Ann Houghteling began her career as a high school teacher. She enjoyed the job for the better part of the 70’s. Still, she was earning so little money that it was only a matter of time before she knew she’d have to look for other sources of extra income. She began to sell insurance on a part-time basis.

“I had most of the month of July off from teaching," says Ann, "so I decided to hit it as if I were full-time. The first day, I made $1000. Day two, I made more than $1000. Day three, I quit my teaching job.”

For the next 19 years, she had a “wonderful career in the insurance business,” earning a six- figure income.

Eventually, though, she started burning out, and now she felt backed into a corner. With three kids at home, being gone so much was wearing on her—but there was no way she could ever replace the kind of money she was taking down in any other line of work.

Bungee-Jumping Career Paths
Or was there? With a background in missionary and non-profit work and a growing concern about not having any retirement money, Ann’s husband Tom had recently become interested in network marketing. The last thing Ann wanted was more to do; she was happy to support him, but had absolutely no interest in being any part of the new venture herself.

“I told him, ‘If I have any free time, I’m going to use it to make real money in insurance—or spend it with the kids.’”

She held firmly onto that opinion—for about a week. Then Tom held his first meeting at their home. Ann remembers it as if it were yesterday:

“When I saw what they were doing, I thought, ‘This is awesome!’ I had never had an opportunity to be leveraged before, and it was very exciting. I decided to help him part-time—and after two weeks of doing that, I got so excited about it that I couldn’t sell insurance anymore.”

For a second time, Ann had bungee-jumped into a new career path—and quickly decided to cut loose from the harness. She halted her insurance career and became a career network marketer on the spot.

“I burn the bridges and don’t worry about it,” she admits. “I guess I know I’m going to get it done. I had some cash reserves, and I knew that if we lost a few material things along the way, it didn’t really matter. It was worth it to build for the future.”

Once again, Ann backed up her bold decision with action—and once again, it paid off. With her background, she found herself well prepared for success in network marketing. Between teaching and insurance sales, Ann says, networking is more like teaching; at the same time, it didn’t hurt that she’d developed a strong “don’t-take-it-personally” attitude during her insurance years.

Looking for that Unrelenting Resolve
More than anything, Ann sees networking as a business of sifting for the right people who are ready in their lives to make a change for the better.

“If people are coachable and teachable and they listen, they’re going to succeed a lot faster. If they’re not coachable but they have a burning desire, pretty soon they’ll get fed up with not succeeding—and then they’ll become coachable. But if they don’t have that unrelenting resolve, they won’t last.

“The average person calls only four or five people. I tell them that no one has ever gotten rich by calling four or five people. If I can tell that a person isn’t driven, I ask right away, ‘Are you serious, or just curious?’ If they’re not serious, there’s no reason to spend the time.”

For the task of sorting, Ann uses her upline’s Web-based presentation system to limit contact with the “just curious” types, so that every person-to-person conversation is with a serious prospect. She’s looking for leaders, she says, and that doesn’t necessarily mean born leaders.

“Most people have not even started to be all they can be. We are training people and developing their untapped potential.” Not surprisingly, personal development is an important component of that training. She may not seem like the type who needed a whole lot of personal development herself—but, says Ann, that depends on your point of view.

“If I knew then what I know now, when I started in insurance,” Ann declares, “I could have earned three or four times as much as I did.”

The fulfillment of helping others and the relationships she’s built in the process are Ann’s favorite things about her business.

“We’re more like family than anything else,” she laughs, “and that’s a good thing, because when we’re all retired, the friends we used to have will still have to work and we’ll all be free to travel the world together.”