When did you first realize MLM was more than just supplemental income?
The fourth month. The first month we earned $2000, and then $3000, $4000, $5000 and that’s more money than I earned driving a truck for 20 years, so by the fourth month we said, ‘This is our future right here.’ I quit my job. Once we went full time we never looked back.
Talk about the decision to branch out from being a distributor to being a co-founder of your own business.
After five years we retired with a seven-figure income, but we always wanted to build our own company. The reason we started WIN was because we had a mutual friend with the Sindlers, and he knew we wanted to build a company. Phil Sindler also wanted to build a company so we came together. We were going to teach our training, just like we proved it worked in one company and then we went to another company and did 230 million in 22 months, so we knew what to do.
Looking back, is it hard to realize you went from once being the guy saying ‘No’ to the opportunity to becoming the one building a business around that opportunity?
I know why people say ‘No,’ because I was that person. We are all those people. I’d say 99% of the people we all talk to are going to say ‘No.’ The natural response to change is ‘No.’ Most people in multi-level marketing are looking for somebody to say ‘Yes.’ I am looking for somebody I can get to say ‘Yes.’ Why? Because I was one of those people. I didn’t say ‘No’ because I didn’t want money or didn’t want to send Sheri to college. I said ‘No’ because I didn’t believe I could do it. I said ‘No’ because I knew I couldn’t sell, I knew I didn’t want to be sold to. So I understand the first response is ‘No.’ It’s my responsibility to make sure the person understands why they should say ‘Yes.’
How did it feel when you realized you started something that would change your life?
We always knew this was our opportunity. We ate it, we slept it, we lived it. Did we have any idea the money we’d make, the things that would be accomplished? Not really, we just knew we were where we needed to be.
Were there obstacles you had to overcome? How did you handle them?
Oh, we had a lot of obstacles in our first five years, but it didn’t mean we were going to give up. There were a lot of things that would make the average person quit, but we weren’t willing to quit. You know why? We had our goals. We weren’t going to quit until we did it.
You’ve said before that you really enjoy working with people — developing them, why is that your passion?
Because they are like me. Maybe not everyone has the desire to prove themselves like I did, I came from poverty. I needed an opportunity to prove myself. I want people to understand they can have anything they choose if they have the desire to be willing to learn. I have a strong desire for you to be successful, but I have to create the desire within you to want to be successful. My whole thing is about proving to a person that they can be.
A lot of people, when they grow up in poverty they get stuck in that cycle. Why do you think you broke out of that cycle?
My wife, Cathy. She made me want to be more.
How do you develop someone?
Our thought is people need to prove to us that they shouldn’t have more. Is there any reason why you shouldn’t have more? No. So there isn’t really a reason why you shouldn’t have more, other than you not believing it. If the truck driver, high school dropout and housewife can go from nothing to earning millions, why shouldn’t you think about doing what we did so you can earn money? Our goals are driving us, and it’s to have more people earning more money.
Did you have a role model or a mentor?
No. My father was a great guy, but he was poor. He had a third grade education. I didn’t have a mentor in business, but I had a great father and mother. Good people, but broke.
Looking back, what skills did you learn earlier in life that helped you with your business?
Ralph and I had the opportunity to spend time working with kids. It started through our church. Ralph was asked to come talk to kids at an inner-city school, so he began counseling kids with a pretty simple message, “Ok, you were born here, so now what are you going to do about it?” Being born in the projects himself, Ralph always had a heart for kids since he knew firsthand how hard life could be.
We then began spending Ralph’s vacation time each summer working at a camp. Every summer was the same. We’d get there, walk up to introduce ourselves and touch them on the shoulder —
and they would jerk away. They were tough kids with tough lives, most without a father and some basically living on the street. These kids trusted no one. However, by the time the week was over, they wanted to be around us.
We learned we had to befriend these kids and show them respect — something they weren’t used to. It was only then real communication could take place and we could speak about making a
change in their life. None of them believed they could be anything different than what they were, but in following up with these kids we learned because we believed in them they tried to make a change, they didn’t want to disappoint us.
I know this is the greatest experience we had for our business. Today when we talk to people, there is still that same fear about making a change and most don’t believe change is possible. But believing in people makes all things possible.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To find strength through adversity. That the trials you experience are a test of your faith, character and endurance.
What is the best piece of advice you give?
Start and don’t quit. You have all the attributes you need, you just need to exercise them. The only thing keeping you from being successful is you, it’s a decision you make and what’s going to keep you moving forward is your goal setting.
Your initial drive was to send your daughter to college – what is your drive today?
In 1992 God put a dream in our heart to build a company that would empower others, 20 years later that dream hasn't changed. My desire today, my motivation, continues to be to help people break out of self-imposed prisons, to be the people they choose to be.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Proving to people that we can be the biggest and the best.