Carlos and Cecy Marin are a dynamic couple of network marketing leaders who have built organizations totaling over a million people throughout their career.
A Cuban immigrant, Carlos first got involved in network marketing in 1982 when he was a struggling insurance broker looking for a better way to reach his goal of becoming a millionaire.
Carlos quickly discovered that the circumstances in his life—including his financial hardships—were simply the result of what was going on in his mind. Even though network marketing didn't bring him immediate financial relief, he stayed in the business because of how the personal development he received there was benefitting his insurance business.
When Carlos finally decided to give network marketing his full focus, his network began growing exponentially, and within a few years it encompassed several hundred thousand people in North and South America and Western Europe. A few years later he met Cecy, who became his partner in both life and business.
Carlos retired from his first business in the late nineties, but eventually went back to work out of a desire to contribute his knowledge and experience.
He and Cecy launched their current network marketing business in 2006, building on the same universal success principles their first business was founded on, while adding Internet marketing and social media to their arsenal.
Today, as top earners in their company, Carlos and Cecy continue to dedicate their lives to learning and helping others wake up to their own greatness and power to create lives of joy and prosperity.
Training leaders in Houston.
|With daughter Cassie Marin in the Keys.|
|The Marin clan: Sami, Jan, Cecy, Carlos, Al, Cecy Jr., Andy, and Cassie.|
|Go Diamond weekend, Acapulco.|
|Receiving the Top Income Earners award, with Jere Thompson and Chris Chambless.|
|Entrepreneur Latin America article, 1996.|
|Chillin' at the Malibu Beach Inn.|
Born to a wealthy Cuban family, Carlos was just four years old when his family emigrated in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro had taken over the country.
"My parents were worried about what was going on," says Carlos. "One day government officials had come to take one of our neighbor's houses, and when he refused to give it to them, they shot him point blank in front of his family.
"My parents had applied for visas to Spain, Costa Rica, and the United States. The visa for Spain arrived first because my grandfather was born in Spain. We abandoned everything we owned and took off, waited a year and a half to see if Castro would fizzle out, and when he didn't, we came to the United States. We lived for four and a half years in Charleston, West Virginia, then moved down to Miami."
The first few years Carlos's parents worked two jobs trying to make ends meet.
"My friends had all the good toys and I had the second-rate stuff," he says. "But I heard stories from my grandfather, who had emigrated from Spain to Cuba at the age of fifteen and become a millionaire."
Carlos's grandfather instilled in him a good work ethic and was the first to teach him the value of a mentor.
"If you want to be successful in life," he would say, "find successful businesspeople, go work for them, and learn from them—even if they pay you less than someone else. Learn their success secrets, do what they did to achieve their wealth, and you will become successful and wealthy as well."
"That sounded a little hokey at first," says Carlos, "because growing up in our culture, you think no one is going to share their secrets with you because then you'll eat into their pie.
"He taught me all this when I was young, but as I grew up I stopped listening and just tried to get ahead financially like everyone else."
By the age of twenty-five, Carlos owned an insurance agency with a partner and had gone from working forty hours a week to working sixty, then seventy and eighty—with still too much month left at the end of his money. Ambitious and frustrated, Carlos didn't know how to get to where he wanted to be.
"I was in debt and depressed when network marketing found me in 1982," he says. "Two people attempted to sponsor me. One was someone who knew my partner in the insurance agency. The other was a woman who worked with my ex-wife at Eastern Airlines and whose upline was a prominent South Florida businessman. She had asked my ex, 'Is your husband pretty sharp?'
"When my ex said yes, she said, 'Why don't you tell him to come meet Tim Foley, he is building a business here.' I knew Tim as the retired football champion from the Miami Dolphins, but when I heard the name of the company, it conjured up images of selling soap door to door, and I thought, 'There is no way I'm doing this.'"
A few days later Carlos saw the person his insurance partner knew give a professional presentation that emphasized the concept of leverage and residual income. At the end of the meeting, Carlos was perplexed to find out it was that same company. He went home and asked his ex-wife to get him an appointment with Foley.
Carlos signed up with Foley but was fortunate early in his experience to meet another upline leader, Bill Childers, a multimillionaire Diamond who took an interest in him. Bill exuded the exact kind of confidence, wealth, wisdom, and success Carlos longed for. He also recognized words that closely resonated with what he had learned from his grandfather.
"You seem like a sharp kid," Bill had said. "If you listen to us and do what we teach you, we'll show you how to be wealthy like us."
Carlos knew he had found his mentor and started learning about the business and success principles.
"Going to seminars and listening to tapes was what hooked me," he says. "I wasn't all that fired up about the products, but the educational system and the opportunity for personal development really got me excited—and kept me from quitting all the times I wanted to quit."
Carlos also saw a chance to associate with successful people and become one of them. The amount of money his upline leaders were making was appealing—a seven-figure income while Carlos was making $35,000—but he really wanted to be a millionaire and become one of the Diamonds.
"For three years, I was up and down, struggling with the business," he says. "I worked closely with Foley, since we both had a sales and marketing background. We were always trying to figure out what products we could sell to get the biggest bang for the buck and to rise up the ranks. In reality, we were going at it all wrong."
After three and a half years of struggle, he heard a man, Kenny Stewart, who had gone Diamond in two and a half years speak at a seminar. "To those of you who aren't on this stage as Diamonds," Kenny said, "your problem is that you think you have other options. Two and a half years ago I was broke and on the verge of bankruptcy in my business. I went to an event and saw the people on stage. I'm not as sharp as they were but I can outwork anybody, so I made a determination to do so and now, two and a half years later, I'm a millionaire. You need to understand that to have this lifestyle, most of you have no other option than doing this business."
Up to that point Carlos had been building his network marketing business part-time. Applying all the personal and professional development he had picked up from his network marketing training to his other business had allowed him to triple his income over the course of three and a half years, and he was now making six figures in his insurance business—but his network marketing business was stagnant.
At this seminar, Carlos suddenly made a commitment that, just like Kenny, he was going to be a Diamond in two and a half years. Within three months he had sold his traditional business to do network marketing full-time, and two and a half years later, in 1988, he went Diamond.
"My mindset just shifted," he says. "The word decision comes from a Latin verb that means 'to cut off completely.' Most people don't make real decisions. They make one today and change their mind tomorrow.
"When I made my decision that day, I knew in my mind that it was done. As I went about my business, I saw myself differently: I talked to people differently, my posture was different, and I expected different results."
Relationship Tips for Business Partners
One of the questions I consistently hear is, "Does working together take a toll on your marriage?" I've always said that if you have a good relationship with your partner, working together can be wonderful, but if you don't get along with your partner and you have to work together, it can be challenging. However, if you apply these simple tips, you'll find that not only can you work together, you just might end up enriching your relationship.
Tip #1: Start by defining exactly and precisely your goals and your vision of where you desire to go in your business. Then define in great detail how this is going to get you what you want out of life. Do these exercises both individually and as a couple.
Tip #2: Do not compete with each other. Instead, identify your weaknesses and strengths, and then build on each other's strengths. Make it a habit to compliment one another when you do a good job and show your partner that you appreciate their unique gifts and talents.
Tip #3: Find your own workspace at home. It's important that you have your privacy and creative space. Working separately keeps you productive and out of each other's way. Later you'll have a greater appreciation for the time you have together—after you've disconnected from your work. (See Tip #4!)
Tip #4: Designate a specific time to completely disconnect from the business. It can be challenging when you're focused and striving hard towards your dreams and goals, but make a commitment to spend quality time together and enjoy your partner's company. Make sure it's away from and outside of the business space.
Tip #5: Have a weekly Date Night! Keep your romance alive by scheduling your Date Night, and make it truly special! Get all dressed up and go someplace really romantic.
Tip #6: Identify your respective roles and responsibilities and stick to them to the best of your ability. When you and your partner have an understanding of one another's expectations and contributions, your home and your business will both run more smoothly.
Tip #7: Create a vision board—individually, as a couple, and as a family. If you have kids, share your vision with them and make sure they know they are a big part of the whole picture. When you get them involved, they will be more understanding when you spend time away from them to build your business. Families that work together, stay together!
Bonus Tip: Learn the "love language" through which your partner receives love and speak that language to him or her often. Offer the words, touch, gifts, acts, and quality time that say "I love you" and "You are important to me" in a way your partner can truly hear it.
Carlos also started to envision the business differently.
"Instead of seeing it as a product business, I began to see it as a people business. Rather than focusing on a few people doing big volumes of sales, I started focusing on having a lot of people do a little bit of volume.
"After years of being me-focused, I became others-focused. I became a kind of business consultant. My goal was to find the sharpest people I could possibly work with, find out what they wanted, and help them get it."
At this point Carlos became extremely disciplined, showing the plan every day to new prospects and doing third-party calls for new recruits.
"I used to be afraid of the phone," he says, "stalking the phone, walking around it, trying to sneak up on it so it wouldn't bite me. But eventually I became a real pro at it.
"I decided that every single person I talked to or enrolled in my business added a potential hundred-plus new people. The biggest cause of failure in network marketing is that most of us make a list with our new prospects and tell them to go call the people on the list. When our new recruits start calling their contacts, they get a few nos and stop, and we just blew away a hundred-plus names with each person who quits."
Carlos became proficient at what he calls "the basics."
Whenever he would get a new person started in the business, he asked, "Who is the most successful person you know?" He'd write that name down. "Do you know anyone who drives a Mercedes?" he would say, and write that name down. "Do you know anyone who owns a business?" he would continue. Pretty soon the new person realized Carlos was making a list.
Then he would say, "Let's identify the twenty sharpest people on this list. I don't care who you think is going to do the business, I want to talk to the sharpest people."
Then Carlos would pick up the phone and say, "Hi Joe, you don't know me, my name is Carlos Marin and we have a mutual friend in Bob. Bob says you're a sharp, ambitious individual who's typically looking for ways to get ahead in life. Is that true?" Most people were flattered at that point and said, "Yeah, why? What have you got?" He'd continue to build rapport and set up an appointment with them.
Thanks to this approach, which Carlos learned from several young, aggressive leaders he had seen in action, he went from being almost out of names on his list to the point where today, after nearly thirty years in the business, he has more people on his list than he did in his first year.
Next, he overcame his fear of the phone by putting himself in the hot seat.
"I got tired of going to opportunity meetings that were no-shows," he says, "meaning the prospects didn't show up and all we had in the room was people who were already in."
On such one no-show, instead of just practicing the presentation, he decided to do third-party calls right there in front of everyone. He asked the people who were there, "Who's got their list with them?"
"I heard every excuse possible," he laughs, "because everyone was thinking I was going to make them do the call. When one guy produced his list, I asked him who the sharpest guy on there was. He gave me a name—and I called the person and set up an appointment."
Suddenly everyone else "found" their list, and they spent the rest of the meeting making calls and setting appointments.
After that meeting, Carlos's business took off like wildfire. Making third-party calls is something he teaches his leaders to this day.
Although he eventually became a polished presenter, he started out being quite afraid of public speaking. Soon he hit upon the strategy of tapping into those things he wasn't afraid of doing.
"When I was a kid," he recalls, "I loved to perform. I was a star running back on the football team and I loved to sing. I always dreamed of being a football star or a singer, even though I had never performed publicly.
"This is something I've discovered in helping people find their purpose in life: You have to pursue what appeals to you and what you are gifted at—even if, at first, you have to really work at it."
Carlos recounts how he would see presenters with audiences of 3,000 or 4,000 and think, "That's what I want to do!"—and then go home, look at his notes, sit down, and practice. He'd tell a joke at his next meeting—and no one would laugh except him. But he didn't let it deter him.
"I continued to study and model great speakers," he says, "just going up on stage and doing it, whether people laughed or didn't."
The leader who had inspired Carlos to go Diamond had told the audience that he showed the plan thirty times a month for two and a half years. When Carlos heard this, he made that same commitment. When he looked at his calendar two years later and counted up all the home meetings, one-on-ones, and open meetings he had done, he found he had averaged thirty-seven presentations a month for the past two and a half years.
When Carlos went Diamond, his life changed. His income was now a good deal higher than it had been, but because he didn't set any new goals, he soon became bored and frustrated. A year and a half later, in January 1990, he attended a Date with Destiny with Tony Robbins at the Del Mar Castle, Robbins's home. The event was limited to thirty-five people who each paid $5,000 to engage in exercises on developing values, identity, and purpose.
This gave Carlos a renewed boost in focus and excitement. As a result, he began teaching more advanced personal development principles to his leaders, and soon his business started growing exponentially, especially in Western Europe (Spain, France, and Italy) and South America (Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, and Brazil).
"I had about 15,000 people in my group at the time," he says. "Within a year I had 100,000—and within a few more years I reached 400,000.
"The old guys in the business didn't understand the principle of expectancy: we mostly get the results we expect. For instance, they limited their people by saying, 'It takes ten years to go Diamond.' I told my people that going Diamond takes two to three years of persistent effort, and we started creating new Diamonds like popcorn!
"I learned the strategies of building the business properly along with the right motivation. It wasn't just the dream and it wasn't just the mechanics. It was the perfect blend of elements to build a successful business. I had leaders achieving new titles faster than anyone in the company, and my group started exploding."
Carlos was already used to being a celebrity from doing events with 2,000 or 3,000 people who at the end all wanted his picture and autograph. But he says when his events grew to 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, they engendered a different level of excitement—and responsibility.
"It was a crazy sensation. You're standing on the stage looking out and realizing, 'All these people are in my group.' Just to think you're having an impact on that many lives is a very humbling situation.
"In the nineties, we were doing forty events a year, going from country to country. I was treated like a rock star, with security agents surrounding me as soon as I landed and people escorting us to the gates and through customs at the airports."
Sometimes Carlos took his first wife and three daughters to major events, but he mainly built his business alone until he divorced and met his second wife and soulmate, Cecy.
"We met in late 1994 on a blind date," says Carlos. "I had gotten divorced and bought a beautiful condo on the beach in Boca Raton. My sister and her husband, who were both Diamonds in my business, introduced me to Cecy because they didn't want me to be a bachelor."
An accomplished dancer and musician, Cecy had been divorced a couple of years earlier and was raising two young children on her own. Soon after she met Carlos they started dating, and when she found out that Carlos was in network marketing, she says she was shocked.
"I couldn't understand what he did for a living," she says. "The picture he painted didn't correspond to my image of a distributor. He was always traveling and calling me at midnight saying, 'I just wrapped up and I've got another meeting, then I'll call you.'
"I thought, 'What in the world is this man doing?' He would call at 1:00 in the morning and we would talk for hours until I had to get up and take my kids to school. Regardless of how he tried to explain it to me, I didn't understand. Finally he said, 'You need to come to an event so you can see what I do.'"
Cecy's first event was in Brazil. When she and Carlos landed in Sao Paolo, she couldn't believe her eyes.
"There were people waiting with flowers and posters of him, as if he were a movie star," she says. "Some were aggressive and almost attacked him just to get an autograph. Security guards immediately whisked me away. It was unreal. There were 35,000 people at the stadium, and when I heard Carlos speak, I understood he wasn't really building a network marketing business—he was building people, and the people were building the business."
Dreams and Ambitions
Cecy immediately fell in love with what Carlos was teaching, which was the personal growth aspect of the business.
"It was extremely fulfilling to watch people change, not just financially but in who they became along the way. The stories they shared on stage were incredibly inspiring."
Even though Carlos thoroughly enjoyed changing lives and helping people build their dreams, over the years he grew tired of the tensions he and his company experienced in international markets, "problems," he says, "which had to do with manufacturing, import duties, currency devaluations, and hyperinflation."
He eventually sold his business in 1998 and retired. By then, he and Cecy had gotten married and had a daughter, and he wanted to enjoy the fruits of his labor with his new family.
However, after three years of retirement, Carlos felt the itch to go back to work. As a consultant for different network marketing companies, he developed Internet recruiting systems which he kept tweaking and would eventually use himself to build a new network marketing organization.
In 2006, Carlos joined a five-month-old energy company in Texas as a Founding National Consultant and developed the recruiting and training system that helped take it to over $650 million in sales over the next five years.
"I never imagined getting involved with such a young company but the credibility and track record of the cofounders Jere Thompson and Chris Chambless gave me the belief I needed to invest myself in the project. The recruiting systems we created through my company, Hotsystem, worked like a charm," he says. "Our videos and other online tools took recruiting to a whole new level of efficiency and productivity."
Today Carlos teaches his team mainly to send their prospects to watch videos and then follow up diligently.
"Prospects can sign up online after watching the video," he explains, "but we teach people to follow through on the phone or in person. It's a high-tech, high-touch model, because success in our business will always be based on relationships."
Carlos and Cecy are partners in the business and role models to their team for what a great relationship can look like.
"Being married to your best friend and somebody who shares mutual interests makes all the difference," says Carlos. "Just like me, Cecy loves people and events, and she has become a great presenter."
"People can see that we are in love even after seventeen years of building the business together," Cecy adds. "We get asked all the time to teach about relationships, and we are currently writing a book together on this topic."
While Carlos and Cecy love to teach and write and make training videos, they are equally in love with being students.
"Today we are as hungry to grow and evolve as we've ever been," says Carlos. "Our purpose is to empower millions of people around the world to know the greatness they have within and use that to be free and live their highest ideals in life. We are especially passionate about working with young people, because they are the future."
Carlos has a book coming out called The Ultimate Success Formula, which will be followed shortly thereafter by a specialized version for network marketing.
"There's a lot we want to do for and share with mankind," he says. "It is our intention to leave a legacy and make this world a better place to live in."
"Our joy lies in elevating the consciousness of humanity," Cecy echoes, "through network marketing and beyond."