Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wrong Businesses

Two of the worst businesses we ever became involved in were Amway/Quixtar and worm farming. Yes, you read that right--we were worm farmers. Worm castings. Worm poop, to be exact.

From 1993 to 1999, we had the misfortune of being Amway distributors. I'll probably receive a letter from Quixtar attorneys telling me to remove this post. That's how they keep their reputation clean, I hear. My best friend, at the time, was our sponsor. The up line was real excited because here were two college educated professionals to join the others in their line. We worked the business very hard. We can prove this because we offended all of our friends, neighbors, professional associates, and relatives. Yep, we were definitely in an MLM.

We attended all the expensive seminars and conventions. Bought all the tools (books, tapes, anything else they shoved in our faces). Showed the plan night and day. My poor husband was out prospecting all hours of the night after work, and I told everyone who I worked with that I'd be leaving my job soon to be with my kids. It didn't quite work out that way. We could never really get it off the ground. Neither could most of our up line. Many are not in today and those who are haven't gotten very far.

Here is the part that bothers me the most about Quixtar: those at the top claim that they have made their riches by doing what we were doing in the down line (getting distributors in to buy their consumables from their own business--very expensive). I have found that this is not true. The leaders of the group actually make the majority of their money by selling the books, tapes, and convention tickets. Therefore, it's an act in futility to attempt to duplicate their success when you don't even have the opportunity to do so. This information comes from lawsuits and previous up line themselves.

I have had friends and acquaintances tell us that they have joined Quixtar over the years. My husband and I never tell them what we know just in case, in the off chance, they will be the one in a million who makes it to the top. We are not dream busters. However, each one has gotten out even sooner than we did. I think that they're all smarter.

We did learn some things, though. We learned that it's best to think positively. Good sales techniques were taught at the meetings. We discovered what we don't want in a business. That the only people out at 8:00 at night are other distributors prospecting each other. That rejection only makes you feel like dying, but you don't really die.

Always open for new opportunities, in 2004, after moving to Wine Country, we purchased a worm farm. Not only did we buy the farm, so to speak, but we invested into the company, too. To the tune of $50,000. Not long after, the former inmate (from a telephone company scam), who headed the organization, ran it into the ground--or so the district attorney's office says--and we lost our entire investment. Obviously, we couldn't find anything out about the man before we invested because, as we discovered later, he had used so many aliases. So as not to soften the blow, I always tell people that we bought into a scam--just to confirm that my brains were hibernating during this one. All of the investors tried to resuscitate the company, but it didn't work.

The lesson I learned from that experience is not to trust chain-smoking, grossly obese, emphysemic, Christian-claiming crooks, who are missing teeth and whose pants fall down when they stand up. Yes, it's true. I am not exaggerating.

How ironic that this post is about Amway and worms!