Not too many networkers can say that they were introduced to network marketing before turning eight. Fewer can say they went on to experience both sides of the fence, building a six-figure monthly income as a distributor and then paying out more than $350 million in commissions as the co-founder, president and CEO of a successful network marketing company. Fewer still can say they channeled the substantial financial rewards of their hard work to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

BK Boreyko is one who can say all three.

Growing Up in an MLM Home

In 1969, at the impressionable age of seven, BK sat at the top of the stairs in his feet-in pajamas and watched his parents do MLM home meetings. He learned valuable lessons that for many can take a lifetime.

“Network marketing provided the perfect environment to teach kids. Summer school was ‘Free Enterprise 101,’ class was in session and dad was the teacher. We learned how to stock shelves, balance the checkbook, answer the phones, and most importantly, deal with people.”

At the same time he was cutting his business teeth, BK was also learning about the spirit of giving.

“My dad would give each of us kids a dollar to put in the collection plate at church each week—and he’d watch to make sure we did it. Dad taught us that you give away what you want to receive. If you want to get love, you have to give away love; if you want money, you have to give away money.”

BK’s mom Dottie loved to help inner-city and less fortunate kids. She went beyond the collection plates and the boundaries of her own country in demonstrating her giving spirit.

“On a trip to Mexico with a friend, she passed by kids having a class outside, pulled over and asked what was going on. They learned that the school was too small for all the children. So my mom built a new wing for the school. I remember commenting, ‘Mom, that was an expensive vacation!’”

In and Out of the Rat Race

With both the spirit of entrepreneurship and that of giving deeply ingrained, BK graduated high school in 1980 and set off into the world. Guided by his dad’s zeal for network marketing, BK focused on his networking business for three years, but emerged disappointed with his earnings.

He took a foray into the corporate world, working in advertising for a Fortune 500 company. After five years, he had had enough of the rat race. Among other things, he wasn’t used to the restrictive lifestyle of having to ask the boss for time off. He wanted his freedom back.

“I was making $2000 per month part-time at my networking business when I decided to quit my job and do my own business full-time. One of my work buddies told me I’d be back begging for my job in six months. That was all I needed to hear! No way I was going to let him say, ‘I told you so!’ ”

In 1987 his parents signed him up in their networking business; he’s never looked back. His dad asked him, “How hard would you work during the next 24 months if you knew you could set yourself up financially for life?” He was up for the challenge.

Benefits of Network Marketing

Working together, the Boreyko family broke records in the industry, earning over $350,000 per month at their highest point.

“In network marketing, every day is like a weekend—and Christmas comes once a month when you get paid!” says BK. “You have to work for it, of course. Most people don’t even know that they have the opportunity to work to earn residual income.”

To illustrate his point, he cites a story he heard from master teacher Jim Rohn.

“Rohn asked a waitress in a coffee shop, ‘Have you found the opportunity that is going to look after your family financially for the long term?’ She said, ‘No,’ and he taught her, ‘That’s the most important question you can ask yourself in your work life.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s the second most important question: How much time do you spend each month looking for that opportunity?’ ”

BK is astounded when he considers how few people spend any time considering their future. “The Bible says, ‘Seek and ye shall find.’ It’s amazing how many people expect things to fall into their laps without ever looking to find them.”

Recalling his stint in the rat race, BK reflects on other distinctions between the corporate and networking worlds.

“Networking is a volunteer sport. People are there because they want to be, not because they have to be. You have to deal with people differently than in a traditional work situation where the boss uses leverage over the workers rather than employing relationship skills. In network marketing you have to have people skills and leadership skills to keep people excited about what they’re doing. It’s a challenge, but the rewards are well worth it.

“I always applaud people for taking the initiative to enter network marketing. Some say, ‘What happens if I get all excited and nothing happens?’ I say, ‘What if you get all excited and something happens?’ People go through their whole work life without ever being excited about anything. I was like that for five years and I was going nuts! The way that I was raised was such a contrast. Finally, I thought, ‘I don’t have to live like this.’ ”

From Distributor to CEO

Of all of the benefits of network marketing, time freedom was the greatest gift for the Boreykos. In February 1994, matriarch Dottie Boreyko was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In May of that year, says BK, “she went to heaven.”

“I got to spend every day with her during those months,” recalls BK. “I traveled with her to specialists and spent precious time with her. If I’d had a regular job, there’s no way I would have been able to do that. You can’t put a price on this: to be able to spend the last three months of your mom’s life at her side.”

Even in her last days, Dottie was thinking of others. She asked her family to be sure to take care of their distributors. Perhaps she had a foreshadowing of the challenges ahead.

Ten days before Christmas in 1994, there was an emergency conference call from the Boreykos’ networking company. They learned that the company they were affiliated with was going into bankruptcy. There would be no more monthly Christmases, at least not from this particular enterprise.

“Grown men were crying on the conference call,” recalls BK. “My dad was 68, retired, had his whole life wrapped up in network marketing, and now saw it starting to unravel.”

The Boreykos huddled. They looked for an opportunity of high integrity and promise. They wanted one that was being led by a distributor or someone with a distributor’s mentality.

“Distributors think differently from corporate guys. Corporate guys look at bottom line numbers and distributors look at marketing. Without great marketing there will be no bottom line.”

With no models in sight, the Boreykos stepped up to the plate and started their own company. Brother Jason and sisters Lynne and Karen kept their mom’s last wish: “Do something to help people.” As co-founders, they set their company’s mission: “to enrich the quality of families’ lives.”

“People thought we wouldn’t make it. They’d say, ‘These guys don’t have any corporate experience, they don’t know how to run a company.’ Our secret to success is that we surround ourselves with people who are smarter than we are. We can hire people who know shipping, IT, customer service. We hire someone who can make sure commission checks are run on time—and we’ve never been late in 10 years. We have a great senior staff.”

BK adds, “What you can’t hire is visionary leadership that can say, ‘I’ve been out there and I’m not going to ask you to do something I haven’t done myself.’ ” BK says he asks his distributors to do only what’s been proven and tested and gets results.

“Corporate guys can read about building a networking business, but unless they are out there talking with people, hearing the objections, handling the phone calls and the rejection, what distributors go through on a daily basis, how can they make the right decisions about compensation plans and products? There is no replacement for this type of experience.”

If BK and his siblings were out to prove that distributors can run a successful network marketing company, they succeeded. Three months after his family’s emergency meeting during the holidays, they launched their business with 1900 distributors and $125,000 in sales their first month. Six months later they were at a half-million dollars in sales; ten years later, they can proudly point to their staying power and more than a billion dollars in retail sales. Success magazine trumpeted the new company’s unprecedented growth and BK and Jason received the prestigious Ernst and Young “Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year” Award.

Extending His Mother’s Legacy

The Boreykos founded the company in their mother’s honor and then established a giving foundation in her name.

Through the Dottie Boreyko Foundation and personal contributions, BK’s family and company have helped countless people. More than $2.5 million has been directed to aid those less fortunate, including building homes for the homeless through Habitat for Humanity; supporting the United Way and the Rainforest Foundation; and providing health, exercise and sports programs for inner-city youth.

“We bought the ‘Church on the Street’ a huge grill,” says BK. “They tow it behind a truck to feed people who live on the street. At the holidays, we donate food for the homeless. The church passes out flyers and the homeless network spreads the word. A week later, our employees join us in feeding about 800 people who have come from everywhere for free food. All of us learn the meaning of the holidays.”

For the past ten years the annual Dottie Boreyko Award has been gifted to people with a giving spirit. This year, one of BK’s company’s own employees, Amy Davison, received this award for “Philanthropic Excellence and Making a Difference in Our Community.”

Through Charity Chicks, Amy and her friends make their contributions and have fun doing it. Says Amy, “We’ve worked on fundraising events for Make A Difference, raised funds and ran a marathon for the American Stroke Association, read with kids at a shelter, assembled teams to perform large-scale projects and sometimes all we do is spread the good word about the joy of giving.”

Dottie Boreyko would have been proud to hand Amy that huge glass trophy.

Adds BK, “We are always looking for opportunities to extend my mom’s passion for making a difference in people’s lives. We recently linked up with CoolOurTroops.com to provide portable misters for our servicemen and women who are in 135-degree weather in Iraq.” BK’s company is offering matching donations for his distributors who donate $5 to Cool Our Troops when they call in orders. Every $10 buys one mister.

“Thank goodness for network marketing,” exclaims BK. “Most people see news stories on good works like ‘CoolOurTroops.com’ and say, ‘That’s nice.’ Network marketers are in the position to say, ‘We’re going to do something about that!’ ”

With a strong foundation from childhood for entrepreneurship and philanthropy, BK offers opportunity to those who will work for it—and to those who need support and encouragement so that some day they can.