Rick Jordan could not have been happier or more successful running the family business, an insurance company that had been started by his grandfather more than eighty years earlier. When people approached him with network marketing opportunities, he never gave them a second’s thought.

“In network marketing, they always tell you to put together a list of people you know,” says Rick. “Who do you think is always first on everybody’s list? Their insurance guy!”

Rick had been on a lot of lists and had said “Not interested” a lot of times. So he was neither surprised nor excited when a client told him about a new network marketing business he’d gotten involved with. Rick said what he always said: Not interested.

As it happened, Rick was getting ready to go to Hawaii the next day. The man gave Rick some information to take with him and review while he was away. Rick laughs, remembering the moment.

“What’s the last thing you want to do while you’re in Hawaii on your vacation?”

The papers stayed in Rick’s suitcase, and when he returned, he told the man, once again, “Not interested.” But the man kept asking, and after six months, Rick finally went to a meeting just to mollify him.

“As a result of that meeting,” says Rick, “I got to know a distributor who later started his own company—and he asked me to sit on his board of directors. Which I did for the next three and a half years.”

Due Diligence

It was certainly an unusual way to gain exposure to the business, and over those several years, Rick saw a good deal that caught his interest.

“Eventually I decided that I wanted to become a participant in the business, not just an observer. I had no plans to walk away from my insurance business, which I was very happy with. But I wanted to diversify my income stream, and also diversify how and where I spent my energy.”

He resigned his position on the board and started looking. In fact, he didn’t just look: he raised the pursuit of “due diligence” to an art form.

Rick points out that if you go to a presentation and you’ve got a gifted communicator, they all look good.

“You have to step back and take an analytical approach. So I hired a CPA to analyze compensation plans, do cash flow projections and that sort of thing. We explored over forty different companies.”

The process took about six months.

“I wanted to make sure we had a program that would work for part-time people, because more than 90 percent of the distributor force are part-time. Usually you have to jump through so many hoops to get to the vast majority of the percentage points in any compensation plan, it’s very difficult for most part-time people to make it work. I knew what I was looking for.”

At the end of that six months, he made his choice. He joined his company in January 1993 and has been with them ever since.

Pushing the Snowball

Rick started building his new business on a very part-time basis, working just three to six hours per week. After about a year and a half, he was earning some modest money, but it wasn’t where he thought it should have been by this time.

“I called someone in my upline and said, ‘You know, this obviously isn’t working for me; I’ve got to move on.’ He said, “Rick, hang in there for another six months,’ and in that conversation, he restored my belief enough for me to do what he suggested.”

By the end of that six months, Rick’s income had gone into the mid-six figures.

“It was pretty amazing,” he adds.

We wonder, was it simply the cumulative effect of time, or was there something different he was doing during those six months?

“It was really just the cumulative effect of time. Most people don’t realize how close they are to rolling that snowball up the hill, they don’t know how close they are to the summit. They think they’re thousands of miles away from the summit, but they might be just a few feet—and they quit!

“To me, the single most important aspect in this business is consistent activity. Because we really are pushing that snowball up a hill—and as soon as we stop pushing, it rolls back on us a little bit.”

Rick points to an experience he had in the summer of ’93, just six months into his networking business. He had a long-standing reservation to go to a Boy Scouts of America retreat with his son, a two-week stretch of near-complete isolation on a ranch in New Mexico.

“For two weeks, you’re gone—no phone calls, nothing. If someone back home dies, they could probably track you down—but it wouldn’t be easy!”

When he returned after the two weeks, his business had suffered badly.

“It was almost gone. Just two weeks without that consistent activity, and it was almost gone—because this is a relationship business, we build relationships, and you can’t completely let go of those and expect everything to go on by itself—not when your business is new and just getting established.”

The Beauty of True Residual

However, Rick points out, once it is established, it’s a whole different story! He warms to one of his favorite stories to illustrate the point.

“We bought a vacation home in Hawaii in 1987; the plan was to go there every year with the family for vacation.”

With eight children, Rick and his wife Lori were looking forward to some magnificent vacation time. But Rick soon realized he was so buried in paperwork with the insurance business, there was no way he could actually get free to go!

“Finally in ’92, after owning the place for four years, I decided I was going anyway, so we all went—and when I got back, my desk was piled so high with paperwork, I wondered if it had even been worth going in the first place!”

But that was before his network marketing business.

“In ’99, after I had built a stable income with our networking business, I took my family over there for not one week, not two, not three, but for four weeks. We had a great time for a month, scuba diving, playing tons of golf. It was wonderful. And when we got back, there was a letter from the president of the company saying, ‘Congratulations on your outstanding month!’ I thought, ‘How in the world did he know I was on vacation?’ And it went on, ‘…based on our records, you had an overall earnings increase of 22 percent over the previous month!’

“Lori saw the letter and said, ‘Let’s go back!’”

The next year they went again for a month, and when they returned, they had another congratulatory letter from the company president: this time Rick’s income had gone up 30 percent.

“My wife saw that and said, ‘Well obviously, the business grows better without you than with you!’ And isn’t that what we all want? A business that grows independent of our efforts.”

And that, Rick points out, is what he saw in the network marketing profession that drew him in the first place, the thing he knew he could not get from his insurance work.

“That’s the beautiful part about the business, it can be self-sustaining. I say, can be—most of them aren’t, because they don’t build it right. But if you build it right, it should be self-sustaining.”

What is “right,” we ask?

“I believe in building the security of a specific leg; that’s the critical factor. How many secure legs you need depends on the specific compensation plan; in our plan, for instance, you have to have five legs. To secure a leg means to me that you have to have three people in that leg—in a succession, one below the next—who are all getting more out of this than they can get anywhere else. When you have that, then that leg is solid.”

The Real Rewards

And what they’re “getting out of this,” Rick is quick to point out, is not necessarily measured in dollar signs.

“I’ve seen people in our business who are extremely wealthy, and the mid-five-figure or even six-figure income they’re making here is a pittance compared to what they’re used to making. But they love what they’re doing—because we’re changing people’s lives.”

Rick himself is a case in point. He was already fairly well-off when he started in ’93, with a million-dollar home, two Porsches and a second home in Hawaii. But in his insurance company, he was in the business of helping people make sure they were covered in the case of a loss.

“And there really isn’t much psychic reward there,” he explains, “because when they do have a loss, they’re dealing with a bad situation. I also own a car wash. When do people need a car wash? When their cars are dirty. Again, not a lot of satisfaction from that!

“But in this business, we’re helping people change their lives. When you see people get their health under control, how do you even put a price tag on that?”

As another example of non-monetary rewards, Rick cites a man who joined the business less than a year ago. A mechanic in his mid-twenties, he was having a hard time making ends meet. When he showed up for a business meeting in baggy Levis and a tee shirt, Rick took him aside for some on-the-spot mentoring.

“I told him this was just not appropriate business attire. I’m not saying you have to wear a coat and tie, but this is a business, and you have to look professional.”

At the time, the young man wanted to quit school. Rick encouraged him to stay and finish his education. Since then, he has graduated—and just got a job at an institute teaching auto mechanics.

“The mentoring he got here was invaluable; in fact, he attributes much of his success over the past months to what he’s learned in our business. Here—let me give you another example of what I mean. I got this from a downline member a few years ago—”

Rick pulls a letter from his files and begins to read:

Dear Rick,

I am amazed at what our company has done for me. Yesterday I was called into my boss’s office; he is president of our entire $210 million division. In front of the executive staff he bestowed on me what we call our “leader of the pack award,” which is the highest recognition award our company gives out, for my leadership and achievement in the last eighteen months. I was shocked, but I owe this to you and to your company. If I didn’t make any profit from this business, this growth cycle would be more worthwhile than another college degree.

Thanks for all of your coaching support and friendship. If you have anyone who is looking to understand some of the softer benefits of being in this business, just steer them my way and I’ll share my story.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he adds. “And that’s what happens if we can put our own egos aside and help our people achieve their goals, and not be afraid that they might become more successful than we are. That’s what a real leader does, encourages others to be better than they are. And that’s one of the greatest rewards in this business.”