Dr. Francisco DeLaCruz, caring for a child under anesthesia inside the operating room at the clinic. The temperature inside the operating room often exceeded ninety degrees.

We often hear about people for whom network marketing is an escape strategy from a hated job—the ever inspiring “I fired my boss” story. For physician Francisco DeLaCruz, network marketing has provided the inverse experience. Rather than supplanting his career in medicine, Fran’s networking business has rekindled his passion for it.

Today Fran is still active in his practice, but on his own terms now. For him, that includes fulfilling a long-term dream: to offer free medical care to impoverished citizens in the Dominican Republic, the country of his birth.

Inspiration to Serve

Fran’s father grew up cutting sugar cane as a child in the Dominican Republic, but like so many immigrants, he saw opportunities in the United States that his own country did not afford. The family moved here when Fran was just three months old and settled in Illinois, where his father started a successful career as an engineer.

“Although I spent very little time in the Dominican Republic growing up,” says Fran, “I always felt a special connection to the country that’s hard to explain, like a calling to go back to my roots.”

From the time he was in college, Fran had a specific vision of returning to the Dominican Republic and providing free medical care. Although wealthy tourists frequent the country’s numerous beach resorts, he knew that most of the population live in poverty and without access to the basic care most Americans take for granted.

Upon graduation, he went on to medical school at Washington University in Saint Louis, followed by a post-graduate residency at Harvard. He quickly developed a love for children’s anesthesiology and cultivated his expertise in that area. Once in practice for himself, however, the stress of sixty- to eighty-hour work weeks began to erode the joy he’d once taken in his work. Rather than offering a promising career in service, anesthesia lost its luster and became a daily grind.

“It was just getting to be too much,” he says. “I often explain it this way: I love mountain biking but I don’t do it twelve hours a day!”

Fran still dreamed of returning to the Dominican Republic, but the likelihood that he would actually find the time to make this happen was looking more remote. He and his wife Denise had started a family, and he already could hardly find time to spend with his children, let alone pursue his charitable goals. Ultimately, it was the pressure his career placed on his family that inspired him to look for alternatives.

“It all started with our oldest son,” Fran recalls. “We were outside one day and I’ll never forget him getting into his toy car, shutting the door, and saying, ‘Bye bye, Daddy, I’m going to work.’ In that moment, I saw how he saw me. I realized I had to find some new ways to create income that would give me time for my family.”

Creating Time Freedom

After reading the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, Fran and Denise decided to invest in real estate, both in Illinois and in the Seattle area where the couple had settled. Thanks in part to good timing, they were able to make what Fran calls “a pretty seamless transition” to real estate investing, creating a multi-million-dollar portfolio in just two years. Network marketing was an obvious next step.

“My real estate mentors, including Robert Kiyosaki, kept talking about network marketing, so we spent some time looking for an opportunity that was right for us,” says Fran. “Denise is a CPA and MBA, so we wanted a company that would satisfy her from the business angle, and also complement my background in medicine.”

When they found a company that fit this profile, Fran and Denise started the business as a team. Denise had been spending time at home with their children, so she initially took the lead, while Fran participated on a part-time basis, mostly talking to people in the course of his normal day.

That was 2002. They set a goal of $2,000 per month and reached it fairly quickly…but after a year, the business stagnated.

“We were about to quit,” Fran admits, “but after some serious thought, we decided instead to get a coach, named Jeffery Combs, and take on a new level of personal development. Once we better understood the concepts and principles of success in the business, things started to take off.”

Between his medical practice, real estate and their network marketing business, Fran spent the next couple of years busier than he’d ever been before. In August of 2005, he got the first big pay-off:

“I dropped down to part-time in medicine,” he says, “and I love anesthesia again!”

The second big reward came in short order. Almost as soon as he set the new schedule for his practice—working just seventeen weeks a year, roughly three in every ten—he came across the perfect way to realize the dream he’d been delaying all this time.

From Dream to Reality

Fran heard from some other physicians about a Christian-based organization called Children of the Nations that organized teams of medical professionals to provide free services in third world countries. It so happened that COTN was located right in his home town of Silverdale, Washington.

Fran wanted to get involved. He attended a COTN fundraising auction and was thrilled to discover that the Dominican Republic was among the three countries in which they operated a medical clinic. He learned that the clinic is located in the particularly disadvantaged Barahona area: local physicians offer daily medical and dental care there, but U.S. teams also cycle in on a short-term basis to offer surgical and other more complicated procedures throughout the year.

It could not have been more perfect. He promptly signed up to participate in the next trip, scheduled for November. When the time came, Fran flew down with three other physicians and a crew of nurses and technicians.

“It was everything I imagined it would be and more,” Fran says. “We spent a week there and did thirty-one surgeries—burns, facial trauma, general surgery—and all the medical care was provided free. There were people who walked thirty miles to get their surgical procedure done.”

Fran and the others found themselves improvising to compensate for amenities they were accustomed to having on hand in the U.S.

“It’s definitely a third-world facility,” Fran explains. “The temperature in an operating room in the U.S. is sixty-five degrees—but in the Dominican Republic it was eighty-five degrees! We put bags of ice on the surgeons so they wouldn’t pass out under their sterile gowns. There were power outages at least once or twice a day, so we had to shine flashlights on the surgical field.

“Instruments were limited, so we had to be very creative in how we got things done. For example, in the U.S. we have drains to pull off extra blood or fluid from a wound, and I remember having to use a syringe and jam a pencil into it to form a vacuum and tape it up as a makeshift drain.”

What struck Fran most about people he met in the Dominican Republic was what he perceived as a different approach to self-definition.

“There, people seem to be defined by their interactions with others, not by what they do for a living, as is so often the case here. We had family members hugging us because they were so grateful for what in the U.S. would typically be considered minor operations.”

A good place for network marketing, perhaps? Resoundingly yes, according to Fran. In fact, his father has joined his business and is starting a leg there.

Fran plans to participate in future medical teams each year, with a goal of twice per year: once in the Dominican Republic and once elsewhere, either in foreign country or in the U.S.

Potential for Professionals

Fran estimates that his current time freedom derives roughly fifty-fifty from network marketing and real estate—but in terms of return on investment, networking has been far greater.

“With real estate we got a lot of equity, but very little cash flow,” he explains. “In order to buy a $100,000 piece of property, you have to put in $10,000 and cash flow might be $700 a month. Networking cost us less than $2,000 to get started—and we were soon earning more than that every month.”

Now Fran and Denise are highly motivated to spread the word to other professionals, who they believe can use network marketing to enrich the rewards of their chosen careers.

“I never hated being a physician, I just didn’t like the hours. With network marketing, I feel renewed passion for it all over again, because I can do it on a part-time basis. That’s why we’re so passionate about the industry.”

Inspired by the real estate board game Cash Flow 101, Fran and Denise have acted on that passion to create a similar game, Diamond Destination, that teaches networking principles.

“When we compared our experience in real estate, which was seamless, with our experience in network marketing, which had a bumpy phase, playing Cash Flow 101 was one of the key differences. We hope that our networking game will drive home the concepts we learned in our difficult period so it won’t have to be that difficult for others. Our goal is to elevate the business intelligence and personal development of network marketers worldwide.”

Fran especially hopes that any success their game helps networkers achieve will inspire them to use the time freedom to seek out non-monetary rewards—like those he receives from offering free medical services.

“My dad came to the United States because of the opportunities, and those opportunities have panned out very well for all of us. I’m grateful that I can now take some of what we gained here back to my people in the Dominican Republic.”

For more information about Children of the Nations, visit www.networkingtimes.com/link/cotn
To learn about the Diamond Destination Game visit www.networkingtimes.com/link/ddg