LeeAnn Werner Jackson persisted in networking for more than a decade before achieving the kind of success she came in hoping for. Still, once she understood the concept of leverage, she knew she could never go back to her linear work life.

Financial freedom has always been the primary goal, and her persistence has paid off. Finally, her chronic money worries are behind her. Now it’s time for the fun of enjoying the success and helping her team get there too.

Entrepreneurial Beginnings

Entrepreneurship has run in LeeAnn’s veins from a young age, long before she found her way into network marketing. A New Yorker, LeeAnn grew up in a Long Island family where being in business for oneself was the norm; by the age of seventeen, she already knew that holding a “regular job” was not for her.

She joined a direct sales company with high hopes that this was her start towards financial independence. Before long, though, she had to admit that she just wasn’t selling enough to make it. She resigned herself to taking a job—for the time being—and began working for a car rental company. Within a few years, she was managing seven company locations.

Despite her job’s long hours and significant responsibility, LeeAnn kept her eyes peeled for entrepreneurial possibilities. On the side, she started buying cars off leases to fix up and resell for a second stream of income. When the company transferred her to Florida to open new locations, she continued buying and reselling cars in her new venue. Once she felt she knew enough to venture out on her own, she quit and opened her own car rental and leasing business—but after three years, competition in the market became too intense.

LeeAnn responded by getting out of cars and starting a new business in corporate event planning and services.

“It was definitely learn-as-you-go,” says LeeAnn, “but the key to me for anything we do in life is passion. Give me a person with passion and I’ll take that above any other qualification, any skills or education. I know that a passionate person is going to learn what she needs to learn and find a way to make it happen.”

Find a way she did. Her passion to succeed drove the company into profits quickly. Soon she had big-name clients, from airlines to credit unions, and she attributes the success to always “going the extra mile.”

“I was up before the first client was awake and didn’t quit until the last client went to bed,” she says. “It was exciting, but it was 72 miles from my home to our office at the Miami airport, so it involved endless driving on the Florida turnpike.”

It was on the highway night after night that LeeAnn realized she was hitting the limit of what the human body can do.

She was eating on the go throughout the day and downing candy bars at night to stay awake at the wheel. She recalls one night, barreling down the highway, with her head spinning so badly that she finally had to admit it to herself: This was not how she imagined having her own business would be—and if she kept up this pace, she would kill herself.

“It was high passion, high energy, then crash. I knew I had to change something. There just had to be a better way.”

Leverage—What a Concept!

That better way walked right up to her at a business expo the very next day. A man approached her and said, “People like you are amazing—you would be amazing in my business.”

“I thought I was the first and only person he’d ever said this to, so I took it as a huge compliment!” she laughs. He gave her his business card and asked her to come by his office so he could show her how to leverage her time. He called every day until she finally went, mainly to get him off her back.

“In the first five minutes, he showed me something that changed my whole life,” says LeeAnn. “It’s what I now call the ‘OP List’: other people’s talents along with yours, other people’s time along with yours, other people’s money along with yours, two times two times two.”

She spent four and a half hours in his office that day. Amazingly enough, he wasn’t actually in a networking company at the time! He had an envelope on his desk full of materials about a company he was just beginning to evaluate. He told her, “I’m still looking at this, but I didn’t want to lose you.” Looking back on that first interaction, LeeAnn realizes she learned an invaluable lesson that she puts into practice to this day.

“He showed me respect and asked my business opinion on what he was looking at,” she recalls. “This taught me that it’s not about telling people what we think, it’s about asking them what they think about what we’re showing them. He allowed me to embrace it on my own terms. It’s a process of gathering and sharing information.”

They joined that company together, and over the next few years they had significant success. They also learned a lot. In their third year, says LeeAnn, the corporate management let them down and they left as part of a mass exodus. LeeAnn took a break from network marketing and gave some serious thought to the question of whether this was the right profession for her. A friend offered her a tempting job managing a new Range Rover dealership, complete with a company car and a six-figure income.

“After I took the time to carefully reevaluate, I came to the conclusion that, yes, this is the profession for me!” says LeeAnn. “My passion fueled by my beliefs gave me the courage to turn the dealership job down.”

She joined another networking company and stayed with it for eight and a half years. She was loyal and focused, but it never felt like the right “fit.” Although she had some success, by the end of that period, her checks were dwindling. She just couldn’t seem to produce consistent income with that compensation plan.

“I wanted financial freedom so much, yet I was worried about money all the time. On top of that, I was in the middle of divorcing an alcoholic husband. It was a very difficult period.”

Despite her disappointment and the difficulty of her situation, she still believed in network marketing and her own ability to succeed. Three years ago, that belief began to pay off in a powerful way. That’s when she joined her current company, and right away felt the relief of having finally found the “fit” she’d been missing. The past three years have been the most successful of her sixteen total years in the business.

“There were two things in particular that kept me going during those early years,” says LeeAnn.

The first was her steadfast commitment to earning a six-figure income in a business of her own. She was determined to see that become a reality.

The second was reading Upline as she went to sleep every night.

“Before I said my prayers, I would read a story about someone who was succeeding in this business and tell myself that I would be one of these stories.”

Leading with Passion

LeeAnn has developed a range of attributes that help create her networking success, but she insists that first and foremost among those is, once again, her intense and unending passion for this business.

“I look for prospecting moments wherever I am because I’m excited about what I have,” she says. “I believe everyone should be on my product, and I think you’re in the wrong company if you don’t feel that way. As I see it, the only things in life worth doing at all are those things we can do with passion. Love your partner with passion, raise your children with passion, build your business with passion, support your team with passion, play with passion, because the one with the most passion wins!”

Most would agree that passion is a great attribute, but it’s also notoriously difficult to teach. In fact, we ask, is it simply something that either you have or you don’t?

LeeAnn won’t go quite that far, but she readily acknowledges that network marketing is not for everyone. Still, she believes there are ways to help people tap into passion they may have, but may be masked by fears.

“I love the acronym for fear, ‘False Evidence Appearing Real.’ We fixate on ‘what if’ this or that bad thing happens. I try to help people take all that energy and redirect it into thinking ‘what if’ about all the good things they want to see happen. Same energy, different result—different life! You have to make space for the things you desire.”

To that end, she’s created a training called Power Up For Life, with the goal of identifying the “ropes” that keep people tied down and away from the life they wish they were living.

“We all have ropes that keep us dangling,” she explains, “sometimes just feet away from making our dreams come true. I had my own ropes to cut; we all do. What I teach is that although each of our ropes may be different, when we actually cut the rope, we land in the most magnificent part of life: actually living.”

At the top of her game, LeeAnn now spends more time with her favorite activities and doing some of those things she’s always wanted to. For example, she loves boating and being close to the water, so she’s planning to build a home in Florida, while keeping her house in New York for hurricane season. As a twenty-year fan of the Indianapolis 500, she finally realized one of her biggest dreams of attending a race—and not on a budget.

“For the first time in my life, I know what it is to be financially free,” she says, “and it’s an amazing place to be.”


How to “Passion Up”

Being fully aware and in control of what is going into our minds is key to what comes out in our actions. Read everything that moves you closer to bringing your intentions to fruition. Listen to empowering music or even your own recorded positive self-talk and affirmations. People chuckle when I first suggest they listen to Barry Manilow until they actually listen for themselves—and then they get hooked. Why? Because his message is about hope, passion and never giving up!

If you are surrounded by people who read tabloids, you will probably become an expert on movie stars and sensational news that may or may not be true. That and eight bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. If you surround yourself with people who read magazines like Networking Times, your conversations will be significantly different. You will find yourself developing your expertise and passion for your business!

I do this with the Indy Racing League (I’ve been a fan for twenty years) and get to enjoy two passions at the same time! I’m getting my products to the drivers and their teams. People will see your excitement and want what you’ve got. They’re tired of living lives without feeling excited and when they feel your excitement, they want to plug in! — L.W.J.