Justin Harrison is a young network marketing leader whose team grew from zero to 200,000 people in four years, despite a challenging global economy. He started his first business at age twenty-two while still in college. Today, at age thirty-nine, he juggles a thriving organization while being the dedicated father of six young boys.
Justin says the most important lesson he learned over the years is that we are our own biggest obstacle to success, because we determine our daily actions and attitudes. We are also our greatest asset, he says, for if we discover and embrace the fact that our potential truly is limitless, then we’ll naturally meet the people, share the products, and do everything we need to do to build a successful business.
To start the day in the right mindset, Justin gets up every morning at 6:00 a.m. for a vigorous cardio workout with some of his leaders, followed by personal development time. Being in a wellness company, he teaches that taking time for self-care is the only way to reach our goals.
Justin says his income tax bill today is bigger than what his annual salary used to be. Yet he is pleased his friends still consider him a regular guy, as he doesn’t want financial success to change who he is. He and his wife love supporting causes they believe in, but the biggest blessing in their lives is seeing the vibrant health they are able to offer, both physically and financially, to everyday people like themselves around the world.
With team members from Australia.
Founders Club members.
Leaders gather in New York City.
Recognizing new leaders.
Sharing the stage with Sarah Robbins, Jordan Adler, and Orrin Woodward at Mastermind event in Houston.
With Jordan Adler and Orrin Woodward on a panel at Art Jonak’s Mastermind event in Houston.
In 1995, Justin was a college student in Utah looking for part-time income when he called a newspaper ad that was recruiting people to sell water filtration systems.
“I grew up with entrepreneurial parents,” he says. “My father was a police officer, but our family always had little side businesses going on, so that spirit wasn’t new to me. What was new was being able to work as a team with multilevel compensation.”
Moving back home to Idaho, Justin started up his new business. He and his team consistently held seven or eight opportunity meetings a week, either through home parties or in a little conference room in an office they rented, and over the next four years they grew a substantial income.
Unfortunately, in 2001 the company went under, due to some unethical business practices, and Justin and his leaders had to find a new home. They got involved in several start-ups that didn’t pan out, and Justin gradually lost credibility with his team members. After proclaiming for years from the stage that he was “unemployable,” he did what he had said he would never do: he took a job—in this case, as director of sales for a network marketing company.
“Even though that was my job, the whole time I was really doing what distributors do in the field,” he says. “While speaking at trainings and opportunity meetings, I always had my eyes and ears open for ways to go back into the field. I knew I was on the wrong side of the equation from my point of view.”
In 2008, his seventh year with that company, several executives who had made the company thrive left, and as the corporate environment changed, others started to leave as well. So did Justin.
“It was time for me to move on,” he says. “My wife and I felt we could live on rice and beans, if we had to, until we found a business we could thrive and grow with. Sacrifice now to have more later has always been our family motto, and it has served me well.”
While pursuing different options, Justin discovered that those former executives were launching a new company. He met with the new company owners, discussed the opportunity with them, and became their master distributor.
Rising from the Ashes
From the time he left his job to the day the new company processed its first order, Justin and his family went through six months without any income. Despite the financial stress of living off savings, he started communicating his vision at events, and even though he had no products or materials, he was able to build a small team. The company officially launched in October 2008, and from this small group it grew to 200,000 members worldwide by 2012, with offices in London, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia and open markets in Central America.
“In foreign markets, people are tired of the old-style MLM of bling-bling and hype,” says Justin. “I think the earn-the-car, get-the-house approach has run its course. It’s become a turn-off. It’s even a turn-off for me, and I’ve lived that life.”
Although he had done very well himself in companies with that kind of culture, he adds, it wasn’t fulfilling.
“We’ve learned that focusing on delivering real content, real value, and steady growth is what builds the most solid foundation for the business.”
Justin doesn’t regret the challenging times he had in the beginning of his network marketing career, because, he says, they were rich in life lessons.
“I know what it’s like to go from making $20,000 a month to zero, to lose cars and homes and go through bankruptcy. I’ve been through it all and it was a learning experience. Now it’s part of our family history.”
These times were especially hard on his wife, he adds.
“We were newlyweds when our first company went under and all our income vanished overnight. When we went through the start-ups that never paid us, we had our first baby and bill collectors were calling.”
Things got so bad, he says, that at one point his parents and in-laws staged an intervention for him, all four of them coming in and sitting him down while his wife was out.
“They told me I was crazy for doing network marketing and that I needed to get out of it because it was going to take me nowhere. I know they had the best of intentions. Today they’ve come full circle: now they are totally involved in the business, too!”
Justin focuses on providing value through the products and the wellness education he offers. He tells people who want to do the business that there is money to be made, but it takes time and effort. The fact that his company launched at the height of the global economic crisis has actually been a blessing, he says.
“Our customers consider our product a necessity in times of stress, not a luxury. Because of this, we have a strong product loyalty. While most companies measure retention based on a year, we measure our retention over a ninety-day window, and 65 to 70 percent of our customers order at least once every ninety days.”
Justin teaches his team to build with home parties where they invite guests to experience the product—topically, internally, or aromatically.
“Typically, we spend about forty-five minutes educating people about the product,” he says. “Then we talk about the business for a few minutes and identify those who want to learn more so we can set up times to meet with them and go over the business opportunity.”
Justin discovered that some of his best builders are product users who in the beginning didn’t even want to hear about the business.
“Most people want to try the product, because it intrigues them. They usually love it, but they don’t want to do the business. After using it for a few months, they come back and ask about the commission for referring people. They realize they are already sharing the product with others, and that they might as well get compensated for it. Because they are already product evangelists, they become successful very quickly.”
Today Justin’s company is in a growth phase where it’s also starting to attract experienced network marketing leaders.
“Recently we had a group of builders from a company that had closed down visit us,” says Justin. “They were looking for a new home and had narrowed it down to us and another young company with more sizzle and bling that promises huge income quickly. Well, none of those leaders who chose the other company are there anymore, and most of them have gone out to get jobs.
“I think people are tired of the flash-in-the-pan, the shiny penny. They want something that’s credible and beneficial in the long term. We are consistent in letting the product do the heavy lifting and working from there, identifying those people who want to build. Our auto-ship program yields immediate rewards in the form of instant product credits, which again helps with retention.”
While Justin has quite a few alternative healthcare professionals on his team, especially massage therapists, he is careful not to limit himself to that market.
“Our focus is on mainstream, everyday people,” he says. “Our previous company made the mistake of targeting mainly the holistic health market. From the beginning, we decided our focus was going to be on the soccer moms and normal families, teaching them how to use our products and get the full range of benefits. We call it experiential marketing, giving people an experience they want to share and repeat.”
|Presenting at company events.|
Building a Culture
The first six months Justin built only in the United States, and then opened up Japan.
“It was interesting how that came about,” he says. “I was shopping for a new suit for our first convention and ran into two Japanese women at the mall. We started talking and I invited them to our convention, which opened two days later, and they ended up joining.”
It turned out the two women were here temporarily to study English, and when they went back to Japan six months later, they took the business with them.
“Now they’re doing a half a million dollars in sales a month,” Justin reports, adding, “You never know who you’re going to meet and attract.”
Justin’s company convention grew from 700 attendees the first year to 1,400 the second year, then 3,500 the third year and 7,000 people in 2012. Expanding from Japan to Taiwan, Europe, and Australia, in just four years, it has become the largest essential oil company in the world.
“We’re very excited about that,” says Justin, “especially given that our nearest competitor is twenty years old. We’ve seen our company double and triple in size in a very short period.”
Interestingly, he notes more than 60 percent of their sales is still in the western United States.
Think global, grow local is another motto Justin lives by.
“We teach people to focus on their warm market, showing family and friends how our products can provide solutions to their wellness issues. From there, it’s easy to learn how to do it with strangers. If we’re out and about and hear someone with a bad cough, we give them the little booklet or a product sample. When you can let someone experience decongestion on the spot, you’ve got that person’s attention.
“We lead with the problem, which works beautifully because people don’t feel they’re getting a sales pitch. At our trainings and product courses, people never get the impression that they’re in a sales seminar. That’s simply not our culture, which is our biggest strength. Sincerity is probably the best word to describe it. We are driven by a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others.”
Justin says another secret to his business growth is his focus on personal development. He has created a book-of-the-month club that many leaders participate in.
“Our number one book is The Slight Edge,” he says. “I tell people it should be right there next to your Bible. We also use Randy Gage’s Making the First Circle Work. I tell my builders that they can’t call me until they’ve read it. After they’ve finished it, it’s likely they won’t call because their questions have been answered.”
Besides company events and trainings, Justin hugely promotes Art Jonak’s mastermind event. In 2011 he had twenty team members attending. In 2012 there were more than 200 people present from his company, including a company owner.
Since most of Justin’s top leaders are new to network marketing, he says he took them through a steep learning curve.
“They didn’t know I wasn’t kidding when I said that working in this profession will earn you a Ph.D. in psychology and relationship therapy. Probably the biggest challenge has been helping new leaders distinguish where to focus, how to delegate, and how to create other leaders. It’s proven difficult for some to let go and let others spread their wings.”
Another challenge, he says, is to keep people from telling all their health-improvement stories during meetings rather than focusing on business building aspects.
“This is typical for a company with sixty to seventy percent product users,” he says. “My guess is that another twenty-five percent are part-time builders, and maybe five percent are full-timers. We encourage people to not quit their jobs until they’ve more than replaced their income. I had one kid who quit his job, and I told him to go get it back. I appreciated his passion, but I told him it wasn’t overnight riches. If it’s legal, ethical, and solid, it’s not going to happen that fast. You have to build it. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re just not telling you the truth.”
Justin’s company recently announced its plans to invest millions of dollars to build a twenty-five-acre campus in 2013. Justin’s vision is that they will hit a billion dollars in sales sometime in 2015.
“That’s about four times bigger than we are now,” he says. “We envision our brand being a household name in the U.S. and abroad. I believe this will happen because we have far less attrition than most network marketing companies. Out of ten people we enroll, we know six to seven of them are still going to be there a year later. That’s huge compared to the industry average of one or two out of ten.”
To support its budding leaders, Justin’s company created the Diamond Club, a three-month program where builders get their travel expenses reimbursed as long as they commit to doing six to eight events a month, two in their home area and the rest outside.
“Online communication and phone calls are great,” says Justin, “but you can’t share the product over email. The hands-on experience is what really hooks people.”
He says they’ve had a lot of success with this program by removing the number one obstacle to travel, which is cost.
“There are limits and protocols to this program, so not everyone who enters completes it. The last two times we offered this program, of the 300 people who started, about 200 finished. It completely changes their business. It’s enough to give them a kick and get them over that hump and get to the point where they are all in.”
Mastermind panel in Houston moderated by Art Jonak.
With over 200 attendees of his team at Mastermind event in Houston, 2012.
Family and Lifestyle
As Justin’s business grew around the world, at home his family grew at almost the same astonishing rate. As of today he and his wife have six sons who are respectively twelve, ten, eight, five, two, and six months. If you wonder how he keeps his sanity leading an organization of 200,000 people while raising six children under the age of twelve, he says the answer is simple: he doesn’t.
“Thankfully my wife and I have the most amazing marriage. She’s the most phenomenal wife and mother. Sometimes she feels like a single parent, such as when I have to go to Asia for a week. But we’ve been able to partner and I always make it a priority to be at my kids’ activities when I’m home.”
Justin works mostly out of an office outside his home, because, he says, “when my children see I’m home, all bets are off. We have a fairly large house, but if I’m anywhere in it, they’ll find me. Just to have enough quiet to be able to do my calls, sometimes I have to hide. You’d be amazed at the number of conference calls I’ve done sitting in my car in the driveway. I did one the other night sitting on the lawnmower in the garage.”
Despite Justin’s hectic schedule, his kids love network marketing, and when asked what they want to do when they grow up, they say they want to do the business with him.
“My kids have been able to come to some of our larger events and see Dad up onstage. Last year at our convention, someone snuck our two oldest boys up to the front row. As I was about to make the closing remarks from the stage, I looked down and there they were. My oldest son yelled out, ‘Go, Dad!’ It was very emotional and exciting because I didn’t expect it.”
In order to keep all the balls in the air, Justin says he delegates as much as he can to his leaders while still having regular communication with as many of the key players as possible.
“But it’s definitely a family journey involving everyone. We continually teach our children to be positive in a negative world, and to focus on what they can do to make a difference.”