Jackie Ulmer is a highly successful Internet marketer, coach and network marketing trainer who built her business almost entirely through her online presence. If you Google her name, you will find over 100,000 results, starting with her Squidoo lens, her web site StreetSmartWealth.com, her Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and the countless blogs and forums where she has left comments and contributed articles over the years.
A work-at-home mom for the past sixteen years, Jackie’s passion is to show others that anyone who commits the effort can build a successful business online. She teaches people how to develop relationships, how to choose the right opportunity, and exactly what it takes to develop multiple streams of income online, regardless of whether or not they join her network marketing business.
A six-figure-income earner since 2005, Jackie hasn’t always been this confident about her ability to create a success story in the networking profession. Having overcome the struggles she encountered on her personal journey is what allows her today to meet others where they are and lead them to where they want to go. She truly believes that when we are able to increase the number of success stories in any network marketing company, we all win.
Discovering Home Business
Jackie’s story starts when she was working for the airline industry in sales and marketing.
“I loved what I did for a living,” she says. “I traveled around the world, flying first class, wining and dining corporate clients, all expenses paid. My husband is an airline pilot, and when we decided to start a family, we wondered, ‘What are we going to do? We can’t both continue to jaunt around the country. Who’s going to take care of the kids?’
“We agreed I would stay home. But it’s difficult to make it on one income, no matter what profession you’re in these days, and have a lifestyle. I got spoiled in the airline industry, staying in five-star hotels and resorts. I wanted to continue that lifestyle, only—yikes!—I was going to have to pay for it.”
When Jackie had her son, she started looking around for something she could do from home to create extra income and also stay involved in the business world. She loved being a mom, but there was that part of her that really enjoyed adult interaction, too.
She looked at a lot of different options and started a little word-processing business from home. She lived in Phoenix at the time and did college term papers and résumés for students at ASU.
“I also started making some sales and marketing materials for my friend, Jordan Adler,” says Jackie, “who used to work with me at the airline. He had a side business doing sales and marketing for hotel corporations, teaching them how to develop their sales teams.”
While Jackie was looking around, her husband Mark flew with a co-pilot who was involved in a network marketing company. He started sending information home with her husband—some tapes to listen to.
“The company and product line didn’t capture my interest,” says Jackie, “but the concept did. Mark had a lot of respect for this colleague, so we listened to what he had to say. Both of us were skeptical about the term network marketing, for no reason other than that we had heard so-and-so say, ‘Oh, you don’t want to get involved in one of those. You’ll lose all your friends.’ But because Mark trusted this friend, the wheels started turning in both our minds, and we began exploring home business options and doing some research.”
|Jackie with her team in 2007.|
Jackie with her son, husband and daughter.
|Enjoying a Western-style company party.|
A 180-Degree Turn
The airline pilot wasn’t the first person who introduced the Ulmers to network marketing. A year prior, Jordan Adler told Jackie about a networking business he had started, and she said, “No, Jordan, I’m not interested. Thank you, I wish you the best. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to know about it.” This was when Jackie was still pregnant with their first child, and she hadn’t yet begun staying home.
When her son was eighteen months old, around Christmas 1993, Jackie invited Jordan for dinner and he pulled up in front of her house in a BMW.
“I was used to seeing Jordan drive a beat-up old Jeep with a smashed-in windshield,” she says. “When he walked in I just looked at him and said, ‘Wow! Nice car!’ and he said, ‘Thanks. My business is going pretty well.’” He told her that his network marketing business was doing so well, he was down to just a few days per month at the airline. Jackie was stunned.
Seeing how Jordan’s life had completely changed intrigued her. She also realized that it hadn’t made any difference when she told him no. Obviously, a lot of other people had said yes. He just kept going—and look what he was able to accomplish!
All through dinner, Jackie asked questions about the business opportunity. Mark also wanted to learn more, so a few days later Jordan returned with all the company materials and after looking everything over carefully, the Ulmers decided to get started.
Even after signing on the dotted line, Jackie was still hesitant about the business. “What will the neighbors say?” she thought. “What if my friends find out? Is this really viable? Can it really work for me?” Nevertheless, she did manage to talk to a few people, and Mark—who had gotten busy immediately, making a list and calling people—talked to a few more. Before long they had sponsored four friends, including an airline pilot Mark had flown with several years prior.
“This friend was on what we call our chicken list,” says Jackie, “already earning a six-figure income, living in a beautiful house, driving nice cars and taking exotic vacations. I thought, ‘What could he possibly want from a network marketing business? Why would he want to take a look?’
“But you never know what lies in someone else’s heart,” she says. “It turned out this friend’s wife was looking. They had relocated to different parts of the country each time he took a different airline job, and she always had to start over with a new job. She wanted to find something she could keep doing from anywhere.”
This couple did the same thing Mark and Jackie had done: they took a look at the company, signed up and got busy.
“From there,” says Jackie, “our business took off. There wasn’t one particular superstar in our group; everybody went out and did a little, and that created an amazing explosion of distributors.”
Mending the Mind
In the mid-nineties, just as Jackie and Mark were launching their new business, network marketing was enjoying a major upturn. Success magazine was publishing the first serious articles on the business in the mainstream press, featuring successful networkers such as Richard Brooke and adding enormous credibility to the profession. But despite the improving public perception, Jackie was still struggling with her own limiting beliefs.
“What helped me through those years was the Upline journal, and later Networking Times,” she says. “Reading others’ success stories, I knew what was possible. From the beginning, I had complete faith in the profession of network marketing, but I didn’t believe in myself. I would go to conventions and get all pumped up, waking up in the middle of the night in my hotel room to take notes on everything I was going to do when I got back home. But once I was home again, the external motivation of the convention would wear off and I’d be right back where I started.
Jackie says it was not the how-to articles in those publications that helped her the most, but the stories of ordinary people like herself.
“I would think, ‘They are no smarter, cuter, taller or more educated than I, but for whatever reason, they were able to get beyond themselves and make it happen. Why can’t I do this?’ I had to learn to get beyond myself. It’s one of those things you can talk about to people, but you can’t do for them. It’s like babies learning how to walk: we can’t walk for them. They ultimately have to get it. We each have to be invested enough in our own why to make it happen.”
Jackie was with her first company for six and a half years. She stopped working her business in June 2000 because she had issues with the company’s ethics and values. She also felt she had outgrown that company, which eventually went under.
By that time she had also discovered the Internet and wanted to pursue online marketing. She looked at other opportunities and dabbled in two nutritional companies.
“It was a time of finding myself,” says Jackie. “I didn’t know what I was looking for. I had come from a service business into a product business, which was definitely a transition. As passionate as I am about health and nutrition, working those businesses was a challenge for me. For one thing, I don’t have a product story—for which I’m grateful: I’m healthy and don’t need to lose weight. It took me three years to realize that a nutritional product wasn’t a fit for me, either.”
Finding a Home
During that period, Jackie had been using the Internet exclusively to meet people and generate prospects.
“I thoroughly enjoyed that side of the business,” she says, “and my ability to find people who were like me, looking for the same things, sold on network marketing but struggling with it.”
She learned about her current company through an online contact who had also been involved with her first nutritional company. They first met on forums and Jackie grew to have great respect for him because he was one of the few people who never made disparaging comments about other companies. When he became part owner in a new company, she assumed the product could only be sold through home parties—something she couldn’t see herself doing—and wasn’t interested.
“I enjoy recruiting online,” says Jackie. “I love training, sponsoring and coaching people. That’s where my passion lies: watching the light bulb turn on for them. It took me some time to see how I could market this new product and opportunity online.”
Once she realized she could do the business any way she wanted, she decided she was going to give this a shot. She signed up in March 2003 and went through the next six months testing out different approaches. She attended some farmers markets and expos with her kids, and they had fun selling the product and talking to people.
“It was a great experience,” says Jackie. “Although I don’t personally want to do it again, it showed me how the product did out in the marketplace. People would come back the next week or month and we would get repeat orders. Learning all about retailing gave me the ability to be a better coach and trainer to those people who do enjoy and focus on that.”
Jackie was still an active distributor with her nutritional company while playing around with her new business, until she experienced a life-changing event in November 2003. California wildfires came dangerously close to her home, and as she was being evacuated she thought, “I need to make a decision about a business. I can’t keep straddling the fence.”
She listened to her heart and made herself a promise that, if she came home to a house and didn’t have to rebuild her life, she was going to put aside any distractions and go full speed ahead marketing her new company the way she was trained: find people who are looking for a business, sponsor them and teach them how to duplicate the process. Thankfully, her home was saved—and she went for it. At that time, her check was about $680 a month; by the following November it was up nearly tenfold, to $6,500.
Reflecting back on this rapid growth, Jackie says her mode of operation didn’t change, but her mindset and focus did.
“I continued my Internet marketing approach: get out and meet people online, interact and develop relationships. When they ask what I do, I lead them to my website, which is entirely generic and constantly evolving. I never talk about my company or my product line, but instead position myself as a coach, consultant and teacher—as a solutions provider.
“Whether people are looking for a new opportunity or just looking for some coaching or feedback, I’m there to help and provide value. Whether or not someone is going to join my business is irrelevant. I’m all about elevating the profession and showing people how to succeed. The more people that we can get out there with a success story, regardless of the company, the more it benefits all of us.”
Jackie spends about two hours a day in online social media; the rest of the time, she likes to write articles and make training videos to coach people on particular subjects.
“I spend more time doing behind-the-scenes things than I do actually out there networking. But the nice thing about creating that content is that you can put it out there and it will work for you for years to come.
“In the beginning, I invested time and money into Internet marketing courses, learning how to build a list and write a newsletter. One day I emailed Jonathan Mizel, a big Internet marketer, asking him to look at my site. Not only did he give me feedback, he spent ninety minutes on the phone with me, offering more advice. I learned to pay forward what he did for me.
“One of the biggest things he told me was, ‘You need to write.’ I remember hanging up the phone thinking, ‘What am I going to write about? Who’s my audience going to be? What am I going to say?’ Then I realized, people who write online articles and newsletters aren’t all trained writers. So, I just learned to write from my heart. Often I would pull a book or an Upline magazine—or now Networking Times—from the shelf or pull different resources and find a concept, then write about that from my own experience. An example could be, ‘The struggles of working warm markets.’ Anyone who’s been involved in network marketing can write about this. We all have a lot more knowledge inside of us than we give ourselves credit for. We all have a story to share. We just have to get over our fears and our obsession with perfection.”
Elevating the Profession
Jackie believes our flaws and imperfections are what makes us more attractive to others.
“People want to sponsor with someone they can relate to,” she says, “who’s going to understand them, who hasn’t forgotten that having to call two people a day can be scary.
“Another part of coaching is allowing others the freedom to find their own path. Someone who’s very shy and introverted may not want to join the Chamber of Commerce or attend networking groups, but there are other ways they can build the business that will be a fit for them.
“Even though I’m an Internet marketer, I never try to force anyone into that way of building. If someone wants to work face-to-face with people they know, I help them make a list and teach the notification principle: notify everyone you know—your center of influence—of what you’re doing. Leave it up to them to decide whether to get involved, but at least let them know, or you’ll never know what could have been.”
Jackie points out that none of her family or closest friends have gotten involved in her business, yet many of them buy products every month and give her referrals.
“They ask me about my business and are very supportive of it,” she adds. “There’s a strong customer potential in our business.
“One thing I love about my current product line is that it is a consumable most people use every day, so without even trying, I just get repeat orders from customers locally. I live in a town without a stop light, so this is a nice feature for the person who wants to market a business from that retail base. They can fund a marketing budget and not have to pull from a family budget to find those marketing dollars.”
Jackie’s dream for the future is to assist more people in creating the success story they want in network marketing.
“I want to take my company to a much bigger level within the profession of network marketing, and I want to play a key role in helping to further the profession itself. My dream is for people to feel proud to say, ‘I’m a network marketer.’ Fifteen years ago, I wanted to crawl under the sofa before I had to say, ‘I’m in network marketing,’ but today I’m proud to tell everyone what I do.
“I want to help others get to that point through elevating the profession, through creating a positive awareness of what we can provide, cutting through all the hype that’s been perpetuated by a few. We’ve got to create a win-win. A success story in any company helps make my success story in my own company. My ability to create a success story with others in my company raises the ability for all of us to do the same.”