Renata Lee

A networking veteran with almost twenty years of experience in the profession, Renata joined her current company five years ago. Today, from her home in Fountain Valley, California, she sits atop a multimillion-dollar network, over 100,000 people strong and with a sales volume of $1.9 million a week.

Along the way, Renata says she has been selective in whom she recruits into the business, sharing the opportunity only with people she genuinely enjoys and only while taking the time to build a personal relationship. For Renata, being selective has proven the key to success in network marketing.

“This business is all about people,” Renata says, “and you have to really like the people you work with. You won’t enjoy the journey if you don’t like the people, and if you’re not having fun you won’t have the passion you need to succeed.”

Fun is the cornerstone for Renata’s networking enterprise. “The key ingredients of success are keeping it simple, making it fun and making it easy to duplicate,” she says. “I have an absolute ball every day in my business. I love what I do and the people I do it with.”

Love at First Sight

Renata became involved in network marketing in 1988 when a friend invited her to an opportunity meeting. She wasn’t entirely comfortable with the networking premise, but the entrepreneurial opportunity attracted her.

“I have never been a nine-to-five kind of person,” she says. “The very idea suffocates me. I am a creative person; I have to feel I am contributing to the creative process.”

At the time, Renata was a performer in Los Angeles, appearing in commercials, films and musical theater while working in corporate America.

As she listened to the presentation, Renata says, she caught the networking bug. “The people in the front of the room did a great job of painting the dream. They were passionate and had integrity. The energy was unlike anything I had ever seen. They made me want to be a part of what was going on.”

She signed up on the spot, using the credit card she had been living off—which is not something she recommends anyone do!—to purchase product and jump-start her business.

“I was committed to it wholeheartedly right from the beginning,” she recalls. “I saw a product that inspired me, a compensation plan that excited me, and a company that was reputable and absolutely solid. Even though I didn’t have any networking experience and was clueless about what I needed to do next, I firmly believed I would succeed. I was in it heart and soul.”

As is commonly taught, Renata looked within her immediate circle of thespians to start building her network. She quickly discovered that while creativity is a necessary part of becoming an entrepreneur, the creative people she knew did not always have entrepreneurial qualities.

“I tried to save all the starving artists I knew,” she laughs. “I didn’t enjoy being broke, but I found out that for many of my friends, it was seen as a badge of honor. Some people just don’t want to be financially well, for whatever reason. Recognizing this early on helped me a great deal.”

Renata soon realized she would need to step out of her comfort zone to find the sort of people who would make her business work. She made a list of all the people she knew and went through it selectively, highlighting people she thought could understand network marketing’s potential even better than she.

“I identified people who I knew wanted to be well and who were comfortable with making money,” she says. “I wanted to sponsor ‘up,’ so I looked for people who I thought could see the big picture and would build an even stronger network than I could build myself.”

Such people were few and far between on her personal contact list. Renata realized that if she wanted to grow her network, she needed to find a way to meet new people. This time, instead of looking for people with financial challenges, she turned her attention to other entrepreneurs.

Having dinner with team members on a cruise.
Meeting New People

Renata started chatting with business owners wherever she went, just getting to know them—without talking about her own opportunity. If she liked them and thought they had the kind of energy she was looking for, she would go back at a later date to introduce them to her business.

“When I returned, it was truly because I had been impressed with them and wanted to see them again,” she says. “I would tell them I had been thinking about them and ask for permission to share with them how networking had changed my life.”

By focusing only on people with whom she had already established rapport, Renata’s presentation was always well received. She also learned another critical lesson: while all good networkers are entrepreneurs, not all entrepreneurs are born networkers.

“Some people simply can’t relate to network marketing,” she says. “Some business owners just open their stores and deal with who happens to enter through the door. They have a nine-to-five mentality.”

Even when a prospect didn’t work out, Renata still grew her network with each and every meeting because she always asks for referrals. “You never know whom other people know,” she says. “You just cannot guess who is going to bring whom to the table. That is why we can build businesses larger than ourselves.”

Renata spent a lot of time in places where the likelihood of meeting people enthusiastic about her opportunity was very high, such as home-based business expos.

“I have never rented a booth nor run a classified ad,” she adds. “I would go there just to meet people.”

Renata would make notes about the people she met on the backs of their business cards, and carefully follow up with those who had impressed her. As usual, she spent time getting to know prospects while presenting her opportunity and asking for referrals.

When Renata first started out as a professional networker, it took nearly four months before she saw results and a year before she reached her goal of earning $4,000 a month. Her credit card debt grew during this period but her belief never wavered.

Doing networking business in Puerto Rico with a fellow team member and friend.
“I knew that if I just kept going, if I refused to give up, I would succeed.”

Renata’s confidence was well-founded: just as she was selective in building her network, she had done her due diligence in selecting the company to affiliate with.

“I knew I had a simple product to which people would react emotionally. My company offered a brilliant compensation plan, a solid infrastructure and a healthy financial base. If those factors are in place, you are on your way to building a healthy networking career.”

Her first year’s success commenced what would become a lifelong networking journey. Over the years she has built successful enterprises with three other companies before finding her current opportunity, expanding her sphere of influence exponentially along the way.

“Once my business got going, I had very little time to return to my original warm market list,” she says proudly. “I was too busy helping and teaching other people and their prospects. Today, I have friends around the world who share my passion for network marketing, who make every day enjoyable and fruitful. It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s easy to duplicate.”

Staying in Touch

While Renata admits that face-to-face training and mentoring are the best way to go, she points out that she has built most of her network via telephone. She takes advantage of the materials her company offers to ease the way for new recruits. She offers online training, CDs and DVDs, and uses three-way calling for the majority of her presentations and trainings.

Additionally, she holds regular team conference calls and often invites corporate spokespeople to participate in her downline training calls.

Meeting with fellow associates during a company convention.
“The technology available to us today gives anyone the potential to become successful in networking,” she says. “You can create your own marketing materials inexpensively and communicate with your team 24/7, from anywhere in the world.”

Even so, Renata says many promising networkers fail because of errors that are easily rectified. “Follow-up is absolutely essential,” she says. “It isn’t enough to give someone information and then wait for them to call you back. You must stay with them, in a non-intrusive way.”

Renata recommends keeping prospects involved by contacting them with fresh information or news about the company. Calls to inform about new product launches, speakers coming to town or other breaking news keep the opportunity fresh in prospects’ minds without causing them to feel harassed.

“So long as you have a legitimate reason for calling, you don’t need to worry about coming off as pushy,” she says.

Another area in which Renata sees potential networkers falter is in presenting the opportunity. “So often, people just go out to sell the product and don’t take the time to paint the big picture of the company and the opportunity. I feel I am doing my customers a disservice if I only show them the product. The opportunity is too special not to share.”

Renata breaks down the process into three easy steps for her downline: expose, follow up, and educate. “If we do those three things, people will let us know if they are interested or give us referrals. Either way, we know they thoroughly understand what we’re presenting and have made an informed decision. It’s a long-term way to build a network that results in greater, more solid relationships, even with those who don’t join.”

The Reward of Self-Discovery

If the relationships Renata has built over the course of her networking career are key among the reasons she has stayed in the networking profession for so long, it is the self-discovery she has experienced that has fueled her along her journey.

“Network marketing brings us face to face with who we truly are,” she says. “Our strengths and our weaknesses are immediately and intensely exposed in this process. If we are not comfortable talking to people, that gets magnified. If we don’t have good organizational skills, that gets magnified. A lot of people back away from that sort of revelation. Those who move forward and become successful are those who move through those challenges instead of avoiding them.”

Never one to back away, Renata spends much of her time in training and mentoring sessions helping others overcome the challenges standing in the way of their success, although she hasn’t yet reached the pinnacle of her personal plan for achievement.

Having fun with fellow friends and team members outside a company event.

“It’s never been just about money for me,” she says. “It’s about personal development and lifestyle. I want to reach new heights as a businesswoman, as a networking professional and as a mentor. There are so many people out there who would embrace this opportunity if only they could see the big picture. My goal is to continue to help others who have the vision and desire to own their own destiny and to help them find their path.”