I love to write. I get to pause my thoughts and contemplate how to communicate to best serve my reader. And I can change what I've written much more easily than I can change what I've just said!

Years ago, I seeded my successful network marketing business with one New Year's letter. Those were the days before email, when addresses had zip codes instead of @ signs. One annual letter about my life to 150 friends and colleagues set me on my path to freedom.

In June of that year, I was catching up by phone with a long-time friend who lived far away. She said, "I've been wanting to talk with you since getting your New Year's letter. I'd like to learn more about those products and the business opportunity you mentioned." Immediately she joined me and became one of my strongest business leaders and product advocates. She said, "If you had called me in January, we would have been working together for six months longer!"

I learned to end my letters and emails with, "I'll call you next week."

With online social networks like Facebook we can share everything that's in an annual letter all year long, in real time. Yet I'm not ready to let go of those occasional letters to zip codes.

Two months after 9/11, I wrote a Thanksgiving letter. It was a way for me to focus on gratitude during that difficult time. I wrote about my family and the contribution I got to make to others through my products and business. Before putting each letter in its envelope, I handwrote a personal note at the bottom. "I am grateful for you becauseā€¦" Imagine the powerful impact this simple act had on my relationships.

Years into my business, our company launched an incentive program and I wanted to earn that free trip to Bali. An idea came to me to write down what I loved about this business—all of it, no holds barred. My Freedom Treatise was five pages long. Who would read that?! I wrote a short, two-paragraph cover letter and sent it to twenty-four people from my original list who had turned me down, acknowledging that they had already said no, asking if they might be in a different time in their life now, and inviting them to read my passionate treatise if they felt inclined.

I followed up by phone a week later (never forgot that lesson). Eight of the twenty-four said yes. Next, my husband wrote a letter to everyone in his high school directory that he remembered. That did it: we earned the incentive trip and took our business to the next level, helping many people along the way.

With all the electronic messages you see daily, a personal letter that shares your gratitude or your challenges—and your business—will stand out. It might just be your ticket to freedom.

A top-100 income earner for seven consecutive
years in her network marketing company,
MARIAN HEAD is also a passionate writer and
contributing editor to Networking Times.
She attributes her success to applying
what she wrote in her book,
Agreements: Twelve Ways to Transform
Stress and Struggle into Freedom and Joy.