Steve and Pasha Carter are devoted parents of three children under the age of five. They are also the proud owners of a hugely successful networking business they run almost entirely from their home in Dallas, Texas. Ever since they implemented an online presenting and training system for their team, they have been the number one producers in their company.
They truly created their dream of having a home business with unlimited income potential, and now dedicate their time to showing others how to do the same. Steve has become a world-class presenter who attracts hundreds of new prospects on his weekly webinars. When he does make a special appearance in different cities around the world, new team members feel they know him already because of the personal and lifestyle pictures in his business presentations. His personal touch is what moves people, because they can relate, and Steve’s message is clear: “We can do this together.”
Pasha is passionate about helping women succeed in network marketing and achieve the same milestones as men by breaking down any gender barriers. Toward this end, she is creating tools and training seminars especially geared towards women in network marketing.
According to the Carters, successful networking is a skill that comes through experience and belief. From day one, they believed in the networking profession and never wavered in their belief that they were going to succeed. They just didn’t know how quickly they would rise to the top of their company’s pay plan.—J.G.
How did you get started in the business?
Steve: I was introduced by a close college friend. About five years after we graduated, we had talked about doing some type of business together and generating additional income to complement our paychecks. But we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do.
At a social function in downtown Chicago, he happened to strike uap a conversation with some gentlemen who were in the telecom direct selling industry and explained to him what they were doing. He called me the next day and said, “Hey Steve, I might have found what we’ve been looking for. I met some guys who showed me a way to make some money, and I’d like for you to meet them, too, before they fly back to Florida.”
I said, “Sure.” This was my first exposure to network marketing. The concept made sense, so I decided to move forward and get started. This was almost fourteen years ago, in 1996. I was working full-time for my father’s court reporting company. After I finished college, I could not see myself in any type of corporate structure, so I joined the family business, but having to be at a desk from nine to five made me feel like a caged animal.
When I saw how networking would allow me to work on my own schedule without any income limitations, I got excited about the possibilities.
Did you know each other at the time?
Pasha: We had not met yet. I was twenty-three and living in Atlanta, Georgia. My mom had started network marketing in the insurance industry, long ago. She introduced my brother to the business, who subsequently introduced me.
I was working a full-time job at Emory University and a part-time job as a gymnastics coach. I’d been a gymnastics coach for about ten years and was an NFL cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons. I realized that even though I was working two jobs and long hours, I was barely making ends meet. It was time to look for a way to better leverage my time and create my own paycheck.
One day a family member invited me to listen to a young man who was giving a presentation. It was in the middle of the day, I’ll never forget. This gentleman was twenty-six years old and making more money in a month than I was making all year.
“Is this possible?!” I thought. All I wanted to know was, “How can I be part of this?” As soon as I understood the business model, it was a no-brainer: I got started in 1995 and never looked back.
When did the two of you meet?
Steve: We met in September 1998, the day we both hit our company’s highest pin level. We got promoted the same weekend at the same convention, and we met backstage. Initially, we had separate businesses, but after we started dating and eventually got married, we ended up working together, focusing primarily on my distributorship, while Pasha focused mostly on raising our growing family.
After eleven years with our first company, we transitioned over to another network marketing company in January 2007.
Tell us about your early beginnings in the business.
Steve: When we got started, we hit every wall there is for budding networkers, including family members not believing in us and people in general not being supportive of our service or profession. But I learned early on, through training and from watching others—in networking the best resource for knowledge is leaders who have already been down the path you want to go—that the computer promotes you. None of the stigmas of corporate America such as racism, favoritism, nepotism or sexism apply, because there is no boss or bias. If you do what it takes, the computer automatically says, “Congratulations, you’re now at this new position.”
I understood that whatever hurdles I faced or whatever walls I had to knock down, it would just be a matter of time, if I stayed in the game. In networking, there are those who win and those who quit. There truly are no losers. If you haven’t quit yet, you’re still on the path of winning.
We knew this, so we persevered and continued to recognize that we just needed to go through a certain number of people in order to identify those leaders who saw what we saw and liked it as much as we did.
Pasha: When I got started I was very young, and many people gave me all their reasons why it wasn’t going to work. What simplified things for me was a philosophy I adopted that said, there are two types of people: mentors and advisors. Mentors are people who have accomplished things and who are willing to teach you how they did it. An advisor, on the other hand, is someone who hasn’t done a whole lot but who wants to give you an opinion on everything, and especially on why things can’t be done.
I decided not to listen to those who weren’t making the kind of money I wanted to earn, who weren’t living in the type of neighborhood I wanted to live in or driving the cars I wanted to drive. I knew that by buying their opinion, I was buying their lifestyle.
However, when I was in a room with individuals who were making more money in a month than I made in a year, it was easy for me to listen and value their opinion, because it was reflected in their scorecard. I realized, “If I do what they do, I can end up with the things they have.”
I focused on the trainings and modeled those who were truly successful in the business.
What made you change companies?
Steve: We changed companies because we saw the opportunity to have a more long-term income. The term “residual” gets thrown around pretty loosely in our profession, and novices who don’t yet understand a compensation plan often don’t realize that if you say “residual income,” it has contingency factors of XYZ. When we looked at our new company, we saw that the bonuses and overrides we could earn were locked in coded percentages. We saw this as an opportunity to build a more stable income, and this has proven to be the case. We’ve made millions of dollars in networking, and a very large chunk has come in just the last couple of years, where we’ve grown from 1,000 to well over 25,000 distributors.
The transition was pretty simple. We just had to learn the new compensation plan and some of the differences in the services and products our new company offers.
What also made the transition smooth is that a lot of our leaders are our friends, and we see ourselves as one big family. Our philosophy is, “Friends first, business second.” One reason we’ve been blessed to have done as well as we have is that when a new person joins, we extend our friendship. This approach has yielded us monumental results.
How do you invite new people into the business?
Steve: When people ask me, “Where do I go to prospect?” I always clarify that by saying, “I prospect wherever I go.” I’m not leaving the house with the intent, “I’m going to go out there and prospect some people.” Instead, wherever I go, I recognize there are people—and people are what drives this business.
When new, inexperienced team members ask me how to invite prospects, I say, “Simply get the message across that you have found an opportunity to make some money, and that there is someone you would like them to talk to because you’re fairly new in what you’ve discovered, and all you need is about thirty to sixty seconds of their time.”
I encourage them to use their own language, because we all have different relationships and we say things differently. Due to the simplicity of this approach, people are no longer intimidated to go out and talk to their friends and family.
Once a prospect’s interest has been piqued and they want to hear what the moneymaking opportunity entails, we invite them to an online presentation so they can watch it from the comfort of their home.
This thirty-five minute presentation consists of a PowerPoint® and a live audio which I deliver every Monday night, so people can invite their prospects on it once a week. It’s almost like having a big regional event, because I give the same presentation I would use if I were standing in front of a room.
This system has worked very well for us: we’ve been averaging 600 to 700 people per webinar, and many people get involved in the business because the message is simple and clear.
In addition to this Monday webinar, I do a weekly training webinar on Wednesdays where I go into the fundamentals of getting started: what your focus should be, the language for prospecting, the simplicity of starting your own business, customizing it around your schedule so that you don’t have to quit your job, and things like that. We invite people who liked the Monday call to also join the Wednesday call, even if they haven’t decided to get in, so they can learn not only the what, but also the how.
Some of our leaders tease us and say, “We’re running around going to all these weekly meetings in person, and you’re staying home, opening your computer, and you knock it down in an hour, yet you’re still kicking our butts!”
But the online presentation system is something we developed over time. We decided to take a risk and do things a little bit differently. In network marketing, we are taught, “Follow the system.” But the system may have been around for thirty years, and technology and the environment have changed. If we don’t advance with it, we’re just following an antiquated system. Today I also have a presentation DVD that allows my team members to feel like they have me in their living room presenting the opportunity whenever they need me, just by pressing “play.”
Pasha: Steve and I used to travel a lot to meetings when we first met, but today we’re blessed with three young children and we wanted to live our dream of having a home-based business. It was a learn-as-we-go process, and we started implementing this weekly webinar system only about six months ago.
And here’s the beauty: It’s much easier for brand new networkers to say, “I just want you to log in here and listen to something,” rather than trying to fumble through a presentation. Why not use the company’s best presenter? I’m not saying this because Steve’s my husband. I’ve seen thousands of presentations, but when he presents, he is able to capture everybody on that line, no matter what age, gender or background. When he speaks, people listen.
How do you teach others to do what you do?
Steve: As far as the presentation goes, I want people to listen to it over and over, because I know that by listening to it continuously they are going to record it with their brains, much like listening to music on the radio.
Whether they hear me do it once or 500 times, it’s the same message. I’ll throw a little icing on the cake here and there, just to keep it fresh. But at the same time, I want them to know that the message is the message, and if you don’t deviate from it, you can create the same results.
I also consider myself a success coach, because making it in this business goes beyond learning a compensation plan or a product presentation. Pasha and I focus on bringing out the best in people, and one way do that is to let them know that a lot of the skills that brought us where we are today are skills we’ve acquired through hard work and ongoing education.
We teach people how you can feel the fear and do it anyway, and how your belief is ultimately what’s going to attract things to you. I can give someone 1,000 reasons why they can do it. But if they believe one reason that says they can’t, that one reason unfortunately supersedes the 1,000 reasons I’m giving them.
We want to work on people’s belief that they can do it, that there is no bias, that they already have the God-given ability to succeed because they can learn all the fundamentals.
Pasha: Another philosophy Steve and I live by is that if we empower the person, the business is simple. In the beginning, I believed that if I taught someone the products and scripts and how to do a presentation, the person would be successful. But I would see people who knew the scripts like the backs of their hands, they knew how to do a presentation, yet they wouldn’t pick up the phone and call. They were afraid to get in front of a room and present. “Why is this happening?” I wondered. Then I realized I had to empower the person by teaching character skills, such as how to overcome fear and obstacles, how to be a leader and how to develop a following.
We let people know up front, “Listen, this business is going to throw you some loops. You’re going to go through some ups and downs. There’s no such thing as success without some failures along the way.” We have an old saying that success leads straight through the dump, you’ve just got to make sure you don’t park there. We want people to understand that when you step out there to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to have some challenges. But in the end it pays off, because you gain control over your life by being in control of your time and your income. It may be difficult and you’re going to have to pay the price, but it’s worth it.
Any closing thoughts about the road ahead?
Steve: We feel very grateful for everything we’ve learned over the years. Our goal is to condense the time frame for others and help them move through this learning process of becoming an entrepreneur much more quickly.
We want to become life coaches as well as networking coaches, and to touch as many lives as possible. I want to broaden the audience we currently have. I want others to know that they can learn from us, even if they’re with a different company. We feel compelled to give back the knowledge and privileged to be able to help others who are where we were thirteen years ago. I see tremendous growth and possibilities for our profession, and we want to become household names, not just for the success we have created but for how many other people we’ve inspired and helped.
Pasha: I want to show people how to earn more so they can keep more, and therefore live more.
It’s easy in this profession, when you start making a lot of money, to start spending it all. You get the elegant suits and the fancy cars and the big homes and you overextend yourself, because you feel like you need to prove something to the world. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, if you’re making $500,000 but spending $550,000, you’re still broke—just in a better neighborhood.
I want to teach people not only how to make millions, but how to keep it and pass it on through generations. We’ve got to take a look at ourselves, at the economy and what’s going on in the world, and think of our children. I don’t want my children to ever have to think of punching a time clock. Our goal is to be able to leave a legacy for them, so that they can pick up where we left off and offer their children the gift of generational wealth.