Dan Catto and Joe Garcia are business partners who lead a network marketing mega-team of more than 850,000 distributors spanning all five continents.
Based in Toronto, both Dan and Joe are veterans of the profession; Dan got started in 1988 and Joe joined him in 1993. What’s unusual about their story is that only 5 percent of their network is in North America, while the other 95 percent is mostly in what they call the “emerging markets.”
Dan and Joe have business and training infrastructures in well over thirty countries, where they are revered by their teams as messiahs of free enterprise. They have helped hundreds of people earn seven-figure incomes in regions where the average monthly income is about $300. Eleven of their top earners have earned at least one weekly bonus check of over $100,000, and the highest weekly payment ever, a whopping $170,000, went to a single mom in rural China.
Dan and Joe believe that the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—will see their greatest growth curve in network marketing in the next five years, and that most of this extraordinary growth will come from connections to people in North America, because of the cultural melting pot it represents.
In Dan and Joe’s experience, new markets tend to favor companies based in the U.S. because they recognize it as the birth place of network marketing. This presents American leaders and trainers with an unprecedented opportunity to expand in some of the most entrepreneurial societies open for business today.
Dan at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.
Dan enjoying golf in Kona, Hawaii.
Dan having fun in Las Vegas.
Joe with family in Pico, Portugal.
Joe vacationing with family in Paris.
By the time Dan’s world turned upside-down, in 1988, he had spent ten years in the corporate world and two years running his own business. Suffering through a bankruptcy and a divorce, he had gone back to his corporate job—only to see the company he worked for bought out by its U.S. parent. At that point, Dan lost everything. Crushed by financial and emotional stress, he became very ill; after two months in the hospital he had to move back in with his parents. At age thirty-two, he was living off government assistance and unemployment insurance.
“It was the lowest point of my life,” says Dan. “I had to start over. I was looking at newspaper ads for a job or anything that would provide hope. Unemployment was high, not only among blue collar workers but also in the white collar sector, which was unheard of in North America.” Dan sent out résumés but wasn’t getting any responses, and as this went on for months, he grew increasingly frustrated.
Then one day a different kind of ad caught his eye: it talked about making $10,000 a month marketing water filtration systems. It also mentioned a six-figure earning potential, an income Dan had never come close to earning.
He called the recruiter and told him about his dire personal situation.
The recruiter replied, “Just come and check it out. If it’s not for you, walk away from it. But if it is, run with it!”
The man invited Dan to a meeting by the Toronto airport and encouraged him to bring a trusted advisor who could help him evaluate the opportunity. Dan agreed to go, mostly out of desperation, and brought along an ex-colleague who had also been downsized, but who was in his late forties and had much more business experience.
“Neither of us comprehended much of the presentation,” says Dan. “The filters were somehow supposed to make tap water taste better, and the part about the compensation plan left us utterly confused. But at the end, one of the speakers mentioned he was earning $170,000 a month. At age twenty-four. That we understood!
“We thought, if that young kid could do it after only two years in the business, we could do it too, and we were going to figure out how.”
Dan signed up at the meeting but couldn’t afford to buy product. He borrowed money from his father, got to work, and eventually became successful in the business.
“I went from being six figures in debt to earning a little over two million dollars in five years,” he says. “I became the number one income earner in Canada, with a network of over 10,000 distributors.”
In 1992, the company started having some challenges with policies and procedures. They had no buy-back policy, and a lot of distributors who had invested $5,000 to $25,000 in inventory were getting stuck with water filtration systems they couldn’t return.
“The press got wind of this and the attorney general got involved. The company went from doing $30 million a month to doing $2 million.”
Dan decided it was time to move on.
He next became involved with a consumer electronics company based in Hong Kong, with whom he built a group of 30,000 distributors in three and a half years. Because of what he had learned, says Dan, he was able to earn nearly twice the money in half the time and build a group three times the size of his first organization.
In 1993 Joe joined Dan’s team several levels down in his group.Joe’s Story
He could come and go as he pleased and spent most of his time playing squash with weal-thy people who loved to have fun.
One gentleman he played with became a mentor to Joe and told him that the secret to wealth was to find a way to “make money while you sleep.”
One day in 1992, Joe was suddenly told the club was going to be sold—and the next day he was out of work.
“I couldn’t believe that even though I had made all this money for these owners, they sold off the business without giving me any warning at all,” recalls Joe. “My wife and I had just had our first baby. I felt I had no control over my life. It was a defining moment.”
Remembering his mentor’s advice, Joe realized he would never become wealthy working for someone else, and he made a promise he would never do so again.
No one in Joe’s family had ever started a business and he had no role model or experience to work from. He decided to buy a franchise—and within months realized he had made a huge error.
“I basically had bought myself a very expensive job,” he says.
He looked at others in that business who were in their fifties and sixties, and saw that they were making money but had no time to enjoy it. He didn’t want to become like them.
He sat down and wrote out his vision for his life, which included working from his dream home, watching his kids grow up and being there for them, and traveling the globe.
He started researching business opportunities at the local library. One day, as he was looking through the index cards, a gentleman tapped him on the shoulder and started telling him about network marketing. They exchanged phone numbers and the man followed up a month later, asking Joe to meet him at a local coffee shop.
“I sat through the worst presentation possible,” says Joe. “He never hit any of my hot buttons. I wanted to know about money and freedom, and all he talked about was his products.”
The man gave Joe a catalog and called him the next month, asking to meet him at a McDonald’s. He showed Joe his check and said, “This is what I’m earning my third month in the business.”
Joe said, “That’s incredible.” Now the man had tapped into Joe’s why, and when he invited him to a presentation, Joe didn’t hesitate.
“This is where I met Dan Catto for the first time,” says Joe. “It was a Super Saturday training and I was sitting in the back of the room with my brother. Within a couple of minutes of hearing Dan speak, I knew this was going to be the vehicle to my dreams. I absolutely had no doubt. I wasn’t sold on the company, but I was sold on network marketing.”
Joe was mesmerized by Dan’s story. He liked how Dan was communicating and felt he would be a good mentor for him. He also remembered another success secret his mentor at the racket club had given him: if you want to become a millionaire, you have to hang out with millionaires. At age twenty-six, Joe knew how important it was to surround himself with the right people, and this confirmed his decision to join Dan’s team.
When Joe went home that night, he looked in the mirror and said, “This is it. You’re never going to think about quitting, no matter what happens.”
From that moment onward, his commitment was so solid that whenever he sat across from a prospect, the person would know beyond any doubt that Joe was going to reach his goals.
Celebrating Russia launch in Moscow.
Dinner with top earners in Kona, Hawaii.
With top earners in Moscow.
With top earners in Hong Kong.
Celebrating with million-dollar earners from China in Kona, Hawaii.
Celebrating with million-dollar earners from China in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Joe celebrating after Siberia leadership retreat.
Dan entertains at leadership retreat in Dubai.
Forming a Partnership
Joe became a diligent student of the profession, worked hard, and his bonus checks increased steadily. He starting to travel internationally and was building momentum, but just as he was about to reach a top position in 1996, the company ended up going into bankruptcy protection.
Realizing the company had no future, Joe became very upset. Dan sat him down and said, “Joe, this is business. I understand how you feel. It’s like losing your first girlfriend. But you’ve got to move on for the sake of your family.”
Dan searched for about two months for new opportunities. He found a small company based in Colorado that sold nutritional supplements and needed leadership and a system. He joined and built an organization of 50,000 distributors in just a couple of years. Joe joined him and built Dan’s biggest producing team.
The company also wanted to expand into the Caribbean, Europe, and the Orient, where Dan had prior experience. In 2000, the president of the company told Dan he was starting a sister company to launch a product that would allow them to take their opportunity around the world overnight. The product was a topical cream he described as “the female version of Viagra.”
“It takes years to get approval for ingestible products,” Dan explains, “but topical products aren’t submitted to the same restrictions, which would allow us to enter multiple markets quickly.”
That first year, Dan and his team did a little over $20 million in sales just in North America.
The second year, Dan and his team expanded into the Far East and Europe, and then around the world.
“When we took our product to Asia, it was like entering a black hole,” he says. “Sales exploded even though we had to overcome a lot of obstacles with the Chinese government. In Russia, we were able to connect with our Russian teams from our previous company that had by now gone out of business.”
The next year, the company launched a second flagship product, marketed as “a thirty-minute non-surgical instant facelift.”
“The cost of facials is prohibitive for most people,” says Dan. “This product retailed wholesale for about a third of the price and lasted for three months. We now had another topical we could take around the world.
“Both products were highly demonstrable and consumable. This all happened by design: we led with the flagship products, the topicals, and later we brought in the fleet, the ingestibles, which was much easier to do once we had established our credibility with the local governing bodies.”
Dan became his company’s top distributor and Joe was one of his top leaders. In 2005, they merged their businesses to form a partnership and became the master distributors for the company.
“This worked out very well for everyone,” says Dan. “We truly complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Joe is by far the best student I’ve had in my organization and one of the best I’ve ever seen in the profession.”
In 2000 Joe and Dan clearly saw how the Internet was going to impact network marketing as it provided real-time global communication at virtually no cost.
“We started prospecting people all over the world through our connections in North America,” says Joe. “Go to any major city in the U.S. or Canada and you have people from all kinds of backgrounds who have connections in foreign markets.”
Joe has stories of life-changing business trips he undertook during what he calls his pioneering phase, such as a tour through Europe where he visited a new country every day for eight days straight. He says there is no greater personal development program, seminar, or book that will create more growth than going into a foreign country and presenting the business basics.
Dan: When I got started in 1988, things were very different from how they are today, and network marketing went through a lot of scrutiny. There weren’t nearly as many companies and the business model was unknown to most people. To make matters worse, my self-esteem was at an all-time low.
What helped me was simple: my mentor told me the two things you want to hear a prospect say when they come out of an opportunity meeting: 1) There’s an opportunity here, and 2) I think I can do this. This is the first big step towards them joining you and developing belief.
In the beginning, I knew there was an opportunity because I saw guys making a hundred thousand dollars a month, and none of them had a business background. I knew I could do it. My question was, “What do I do now?” and my mentor said, “Dan, you provide the people, we’ll provide the presentation. Say as little as you can to as many as you can. I guarantee you will screw up if you start talking about it, so please let us do the talking. You get the people to the meeting or on the call; we’ll take care of the rest.”
I was confident I could get people on a call or in a home. This helped me and it’s all I did. I just kept filling up the calls and putting people in cars to go to the meetings.
Today we use a simple five-second script to invite people on a call or to a meeting. Joe is an expert at coming up with scripts that work for everyone.
“Imagine talking to people who live in a little village in China, Russia, or the Eastern Bloc,” he says, “These people have worked hard to survive, and for generations their only goal in life was to put food on the table. There was very little opportunity to grow financially or as a person.
“Now all of a sudden they are getting online and able to educate themselves on all kinds of topics. In the past, one of the advantages the West had over the East was access to education. This is why we’ve had a better living standard here for generations. When you give education to those who have been deprived of it, that creates hope. When you bring them your network marketing opportunity, they say, ‘You mean I could really drive that car and travel globally and increase my family’s living standard through this business?’
“In Siberia, for instance, where the average income is about $300 a month, we’re bringing people the only hope they’ve ever had to change their future. When they join, they study the business and start working it 24/7.”
The first time Joe went to Moscow, there were people who took a forty-hour train ride to meet him for a couple of hours.
“This is typical in emerging markets,” he says, “For the first time in their lives, these people see that they can create a lifestyle they could only dream of before. This is what network marketing does all over the developing world.”
“The emerging markets are catching up fast,” adds Dan. “The West is not only losing jobs to the East. We’ve evolved into an entrepreneurial society where we’re no longer competing with our backyard, we’re competing with the globe.
“There are very few business opportunities besides network marketing that give people in these emerging markets a real chance at changing their lives. They become kind of like the immigrants coming to North America after World War II: they would outwork anybody because they are so motivated to learn and succeed.”
Women and Loyalty
Another eye-opener for Dan and Joe was discovering how women are treated in the different cultures where their business takes them.
“In most of these markets, women are still considered second-rate citizens,” says Joe. “They get little to no recognition at home or in society. When they find network marketing, they see it as their chance to make a difference, not only in their families but also in their communities.
“We have multimillionaires in China who have changed their villages. These women were at first ridiculed by the men, but they saw that the opportunity was theirs and put their blinders on.
“Women tend to develop a fierce love for their teams and create incredibly strong relationships, which are the foundation and the core of everything we do. It’s what keeps people anchored in.”
In Dan and Joe’s experience, when men advance to new leadership positions, their ego often grows in direct proportion to their bonus check and they start to lead from the top down, while women tend to keep a more collaborative and down-to-earth approach, no matter how large their organizations.
Dan: I was told first to make a list and not prejudge anyone. But none of my friends would even come close to listening to me, because they thought everything I touched would disintegrate. My family thought I was going either to jail or to a mental institution.
Instead of prospecting my friends and family, I went to my business list. My professional contacts knew it wasn’t my fault I had lost my job. They remembered me as a fun guy and a hardworking colleague. They loved to hear about my opportunity, because most of them had also lost their jobs.
Executives who have been laid off are the perfect candidates for our business, which is why I believe there has never been a better time than today for network marketing to thrive.
Another effective approach is to go to all the dissatisfied successful people you know.
The first week I had partnered with an Indian fellow I had a lot of respect for. We were both in the fashion business, and when our company was bought out we were both out of work.
I called my list and said, “Navin and I are going into a partnership that we believe will expand across Canada and into the United States. We think we can make money with this right away, and I value your opinion on it. Can you show up Tuesday?”
Most of my business contacts showed up and got excited hearing the testimonials. Everyone who attended that first Tuesday night meeting signed up, and they all brought people on Thursday. By the next Saturday I had twenty people on my team, after only seven days in the business.
Joe explains, “A foundational principle for creating long-term residual income in our business is to bring people in, keep them in, and move them along. In order to do so, you have to establish a culture where you’re approachable and you’re not better than anyone else because you’re making more money or have a bigger team.
“You need to remember you started out exactly like them and build a culture of trust and long-term relationships, particularly in markets that tend to have more females than males.”
In China and Russia, Dan and Joe’s network consists of 90 percent females. “In my experience,” says Joe, “women are much smarter than men when it comes to relationships. If you don’t honor the foundational principles of good relationships, you’ll get exposed as a leader, regardless of your gender.
“We’ve also found that in the regions where we work, the men are not nearly as loyal as the women. The women may squabble amongst themselves within the organization and between teams, but they won’t quit the business. The men tend to jump from deal to deal. I think it’s in their DNA makeup: men are hunters and get sidetracked more than women.”
“We love working with women,” Dan chimes in. “Their teams become like their families, and they grow fiercely protective. Russian women are very much like that. They also remain forever grateful for the opportunity and always remember where they came from.”
Dan and Joe have a top leader in Russia, Elena, who is doing extremely well. One day when standing in line at a bustling grocery store in the World Trade Center in Moscow, Dan asked her, “What was it like twenty years ago?”
She said, “There was nothing. My mama would stand in line for hours to buy one loaf of bread, and when she didn’t get one, Papa would come to relieve her so she could go home.”
According to Joe, the extraordinary convergence of three factors makes former Communist countries one of the most promising markets today: the newfound freedom and how that changed society; the hunger for free enterprise and how network marketing feeds that; and the availability of affordable Internet and mobile technologies.
Dan points to a fourth factor, remembering a lesson from history:
“Napoleon tried to conquer St. Petersburg two hundred years ago and couldn’t get past Moscow. The same thing happened to Hitler in World War II. They initially thought it was because of the men. In reality, it’s because they didn’t realize that the army was twice as big as they thought—because all the women showed up to fight, too.
“Today the women we work with remain just as willing to fight for freedom and make life better for future generations.”
Joe: I go back to that day where I went home and made a commitment to network marketing and to my dreams.
The challenge with most people is that they come into the business looking to see if it’s going to work or not. With that mentality, it is very difficult to get results. For most people, it takes time to get to the kind of commitment level I started with. This is why, when I get people started in the business, I immediately get them involved in personal development. I ask them to study a few books I recommend and we spend a lot of time defining their dreams.
Once you fall in love with your why, it becomes your focus and everything you do becomes easier. When I first got started and heard trainers say that 90 percent of this business is in the why, I didn’t understand. It was never explained to me. Once I experienced it myself, I learned to effectively convey this to others, helping them evolve as distributors.
Dan: To fire up my team and keep them focused, I like to dangle a carrot by saying, “When we got started, we knew 99 percent of our team and we had to work for 99 percent of our check. Today, we don’t know 99 percent of our team, and we don’t have to work for 99 percent of our check.”
Joe: In order for a partnership to work, you need to put friendship first, respect each other, and not allow money to get in the way.
Dan: We also didn’t let our egos get in the way. We became friends first and didn’t really plan to become partners; things just sort of evolved that way. There were times when I thought I really wanted Joe to change in a certain area, but I learned to appreciate our differences and see the richness in that.
I was taught years ago that partnerships in network marketing don’t work, but I had seen two examples that did in fact work out extremely well. Paula Pritchard and Kathy Robbins were great friends and mentors of mine, and so were Art Napolitano and George Zalucki. Both partnerships generated monthly earnings of several hundred thousand dollars for years. I saw these partnerships come together, and noticed that none of these four friends tried to change each other, so we adopted this as a rule in our partnership, and it has fared extremely well over the years.