My MLM Road Less Traveled
This is my personal story about my 30+ year adventure in the network marketing profession. Read it all the way through, and I promise it will save you lots of wrong turns, headaches, and heartaches. I guess I wasn’t listening very well when my Dad used to say, “Son, learn from other people’s mistakes, not your own”, as you will see from my life’s work in MLM. I trust this will help you in your own endeavors…
In 1986, having moved to Dallas, TX from Savannah,GA two years earlier to pursue a career in the private aviation industry, I was contacted by my cousin, Howard (who had just graduated from law school), and who was very excited about this incredible opportunity that he had stumbled upon back home. I was going to be coming home for a visit the following week, so I met with him while I was in town, and he convinced me that I should get involved with this venture.
The company was called Pre-Paid Legal Services, and seemed like it was a great opportunity. Little did I know that each state had different rules on how they looked at this company, and in the state of Texas, where I currently lived, it was regulated as an insurance product, thus requiring full insurance licensing. I did not realize this until after I got back to Dallas, and with me climbing up the corporate ladder with the company I was with, I had no desire to go back to school to get my insurance license in order to sell this product. So, I did what most people would do….I never got started, and let my distributorship expire without lifting a finger.
Working at that time for a wholey-owned subsidiary of the Mary Kay Cosmetic giant (an mlm company in their own right), I could obviously see how the network marketing thing could work. Though I was not sold on Pre-Paid Legal as my vehicle (at least in the state of TX), I was intrigued with the whole idea of people helping people in order to make money. Unlike a traditional company where you were only rewarded to do your job and you could never have real unlimited success, multilevel marketing rewarded you for finding people who could do your job, and do it even better than you with unlimited income potential. This just sounded to good to be true! With my belief being there for the concept, I knew that it was just a matter of time before I would find the right vehicle.
As luck would have it, about two years later, I met a couple in church (Arvie and Sylvia Turner), who introduced me to my second mlm opportunity. I was really excited about this company. I got off to a quick start, recruited my first representative, who led me to his Dad, who bought in at the $5k level, which led to a friend of his who bought in at the $25k level. I immediately became car qualified, and was on top of the world! My friend Mark, had his private-pilot license, and the next regional event we went to, we actually charted a private plane that Mark flew. We arrived in style. I remember thinking that I could get used to that lifestyle.
Unfortunately, less than a month later, 20/20 did a story on the company we were representing, and ripped it to shreds for using a part in their product that made it inferior to its competition. Needless to say, I was done. I felt horrible. For the first time in my life I could relate to the people out there that felt like they had been scammed. The worst part about it was that I had unknowingly participated in it. There was just no way that I could continue to do this type of work, so I quickly separated myself from this industry, and really threw myself into my job.
As time passed, I was reminded almost daily of the success of my $900 million dollar parent company (worth 2 Billion today) that had amassed their fortune in mlm. I knew it could be done. I just didn’t know how. It wasn’t long after, that I was privileged enough during my employment to have many sit down conversations with Richard Rogers (Mary Kay’s son, and CEO of the company). We would talk about mlm, what worked, what didn’t work (and why), products vs. services, etc. This began my “Formal” education into the network marketing field.
I was again introduced to yet another golden opportunity, (ironically with the guy who convinced Harlan Stonecipher, founder of Pre-Paid Legal to take his company into the mlm realm). His name was John W. Hail. The company, Advantage Marketing Systems, offered healthcare alternatives and other member benefits. Once again, I came out of the gate rapidly, and saw quick success, earning the President’s Round Table, and getting to spend a weekend with the founder. I even played golf with John, and because of an amazing putt that I sank, he gave me a gold-plated putter. John Hail was a very interesting guy. The company was great, but it was still in its infancy. They had to change the comp plan in order to stay in business, and it made it too difficult for me to remain active….it just didn’t pay. Unfortunately, once again I experienced disappointment in mlm.
I decided that I was done. I was not going to pursue another mlm opportunity no matter how good it sounded and that’s exactly what I did….until 1993. I had moved back to Savannah, GA and was approached by a real slick guy about a telecom company that was exploding, and with the deregulation of the long distance industry, this was THE time to be involved. Once again, I came out of the gate fast, became a trainer, and put myself into full-time income (of course back then I was married and only had one child, so full-time income was not a whole lot). I remember the founder saying that he would never sell, and shortly after he made the announcement about our revolutionary “Dime Deal” (which cut my residuals in half), he took the company public, became a billion dollar company, and then sold it. The company changed hands many times after that and eventually went bankrupt because it didn’t keep up with the technology shift.
I went through several more companies looking for the “Right Opportunity”. One disappointment after another. Some I made good money in, and some I failed miserably in. However, I learned a little more each time about what I should do versus what I shouldn’t. Oddly enough, the company that I learned the most from, and received some of the best training from, was…Pre-Paid Legal…the second time I represented them (over 13 years later after moving back to Georgia). I had some good times with PPL, and even made good money. This was the first company where I qualified for an all expense paid trip for my wife and I to an all-inclusive Cancun resort. It was awesome! Unfortunately, I did not see the impending downturn for this company, and was involved during the final days of their second momentum run.
Richard Rogers shared with me back in the 80′s, and it was confirmed in the late 90′s and into the early 2000′s, that every mlm company had three phases, start up…momentum (or critical mass)… and plateau. They all have it. It is just a matter of timing. What do I mean? Well, I think that we could agree that the best timing for anyone to get involved would be just prior to momentum. If you get involved too soon, you risk the early stage issues with comp plan changes, product changes, and things that you really don’t want to be a part of. You come in too late, and you miss the real growth opportunity. The key is to be a part of the company at the right time…when it is about to go into, or is already in…momentum!
After PPL, I took a break for a while and continued to pursue my career in traditional sales and marketing. However, I just could not give up on my dream of helping others become successful in mlm! In 2003, I was brought back into the fold, and worked with other companies, some good, some not. I made money in nearly all of them. In 2007, with one company, I earned over $5k per month by my 3rd month (that company closed their doors a few years ago). I have won many contests, won multiple trips, and I was even recognized by another company as being one of only 12 people in three countries to achieve a highly sought after “Freedom” award. The company that provided me with that award changed their qualifications for getting paid, and threw my entire strategy out of the window. Sadly, the last I heard, that company was struggling.
In one of my more recent ventures (which I was involved with for just over a year and a half) allowed me to recruit 17 people in my first 14 days, and qualify for my FREE company paid for BMW in just 40 days! The awesome thing about that opportunity was that I was able to truly make positive lifestyle changes that have impacted me and my family for the rest of our lives! I was very out of shape (Obese) and headed down the wrong path with my health. During my tenure, I represented a health and fitness company promoting a weight loss challenge. I took initiative and within my first 90 days, I lost 33lbs, 7 inches in my waist, and 6% body fat. I am very active in the gym, and have completed my first ½ marathon. My wife dropped 20lbs, completed the ½ marathon as well, is an avid runner now, and has become an expert at barefoot running (yes, I said barefoot).
Sadly the journey with this company came to an end and I chose to find a different path to success.
I took a very long time to decide the correct course of action, but after much research, and my desire to help others to achieve financial success, I decided to join with a company called Trunited. Imagine a company that offers all of the good of network marketing, removes all of the bad, gives you the opportunity to join for FREE, buy everyday products from Global Brands like Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s, etc., and at the same (or lower) price than you would buy it in the store! A company that truly offers everyone the opportunity to succeed without the large start up fees and without having to inflate the price of their products like other network marketing companies. Trunited is less than 2 years old, but is on the fast track to critical mass (critical mass is where millionaires are created in network marketing). The founder is a self-made millionaire who amassed over a $300 Million dollar fortune by age 39. His goal is to be bigger than Amazon, and I believe that he will do it! Feel free to visit my website, and enroll for FREE at www.ezshopping123.com . I am FINALLY very happy with my choice, and I look forward to spending the next 20 years having the time of my life with this amazing opportunity!
What I have learned through this lengthy process in the network marketing profession is that what set me apart from everyone else in every single one of these opportunities, was ME! There is only one YOU. In order to make money and become successful in ANY (and all) home-based business companies, you must have the ability to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. The ONLY way you can do this and maintain your team (and income) is to learn from people like me….those who have paid the price so that you don’t have to. You must brand yourself. That way you are still able to move forward no matter what hurdles or speed bumps try to slow you down.
I don’t profess to be the best in our profession (although I am pretty good…and modest! Lol), but I have had many years of on-the-job training, spent thousands of dollars on learning and studying, and unfortunately, endured lots of heartache and pain along the way. I want to help you avoid all of the pitfalls that I experienced. Work with me, and let me help you go straight to the top!
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