My Induction … Almost
A few months ago I was recruited…almost into Amway or World Wide Dream builders or an Independent Business or some odd amalgamation of the three. See, it is never really clear to you what you are getting in until you are full on in it with this bunch. They are not very upfront, in fact they are vague on purpose and in a way that feels insincere and deceptive. I had never heard of them or their business model before hand. You can never quite put a finger on what is wrong with it all and who “they” are, and this is why I was intrigued by it all.
I met Heather (I’ll call her that for the purposes of this post) at another friend’s place; she seemed genuinely interested in my career as an Associate; I love making new connections, so we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up for coffee some time. She had a mentoring business for women. Curiosity piqued, I eagerly met with her to learn about how she mentored young women in business. The first meeting was all about me, my career, my achievements, current struggles … we just talked and laughed and never got to talk about her mentorship. So of course, we had to meet again. The next meeting 20 days later when my busy schedule allowed, she talked about how excited she was about getting to listen to John Maxwell for a few dollars, a luxury that would have cost thousands of dollars if not for her women mentoring female leaders business. All she shared was how she had learned about her opportunity from another young lady who was financially independent and did not have to work for anyone anymore; how Heather had gone through a qualification process with this incredibly smart young lady.
She completely refused to talk about specifics about her business, but she gave me a book. I love reading, and I generally never turn down a book. So, still intrigued by this mysterious business she was in, I read the book: Robert Kiyosaki’s “Business of the 21st Century”.
The book, random fragments of our conversations…mulled over… I thought… Aha – I figured it out! – It must be a network of mentors charging and mentoring people in some odd pyramid structure! I’d busted Heather; figured it out! I thought.
So, 40 days after our first meeting after a false sense of friendship or intimacy had set in from truly sharing my thoughts, and she sharing vaguely about her business, we met again. I thought the Kiyosaki book was very biased, very heavy on sensationalizing entrepreneurship and very light on actual business knowledge, especially for a book that claimed to be a business book. I found relevant, the quadrant described in the book. I thought the whole book should have just been a blog post/ essay about the quadrant.
I definitely did not want anything to do with something that smelt like network marketing; I do not need to sell my friends products to survive. I already pester them enough to support my crazy charitable ideas. I had heard all sorts of horror stories of people deceiving unknowing people into these network schemes at significant expense to desperately poor people who end up forming the bottom rung of these schemes. I told Heather that.
She nodded. “mm hmmm”, she said. Agreed with me, mentioned my desire for passive income which I had mentioned earlier on, found common ground to continue her spiel on financial and time freedom. Wait a minute! I recognized what she was doing! In counselling my tobacco patients for behavioral change, I do this: Empathetic listening, providing affirmations, reflective listening, rolling with resistance, developing discrepancy … this woman was motivational interviewing me! (I thought to myself) I really had to know what this big business was now. She proceeded to draw charts of her phenomenal growth from $2000 per year to $75,000 in three years, waffled on about having a distribution centre shipping products directly to her, cutting out “the middle man” thus saving a tonne of money on all these items she usually consumes anyway.
Eureka! I had figured it out – It was a bulk buying group in which you got discounts for purchases on all items from Apple to Michael Kors (who were apparently partners) and got marketing rebates when you got your friends interested in purchasing in bulk with you with a minimum purchase of $2000 per year!
I could live with that.
I agreed to another meeting about 2 months from our first meeting. This was going to be with her team of women building women leaders. We carpooled with another lady who she had met at a local cafe. My first thought upon arrival was, It was not a women’s leadership meeting, by any stretch of the imagination as there were several men there. My next was, there was no food and it was bloody cold. I did get some “perfect” water. Who invites someone out at 7 pm without feeding them in civilized society? I was hungry and tired, after having pulled a 12 hour shift.
It cost me 5 hours to get into the details of their “business” plan which was more of a weird marketing plan. They had no actual business plan – No mention of initial investment, no mention of feasibility, no exit plan, no SWOT analysis, no porter five forces analysis… It was exhausting mind numbing ramblings from some guy (I’ll call him Bill) who was well off in this business now and who started out with $75,000 consumer debt & school loans, but was now apparently balling out of control in wealth. He started off by letting us newbies know, he absolutely did not need us, because new recruits tend to come in skeptical about them, and he wanted us to know he was in fact more skeptical of us. We were the ones with a hidden agenda apparently, and for all he cared we could just walk out of the room right away, because a lot of recruits did not have what it took to make it in this business …It was some odd form of reverse psychology with the intention of earning implicit trust from some insecure person/ someone who for whatever reason might have something to prove… Bill could never retire in his early 30s just doing his job; why? his parents couldn’t retire at 65 and still owed money on their mortgage; he knew several people in this situation too, despite making a tonne of money at the oil rig where he had worked as a new grad a few years ago. In the conventional employee situation, he spent money as fast as he made it, so did all the others who had picked up the oil rig job decades ago as a temporary solution to get out of debt. Bill was doing so well now at 36, he’d soon quit his day job which he hated so much. His job was horrid; slavery in fact. The conventional ways of making money were just totally broken, and he just got in more debt regardless of how much he worked. Bill had to get permission as a grown ass man to take a vacation – that was cruel. (I just thought how ridiculously entitled he was… as I considered all my intelligent international graduate friends who were currently being denied any chance of jobs).
At the end of the night, I finally figured it out: I learned that you had to buy $300 a month in products from Amway you already consume (even the “brokest” students apparently consume $400/ month in consumer products according to Bill), through the IBM & Microsoft partnership developed website, sell at least $150 per month to friends and recruit about 18 people in the first year to get to $55,000 at the end of the first year; attend a whole bunch of “Leadership meetings” supported by World Wide Dream Builders (which as Bill emphatically pointed out were the only way to learn how to get financially free; it was crazy to prioritize anything above learning from these geniuses how to gain your financial freedom, they were only after helping you grow) own your business (this was very important to Bill, it was clearly your independent business not an Amway business!), buy from your own business (it would be crazy not to; every business owner supports their own business) — and from there on the sky is the limit!
Oh, and if you really want to make it, you should not read the blogs, ignore all warnings from family, Bill had done that and now he was thankful he did.
Because I’m a sucker for punishment, and I really can not help myself when I get curious, I did in fact analyze this “Bizness”, and decided that I had a better stab at financial freedom by dealing crack or buying stock in Alticor/ Amway/ World Wide Dream Builders than joining. I really wish they were publicly traded. I hope they’d appreciate my humor and charts comparing their corporate structure to that of a Crack Franchise. 🙂 I have another meeting with Heather and her mentor this week, I intend to share my business analysis with them and on this blog later this week.
Meanwhile, have you had an Amway- Word wide Dream builders – Independent Business Owner experience?