To meet Billie Jo Fiege today is to meet a dynamo. Full of energy and that indefinable quality the French call "joie de vivre," Billie Jo fills a typical day by running her household, teaching a classroom filled with second graders...and at night, managing a profitable business that will fully fund a sizable retirement nest egg by the time she's 50.

If that sounds impressive, consider this: Less than six years ago, Billie Jo was bedridden, in agonizing pain, unable to sleep or work or even think clearly, and without real financial prospects of any kind.

"I was basically dying," Billie Jo recalls. "I had no real hope."


A Mysterious Melange of Maladies

Billie Jo's problems began with a syndrome that affects nearly 10 percent of all women following a pregnancy: postpartum depression. In Billie Jo's case, the depression started with the birth of her second son and carried on for months, then years.

"I was tired all the time," she remembers; "I couldn't focus on anything."

Soon, the illness put her teaching position of 15 years in jeopardy. The only way she could even get through her day was with the unrelenting support and aid of her husband, Will, and their two boys, Trevor and Seth.

"They did everything," says Billie Jo. "They cleaned the house, cooked the food, my husband even drove me to work."

Billie Jo was soon diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and the debilitating fatigue and depression she was experiencing were about to be compounded by a procedure so common that most people go through it without a second thought: the extraction of wisdom teeth. What should have been a trouble-free dental procedure triggered a bewildering host of problems for Billie Jo, including severe and chronic pain that left her bedridden, with hair loss and adult acne.

"I went to doctors, I even went to the Mayo Clinic," Billie Jo recalls. "Some of them told me it was all in my head, others said I was obsessive-compulsive. But everyone eventually said the same thing: 'There's nothing we can do for you.' "

So Billie Jo remained in this state for nearly two long, horrible years, during which just getting up in the morning was an agonizing experience.


Salvation From Unexpected Quarters

Eventually, a friend suggested she see an acupuncturist.

"I kept putting it off. I figured I was in enough pain without somebody jabbing me with needles. But I didn't have any other options, and I certainly didn't have anything to lose by seeing one."

The acupuncturist Billie Jo saw examined her and suggested that one cause of her problems might be the range of toxins in the personal care products she used.

"She told me to go home and throw out anything that was potentially toxic to me: shampoos, cosmetics, toothpastes, anything," recalls Billie Jo, "and then to start using some toxin-free products she offered me."

Billie Jo took the advice. She went home, dumped hundreds of dollars of goods in the garbage and replaced them with the accupuncturist's toxin-free products.

"It took a month for me to start noticing any difference," Billie Jo remembers; "then my hair started growing back. My adult acne went away. Slowly, over the next year and a half, I got my health and my life back."

Billie Jo's near-miraculous recovery did not go unnoticed.

"People started asking me why I looked so good, what I had done to change. I was so excited about how the products had turned my life around that I couldn't stop talking about them."


A Twelve-Dollar Ticket to Freedom

People also asked the obvious question: where could they get the products Billie Jo was using? Billie Jo decided to start selling them.

Her first check was for $12...nothing to light the world on fire, perhaps, but it lit Billie Jo on fire--slowly.


"During the first year I didn't sign up a single distributor. I just sold the products and found customers by being myself and telling people about how great the products were," Billie Jo recalls. "Once I did sign up my first distributor, things exploded."

Within a few years, her income from her network marketing business was double her teaching income.

"The growth was pretty spectacular!"

To what does Billie Jo attribute her success?

"I love to educate people; that's why I keep teaching even now," she says. "Educating people about these products is the key to selling them. Even more than that, what makes me successful is that I care about people; I will do anything to help the people I work with become successful. I really believe if I can create a clear path to success for people, they'll go down it."

When asked what she would tell someone entering network marketing for the first time, she lays out three golden rules.

"First, you have to have a positive attitude and know that even when everything looks totally negative, if you believe in yourself, your dreams will come true.

"Second, you have to firmly believe in a mission and have clear goals to help you achieve that mission.

"And third, never give up."

How good is her advice? Well, Billie Jo now takes trips with her family whenever she wants. She and her husband just bought a half-million-dollar home, and both plan on retiring in five years at the age of 50. Most importantly, Billie Jo, who only six years ago was confined to a wheelchair, plans on living a long, vigorous, and pain-free life.