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This is what I think about MLM.



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disarli

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Perry Marshall, supreme marketer, has a multipart series entitled "My Career as an Enthusiastic, Naive Ambot":

"My Career as an Enthusiastic, Naive Ambot" – Part 1 | Perry Marshall

It makes for some great reading, as Perry has a gift for story telling. It all boiled down to Perry and one other Ambot being the only people in the big crowd of Ambots that actually did everything they told him to do to sell. Everything. Thus, he and one other guy were the *only* ones that could gauge the bullshit they were being fed from the top. Everyone else hadn't really done anything else, so they felt bad and bought (and bought and bought) more motivational tapes, ad infinitum.
 

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FUNNY STORY - I was in the gym and this guy started talking me up in the steam room. Thought it was very odd that he kept talking about his incredible "business" but kept saying he can't tell me what it was. He asked for a card, calls me days later, and asks me to come meet him at a coffee shop. I ask him again what the opportunity is and he can't tell me, once again. However, if I show up at this coffee shop between 7-9 (odd right?), I can hear all about it.

Didn't go, but found out days later that he's an amway guy. Apparently they're trained to seek people out in places like that.
 

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They're trained to seek out anyone who can fog a mirror, as long as they can pay for the membership package (and whatever else). It's very much a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" model - "sign up anybody, sign up everybody, you never know who will be your next Direct." Doesn't hurt that every signup enriches your upline.
 

Zhukovic

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@minivanman

Years ago Amway changed their name to Quikstar in order to "re-brand" themselves. I wonder why...?

Regardless, it didn't really work out in the end and they changed it back.

@TreyAllDay

You're 100% correct. I used to do exactly that all the time. We were trained to start 5-10 conversations a day, using acronyms such as FORM (family, occupation, recreation, message) to move the conversation in a way for us to find an emotional want or need in someones life. Once they revealed that they didn't like their job, wished they had more time for family/friends, wanted to pursue more hobbys, etc, we would "drop the message," using what they previously had said as justification why we're showing them the business. Of course, they never knew we prospect people like this several times a day.

"Hey, I have to ask, are you serious about what you said about having more free time in your life? Because I'm actually connected with some entrepreneurs here in (city) who're mentoring me on ...blah blah... and I know they might be interested in working with some more people in the future. Let's grab coffee sometime."

That's kinda how it would go. I remember going on my local pubic transit for 2-3 hours EVERYDAY trying to start conversations with strangers who sat besides me, "dropping the message" on as many people as I could. If someone who sat besides me didn't want to chat, I simply got off the train on the next stop and waited 5 minutes for the next train, and repeated this all over again until late at night -
all the while believing that I was some sort of free-enterprise, social-entrepreneurship, holistic evangelist changing peoples lives.

So stupid.

Now, everytime I walk into a local Starbucks, I can immediately spot WWDB recruiters doing a meeting on a recruit. They all sound the same, thanks to "mentorship" and "duplication"
 

Real Deal Denver

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Years ago Amway changed their name to Quikstar in order to "re-brand" themselves. I wonder why...?

I'm going to take a guess and say they changed their name to shed the stigma that all the "have my mind made up" brilliant people had about them. It was a bad move, because it made them look like they were trying to hide something. But that's par for the course for so many CEOs that think they know how to run a company. It happens in all lines of work, so it's no big thing.

However. If you have to stalk people, manipulate them, and con them - then by all means, it's wrong, wrong, wrong. Which brings me to the next important point. There ARE some people that ARE involved in MLM that do well in it. If you can't, or didn't, that's okay. By having to borderline LIE about the company, I'm not surprised at all that it didn't work out.

On the other hand. I look at things with an open mind. Many other people do too. The ones crying "sour grapes" just look bad, bad, bad. Okay - you couldn't make it work - so do something else. But don't think that you're smarter than everyone else, and if you can't make it work, then nobody can.

Everything in life has an upside and a downside. If I lived my life by following pure mathematical odds, I'd never splurge for a vacation - never have a nice house - or a nice car - or a big screen TV. Why? Because I'm so smart, I won't ALLOW myself to be taken advantage of in that way.

But, I'm not that smart. I do indulge foolishly. I deserve it. I'll die with less money because of my FOOLISH ways, but when I die, I'll be happy for all those guilty little pleasures. That's why I WORK - so I can have a LIFE!

So you're not in the group that wants to do something for yourself. Fine. Keep buying your stuff and paying the overhead of the big box stores. Somebody has to. Grow your own vegetables. Save a buck. I know people like that too.

For me - I don't have the need - or fear - to cause me to lie to anyone about anything. If they don't like it, that's fine. Have a great life going to your JOB everyday and working for your BOSS. Better to follow the herd.

Know-it-alls. They can't do something, so they flame everyone else that is involved in it. I too can spot them INSTANTLY. Like my Dad told me - well, if you're SO smart, why aren't you a millionaire then? Tough question.

So let the flaming continue. That's what know-it-alls do best. Tell me how great you are, and how stupid everyone else is - or just me, if that makes you feel better. What. Ever.
 

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@minivanman

Years ago Amway changed their name to Quikstar in order to "re-brand" themselves. I wonder why...?

Regardless, it didn't really work out in the end and they changed it back.

@TreyAllDay

You're 100% correct. I used to do exactly that all the time. We were trained to start 5-10 conversations a day, using acronyms such as FORM (family, occupation, recreation, message) to move the conversation in a way for us to find an emotional want or need in someones life. Once they revealed that they didn't like their job, wished they had more time for family/friends, wanted to pursue more hobbys, etc, we would "drop the message," using what they previously had said as justification why we're showing them the business. Of course, they never knew we prospect people like this several times a day.

"Hey, I have to ask, are you serious about what you said about having more free time in your life? Because I'm actually connected with some entrepreneurs here in (city) who're mentoring me on ...blah blah... and I know they might be interested in working with some more people in the future. Let's grab coffee sometime."

That's kinda how it would go. I remember going on my local pubic transit for 2-3 hours EVERYDAY trying to start conversations with strangers who sat besides me, "dropping the message" on as many people as I could. If someone who sat besides me didn't want to chat, I simply got off the train on the next stop and waited 5 minutes for the next train, and repeated this all over again until late at night -
all the while believing that I was some sort of free-enterprise, social-entrepreneurship, holistic evangelist changing peoples lives.

So stupid.

Now, everytime I walk into a local Starbucks, I can immediately spot WWDB recruiters doing a meeting on a recruit. They all sound the same, thanks to "mentorship" and "duplication"
This is absolutely fascinating lol

Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk
 

TreyAllDay

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@minivanman
Now, everytime I walk into a local Starbucks, I can immediately spot WWDB recruiters doing a meeting on a recruit. They all sound the same, thanks to "mentorship" and "duplication"

You gotta tell me too - do they train members on how to act at those bigger mass membership events? Got roped into going once and it was in an auditorium. The crowd, which I assume was largely members was off the charts energized clapping at everything and screaming out in agreement like it was fricken church, and you start clapping yourself and laughing at the jokes because you feel awkward not doing it when everyone else is. Seemed like a really smart way to utilize psychology lol.
 

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@garyfritz - that was an awesome post. Rep+

Honestly, I hope that your post gets linked to whenever MLM comes up in the future. You articulated many of the problems better than most of us could thanks to your direct experience.
 

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About 20 years ago, I had several friends doing Partylite, Pampered Chef, etc. I went to their parties and bought a few things that turned out to be very good quality, and I still use them today. I wouldn't sign up though. But, back then when the internet was new, home parties for MLMs of GOOD QUALITY items were probably a good way to earn some money. I'm still a little put out at the friend who kept trying to pressure me to buy something when I was unemployed. o_O

I ended up losing a friendship over a notorious MLM and I have a couple friends who are still in them today. I can't for the life of me see why, in the age of the internet, anyone would push so hard to sell someone else's over priced poorly made crap. The absolute worst is friends who use their personal Facebook pages to post about their MLMs. They don't do it too often, but it should be NEVER. I don't care about your ugly leggings and and your overpriced oils and I never will. :thumbsdown:
 

Real Deal Denver

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About 20 years ago, I had several friends doing Partylite, Pampered Chef, etc. I went to their parties and bought a few things that turned out to be very good quality, and I still use them today. I wouldn't sign up though. But, back then when the internet was new, home parties for MLMs of GOOD QUALITY items were probably a good way to earn some money. I'm still a little put out at the friend who kept trying to pressure me to buy something when I was unemployed. o_O

I ended up losing a friendship over a notorious MLM and I have a couple friends who are still in them today. I can't for the life of me see why, in the age of the internet, anyone would push so hard to sell someone else's over priced poorly made crap. The absolute worst is friends who use their personal Facebook pages to post about their MLMs. They don't do it too often, but it should be NEVER. I don't care about your ugly leggings and and your overpriced oils and I never will. :thumbsdown:

Well - thanks for saying that at least there was good quality merchandise they sold. There was a time when Tupperware and Avon were known for their high quality products, and many a woman ran a side business for these products. I bought a lot of it over the years myself. Never got involved in their business side of things - but certainly didn't look down in any way on the people that did.

Your friends, sadly, were not quality people. Nobody should EVER pressure someone - especially if they are unemployed - to buy things which are not necessities. That's disgusting. That's what gives some professions a bad name. For example, car dealers are always given a bad rap. I know several people that sell cars, and I highly respect their drive and way above average intelligence. It should be said that they don't have to pressure anyone to buy anything - ever. A good sales person should be like a coach - using their knowledge and experience to guide and assist the customer to their best choices. They might not get every sale, but they will gain the respect of everyone they work with - and THAT pays dividends.

I have a business in development right now. I need customers and workers. I am not going to pressure anyone to do business with me in any way. I will lay out the pros and cons, and I am sure I will be successful. I am selling a quality product. Sure, not everyone will want it - no problem. But, I don't need everyone in the world to be my customer. But don't insult me or put me in a category i.e. sleazy car salesman, vacuum cleaner salesman, etc. The person you put down because of your own ignorance may know one heck of a lot more than you do. Ray Kroc was looked down on for a long time (founder of McDonalds). So was I, so I know where he came from, in that sense. It helps build character.

If you never want to purchase over priced oils - that's fine. I just spent $200 on some high quality cosmetics for my wife. They were way overpriced. But they were very high quality, and they made her very happy. That's what I paid for. Do you know what she thinks of me? She thinks I'm a fool for spending so much on her and that I love her very much. She's right! I rest my case, no further questions your honor!

I'm a firm believer in paying for quality. Yes, it hurts when I buy it, but I enjoy it a lot after the pain of paying for it wears off. Tupperware is a fine example - not cheap - but it lasts for years and years. Frankly, I'm worth it.

Time to sign off - this is too long. I just want to reiterate that I would NEVER pressure you to buy anything you didn't want. And if anybody that works for me ever did, they would not be working for me very long. Most of my customers tell me directly that I charge too much. And I agree with them. But I ask then why they drive such a nice car, and live in such a nice house? Why spend all that money when they don't have to? And then I tell them - they deserve it! Some buy right away, some come back later and buy, and some never do. That's fine. But after all is said and done, they are ALL happy and ALL respect me. That's what selling is - it's not lying, pressuring, posturing, grooming, or conning anyone. It's a highly skilled profession, and if done correctly, is very honorable.

I take offense at the ones that have the one or two stories about some scummy low life sales HACK, and then they project that image on the respectable people that do make their living through sales. It shows their ignorance much more than showing the low level tactics involved in selling.

PT Barnum was accused of being a fake many times. His reply to that was something like - do you see how much enjoyment people get from my service? Are their smiles fake? If the customer is happy, the sale has been a success. I doubt MJ thinks he was swindled or taken advantage of when he bought his Lambo. He could have gotten a Ford Fiesta for so much less! Yeah - sure...

No further questions. I request we adjourn for a short recess...
 
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I've known a few people who made a good living in MLM "businesses." By "good living" I mean low six figures. Not epic wealth, just a good living. I've also known many who sold cosmetics or kitchen stuff as a part time hustle, and I've know people who had bad experiences. Same can be said of most any line of work.

The whole MLM business model gets a bad reputation for real reasons but I don't see it as inherently evil. Yes, there are some predatory scammers pitching a phony dream but that doesn't make it a basically bad business model. There have been a lot of real estate frauds, but that doesn't make real estate an inherently fraudulent industry.

MLMs can be a reasonable side hustle for a retiree, or it can be a viable way to distribute a product (like Beachbody) but it's not a "get rich" road map. People who pitch it as a way to get rich for the low low investment of a few seminars and books are scam artists. They give the business model the bad name it has. They are "bro marketing" a get rich quick scheme.

The guys who started Beachbody got rich. Good for them. The many, many Beachbody coaches who enjoy their fitness as a lifestyle and sell enough smoothies to get theirs for free are happy and that's cool. It's not a scam. It's a viable company with a strong community. The guys riding the bus to chicken hawk on disgruntled wage slaves..... that's a whole different story. (That's a sick story, btw, thanks for posting it.)

All that said, I've never known anybody who touched Amway that didn't eventually come away sore assed. I know plenty of happy Marry Kay and Avon ladies and a couple people with various experiences from a few other outfits, but I don't personally know a single happy Amway story.
 

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You gotta tell me too - do they train members on how to act at those bigger mass membership events? Got roped into going once and it was in an auditorium. The crowd, which I assume was largely members was off the charts energized clapping at everything and screaming out in agreement like it was fricken church, and you start clapping yourself and laughing at the jokes because you feel awkward not doing it when everyone else is. Seemed like a really smart way to utilize psychology lol.

Since you asked...

There are different types of events. There are small, house meetings called "board plans" and larger events in conference halls called "opens" often around 1000+ people. Regardless, they are divided into two parts. First is the presentation, or "board plan", where a speaker goes over the business presentation - something that everyone's heard many times over. 95%+ of people in the room are already in the business, usually hearing the presentation dozens, if not hundreds of times already. Going was pretty much necessary if you wanted to be seen as a "serious" business builder and an example for your upline.

The second part of these events is called a "training" where they would go over stuff like how to prospect, what kind of dialogue they would use, etc. One of the frequent topics is how to behave at these events. They would say that when you entered, you needed to be positive and energetic because that way the energy of the room would inspire guests - they would literally feel as if the atmosphere is buzzing. Enthusiastic handshakes, hugging (lots of that - there's a brainwashing technique called lovebombing, but I won't go into that here), etc. Training's on board plan etiquette was usually done in the smaller events.

They would even go into body-language. I remember being taught that in these larger conference-style events that you should sit leaning forward, nodding with what the speaker was saying, laughing at his jokes so that just in case a guest was sitting besides you, they would be influenced to see the speaker in a more positive light because you're so captured with them.

The goal was for guests to leave feeling, "wow, that was such a positive, enthusiastic group of people, unlike my workplace. Maybe there's something to this business..."

There's also a third kind of event that's like a weekend evangelistic revival called "major functions", which usually are in a stadium or something like that. Here they have music, pop-bands singing songs, and lots of emotional appeals such as tragic stories of hardship, etc. I know personally the ultimate goal was to bring a guest to a "major function" because that was the highest chance that the emotion would hook him in - the business would go from "his brain to his heart," as we would say.

To there credit, these people aren't malicious. They are all kind, genuine people who think they are doing a good thing, and some of the things we taught weren't that bad, like how to have a better relationship with your spouse. However, you could get all these things without paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on overpriced products you don't need and burning through your social capital and relationships...
 

MJ DeMarco

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Since you asked...

There are different types of events. There are small, house meetings called "board plans" and larger events in conference halls called "opens" often around 1000+ people. Regardless, they are divided into two parts. First is the presentation, or "board plan", where a speaker goes over the business presentation - something that everyone's heard many times over. 95%+ of people in the room are already in the business, usually hearing the presentation dozens, if not hundreds of times already. Going was pretty much necessary if you wanted to be seen as a "serious" business builder and an example for your upline.

The second part of these events is called a "training" where they would go over stuff like how to prospect, what kind of dialogue they would use, etc. One of the frequent topics is how to behave at these events. They would say that when you entered, you needed to be positive and energetic because that way the energy of the room would inspire guests - they would literally feel as if the atmosphere is buzzing. Enthusiastic handshakes, hugging (lots of that - there's a brainwashing technique called lovebombing, but I won't go into that here), etc. Training's on board plan etiquette was usually done in the smaller events.

They would even go into body-language. I remember being taught that in these larger conference-style events that you should sit leaning forward, nodding with what the speaker was saying, laughing at his jokes so that just in case a guest was sitting besides you, they would be influenced to see the speaker in a more positive light because you're so captured with them.

The goal was for guests to leave feeling, "wow, that was such a positive, enthusiastic group of people, unlike my workplace. Maybe there's something to this business..."

There's also a third kind of event that's like a weekend evangelistic revival called "major functions", which usually are in a stadium or something like that. Here they have music, pop-bands singing songs, and lots of emotional appeals such as tragic stories of hardship, etc. I know personally the ultimate goal was to bring a guest to a "major function" because that was the highest chance that the emotion would hook him in - the business would go from "his brain to his heart," as we would say.

To there credit, these people aren't malicious. They are all kind, genuine people who think they are doing a good thing, and some of the things we taught weren't that bad, like how to have a better relationship with your spouse. However, you could get all these things without paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on overpriced products you don't need and burning through your social capital and relationships...

Great write up.

I see nothing has changed in 25 years. Guess the emotional appeal targeted at emotionally weak people still works magic. Hey, it worked on me.
 

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Math doesn't lie, but people do.
In fact, it was the MATH that got me interested in MLM to begin with. And your reasoning seems sound and logical, to the point I could see what a 22 year old me would be like, "Oh, that makes sense!"

About 5 years ago I had a guy (I'll just name him Dave) that told me he had an opportunity that he wanted to show me but he couldn't tell me about it. I didn't like that but I showed up to the little meeting anyway.

Dave showed up with a mentor, someone that showed him how to sign up a person and persuade me into a MLM company. I won't name the company but it involved travel.
I asked a lot of questions and the guy that talked to me told me that "people don't normally ask that many questions."

MLM get a bad rep and rightfully so and I can't help but feel that the people that start them think those that join them are just stupid and deserve to have their money taken. ):

Plus, I talked to 3 different people in the MLM company and I think only one had used the service in the 2-3 years of being apart of it. That's a bit of a red flag as I believe dog-fooding it (using a product you promote) is a testiment.

I didn't sign up, btw.

Here's where they hook you:

-They get you to show up without telling you what the company is, that way you can't research beforehand and get red flags from the internet.

-They have a canned persuasive speech (the same used by most of the reps). Dropped sayings from Donald Trump and how millionaires have multiple stream of income and how this should be one of mine.

-They try to pressure you into signing docs

-Rely on your timid nature to prevent you to do any kind of charge back, etc.

The rep also told be to be skeptical of what I read online about the company.

I don't like it but I have no interest in crusading against the people that are in MLM or create them. Hey, if it is something that you get to socialize doing and go to conventions and meet people then go for it! There was a meetup in a Des Moines Hotel on a company started out of Arizona, female product based, I guess they are on track to be valued at a billion dollars.

I appluad people like Bill Ackman doing what they did to Herbalife, I watched a large portion of his 3 hour presentation on how Herbalife has thrived so much.
 

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Since you asked...

There are different types of events. There are small, house meetings called "board plans" and larger events in conference halls called "opens" often around 1000+ people. Regardless, they are divided into two parts. First is the presentation, or "board plan", where a speaker goes over the business presentation - something that everyone's heard many times over. 95%+ of people in the room are already in the business, usually hearing the presentation dozens, if not hundreds of times already. Going was pretty much necessary if you wanted to be seen as a "serious" business builder and an example for your upline.

The second part of these events is called a "training" where they would go over stuff like how to prospect, what kind of dialogue they would use, etc. One of the frequent topics is how to behave at these events. They would say that when you entered, you needed to be positive and energetic because that way the energy of the room would inspire guests - they would literally feel as if the atmosphere is buzzing. Enthusiastic handshakes, hugging (lots of that - there's a brainwashing technique called lovebombing, but I won't go into that here), etc. Training's on board plan etiquette was usually done in the smaller events.

They would even go into body-language. I remember being taught that in these larger conference-style events that you should sit leaning forward, nodding with what the speaker was saying, laughing at his jokes so that just in case a guest was sitting besides you, they would be influenced to see the speaker in a more positive light because you're so captured with them.

The goal was for guests to leave feeling, "wow, that was such a positive, enthusiastic group of people, unlike my workplace. Maybe there's something to this business..."

There's also a third kind of event that's like a weekend evangelistic revival called "major functions", which usually are in a stadium or something like that. Here they have music, pop-bands singing songs, and lots of emotional appeals such as tragic stories of hardship, etc. I know personally the ultimate goal was to bring a guest to a "major function" because that was the highest chance that the emotion would hook him in - the business would go from "his brain to his heart," as we would say.

To there credit, these people aren't malicious. They are all kind, genuine people who think they are doing a good thing, and some of the things we taught weren't that bad, like how to have a better relationship with your spouse. However, you could get all these things without paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on overpriced products you don't need and burning through your social capital and relationships...

This is so fascinating! I just love sales psychology - say what you want about these groups, it sounds like they put a lot of thought into this stuff as not many people know just how powerful the "Group" energy is.
 

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Is it worth sticking with? They want me to attend dream night, which costs 75 bucks, but I can't afford it and they're basically trying to shame me into going like "I'll be able to tell a lot about you if you do or don't make it. Who you are."
I've never been in it personally, but I know it's huge in Michigan and always has been while I grew up. Some people around me tried it, but I personally always felt it was a waste of time if you're talking about the same thing. They're good at making their speeches, but the results I've seen with some people around me didn't pan out. I had no interest. I've walked through the Hotel in Grand Rapids though. lol
 

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I've never been in it personally, but I know it's huge in Michigan and always has been while I grew up. Some people around me tried it, but I personally always felt it was a waste of time if you're talking about the same thing. They're good at making their speeches, but the results I've seen with some people around me didn't pan out. I had no interest. I've walked through the Hotel in Grand Rapids though. lol
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyvJ89fsn_g
 

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I went to one of these events...

It was pure brainwashing. The speaker was Brad Duncan.

The first 1.5 hours was Brad talking shit about the average person with average problems, saying something that would relate to everyone in the audience and then putting them down.

The second 1.5 hours was him bringing people up from the audience that had made millions of dollars. There were like 6 of them, out of the 3000+ people there.

He was using a lot of psychological tactics like getting everyone to clap and then saying that if you weren't clapping you were doomed to be average and all this shit... People would clap because they didn't want to feel bad and in turn would start to buy into the "feeling" that this was real.

Just feelings and zero critical thinking.

It was really disgusting. I stayed out of respect for my friend but that was 4 hours of my life I'll never get back. There wasn't an ounce of value in the speech by the "great" Mr. Duncan.

Everyone there was just lapping it up. There were about 600 people that couldn't get in the room who were hovering around the doors so they could get a glimpse and hear the propaganda.

If you have any kind of eye for value and you go to one of these events, it will be very clear that it's a total waste of time.

If you want to join a cult, then go for it, because that's exactly what you're doing.

After all that, I have to say that the people skills and sales chops you can gain from doing this for a while are definitely valuable, but you lose part of your soul and alienate a lot of people.

Overall I think there are much better ways to spend your time than joining the hoard of non-critical thinkers who are getting brainwashing into thinking they will be rich when in fact they are being drained of money and time.
 

The Abundant Man

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Didn't they all drink some kool-aid and died right after? Isn't it called Jonestown? Amway has some shady stuff going on...
 

sparechange

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Great write up.

I see nothing has changed in 25 years. Guess the emotional appeal targeted at emotionally weak people still works magic. Hey, it worked on me.

I find this hilarious, picturing a young MJ being scammed..ahh

View: https://vimeo.com/106241499


Funny parody video of amway...

Was in a library reading TMF and had a guy pry away at me asking about what I do and stuff, ended up being a life coach trying to sell me #cya
 
Last edited:

The Abundant Man

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MJ DeMarco

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claudek

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My mom gave me a referral of a guy that had a “business” in Italy and wanted to expand in the USA.

To make it short, it was Amway.
He is a nice guy, but cannot deal with him anymore.

To make it short, he could have been a friend or a good person to talk to for whatever reasons.

Now, I cannot even listen to his messages. He only send 2/3 minutes vocal messages. I just cancelled the last one and closed the doors with him.
 

Kal-El1998

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I stay away from MLM's like amway like the plague. It doesn't take much digging to find that the majority of people in ANY MLM make only a couple hundred bucks a month.
 

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