Allison Baek

For the second year in a row, Allison Baek earned the highest honors from her thirteen-year-old network marketing company: the New Business Development Award. With confidence, twenty-seven-year-old Allison says, “I’m successful because I feel responsible for spreading the good news about our products, I believe this is a sound business and I know I can do it.”

It’s hard to imagine that this same woman lost tens of thousands of dollars in failed attempts and yo-yoed from the bottom to the top of her company and back several times on the way to her now stable, consistently growing network marketing business. This is also the same woman who at twenty-two thought she would never live to see thirty, let alone celebrate her dreams and brighten the lives of millions.

Searching for Health and Balance

When Allison emigrated to the U.S. from South Korea at the age of eight, she had to learn a whole new language. Landing in Hollywood, California, she was influenced by the local culture to look good—no matter what.

“It was so fast-paced, shallow and image-oriented,” she says, recalling the huge pressure she felt to fit in. Allison fell into anorexia as a teenager, setting herself on a course to eczema, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome to the point of falling asleep while driving.

Driven by her dream to become an astronaut, this “supergirl” worked full-time to support herself in college. From administrative work to modeling to sales, Allison learned the ropes of the corporate world—and the pressure continued mounting. At twenty, she became a free-lance salesperson, closing huge deals every month and making six figures at twenty. But the stress was taking a toll on her body. That’s when Allison met Jett, a top networking leader in a proprietary health supplement company.

“When I met Jett, I could feel his vibrant health,” says Allison. “I saw him pop some supplements and I said, ‘Oh, give me some of those!’ He never had to explain the science or say another word because he himself was the picture of health.

“Within a week, my symptoms disappeared. Until then, I had tried every alternative I could afford—including medicine. Nothing had worked. When you’re sick, you become absolutely desperate.” She had prayed, “If You give me my life back and lead me to something meaningful, I will absolutely devote my life to it.”

Jett happened to be the number one income earner in his network marketing company. “When I saw that he didn’t work all the time like I did and how much he enjoyed his lifestyle, I started studying the business,” she said. Seeing a way to retire early and no longer worry about closing contracts every month, Allison educated herself by reading, among other books, Your First Year in Network Marketing by Mark and Rene Reid Yarnell.

“I quit my job and I quit school,” says Allison, “to focus on building my networking business. And I failed—miserably.”

A seasoned salesperson with a successful track record, Allison had no trouble selling big packs of products. “They sold like hot cakes,” she says. “I made $6,000 to $7,000 in the first months. Hooray! I’m a great sales person. But no one told me about automatic orders to build residual income.”

At first, Allison got angry. “I cannot believe this,” she said. “I had never failed in sales before. I completely, miserably failed at networking.” So she studied harder.

“I learned that this business is not all about selling products. In network marketing, we also develop personal relationships and train the people who join us.” This was new to Allison, who had little experience building relationships.

“I learned the importance of developing relationships based on integrity and honesty, sometimes holding people’s hands and always helping people grow personally,” she says. “Not only did I become financially independent through network marketing, I also became a better human being.”

Reflecting on her own personal growth, Allison says, “Caring about people was actually a new concept for me. At the time I didn’t realize it, but looking back, I had only focused on making money and looking good. Image was everything.” Now Allison says she’s never felt healthier and happier.

Allison with her Korean downline.
Understanding the Business

“Before I found network marketing, I used to do whatever I wanted without thinking about the consequences,” she says.

Reining in her need for high action, Allison forced herself to look for more meaningful and lasting rewards. “To overcome the potential boredom of repeating the same presentation, I challenged myself to connect on a deeper level and develop a true love for people.”

When asked about the biggest challenges on her path to success, Allison mentions dealing with people who lack the same rock-solid belief she has.

“I meet people who have been in network marketing for years and they’re still struggling. They say, ‘I’m working so hard,’ and I don’t doubt it. In fact, I’m sure they’re working more hours than I do. They say, ‘I go to this seminar’ and ‘I read these books,’ and I say, ‘That’s great, but do you really believe that you’re going to be successful?’

“I don’t want to sound conceited or cocky,” she says, “but I never doubt it. Never. I have a successful international business. And I say that despite the fact that I fail again and again.”

One of her greatest failings—and lessons—came from her eagerness to build quickly and easily by recruiting “professional” network marketers.

“I put an ad in major papers asking, ‘Are you a professional network marketer?’ I attracted people who call themselves professionals but who aren’t successful. If someone is looking for another company, 99 percent of the time they will leave your company too and go on to the next one—they are flip-floppers, lacking stick-to-it-iveness. They’re neither professional nor successful.”

Twice Allison built to her company’s top level—and twice, she lost it.

“I guess there’s no easy way to build this business. No shortcuts. I had to go back to the basics,” she says, “finding loyal customers, people who want to change their lives and who are absolutely committed to staying with the company no matter what.” Her true leaders show her through their actions that they are in it for the long haul. They sponsor people consistently every month, get on calls when they say they will and build their businesses perhaps not explosively, but steadily.

Ji Man Jung, Allison, Ji Weon Jung (General Manager in Korea), Soo Kyung Kim and Young Mi Kim.

Building and Rebuilding Internationally

When her company opened in South Korea, Allison had another opportunity to fail miserably—repeatedly. Once again, she hooked up with so-called “professional” network marketers.

“I had heard that South Korea was the number three networking country in the world,” she says. “Now I understand why: a lot of networking companies open up there and fail because greedy people jump from one company to another. So when you look at the total number of people joining network marketing companies, it’s high, but many of them are the same people!”

Her first “professionals” built fast and furiously, made their money in three months, returned their products for a refund and got out quickly, leaving Allison high and dry.

When she met Ji Man Jung and Soo Kyung Kim, who also called themselves professional network marketers, she said “no thanks.” But they had been sitting on the sidelines, watching her company for nearly a year to make sure it was a solid venture for them to join for the long term. They had a completely different approach that eventually paid off for them—and for Allison.

“They didn’t focus on making money quickly,” says Allison. “They approached upper-echelon professionals: medical doctors, acupuncturists, pharmacists. They could do this because of the quality of our products. Once you get the upper echelon, the rest follows.” The health care professionals sold big packs of products to their patients, because that’s what Allison and her team showed them was most cost-effective for their customers. Some of those customers became leaders and many health professionals became also network marketers.

“It boggles my mind when I attend seminars and see a thousand medical doctors in South Korea. These are all M.D.’s who own their own clinics—and I’m getting rewarded for their businesses!”

Allison warns about going into new countries where the company just opened up—and in the networker’s early years as well. She says it’s important to first establish yourself financially and emotionally in your home country so you’re prepared to spend the time and money and weather the ups and downs of building abroad. Also, the big players in the new country want to work with the companies’ top performers.

Honoring People’s Choices

Whether she’s meeting a potential business builder from a new country on the other side of the world or showing a local friend her products, Allison focuses on having fun.

“I make it very easy and pleasurable for them,” says Allison. “ ‘Bring your friends and let’s eat. No pressure!’ Because it’s fun for them, they like sharing it with others. ‘Just take it, you’ll feel great and if you want to know more, here’s a DVD.’ That took ten seconds!” she laughs.

“My motto is: whomever I work with, let them build their business the way they want to,” says Allison. “I don’t have a particular system; no specific steps to follow. I first figure out what people like to do and then I show them how to do that. Do they want to have home parties? Work on the Internet? Have me talk to their friends? Talk with people themselves? Use leads? Whatever, it’s cool.

“It’s our responsibility to change the concept that network marketers are pests,” says Allison. “We are selling something precious. When you’re a product of the product, it’s easy. This is a sound, legitimate business and we don’t have to bug people until they don’t want to answer our phone calls!”

She relates selling to dating, suggesting that playing hard-to-get is sometimes more enticing. She focuses not on the numbers but rather on the quality of people she recruits. When in building mode, she focuses on bringing in at least one business builder per week. “When I am clear about what I want, it comes to me,” says Allison. “I don’t have to talk to a lot of people.

“When you use the law of attraction, like in The Secret,” she adds, “the right people show up. I attract who I’m looking for: centers of influence like successful businesspeople, government officials, well-known medical doctors.” She builds rapport across the world by staying in touch via phone and email.

“When I feel the slightest resistance, I remind myself that not everyone needs to do what I’m doing. If people are happy just taking the products, that’s wonderful. If they want to do the business, great. Whatever they want in life, they just need to believe they can make it happen.”