Part-Time Job, Full-Time Income
Frank and Annette Petrocelli: Coming Back from Broke

By Uma Outka

Frank and Annette

It was the late 80's, and Frank Petrocelli's health was deteriorating.

What's more, business was lousy, too. The 17 Long Island salons to which he and his wife Annette had devoted themselves for years were steadily losing money. Frank was frustrated and looking for something else to do, but he didn't know what.

"We lost everything we had worked so hard for," he recalls grimly. "It was nothing like we have today, but still, we had a pretty substantial lifestyle back then. We sold our cars, our boats...
the only things we had left were the house we lived in and Annette's wedding ring--and we were getting ready to sell them, too, because we had no cash at all. Our backs were against the wall."

About that time, Frank's son happened to give him a video about a personal care products company that his (the son's) girlfriend's father was getting involved with. (Hey, Frank could sell them in the salons!) Frank could not have been less interested. The video sat on top of his TV for months.

One weekend afternoon, his golf game rained out, Frank sat down to watch the video on a whim. Within moments, he recognized what he was looking at: the leverage concept, exactly what he'd been achieving with his salons for all those successful years. With some trepidation, he called his son's girlfriend's father.

Much to his discomfort, Frank soon found himself in a basement with about 50 other people. He was about to leave, when the host put on a video--much to Frank's surprise, the speaker on the TV was an old friend of his!

"I left and made some calls to find out where he was," says Frank, "because I knew I could talk to him and trust him."

Before he could even think seriously about getting started in the business, Frank went into the hospital for bypass surgery. As he
lay in the hospital bed recovering, he kept thinking about network marketing--and reading about reversing heart disease with good nutrition. Upon his release, Frank found a health products company and set a goal to restore his physical and financial health at the same time.


Humble Start, Strong Finish

Two challenges greeted him at the outset: his own business experience, and Annette's initial skepticism.

"I thought I had all the answers because I'd been successful in business: I reinvented the wheel left and right. After I fell flat on my face, I woke up one day and decided to follow exactly what they were teaching. Here I was, a businessman in that area for 20 some years, and I was going around hanging flyers around town. I would sneak out at night to post the flyers, so nobody would see me!"

At this point, admits Frank, he didn't feel he had a "real" business.

"But I saw that other people were succeeding who didn't have half the education or knowledge about business that I did, so I knew I could do it. I followed the plan and it worked."

Annette clearly remembers her initial skepticism.

"I believed in the products because we both lost a lot of weight, but I didn't believe the business could work. I'm a very shy person, and for the first few months, I wouldn't answer the phone. When messages about the business came in while Frank was out, I would erase them!"

They laugh about this now--here was Frank, finally trying to follow the system he'd resisted, the system everyone else was succeeding with, and he couldn't figure out why he was getting no response. When Frank discovered her with her finger on the erase button, Annette confessed that she was petrified to talk to people. He wrote out a script for her; she took a sales call...then another.

"Just by building up enough confidence," she says, "I went on to do $8K in sales in one week."

It was retail sales that first helped the Petrocellis regain financial stability by providing much needed cash-in-hand.

"We never went beyond an eight-mile radius of our home," Frank says, "yet eventually, we were able to produce a million dollars a month in product sales."

As the business grew, it became clear to Frank why his earlier, creative efforts had fared so poorly: his methods were too difficult for others to duplicate. However much he disliked the simple plan at first, by following it consistently every day, it paid off.

"I always wanted a part-time job that would pay me a full-time income; that's what network marketing stands for," says Frank. "If you make it hard and complicated for people, if it's a burden on them and their family, they're gone. We believe in keeping the business fun, simple, and magical--you'll grow ten times faster."

When It's Better Not To Listen

New people often make the mistake of getting into the business and then listening to everybody. It's only natural: you want to make sure you get all the best advice, right? Here's my advice:

Don't listen cross-line, downline, or to other uplines. It's only going to make you crazy!

We've seen it over and over: people start a plan of action, get confused and frustrated, then hear about someone else moving faster than they are, start switching gears--and stop dead in their tracks. Find a successful person above you in the organization with whom you feel comfortable, do what your organization is doing: put the blinders on and go for it.

Use the plan for the group you are in. Once you're making $10K a month yourself, you can afford to get a little creative.

-- F.P.