The concern, the cure

Melissophobia is the fear of bees; blennophobia is the fear of slime; and chorophobia is the fear of dancing. In fact, from A to Z, clinical names for numerous fears exist.

In the 2010-2012 editions of Amway’s Entrepreneurship Report, the “fear of failure” was consistently among the highest obstacles to becoming self-employed. We believe this fear leads to a high gap between people who can imagine starting their own business and those who actually do.

So in our 2013 report, we took a closer look. We wanted to know: Did the fear exist because people did not believe in their abilities, their networks and ideas? Or because they did not feel supported by their environment?

Among the polled countries worldwide, 41 percent of respondents feared “financial burdens up to bankruptcy.” For 31 percent, “the economic crisis” turned out to be a considerable obstacle (even truer in the European Union). Non-financial fears included disappointing one’s family, loss of reputation, and and not being unable to handle the high level of responsibility.

The percentage of respondents who are fearful of starting an enterprise is represented below for six of the 24 countries studied.

These fears may not have clinical names, but at Amway we seek to “treat” them with a business model that is low-risk, low-cost and has built-in mentorship and support. And fear not, if it doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it has a money-back guarantee.


More than a number

When Amway releases its annual sales, people focus on the big number,  sales of USD$11.8 billion for 2013, another record for the company.

But we measure our accomplishments in smaller terms – the individual successes of a lot of ones, twos and threes.

Ones, such as Patrice Deibert of the U.S., who has built a thriving Amway business in Japan.

Twos, including Vladimir and Elena Sidorov of Russia, who found an outlet for their entrepreneurial spirit in Amway.

And threes, like Minnie Wen, Li Man Bong and Roy Li of Hong Kong, each of whom started a promising career but wanted more control over their future.

Millions of people like Patrice, Vladimir and Roy are achieving their potential through their Amway businesses.

That’s why our annual sales are more than a number.  They represent the collective achievements of our business owners all over the world, supported by our more than 21,000 employees.

To them, we say thank you, and congratulations on another amazing year.


Nov. 20: What a day

It’s been two months since the Amway Universal Children’s Day on Nov. 20, but we still marvel at the impact it had.

More than 15,000 volunteers worked on 300 projects in 57 countries that resulted in more than 100,000 children being helped.

Jesse Hertstein from our global One by One team puts it best: “It’s not just one day of volunteering. It’s really a demonstration of our commitment … to help children in every community we do business in. Not just today, but on into the future.”

Here’s a collection of some of the amazing things accomplished in our 24-hour global celebration focused on making a difference.

YouTube Direkt


Diverse Perspectives: Our Annual Entrepreneurship Report

In 24 countries and from 26,000 people, Amway recently sought opinions on the attitudes, concerns and desires of would-be entrepreneurs.

Titled the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, the study provides an up-to-date view on self-employment potential and obstacles hindering entrepreneurial activities in Australia, Austria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

The good news:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship, a 1% increase over 2012 data. Even more encouraging? Nearly half of them can imagine starting their own businesses.
  • Respondents from Denmark have the most positive attitude toward self-employment (89%). Finland follows with 87% and the Netherlands rounds out the top three most positive countries.

The rest of the story:

  • We found that 65% of would-be entrepreneurs were motivated by the desire to be independent. People want to control their time and their futures. They want to set their own hours, goals and priorities — be their own boss.
  • For years now, our study has shown that fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to becoming self-employed. The fear to fail has lead to the gap between the number of people who can imagine starting their own businesses and the number who actually go for it.

So what?

  • We believe it’s urgent to support the activation of potential entrepreneurs by jointly raising awareness, encouraging further debate and doing anything we can to negate fears.

Amway offers a unique business opportunity and we take seriously our responsibility to engage in the public discussion on entrepreneurship. The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report is one way we do that. It provides decision-makers in the realm of politics, economics and education with real data to inform actions that encourage the foundation of new businesses.

After all, the more entrepreneurs, the merrier!


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!


Reprogram the Future of Skin

After months of hinting and teasing, we are pleased to formally announce ARTISTRY YOUTH XTEND – a powerfully proactive and comprehensive skincare collection addressing the first signs of aging.

As early as age 25, many women begin to show the first signs of age in the form of fine lines and wrinkles, crow’s feet and loss of skin clarity and radiance. These changes are due in part to the cumulative effects of free radical damage, including exposure to sun and pollution, stress, certain lifestyle habits, genetics and wear and tear of life. Fortunately, YOUTH XTEND helps to re-program the future of skin and repair and protect skin to prolong the look of youth.

“The YOUTH XTEND collection marks the beginning of many exciting new developments in the re-emergence of the ARTISTRY brand as a global competitor in the prestige beauty space,” said Maud Pansing, Amway’s Vice President of Global Beauty.

The YOUTH XTEND collection makes its debut this month in Korea, Japan and Thailand, followed by additional markets in Southeast Asia and around the world through 2013.


Assessing Sustainability

Do you know what Life Cycle Assessment is?

 It has become pretty important at Amway. LCA, is an internationally recognized way to determine the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. An LCA analyzes the entire production process from raw materials to manufacturing to distribution to “end of life management.” (Can it be recycled or will it go to a landfill?)

 Amway Research Scientist David Byrne recently attended the LCA XII Conference in Tacoma, Washington, and shared the evolution of Amway’s use of LCA and our goal to be recognized as a sustainability leader in the direct sales industry. Here is the gist of his message:

 Amway’s first product, L.O.C., was a phosphate-free, all-purpose cleaner that was one of the first bio-degradable products on the market. It was the first of many products we designed with environmental considerations. The company’s founders did this because it was the right thing to do.

 However, our Independent Business Owners, customers and partners now want to know about our sustainability efforts. That’s why in 2009 Amway started using LCA. As a test case, an LCA helped shape the design of the new eSpring system launched in Japan that year. The result? It used 46% less energy than its predecessor.

Now sustainability requirements are integrated into corporate objectives for all new products and sustainability claims are tested along with performance claims. At Amway, LCA has been used successfully, and it’s gaining recognition inside and outside the company.


Garden of friendship

For centuries, the tea house has been a key element of a Japanese garden.

It’s a tranquil place. Before you enter, you cleanse your face and hands to symbolically check your cares and worries at the door. 

It’s a harmonious place, where you meet with friends, receive special tea and cake, and enjoy your time together. 

It’s also a familiar place for our recent guests at Amway World Headquarters, who participated in the Georgetown University Leadership Program, supported by Amway Japan and The Japan Times.

They were excited to learn that a tea house is planned for the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, as part of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. Construction for the project begins in 2013.

During a preview and personal tour of the future garden site, they shared their stories and suggestions for the first official tea ceremony with David Hooker, president and CEO at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Already new friendships are starting to blossom.


The perfect guy

He’s intelligent, confident and charismatic. His skin is healthy and his wardrobe effortlessly cool. He’s who the ladies would call “the perfect guy.”

 And now, he’s officially an ARTISTRY Man!

Amway Japan recently named Daisuke Fujii, 30, winner of the ARTISTRY Men Contest. He’ll serve as brand ambassador for ARTISTRY Men, the premium range of skincare products formulated to address the specific needs of men’s skin, namely hydration and oil-control. But first, he’ll take an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Stonehenge, among the world’s most famous iconic stone monuments, which inspired the packaging for the ARTISTRY Men collection.  

From more than 3,000 entrants, Daisuke was selected by a panel of celebrity judges including actor Mikihisa Azuma, photographer Herbie Yamaguchi, model Alice Saito and Amway Japan President Mark Beiderwieden. Contestants were judged on style, intelligence, communication skills, sense of humor and good values. As brand ambassador, Daisuke will work to raise brand awareness for ARTISTRY Men while attracting Gen Y males in Japan.

 For a contest play-by-play, check out this video.

 Congratulations, Daisuke!