Today I look back and its hard to believe that I am the same person.
One drizzly evening in Arizona I was so depressed that I walked out to the railroad tracks and walked with my head hanging low for a few miles contemplating my life. I had been reading personal development books and I was so down on myself because after years of this, I was making no progress at all. The cold wind was blowing sideways and I cried as I walked along the tracks. I was trying to figure things out. Later on I realized that walking the tracks is probably not the best environment to find inspiration! Actually this was a turning point in my life. And although it was painful, it changed the trajectory of my life. Its in these moments that we completely give up on ourselves OR we find a new path. Thank God I found a different path.
I had been driving a 1979 Jeep Wrangler in the early 90’s. It was called a “Golden Eagle” and I remember that “Doo” (Doolittle), Loretta Lynn’s husband drove one. It had a smashed front end and a broken windshield from an accident that I had been in with an uninsured motorist. I kept getting pulled over for having shattered windshield that was nearly impossible to see through by me or the police officer. The top had been stolen at a swap meet and it was about $1000 to replace it. So I had a little bikini top for it and drove around topless. In the summer in Arizona it can typically be 115-120 degrees and the wind is like a blast furnace. More than once I was driving to an appointment soaking wet from sweat. One time I had an appointment about 30 miles from town and I was driving back. My gas was on empty it was 112 degrees and I was so dehydrated I started to have heat stroke. I had no money in my bank account and there wasn’t a gas station or business within site. I really thought I was going to die that day. And more than once, I walked out to the jeep and the bikini top was filled with water from a storm the night before. I owned one suit and I would attempt to push from the bottom of the bikini top to force the gallons of water that had accumulated in it. As I would do this the water would inevitably end up all over me and my suit.
And then the water wouldn’t quite want to leave the jeep. It would pour from the bikini top into the footwells. Trying to drive like this meant being ankle deep water that sloshed around as I turned every corner. I never did find a solution to this except to cut the top out of a plastic gallon water container and proceed to bail the water from the footwells of my jeep so that my shoes and socks didn’t get soaked when I went to drive off. Every time I ended up soaked from head to toe.
At one point, the water pump went out. I bought a rebuilt one at Pep Boys and somehow installed it backwards and blew the engine when I tried to drive it. It sat in the street for 2 years and I had no vehicle.
I was bouncing 5-10 checks a month at First Interstate Bank on Mill Avenue and my income was less than $15,000 a year. One time I walked from my office at America West Airlines to the ATM and put in my card to get $20. My card never came out of the machine and I didn’t get my $20. So I walked around the corner and into the bank. Brent Pasnoe was working in the bank and I had become a familiar customer. I went up to him and told him the machine ate my card and I needed it back. He told me I’m bouncing too many checks and he can’t give it to me. I said, “Brent, you don’t understand, I need my bank card.” He again told me he can’t give it to me and he kind of laughed when he said it. He told me I was bouncing way too many checks! We went back and forth as I got more and more angry. He never did give me back my card. Two weeks later after clearing up the mess, I got it back.
In the early 90’s I finally got a group growing under the 6th or 7th distributor I sponsored into the business. It was under a friend in Phoenix. She had a friend in Peabody Mass. He and his friend were excited and were able to grow their team to 40 distributors. They asked if I would come visit. I had maxed out 22 credit cards but had enough accessibility on one card to make the trip. It was mid winter and they were predicting a massive blizzard on the day of my trip. I boarded the flight and when I landed, the storm hit full force. It was a white out. I rented the car and hit the road. I landed at 5pm and the meeting was scheduled for 7pm. This was before I owned a cell phone. Cars were flying off the road into the ditches and I could barely see the road in front of me. I drove like a grandma and arrived at their home at exactly 7pm. The lights were out. I checked and double checked the address. Correct address . . . no one home. I stood on the doorstep after traveling 2000 miles on borrowed money. I made my way to an outdoor payphone at a gas station. I was cold, wet and tired. The wind was blowing and the snow was coming down in full force. The entire city was getting ready to shut down. I made the call and the answering machine came on. It was my only quarter and I had no cash.
I found a budget motel and found a warm bed for the night. The next morning, I flew standby to head back to Arizona. I never talked to those guys again. The entire team of 40 had quit the business, but no one had told me about it. They got upset over a technical issue that our company was having.
I remember having a serious conversation with myself that night. Again . . . this was a defining moment. There were people making money in this company. I thought I had finally found my runaway leg . . . but it fizzled as fast as it started. I had quit 11 companies prior to this one. Do I quit again or do I persist and rebuild? I chose to stay in this time. I chose to fight. I refused to give up this time around. Quitting hadn’t served me for over 10 years. I was so tired of struggling. I wasn’t going to let this beat me. I went home and hit my business hard. Over the next 10 years I made $8 million with that company. And they wrote this story in a book. I don’t know if Tom Alderink (that was his name) ever read what happened as I stood on his doorstep in that snowstorm. But I did send him a copy of the book with his name in it and a note saying, “You’re famous!”. He never contacted me and we never talked again. I really believe that if I had quit that day, I wouldn’t be a top money earner in network marketing.
I had never built a successful network marketing organization in my 11 years in the profession. In fact I had not signed up one single distributor. In 1992, I joined my 12th company and learned how to do a very simple 30 minute presentation. I started giving that presentation 3 times per week over lunch at Coffee Plantation on Mill Ave in Tempe Arizona and I started signing up an average of 1 person per month. On my 19th month I signed my 16th distributor, a lady that was an analyst at the airline that I worked for at the time. Her husband was an airline pilot. She had a close friend that lived in Albuquerque NM whose husband was also an airline pilot. We talked on the phone on a 3-way call and she got excited about the business. She said she would invite some people into her home to see the business if we took a trip out to see her in Albuquerque. We took the trip and she had a living room full of people. Jackie was on my first level and Judy was on my second level. Well over the course of the next few weeks, Judy signed up about 9 distributors. One was an entrepreneur named Skip and his wife Connie. The other was an entrepreneur named Steve. Both were highly motivated and highly connected. Skip set up some meetings in his office and Steve set some up at his home. We went back to Albuquerque about once per month to work with all the new people that were joining Judy’s team. Between Judy, Steve and Skip, the business really began to take off and spread into many other towns and communities across the country. We were doing 3-way calls, conference calls and meetings as much as we could with all the new people joining the team. Mostly just building relationships, answering questions and pointing people in the right direction. This team grew to 12,000 distributors and 40,000 customers all over the US and Canada.
While this was going on we had another situation developing in Tempe, AZ. After about 18 months of one on ones and two on ones at Coffee plantation, we had enough people to fill a table at the care and thought it might be a good idea to move to a restaurant with a private room. Down the street was a steakhouse called “Monte’s”. We reserved a room there once a week and negotiated a $10 lunch (chicken or steak). The first 30 minutes we would order and network and during the second 30 minutes we would do a 20 minute presentation and eat. We then set appointments to follow up with the guests. The room would hold 30 people and within about 4 months, we had maxed out this room. We had mostly bank and airline employees that wanted to break out of the corporate 9-5 and have their own home based businesses. Once we couldn’t fit into the private room at Monte’s Steakhouse, we moved down the street to the Spaghetti Company and started doing lunches and even a dinner meeting once a week. By this time the organization was approaching 300 people and we would have 20-50 people at every meeting including about 15-30 guests. Again the team started to grow into other communities and states and so we began to do 3 way calls, conference calls and meetings to meet the new team members, answer questions and train new people, etc. This team grew to thousands of distributors and customers all across the US and eventually the world.
When I joined SendOutCards I was still on dial up phone service and initially, I had no interest in building it as a business. From the time Demarr first contacted me to the time I signed up was about 2 months. I had received no less than 9 cards from him. There are lessons in this. He didn’t ever show me the comp plan but I got a sense of it from the DVD’s he had been sending me. I never once “Googled” SendOutCards. The day I signed up, I told him I would not be working the business and please don’t tell anyone that I am.
I sent out approximately 350 cards in my first week. I started messaging people asking for their addresses to add to my contact manager (it was during the holidays so I just told them I was “updating my holiday card list). As I put each person in one by one, I sent them a card.
By my 5th week, I began to see the potential and started filling my calendar with people to show Sendoutcards to. I used the “Gift Account” option to set up trial accounts for people and then walked them each through sending a card to a relative, friend or associate. The response I got from people was astounding. I had never experienced a business where most everyone I talked to was positive about it or interested. I then had them write out the account options over the phone or I would write them out for them if we were in person. After a couple of weeks I started signing up about 1 person per day (38 in my first 5 weeks of working the business). The reason I was signing up one a day is because I was showing it to so many.
In my last company I would show the business on average 3 times a week and as I ramped up, we were doing small and large group meetings throughout the week. When I joined SendOutCards, I started doing 3-5 meetings A DAY! This is what I taught and this is why my team and my income grew so fast!
One of the things that I really love about SendOutCards is that we really don’t get much pushback or negativity. This is unusual in network marketing. I liked that and it was refreshing after fighting with the marketplace for so many years!
There is a scene in “The Founder” (Story of Ray Kroc and McDonalds) where the McDonald’s brothers realize that their fast food idea is going to work. It’s an emotional scene . . . at their lowest point when they are about to throw in the towel, customers start driving up in droves and approaching the window.
Anyone that has made it big in network marketing remembers that moment when they realized that this is really going to work. When this happens you’ll find it to be among the most exciting time in your career. When the group starts to take on a life of its own and people start signing up without your involvement and checks start to go up . . . you say to yourself, “I think this is really going to work!” It’s a moment of triumph because by the time you get to this point, you have worked hard, taken the hits, experienced massive setbacks, bounced back and questioned yourself 100 times!
When my network marketing checks hit $1500 a month, I left my job thinking that they would continue to rise. I hadn’t factored in business expenses and taxes. My expenses were low, but I had no idea how hard it would be. I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night and one time I can remember sitting in my car on 68th Street and Indian School Rd and falling into a deep sleep at a stop light. This was a really hard time in my life. My checks went down to $400 and then there were some major problems with the accounting at our company and they lost my entire genealogy for a couple of months. Most people would have thrown in the towel but I persisted and continued to build.
I had quit other things so many times, I remember the feeling I had when I decided I’m going to break that pattern of quitting and replace it with persisting. It was a conscious decision. In one of my earlier network marketing companies, I was asked to attend a “National Training Director” School in California. It cost me about $2000 and I took the plunge and put it on my credit cards. I went through the 3 day training with about 40 others and then afterwards got cold feet and quit. It cost me $2000 plus my travel expenses and I was making less than $20,000 a year at my job at the time. I never signed up one single person.
So when I joined my 12th company and started having big doubts or setbacks, I consciously reframed my self-talk around quitting. The doubts were still there. I still lacked confidence in myself. But I found by staying true to my word and following through, my confidence began to grow. It’s an integrity thing. Most people don’t see it but when you continue to break promises with yourself it significantly chisels away at your self-worth. When you commit to doing something, follow through and do it . . . even when you experience setbacks. This is a key part of the success formula.
I also want to take a few minutes and talk about simplicity. Your team will do what you do. If you put elaborate systems in place that cost a lot of money and take a lot of time, your team will want to do the same thing. And posting things on Facebook about programs you are doing or plan on doing without any track record is the kiss of death. If you want to try something new, that’s up to you. Test it with your team if you feel like you must do it. But don’t publicize it. There are many things out there that look really good on paper and after someone has burned 1-2 years trying it out they look back and wish they had just followed the plan. Please don’t publicize your experiments. Simplicity breeds duplication. Sometimes things that are good for you are not good for the entire team and although it appears they will give you more people to talk to, the ultimate result is a whole bunch of personally sponsored people, but little to no duplication. What you do to personally bring others in has to be within the reach of the members of your team from a time and money standpoint. Always remember the 8 year old test . . . if an eight year old can’t do it and teach it NOW then don’t do it. Teach fundamentals that others can take action on now. If it takes you 2-3 months to set things up and cost you a lot of money, do you think that will effect duplication? The big money is in having LOTS of distributors and customers. Make time work for you!
This was one of my biggest lessons in the early days. DO WHAT IS WORTH DUPLICATING! Five words. I suggest reading them over and over again until you fully understand what they mean. Do what is worth duplicating. If your team members can not duplicate what you are doing RIGHT NOW, then I don’t suggest doing it!
Here are my foundational success principles:
1. Keep it simple
2. Relationships first. business second.
3. Focus on meeting more people, connecting more people and appreciating more people.
4. Don’t quit on a bad day. Work your business based on your commitment and not on how you are feeling.
5. Master the presentation
6. Show the business at least once a day.
7. Stay plugged in.
8. Promote the events.
9. Fill your calendar.
10. Keep dreaming.