There's a movie called Slums of Beverly Hills, in which a family lives as penniless nomads, moving from one cheap Beverly Hills flat to another so the children can attend the city's legendary public schools.

Sound like yet another one of so many silly Hollywood stories that appears on the big screen but has no relationship to reality? Think again. Because not long ago, Roger and Tracy Kaman, who today live a life more akin to Hollywood's movie stars, pretty much lived the very life depicted in that film.

A Decent Start...
The Kamans' rags-to-riches story begins ten years ago, in Jacksonville, Florida. At that time, Roger was a police officer who used his off-hours to help Tracy run their small chain of convenience stores. They certainly weren't rich (Roger's police salary was small and margins at the stores were tight), but they made enough to keep themselves and their four kids in modest comfort.

In 1996 Roger quit his job on the police force and joined his wife full-time in running the convenience stores. The business continued to grow. In an effort to improve employee moral and retention rates, the Kamans decided to start providing their employees with some discount dental and health benefits offered through a network marketing company. The employees loved the benefits, and Roger soon realized that by becoming a distributor for the network marketing company, he could lower his overall cost of providing those benefits.

Life began looking more and more promising. Employee moral was improving, the convenience stores were doing well and Roger and Tracy were building a nice, small side business, network marketing dental and health services.

Then the recession of the late nineties struck, and it struck with a vengeance.

The Kamans' costs on staples such as bread and milk skyrocketed; margins plummeted.

"We were making 25 cents selling a gallon of milk," Roger recalls. "Hard to pay the bills 25 cents at a time."

Within a year, the Kamans were forced out of business; soon thereafter they lost pretty much everything else they had, including their home.

Professional Nomads
Desperate for a way to keep a roof over their kids' heads, the Kamans discovered a workable, albeit unconventional, solution: living in homes that were for sale but whose owners lived elsewhere. While their homes were on the market, the absentee owners wanted to keep the homes occupied for security purposes, and would allow a family to live in them for extremely low rent under two conditions: one, the house had to be kept incredibly clean and organized at all times, in case a prospective buyer wanted to see the place; two, the family had to be willing to vacate the property within days of the house being sold.

"We had no choice," Tracy remembers. "It was the only way we could afford to live, but the kids hated it--not only because we had to move all the time, but also because they constantly had to keep whatever house we were in at the moment perfectly clean."

While living this nomadic lifestyle for the next year, the Kamans continued to work on building their networking business, even as they looked for other ways to make ends meet. They eventually approached a friend and asked if they could go to work for his blinds and drapery company as installers. The friend hired them to install his wares--and soon joined their downline.

As Roger and Tracy went to work, installing draperies for their friend's customers, they wore (with their boss's permission) badges that proclaimed: "Ask me how to save money on my dental plan." And wouldn't you know, quite a few of the customers they visited did just that.

"In fact, most of the people we visited asked about it," says Roger, "and a lot of them ended up buying the plan and becoming distributors."

Slowly, the Kamans' "side business" started earning them more money than they were making installing curtains. Within a year (again, with their boss's blessing) they quit the drapery business, got out of their temporary housing situation and devoted themselves full-time to their networking business--and that's when things really took off.

Small-Town Values
Now, some six years into owning their own growing distributorship, the Kamans can scarcely believe how fortunate they've been.

"We used to make $45,000 to $50,000 a year working like dogs," Roger says. "Now we make $200,000 just in residual income."

When asked to what they attribute their success, Roger answers without hesitation.

"We always focus on what people need, what they want. We never think about or talk about what we think they need or want."

Both Roger and Tracy agree that the financial and lifestyle freedom their networking business gives them are fantastic...but the truth is, there's a lot more that they get out of it.

"We enjoy this business so much; I can actually say we love it!" says Tracy. "What I love most is helping people get out of the tough situation they're in and turn their lives around."

Roger agrees, adding, "I love being in a position to help friends and family any time they need help. That's a great feeling."

It's a Hollywood ending--but best of all, it's one based on small-town values.