Caroline McFarlan and Emma Sangster are a mother-and-daughter team who lead a growing network marketing organization in Glasgow, Scotland.
Caroline had never heard about network marketing when Sue Cassidy, an American friend, introduced her to the business in 2007. Neither had anyone she knew in her native Scotland. Nevertheless, soon after she got started, three friends joined her because, she says, they trusted her.
According to Caroline, her company owes its success to people trusting people. She joined because she trusted Sue, knowing that seventies pop legend David Cassidy and his wife would only get involved in something that was solid and worth their time.
Caroline and her three friends learned the business together; today all four are professional trainers and presenters.
In 2008 Caroline’s daughter Emma joined the team at age twenty-two, and soon thereafter sponsored her father, former BBC presenter Bill McFarlan. By the time she turned twenty-four Emma was the youngest top earner for her company in the U.K.
Caroline and Emma believe every entrepreneurial venture has its challenges, but that anyone can get results in network marketing if they work hard.
“Part of our work here in Scotland is to educate people about what network marketing is,” says Caroline. “Once they understand it, many realize they have been looking for something exactly like this. Because of the recession, people need extra income. They want to work from home and be with their children. They need a career they can fit in around their lives, rather than the other way around.”
Little by little, she says, the secret is getting out in the U.K. as more and more people start to understand the extraordinary opportunity network marketing offers.
Caroline hands over another Sunshine bus, paid for by her business, to the Variety Club of Scotland, a charity supporting children.
With top leaders and Kay Napier, company CEO, at the National U.K. conference.
Caroline and Bill McFarlan with their daughter Emma.
Enjoying Maui during incentive trip.
Caroline with her grandson Oliver.
Discovering the Business
A full-time director of a charitable organization, Caroline was not looking for a business when Sue Cassidy called her out of the blue. Sue told Caroline she had started her own skin care business and wanted Caroline to do it with her.
“I nearly told her no,” says Caroline, “exhausted as I felt from all the fundraising I had been doing fifty-two weeks a year.”
Caroline also couldn’t understand why David Cassidy’s wife, who was an accomplished singer and songwriter herself, was starting a new business.
“Of course, it was because Sue understood residual income,” says Caroline. “She was used to getting royalties, except that in this new business, she told me, you didn’t have to wait for someone to play your song on the radio—you just needed to know someone who takes a shower every day.”
Caroline told Sue she didn’t have time, but Sue replied that she needed to make the time.
“Sue was absolutely right,” says Caroline.
“I wonder what my life would look like now had I said no. I’ve got much more quality time now.”
Caroline and Sue knew each other from working together in charity. When Sue and David Cassidy moved from Las Vegas to Florida, they closed their local charity and set up KidsCharities.org. Sue searched for help, and Caroline reached out to say she was a fundraiser in the U.K. Sue asked her if she would take over the charity.
“I’d been working with Sue for a few months when she called to invite me to join her business,” says Caroline. “I’m still running the charity today—and now my business is subsidizing it.”
Caroline had never heard about network marketing before Sue mentioned it to her.
“There was no U.K. success in the company I joined,” she says, “nobody in the U.K. driving the white Mercedes we earn when we reach a certain level. In fact, there were no white Mercedeses in our area, not even at the dealers, never mind on the road!”
There were no meetings happening in her area, she adds, and no trainings, but she didn’t let this deter her. She became a student of the profession. “I researched the big names in network marketing,” she says, “and found they were some of the richest and most successful people in the world. That was good enough for me!”
Although she had never liked reading in school, Caroline now started to devour books such as Robert Kiyosaki’s Business of the 21st Century and Don Failla’s The 45 Second Presentation that Will Change Your Life. The more she read, the more she learned. She used the Internet to find out more about the business and plugged into monthly conference calls in the U.S. because there were none in the U.K.
Caroline remembers her first month’s check was 11.75 pounds (about US$16). In just four years, she built a solid five-figure monthly income—and helped put forty-one white Mercedeses on the road in the U.K. and one in Sydney, Australia.
Prospecting in Scotland
Caroline started out giving one-on-one presentations where she would explain the business model.
“I never did home parties because I felt that wasn’t my thing,” she says. “Fortunately, I didn’t have to do them to succeed. We started our business in coffee shops, and I explained the opportunity the best I could. When I think back to those days, I’m surprised anyone joined me. But I learned quickly, and with practice, I got better at it.”
As her team grew, Caroline soon began organizing meetings around her kitchen table. When she reached a group of twelve people, she moved to her living room. Once her group grew to twenty, she found a small hotel room. As she kept holding monthly meetings they kept growing, and today they take place in university lecture halls.
The speed with which her business took off came as a surprise, she says, given the nature of Scottish culture.
“Scotland can be a quite skeptical country. We tend to have an island mentality, which isn’t exactly the perfect environment for an entrepreneur. However, more and more successful professionals are jumping on board with us, both men and women, including my husband, Bill.”
What spawned Bill McFarlan’s interest was that, after working his way to the top at the BBC and other television networks over a period of thirty-five years, he saw his wife’s network marketing income surpass his in just three and a half years. Caroline says this was the tipping point that made him join.
“It gave my business a huge push, at least here in Scotland,” she says. “Most Scots have heard Bill’s name, so the fact that he’s doing network marketing has made people take notice. Through our success, I would like to continue to change the perception Scots have of network marketing. We are making progress, but most of them still don’t understand it yet.”
Caroline and her team are focused on creating what she calls a “more American image” of the business in her country, an image which she sees as rooted in a culture of entrepreneurial empowerment and personal growth.
“After people attend our meetings, they point out that they feel like we wrapped our arms around them,” she says. “My goal is for everyone to leave the room feeling better about themselves than when they came in. Whether they want to join the business or not, it’s important that their encounter with network marketing is a positive experience.”
Caroline says Scots tend to be self-critical and feel unworthy of success.
“People often look for the X factor in others because they don’t see it in themselves. If you pay an American a compliment, she’ll say thank you. If you pay a Scot a compliment, she’ll brush it off because she thinks she’s not worthy of it.”
Caroline teaches people to accept their worthiness and the idea that they can become good at something even if at first they weren’t good at it or didn’t understand it.
“Sue Cassidy saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” she explains. “I teach people to look for that X factor in others. If you meet someone you’d love to work with, make sure to tell them so. Tell them what you see in them that makes you think they would be great in this business.”
Emma with her business partners and best friends.
With team members at global training conference in Las Vegas.
Emma and friends having fun on a recent incentive trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Showing off company-paid white Mercedeses at training event.
Emma Joins Her Mum
The year Caroline started her business, Emma had just graduated from university, where she had majored in business. Because of the recession, there weren’t many jobs around, so Emma spent a few months traveling across Australia.
Caroline kept giving her daughter updates about the business while she was away. When Emma came home, Caroline invited her to come along to her businesslaunch, a customary event new business builders hold to celebrate their first success and share the opportunity with friends and family.
“I went along just to support my mum,” says Emma. “When I heard the opportunity that was available with this business, I knew I had to do it as well. After job searching for several months, I realized there was no other way for me to build a business and earn the kind of income my mum had built in such a short time.”
Compared to what she learned at the university, Emma says the practical training she received in network marketing was much more useful and rewarding. She describes it as life skills rather than book learning.
“That’s what I love about this business,” she says. “You learn so much more than what you could learn if you went to school and studied for years, as I did. Plus, in our business we continue to learn as we go. Most of my team is Gen Y, and I tell them, everything you need to know you can learn, as long as you are coachable. My dad is also on my team. The opportunity is the same for everyone, whether you’re eighteen or eighty.”
Emma says she used her age as an excuse in the first year of her business, when she wasn’t doing very well. However, after attending the company’s national training conference for the first time in Las Vegas and hearing the different success stories first hand, she realized that age, gender, and background don’t matter.
“The only thing different about people my age is that we use social media a lot more than people who are a bit older than us do.”
Emma finds it easy to approach people about her business because, she says, she doesn’t ask them to change anything in their daily routine.
“Everyone showers and washes their face and hair. Our products are simple, so using them is a natural. From there, we show people how to turn an expense they already incur into an income.
“We usually let people try the products for a few days, and most want to continue using them. Then we show them a system where, by using the products and showing others how to use them, they can create a growing income stream.”
Prospecting and Training
Two major benefits Caroline and Emma emphasize when presenting the business are time freedom and the possibility of working with family and loved ones.
“If my two-year-old grandson gets sick and needs somebody to be with him, I can be that person,” says Caroline. “I consider this an absolute privilege in today’s world, where everyone’s super busy. It gives our family peace of mind.”
One of the things Emma loves the most about her business is that she gets to work with her best friends.
“All my friends are now in business with me,” she says. “When I first started, of course, this wasn’t the case, but when they saw the fun we were having, they all wanted a piece of it!”
Emma says she also loves working with her parents.
“We can all learn from each other and go on trips together to celebrate our success. In fact, if I were to write my perfect job description, this would be it—a job where I’m working with my family and friends, choosing when I want to work and how much, and ultimately choosing how much I want to get paid. There’s no other job in the world that can offer you all this.”
Caroline and Emma are big believers in holding regular live trainings in addition to business presentations. They each organize their own monthly trainings, which are more intimate than the larger trainings they hold together every three months and which usually attract 300 to 400 people.
“We also put on leadership academies three or four times a year,” says Caroline. “The most important action you can take in this business is showing others how to become leaders of their teams.”
Caroline and Emma hold conference calls once a week where team members share success stories and learning experiences, as well as tips for connecting with prospects, including through social media.
“Facebook allows people to learn about the business in their own time,” says Emma. “They see what we’re doing and how much fun we’re having. They see the cars and the team spirit we are creating, and they become intrigued. Next thing you know, they come and check out our business presentation. When they arrive, they see eleven white Mercedeses lined up in the parking lot. It makes for fun pictures we can post on Facebook, which again gets people’s attention.”
“You don’t always know who is looking at your profile,” says Caroline. “You may meet them a year later and they say, ‘I’ve been watching what you’ve been doing with your business, and I’d like to know more about it.’
“I had a surprising meeting last week with a lady my age. She’s not very technically minded. She was gifted an iPad and couldn’t really use it properly. I don’t know how it happened, but she ended up on my Facebook page by mistake and started looking at my daughter’s wedding photographs.
“Then she saw the pictures of the cars and realized we had a business, so she messaged me and said, ‘What is it that you do? I’m intrigued and would love to find out more.’ I met with her last week and now she’s taking a serious look at our business. Even if I had made a list of a thousand people I knew, she wouldn’t have been on it—because I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me. We just had one mutual friend on Facebook.”
Looking into the Future
Caroline and Emma’s goal is to help more and more people understand and recognize the benefits network marketing offers.
“I want people to look at it positively and favorably without me having to explain the business model and defend it,” says Emma. “That’s my dream for network marketing. My personal dream is for my family and me to be able to travel the world and spend quality time together without any financial concerns.”
“Bill and I have a goal to have our mortgage paid off before we turn sixty,” Caroline adds. “We look forward to a future with no money concerns and lots of holidays. I’m taking my grandson to see Santa Claus in Lapland in December, and I want my life to be full of joys like that. It’s what I was yearning for before doing this business, and it’s what I’m creating now.”
Another goal Emma is focused on is to help as many people as possible reach the top income level in her company.
“A lot of my friends have been able to leave their nine-to-five jobs to run their network marketing businesses full time,” she says proudly. “I want to give young families the opportunity to travel more and achieve that work/life balance you can’t really get from being employed.”
Through their trainings, Caroline and Emma are dedicated to helping employees make the shift to becoming independent entrepreneurs.
“Quite often we’ll be talking to top-level executives who believe that, because they’re successful employees, they’ll be successful in network marketing,” says Caroline. “That’s not always the case, because this requires a very different mindset.”
To help their team stay focused and excited, Caroline and Emma ask them to create vision boards and constantly update their goals so that they never lose sight of why they chose to do the business in the first place. Caroline says she ultimately wants to train people to become independent leaders, first of their own lives, then of others.
“Put your footprints in the snow, as the expression goes,” she says. “If you want what someone has, follow in their footsteps and do exactly what they did. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, because what we are doing works.”
Caroline says the best thing she ever did was get to the car level in sixteen weeks, but that it also created her greatest challenge, because other people too easily compare themselves with her performance and get disappointed.
“Network marketing isn’t a race. You just have to do your personal best. Keep on going, and once your business is moving in the right direction, be patient and realize that some people take longer than others.
“One of the biggest mistakes you can make in this business is stopping and starting rather than staying consistent. It just makes you travel-sick. If you keep taking those simple, proven steps, you will create a successful business that leaves a lasting legacy for your family and beyond.”
Seven Success Tips from Gen Y
1. Have Fun
2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
3. Lead by Example
4. Use Social Media Appropriately
5. Get Organized
6. Work Hard
7. Never Give Up