Jim and Sherry Packard and their two sons, Jeff and Adam, are a family of highly successful network marketing leaders. They started building their businesses about four years ago and each independently reached the top in their company’s pay plan. Jim, Jeff and Adam are also among an elite number of trainers who teach their company’s Treat ‘em Right Seminars around the country. Together the Packards are creating a family legacy of personal growth, leadership and lifestyle freedom that continues to bless thousands of distributors each year.

Jeff and Adam were fortunate to have a strong mentor in their father, who early on taught them sound fundamentals of success. Like father, like sons: they believe that working on themselves is what attracts others to their businesses. As a result, they are reaping the rewards of creating the life of their dreams while helping others to achieve the same.

For Jim and Sherry, the greatest reward will always be working with their sons, but they also deeply value having a lifestyle where they get paid for doing what they love. Here are their one-liners for a successful and fulfilling life:

Jim: “Do your daily actions and keep score. What we can measure, we can improve.”
Sherry: “Success is the journey, not the destination.”
Jeff: “Don’t ever give up, no matter how far off you may be from meeting a goal.”
Adam: “To work with the people you love, that’s what life is all about.”—J.G.

Of the three of you, who got involved in the business first?

Jim: I did. It’s funny how it happened.

Thirty years earlier I’d been in another network marketing company and had a bad experience. We invested in one of those frontloading companies and did pretty well for a short while, but the company got closed down. Not only were we left with a garage full of inventory, we also burned some relationships with friends we had gotten involved because we didn’t know any better. It really left us with a sour taste in our mouths, so for the next thirty years we avoided network marketing altogether.

After that experience, I ran my own copier business, then after three decades sold my business and moved to Arizona to retire and play golf. Once I realized I didn’t play golf well enough to want to play it every day, I started a business making greeting cards for salespeople and business owners. I recognized a need in the market: there wasn’t a good selection of cards out there for that market. Jeff became a partner in the business and we experienced the challenges of traditional business, including production, fulfillment, warehousing, accounts payable and receivable, marketing and sales.

One day in 2005, a friend of Jeff’s invited him to a Jim Rohn seminar. We knew a lot of salespeople and business owners would be attending and saw this as an opportunity to market our greeting cards. As we talked about the possibility of having a booth at the event, this friend mentioned that he had another friend who had a greeting card business with a network marketing company. I thought, “Gee, I should meet this guy—maybe he could rep my lines.”

I got his contact information and called him, then met with him, learned about his company and enrolled a few days later.

Jim Packard with sons Adam (left) and Jeff (right).
Jim and Sherry Packard

Jeff, Jim and Adam leading a company training.

What made you change your mind from having a very negative experience with network marketing?

Jim: I still had a challenge with network marketing, but I also knew in the back of my mind that it could be very rewarding financially. I liked this company’s product so much that I naturally started sharing it with people. The first few months, I almost hid the fact that it was network marketing. I started out leading with nothing but the product, and have pretty much done so ever since.

Jeff: When my dad told me about this network marketing opportunity, I remember thinking of the challenges we had owning our own greeting card company. I was tired of making sales and not getting paid for it. So I told him, “Listen, if you’re not going to sign up for this program first, I’m going to join and then sign you up.” He said, “Hold on a second.” He signed up and then signed me up.

I got to work right away. On the first three-way call I made with my upline, we enrolled the person on the spot, and today he is the largest builder in my organization.

I called my dad and said, “I’ve already signed up three people.” He said, “What?!” I said, “Yeah, it’s pretty easy to do.” I showed him how to do it and he took over from there.

Adam: I joined basically because Dad and Jeff had signed up—to be supportive of the family, not to build the business. I liked the product but I didn’t see myself doing network marketing.

Jeff and I were working for Tom Hopkins at the time, as part of his event staff. Soon after we signed up with our network marketing company, we set up laptops outside one of Tom’s seminars. We simply showed how the product worked to a couple of hundred people, and about half of them ended up joining. I looked at Jeff and said, “Okay, I’m going to start building this business now.” In that moment, I knew it was going to be something big. Based on how well the product was received, it made a lot of sense and I loved that we could work the business together.

How did you go about building your network and recruiting leaders?

Jeff: I never went to the mall to recruit people. I narrowed my focus and recruited up the socioeconomic chain. I noticed the top performers in the business either were small business owners, were salespeople, or had previous network marketing experience. Those became the prospects we went looking for. When Adam and I worked for Tom Hopkins, these would be exactly the kind of people we would meet—entrepreneurs used to earning a living based on their own performance—and they all needed our product to better stay in touch with their clients and communicate with their network.

Adam: When I got started, I tried a lot of different approaches to figure out what worked best. I did cold-calling, dropping in on businesses off the street. I did some advertising, did some Internet marketing. We found the best way was to develop our warm market and focus on building relationships with those who need our product. At the appropriate time, we introduce our product and maybe ask for referrals.

I believe cold prospecting and buying leads is the tough way to do the business. I’m an advocate of spending your time doing the right activities, and not making calls for eight hours just to get a couple of prospects. I’d rather find ways where I can spend less time prospecting and have a higher success rate.

Jeff: We went after spheres of influence, people who are well-connected. For example, we recruited Tom Hopkins. We talk to the top person first and let it trickle down. This happens quite naturally due to the need for our product. I agree with those who say the way you recognize a great network marketing company is to ask, if you were to take away the compensation plan, would you still refer that company? If the answer is yes, then you’re involved in a good company. If the answer’s no, you might want to find a different one.

Jim: I was at a slight disadvantage from Jeff and Adam in that they had regular jobs where they met lots of people, whereas I was retired and my warm market was limited to our country club and our church.

Yet to this day, more than half of my new distributors come from my warm market, while 30 percent come from attending tradeshows and sponsoring events. If a speaker is giving a presentation, I offer to sponsor the coffee. I try to get five minutes on stage just to say who we are and why we’re there, then invite people to come see my booth.

Adam: The important part is to know who your ideal prospect is. We’re not looking for the needy who have no money and are desperate. We’re looking for people who are empowered, self-starters, who see something they like and make a decision quickly.

Once you know who you’re looking for, ask yourself, “Where can I find those people?” You often find them at personal or professional development seminars.

Part of what’s made us successful is we attend a lot of events. We participate in seminars to work on ourselves, but also to meet like-minded people who are looking to improve themselves and make more money. That’s our ideal market. I find that as I continue to work on myself, I attract the right people into my business.

Jeff: I’ve found some of my best recruits at a Todd Falcone event, a Jim Rohn event, a Tom Hopkins event, or a Jeffery Combs event. By the way, this is also how we met Chris Gross and heard about Networking Times. I think entrepreneurs tend to find each other. You develop relationships and over time you may introduce your product or service or even get them involved in your business opportunity.

Did you experience any struggles or challenges when you started building?

Adam: When I first decided to build the business, I simply asked our upline, “What are the things we need to do to be successful?” I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Once I knew what to do, I just went into overdrive. Jeff and I had a huge, massive action plan where we presented our product to three to five people a day. Because our belief in the product was so strong, it didn’t affect us one way or the other if someone told us no.

The frustrations and challenges I’ve had in this business came later, several years into it. You might feel like you’re working it by yourself, signing up people but they don’t do anything. Or you compare yourself to others and aren’t happy with your results. Or your business might be growing for a number of years and then hit a wall. The solution for me has been to keep modeling someone who’s successful. Others have probably done your business before and gotten to where you want to go. When you emulate other leaders, they notice and they’ll help you out.

Jeff: My biggest challenge was when we were working on the road with Tom Hopkins. We had to balance spending time with our current employer versus time spent on our future, what we eventually wanted to do full-time. At one point the tension between the two became so strong, I had to release one of them, and we were earning more from our network marketing business than we were working with Tom on the road. We left on great terms, and I told Tom, “Thanks for the training. I went to work for you not for the money, but to learn as much as I possibly could. I now have developed some of those skills. It’s time for me to move on.”

Another challenge I encountered was learning not to chase people. Now, the moment I start chasing someone, I take a step back and say, “Hold on! Sit down and relax. Based on what I have to offer, the person should actually be chasing me.” The people you are chasing probably aren’t the ones you want to have in your business anyway.

Jim: My biggest challenge was overcoming my bias against network marketing, because of my prior experience. My sons used to say, “Dad, get over it! That was thirty years ago. Times have changed.”

I realized that for young people network marketing doesn’t have the same negative connotation as for my generation. I eventually got over my bad memory and now I think it’s the best form of marketing in existence.

I used to walk into my country club and people would say, “Hey, how’s that pyramid thing going?” and I’d want to walk out the other door. Now, when they ask me, “How are things going?” I say, “I’m sitting right at the top. It’s going pretty well.”

The other challenge I had was coming out of retirement. I had a pretty good lifestyle, lived where I want to live, winter and summer. All of a sudden, I had to change gears and focus my efforts. I realized, “If I’m going to lead a team, I’ve got to lead by example.” I don’t need my network marketing income to survive, but for a lot of people I sponsor, this is their livelihood. I felt a responsibility to step up to the plate, and as a result, I think it has made me a better person—a better businessperson and a better father. Now, I can’t wait to get up in the morning, and I have so much fun I can’t go to sleep.

Sherry: The good part about our “bad” experience thirty years ago is that it got us started on the path of personal growth. It exposed us to positive books and positive speakers, including Jim Rohn. It was no coincidence that we were introduced to our next network marketing company at a Jim Rohn event. I think this was all meant to be for Jim to be in this business with Adam and Jeff. It’s all about that law of attraction.

Jeff: The best thing that happened for my parents thirty years ago was reading Think and Grow Rich, The Power of Positive Thinking, and all the personal growth classics. I remember going to my dad’s den and seeing Dale Carnegie’s books and asking questions. From early on, I felt inspired to work on my personal development, and so did Adam.

The common thread in our family is that we’re all coachable and hugely committed to learning as much as we can. We still attend seminars, read the books and do everything we teach our team to do.

How do you lead others on the same path? How do you develop leadership?

Jim: When I had my copier business, I required that all my salespeople have written goals on their desk, and we reviewed them every single month. I took the same principles I used in my traditional business and applied them to my network marketing business. Today our associates not only have a goal sheet with four monthly goals, we also have an eight-daily-actions plan [see p. 57] and two reward systems, plus a scorecard where we keep score of our daily activities.

This is what has held me accountable every day, as well as our team members. As a result of the success we have with our reward system, our company even adopted it.

Jeff: To be a good leader, you’ve first got to be a good follower. When our upline told us the average person makes two presentations a day, Adam and I looked at each other and said, “ We don’t want to be average,” so we multiplied that number, which is what got us going fast.

We were blessed to live together at the time and we held each other accountable throughout the day. With Dad right up the road, we were in constant communication, finding out what his numbers were as well.

Your accountability partner doesn’t have to be someone local. It can be someone anywhere in the country or in the world, as long as you have that daily check-in person who will push you to the next level.

Adam: Being a good leader means practicing what you preach. Be the person you want to have in your group. To this day, we still do the simple daily activities that got us going. You can’t teach your team those income-producing activities and not do them yourself.

In order to grow a large group, keep the business as simple as possible so everybody can follow. Be consistent and persistent, knowing that your efforts are going to pay off in the long run.

Our team can relate to us because we’re just three guys who love what we do. They look up to us and say, “We can do what they do! Look how much fun they’re having.”

They can see we each build the business a little differently, but it all comes down to those simple daily activities and showing your team that they can do it too.

Jeff: I ask myself and tell my team to ask themselves daily, “What have I done today to grow my business?” If everyone does a little every single day, the business will grow. One of my reps has sticky notes up in her bathroom and all over her house, saying, “If my team did what I did today, what would my business look like?”

Jim: We’ve always been a goal-oriented family. Ever since Jeff and Adam were in junior high school, the only Christmas gifts Sherry and I have asked from them are their goals in writing. I’ve kept their hand-written goals since the sixth grade, and it’s one of the memories I cherish the most.

To succeed, you have to understand why you’re working and what your ideal day looks like five years down the road, because you can draw a lot of strength from that.

What’s the best—or worst—part of being in business with family?

Sherry: The enthusiasm at a family dinner can be intense. The guys come in and they are walking, breathing, living the business. Sometimes I need to say, “Okay, cell phones off, time for a little family time so we can just enjoy each other and think about aspects of our life other than the business.”

But it’s always been our dream to have a business with our sons.

Jim: When Jeff and Adam won runner-up Distributor of the Year and Sherry and I got Distributor of the Year last year, we were together on stage. I don’t know if there’s a better feeling in the world. Some people think we’re competitive, which we are with ourselves—but not with each other. We’re accountability partners, but we’re not trying to beat the other person. We’re absolutely happy for everyone’s success.

You each have separate businesses. Are there any activities you do together?

Jeff: We do a Monday night conference call with our team. We decided to do a weekly training call with the three of us because people were approaching us and asking a lot of similar questions. The feedback we get is that our team really enjoys it, because we offer three different perspectives on building the business that work.

Adam: We also travel around and do training seminars and events together. We get on stage in front of groups and share our story. People can always relate to, if not all three of us, at least one of us. When people see us onstage and listen to us on conference calls, they sense that we’re having a good time, and that helps fuel their enthusiasm.

Anything you want to add about doing this business in our current economy?

Jim: Based on our economic situation, I don’t know if there has ever been a better time for network marketing, and I’m really capitalizing on that right now. More people than ever before are receptive to considering alternatives. As a result, I am sponsoring a lot more people, most of whom have been successful in business before. They have experienced losses in the stock market or in real estate, and they need an opportunity to gain some of that back. I show them how they can generate cash in network marketing by using the same skills they used to create their previous businesses.

Adam: Our company founder says, “You can focus on the problems or you can focus on the possibilities.” We choose to be part of the solution. There’s never been a time when more families were looking to make extra money. Just an extra $500 or $1,000 a month will change a lot of people’s lives. You don’t have to make five figures a month to be successful in network marketing.

Jeff: I love to tell people, “You can live the life you want to live, and here’s a vehicle to do it. You need one million dollars in the bank earning 5 percent interest to make $5,000 a month. To save a million dollars is hard, if not impossible, for most people. But you can create that in a short amount of time in network marketing: it’s taken us less than five years to accomplish that.”

Jim: I think the beauty of a network marketing business is you’re creating a lifestyle. What other business could give you the ability to get up when your eyes open and work from your porch on the coast of Maine in the summer, and in Scottsdale, Arizona in the winter?

It’s definitely a different life than having a job. For all the people who lost their jobs, this is a difficult time of transition, but maybe it’s also good news. Human beings aren’t meant to spend five days a week in an office or a factory doing something they hate, so they can pay their bills and do what they really want to do a few hours on the weekend. I believe our whole society is in a transition, and network marketing is a vehicle for helping us get through that and creating joyful and rewarding alternatives.

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