Justin Yates first encountered network marketing when he was twenty-eight years old, while working as a project manager for a health insurance company in his home town in Utah. Dissatisfied with his lifestyle and the lack of opportunity in the corporate world, Justin found a flyer on his Honda Civic one day that said, “Work from home and love it.”

He called the number; the business happened to be travel services. He had been looking for a time share and travel discounts, so he thought, “Cool!” He checked it out, purely for the purpose of getting travel discounts; he wasn’t even thinking about a residual income opportunity. It ended up being the company that he’s been with for the past six years.

The person who had put the flyer on Justin’s car was Chad Wade [featured in our May/June 2008 issue], and in addition to an unexpected business opportunity, Justin had found a mentor.

“Business is all about being in the right place at the right time,” Justin says. “A no today doesn’t mean it’s a no tomorrow. People’s whole outlook and circumstances can change overnight.”

Today, Justin delights in offering people of all walks of life a chance to step into their leadership potential, build their own wealth and take charge of their destiny.

The Road to Freedom

Two years prior to quitting his corporate job, Justin had said to his boss, “I want to get ahead in my career. What do I need to do to get a raise and go to the next level?”

His boss had answered, “Go get your master’s degree.” Justin already had his bachelor’s and was developing software for Internet sites. He went back to school and earned a master’s degree in business while working full-time. With his MBA in hand, he returned to his boss and said, “Here’s my degree. What opportunities are available?”

Instead of giving Justin the raise and promotion he had promised, his boss looked at him and said, “Congratulations! Good job. Now get back to work.”

Justin couldn’t believe what he heard. He turned to walk back to his cubicle, but stopped halfway and decided, “I’m done. From here on, I’m not going to let someone else control how much money I make, how much time freedom I have or how I run my life.”

Returning to his cubicle, he immediately started searching online for opportunities. Soon he came across a statistic that said only 1 percent of Americans make it to wealth by age sixty-five. Ten percent of those were CEO’s and presidents of major corporations, 10 percent were doctors and lawyers, 5 percent were salespeople and 1 percent were lottery winners and people who inherit their money. But the majority—74 percent—of those who achieved wealth were real estate investors and business owners.

Justin loved commerce, so his immediate reaction was, “I need to start a business.” He looked at franchises and a few network marketing opportunities, but either the start-up cost was too high, or the product line wasn’t exactly what he was looking for.

He kept searching and finally, in August 2002, came across the company he is with today. It was a travel business that transitioned into a real estate investment company in December 2002. By that time, three and a half months after Justin had joined, he walked into his boss’s office and said, “You’re fired.”

Surprisingly, his boss’s response was: “Really? What are you doing?”

Justin didn’t expect him to show any interest: he was an executive making $250,000 a year! Yet when he shared what he was doing, his boss looked at him and said, “Okay, I’m in.” As it turned out, he had just finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and realized that even though he was making a higher salary than Justin, he was still broke, just at a higher level. He knew that if he was to build any real wealth, he needed to create something for himself besides working for someone else.

Building a Team

After Justin recruited his boss, his boss’s brother and some other executives got involved, too, and in his first month in the business, Justin made $30,000. Before he knew it, he was making as much in a month as he had been making at his job in a year of working sixty hours a week.

“Working with Chad, I grabbed onto his coattails,” says Justin, “but more importantly, I made it my own responsibility to start actively learning and modeling everything he was doing.”

Soon Justin was ready to give his own presentations and create a marketing strategy. He treated the opportunity just as if he were opening a franchise, like McDonald’s, or any other business.

“I knew my success wasn’t dependant on Chad Wade,” says Justin. “I plugged into a system that Chad Wade and the company had put together, but my efforts are what made me succeed.”

The combination of Chad’s mentorship and Justin’s personal initiative worked out beautifully. Soon Justin started recruiting leaders himself and building his own team.

Today he has a large leadership group composed of what he calls his A Team and his B Team, the A Team being leaders who work consistently and independently, while the B Team are those just getting started or coming up in the ranks.

In order to find leaders, Justin says he uses the Law of Attraction. “I put it out there that I’m looking for a very specific type of leader,” he says, “and they always show up.”

To grow his contact list, he focuses on his warm market, the three-foot rule and networking groups.

“When I’m around people, I don’t just sit there,” he says. “I talk to people and get to know them. As soon as I bring new people into the business, I start tapping into their warm market, too. I have them create a list of the people we can contact together.”

Justin truly loves the whole process of bringing people from not knowing anything about the business to understanding it, getting excited about it and then writing a check to actually implement the vision they see.

“That’s a rush for me,” says Justin. “When they’ve finally made that decision where it makes enough sense to put money down, it’s like a light bulb goes on in their head and they get it. There’s nothing like seeing other people quit their jobs and make more money in a month than they used to make in a year, and seeing their whole life transition.”

As his company’s director of the Southern California and Las Vegas territories, Justin spends his days coaching people, fielding calls from his students (upcoming leaders he’s mentoring) and prospecting new people into the business. Part of the prospecting process is follow-up, meeting with people and enrolling them, as well as building for events.

“People think that once you get to our level, you don’t have to prospect anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. You always have to prospect. Never rely on others to book your business. For me, that’s gravy. The ‘meat and potatoes’ is me doing my own prospecting.”

Contemplating Past and Future

When thinking back on the challenges he faced building his team over the past five years, Justin says the biggest one is the cyclical nature of the business.

“I call it planting and harvesting,” he says. “When you’re out prospecting and networking, you’re planting seeds. Eventually, when the seeds have grown, you start harvesting sales. This process can be quite the roller coaster: you go up and you’re harvesting sales, but as soon as you hit the top, it starts going down to the valley. And you’ve got to go back to planting and building again. Often when people get down to that valley, they think, ‘What’s going on? We’re not closing sales!’ and they lose their momentum.

“After you’ve been in this business for a while, you recognize those peaks and valleys as part of the business cycle, and the more you embrace them, the less significant they become. The way to get out of the valleys is not to doubt whether you can do it again or question whether the business works, but to focus on your four money-making activities: go find the people, tell the story, build for events and follow up. If you focus on those, you will build a nice, consistent business going all the way up to the top.”

Justin says whenever he’s not having the success he wants, he never blames the system, the product, the community or the company.

“I look internally and I call it the You Factor,” he says. “I ask myself, ‘How many people am I contacting? How many have I invited to the presentation this week? How many have I followed up with?’ Once I ask these questions, the answers follow pretty quickly. I then put all my energy into improving that aspect of my business that needs work. We have no control over external circumstances; the only thing we can control is how we are and what we do.”

While Justin is a voracious reader of personal and professional growth books, he warns his people against the danger of getting stuck in self-development activities.

“One of the biggest mistakes people commit is to constantly sharpen the saw, but never use it,” he says. “They keep doing personal development without ever taking a hack at anything or implementing what they’re trying to learn. In order to truly master something, you have to apply it, or even better, teach it to others.”

Another recommendation Justin makes is to maintain a balanced life. “This business can be very addictive: you can spend 24/7 doing it and feel like even that’s not enough. Make sure to allocate a decent amount of time to be with your family and friends, in social activities and just having fun. This makes the time you dedicate to business even more precious, because you know it’s a short period of time. It will give you a sense of urgency to be as effective as possible in everything you do.”

Looking into the future, Justin eventually sees himself retiring from his current activities and building his next dream. He wants to found a new kind of private school that teaches children not only reading, writing, arithmetic and everything they need to know to be functional in society, but also entrepreneurship—how to be a business owner, how to invest wisely, and other aspects of how to be a successful entrepreneur. He calls it the Entrepreneur Academy, where children will learn to be entrepreneurs right from the get-go. When graduating at the age of eighteen, they will go to college with the intention of building their own business, not just getting a job.

“Imagine if more and more people became educated in entrepreneurship, how much good we could create in the world. We could focus on being of service, helping our neighbors, supporting developing countries. There are so many things we could do, if we all were financially free.”