Marcy Koltun-Crilley and her son Mack were playing at the Maui beach, not far from their home. Mack stopped building his sand castle for a moment, turned to her and said, “I dreamed about this last night, mom. If you dream it, you can do it.” Marcy recalls the moment with some emotion. For one thing, it’s a pretty amazing thing for a six-year-old to say. But more, Mack’s observation highlights the importance of a choice she made five years ago. She would not be the kind of parent she is today, Marcy is certain, were it not for the personal changes she’s experienced in the years since she decided to pursue network marketing.

Ironically, Marcy credits her son for her starting a networking business in the first place: it was something she first considered when she finally became pregnant after years of frustrating infertility.

“I had moved to Maui from New York,” she explains. “My husband Larry was a New York City firefighter, I was a nurse. I had moved here without him for a temporary position, but then I was offered a permanent position. We were in a stalemate about what to do—when I got pregnant.”

That exciting development settled the matter: Larry relocated to Maui and found a firefighting position there. It’s an expensive place to live, though, and with a baby on the way, Marcy wanted to be able to play—not work multiple jobs for basic necessities. “Why would I wait 15 years to have a child and have somebody else raise him?” She was looking for something else.

She was first approached about networking while sea kayaking. She was not thrilled.

“This guy kept rowing up to me, asking if I hated my job. I wasn’t so sure about his intentions. He said all the wrong things. I didn’t hate my job at all, I was a labor and delivery nurse.”

One day Larry was with her; the enterprising networker shifted his focus. Larry agreed to go to a meeting and came back with company materials, including a video.

“What I saw in the video was leverage,” she recalls. “That’s what really excited me.”

It was no easy road. A year after she started, the company went out of business—with Marcy over $6000 in the hole. Despite reservations about brand new companies, she took a risk and joined a start-up. The risk did not pay off: the first check she received was also the last.

Marcy was now $20,000 in debt and hiding credit card statements from Larry; her marriage was suffering. But despite the hard knocks, she had learned a great deal about networking and developed some genuine skills.

“I’d climbed that learning curve, done a lot of personal growth. I thought, I’d be crazy to stop now.” Convinced that the business model worked, she searched hard, and soon found a company she felt confident joining. Within a year, her debts were paid off and she was earning six figures.

What was it she learned that positioned her to recoup her losses and build a large income so quickly? The answer comes down to two essential points: personal growth and skillful use of the Internet.

“I got a computer the first day I started,” she says. “I really liked the Internet, but everyone kept telling me you can’t use the Internet for network marketing.”

In her first company, she had done what she was told: called friends and family, called them again—and hated every minute of it. Convinced she needed a bigger market, she eventually began testing the Internet waters on her own; her results were mixed, but promising.

    

Marcy’s Web-Based Networking Basics

NETWORK BY PERMISSION. Everything I do is by permission. I offer a benefit to people; those who are interested get my e-zine.

LEAD WITH PERSONAL GROWTH. If people are not interested in that, they’re not going to do very well anyway. I don’t know any real leaders who haven’t really studied personal growth. That’s the focus of my e-zine; I hardly discuss the business itself.

USE PICTURES, BE PERSONAL! I use my “My Face” page on The Greatest Networker Web site as a way for people to get to know me. It includes photos, my vision, what I’m about—without trying to “sell” anything.

CREATE A GROUP SPACE. I have a community on Yahoo that’s free and includes calendars, email lists, and forums for the whole group to exchange ideas and help each other. We can work around the world, around the clock—it’s a great system, and it saves a lot of time.

Even later, in the company she went on to succeed with, support for Internet networking was scarce. The rule of thumb was, “Don’t even think about changing a system until you’re making big money.”

“I held myself back because of what people were telling me. But when I really looked at my values, I realized, ‘I’m living my life out of what other people think. Maybe I’d be better off going with what I believe, with my own values.’ I did—and it was a huge leap.”

Marcy acknowledges the strength of duplication as a concept, but she encourages duplicating individual personal growth and results rather than specific methods. In fact, when it comes to networking using the Internet, Marcy thinks duplication can actually be a problem.

“More and more on the Internet, people are getting into these duplicable systems. They buy into a package and everyone’s using the same canned message. Since the messages are just ads, people ignore them. This is where my real experience is. I teach people to use the Internet to make friends. Being personal makes a huge difference! People are always happier talking to someone who’s real.” Indeed, says Marcy, your greatest asset as a business builder is the one thing you can’t duplicate: your own personality.

Most of all, Marcy believes that if you focus on personal growth, the rest will come. “I don’t see people focusing on that enough,” she observes. “There’s this pressure to get into action, but it’s hard to be in effective action if you haven’t done the necessary personal growth.”