Bill and Clem Herron

A Difficult Decision

The Herrons: Trey and Mamie, Bill and Clem, Kathy and Roger Smith

By Uma Outka

Mamie Smith had a difficult decision to make. The conflicting advice she was getting—from every corner of her family—wasn’t making it any easier.

Her fiancé Trey Herron, a full-time networker, and his millionaire-networker parents, Bill and Clem, were urging her to quit her job as a nurse and join Trey full-time in his business. Given her obvious knack for networking, why would she even consider sticking with her midnight-to-noon neo-natal shift?

Then there were her own parents, Kathy and Roger Smith, owners of a successful small business: they warned her not to throw away everything she’d worked so hard for. Their traditional approach to financial security had served them well, and they were understandably proud of their daughter’s achievements.

After much deliberation, Mamie made the network marketing leap. Three years later, everyone’s glad she did. She and Trey are reaping the rewards of a winning partnership as big producers in Bill and Clem’s group—and they have even sponsored Kathy and Roger! Roger has gone full-time; Kathy, who currently networks part-time and runs their other business, is considering doing the same.

It hasn’t stopped there, either: now Roger and Kathy have sponsored their own parents as well. Mamie says she’s proud to “have an 80-year-old grandfather and a 78-year-old grandmother doing this business part-time for supplemental income.”

Graduating Into the Business

Trey is quick to acknowledge the magnitude of Mamie’s decision to leave nursing—and is thrilled that she made the tough choice.

“I think it was probably the best decision she ever made,” he says. “Working the business together has made a world of difference”—which is saying lot, considering that he was already earning a solid six-figure income before the two met.

While he grew up in a networking household, it didn’t occur to Trey that he could do the business himself until he was in his 20’s. He was home from college one weekend and happened to walk into his dad’s office during a conference call. He heard testimonials from other people in the business for the first time.

“After the call, I said, ‘You know, dad, I think I can do that.’ He looked up, really surprised, and said, ‘Well, I know you can—but would you?’ I said I’d like to give it a try. My mother sat me down and went over the products with me before I went back up to school. My first day I made $420 profit.”

Trey and Mamie Herron

That was the beginning of Trey’s rapid success; his college friends got involved and started building the business from campus to campus throughout the area. That year, as a sophomore in college working part-time, he earned over $100,000.

He thought about leaving school, but instead committed to finish. “Nobody in my family had a college education; both my parents grew up in poor families. It meant a lot to them for me to get the college degree.” The day after graduation, he turned his full-time attention to his network marketing business.

“Little Bill” and “Little Clem”

Bill and Clem Herron couldn’t be happier about Trey and Mamie’s rise through the company ranks.

“It’s more of a thrill seeing them succeed than it was doing it ourselves,” says Bill. And while they are often referred to as “little Bill and little Clem,” Trey and Mamie are successful in their own right. Indeed, Trey is grateful that they made him do it on his own.

“We’ve treated him like any other distributor,” says Bill. He recalls once when there was a training happening eight hours from their Ridgeland, Mississippi home. Trey and Mamie were not planning to go because they had no guests. “I told them, ‘That’s exactly why you have to go—to learn how to get some guests to the event!’”

Mamie’s glad for Bill and Clem’s equitable approach to training, too. “It means our business is something we can really be proud of,” she says.

In a generational reverse, Trey and Mamie have been the ones teaching her parents. “We tend to pick on my dad a bit in the trainings,” Mamie laughs, “because we always know exactly what’s going on in his business.”

Across both families, there has emerged a closeness and a spirit of cooperation that springs from the networking connection but overflows into their shared lives generally.

“I’m an only child,” Mamie explains, “and Trey is much younger than his siblings, so we were both already close to our parents, but the business has strengthened our relationship with each other’s parents—and now my parents and his parents are close, too.”

Teach Your Children Well

We’ve learned a lot from Bill and Clem; two lessons in particular have guided our approach to network building:

1) Develop Leaders.

My (Trey’s) father never was a person to sponsor lots of people into the business and wait for leaders to rise to the top. They’ve worked with a smaller number of people but really developed leaders in their organization. We did the same, and it’s probably made the most difference for us.

2) Build Strength Into The Organization.

When we saw our business growth level off, despite our continued hard work, we went to Bill and Clem for coaching. They helped us understand that there’s a fine line between building strength and building weakness in your organization. You have to be careful that you stay on the right side of that line by not doing too much for them. Taking this advice to heart got us back on track.

-T. & M.H.