Wouldn't it be great if we could build our networking businesses on the power of love? If our belief in each other's potential and support for our team members to achieve their dreams was the driving force behind our extraordinary success?

This is just what Tony and Randi Escobar are doing. In less than 24 months, they built a network organization of more than 100,000 people--and they did it by nurturing their relationships with friends, by educating, informing and edifying them. Their mission, passion and quest is to enrich people's lives; as a byproduct, they enrich their own.

"We are in the business of lighting candles," explains Randi. "Do you know a candle never loses its light when it is used to light another? That's what my husband and I do: We believe in people, we hug them and love them, we light their candles; and when people feel genuine love and friendship, they'll do anything for each other."

Building Family
Tony says he and Randi are non-conformists and have built their business in ways markedly different from the usual network marketing strategies.

"We've never shown our company's income plan--never. Not on a board, not in a presentation--no circles, squares or dollar bills on people's heads. We just put smiles on people's faces."

The Escobars are emphatic about this being a relationship-building business.

"We're building a family of people we're going to care about for a lifetime," says Randi. As a starting point. she always asks people about their dreams; this, she says, is key to her being able to provide true leadership uniquely for each individual.

"A dream is a tangible blueprint for the future. Just as you can create a beautiful home for yourself by first envisioning it, that's how you create your home business in network marketing--by starting with your dream.

"The word 'networking' means making a connection. You can't make a connection unless you know your team members' desires and dreams. Every link in our chain is vital; the stronger the individual links, the stronger the team. In order to be a leader, you have to build a team, one team member at a time."

This is just what the Escobars do: they build teams of two or three people who complement each other's strengths. The power of working together gives each of these dynamic duos or trios the confidence to talk with their friends about their products and invite them to home parties.

Thirty people showed up at the Escobars' very first home party. Now, on any given day, there are 20 or 30 different home parties going on simultaneously in their area, all feeding into the Escobars' weekly presentations to substantial groups of 300 to 450.

Inspiring Individual Greatness
When speaking of duplication, Randi says, "How sad it would be if all we did was duplicate someone. I don't believe in cloning. What we're about is finding the greatness in each person. We look for that spark of greatness, that desire, that smoldering ember in each individual. Once we find it, our job is easy: we just fan it till it bursts into flame. That fire of passion is extremely contagious.

"This work is my dream, to inspire others to rise to their own potential. We build a team by acknowledging each individual's assets, then enhance those by the group effort. Each person's dream is honored as sacred and special; in the process of helping each other to achieve his or her dreams, all the members of the team achieve their dreams as well."

The Escobars delight in learning from their team members, even those for whom this may be their first business venture. They eagerly share their success stories: A single mom "wields her machete to clear a path for others to follow." An older, well-to-do woman is proud of the very first check she ever earned on her own. A friend who worked for a company for 30 years, only to be downsized ("thrown out like an old shoe" is how the Escobars put it), is now putting her tremendous talents to work as CEO of her own business.  

Rekindling the Flame
Prior to their explosive entry into network marketing, the Escobars owned their own nutritional formulation business and were on track towards retirement--until they found themselves at their attorney's desk, contemplating bankruptcy.

Like many others, they had lost most of their retirement income in a rapid stock market decline. Then, in the aftermath of 9/11, the anthrax scare made it difficult for them to import the powdered ingredients they needed for their business. Their big hearts held onto their long-time employees, even when their wallets couldn't afford it. Soon they found themselves with a second mortgage, $80,000 in credit card debt, and owing over half a million dollars. Despite all the hard work they'd put into their business, they had nothing to show for it, and nothing to share with their four precious children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Tony was approached by one network marketer after another, but turned them all away because he wasn't interested in the business model he saw. As it happened, though, Randi used some network marketed products that gave her great results. Five weeks later Tony joined her to tell others about them. Their circle of friends grew rapidly and soon became the driving force for their growing business.

Within two years, the Escobars had gone from their first check of $7.50 to nearly $50,000 per week, and sometimes had to pinch themselves to make sure they weren't dreaming. They now enjoy a million-dollar home in Sandy, Utah, with a majestic view of the state's white-capped Mount Olympus, and are entirely debt-free. Still, with a solid million in the bank, the Escobars don't hesitate to identify their biggest asset: friends.

"How could anybody call people 'prospects'?" says Tony. "Whether they are potential customers or distributors, they're friends, not prospects. It's no wonder that so many people in our profession experience a high attrition rate. When you treat other people like squares and circles and dollar signs, why would they stick around? We love who we serve and serve who we love." He and Randi are overjoyed to watch the people they nurture blossom and earn money beyond their wildest dreams.

The Greatest Assets: Educated People
When learning about networking, Tony was turned off by reading about non-stop recruiting.

"People don't realize that the goose that lays the golden egg is right there before your eyes," says Tony. "Four of our 65-plus-year-olds are in the top 10 in my company; that's because we didn't ask these people to duplicate. We're not in the business of duplication; we're in the business of relationships. By teaming people up from day one, we teach them to support and validate each other."

Randi and Tony found the answer to building a loyal team: treat them like family and educate them well. Tony explains, "Knowledge alone is not power; only when you use that knowledge does it becomes power. And when people are empowered, they can realize their dreams."

When people fail in network marketing, says Tony, too often they blame the profession; he asks, "How much time did they spend learning about their products, their companies, network marketing itself?" The Escobars ask their team members to spend 30 minutes a day in precisely that education.

Experience taught Tony that starting a networking business brings out people's fears.

"They have a fear of talking to people, of being rejected, of the questions they'll have to answer, of their own potential, of investing any amount of money, imposing on people, taking responsibility, change, failure, success. The more educated you are, the less fear you have. Rather than selling a business opportunity, we focus on education, communication, information, intrinsic motivation, and edification. It is extremely successful."

Pointing out the years of education people often pursue in order to earn a decent wage, Tony emphasizes the importance of education for those who choose network marketing as their profession.

"According to USA Today, a surgeon makes about $193,000 per year after 15 years of school; chiropractors average $60,000 after seven years of education; nail care and hair techs make $30,000 after one or two years of schooling. Some people have a misconception that money grows on network marketing trees, and don't think they need an education."

Commitment to Succeed
"God does not allow us to dream without the ability to make those dreams come true," says Tony. "Commitment is what gets you there. If you take a casual attitude towards anything, whether it's relationships or work, you'll realize only casual results--and become the first casualty! Whether you're spare-time, part-time or full-time, you need to take your business seriously."

At presentations, Tony notices that people ask a ton of questions, but rarely the three that most need to be asked: "Can I do this? How can I do this? And will I do this?" The Escobars exemplify those who asked--and answered--those questions for themselves.

When they began their networking venture, they started out by going to the bookstore and purchasing 22 books.

"I was amazed at how many books were written by men, when this profession is dominated by women," says Tony. "After reading five of the books, I threw the others away. Their focus on 'prospecting' sounded like grabbing a handful of people and throwing them against the wall to see who sticks."

Tony explains that every person is equal in his and Randi's eyes, deserving of their fullest attention.

"I will treat a hot-shot network marketing guru and a 75-year-old lady who's asking for help with equal love and respect."

One book did catch Tony's attention: the story of an industry giant's success--a woman.

"I didn't care that the guys laughed at me for studying her book. She inspired so many women, and women are the lifeblood of network marketing. From her I learned about passion, emotion and compassion in this business. I knew that if I were to succeed, I would need to connect with women in that way. My wife and I formed a team and did just that. And believe me, where the women go, the men follow!"

Testimonies to a Testament
The Escobars have caught the attention of such well-known figures as John Gray (Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus) and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul). Sharing the stage at their company conventions gave them an opportunity to meet and--you guessed it--become friends.

Says Gray, "Tony and Randi are enthusiastic, dynamic speakers who captivate and electrify an audience...[they] continue to impact and enrich lives every day. They are wonderful caring people, passionate about what they do. They love people and people love them."

Canfield adds, "Tony and Randi Escobar have taken network marketing to a new and exciting level of integrity and performance. They have demonstrated that intrinsic motivation, unconditional love for people, and passion can literally move people towards success."

Says Randi, "I didn't grow up saying, 'Some day I'll be a network marketer.' Almost no one does. But I did want to grow up to be a good neighbor and good mother, have a long-term family, and develop certain talents given to me. We all have the ability to become great networkers: sharing with others, inspiring and helping others, seeing the best in people and bringing out the best in people. I love this industry; it has no limits."

Indeed, Tony and Randi may have set a new record for the speed at which they built their huge organization--a record currently being reviewed for possible entry in the Guinness Book of World Records! Regardless of how Guinness ends up measuring their achievements, the Escobars' story stands as a unique testament to the power of love and friendship.