We’re back in the central area. From an adjacent room comes the sound of a television and we make our way toward it. The room is ruby-carpeted with red-and-gray-striped wallpaper, three tapered wall lamps, and a giant projection screen angled downward. A man faces away from us in a floral upholstered recliner. He pauses the television when we come in.
The eighth annual Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), published today, measures the state of entrepreneurship worldwide. The 2018 study finds that more U.S. respondents (57 percent) have the desire to start their own business compared to global respondents (49 percent). While the desire to become an entrepreneur in the U.S. is down slightly from the previous year (61 percent), there is a strong sense of continued optimism among respondents. Age, gender and education levels also can potentially impact   attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Most surprisingly, in the U.S., the education gap is significantly shrinking when it comes to desirability of starting a business. The report explains that having a university degree does not play a significant role in shaping entrepreneurial spirit – those with and without university degrees exhibited similar sentiments. 

Amway is probably the most widely used of the "sell our products out of the comfort of your own home and be your own boss!" services, the ones that appeal to the unemployed with promises they'll get rich quick (and also encourages them to relentlessly recruit new members). And on the surface it looks fairly plausible, especially when you look at how much money Amway rakes in every year: in 2014 Amway sold $10.8 billion worth of products, so why shouldn't you try to break off a piece of that action?
ORLANDO, FL - MAY 25: An general exterior view of the Amway Center on May 25, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Fernandp Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
But it turns out to be so much more complicated. In 1979, the F.T.C., after investigating Amway, a multilevel marketing company with a vast product line, decided that the company’s business model passed muster — even though recruitment was at the heart of it — because it claimed to take certain steps that (among other things) supposedly showed that its recruits were selling the company’s products to real customers, not just to other recruits. Very quickly, other multilevel marketing companies adopted the “Amway rules” to stay on the right side of the F.T.C.

These businesses sell the hope of getting rich by recruiting recruiters to sell overpriced products that don't move in real markets. The products of any MLM have to be extremely cheap to manufacture and must retail at inflated, unrealistic prices because in effect, the products are simply used to move money into the pyramid scheme. Just remember that there are several hundred MLMs in existence in 2014 and all of them are scams. 

Yes! MLM is not the same as “pyramid scheme” . In every business the people at the top make more. In an MLM anyone can work up to the top, unlike in a pyramid scheme. Some of what is described in the article is very cult-like if it’s true, but I would imagine it is like with any business: it depends on who your upline is. If your upline is a creep, the whole team is going to be creepy. If you have a good upline, the whole team will reflect that. Any business, MLM or otherwise, can isolate people from friends and family. It’s called being a workaholic.
A 1998 analysis of campaign contributions conducted by Businessweek found that Amway, along with the founding families and some top distributors, had donated at least $7 million to GOP causes in the preceding decade.[76] Political candidates who received campaign funding from Amway in 1998 included Representatives Bill Redmond (R–N.M.), Heather Wilson (R–N.M.), and Jon Christensen (R–Neb).[74]
I was signed up, received no support from my upline, and yes although Amway has good quality products you need a substantial amount to sign up and all the marketing materials, rally's etc is expensive. Felt like I needed to be a slave of the company to get ahead. It feels also like you are pushing those above you up rather than them pulling you up. Feels like you are working for your upline's wealth rather than truly prospering yourself...
One night, after he had taken me out to dinner (we went Dutch), Josh told me that there was a price list in the back of his car—sealed in an Amway Starter Kit. I could have it right away; I just had to give him the $160 fee to officially join Amway. Uncertain about taking the plunge, I claimed my checking account couldn’t cover $160 that week. That was all right, he insisted: I could write a post-dated check that he would hold until I gave the O.K. to deposit it. I still resisted, and he got out of the car with me, opening the hatch to show me the sealed white box within. Eventually, he settled for giving me a book called Being Happy, which he could later retrieve.
Thanks to the DeVoses, Michigan’s charter schools enjoy a virtually unregulated existence. Thanks to them, too, the center of the American automotive industry and birthplace of the modern labor movement is now a right-to-work state. They’ve funded campaigns to elect state legislators, established advocacy organizations to lobby them, buttressed their allies and primaried those they disagree with, spending at least $100 million on political campaigns and causes over the past 20 years. “The DeVos family has been far more successful not having the governor’s seat than if they had won it,” says Richard Czuba, the owner of the Glengariff Group, a bipartisan polling firm in Michigan. “They have, to some degree, created a shadow state party. And it’s been pretty darn effective.”
Let me share my experience. My son has completely been brainwashed by up line who has instructed him not to associate with his mother and father. His up line (the leader) gives the entire group instructions on what they have to do, when, how many meetings per weeks, hours of involvement. They also participate at conventions by the Diamond leaders who on the last day start preaching and have people go down forth to donate. Alan is a phony and fraud. Had no substance to his ramblings on stage then that pathetic sermon he entised sleep deprived individuals to donate. It doesn't stop there. My son and his wife have spent thousands of dollars in 2 years on Amway products and LTD products. They are instructed to do so. Sir, anyone who takes up for the cult like group should be ashamed. My son calls his Platinum leader his mentor whom he has ripped him apart through Identity Destruction. OMG...my son has a masters degree and this has ripped my heart completely out of my chest. I do not even know who he is anymore and I wish I could do something legally about this. You have no clue how they twist the bible, construe it into something they want the group to believe. Now my Christian son and daughter n law have stopped going to church and are worshipping the way the AMWAY LEADERS tell them to worship and their belief system. In the beginning I saw a drastic behaviour change, then a chill period. I even gave him my support, although against it, 100%. Helped their sales and reached out of o my friends who purchased. No more. I've not said anything hing about it to him but because my motherly instinct told me he was instructed to cut ties, that was confirmed today. His up line Joel should be sued for ripping our family apart. People like that are sinning and driven by money. The worship money and material things Of the world. There is only one God. I'm extremely upset and am just letting him go do it. He's under so much pressure stressed d out all the time. They are both coaches and thus side deal is killing them. The end
Amway combines direct selling with a multi-level marketing strategy. Amway distributors, referred to as "independent business owners" (IBOs), may market products directly to potential customers and may also sponsor and mentor other people to become IBOs. IBOs may earn income both from the retail markup on any products they sell personally, plus a performance bonus based on the sales volume they and their downline (IBOs they have sponsored) have generated.[3] People may also register as IBOs to buy products at discounted prices. Harvard Business School, which described Amway as "one of the most profitable direct selling companies in the world", noted that Amway founders Van Andel and DeVos "accomplished their success through the use of an elaborate pyramid-like distribution system in which independent distributors of Amway products received a percentage of the merchandise they sold and also a percentage of the merchandise sold by recruited distributors".[68]
The next evening (Sunday because that's URA's phone session night) I received a call from the girl. I missed the call but immediately called her back thinking she was wanting to make dinner plans or something along those lines. She began talking about this cool business opportunity she has and felt like we would be perfect for it! The way she explained it made it sound legit. She said it was a company who endorses major brand products online, etc., etc. I was intrigued at first. They had us in the palm of their hands. When I hung up the phone, my husband immediately said "They're using us. This is some MLM scam." I believed him, but I had liked the couple so much I didn't want to lose their friendship, so we decided to just try it out. See if it's for us.
THIS IS ALL CRAP, EVERYTHING THIS GUY/GIRL IS SAYING IS ALL FAKE ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I AM A CROWN IN THE BUSINESS AND BECAUSE HE IS SAYING THAT IT IS NOT A PYRAMID SCHEME. ESPECIALLY, BECAUSE I HAVE AN UPLINE THAT IS IN THE LEVEL EMERALD AND I AM IN CROWN, EVEN THOUGH HE INVITED ME I PASSED HIM, SO THIS IS ALL CRAP IF ANYONE ONE IS INTERESTED IN THIS WONDERFUL OPERTUNITY CONTACT ME.
One day, Sherri asked me to attend a meeting at which a “millionaire from the West Coast” was to talk about “business trends of the nineties.” I was not entirely caught by surprise—Sherri had dropped hints about starting her own “distribution business” at about the time that Amway Dish Drops appeared in the E2020 kitchen—and although she didn’t tell me the millionaire was from Amway, it wasn’t difficult to guess which version of the gospel of wealth he’d be preaching. I jumped at the chance to meet this mysterious man of money, although from totally insincere motives—the old anthro major in me was hankering for a bona fide subculture to gawk at.
A money circulation scheme is essentially a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme where the money being brought in by newer investors is used to pay off older investors. The scheme offers high returns to lure investors in and it keeps running till the money being brought in by the newer investors is greater than the money needed to pay off the older investors whose investment is up for redemption. The moment this breaks, the scheme collapses.

Imagine that you’ve struck a deal with a company to give you discounts for buying in bulk: If you buy $100 worth of stuff, they’ll send you a 3 percent rebate. For $300 or more, it goes up to 6 percent, $600 or more, 9 percent, and so on up to $7,500 and 25 percent. Now, let’s say you’re unable to spend more than $100 a month, but manage to get seventy-four other people to go in with you. Together, you spend $7,500 and divide up the 25 percent rebate. Everyone saves money, and the rebate is shared equally. That’s the idea behind a consumer co-op or wholesale buying club.
Besides earning money off your own sales, you also earn a percentage of the income generated by the distributors that you've brought into the program (these are known as your downline). Often there are bonuses for selling particular amounts of product or signing up a certain number of new members; you can earn cars and trips as well as cash. Sounds good, doesn't it? And being part of a well-run MLM business can be a lot like being a member of a large extended family.

Going door-to-door for a school fund-raiser, I walked the winding, Anglophile streets – Kent Drive, Kings Point Drive – that looped around to the Intracoastal Waterway and back again in a closed circuit. The farther I strayed from our street, the larger the houses became. One house looked like an old-time plantation. Another had a waterfall in the center of its circular driveway, and a bright blue roof. I stood in dark foyers and bright, airy kitchens, saw antique furniture and shiny out-of-the-box appliances and mysterious works of art.
Directly across the state from my family, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is the Windsor country club. Home architecture here is strictly regulated. Residents drive around on golf carts, on and off the eighteen-hole course. There’s an equestrian center, tennis courts, a concierge, and a gun club. Occasionally Prince Charles pays a visit. This is where you go when you bypass Palm Beach on your way to vacation – there’s no kitsch in Windsor, only the highly refined. Among its residents are retail billionaire W. Galen Weston, the Swarovski clan – and the DeVoses, who own three houses here and spend eight weeks a year or more on the waterfront.
When I got started with Amway Global back in 2006, like you, I too though at first it was a scam or pyramid scheme. But than I decided just to take the dive because it was working for others. I was told by my upline to build or make a list of all my friends, family members, etc and contact them to sell products and present to them the business opportunity. And if possible, schedule a home event or get them to a local hotel meeting, on a 3 way call, or attend a live webinar presentation.

Even so, among the DeVoses’ skeptics, there are those who strike a hopeful, if cautious, tone. “I think Mrs. DeVos could potentially be a really good secretary of education if she allowed parents and school districts to make policy at the local level,” says Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, a nonprofit that receives a portion of its funding from the National Education Association. “But at the same time, I’m concerned.”
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