“Building a Business”


Wonder women

The World Fact Book tells us that the ratio of men to women in the entire world population is 101 males to 100 females. Amway data tells us that our world looks a little bit different: More than 3 million people around the world have joined Amway, and two-thirds of them are fearless females — hard-working, independent entrepreneurs who joined Amway to earn extra income, be their own boss, learn new skills, set their own schedules and be rewarded for their accomplishments.

Every one of them has a unique story, and some of them are not building the business on their own. In most Amway markets, husband-and-wife teams are common. In some cultures, it’s mothers and daughters who start and work an Amway business together.

Busy mothers are building Amway businesses to earn extra income and flexibility for their families. And in some economies, women have become successful Amway business owners where few other entrepreneurial opportunities exist for them.

Two-thirds. We believe it’s a formula that’s producing many happy returns.


Great entrepreneurial will

This definition of “will” is one we can really appreciate: “The power of control the mind has over its own actions; the power of choosing one’s actions and asserting one’s choice.”

In Greece – the world’s 72nd most populous country according to 2012 figures – the findings of the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report revealed that will and determination are as strong as ever, despite the economic recovery being experienced there. We learned:

  • More than two thirds (69%) of respondents in Greece have a positive attitude toward self-employment, with extremely positive attitudes coming from respondents under the age of 30 (79%) and students (86%).
  • More than half (53%) of respondents can imagine starting their own business – a tiny change from 2012 and proof positive that Greece has great entrepreneurial will.
  • To 44% of respondents from Greece, “making a return to the job market” is an extremely appealing motivator for starting a business, likely due to rising unemployment there.

That said, what concerns us greatly is that 85% of respondents in Greece, and 90% of females, see the fear of failing with an enterprise as an obstacle to starting a business. This is 15% more than the worldwide average.

Where Greece makes a statistical and impressive rebound is that it believes its society to be significantly more entrepreneurship-friendly than other countries categorized as crisis-struck, such as Hungary, Romania, Portugal and Spain.

The way they feel could likely be summed up in this man-on-the-street interview: “We are strongly connected to our place . . .  and we still think we are the best in the world.”

With a will like that, we look forward to the results from next year’s Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report.


Imagine more

When you own your own Amway business, you enjoy flexibility, personal growth and a limitless potential for added income. How? Watch this video to learn more…

YouTube Direkt


Their time, their priorities

People who start any kind of business quickly realize: There’s a lot of work to do, and they are in charge. On Day One, it becomes their turn to call the shots, decide how to use their time and set the goals and priorities.

Being in charge of the priorities is one of the things Vladimir and Elena Sidorov appreciate most about being Amway Business Owners.

Before they joined Amway Russia in 2005, the Sidorovs held many jobs in their small village in the Altai Mountain region of Siberia: producing snake venom, growing mushrooms, delivering coal, working in retail.

When he heard about Amway, Vladimir felt he’d discovered a business opportunity that plays to his entrepreneurial streak and preference for working independently. The couple embraced the responsibility of owning a business and the success they have enjoyed from their own hard work.

So what advice did they have for their son Ilya when he became an Amway distributor at age 19? “Stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like a leader,” Vladimir says.

That can be a daunting change for those used to having someone else control their time and activities. In direct selling, newcomers typically find help in that transition through training and mentoring by their leaders. However, it still takes discipline and the willingness to accept that rewards are commensurate with the effort they put in.

The Sidorovs find their work hours aren’t fixed, but they don’t mind. Through their business they spend a lot of time together and with other successful people.

That’s a priority achieved.


Fishing lessons

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The old axiom is of debatable origin, but few debate the message: It is better to teach someone how to do something than to do it for them.

That’s a philosophy widely embraced in direct selling, where leadership is all about helping others succeed by showing them the way.

The business opportunity is open to anyone, regardless of their experience. Individuals must take advantage of training, business tools and mentoring that can help them master the fundamentals and build real success. People are more likely to succeed when the business opportunity and distributor leaders offer plenty of each.

Nibardo Espinosa, a former electronics technican from a small town in Panama, and his wife, Yenory Rodriguez, can tell you first hand how important educational programs and networking with other business owners has been to the success of their Amway business in Costa Rica.

Even after several years in the business, the couple found fresh skills, focus and knowledge in training provided to Amway business owners. Building relationships with others facing similar challenges brought them the confidence and determination they needed to grow as entrepreneurs. Plus, it gave them greater self-esteem and the financial ability to improve their parents’ living conditions along with their own.

Sounds like a pretty good fishing lesson.


No two alike

In three decades as an Amway business owner – primarily building her business in Japan – Patrice Deibert has learned a thing or two. Last month, she shared those learnings with employees at Amway World Headquarters.

Fascinating facts included:

• The entrepreneurial spirit often lives where you least expect it. Said Pat, “We can never tell who’s going to be successful – there is no specific personality type or DNA.”

• In Japan, an Amway business owner who has reached the Platinum level of achievement has an average of 169 people on their team. “The horizon up to and between different levels of achievement can be a long one. We always tell people the truth about the amount of work it takes,” she said.

• Japan is one of the leading Amway markets in GenY participation. In fact, she says the lobby of Amway Japan’s Plazas are often packed and at their liveliest at 10 o’clock at night.

• More math from Pat’s perspective: “The toughest part about the business is learning to overcome rejection. To sponsor one person [into the business], I talk to 20.”

• Even after 34 years in Amway, no two days are alike!

Pat and her husband both earned master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and landed in Tokyo when he joined the United States Air Force. They started an Amway business with nine products to offer and zero Japanese language skills.

Owning a new business while adapting to a new culture was a lot to take on – but Pat reminded us that although no two days are ever alike, it’s a different story with people.  ”Inside, we’re more similar than we are different.”

She speaks the truth.


Up and coming

A recent YourMoney article reports a sizable boom in the number of young professionals under the age of 25 becoming direct selling representatives in the United Kingdom.

How did they define sizable? A 29% increase from 2011 to 2012. In fact, the UK Direct Selling Association says that under-25s now make up 19% of its direct sales force. That’s 75,000 new entrepreneurs — a figure that might surprise those who think direct selling has lost some of its consumer influence to online shopping. But it does not surprise us here at Amway.

Last year, a study on 2012 Amway applications by generation showed that globally, more than one-third of our new Amway Business Owners (ABOs) were born after 1981. Leading the charge and recruiting the highest percentage of next-generation business owners is Amway Vietnam, followed closely by Australia, Malaysia and Japan.

Lynda Mills, director of the UK DSA, said it well: “For many young people, the jobs market is incredibly difficult to break into and there is a real desire to work for themselves and get up and running quickly. Direct selling offers just that and a chance for people, whatever their age, to be their own boss and make a very successful career.”

recent study in Canada supports her assertion. It revealed that 30% of young Canadians believe they will be self-employed in the future, and one in four expects to be their own boss within the next five years.

Call it optimism. Call it an economic necessity. We call it reality — and we embrace it!


Notable Numbers

Each year when Forbes, Fortune and others rank the most successful companies, it’s an opportunity to reflect not only on the numbers, but also the hard-working people who drive that success.

We’re proud of our Amway business owners. Thanks to their perseverance and leadership, our company has grown to what it is today — an incredible $11.3 billion global enterprise ranked #1 in the Direct Selling News Global 100. Also, Amway parent company Alticor ranks #25 on the most recent Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies. That’s ahead of outstanding businesses as Levi Strauss & Co., Edward Jones, Hallmark Cards and the Neiman Marcus Group.

And based on some fun summer math, here’s another number to ponder:

If our parent company, Alticor, participated in the  Fortune Magazine Fortune 500 listing — an annual ranking of sales revenues for those companies that are incorporated and operating in the U.S. — the numbers show we potentially would come in at #238. That would put us ahead of impressive brands such as Visa,  Estée Lauder and Campbell’s Soup.

Notable numbers?  Absolutely.  And it’s only the beginning.


With honor

The month of July feels very patriotic. Our Amway business owners and employees in Colombia, Argentina, Slovakia and our home, the U.S., celebrate independence days this month. It’s also the month for national day celebrations for our friends in Canada, France and Hong Kong.

So it seems like a natural time to tell the story of Mike Carroll, who, one might say, personifies the word “patriot.”

The former chief petty officer spent an action-packed 16 years in the U.S. Navy, scuba diving and parachuting as a member of the elite SEALs.

After leaving the Navy, Mike felt called to enlist again after the events of September 11, 2001. The Navy initially turned him down because of hip problems that developed from his years of physically demanding missions. Undeterred, Mike had hip surgery that enabled him to return to active duty where he served a tour with his special forces team.

Serving your country can deepen your appreciation for the freedoms it affords. As an Amway business owner for 26 years, Mike’s appreciation for free enterprise is especially keen.

His many fellow Amway distributor patriots might share that sentiment. Not to mention, four of our Founders Council members who were military officers in their home countries. In fact, military service is the seventh most common profession of people who joined Amway and eventually became Founders Council members.

We thank each of these people for their service, and we are honored to have them as part of our fleet, as well.


What’s in a name?

Ada and Diamond Pornjaded from Thailand are the next generation of Amway. That’s not a typo; their names really are Ada and Diamond. The two were recently in Grand Rapids representing their parents, Dr. Witat Pornjaded and Jintana Pornjaded, at the 2013 Amway Founders Council meetings.

Their excitement for the Amway business is evident and contagious. “We are a product of the (Amway) product,” Ada proclaims with a beaming smile. “Teens today want their own business and they enjoy the freedom that this business gives them.”

That’s pretty wise advice from a 19-year-old that just qualified Platinum.

Twenty-two year old Diamond (also Platinum) shares his own insight. “Find a good teacher, and be willing to study hard,” he said. “You can’t build this business by sleeping in. You have to be motivated — build it fast, and then you’ll have more time to enjoy the better things in life.”

From their playful banter, it’s quite apparent that there’s not much sibling rivalry here. Ada and Diamond confess they weren’t pressured into the business by their parents.

“We saw them doing the business together and having a good time,” Ada said. “They’re always so optimistic and dedicated to finishing what they started.”

It’s quite apparent that a rich legacy is being created. So, where do their names come from? Mom was pregnant with Diamond when Dr. and Mrs. Pornjaded qualified Executive Diamond. And Ada is named after the hometown of Amway’s World Headquarters.

Ada laughs when she admits that uses her name as a calling card for her business. “All the time people ask me, ‘Why are you named Ada?’” she said. “It’s from Amway. Have you heard about the business?”