Real, Unbiased Amway/WWDB Review from an Ex-MLMer
Table of Contents
- Original Gangster
- Who Is Amway and Where Are They Located?
- What Is World Wide Dream Builders (WTF is WWDB)?
- A Brief History Of When Amway Started
- Are Amway Products Any Good?
- Pros: Why Is Amway Legit?
- Cons: Is Amway a Pyramid Scheme or Scam?
- Compensation Plan: Can Amway Make You Rich?
- How The Amway Business Works
- What Amway Doesn’t Tell You
- WWDB Company Overview
- How Does World Wide Dream Builders Work?
- Amway: Quick Summary
The O.G. MLM
Here’s something I’m sure we can both agree on:
If there was ever such a thing as an O.G. MLM, Amway would be it.
No doubt about it, this infamous network marketing company is the Original Gangster and undisputed heavyweight champion of all MLMs.
In terms of yearly revenue, no other multi-level marketing company even comes close.
That’s a full $3 billion more than Avon, its closest competitor.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur who’s been alive longer than 15 minutes, you’ve probably heard of ’em by now.
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While things have calmed down a little in recent years, there was a time when it seemed like there were Amway distributors lurking around every corner.
Possibly even in random storm drains, like Pennywise from the movie It:
So what gives?
What is it about Amway that has drawn untold millions of regular folks into its vortex for an astonishing 60 years now?
Let’s dig a little deeper to find out…
Who Is Amway and Where Are They Located?
Headquartered in Ada, Michigan, Amway is an MLM company who sells health, wellness, beauty, nutrition, and home care products to the masses.
Now get this:
Amway is one of only a few companies that can legitimately claim to have pioneered the business model that we’ve all come to know and love…
You guessed it: Multi-Level Marketing (MLM).
The only exception being Antarctica.
But at this point, I really wouldn’t be surprised if they even had a few penguins on board:
(I clearly have too much time on my hands.)
Although the company doesn’t officially publish how many registered distributors it has, a commonly quoted figure is somewhere between 3 and 4 million people worldwide.
As of this writing (2019), Forbes Magazine ranks Amway as the 42nd largest privately held company in the United States by revenue.
Amway’s headquarters complex in Ada, Michigan is also quite impressive.
Stretching a full mile from east to west, it boasts 80 total buildings with some 3.5 million square feet of manufacturing and office space.
Here’s a pic of their main entrance and head office:
But Amway’s magical kingdom is still a far cry from a humble “mom-and-pop” operation.
And let’s not forget the name of the basketball arena that the Orlando Magic call home.
Officially known as the Amway Center, so named because the DeVos family (Rich DeVos co-founded Amway) OWNS the freakin’ team.
The company has initiated many other commercial sponsorships in the past, including being the official jersey sponsor of the San Jose Earthquakes — a Major League Soccer team.
Simply put, Amway is a beast.
Now let’s wipe the dust off and begin with…
A Brief History Of When Amway Started
Amway was founded way back in 1959, by long-time friends and business partners Jay Van Andel (above left) and Rich DeVos (right).
To put things in perspective, that was the same year that:
- Mattel came out with the first Barbie doll.
- Alaska became the 49th State of the Union.
But a decade before that, Rich and Jay started out by marketing a line of nutritional products from a company known as Nutrilite.
Previously named The California Vitamin Company, Nutrilite’s claim to fame was the first-ever multivitamin sold in the United States:
Impressed by the groundbreaking direct sales model used by Nutrilite, DeVos and Van Andel became top selling distributors.
They also loved how the company offered commissions on sales from newly recruited distributors they introduced to the business — a system called multi-level marketing or network marketing.
After building up a team of more than five thousand distributors, Rich and Jay decided to leave Nutrilite (with their top recruits) and go it alone.
Then it happened:
… and the rest is history.
DeVos and Van Andel’s first order of business was to buy the rights to what would become Amway’s first product:
A highly concentrated organic household cleaner known as Frisk.
They later changed the name of the product to L.O.C. aka “Liquid Organic Cleaner” now known as “Legacy of Clean”.
This cleaner, along with their Nutrilite supplements (which the company later acquired), became the core of Amway’s product offerings.
Distributors were also given the ability to earn a residual income through their customers’ repeat purchases.
Fast-forward to today:
This direct sales behemoth has added all kinds of products to their repertoire, including several product divisions doing billions in annual sales by themselves.
Nutrilite was also named by Euromonitor International as the world’s number-one selling nutritional supplement brand.
But here’s the interesting thing:
Amway enjoyed a brief stint of being thought of as an “internet business” back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when it launched the now-defunct web-based brand known as Quixtar in North America.
Why would Amway do such a thing?
The biggest difference between Amway and Quixtar was that distributors (known as “Independent Business Owners” or “IBOs” for short) could order their products directly online.
This saved them from having to manually fill out order slips and submit them to their upline.
Good idea, right?
Unfortunately, the Quixtar brand failed to gain popularity with the general public and after 7 years (and a class action lawsuit) it was scrapped.
Mostly thanks to their MLM business model, it’s fair to say that Amway doesn’t exactly have the best reputation among the general public these days.
But they do have the highest revenue.
And the quality of their products is definitely not to blame…
Are Amway Products Any Good?
If there’s one thing I can say about Amway:
It’s that their products are LEGIT.
I know several people who have used their Nutrilite dietary supplements and have nothing but good things to say about them.
Check this out:
Nutrilite claims to be one of the only vitamin/mineral brands on the planet that grows, harvests, and processes the plants for their supplements on their own certified organic farms.
Apparently they even use special Egyptian earthworms just to fertilize the soil for their organic plants.
Now THAT is hardcore lol.
But it’s not just about vitamins and minerals.
Their household cleaners are every bit as high-quality, with L.O.C. being a groundbreaking cleaner in terms of being fully biodegradable and comprised of organic ingredients.
Put it this way:
Amway was doing organic before organic was cool.
And we can’t forget about the company’s Artistry line of cosmetic and personal care products which is a juggernaut by itself, generating billions of dollars per year in revenue.
Amway also has a popular “eSpring” water filter that has earned mad respect in water purifying circles, garnering an “excellent” rating from Consumer Reports among other accolades.
I actually know someone who has owned and used the eSpring:
Which utilizes UV light along with a carbon block filter to purify tap water.
Not sure about the science but…
Apparently the water tastes pretty damn good lol.
And I’ll mention one last product which is also one of the company’s most addictive:
The XS Energy Drink.
This sugar-free energy elixir courses through the veins of countless IBOs worldwide, bringing in annual sales of more than $100 million.
If you couldn’t tell by now:
There are literally hundreds (450+) of other products in Amway’s catalog including Amway Home™ and Satinique™ — but I’m not gonna to bore you with an exhaustive survey of their entire product line.
Needless to say, they’re well-covered in terms of product variety.
Definitely not the worst that I’ve seen, but they’re not exactly the “low-price leader” by any means.
From my own research and folks that I know personally, I can honestly say that Amway seems to walk the talk in terms of high product quality.
I’ll cover that in more detail in just a sec.
But first let’s explore some pros and cons:
Pros: Why Is Amway Legit?
✓ You won’t have to worry too much about stability with this one.
Amway is the largest and most successful MLM company in the world.
Which means that you’re hooking up with a company that’s been around for 60 years and does $9 billion a year in sales.
To be fair, sales have been on somewhat of a downtrend in recent years, but it’s safe to say that Amway’s here to stay.
✓ Their product quality is mostly outstanding.
If you want to become an Amway IBO, you can be proud of what you’re selling product-wise.
That’s more than what can be said for many two-bit MLM companies out there nowadays.
✓ As the most well-established network marketing company, Amway offers top-notch training materials and events for their IBOs.
Amway has a ton of training resources that can help get you to the next level of your MLM business.
No raggedy, copy-of-a-copy, black-and-white brochures here.
And no sketchy-looking information packs that you’d be embarrassed to hand out to your friends and family members aka “prospective distributors”.
They also hold multiple training events throughout the year to keep you motivated and inspired (if you’re into that kind of thing).
However, this is not to be confused with the loads of unofficial motivational books, videos, and other Business Support Materials (BSMs) that you’ll be encouraged to buy from your upline.
(More about that later.)
Cons: Is Amway a Pyramid Scheme or Scam?
✗ On the business opportunity side, Amway’s reputation is all but in the crapper.
It’s hard enough to build a successful home business without having to overcome a bad reputation from the start.
And when most people hear “Amway”, a wall goes up before you can even begin talking about the business.
It’s also a big reason why the Amway-affiliated World Wide Dream Builders organization has been so successful (more about them later).
You might even be encouraged to give your friends the pro-MLM book “The Business of the 21st Century” by Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame.
Some might say that’s being a lil’ deceptive or dishonest, but building some curiosity and qualifying prospects up front is also smart marketing.
Not to mention that it weeds out the idiots and time-wasters straight away.
✗ Throughout the decades, the company has been the target of numerous FTC investigations.
As you might expect, one of the biggest and most long-standing accusations against Amway is that it’s an illegal pyramid scheme.
(Hence the term “Scamway.”)
But the FTC actually ruled this out in 1979 due to the fact that Amway does not specifically pay people for recruiting new distributors.
Even though — as we all know — recruiting is the cornerstone of most MLMs and is obviously highly encouraged.
The company has more recently been in some international hot water in its largest market: China.
✗ Being the original MLM, it’s not surprising that IBOs are heavily pressured to sell like crazy and buy products for personal use.
Nothing wrong with drinking your own Kool-Aid.
But like most MLMs, Amway products are expensive which can make it hard for distributors to purchase enough volume to reach their minimums.
Not to mention the challenge of convincing someone to make a full switch from cheaper, store-bought brands.
✗ The rah-rah culture and recommended commitment level isn’t for everyone.
Here’s the reality of the situation:
If you wanna be an Amway success story, you better be ready to hustle i.e. eat, drink, sleep, and sh*t this business opportunity.
This had led to the company cranking out some of the most annoying and aggressive distributors in the MLM universe.
While it’s definitely possible to do it “part-time”, that ain’t gonna be enough to get in the 1% of MLMers who actually make it.
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Compensation Plan: Can Amway Make You Rich?
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks:
Time to talk about the Benjamins, baby.
As you’d expect, the top-level distributors of the world’s largest MLM make sh*tloads of money.
Those at the highest “Founders Emerald” and “Founders Diamond” levels are ballin’ out of control.
Above that, the few at the “Crown” level are making residual incomes that seriously border on the unbelievable.
But like most other MLMs, unfortunately they represent a pathetically small percentage of the total number of distributors enrolled in the company.
To put it in perspective, the Amway Corporation has paid out almost $60 billion (with a “B”) in bonuses and incentives to distributors since its inception.
That’s a LOT of money.
But according to Amway.com, only 48% of all IBOs are active and their average monthly gross income is around $200.
You read that right.
Two hundred bucks PER MONTH.
Why so low?
And when I say “uphill” — I mean a very steep hill.
Starting face down in the mud.
With an army of renegade mercenaries strafing the hill with machine gun fire.
In other words, it might be a little tough to make this thing work.
But let’s break it down, shall we?
How The Amway Business Works
Are you ready to become a Founders Diamond and make $500k per year?
First you gotta learn the ropes by starting out as a brand-new Independent Business Owner (IBO) for around $100.
Next up, the really fun part:
You’ll then be encouraged to talk about Amway with your friends and family, as long as you can convince them the hefty retail price tag is worth it.
As a new IBO, you’ll also be taught to “be your own best customer” by switching all of your current household items to Amway.
Spoiler alert: This will cost you more money out of pocket.
As mentioned earlier:
The more you sell, the more Point Value and Business Volume numbers you earn, and the more commission you make.
(You can check out this handy Amway commission calculator.)
But here’s where it gets a lil’ sketchy:
The BV of the Amway products you buy is not always equal to the dollar amount it costs to buy them.
For example, as you can see in the image below, buying 600 PV worth of product should net you roughly $225/mo for your trouble.
- If you add up all the 100 PV’s above, it’s over the 600 PV threshold which means that your commission will be 9% of BV.
- If you add up all the $300 BV’s above (and add $400 BV from customer purchases), it’s roughly $2500 BV total.
Which means that you’ll receive around $225/mo in commissions (9% of $2500 BV = $225).
If your group continues to grow and increases your total monthly PV to 7500, your commission can get as high as 25%.
(Feel free to check out Amway’s official compensation plan.)
After countless hours of looking at their comp plan, here’s the “simplest” explanation I could find on YouTube:
Don’t feel bad if you have absolutely no idea what any of that means.
I’m the one who did the damn research and still don’t understand it all.
Simply because you can benefit from their BV as well, since their volume becomes part of your group volume (GV), boosting your PV bracket, and therefore your commission percentage.
Clear as mud?
Didn’t think so lol.
Translation: If your downline makes more money, YOU make more money.
Do this enough times and you’re a dancin’ millionaire, right?
Not so fast, Twinkle Toes…
What Amway Doesn’t Tell You
Here’s the truth:
It can be very discouraging when you start prospecting and trying to recruit new distributors.
First off, you have to overcome the immense hurdle of Amway’s not-so-good reputation.
That means persuading your friends, family members, total strangers, and possibly a few household pets that your business opportunity is worth a look.
You’ll hear things like:
“Isn’t that a pyramid scheme?”
“I know someone who tried that kinda business and they hated it.”
Then you might try inviting them to a couple hotel ballroom meetings.
Or perhaps one-on-one sit-downs at a local Starbucks where you sketch out the compensation plan using neat little circles on a piece of paper.
Or maybe a home meeting, where someone with a whiteboard draws out the plan Pictionary-style.
While all of this is going on, your upline is steadily encouraging you to invest in a small library of motivational material aka the aforementioned Business Support Materials (BSMs).
Supposedly, to give you the knowledge and inspiration you need to succeed in the business.
What’s the problem?
Basically, you’re told that the more BSMs you and your group buy, the more likely you are to succeed in the business since you’ll be developing the proper “mentality” for success.
It’s important to mention that distributors who choose to sell or distribute BSMs must emphasize that the purchase of these materials is optional.
But it’s common for new recruits to hear such phrases as:
“Tools are optional, but so is success!”
“I’ve never seen anyone be successful in this business without these tools.”
Now to be fair, I completely agree that without the proper mindset, you don’t stand a chance of being successful in this or any other business.
However, the costs for these “optional” BSMs start to add up pretty damn quick.
And who is all this extra Business Support Material cash going to?
The top-level distributors who are selling it to you, of course.
You’re also encouraged to attend weekend seminars, “attitude sessions” (more motivation), “night owl” sessions (still more motivation), and especially major functions and conferences.
You might even hear that “not attending the next major function will set your business back six months!”
Amway believes so much in the power of these rah-rah products and meetings, they even have an official term for the groups of Amway IBOs who are the best at it:
“Professional Development Programs” (PDPs) also referred to as “Amway Motivational Organizations” (AMOs).
As an AMO, the group can operate under the Amway flag but is allowed to sell their own products that instruct new recruits how to succeed as an Amway professional.
Which leads us to…
What Is World Wide Dream Builders (WTF is WWDB)?
You gotta admit that even in 2019, the name “World Wide Dream Builders” is super-catchy.
Sounds like something Disney and the Make-A-Wish Foundation would come up with if they joined forces lol.
But in reality?
World Wide Dream Builders = Amway.
And you know what else?
They’re hotter than a jalapeño’s butt crack right now.
Let’s begin with some basics:
WWDB Company Overview
World Wide Dream Builders is essentially like an Amway mastermind or mentorship group.
They teach you “how-to” strategies on developing a winning mindset, selling Amway products, and recruiting your own distributors.
In other words: All the skills you’re gonna need if you’re serious about becoming a network marketing pro.
But for now, let’s rewind the clock to see how it all started…
When Was World Wide Dream Builders Founded?
World Wide Dream Builders was created thanks to the vision of one of Amway’s biggest superstars.
Backed in 1972, Ron Puryear joined Amway with his wife Georgia and together they became “Diamond” level distributors within just four years.
That’s a big deal.
Long story short:
The Puryears were experts in knowing how to sell Amway products and recruit other aspiring entrepreneurs into their downline.
But they also wanted to create a systematic way of training other Amway recruits to become Diamond level distributors, too.
Then it happened:
Ron sat down with legendary Amway distributor Bill Britt to get his advice on how to make the Puryear’s dream a reality.
The seed was planted for what soon would become WWDB.
World Wide Dream Builders was founded back in the late 1970’s but was officially incorporated as a company (World Wide Group, LLC) in 1995.
Fast forward to today:
World Wide Dream Builders (https://www.wwdb.com) has grown into Amway’s largest training and motivational platform.
What makes them so special?
According to Google (and this AmwayWiki page), the Puryears and WWDB have helped over 500 Amway distributors become qualified Diamonds worldwide.
That’s impressive no matter how you look at it.
In 2016, Ron Puryear passed away at the age of 75, yet WWDB continues to thrive with his son Jim Puryear at the helm.
But let’s take a closer look at what WWDB actually provides by answering the million-dollar question:
How Does World Wide Dream Builders Work?
So, you wanna build your dream with WWDB?
There’s a catch:
You first need to become an Amway Independent Business Owner (IBO) which costs less than $100 per year.
Then if you wanna officially sign up with World Wide Dream Builders, it’ll cost you around $112 per month.
That includes your WWDB Premiere Membership ($50/mo), CommuniKate ($37/mo), and Digital Downloads ($25/mo).
(You can check out the official WWDB brochure here.)
All of these give you access to motivational audio programs (CDs & MP3s), book recommendations, as well as the company’s communication platform and mobile app (CommuniKate).
Here’s an actual sheet of the cost breakdown from someone who was being recruited by a WWDB member (read about their experience here):
Which ain’t half bad if you think about it.
Especially when you consider the average start up cost of a U.S. small business is normally around $30,000.
No one said the free enterprise system was cheap!
But there’s two main issues that many folks have with Amway or any MLM in general:
- The recruiting aspect of hitting up your friends, family, and perfect strangers to join your business opportunity.
- The constant encouragement to attend (and pay for) all the “rah-rah” events and motivational material.
Recruiting issues aside (for now), I’m all for developing a winning mindset and am a big believer that “your network is your net worth.”
In other words:
If you wanna become a successful entrepreneur, you better get around other successful entrepreneurs (online and/or offline).
But here’s the thing:
There’s a world of difference between nourishing your mind with positive mentors vs. feeling like you’re being brainwashed into becoming an “Ambot”.
Which is exactly what some peeps feel like after being in an MLM for a while.
For example, here’s the second half of that sheet above from a World Wide Dream Builders recruiter:
Now to be fair:
I completely understand they’re just trying to instill successful habits and routines into the lives of their new recruits.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Make no mistake:
If you wanna stay in the good graces of your upline, you will be expected to:
- Attend ALL the meetings, events, and training seminars in your local area.
- Buy ALL of the motivational materials (e.g. “Standing Order Tapes”) that your upline recommends.
- Focus ALL of your free time on building your MLM business.
- Spend ALL of your extra cashflow on things related to WWDB.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Do yourself a favor and read this review from someone who I feel gives an honest account of their World Wide Dream Builders experience.
Keep in mind:
That’s just one person’s viewpoint and obviously not everyone will experience the same thing.
But you should really ask yourself if you wanna make that kind of commitment.
Bottom line: Becoming a successful network marketer in 2019 is a full-time lifestyle — it’s not for part-time dabblers.
So you better be willing and able to invest a LOT of time and money if you want to make your Amway business work.
I wanna make something clear though:
I’m not anti-WWDB/Amway or against the idea of surrounding yourself with a positive group of like-minded peeps.
The only problem is that network marketing marketing companies like Amway are often accused of crossing the line and using near “cult-like” behavior to keep their distributors on board.
And don’t forget that even if you’re okay with drinking the MLM Kool-Aid, you still have to convince a whole lot of other people to do the exact same thing.
Easier said than done.
But if you can do that enough times for enough years, you just might end up with a massive network of IBOs, as well as some impressive monthly residual checks.
Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim.
Amway: Quick Summary
|Amway is the most successful network marketing company on the planet, with billions of dollars in yearly sales and a track record spanning six decades.||Thanks mostly to their business model, Amway‘s reputation among many folks (who recognize their name) is poor to say the least.|
|For the most part, their products have a reputation for being very high quality which can lead to long-term customers.||It costs about $100 to become an Independent Business Owner (IBO), and you are expected to buy a lot of products for personal use which tend to be pricey.|
|Amway offers more than 450 products ranging from skin care to health supplements, so it's safe to say you won't run out of things to sell as an IBO.||Like all MLMs, there is a strong emphasis placed on sponsoring other people into the business so you can make commissions from their sales as well.|
|As the most well-established network marketing company, Amway offers top-notch training materials for their IBOs.||Distributors are frequently encouraged to buy costly motivational books & videos from their upline to help them succeed.|
|The company runs first-class conferences for their distributors to keep morale high and emphasize the importance of having the right mindset for success.||The rah-rah culture of the company has created some of the most annoying and aggressive distributors in the MLM universe.|
|The top-level distributors in Amway can earn some of the highest commissions in the MLM industry, with yearly incomes in the high six and seven-figure ranges.||The company admits that only 48% of all IBOs are active and of the ones that are active, their average monthly gross income is only around $200.|
Will Amway Be Shut Down or Will It Survive?
C’mon, they’ve been around for 60 frickin’ years and do $9B in annual sales.
Amway’s not going anywhere.
Personally, I’m not a fan of their business model but don’t think they’re a scam either.
Compared to many MLMs out there, I actually like Amway.
Now headed by Doug DeVos and Steve Van Andel (both sons of the original founders), you gotta respect their longevity and success as the largest MLM in the world.
Not to mention their product quality is better than most.
The money is definitely out there… remember the $60 billion in bonuses and incentives I told you about?
To put it simply: it’s a long shot.
According to the FTC, 99% of MLMers lose money.
(Don’t hate the messenger.)
So don’t believe anyone who tells you that building a significant passive income in Amway is “easy”.
There’s no miracle formula for success in MLM, internet marketing, or any home business.
But maybe you should try switching it up.
Y’know, stop chasing old multi-level dreams and start learning a new skill set?
One where you can still be your own boss and rake in a lotta dead presidents.
It’s your call, Neo:
Take the blue pill and keep pestering those closest to you about your amazing home biz opp.
Or take the red pill and giddy-up on over to this link.