THEY lost way more than I did.

My sponsor Matthew wasn't helping matters. He kept trying to peg down times to meet with me and I had other things going on. This Amway business was meant to be PART TIME. A side gig to make a little extra money. There were other things I enjoyed doing besides the business. There were a couple speakers who downplayed doing activities outside the business. They made them out to be "losers" who were going nowhere in life.

That didn't sound very appealing to me. I LOVED doing other activities like playing softball, watching my sports teams, and coaching basketball.

Matthew's persistence finally came to the surface after we had shown the plan to a friend of mine. After he left, we met outside the coffee shop where we showed it and he sat on a bench with me telling me basically that if I didn't start putting "more of an effort" in that he was going to "spend time with people who were more serious about building their business."

Strike one.

Forget the fact that WE JUST SHOWED A PLAN. The next incident came after I'd blown my knee out in a softball game. It wasn't to serious, but I had hurt it badly. But after the game, did I go the hospital? Home to rehabilitate? NO! I WENT TO A WEEKLY BUSINESS BRIEFING 30 MILES AWAY!


Halfway through it however, the pain just became overbearing and I left early. He decided to mention that to me as well...even though he knew I was hurt.

Strike two.

Now in my previous blog "Come to My Seminar" I mentioned how a friend went with me but quit after what he experienced. He DID however say that he was going to support my business and be a customer with me but hadn't registered so far.

Finally one day I was doing a job for my grandmother when I get a text from Matthew.

Matthew: "Has (your friend) registered to be a customer with you yet?"

Me: "Not yet."

Matthew: "Well you've known him long enough. Call him out on it."

Holy Santa Claus Shit.

Call him OUT ON IT??? This guy can't be serious. CALL HIM OUT ON IT! Like he forgot to pay me back money he owes. Is that how the major retailers get customers? By calling them out on it? Every negative thing I had heard about MLM's was slowly unveiling.

Strike 3. I'm out.

I had begun ignoring Matthew and the others. I was depressed. This isn't what I signed up for. One night Matthew texted me saying "Don't lose your fire!" But it was extinguished. I finally texted him back with all my grievances that you have seen in this blog, or will see.

My phone rang. Guess who. 

Not being a coward, I answered it and an ugly argument followed. I basically called HIM out on the fact that when I was recruited to which he quickly responded "you were NEVER recruited, we presented you with an opportunity."

Yeah and Nick Saban gives high school football phenoms a chance to get an education. 

 He started backpedaling from things he had told me over time and what not. We eventually got to the question of where the money was going from our conferences and URA memberships.He tried to tell me that the money goes to the URA app, money to rent the facilities for CONferences, etc. When I told him that it doesn't take over a million dollars to fund those miniscule tasks, his retort was THIS: 

"You know what? I DON'T CARE where the money goes." 

He was got. He didn't realize it, but he was got. Like GOT DAMN he got got! He basically just exposed himself and the business for THE CULT it was. When you and several other suckers are funding a million dollar business without giving a tenth of a damn where it goes. You are GOT. He was GOT in the argument, he was GOT in the URA. The URA had him. He was beyond the point of no return. 

I basically replied "man, you have drunk the kool aid." 

Surprisingly the conversation ended on a good note. But I was gone. I wasn't done with selling Amway, but I was DEFINITELY out of the URA. I was going to try to sell the products on my own and see if I could. Eventually I realized it wasn't going to work (future blog about that).

See you on the next blog.

Oh wait...I forgot. 

The day after Matthew and I had our spat, I was on a road trip when I got another call from him. He then said that he had called my friend and confronted him about what he had said to me. 

Oh NO you didn't...

Of course, my friend was very non-confrontational and didn't want trouble so he basically told Matthew what he wanted to hear to shake him off his back. He said I'd probably be "getting a call" from my friend to discuss me throwing him under the bus. Luckily, he didn't call. I texted him and smoothed things over. Truth be told, I shouldn't have mentioned him. That was my bad.

Matthew then went on and in a roundabout way expressed his concerns that I was going to tell the other team members about how I felt. He was scared shitless, and he was scared because he knew I had a point. He used the rationale that I could bring their optimism down. He said I could "kill their dream." 

No...I could kill YOUR dream. 

The conversation eventually ended, this time on a less pleasant note. I wasn't going to give in and come back. Matthew and the upline thought really highly of me. I had a network larger than anyone in our group, including Matthew. I knew hundreds of people from high school, college, professional world, etc. There are four metropolitan areas within a couple hours of my town and I had contacts in every one of them. Honestly, I had more potential to build a successful Amway business than most. 

The level of my importance was even confirmed when our upline platinum sent me messages and several phone calls. I wasn't responding. I wasn't about to have yet another fight that went nowhere. But then it took an even crazier turn. 

Our upline EMERALD messaged me. 

Anybody who's been in an AMO knows that's some heavy shit. The Emerald (who I said earlier is a real nice guy), played it cool and asked me how things were going and if I needed any help. He offered to help me make phone calls and help build my business in any way he could. I was blown away. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it, but I eventually realized they were only trying to get me BACK IN. 

I had enough respect for Matthew NOT to tell the other members how I felt. I think in the end I chose not to because AMO's are a "hot stove" lesson. You've gotta get burned before you learn not to touch it. Slowly but surely, the others have now left the business. I haven't talked to them though I plan to in time. 

I always thought it was funny how Matthew said I could kill their dream. America is a country that's built on dreams and the pursuit of those dreams. But for THIS dream, I'm very grateful that my alarm clock went off when it did and my fellow bloggers are too. If you're dreaming the Amway dream, I implore you: 

Wake up.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Key Ingredient

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this blog are my own opinions. Names (if any) have been changed in order to protect everyone's privacy. The thoughts in this blog do not address Amway directly, but rather the motivational organization known as URAssociation (URA).

Kool Aid...if you don't love it, you're practically un-American. I mean, pack your bags and geeeeyit out right? My blog of course is titled "The Financial Jonestown." For those of you who may be a bit young (or historically illiterate), Jonestown was a community in Guyana (That's South America for the Geographically illiterate) founded by Jim Jones, a minister turned cultist. The community was officially called "The Peoples Temple."

Long story short, the people of Jonestown wanted to escape the perils of American life to establish their own way of living. Having his people brainwashed, Jones began imposing his own will much contrary to the principles that led people to join the commune. When distress arose back home after concerned relatives voiced their opinions, the United States sent California Congressman Leo Ryan and members of the media to Jonestown to investigate. Make an even LONGER story short, Jones flipped out, had the Congressman and media members shot at an airstrip as they were leaving. Realizing he fucked up something awful, Jones had the 900 members of the commune drink poisoned Kool Aid resulting in their death. Jones, proving his un-Americanism decided not to drink Kool Aid and instead, put a bullet in his head.

Communist douche bag.

Back on Bill Maher's 2004 comedy routine "I'm Swiss," he criticized then-President George W. Bush's sitting in the classroom for seven minutes after hearing about the 9/11 attacks. While a die hard Republican I am and even a fan of  Maher's, I didn't agree with this piece, but that's neither here nor there. He summed it up that if Republicans still supported Bush after he sat there for seven minutes (Even though his Chief of Staff signaled for him NOT TO...dammit! WILL YOU STAY ON POINT???)

He said "You have drunk the Kool Aid. You're apart of a CULT."

The URA and other AMO's serve up their own brand as well. Regular Kool Aid is known for its particular flavors, Jonestown Kool Aid had cyanide, AMO's have TOOLS (get it? LOL)!

It's always been said that attending these seminars are the key ingredient to building a successful Amway business. You see the IBO's with their voice recorders and notepads (Hey, I took notes, no shame) hinging on EVERY WORD the Emeralds and Diamonds said. But the sleep deprivation, mixed messages, and even some of the snobbery/up our own ass swagger from some of these jagoffs threw a damper on it (See my first blog "Come to My Seminar").

But when it was time to leave, we met up with our upline platinum to get a "pep talk" before heading home. He said "first order of business...let's get our fall tickets locked in."

Hold up.

FED (Fall Conference) was THREE MONTHS AWAY! We've got businesses to build, we got team members packin' lunch meat that can't afford a cup of coffee and need to get their businesses going and THE FIRST $100 we get our hands on shouldn't go to buying samples/generating PV (Personal Volume), gas money to show plans, LET'S BUY OUR TICKETS FOR THE NEXT CONFERENCE!!!

Get the serious FUCK out of here!

At the time, I thought it was weird, but in retrospect, THAT MOMENT was what caused me to start THINKING (an unwritten no-no in URA).

So I sat at home one night thinking about how much CONferences were emphasized. WHY? It drove my friend away after attending, plus, it was basically the same stuff I had heard a year ago when I was prospecting. So I pulled out a calculator and had a fun, fact-finding session/epiphany.

After I wrote 43LL and 80085 (Hell and Boobs...hey I said I had fun), I started crunching a few numbers.

The venues I went to held about 4,000 people and was pretty close to capacity. Let's just be optimistic and say there were 3,500.

3,500 people X $100 a ticket = $350,000

$350,000 X 4 conferences = $1.4 Million

Considering that URA more than likely didn't have to pay for the venue (most hotels give you the venue for free if you're staying at their hotel...and we were). That's a pretty nice racket. Chop that up among the dozen or so speakers and everybody's taking home six figures a year. Not to mention the "independent" seminars they do on their own for a much smaller gate fee of about 10-15 bucks.

We're not done yet.

The URA also has a website where you can keep track of your downline, download audio of speakers "teaching" you the (Am)Ways of the business (Pun intended) and of course...this is where you buy your TICKETS!!!!!!

The membership has three levels. The cheapest is around $35 a month, medium is $50, and premium package is $75. Now if I was a bettin' man, I'd be willing to book that most URA members have the "premium" package...but for all intents and purposes, let's just say everybody in the URA is po' folk (which in reality...never mind...skip it) and has the $35 package.

I'm sure there were a few "losers" who missed out on the CONference because something else happened. Petty reasons like a funeral, childbirth, dumb shit like that. But let's just say that EVERY URA MEMBER was in attendance.

3,500 members X $35 a month = 122,000 a month.

122,000 a month X 12 months = $1.4 million (and change)

Well hit me with a turd pie and call me shitface...That's nearly $3 million A YEAR. And these are BARE MINIMUM estimates!

Now you chop that up over a few years between the Emeralds/Diamonds who speak at these events. Plus the bonuses they DO get from their Amway qualifications, though miniscule compared to this, and can have financial freedom.

But this is a FACT. 99% of Amway IBO's will NOT reach that level. Want to fact check? CHECK THEIR WEBSITE. This isn't propaganda, this is something that you see right on their page. The "average" active IBO earns $200 a month. That's $2,400 a year. Subtract your CONference tickets, personal volume for samples, personal consumption, etc., Independent conferences, gas money to show plans and go to weekly business briefings and THEN what do you have? Is it EVEN CLOSE to the time/effort you put in???

These CONferences are no different than if you took 5,000 high school baseball players and had Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutcheon and Clayton Kershaw give speeches about how if you have "this particular mindset" and "do x, y, and z" then YOU TOO can make it to the majors. You'll have 5,000 dudes all jacked up and excited, when in REALITY, maybe ONE OR TWO OF THEM will have a CHANCE to make it to the bigs.

You do with this information what you will. Me? I'm JONESin' for some grape Kool Aid.

Good night.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Come to my Seminar!

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this blog are my own opinions. Names (if any) have been changed in order to protect everyone's privacy. The thoughts in this blog do not address Amway directly, but rather the motivational organization known as URAssociation (URA).

Money. We need it, we want it, we want more. There's no argument to that. Even the most content of content always like to have a little extra. Well a few years ago, I was in need of not only the little extra...but a base income PERIOD! I received a call from a friend I hadn't heard from in two years. To be honest, I was surprised he still had my number. He was calling me from Washington DC. He, along with a few other people I knew were at a "business conference" and were dying to get me to join their "team." 

I had come across something similar a few years ago. In retrospect, I actually believe it was Amway as well. Problem was it wasn't presented right and I passed on the "opportunity." But this guy brought a lot of enthusiasm. I'm an enthusiastic person myself, so I took an appreciation to it. I met him (we'll call him Mike) a few weeks later with a couple of the other guys I knew. One of them was the "upline leader" (we'll call him Matthew). 

It was Amway alright. I had heard OF Amway, but never knew much about it. As a matter of fact, I confused it with Amtrak if that shows you my level of ignorance. The plan sounded great. A phenomenal way to make some extra money and if I did well enough, I could earn five to six figures. I had come very close to getting a couple jobs in sales and was constantly told by people that my personality was perfect for sales, so this seemed like a good way to use that strength. 

I thought I had found something tangible. 

A year later, I went to the Summer Conference. I was told these weekend seminars were the key to being a successful IBO. We drove from our area to Baltimore (about 10-11 hours) in vans we had rented. When we got to the hotel, I found out I was staying with 4 other people. It was a little irritating, but the way Matthew and Mike made said it was WORTH IT to help motivate individuals to succeed. He DID have a point. The atmosphere was like a concert/sporting event. A band played upbeat, well-known music to get the crowd going. There was even a conga line at one point! I was taking it all in and was so amazed that people could be so hyped up about a "business." My thought at the time: They MUST be making some serious coin to get this excited! 

The conference had three sessions in two days. A Friday night session that lasted from 8 till midnight, a morning session from 8 am to Noon, then an evening session that ran the same as Friday's session. The speakers were well-dressed, charismatic and just radiated with a successful, confident heir. I thought to myself "WOW! These people are the real deal making six figures or more! They're sales/marketing/networking geniuses!" 

At the finale Friday night, I heard the URA leader speak. He had a phenomenal story of perseverance, wisdom, etc. His son in law, who was also a diamond, spoke before him and was explosive with energy and had the same kind of intensity/passion that I tend to have. I was sold, although I didn't officially register until a year later. I had a "grand opening" where Matthew helped run it.  It went pretty solid (though only family and one friend came). And before you know it, it was Summer Conference time again! I even had a friend who was about to join my team, and he was going with us. 1 month in and I ALREADY HAVE A DOWNLINE GOING! I was psyched. He was psyched. We were gonna set the Amway world on fire. 

Then...we left for DC. 

A year ago at Summer Conference, we had a dozen people in our group. THIS SUMMER, it was a huge turnover. More than half the group had dropped out. In the year before I joined, our upline platinum RAVED about how "our team was growing" and we were "on fire." Yet here we were, 50% turnover.


In addition, the year before, we rented two vans. This year, we piled into two cars belonging to team members because it would "save money." We were encouraged to pack lunch meat, peanut butter and jelly, etc. and NOT go out to eat. Our upline platinum even sent a rather unpleasant voice message to us the night before about being frugal with our money, going in on our hotel rooms, etc. This sent a bad vibe to my friend and I, and would be the first of many that weekend. 

After the 10 hour car ride, we arrived in DC. I was absolutely exhausted because I didn't get much sleep. I then found out that SIX of us full grown men are going to be sharing a room (kind of illegal, but whatever, OUR BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO GROW RIGHT?) My friend and I along with another team member (who was kind of a stooge) get in the room. I laid on the comfortable bed to catch my breath. Stooge immediately says "Don't get comfortable, we gotta get changed and get down early to get good seats."

You gotta be shittin' me. 

We had an hour or so before everyone arrived so we unpacked and showered up. Eventually all the guys arrived and we go down to the hotel conference center and wait in line for an hour or two to get "good seats." By this point, I'm irked to say the least. My friend (who was my #1 priority considering I brought him in) was a little put off by everything as well. Nevertheless, we got our "good seats." And proceeded with the festivities. It was lively at first, the band played some good songs and positive vibes were flowing, but after a while, my vibe died because the event was so dragged out.

I'm sleepy, a little hungry, and when I'm either, or worse yet both...I'm not friendly. One of the speakers had went diamond just a year ago. He was well-spoken and held my attention but then his wife took the stage. She gets up there and tries to tell a story about being the "sharpest knife in the drawer." Out of NOWHERE, she digressed into a long story about a raccoon that was living in her attic that only liked glazed donuts.

I sat there trying to determine if she was legitimately lit.  

When she (finally) got back on track, it finally hit me...SHE IS WINGIN' THIS! 

This speech COULD NOT have been prepared. No way does someone practice a speech that went from A to M, over to Z and THEN back to B. There was no revolutionary advice, there was no "secret" that would help us build our business. There was a lot of great MOTIVATIONAL speaking, I'll give them that, but that only goes so far. This broad was just incessantly blabbing about stuff that no one cared about. Even the crowd wasn't responding to her idiotic drivel and a majority of them were apart of their team.

Before midnight, the URA leader and his wife took the stage to a roar from the crowd. As much as I thought he was going to bring some serious knowledge, I was severely let down. He spoke about jalapenos and something rather, while the wife tried to tell a story about Navy Seals that fell about 100 feet shy of being relevant or interesting. We're paying out the tailpipe to come to these seminars to LEARN the best ways to make money in this business, NOT THIS. I even asked one of our team members what the hell she was droning on about. He said "well...this stuff is more focused on wisdom." 

If I want wisdom, I'll talk to my grandfather. Wisest man I've ever known. Just teach me how to make money like you did with Amway! K? K!

They finally wrapped up. It was midnight, I was dead tired, over it, unenthusiastic and ready to hit the hay. But not so fast...

It's time for the NIGHT OWL!!!!!!!!!

What's a "Night Owl" you ask? Some concerts have encores, Amway Motivational Organizations have Night Owl's. But unlike an encore...these suck. After three straight hours of speakers gloating about their riches, raccoons, donuts, and jalapenos, we get A BONUS seminar! And of course, you HAVE to stay because you'll deprive yourself of even more wisdom...even if you're brain has shut down for the night. But like a good loyal solider, following orders in hopes it would generate income for my business, I toughened it out and made it to bed around 2 am...only to realize that I had to get up at 7 am the next morning. That's like being served the best steak ever made and finding out that you only get one bite. 

Surprisingly, I was able to get up and drag myself into the morning conference with the rest of my exhausted group. This time, they did a little bit of teaching but mostly just focused on goals rather than how to achieve them. You'd think there would be training and methods of how to sell the product. Eh not really. To add insult to injury, my fatigue was catching up to me so I went upstairs to the hotel lobby to their coffee shop. I've heard stories about how uplines will run you down if you try to leave. Luckily, Matthew was a little smarter than that...either that or he was too tired to notice considering he slept for only an hour before jetting down to the conference center doors at 4 am to make sure we got "good seats" for Saturday.

He was starting to scare me. 

When I got back, one of our team members was struggling to stay awake (plot twist). He asked if he could have a sip of my coffee. I gave him a sip and told him where he could get some. He said he didn't have enough to buy his own cup. Without thought, I handed him some cash to go get some. I felt horrible for him. Coffee Shop's in hotel lobby's are a bit pricy, but still...five bucks??? He felt bad for taking my money but I wouldn't allow him to feel any such way. I told him we're a team, and we help each other. He thanked me a ton and headed upstairs. I sat there baffled. This is a business where you can make good money, yet a guy who had been in the business a few months didn't even have enough cash to buy a cup of coffee??? My brain was starting to put things together in spite of the fact that sleep was at a premium that weekend. 

After the morning session, the teams within the URA split up for a mini-team session. We got to say hi to our upline emerald who in all fairness is a really great guy. Then...lunch! Now, a year ago we went to a nice restaurant right on the Baltimore harbor. This time? We chipped in a few bucks and got pizza while sitting in the 90 degree heat. Once again, a team is growing with the best business opportunity in the world, yet....

Then we had some downtime so what should we do? Sleep? Go check out the many things DC has to offer? Check out the Smithsonian? PLEEEEEASE! We've got our team in DC! The fever is in the air! Lets make phone calls to people and try to set up appointments to show the plan! Make the same call that I got two years ago from Mike (who ironically had also quit the business by this time). Besides, historical American monuments are overrated. Succeed in this business and you can BUY ONE OF THEM! (Lame joke I know)

Well, the night session rolled around, and it felt to me like more of the same repetitive lameness. The first summer conference it was impactful, but this time, not so much. It's like a movie you see once and it's cool, but the second time around, it just doesn't resonate. At midnight, the seminar ended, but there was going to guessed it...a night owl!!!

My friend and I didn't care. We had our fill. Much to the dismay of our team, We headed back to the room, ordered some food, and watched Kevin Hart on Comedy Central's Secret Stash. To be honest, that was the most fun he and I had all weekend. We were in Washington DC. The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the White House were all a stone's throw away but no time for fun stuff or enjoyment. Let's stay cooped up in the hotel and focus on the business! 

The day after we got back, my friend, who was DEAD-SET committed to joining the team decided not to. He was completely turned off by everything. He said the speakers were materialistic and felt the message was dishonest. To sum it up: He saw the seminar, the business and the URA for what it TRULY was. I was hurt, but honestly I wasn't mad. If anything, I was just confused. These conferences were supposed to be what MADE PEOPLE want to join the business. Not deter them! Eventually his decision to quit prompted me to do some soul searching (as well as other incidents I'll talk about in this blog). I quit the team two months later, and Amway a year later.

Over time I did some research and eventually I've come to this conclusion: URA, WWDB, BWW and any other Amway Motivational Organization are one thing:


You may not move away to some remote location away from your family, or participate in mass suicide, but organizations like the URA perform those deeds in a more subtle way. Groups like these kill your SOUL. AMO's have broken up marriages, put people in insurmountable debt, and left a huge void in people's dreams and self-worth. People distance themselves from family and friends and you dump dollar after dollar into an account that never grows, but instead transfer to the accounts of your upline emeralds and diamonds.  

In the movie "Casino," Robert DeNiro's character said that running a casino was like "selling people dreams for cash." There isn't a more perfect description of what an AMO is. Everybody wants to be rich and these despicable people will nurture that dream for $100 a ticket, four times a year. Not to mention the revenue from books, tapes, CD's and other functions these people do...and sadly, most of their income COMES FROM THIS, NOT the selling of Amway products. Oh URA wants you to keep your dream alive alright! Because people will do anything to be rich...including paying ridiculous sums of money to hear people drone on about the same old thing and believe it can help them as well, because THEY said it would. 

I was blessed to have to foresight to see the business for what it was without going too far, but there are still thousands of people who have become brainwashed that this is the way to financial freedom. DON'T BE FOOLED! 

Many of my blogs to come will focus on incidents at the conferences, as well as other incidents that occurred once I had joined. If I can stop just one person from going down this destructive path, then I've served my fellow man more than any of those cultists could do in a lifetime.