“How Many People Really Make It?”

“Whats the real percentage of making money in that thing?”

Well, if those doom and gloom blogs are correct, you’ll hear 99% failure rate over and over and over and over again. Because they have said it,typed it, delivered in some form of communication (They’d probably show you in sign language if they could), it must be totally, unabashedly true and as such you might as well forget about it, kid. No one makes it big in that deal.

I didn’t make it, I know of a lot of people who told me they didn’t make it (I’ve never met most of them of course…), their Aunt Jenny didn’t make it and everyone got conned and lost thousands of dollars!

The general idea of this “Its a 99% failure rate! Run away! It can’t work! It can’t be done!” is an interesting concern.  Its basically warning you that low amounts of people really make the good money and that it is ridiculously, insanely hard to not go into debt and you are being lied to.

So lets look at this “concern” in a bit more in depth. The concern basically says this:

“Because there is a perceived high failure rate in this industry / activity / business / job – it is therefore a waste of your time, your money and your resources. Do not attempt to succeed in that industry / activity / business / job – most people fail! (Insinuating that you already will without even knowing you) Most people lose out or don’t make it!

In other words do not try anything that has a perceived high failure rate. They can’t do it, they aren’t doing it, why will it be different for others? If that was the mentality in everything – everyone would be average. There would be no “professionals”. Only amateurs and mediocre’s.

So, with that concern in mind I would challenge those who have this type of concern to keep the same mindset towards all challenges; To all fields that have a high “perceived” failure rate just to be consistent. And with that consistency in mind, I hope they tell their nieces and nephews or their children to never aspire to be anything more than average just as often as they post on their blogs about how most will never make it in the business.

I would hope that they tell their niece or daughter that most little girls don’t make much money by being in Ballet. There are very few ballet stars. The work is hard! Oh so hard! And the money! You’ll go backwards every month paying for your extra schooling and teachers and studio fees and costumes! And there’s a high percentage of failure rate – so chances are, sweetie – you’ll fail too. So just forget about trying to make anything out of your little hobby and have fun for now.

Uncomfortable thought isn’t it? Saying that to a child who wants to really be successful at their activity or sport. Sorry….but there’s more points to be had….

NCAA.org gives us some straight up numbers. Lets start with basketball since I’m a hoops  player and fan.

Men’s Basketball

* High school senior players who go on to play NCAA men`s basketball: Less than one in 35, or 2.9 percent.

* NCAA senior players drafted by an NBA team: Less than one in 75, or 1.3 percent.

* High school senior players eventually drafted by an NBA team: About three in 10,000, or 0.03 percent. That’s roughly the chance of getting four of a kind in the first round of draw poker.

0.03% – 2.9% Based on these numbers and the mentality discussed above – it is INSANE to ever allow your child to dream about making the NBA. ” Now Kevin, only 2.9% make it to the NBA – thats a 97.1% failure rate. With those odds you’ll never make it. Spending money for you to go to basketball camps in the summer, new basketball shoes, driving you to practices and games – we would lose a lot of money. Those developmental camps are scams! There’s no guarantee you’ll make the NBA but they charge hundreds of dollars to help you “develop”. What scammers!” 

* High school senior players who go on to play NCAA men’s football: About one in 17, or 5.8 percent.

* NCAA senior players drafted by an NFL team: About one in 50, or 2.0 percent.

* High school senior players eventually drafted by an NFL team: About nine in 10,000, or 0.09 percent.

That’s about the chance you have an IQ above 150, as measured by the Stanford-Binet test. The average IQ of Ph.D. students is 130.

With a 5.8% chance of playing College ball doing that alone in itself is a victory. But when you get there you go down to a 2% chance you’ll make it to the NFL….with the above mentality this dream would be insanely, totally nuts! “Don’t even try! So many kids fail! They never make it! Its too hard!” Are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

I’m a Canucks fan so lets go with the NHL. Source from CBC – The Fifth Estate – Jim Parcels:

It amazes me of the stories that I have heard about organizations attempting to acquire the services of minor hockey players, some as young as the age of 7 or 8 living in communities 1-3 hours from those teams.  Perks such as guaranteed ice time, video games, bicycles, jackets, track suits and that never ending “exposure” term that gets parents heads spinning.  Those organizations will tell you anything to get your services just to fill a roster spot on their team because there are dozens of other teams out there competing to tell you the same thing.

Recruiters love painting the rosy picture at the “front door” with promises of exposure and elite instruction.  What very few people think of is the not so rosy picture at “back door” of the development process for the 99.999% that pass through minor or junior hockey systems without guaranteed financial returns.

Using the birth year 1975 and registration information from the Ontario Hockey League:
*There were approximately 30,000 players who played minor hockey in Ontario up until the draft from the development ages to the NCAA / OHL (minor league) draft in 1991/1992.

Of that 30,000:

* 41 were drafted to NCAA Div 1 teams (0.001%). 
* 23 played at least 1 game (56%)
* 232 were drafted to an OHL team when they became eligible (0.008%).  
* Of those players drafted, only 105 played at least 1 game (45.3%).
* Only 90 of these made it through their full 3 – 4 years of eligibility (86%). 

Through these two avenues, 48 players were drafted to the NHL. That is a 0.002% rate of success. The birth year of 1975 was considered to be the best NHL draft year for Ontario players as of 1999. 

And that’s just from one province. We’re not talking the rest of Canada, the US or overseas players.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, if the negative blogs are to believed and the Amway business has a “high failure rate” then no one should do it. In fact they should run away! However you will NEVER see any of these people posting negative blogs about how pro sports are a scam. How very little people who try really end up making it. You will never see these people talking to parents about how they and their child are being scammed! How their child or friend tried to make it pro but failed and many other failed so their kid will fail too.

Oh, but sports are different. Its all about team building and having fun and making friends and learning life skills. Its not about competition. Its just to have fun. Please go say that to a high level athlete’s family. Right to their faces. I dare ya. They have a dream, they have a vision, they have a focus. They know the chances and they are pushing forward to greatness. They know how much it will cost in sporting equipment, how much time in driving to practices and games and out of town tournaments and registration fees. They know the sacrifices.

Is that family dumb? Are they stupid? The failure rates are so high! Why would they put their kid through that? Why would they put themselves through that?

Because others have done it. Every – single – year others are doing it. They’re making it happen. They aren’t listening to the people who snicker at them or tell them its a waste of time.

Now compare becoming a pro athlete to the Amway business. Athlete = talent + hard work. Business = Hard work + ability to learn new skills. Talent is an X factor in pro sports. Its God and/or genetically given (depending on your beliefs). You can’t learn that. Everyone can work hard and put in time. Everyone can learn new skill sets. Everyone can extend their comfort zone.

Alright….rant over. I just get annoyed when I see a common message stating that the failure rate is high (I’ve personally witnessed a lot of pin crossings and retirees in my last 2.5 years of business) which automatically means they believe you aren’t good enough and you can never achieve anything aside from what you have now or what a university degree will give you (or not give you….no guarantees of a job in your field of study by the way).

I’ve shared my numbers to be clear that if you’re partnered up with a solid line of sponsorship that teaches you and coaches you well (and you follow the coaching) in your worst scenario (doing nothing at all except personal use) you’ll break even or at least be pretty damn close. You will not get that in any other business startup.

You may be a part time athlete like myself with no chance of making the NBA or NHL but from what I’ve experienced and seen – people can make it. They are making it. And for someone who wants more, all they need to know is if it’s been done before. And if it has, its doable.

Unless of course you’re a real leader like Roger Bannister. That English fellow who broke the 4 minute mile in 1954. The time that no one had ever beaten before. He pulled it off and now under 4 minutes is expected. Its almost a standard for competitive runners to start at. After he did it, many, many more did it. At least in the Amway business you already have examples to learn from and follow.

Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those who are aspiring to and are doing it.

~ C