Fake It Till You Make It E-book

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    FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT

    by Phil Kerns 1982

    DEDICATED TO VICTORIA WHO HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN INSPIRATION

    IN MY LIFE

    INTRODUCTION

    This incredible story is true. These pages unfold well-guarded secrets

    of Amway Corporation's "Winner's Circle." It is an account of over

    one million distributors, many of whom are considered to be carbon

    copies of the corporation's curators, Jay VanAndel and Rich DeVos.

    The sheer numbers of this group draw politicians like Ronald Reagan,

    Gerald Ford and Jesse Helms. This massive worldwide corporation

    has over the years become a haven for professional singers andmotion picture stars. It has not been uncommon for pastors,

    evangelists and gospel singers to trade their humble flocks for sheep

    of a different kind.

    Amway has been frequently called a "rags to riches" corporation,

    which was pulled up by its bootstraps in 1959 and now in 1982

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    proudly exceeds the $1.4 billion mark in retail sales. Although

    impressions of the mechanics of the company will be described from

    time to time, the focal point of the story is directed towards the

    distributors themselves and the Amway Distributors Association of

    America, a separate non-profit entity. The issue in this book is not the

    Corporation and not SOAP, but rather distributors who have a

    mission and a hope, a dream. Their mission is to sponsor others and

    their hope and dream is to build a financial empire. To many of the

    distributors, no price is too great to pay in order to achieve this

    mission and this dream. One will discover in reading through these

    pages that there is indeed, a price to be paid to a "hidden" business

    carefully concealed behind the infrastructure of Amway's hierarchy.

    It is a multi-million dollar enterprise, cleverly designed and fueled by

    excitement and hero worship.

    Some have said that this "ghost" system of "non-Amway" produced

    materials has created a massive surge of grabby avariciousness from

    many of the top leaders, much more today than ever before. Other

    distributors complain that this selfishness is destroying the credibility

    of their own businesses, and they feel that if this display of

    outlandish coveting continues, it may inevitably destroy their own

    personal enterprises.

    The complaints I have heard are endless. They include everything

    from outright lying to prospective distributors to even exalting

    leaders as prophets of God. I have compiled reams of information

    and interviewed hundreds of distributors all across the nation and

    abroad concerning Amway's distributor organization.

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    This story would not have been possible without the courageous and

    outspoken contributions made by people in Amway, some of whom

    are mentioned within the pages of this book. Some of these

    individuals, today, are still Amway distributors operating successful

    businesses! They have vehemently protested the cult-like tactics

    used by certain leaders in Amway. In their official complaints, they

    have cited harassment, character assassination and religious

    fanaticism all of these tactics used to peddle huge volumes of

    products not related to Amway.

    This book also contains my own personal experiences in the Amway

    business. Included is my association and subsequent recruitment by

    two of Amway's most highly acclaimed distributors. The names of

    these distributors and others have been concealed.

    Places and characteristics also have been changed. If you see names

    of famous persons you recognize, it is because they are peripheraland not key in nature. My full intention in writing this book is not to

    tear down but rather to help open the eyes of many persons who are

    being deceived.

    Therefore, I believe it is justifiable to say that this is not a "classic

    mudraker." Instead it is two years of carefully documented affidavits,

    letters, notes and tape recordings uncovering this mysterious andvery lucrative "ghost" system within Amway's legitimate enterprise.

    In Amway's own Corporate Compendium an unusual question is

    asked in bold italics, "is Amway a Religious or Political Cult?" Never

    before have I seen such a question in any corporate literature. Could

    it be that they too, are beginning to feel the stress of a

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    distributorship organization out of control, thereby possibly

    apologizing for the actions of those within its very own ranks?

    This is mystery. It was designed to be a valuable spiritual handbook

    to assist you in making a more objective decision--whether you are

    already in the ranks or considering subscription to this organization.

    Phil Kerns

    LEVELS OF ACHIEVEMENT:

    Crown Ambassador, Crown, Triple Diamond, Double Diamond,

    Executive Diamond, Diamond, Emerald, Pearl, Ruby, Direct Distributor

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    CHAPTER 1

    THE DREAM

    The year 1981 was a time of fury. Our nation was staggered by the

    shooting of President Reagan, and the entire world cringed when

    Pope John Paul 11 was gunned down in Rome. Millions of Americanswatched from the protection of their living rooms as hails of bullets

    smashed through Anwar Sadat's reviewing stand. It was a bitter year

    of turmoil for Poland, El Salvador and the Middle East. West

    Europeans marched for peace as Libya's Muammar Kaddafi terrorized

    the world with his threats.

    Somehow through all of the pandemonium in the world, pomp stillproved to be glorious when Prince Charles and Lady Diana exchanged

    their wedding vows. Millions watched with childlike fascination as

    this procession of royalty fulfilled this once glorious nation's

    traditional dream.

    Another event of international prominence to catch the attention of

    the public's eye was the dedication of the magnificently restoredAmway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The registration

    list for this gala event revealed 600 prominent guests. Some of the

    most notable persons to be invited included President and Mrs.

    Ronald Reagan, former President and Mrs. Gerald R. Ford, Vice

    President and Mrs. George Bush, President Jose Portillo of Mexico,

    Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada, former President Valery

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    Gisgard d'Estaing of France, Foreign Minister Sunao Sonada of Japan

    and Hollywood's acclaimed Bob Hope.

    It was a grand affair of elegance and nobility. During the early

    evening hours on the night of the dedication, security officers

    directed traffic for dozens of limousines, each struggling for a place in

    which to deposit its distinguished guests. It was an exquisite parade

    of the elite and well-to-do. Each was being escorted into this newly

    renovated building which was previously known as the Old Pantlind

    Hotel. Inside the scene was breathtaking. The vaulted ceilings

    gleamed with approximately one million square inches of hand

    applied gold leaf. Richly polished mahogany paneling provided

    resonance for the newly painted decor. Prisms of light shot about the

    expansive rooms, bouncing from one luxuriant chandelier to another.

    Bouquets of fragrantly scented flowers added an aroma of paradise

    to the surroundings.

    This event would be historically noted as a week of splendor never to

    be forgotten. Here under one roof had gathered many of the world's

    most well heeled and opulent leaders. All of this international

    socializing would not have been possible without a "Dream". This

    "Dream" began in the minds and hearts of Amway's founders, Rich

    DeVos and Jay VanAndel. The entire vision was the product of two

    determined entrepreneurs. They had built an empire, and it was now

    time to enjoy the prestige and fruits of their labors.

    In looking across the expanses of the world, millions of determined

    entrepreneurs can be found. They may be seen pushing a sandwich

    cart in New York or even selling ash from the eruption of Mt. St.

    Helens. Determination and creativity are the two vital ingredients

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    necessary to propel these daring and ambitious tradesmen on

    towards success.

    Each has probably chosen to ignore the circumstances, which

    constantly surround and threaten him with extinction. Usually his

    pride or bravado catapults him beyond all obstacles, thus proving to

    all unbelievers that he is, in fact, a doer! All scoffers are put to open

    shame by his ability to achieve, and excel.

    Of course, no tall businessmen will produce with the same degree ofvigor and enthusiasm. Some look to the trade as a mere livelihood,

    while others see the market place as a very competitive battleground

    where there can only be "winners" and "losers." The Amway

    distributor, like many other entrepreneurs, has much determination.

    However, uniquely apart from most other businesses, this business

    requires little "creativity." "That's the beauty of the business," some

    distributors will tell others. All the groundwork has all ready beenlaid. One only has to remember four things: Setup a meeting, go to a

    meeting, recruit someone at the meeting and set up another

    meeting. It is as simple as that!

    Or is it? After several months in the business, I found that it was not

    as easy as I had been led to believe. In fact, there was a price, which I

    personally had to pay when selling the "Dream." This price was lesstime with my family and a deficit in my checking account!

    After leaving Amway myself and during the course of my

    investigation into the very depths of this company, I met Michelle.

    She is an attractive young blonde who works for a very active inner

    city Christian ministry in Portland, Oregon.

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    She explained to me how she had been approached about Amway by

    Larry, a close friend whom she had known for several years. One day

    at work Larry came by. Michelle was shocked to see him wearing a

    suit. "He never wears a suit, not even to church!" she thought to

    herself.

    "Michelle, "Larry stammered, "I've gotten into my own business, and

    I'd like you to come over tomorrow night so I can tell you all about

    the opportunity! How about it?" "What kind of business is it?"

    Michelle asked.

    "Just come to my house and you will find out" Michelle pressed for

    more information but was unsuccessful.

    She then remembered talking to a girl friend that had complained

    about some of the tactics that certain Amway distributors had used

    to get her to go to a meeting. Michelle sensed the possibility that thismight be such a ploy and so the asked Larry, "Is it Amway?"

    Larry hesitated, smiled and then exclaimed, "No, it's just a great

    business opportunity. How about us getting together, and I'll tell you

    all about it?" She agreed to attend the meeting the following night.

    Michelle arrived promptly at 7:30 p.m. After Larry had lectured for an

    hour and a half about the fantastic opportunities the business had to

    offer with the possibility of earning an income to match one p s

    dreams, one fellow finally asked, "What is this business called?" Larry

    replied eagerly, "The American Way!" "Oh, you mean Amway!" the

    man concluded. Michelle was devastated. "How could Larry have lied

    to me!" she thought. Something strange seemed to have gotten a

    hold of her friend. For months everywhere he went he carefully

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    concealed the name Amway in an attempt to recruit others into this

    organization.

    "I felt used I" Michelle exclaimed to me. "When I tried to talk to Larry

    about it, he just wouldn't listen. Because I didn't join, he felt I was a

    loser and that my way of thinking was totally negative. The only thing

    he would talk about whenever I saw him was his Amway business,

    even at church! This business has really affected our relationship. Our

    friendship has never been the same."

    Another girl, whose name was Jessie, related to me her experience

    with this business. She told me how one day some of her old

    Schoolmates from a Bible college in California had called her" out of

    the blue. "These friends, now married and living in Central Oregon,

    were very anxious to get together with Jessie and seemed more than

    willing to make the long drive over the Cascade Mountains to

    Portland, Oregon, to see her.

    Jessie eagerly looked forward to an evening of reminiscing and

    fellowship with these friends. She was, indeed, very disappointed

    when she found out that the reason these guests had driven

    hundreds of miles was to try to sponsor her in to the Amway

    business.

    Michelle's and Jessie's stories are not unique. For the past two years,

    I have carefully collected dozen of stories similar to theirs-- only the

    names and places have changed. But let's go a step further. I have

    also discovered that thousands, like Larry, have eventually dropped

    out of this business. In fact, more than 50 percent of the total

    distributors quit in any given year. I'm sure that they felt like failures,

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    and that is understandable. Most sales companies reward only those

    who produce results. The evidence shows that the vast majority of

    Amway distributors really earn very little, while a very small

    percentage of the entire one million distributors enjoy enormous

    profits. These tremendous adverse odds are not obstacles to those

    with this mission and its accompanying dream. Despite the world's

    situation, they are single minded in their determination.

    Everyday newspapers, radio and TV bring us more bad news. The

    world is shaking at its very foundations. Famine, drought and rumors

    of war threaten to engulf us all. Skyrocketing inflation and

    unemployment push us to the brink of chaos. Yet) there are those

    among us who are dedicated to a dream. The dream is that they are

    going to make it and make it big in this business. Unfortunately, in

    most cases, it is only a dream. It will probably never come true.

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    CHAPTER 2

    GETTING STARTED

    It was a misty Sunday evening in the month of May when my wife

    Victoria and I followed Mark and Denise Hall, our upline1 sponsors,

    into their motel room in Eugene, Oregon. Mark, a full-timeevangelist, had just concluded a speaking engagement for a local

    congregation. Accompanying our party was Millie Hooper, a well-

    known gospel singer, and Don and Melissa Griffin, close personal

    friends of ours. We all pushed into the small, but attractively

    decorated, room only to quickly discover a lack of seating. We opted

    for the adjoining bed.

    As soon as Mark closed the door, he focused his gaze towards me.

    Then, and very much the same way that he would open a sermon, he

    threw his arms outright and began to exclaim. "Phil, you must

    become a Direct Distributor before September! Don't get me wrong.

    You're doing a great job, but you are going to have to sponsor a lot

    more people into this business if you want to make it! Lester Canon

    wants you to be the guest speaker at his conventi...

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