Tina Beer is a former flight attendant who at age twenty-five started her network marketing business on the side. Today she is a top earner and recruiter in her company, leading a team of more than 40,000 distributors and customers in the U.S. and Canada.
Nothing in Tina’s past prepared her to succeed as an entrepreneur. She didn’t know anyone involved in network marketing and felt completely out of her element when she joined. Keen on building her dream of greater freedom, she decided to become a student of the profession, getting her hands on everything she was told to read and getting herself in front of anyone she could learn from.
Tina’s business grew slowly but surely. She likes to compare it to the Chinese bamboo, which can appear to lie dormant for several years before it suddenly shoots up, growing as much as ten feet in a single year.
Tina believes in planting seeds and watering them by taking the right actions with patience and focused intent, all the while trusting that growth is taking place under the surface.
“People tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in one year,” she says, “but underestimate what’s possible in five years. Our business requires us to develop a strong root system first that will serve as the foundation for massive growth. Struggle and challenges are what propels us forward on our journey, if we learn to see them as the blessings they truly are.”
Hungry for More
One day in 2000, at the end of a long flight, Tina was about to deplane when she noticed a product catalog in a seatback pocket. She picked it up and saw on the back there was mention of an income opportunity.
“Interesting,” Tina thought, and she kept the catalog.
Newly married and the sole provider and caregiver of her grandmother, Pearl, Tina was in dire need of additional income at the time.
“My grandmother began raising me when I was sixteen months old,” she says. “Her health was deteriorating as she was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, and I was completely committed to taking care of her.”
When Tina was in her twenties and her friends were going off to college, she didn’t take that route. Instead, she chose to get a job so she could provide for her grandmother.
“I wanted to be with her because I knew I would never get that time back,” she says. “She took care of me when I needed her, so now it was my turn. We shared that life circle together.”
Whenever Tina was flying, she would hire a caretaker to come in.
“That’s where we always kind of found ourselves circling the drain,” says Tina, “because no matter how many extra trips I would pick up, I still had to pay for in-home health care and was always coming out farther behind.”
Tina’s husband Ismael was working overtime as much as he could, but no matter how hard they both worked, the couple could not make ends meet. Then Pearl’s health took a turn for the worse, and now she needed extra medications, adding even more financial strain.
“Not having the extra $250 to pay for her medication broke my heart,” says Tina. “Living month to month, we were in survival mode. We used to pray for a way out. Even minor expenses, such as replacing a flat tire or a utilities bill that was higher than usual, would wreak havoc on our monthly budget.”
Although Tina loved flying, she was hungry for another source of income. As soon as she came home with the catalog, she called the number on the back. She left a voicemail but never heard back.
Tina researched the company online, found another contact number, and placed another call. This time the person promptly got back to her and presented the business opportunity.
Tina signed up on the spot, thinking she could make a little extra money by sharing some sample packets with people she met and doing a couple of parties. If she could make just an extra $250 a month, she figured, it would save her life.
Tina found the person who recruited her to be quite skillful, because she made her see right away how she could earn that $250. Hungry for more, Tina dove into the training and education that came with the opportunity. Once she made $250, she thought, “If I double my efforts, I could make $500!” This motivated her to give out more sample packets and ask people if they would host a party for her.
“Often I would land at the airport, go home and change, and go do a party,” she says. “I just became good at being friendly and talking to people I didn’t know, which at first was hard for me because I had to overcome my shyness.”
Tina says what helped her tremendously was the personal development that came with her network marketing training, as well as reading success stories in Networking Times. These stories gave her hope that she would eventually be able to grow her network marketing income and decrease her flying so she could be home more with her grandmother.
Presenting at company conference.
Tina’s first six months in the business turned out to be extremely challenging. Not only was she managing her grandmother’s declining health, she also lost her father and her grandfather.
Right around that time, a mentor told Tina, “Work your business when you can, so that when you can’t work your business, your business will continue to work for you.” This intrigued Tina, although she didn’t quite understand what it meant. Despite her struggles and sadness, she kept working a little or, as she calls it, “picking away at my business.”
The idea of residual income began to make sense during her grandmother’s final days in 2001.
“I really needed to be there, so I didn’t fly for an entire month,” says Tina. “I had used up all my vacation time and sick days. We had maxed out our credit cards and depleted the little savings we had. My husband and I knew it would be a hard month to get through. My grandmother went home to be with the Lord and I remember looking at Ismael, saying, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to pay the mortgage this month—but somehow we will.’”
Tina says she truly believed this, because she felt total peace about being with her grandmother until the very end.
One afternoon, as she walked out to get the mail, she noticed among the bills and junk mail a check from her network marketing company. She didn’t think much of it, because she hadn’t worked at all that month but had simply paid for her monthly auto-ship order. When she opened up the envelope, the first thing she noticed was a comma in the dollar amount—and she started shaking.
She’d never seen a comma in her check before The amount was just enough to cover their mortgage.
Plain as day, she heard her mentor’s voice: Work your business when you can, so that when you can’t work your business, your business will continue to work for you.
“That was the day the idea of residual income sank in,” says Tina. “I was still being compensated for efforts I had made months earlier.”
From that moment onward, Tina focused on growing a small team and building a solid customer base. In 2005, five years into the business, she was able to quit her job at the airlines and pursue her business full time.
“Losing my grandmother, father, and grandfather gave me a sense of how precious time is,” she says. “It made me want to design my life around what matters most. That includes making sure the people I love get the best part of me—not just the leftovers.”
Once she built a solid residual income, Tina felt she could finally enjoy her life and make up for lost time with her husband and family. She reconnected with her three half-siblings, who had moved out to California, and really took the time to get to know them.
Living comfortably, Tina wasn’t looking to change, until one day in 2009 she received a phone call that took her by surprise.
“Someone who had gotten my number from a mutual friend called me about an eight-year-old company that was gaining traction in North America due to its unique marketing approach,” says Tina. “Even though I was happy with the company I was with, my inner voice told me I needed to pay attention. The woman described to me the company’s stability and huge potential for growth, which intrigued me. Upon doing some research, I knew I had found something special. I felt excitement and peace at the same time.”
After doing more due diligence, Tina felt she had found her tribe.
“It was a little scary because in our profession there’s so much negative energy around distributors changing companies. Yet my inner voice was clearly telling me this was something I needed to be a part of. I just couldn’t shut it down.”
Tina didn’t make any rash decisions but gave herself a few months to deliberate. She vowed that if she was going to make the transition, she would do so ethically and have the courage to start over. After a lot of prayer and thought, she determined to follow her heart and take the leap.
“I figured I could take the skills I had learned and apply them,” she says. “I realized I didn’t have the luxury of time to doubt or reinvent the wheel.”
Even though Tina had already been in network marketing for ten years, she started with a beginner’s mind, asking her upline exactly what to do. She studied the business plan, applied it, and taught her team to do the same. Duplication happened quickly because no one doubted or debated the plan, which was straightforward and effective. A lot of excitement was gathering around the product, which was new to the North American market.
In addition to a simple, duplicable system, Tina’s new company supports a strong culture of leadership-based principles and personal development, which immediately made her feel at home.
“We often say your business grows in direct proportion to how much you grow as a person. While helping people build their business, I always make sure to instill the value of personal growth as well, because there is a tight connection there.”
Tina teaches that we are what we read. “What you’re filling your mind with and the thoughts you’re marinating on are all in direct correlation to your success or lack of it.”
Surrounded by team members at an evening social.
Team picture at 2013 conference. Friendships, Fun, and Freedom!
Always eager to learn more, Tina carried around a little notebook where she would write down titles of books people recommended. One such book she studied early on was Mark Yarnell’s Your First Year in Network Marketing. One statement in particular she says changed her life: An estimated 95 percent of those who survive the first ten years of network marketing become wealthy beyond their wildest expectations.
Upon reading this, Tina thought, “What if this is true? If Yarnell is right, I want to know exactly what I need to do to survive ten years.”
Another voice in her head would argue, “But ten years is a very long time..."
Her next thought was, “I don’t really have anything else on my calendar for the next ten years, so why not? Ninety-five percent is pretty good odds to me!”
Tina chose to believe the words in that book and took them to heart.
The next principle that spurred her growth was learning that your success isn’t determined by what you know when you begin, but by what you’re willing to discover about yourself and learn about others.
“I was so hungry that the information, philosophies, and insights I learned filled me with a hope and optimism I had never before felt about my future,” she says. “When I discovered network marketing, I was elated to find out that not having a college degree didn’t have any bearing upon my success. Instead of going to college, I enrolled myself as a full-time student in network marketing and made a commitment to invest the time it would take to hone the skills and develop the mindset needed for long-term success.
Another saying that shaped Tina’s leadership development was success leaves clues.
“I chose to look for all the clues and reasons why my business was going to succeed,” she says. “I chose not to look for reasons it wouldn’t work.”
Tina internalized this principle and went on a mission to collect success clues by attending every conference call and training she was invited to. If she was told there was a meeting, she didn’t care if it was a four-hour drive away, she simply went. She plugged herself into every company event and generic seminar she could attend, just to put herself in the position of collecting as many success clues as possible.
Other books Tina studied in great detail include Beach Money by Jordan Adler and Mach II With Your Hair on Fire by Richard Brooke.
“Those were foundational,” she says. “They’re all highlighted and dog-eared on my shelf, and have been read cover to cover and back. I’m incredibly grateful for Jordan’s and Richard’s mentorship through these great tools. And of course there is Networking Times, which I affectionately used to refer to as my mailbox mentor.”
With Ismael and “furry” children, Courage and Chance.
Relaxing with Ismael, her life partner, business partner, and best friend.
With friend and mentor Richard Brooke.
Celebrating with leaders at a Diamond party.
Grateful for challenges
In addition to teaching and modeling the foundational principles she learned, Tina focuses on building a strong sense of community and collaboration within her team.
“We rotate leaders on our weekly calls to show our team we can all benefit and learn from people with different backgrounds,” she says. “We foster an environment where everyone feels they play a unique and vital role in our organization. I strongly believe in creating a space where people can flourish and grow, where they want to stay in for the long haul because they continually receive valuable lessons and mentorship—everything they need to develop into the best version of themselves.”
When team members come to her with challenges, Tina often brings up the mantra of the Marines, Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.
Her favorite reply is, “What can we learn from this challenge?”
“Leadership is all about listening,” she says, “because most of the time the struggle people are telling me about is not really what the struggle is. I usually ask, ‘Has that twelve-inch marathon from your head to your heart happened yet?’ You can’t just decide in your head you’re going to be successful; you have to decide with your heart. When your heart is all in, sure, you’re going to face obstacles, but you will overcome them. You can’t have a testimony without having a test first, so love it, embrace it, and be thankful for it. Your story will be yours to tell, and you’re meant to share all of it, especially those struggles. They are wonderful opportunities for growth—if you see them as such.”
Tina loves to share her own struggle-to-victory stories, for instance, the one of her first vendor event, which was held outdoors during a terrible storm. Suddenly a strong wind picked up her entire booth and everything blew away. She has flown to cities to do parties where she arrived at the host’s house and no one answered the door. She has driven many hours to do presentations where only one person showed up.
“I’ve had all those things happen to me, but I see them as gifts I can share with others,” she says. “People sometimes see you where you are and forget where you came from. I’ve had just as many bumps on my path as anyone else, but I consider them as blessings because they made me who I am today.
“I can’t imagine any other environment that would have given me, a young woman with no college degree, this constant opportunity to learn and grow. All I really had to do was show up.”
Joy of Giving
Looking back at where she started, Tina sees a stark contrast between the time when she didn’t have even an extra $250 and the present, when she is able give from the overflow; between being in survival mode and living a life of contribution.
This brings up the memory of another defining moment. Twelve years ago, she attended a talk by an inspiring leader from her company who shared a personal story about a time in her life when things were difficult.
This woman described going through a month when she didn’t have the money to buy food for her family. She got a phone call asking her to come in to her church, where an envelope was left for her. She went to pick it up and inside found $200—an anonymous donation. She was overcome with emotion and vowed to build her business to the point where she could become that $200-a-month anonymous donor herself.
“When I heard that story, I didn’t know anybody who had an extra $200 a month to give,” says Tina. “At that time, the very thought that someone might have a surplus at the end of the month was a stretch. I was inspired by this woman and what she did, how she was able to rise above her circumstances by building a healthy business with residual income so she could bless others and make a difference. I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to give.’
“By the grace of God and the beauty of this profession, that and more has come to pass. Now my husband and I are able to support causes that matter to us. Not only has our business allowed us to be that $200-a-month benefactor, we are now talking about becoming a $200-a-day donor.”
Tina says she can’t imagine any other environment that creates the space for people to give from the heart the way network marketing does.
“I never cease to be amazed by the leaders who are able to live abundantly while blessing others and creating a wonderful life built around their values and those they hold most dear. There’s just no price tag on that; giving is something we all yearn for. I’m so thankful for this profession that has allowed me to evolve from ‘I wish’ to ‘I can.’”