When Lynn Hagedorn from Blair, Nebraska looks to the future, she sees a time when it will be unusual to meet someone who is not involved in network marketing. This wouldn’t be surprising, coming from someone who embraced network marketing when her own profession let her down, or someone who was so struck by the idea of the business that she signed up at the first presentation she attended. But Lynn had neither of those experiences. She almost had to be dragged kicking and screaming into what was to become her life’s work.

Before she found network marketing Lynn had a wonderful career. She was an occupational therapist with a specialty in hand therapy. The four orthopedic surgeons she worked with entrusted her with their patients, and those patients returned to express their gratitude to Lynn long after their treatment was finished. She was passionate about her work, and she was making a difference.

In the midst of this career, however, there were several elements that set the stage for Lynn’s eventual move into the business world. First, there was her husband Dale’s much more flexible life. As a salesman with a three-state territory, Dale did a fair amount of traveling. However, when he wasn’t traveling, he worked from his home office, and his schedule was whatever he wanted it to be. Time at home was a factor for Lynn as well. Her job required her to be at work from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., whether she had patients to see or not. She had three small children, and the daily grind was getting to her. Lynn was ready for a change.

Reluctant Beginnings

The opportunity for that change arose when Dale’s cousin invited Lynn to a home presentation for a health and wellness/beauty products company at a home in Omaha. Lynn was reluctant to attend, but she fulfilled her familial obligation and supported her cousin-in-law, thinking that would be that.

A few months passed and Lynn found herself attending several more presentations, but the idea of becoming involved in the business didn’t take hold until one day when she was chatting with Valerie Edwards, the woman who would eventually become her mentor. Lynn mentioned that her life was too chaotic and Valerie looked her directly in the eyes and said, “Lynn, you should do this with me. You should do this business.”

The light bulb went off in Lynn’s head and she agreed, finally, to become involved. The reasons why she took several months to make the change came, Lynn believes, from her background.

“When your head is in this mindset of, ‘go to school, get a degree, get a job,’ ” she says, “something like this isn’t in your plan. I’m a professional with a master’s degree, and I just wouldn’t let my brain go there.”

Lynn believes there are many, many people with great skills who would be very successful but who don’t even consider network marketing because it’s outside their reality box. It took her those several presentations to come around to the idea that she could do this business successfully. Without a personal invitation from her future mentor, she probably would never have taken the next step.

Lynn made the transition slowly, remaining at her occupational therapy job thirty-two hours a week. “Because I was so busy, I needed to work smart,” she explains. “I had a business mindset because I didn’t have time for this to be a hobby. I needed to make this business work and I needed to devote every minute to income-producing activities—talking to people, telling the story of this company, its products and its opportunities.”

Lynn with her mentor, Valerie Edwards.

Lynn with her husband Dan.

A Whole New Mindset

Lynn would wake up every day focused on what she needed to do to build her business, determined to keep distractions to a minimum. During the first year and a half, she never took a break. If she wasn’t actively doing a presentation, she was planning and preparing, truly becoming a “presentation machine.”

Still, she didn’t see the results she expected from her organization. She discovered a leftover mindset both she and her team had to overcome: the “employee mindset,” in which hours are traded for dollars. It was this way of thinking that kept Lynn from realizing what was actually happening within her organization. She was doing a lot of activity, but it wasn’t being duplicated within her team. She couldn’t see beyond the hours-for-dollars ratio until it finally dawned on her that she was digging her foundation.

“I see that period of time as the equivalent of building the foundation for a skyscraper,” says Lynn. “You know there’s going to be a skyscraper, but for the longest time, you don’t see anything. You think, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this construction company doing?’ Well, they’re digging in the earth and putting down that solid foundation. Then when the building goes up, it seems to go up overnight! That’s what can happen in this business, too. And that’s the way it happened for me. All the time when I thought nothing was happening, I was creating a solid foundation.”

Building the foundation includes endless presentations, one on one and in groups, and consistent follow-up. It’s ordinary stuff, but it leads to an extraordinary end result. During that year and a half, Lynn found some great customers, some great wholesale consultants and some people who were so impressed with the opportunity that they wanted to join her team. Then suddenly, just like the skyscraper, her group retail volume shot up to $70,000 a month. That was fifteen months into the business. Nine months later, her group did a million dollars in retail volume in one month. The rock solid foundation was holding.

The Networking Vision

Lynn says it’s the power of the profession—the power of the network—that causes such explosive growth.

“Who believes networking doesn’t work?” she laughs. “Oh my goodness, every person you know knows 250 people that you don’t! People new to the business are thinking, ‘Oh, gosh, who do I know who might want to do this with me?’ Instead of thinking about it that way, think, ‘Okay, I know all these people, some of them better than others, but who can they connect me to who might fall in love with my product and my opportunity?’ When you look at it in that light, you’ll never run out of people to talk to.

“What I want people to understand,” Lynn says, “is that if they keep their eye on personal activity, personal sales, personal sponsoring, the rest will take care of itself, and that’s when it gets to be fun. People will reach up to you and say, ‘I see where you are, and I want to be there, too.’ And you can grab their hands and say, ‘hey, this is the way,’ ”

Lynn believes that her company has the best products in the world and conveys that to each person she encounters. She also knows that having the best company and the best compensation plan is one thing … but people really buy you and your vision. They buy your vision of where you see yourself right now and where the company is and, more importantly, where it’s going. They need to see that you can lead them to the top, so sharing the vision is of paramount importance.

“A brand new person who hasn’t even seen a good commision check yet will stay on the journey with you if they can clearly see where they’re going,” Lynn says. “The vision comes first, then the daily activities which lead to results. Then the results lead to the check, and the check leads to the new lifestyle. In this sequence, visualization always comes first.”

From the Kitchen to around the Globe

Lynn runs her business from her home in the town of Blair, Nebraska, population 7,000. After three and a half years with her company, she’s reached the top twenty in paid-upon retail sales volume. That’s an amazing feat for anyone, and comes as quite a surprise to those who don’t expect it from a woman living in a small Midwestern town. Truth is, as much as her employee mindset held her back in the beginning, today Lynn’s new global mindset breaks down any geographical boundaries to her success

“I’ll tell you,” she laughs, “I may be a girl living in a small town, but I have a big vision. And with the Internet, cell phones, cheap long distance, FedEx and UPS, I can live in Blair, Nebraska and expand my business all over the United States, Canada and now Australia. At the same time, even with all the technology we have, the business still starts person to person. You still have to find someone who trusts and believes in you who will sit down and take a look at a profession they may never have looked at before. It’s just that today, we have more technologically advanced ways of connecting with those people. This is especially true for teaching and training long distance team members.”

Lynn plans to be part of this business she has come to love for the long haul, and appreciates the importance of leaders staying involved. “The pace of the leader determines the pace of the team,” she says, “and the team doesn’t want to see you yelling from the sidelines. I am very passionate about staying in the game and never stopping my own personal business. Being a great ballplayer means keeping your eye on the ball, not on the scoreboard. It’s the same with our business.”

Lynn builds her business wide enough so that she never has to pressure people to perform. She can love and accept people at whatever level they choose to play, and this is something her team deeply appreciates. Rather than taking the narrow route and trying to drag a few people along, she loves and respects everyone on her team and always shares her vision with them. She casts the vision but realizes that where people see themselves is completely up to them.

As she builds a multimillion-dollar networking business from her laptop in her kitchen, Lynn is a great example of her own vision of the unprecedented growth and success of network marketing. She and her husband are now stay-at-home parents who raise their children together.

The dreams that seemed so out of reach when Lynn left her family every day to “make a living” are coming true. What’s more, the ideal of being of service, which was such a part of Lynn’s life when she worked as an occupational therapist, is still a part of her life, except that rather than working to help heal physical challenges, now she helps people build a wall of financial security around themselves that nobody can tear down.

“Commit to your vision,” she says with a smile; “that’s what makes for a great life.”