We catch up with Amway business owner Trevor Lowe to find out more about his journey in Network Marketing and working with PRB Accountants.
PRB: Hi Trevor, tell us a little bit about your professional background and how and why you got into network marketing.
I am a Biochemist by profession. My first job was in research for a pharmaceutical company and that was a great and very interesting time. We were looking at the way different drugs were metabolised, the biochemistry of nutrition and what can happen with the influence of drugs. The only problem with that was that there was no money in it! So I moved into pharmaceutical sales for a different company, selling biochemical products to university and hospital labs.
I then set up a chemical company of my own which wasn’t terribly successful – in fact it was a disaster, it never had enough investment. In the process of developing products for that company I went to the US where I met the guy who became our sponsor into the Amway business.
At the time of meeting him, I was very open to looking at other ways of working and making money. In Network Marketing, we are always looking for ‘lookers’, so people who are searching for an alternative to what they’re currently doing.
I started my Amway business in 1979 so I’ve been in the industry for over 42 years!
PRB: Which parts of the network marketing industry do you enjoy the most?
The most exciting things about the industry for me are that it’s doable by anybody, and that the earning potential is unlimited – although that may vary from one organisation to the next. There are multi-millionaires who have built their wealth as a direct result of their Amway business. That in itself is exciting because it liberates people to make choices, it means they don’t have to stay in their job if they don’t like it, and still be able to make money.
When people first join you in the business, they tend to be sceptical but one of the most satisfying points for me comes when they start to achieve things – be that to quit their job, go on special trips or pay off their mortgage, the sort of things that they couldn’t have done before joining their business. That is highly satisfying and incredibly motivating to see.
PRB: As a business owner, what would you say are your biggest successes?
Aside from the satisfaction of bringing people on board and helping them succeed, one of my biggest successes has been to take the business to an international level. That has really been quite an amazing experience: you not only find and help people in your home market, but you can also go out into other markets and do the same there.
On one occasion, I was asked to speak at a meeting in Turkey to showcase the business. As I didn’t speak any Turkish I had to get someone else to do it for me, so I didn’t understand a word of what was going on. The amazing thing is that as a direct result of me attending this one event, we now have hundreds within the business in Turkey. We have businesses in Norway and Sweden that have seen some fantastic successes – I just find that incredibly satisfying.
The international activity produces interesting income, not just within the UK but we bring money into the business from all over the world. If an economy here suffers, there’s probably one that is doing better elsewhere, and we can tap into that.
In our particular case we’ve had great success enabling us to get nice cars, houses and boats. My advice would be to never get into racehorses though! I was a registered horse breeder for a while, getting them trained and in 5 years it cost me a small fortune with only ever one winner.
I also have a small yacht charter business in Scotland (which PRB looks after as well) which I was able to set up through our success with the Amway business.
PRB: How do you respond to the sceptics and people who do not believe in network marketing as a business model?
A common theme is that sceptics seem to think that we are feeding off other people and just want to lure them in when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Once they are on board, that’s when the work actually starts – we have to work hard with our people to help them understand how the business works and then help them accomplish the work that has to be done to achieve success.
Generally though, I don’t respond to the critics. We’re all different, people are entitled to their own view. In my opinion, some people just don’t want you to succeed because it would make them feel bad. So we just don’t worry about it.
Our motto is: some will, some won’t – so what.
PRB: What does a typical work week look like for you?
We now have quite a large organisation in terms of total number of people involved so I guess the only real work I do is talk to people when they come to us, touch base with them, answer questions and provide a bit of motivation. We also organise weekend seminars 3 times a year.
These days, our role is to train and motivate the teams as most of the back office functions are done centrally by Amway.
PRB: What are your top tips for people starting out or considering joining a network marketing organisation?
- Do your research. Look into the track record and history of the company and check out the product or service offering. The larger the product or service range is, the more potential there is for ongoing business. There have been MLM’s that have just one product where once it’s been sold, that’s it – so you’ve constantly got to look for new customers. Within Amway, all you need is a small range of customers and with the large product base there’s always something that they need. That’s probably the most important tip I would say.
- Another tip would be to have a look at the leadership from the existing distributor network within the company so you know what you’re going to be part of and what the support is going to be like in future. Leadership is hugely important in Network Marketing.
- The product or service not only has to lend itself for repeat business, but it’s got to be of sufficient quality and a reasonable price, to make it saleable.
- In my personal view, if at all possible find an MLM that is international which will open up global opportunities.
Any respectable MLM company or team will have a thorough training and motivation programme to help people from all backgrounds and skills base succeed.
Interestingly, those with a particularly aggressive sales background don’t tend to do very well in MLMs. It’s often the more introverted individuals who fully embrace the training offering, who are able to build long lasting relationships with their clients. I’m not saying that salespeople can’t make it work – they absolutely can – but in MLM it is all about the relationship between the distributor and the customer. The money comes only from the sale of product so once they understand how to talk to a small group of customers and build those relationships, they can be really successful. Making money from recruitment alone is actually illegal in the UK.
PRB: When did you start working with PRB and what services do they provide for you?
We actually started working with PRB about 50 years ago, although it wasn’t called PRB back then. My wife had a hair dressing business in Brighton and the previous partner did our accounts. Once he retired we started working with Chris Whitley-Jones. Since then, and partly due to our involvement, the firm have become specialists in the sector – to the extent that they have even on occasions been approached by HMRC for advice as they didn’t know themselves!
PRB have been doing our accounts and provided advice on various business bits and pieces over the years, they’ve been fantastic!
We’re very keen to ensure that Amway isn’t seen as part of the black economy and that all of our business activity is recorded for tax purposes. Therefore, we’re always encouraging our people to take their tax and accounting obligations seriously, so we regularly get Chris in to speak at our functions. Their service is excellent, and their Helpline Service is very affordable too.
PRB: Do you have any parting thoughts?
The Network Marketing industry in the UK has had its ups and downs and will probably continue to do so. The problems that have arisen in the past have largely been because of individual sellers making inappropriate claims (e.g. juices being cures for cancer), even though the company itself has never claimed this.
I think that this is where leadership comes in. I often say that Network Marketing is a leadership driven business. Quite often when people first enter the industry they have no experience in a comparable role. In the beginning, they need their hands held so they learn how to run their business properly – all MLM’s are leadership driven.
You can find out more about Trevor on his website.
You can also read some of our other interviews with Network Marketing clients: Naomi Morgan-Tolworthy of Arbonne and Tina Rigg of Forever Living.