My MLM Story: From Failure to Success in 16 Years

Today, I want to share my MLM Story.

Everyone likes a good story, right? My network marketing success story will definitely inspire you and give you hope.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family in small-town Maine. As a young child, I watched my dad follow his dream of leaving the “employee” world to start his own business.

He worked at the local paper mill as an iron worker, but he had a passion for buying and selling antiques. He simply wanted to be his own boss, make his own schedule and call his own shots.

For years, I watched him struggle as he pursued his dreams. We were a typical lower to middle-class family. We were by no means rich. We lived in a trailer for a long time until my parents eventually built their own home.

My mom stayed at home and raised my brother and I, while my dad built his business. My mom also did odd jobs to help pay the bills. She was VERY supportive of my dad. She also spent a ton of time with my brother and I. We always felt loved and well cared for.

By the time I reached high school, I figured going to college would be my best option. I also knew I needed self-discipline, purpose, and direction, so I enlisted in the Army Reserve.

After attending one semester of college at the University of Southern Maine, I left for Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Upon completion of my military training, I returned home to Maine, and decided I wanted to go Active Duty Army.

My first duty assignment was The Old Guard, a very famous Army unit. During my time at this assignment, I took night classes and earned my Associate’s Degree. I also decided to become an Army officer. I earned my commission as a Second Lieutenant in May 2000 from SUNY Potsdam, in upstate New York.

How My MLM Career Began

Fast forward a couple of years to March 2002. At the time, I was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. My co-worker, another Lieutenant, said she had someone coming over to her house to talk about additional ways of making money.

I was always looking for ways to earn additional money, so I agreed to go. A few hours before the scheduled event, I decided not to go, but my best friend (Watson) reminded me that I gave her my word that I would be there, so I went.

At the meeting, another Lieutenant was the presenter. He was dressed up in a blue suit and red tie. He started drawing circles on a dry erase board and talked about concepts such as leverage and residual income.

Needless to say, he was an Amway rep. What I heard and saw that night MESMERIZED me. I loved the idea of change where you shop, help people, find six serious people and you can potentially earn time and money freedom.

I wondered why no one had ever talked to me about ideas like this before. I went home that evening and signed myself up as an Amway® rep. I was excited. I didn’t sleep much for several days. Now, some 16+ years later, I’m even more excited about what our industry has to offer people.

From day one in Amway®, I was “ALL IN.” I was very rough around the edges and needed a lot of personal development, but I was committed to the business. I met with my successful mentor, created a game-plan, shared my why and goals, and then committed to following their team’s success system.

I attended every event, followed the training religiously, counseled with my upline and did what I was told to do.

I achieved moderate success in that company and did make some money. I also learned a lot. Looking back, three things really stand out:

  1. The power of personal development
  2. The power of association
  3. The power of written goals

Those three takeaways completely changed my life for the better. My Amway® experience improved my personal and professional life. I am eternally grateful for my Amway® experience.

After about 2.5 years in Amway®, I resigned my distributorship. I was going through a painful divorce and trying to save my marriage.

For the next 10-11 years, I became an MLM JUNKIE. Gosh, I hate to tell people that, but it is the truth. During that time, I jumped in and out of MANY different network marketing programs.

Some of the companies I worked with include:

  1. Amway®
  2. Life Force International®
  3. Melaleuca®
  4. My World Plus®
  5. Watkins®
  6. Visalus®
  7. Send Out Cards®
  8. Herbalife®
  9. Isagenix®
  10. Young Living Essential Oils®

There are many other companies as well. I just don’t remember the names.

Please know upfront that ALL of these companies are great companies. I have nothing bad to say about any of them. The major problem I had was me.

I simply did not have the right mindset or skill-set to succeed in this industry. I would sponsor a few people, order products for a few months and then move on to something else. Can you relate?

Like most people in this industry, I struggled. I struggled for YEARS; more than 12-years to be exact. Retailing, recruiting and duplication seemed impossible.

No one I talked to was interested. People told me the products were too expensive. People told me it was a scam. Most people I prospected just wanted a job, not a business opportunity. I heard it all.

Had a few simple things not happened, I would no longer be in this industry. Fortunately, I had several breakthroughs that altered my MLM Career. I’d like to take a moment or two and talk about them.

My Breakthroughs

My first breakthrough happened when I learned that the smartest way to build your network marketing business is to leverage your own strengths, talents, and natural abilities. I learned that almost every top earner in every company did things differently from the other top earners.

Contrary to what you have been told, you do not HAVE to follow your company or team’s system to succeed in the business. Yes, it helps to follow their system initially, but at the end of the day, everyone is different. Trying to put a square peg in a round hole never works.

Innovation was important, not duplication. Successful leaders INNOVATE. I learned this from my #1 mentor of all-time, Mark Yarnell.

Basically, he claimed that successful distributors figured out what they were naturally good at, and then developed a game-plan that aligned with their strengths and talents. What a concept!

My second breakthrough was when I took the time to learn MARKETING. Somehow, by luck or fate, I stumbled across two guys: Mike Dillard and Dan Kennedy.

Remember those two names. These two guys taught me marketing. In our industry, you have two options: prospecting and marketing. Prospecting is when you chase people and marketing is when people chase you.

Both methods work great. I know people who are master prospectors and I know people who are master marketers. I chose to be a master marketer, because I didn’t want to chase people at the mall or bug friends and family. I wanted interested prospects contacting me first.

Now, I sponsor 10-20 new reps most months, all through marketing. Every single one of these people contact me first or sign up on their own without contacting me at all.

My third breakthrough in our industry was when I joined the right company at the right time.

In our industry, timing is everything. You can succeed or fail in ANY company, both established, ground floor, and young companies.

Established companies are very secure and stable, yet most prospects will have PRECONCEIVED notions about the company.

Ground floor opportunities are very risky. Most ground floor MLM Companies don’t survive their first year.

Young companies are where the HUGE opportunity is at in our industry (my opinion). Ideally, you want to join a company before it becomes a household name, but after it has worked out its kinks of being a ground floor opportunity.

Study the top earners in EVERY network marketing company; I can almost 100% assure you that a large MAJORITY of their leaders joined the company before it hit momentum. They weren’t necessarily the first people in, but they got in early.

Ideally, you want to join a company that is about three to ten years old, that is growing each year, yet is flying WAY under the radar. That’s my thoughts anyway.

All of the previous companies I worked with (except two) were established, older companies. In those examples, I missed the momentum and rapid growth phases.  Basically, I joined too late. With the two exceptions, those companies simply were not the RIGHT company at the RIGHT TIME.

If this sounds crazy to you, look at your company’s top 10 earners and then find out when THEY joined the company. Chances are, at least 8 or 9 of those 10 people got in early!  Food for thought.

My final breakthrough happened when I acted AS IF I had ONE-MILLION dollars invested in my business. I decided to stop treating my business like some unimportant part-time project, and started treating it like a REAL business.

I took massive action, at least 10x the effort I had put into any other company. Guess what happened? My business exploded.

Quite perhaps the number one mistake I see people in our industry make is treating their business like a hobby.  Do not do that. Pretend you invested your life savings to start your business and you only have one year to earn it back!

Where I Am Now

I found my current company in December 2016. As of this writing, I’ve been with them about 22-months. In that time, I’ve sponsored just over 165 people personally and have built a team of around 2,500 people.

My prediction is that within the next 12-months, my team will grow to 6,000 or 7,000 people and within another 2-3 years, I will hit 20,000 or more team members.

What attracted me to the company were the compensation plan and TIMING. The products are also great.

I have taken massive action with this opportunity. The reason my team has grown so quickly here is because it is the right company at the right time.

My goal is to remain in this company for the rest of my life (assuming nothing crazy happens).  I want to be like those Amway® guys and gals who have been getting checks every month from one company for DECADES.

All of the struggle was worth it. I wouldn’t change anything.  I believe that if you follow the advice in the upcoming chapters, you should be able to find the right company at the right time, so you can start right, and not have to do what I did.

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4 thoughts on “My MLM Story: From Failure to Success in 16 Years”

  1. Great post, Chuck!

    My parents owned their own business as my sister and I grew up. It was a rental equipment business, then they opened up a 50’s soda fountain. Life was pretty good, we always had enough. I discovered MLM in 2014. Took around 3.5 years to go full-time. Love MLM and will never go back to a job!

  2. MLM Gateway - Helping network marketers build their business
  3. Great article Chuck. I started out in 2005 with a company that is on your list above. I had completed my Business degree at Washington State University but did not know how to have people chasing you. I made some of the same business mistakes you made. I did find a company and have had success over the years.

    I am glad you showed me the current business that we are in. The products are good and I see much growth coming here.

    1. I think everyone experiences failure and defeat before they eventually succeed. We call it failing forward. I cherish every experience I have been through because it has helped make me the person I am today. I wish you UNLIMITED success in your opportunity, Daniel!

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