It was after those three years that the Unkefers network marketing education really began in earnest.
The company we were with reached a point where it could not adequately fund its own growth, says Sherman. They had to pull in their horns for some years and wait until the balance sheet improved.
In other words, the horse they were riding was shot out from under them. Rather than walk or hitch-hike, Sherman immediately began looking for another horse.
I was bitten by the bug of passive residual income. Once you have a taste of time freedom and the kind of financial leverage you can have through this business, its pretty hard to go back to conventional business.
Over the next two decades, Sherman and Sharon tried to duplicate their early success with company after company, with varying degrees of success.
Some were companies that were ill-conceived, undercapitalized or poorly managed. With some, we started to go down the path, but no matter what we tried or how hard we worked, we could not make it work.
In fact, says Sherman, this is one of the biggest pitfalls in this business: making the wrong choice of company.
We gradually learned that the vehicle one chooses is critically important to the potential outcome. Many people look at network marketing and see it as a simple business model, something thats quite easy to dobut the facts of the case are quite different. Its a fairly complex business model, and its rare to find a company that has all the bases covered.
Yes, he explains, from the distributor side the business appears quite simple. But to make that simple distributor experience work, you need on the corporate side a management or ownership that understands operations, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, regulatory issues, a host of other aspects of what is in fact a very complex business model.
When you find a company that has all its bases covered like that, it can be truly magical and you can accomplish in just a matter of three or four years what it might otherwise take a lifetime working for a Fortune 500 company.
Of course, again the rueful smile, we didnt come to this knowledge on Day One. We made our share of mistakesand we kissed many frogs that did not turn out to be princes.
With a few of those princes, the Unkefers were able to achieve fairly strong six-figure incomes, and they still see a residual income stream from some of those companies. Yet none quite worked out for the long-term.
Giving It One More Try
In early 2003, the Unkefers heard some promising rumors about a company that had just opened its doors. They cautiously decided to give it a careful lookbut by now, they had learned their lessons well. They only way they would even consider joining would be if the company passed their rigorous litmus test, which boils down to five factors:
For a stable, long-term business, you want to see 1) a product at reasonably low unit cost, that is 2) consumable and 3) has a certain mystique or exclusivity. You also must have 4) an experienced, proven management team in place, and 5) a fair and balanced compensation plan. Any time I have neglected to pay attention, any time even one of these five was missing, it has come back to bite me.
Much to their delight, what Sherman and Sharon found was a company that had all five pieces squarely in place. They were back in business.
Now all they had to do was find people who would join them.
A lot of people have this notion that when you enter a new company, you can just snap your fingers and leaders come out of the woodwork andvoila!you have an organization over-night. Ive never seen it work that way.
Despite their past successes, the Unkefers also had some baggage that added to the challenge. The previous five years had been an especially rough patch: they had been involved in three companies in a row that just plain didnt work out. Ouch.
Not surprisingly, many of their warm listfriends, family and business associateshad come to doubt their judgment.
Which I completely understood, Sherman adds. In fact, we had come fairly close to the point of wondering if I had the ability to make the right judgment too! He laughs.
Now, here we come, one more time, with our new business and say, Look, this is really it! and their response was, Now wait a minutewe did those three other things and none of those worked out. Why is this one any different? What could we say? We did our mea culpas, said that wed made a few bad choices, and then carefully explained what made this different.
Some joined them; some waited.
With some of these people, it took a year or more until they would even consider joining. Once they saw this was not a matter of flavor of the month, but that I was really serious and committed, that changed their point of view.
And thats actually not unusual, says Sherman: sometimes the highest quality prospects need months or even a year to consider an opportunity seriously.
Recruiting is more of a process than a singular event. Especially with those people you respect the most.
And their friends faith was not misplaced: the Unkefers exploding organization has already far exceeded anything theyve ever experienced before.
Over the next twelve months, Sherman adds, we expect to see cash flow that may as much as quadruple our total earnings for the prior twenty years in the business.
The Time of Their Lives
Sherman and Sharon have worked as partners in every business theyve done.
We make a great team, he says. She is great with communications. I couldnt begin to get done what I do if it werent for her active participation.
In addition to Sharons weekly Internet newsletter, the Unkefers also run a daily voice blog off a web site.
Its a great way for me to stay in touch with the organization. I can call in from anywhere in the worldfrom Tokyo, Stockholm or Boston, wherever I happen to beand everyone else can share the excitement.
Today, with their business barely three years old, the Unkefers have an organization of well over 100,000 people in fourteen countries. In another five years, Sherman guesstimates, it will be somewhere between fifty and one hundred countries.
At that point, he says, I believe well have leaders in every major city in the world. It makes for a pretty rich life. I can fly into Vienna, call one of our leaders, go to the symphony together. Tokyo, Paris, London, Sydney, wherever. Its a fascinating opportunity for us to travel to these different countries. And its comforting to know that youve got people around the world who are part of your business.
This is clearly the most enjoyable way I have found to make a living. You can touch lives and help othersand you can do quite well while doing a lot of good!
No doubt about it: they are having the time of their lives.
A Failed Meeting
Most people who fail simply dont stay the course long enough to
see the cumulative compound effect of their efforts.