Pamela Barnum is a former undercover police officer and federal prosecuting attorney who successfully transitioned from what she calls the limitations of employment to the freedom of entrepreneurship. In just three years, she and her husband Kevin have co-created multiple-six-figure network marketing incomes for themselves and for several of their business partners.
Their first year in the business, Pamela and Kevin earned second position in their company for the greatest number of personally-sponsored business builders. In 2010, their organization was recognized as the fastest-growing team internationally, even though Pamela and Kevin have not personally enrolled anyone outside North America.
Reflecting on their rapid ascent to the top, Pamela points out that she and Kevin were both professional question-askers when they started network marketing; as a lawyer and a police officer, they each interviewed people for a living. Their knack for sensing people’s unexpressed needs and bringing out their deepest desires allowed them to quickly build a cohesive team and duplicate their dynamic leadership.
Pamela says another success component has been their unwillingness to take shortcuts to make money quickly, and that communicating integrity as their core value has always attracted the right people to their team at the right time.
One day Pamela saw her neighbor Janey Snelgrove cycling past the house and noticed that she looked in phenomenal shape. Pamela asked her what she was doing and Janey told her about a nutritional product she had been taking. Janey asked her if she would like to try it and, after some initial hesitation, Pamela decided to give it a try.
Working more than sixty hours a week as an attorney prosecuting mainly drug offenders, Pamela was always looking for things that could give her extra energy because the trials were stressful, requiring a lot of preparation and hours in court. Kevin’s work as a canine handler in a specialized police team formed after 9/11 involved its share of stress, too.
“Kevin was traveling a lot and we had a small child,” says Pamela, “so I welcomed anything that promised a healthier lifestyle.”
When she first told Pamela about that nutritional product, Janey had added, “And by the way, it’s network marketing.” Pamela had no idea what she meant. As she walked up the driveway with Kevin, she asked him, “What’s network marketing?” He said, “Oh, we don’t want to do that.”
Kevin didn’t provide her with any further explanation, so Pamela simply said, “Okay, let’s go ahead and order the products.” She and Kevin started consuming the products, and soon people were commenting on their appearance.
“We thought of ourselves as pretty healthy and reasonably fit prior to taking this product,” says Pamela. “When people started making comments, we didn’t know exactly what they were noticing, but we enjoyed the positive feedback.”
Soon people were asking, “Hey, can I get some of whatever you’re taking?” to which Pamela would reply, “Sure, I’ll call my neighbor.” She told Janey that some of her colleagues at the courthouse and some police officers from Kevin’s team were looking to get some product.
“They can just get it through you,” said Janey.
Pamela replied, “I don’t want to get involved, I’m too busy.”
Janey told Pamela all she needed to do was enter people’s information online, and Pamela said, “Okay, I can do that.”
After signing up a couple of people, Pamela received an email from the company letting her know she had earned a $50 commission. When she showed it to Kevin, he said, “We can make money at this? Let’s do it!” Kevin was ready to dive in—but Pamela was skeptical.
“How exactly do you make money?” she wondered. “And how can everyone possibly make money? This doesn’t compute at all in my mind.”
Having a master’s degree in business and a law degree, Pamela thought that if this were for real she would know about it. It just didn’t make sense to her.
Convinced there had to be something to it, Kevin didn’t let Pamela’s skepticism interfere with his curiosity. He flew from their home in Ontario, Canada to Phoenix to learn more and came back inspired: he knew he had found a sound business opportunity.
Soon thereafter, Pamela had a defining moment that brought her clarity as well. One morning she was rushing to get herself ready for court and her five-year-old son out the door for school. As she was trying to wrestle his coat on he looked up at her and said, “Mommy, are we in a hurry again today?”
“It felt like a knife went through my heart,” recalls Pamela. “I saw that I had developed a habit of not being present. I was always thinking about two hours or two weeks ahead. We were modeling to our son that what mattered most was being in a rush and thinking only about ourselves and how to advance our careers.”
It suddenly occurred to Pamela that this was not what Kevin and she had signed up for when they got married. They had shared dreams of doing great things together. She thought, “This isn’t what life is about.”
That morning, on her way to the courthouse, Pamela called Kevin and said, “Okay, I get it. I’m ready to do this business.”
Joining the police in 1994.
With Kevin receiving the Fastest Growing Business award in 2010.
Speaking on stage as a member of the company´s Field Advisory Board in 2011.
With Kevin winning a Shooting Star award in 2011.
Designing a New Life
Kevin and Pamela first met in 2000 while working for the police force. This was before Pamela finished law school, and they had both been assigned to work as undercover drug officers in different parts of Ontario. When they weren’t buying drugs or involved in job-related activities, they would talk about personal development and Tony Robbins and a life bigger than where they were.
“This was pretty atypical for the police environment, and it was what attracted us to each other,” says Pamela. “We were always eating healthy foods and listening to CDs in our police vehicles. The other guys in the office used to tease us quite a bit.”
As Kevin and Pamela planned their future together, Pamela thought becoming a prosecuting attorney would be an interesting career she could transition into from policing, allowing her to raise a family with at least one parent in a nine-to-five job.
“It turned out to be more of an eight-to-six-plus job,” she says. “Even so, we thought we had arrived, not knowing there actually existed a vehicle that could take us to the next level.”
From the day they met, Pamela and Kevin had talked about doing something more than just working a job and trading time for money.
“Our interest was in looking beyond ourselves,” she says, “This interest increased over time, as we loved to take courses together and travel outside North America. We actually became engaged in Cambodia.”
Sometimes Pamela wishes she had found network marketing twenty years earlier, but then realizes she might not have been ready for it.
“What attracted both Kevin and me to working undercover was a love of people and adventure. You really get to see the raw side of people when they don’t know you’re a police officer. This gave us great training for network marketing. You learn to see what motivates others and the hurt that lies under the surface. That experience truly shaped me in my early adult life and into my thirties. Even as a prosecutor, I always dug for the hidden side of people.”
Once Pamela had decided she was going to build a home business, she applied all her focus and started implementing a rigorous schedule.
“Having full-time careers, Kevin and I had only small pockets of spare time,“ she says. “That’s why, whenever I hear the I-don’t-have-time objection, it takes all my self-restraint not to say, ‘You absolutely have time!’ Instead, I show people ways to create time.”
They started out by dedicating two hours a night, five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday. When Kevin was not traveling he usually didn’t arrive home until seven. They would have a late dinner with their son, put him to bed by eight, and then work on their new business from eight to ten.
“As a result, sometimes I would have to finish preparing for court from ten till one in the morning,” says Pamela. “But the eight-to-ten timeframe worked because we were building only in our local area, so calling people during that time was appropriate.”
During those two hours, Kevin and Pamela did only income-producing activities.They made calls to people on their list, asking them if they had ever heard of their company.
“When people said no, which they usually did, we would just blab out whatever we could think of,” says Pamela. “We were so passionate and excited, primarily about the business opportunity but also about the products, that people listened and responded. We were a great example of something Mark Yarnell says: You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.”
Pamela remembers one of the top income earners in her company commenting, “You two are ignorance on fire. You have no idea what you’re doing—but somehow it’s working.”
A Proven System
Even though Kevin and Pamela had no script for these calls, they did follow the direction of the leaders in their company: 1) make a list of people and start calling them; 2) connect with a minimum of three people a day and send them company materials; 3) do follow-up within twenty-four hours.
Pamela mentions Susan Sly as one of her mentors with a powerful vision of success.
“Susan was making an incredible income and we wanted the same thing, so we followed her lead. When we listened to other company leaders at events, the message was consistent: connect with people and show them what you have; communicate your belief, desire, and passion; then teach others how to do the same thing.”
The system worked. Within six months Kevin and Pamela had built a six-figure income, and within eighteen months they had more than replaced their $250,000 in combined salaries. They agreed to quit their jobs, although Pamela gave the court a little more notice because she had trials scheduled up to a year in advance.
“When we announced to our friends and families that we were resigning from our careers, which included full pensions and benefits, they thought we had lost our minds,” says Pamela. “Our families were ready to stage an intervention! They couldn’t believe that after working as hard as we had, including going to law school, we would walk away from all that.”
Pamela’s last day as an attorney was in December 2010. She and Kevin took the whole next month off, pulled their son out of school, and went skiing in British Columbia. That month alone they made $58,000.
“We did almost no work on our business,” says Pamela. “January is a great month to market a nutritional product, but our business growth was beyond what we could imagine. We earned a bonus check and many of our team members advanced in rank, which gave us confirmation that we had made the right decision.”
Pamela and Kevin were fully aware they were not the sole creators of this massive success. One of the first people who had joined their business was Kevin’s partner, Mike Dallaire. Mike resigned from his job the same day Kevin did and is now the top earner in their organization.
“It was spectacular because Mike and his wife, Robin, were pregnant,” Pamela recalls. “They were always worrying about how they would be able to raise kids with such a hectic schedule.”
After Pamela and Robin started working together, Mike’s sister, Chantal Stefura, joined as well; Chantal was a school teacher whose dream was to stay home with her kids.
“We just linked arms and the energy between us became incredible,” says Pamela. “We amplified each other’s belief and enthusiasm to connect with more people. We became part of a bigger wave that magnified our respective talents.”
Pamela and Kevin held nightly conference calls after each individual team member had made their calls for the day to debrief and brainstorm for answers to different objections they had encountered.
“We basically formed a mastermind group, much the way Napoleon Hill recommends in Think and Grow Rich. This team environment caused multiplication in action.”
"Welcome to our new life!" Kevin whispers on Pamela´s last day in Superior Court.
With Kevin and Kaleb, taking a one-month ski holiday in 2011.
In Toronto after deciding with Kevin to quit their jobs.
Reflecting on her journey, Pamela remembers times when staying positive and focused was more difficult. For instance, a few weeks into the business, after she had shared what she was doing with a few colleagues, she had become known around the courthouse as Pyramid Pam.
“At first this was hurtful,” she admits. “The lawyers and judges I worked with obviously knew I was a bright woman and I couldn’t believe they didn’t respect the decision I’d made.”
As time went on and her income grew, the snickering and smiles became easier to tolerate. The prospect of not having to report to the courthouse every day and actually doing things she was choosing to do rather than what her position required filled her with excitement. Before she knew it, she was the one laughing and smiling, recognizing that she was making a better choice.
Kevin and his partner Mike also experienced being made fun of at work. Their colleagues would call them “the guys who are always peddling their stuff.” Fortunately, Kevin and Mike had each other.
“Having a supportive partner is the biggest blessing in this business,” say Pamela. “A lot of people who get started in network marketing have an unsupportive spouse. Kevin and I were blessed to have each other as well as two of our closest friends, Mike and Robin, supporting us and seeing that value of what we were doing.
Another rub Pamela encountered was people doubting her professionalism by questioning whether what she was doing was legal.
“I used to feel insulted by this question,” she says. “How could a business model that is so widely utilized by so many respected people not be legal?”
Related to this challenge was her family’s scrutiny.
“In the beginning, none of my immediate family members wanted anything to do with the business,” she says. “Fortunately, Kevin and I both had a strong belief in what we were doing, but it’s interesting to see how many people allow others’ opinions to define who they are and what they can and can’t do.”
Another issue Pamela struggled with was friends who she thought could greatly benefit from the products and use the extra income yet who didn’t want to get involved.
“This really frustrated us at first,” she says. “It came down to learning to meet people where they are instead of where we want them to be.”
Pamela says even her early success sometimes posed a challenge.
“It confused some of our team members, because they were not able to achieve the same results, and they were dropping out. Frustrated, they would say, ‘You guys are our mentors and leaders. Why aren’t we able to do what you did?’
“The answer was that we had done a lot more personal and professional development than they had. We had been around the business long enough to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, a network marketer, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom, your learning curve is dependent on you.
“We weren’t able to convey this at first. Today we know everyone brings their own skill sets to this business, and if you’re open to continuously learning and moving forward, success is certain.”
Paying It Forward
Pamela and Kevin are more committed than ever to continue learning and sharing what they know to help others on their journey.
“We’ve made some huge mistakes and probably learned more from those than from our successes,” she muses. “We want to be able to share our learning experiences with people and offer some resources we found useful.”
Pamela and Kevin are developing a generic training site called WorkLessLiveMore.ca and building out their online presence with the help of business coach Sonia Stringer.
“Working with Sonia has been enriching and fun,” says Pamela. “She gave me a completely different perspective on how to communicate, especially in the online world. My style became much more conversational and less structured and formal. Hiring a coach has been an incredible gift to us.”
Pamela feels network marketing has blessed her with so many gifts, including leaders, mentors, and resources such as Networking Times, she now wants to give back to the profession. She is especially keen on reaching out and helping others who have no idea what network marketing is and what it can do for them.
“I didn’t know, and I was in my forties and a well-educated woman,” she says. “I’m confident there are many more people like Kevin and I who are looking for what we have to offer. They just don’t know where to look or how to find it, and many network marketers don’t know how to communicate it in a credible way.
“If we all work together at spreading the word, at least we give others a choice. It doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is going to raise their hand and say, ‘I absolutely want to give up my multiple-six-figure income I’m earning in my career to become a network marketer.’ I never thought I’d say those words, either.
“However, being able to educate people and show them another option is an incredible opportunity. I think we have an obligation to get the message out to as many people as possible so they can make that choice.”
Pamela’s vision is that one day she will be able to walk up to people and say, “Hi, I’m with company XYZ.” And people will respond, “Wow, you must be a bright person with high integrity—network marketers are people with incredible leadership capabilities.”
Pamela is even more excited about her business today than she was when she started three years ago. She envisions more and more people joining the profession, attracted by their belief in personal development and collaboration, recognizing that the corporate mentality of competition and scarcity is not the only way.
“Network marketing is the business model for abundance and co-creation we’ve all been looking for, regardless of what company we work in. People will find us, even if they want to do it just as a side business. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; you can connect with as many or as few people as you choose. The only limits in this business are the ones you place on yourself.”