Dan McCormick grew up with his brother in a single-parent home in Seattle, Washington. Whenever he would ask for money, his mom would reply, “Son, you better make a lot of money when you grow up.” Dan internalized this message, and as a young man he focused on building a secure financial future. He quickly discovered that the road to riches is paved with principles, and he became a student of some of the greatest minds that ever lived.
Today Dan is a dynamic leader, popular speaker and top earner in one of the largest network marketing companies in the world. He hosts a Saturday morning radio show that attracts thousands of listeners and has published and coauthored the book Lessons from Great Lives.
Dan understood very early on that to become the best at anything in life, you have to train the mind.
“There are many people in my business who are better than I am,” he says, “but few who are as consistent, who show up and play the game every day—who realize, this is my profession, it’s all I want to do, it’s what I enjoy doing because I feel it’s the greatest contribution I can make in this world.”
One of Dan’s guiding principles is Leonardo de Vinci’s motto, Sapere Vedere, “knowing how to see.” Dan adopted this as his life mantra, and the vision he created for himself has propelled him to heights he never imagined. At present, he delights in inspiring others to reach for their dreams and teaching them the principles of greatness.
The Call of Entrepreneurship
From age twelve to seventeen, Dan had a job at a private tennis club, where he observed the lifestyles of those who had a lot more money than he did.
“I met people from every walk of life,” he says, “from lawyers and doctors, to teachers and homemakers, to professional athletes, accountants and salespeople.”
One day, a club member walked up to Dan and asked if he’d like to work with him. He had what Dan perceived as an extraordinary lifestyle: he worked only six months of the year and played tennis the rest of the time. For a young tennis player like Dan, this was heaven.
Dan started building tennis courts with this man, who became something of a father figure to him, teaching him how to earn money. He spent his summer working in construction, making $5 an hour.
In the fall he went off to Washington State University to play on the tennis team, but a recurring knee injury prevented him from pursuing his degree. He left college after two weeks with what he calls his “Ph.D.”: he was Poor, Hungry and Driven.”
Celebrating Dan’s 2nd daughter’s wedding in Newport Beach.
Dan practicing his golf swing in Gozzer Ranch, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Dan and Marilyn in front of their home in Coto de Caza.
Dan having fun in St Petersburg, Russia on a Baltic Sea cruise.
On his way home, Dan got a ticket for reckless driving. When he told his boss what happened, the man paid the ticket for him—and told Dan he’d give him a raise if he came back to build tennis courts the following summer.
That was the summer of 1982, and Dan was now earning $6 an hour. It didn’t rain for all of June that year, or least not enough to wash the construction crew out of working for a day, so Dan worked for thirty days straight.
“At the end of the month, I had a sudden realization,” he says. “This was as good as it was going to get. There was no possible way to make any more money in a month. The leverage factor just wasn’t there.”
In August, Dan came across an ad in the newspaper that said, “Are you making what you’re worth?” At age nineteen, he had very little self-worth, and even less net worth.
“This ad was screaming at me,” he recalls. “It was there again the next day, but I didn’t have the courage to call.”
It appeared again the third day, and by day 4 Dan said to his mom, “They must be desperate—that ad’s still in the paper,” not realizing it was simply more affordable to run an ad on a four-day contract than it was on a one-day rate. Finally he called the number, and the person who answered the phone invited him to meet him for lunch. Afterwards, Dan raced home to tell his mom, “We never have to live like this again. We’re going to a meeting tomorrow night, in downtown Seattle.”
Dan was grateful his mom accompanied him, and that night he joined his first network marketing company.
Becoming an Apprentice
After the meeting, Dan started studying and doing everything he was told to do. His upline had come down from Canada to Seattle to expand their business. When they returned, Dan went back to Canada with them to learn how to build his business.
“That’s where I met my wife,” he says. “When I saw her onstage, I thought, ‘That’s a pretty remarkable girl.’ We were married less than a year later, and for twenty-seven years now, we’ve never had another career outside of network marketing.”
As it happened, Dan’s future wife was also three generations up in his upline.
“I always candidly tell people my story: I married my upline! I also happened to be at the right place at the right time, with the right teachers and mentors. It turned out to be the beginning of a remarkable career apprenticeship.”
The most significant struggles Dan experienced in the beginning were with his own demons and fears. He quickly discovered that faith is a much better vehicle for success than fear and he put all his attention on strengthening his belief in himself and the opportunity.
“In order to grow my self-esteem, I needed to know who I was as a person and what I was going to stand for, which would translate into my self-worth. When you combine self-esteem with self-worth, generally your net worth grows.”
In the early days, Dan’s mentors taught him three ways to recruit people: warm market, newspapers ads and flyers.
“They looked at it as three games with three different sets of odds,” he says. “If you talked to people you knew, your odds would be the best. If you ran an ad in the newspaper, not only would it cost you money, but the odds would go down. If you put out flyers, you would be talking to a less targeted group and your odds would drop even more.
Dan soon learned that all three methods work—if you do enough of them. And he just happened to have an invaluable trait for achieving results: he knew how to be persistent.
“Once your faith in the activities is stronger than your fear of failing, and you know that network marketing is your calling, you just have to go out and do it every day,” says Dan.
He remembers signing up a new team member years ago who expressed exactly this kind of faith: this person said, “I know if I talk to people every day, I can recruit 100 people. I’m not sure if one of the first ten will do the same, or if it will be the 100th person I sponsor—but somebody’s going to do it and want it as badly as I do.”
How does one develop that kind of persistence? According to Dan, it starts with knowing your why.
“This is a challenge for beginning network marketers today, because they have so many options. As a nineteen-year-old, my why was as big as Mount Everest: I didn’t have any other prospects in life where I could see average folks make a fortune—except for network marketing.”
Today, he still sees a networking business as the best answer for anybody who wants to create a life of continuous growth and contribution.
Finding the Right Company
Dan stayed with his first company for over a decade. In his eleventh year in the business, a voice inside moved him in a different direction.
“It may be one of the strongest urges I’ve ever had,” he says. “What I heard was, ‘There’s more for you, Dan.’ I felt a need to grow and expand. I had faith in what I had learned and was ready to make a bigger contribution.”
In 1992, he joined another company. Eight years later, he joined his third and current company. Having been with three different companies, says Dan, taught him that there are profound differences in culture, leadership, vision and commitment to the field.
“Leaders in network marketing have a responsibility that it isn’t casual,” he says. “You’re taking on a destiny that’s greater than your own. When you have team members who are earning a few thousand dollars a month, upwards to several hundred thousand and maybe even a million a year, these people make life decisions—what house to buy, what college to send their children to, how to retire—based on the business. That’s why, when choosing a company, you need to know that the owners have your best interests at heart.”
Dan learned how a company culture can be different in terms of its commitment to grow, to go international and be as big as it can be, and most importantly, in its commitment to innovation.
“People like companies that reengineer themselves and take responsibility for giving their distributors the best opportunity possible,” he says. “If a company doesn’t make a commitment to regularly infuse its distributor force with a fresh, invigorating story, then its sponsoring story gets stale. Network marketing companies aren’t different from other great companies. Apple, Google, Microsoft—all these companies are faced with the same challenge of continuous innovation. Unless your company comes out with new and exciting products, and keeps up with the latest scientific research, you probably won’t be able to compete, based purely on the power of your story.”
To get himself into the right mindset, Dan starts each day in quiet contemplation and private study of sacred and inspirational literature.
“Og Mandino is perhaps my greatest teacher,” he says. “The second scroll of The Greatest Salesman in the World penetrates my heart every morning, and this for the past twenty-seven years. That scroll starts, I will greet this day with love in my heart… If I can have this attitude and come from a philia type of love, a brotherly love, then I can go out and make a difference in someone’s life today.”
Dan is a strong advocate of applying Stephen R. Covey’s “seven habits” in our everyday lives. He often asks audiences, “Who owns a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey?” and typically almost everybody there raises their hands. But when he asks, “Who can name all seven habits?” he never sees a single hand go up.
“These aren’t just words,” he says. “The man who wrote them was voted one of the top twenty-five most influential people in the world by Time magazine. This is paradigm-shifting, life-altering stuff!”
Dan teaches people that to be a better recruiter you have to become a better person and raise your self-esteem. To be a better friend, you have to care and serve and do your best to look out for what’s in others’ best interest.
“This may sound kind of utopian,” he says, “but it’s real, if you believe in the human race.”
Dan teaches an open, generic, four-week class (see www.DanMcCormicksWorld.com) on the principles and habits necessary to succeed in this profession.
“We’ve all seen people who make a lot of money and then lose it—or lose their health, or their marriage,” he says. “How do you stay balanced and focused on the right things? My Millionaire Training course takes people to where they want to go, with reference points along the way so they don’t get off track.”
The third module of the class teaches the art of recruiting and promotion.
“We teach it, clarify it, we have people go out and do it,” says Dan. “Once they live it, it becomes them and they own it: they now are proud to be recruiters.”
He also teaches that in order to be a great recruiter, you have to nurture your mental, emotional and spiritual mindset:
“Without the right mindset, athletically you’re going to get beat up. In business, you’ll go broke. You can’t make money if you are distracted or unclear about those foundational principles of brotherhood and selfless service.”
First Things First
How do we find clarity and focus in a world full of distractions? Dan believes it starts with creating a vision in your mind, and he credits his mentor Sterling W. Sill, who used to say, “Everyone should be born with a pair of scissors and a pot of glue.”
At the center of Dan’s dream board are his wife, his four daughters and two sons-in-law. Around that center, he places his spiritual goals, and around those, the books that teach him the principles that keep him on track. From there, the space widens out to include his health and fitness. Around these core values, he adds the beaches of the world he wants to see, the golf courses he wants to play on, the horses he wants to own, the cars he wants to drive and the planes he wants to fly in. He explains:
“One of the seven habits of highly effective people is first things first, because if you put first things first, then you will get all the other things you want. Now, here’s the caveat: many networkers think, ‘Wow, look at Dan McCormick, he makes six figures a month! If he can do it, I can do it—and in short order.’ The distraction comes when they think about the money, not the activity. If your brain is wired to the endorphin associated with the reward, you’ll never do the activities required to earn it.”
In his Millionaire Training course, he teaches another important principle: find your friend.
“Bill Gates had Paul Allen, Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak and Warren Buffett has Charlie Munger,” he says. “Generally, great people have a partner to share the journey with. If you haven’t found your friend in network marketing, make this a priority, because nobody succeeds in this business alone.”
Dan says his primary activity to move his business forward is building relationships.
“I first let people know I don’t just want $1,000 out of them. I want them to commit to the journey of making network marketing work for them. Once they understand this, I come back with the question: how are we going to accomplish that?”
His next activities are focused on staying in touch and building friendships.
“You don’t need to find a hundred leaders,” he points out. “Most network marketers build one, two or three power legs—not twelve or a hundred. That’s why I’m so focused on the journey of building relationships. If we go out and talk to people with the idea of respecting who they are, being honest and sincere, knowing what we represent, being confident that what we offer has value, others are going to gravitate towards that.”
Dan doesn’t teach his team to make a list of 100 people or to go out and talk to ten people a day. Instead her recommends they spend time and build friendships with the right candidates: entrepreneurs or professionals who are interested in personal growth and making a difference.
“Everyone wants to be a part of something that’s not just about money,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy seeing people do well financially and seeing my own bank accounts go up. I do like the capitalistic rewards, but I try to put first things first each and every day.”
The Gift of Vision
Dan thinks the greatest time for network marketing is right now, because in his experience there is a greater pool of people who are dissatisfied with their lives and their future than at any point in his career.
“Because of the way the economy has treated so many,” he says, “millions of people are looking to take control of their lives. Where are they going to turn to repair their 401(k)? People planned to live on the equity of their home in their retirement years. It’s gone. What are they going to do? Why not learn and understand the principles of leveraged residual income?”
Dan likes to empower his audiences by telling them, “I’ve seen people come and go, from every walk of life, from every country in the world, from every ethnic background, every demographic and every economic situation. The odds may seem stacked against you and you may not believe you can do it. But if you have faith and apply yourself, I know you can do it—and you will have the greatest experience of your life.”
Dan is grateful for the life he created, where he doesn’t have to drive to work or get on the Southern California freeways, unless he wants to attend a meeting. There is nothing he would rather be doing than helping his distributors reach higher pinnacles of success than they ever thought possible.
“The single biggest gift network marketing has given me is vision,” he says. “Not sight. Sight is what you see with your eyes. Vision is what you feel with your heart. I deeply believe in the biblical proverb, Where there is no vision, the people perish. Where there is vision, people grow and flourish.”
What he means is a vision of greatness, of making a contribution, of making someone else’s life better. To help people understand greatness, he recommends an article by Geoffrey Colvin, published in Fortune magazine in 2006, called What It Takes to Be Great. According to this article, it takes seven to ten years on average to become great—or highly effective—in any area.
“It took me seven years before I felt I had been imprinted with the principles of network marketing,” he says, “before I came to feel comfortable about my profession no matter what the setting or what group of people I’m with. Sticking with it for that long seems like a tall order, but the beauty of our profession is that you earn while you learn.”