Anthony and Megan Wolfenden are an Australian couple leading a global network marketing organization of several hundred thousand business partners spanning five continents.
From 1996 till 2006 the Wolfendens lived in California, where they worked as corporate executives for a large IT firm, until the tech industry took a nose dive. Seeing their friends lose their jobs, then their homes, they looked for opportunities to diversify their income and fell in love with network marketing.
“Becoming entrepreneurs after being employees for so long seemed scary and daunting,” says Anthony. “Now the idea of being an employee is scary. We could not imagine a routine job where we spend the day in an office year in year out. We enjoy working on new and exciting projects of our choice. We love that we can determine which region to build our business in next and where we are going to focus. Every city offers new lessons and ways for us to improve.”
Because they learned to think and act like entrepreneurs, Megan and Anthony now own a business they are in control of, where success is determined by the effort they put in, and where they can set their own goals and schedule.
“Every day is exciting,” says Megan. “We meet new people all the time and see our team members achieve their life goals. Entrepreneurs want to create something, be it teams, businesses, service, ideas, or inspiration to others. Network marketing is the perfect business for this.”
Anthony and Megan met as undergraduate students at university in Sydney. Just after they graduated and got their first jobs, Anthony’s mother, Val, and her business partner Helen, introduced them to network marketing.
“We were young and quite confident about our future as employees,” says Megan. “We did not see the benefit of being our own boss... We had a lot to learn.”
Anthony was working in IT and Megan got started in banking and finance.
“We liked the idea of wearing suits and traveling into the city each day,” says Megan. “We were not really hungry to do the business, but we were great at doing homework: reading the personal development books and listening to tapes. We even made the required number of calls each week and showed presentations to unqualified prospects.”
In their first network marketing experience, Anthony and Megan were more focused on activity than on results. They also did not have much confidence in their abilities to build their own business.
With their two sons, Peter and Sam, in Hawaii.
Megan with their sponsor and friend Onyx Coale.
“We had no concept of listening for what is important to others or following up after making an initial contact,” says Megan. “We had a little success, but soon decided to pursue our careers. What this experience taught us was the importance of ongoing education and personal development, as well as the confidence to speak to a group of people.
After a few years in the Australian workforce, Anthony received a job offer in Silicon Valley, so the couple moved to California in 1996. They had intended to stay for two years but enjoyed it so much they extended their stay to ten years. During that time they worked their way up to upper management for a large IT firm. They also had their two sons, Peter and Samuel.
“We enjoyed the fruits of the tech boom,” says Anthony, “but this was quickly followed by the tech bust. Many of our associates were laid off in a short period and we saw them lose their houses, unable to find new jobs. Many were forced to move to other states looking for work. Few had enough cash saved to support their families for more than a couple of months.”
Anthony and Megan realized they were just as unprepared as their friends should one or both of them have lost their job. That’s when they began to educate themselves about diversifying their income.
“We attended seminars with Robert Kiyosaki, Anthony Robbins, Bob Proctor, Loral Langemeier, and others,” says Megan. “We began building our real estate portfolio and soon I was able to retire from full-time employment because our real estate business was paying more than my job and I wanted to be home with our children.”
Anthony needed to keep his job because their real estate income replaced only Megan’s salary, but he was also looking at other income opportunities.
“Robert Kiyosaki had recommended a goal setting course, which we attended in January 2006,” he says. “We wrote twelve goals each, some of which we shared and some were individual, in the areas of family, finance, fitness, education, and adventure. We wrote a huge income goal we wanted to earn by December 2006, even though we had no idea how we were going to achieve it.”
Two months later Megan attended another Kiyosaki event where she sat with Onyx Coale. During one of the breaks Onyx told Megan about the network marketing company she was in, the health results her family and friends were seeing, and how much money she was making after just three months in the business.
“I was immediately intrigued,” says Megan. “Onyx gave me samples and black-and-white photocopies of company and product brochures. I remember waking up early the next morning and taking it all to the gym to read on the stationary bike. I was getting excited about the product, imagining all the people it could help.
“The enrollment fee was insignificant compared to what I had paid to attend the training, so I didn’t hesitate to sign up just to learn more.”
Megan gave Onyx her enrollment form and years later Onyx told her she was shocked to have sponsored a stranger at that event. They have since grown to be great friends and love travelling the world together.
Anthony was used to Megan being enthusiastic after a seminar and it did not register with him that she had signed up for a network marketing opportunity. He was working long hours and happy for her to have found a new project.
When Megan got home from the seminar, she had the whole family consume the product, did some research online, and signed up for the company newsletter. She and Anthony were planning to move back to Australia so that the boys could get to know their extended family better. When the company sent out an email announcing its prelaunch in Australia, Megan excitedly called her mother-in-law Val in Melbourne and asked her to go to a meeting the founder would be hosting.
“Val reluctantly went, with the intention of talking me out of getting into another network marketing company,” Megan remembers. “But she was impressed with the founder and what he had to say. She started consuming the product and four days later she called me in the U.S. telling me we must learn everything we could about the company and come back to Australia to spread the word.”
Megan and Anthony were totally absorbed by their move and needed to sell houses and cars, but Val was adamant that they learn the business quickly because she had such wonderful results. Megan called Onyx in Florida and asked her to fly to California and conduct an opportunity meeting and training for them during their last days in the U.S. Onyx had never been to Silicon Valley and was quite new to the business herself, but she agreed to fly out on very short notice.
Megan and her family had already moved out of their house and into a hotel, in preparation for their move back to Australia. Megan called her friend Tamara Archer and asked her if she would let them use her living room, and Tamara agreed.
Megan said, “Great, you invite five people and I will get five; that will make it worth Onyx’s visit.”
“Tamara did not know what she had gotten herself into,” says Megan, “but now that she has built a very successful business, we joke about this day that turned our lives around.”
Megan invited another friend, Tina Dupart, who responded, “I will come to support you, but my husband says if I sign up for one more thing he will divorce me because I am way too busy as it is.”
Tina was impressed by what she saw and despite what her husband said, she signed up and became extremely successful. She found the time to build her business and it paid off.
It turned out that Val had planned to surprise Megan and Anthony at their farewell party in California and she arrived from Australia the day of Onyx’s meeting. She was able to attend the meeting which gathered about twenty people, all of whom signed up.
Onyx gave a get-started training the next day and the Wolfendens left California a few days later, moving back to Australia.
“Tamara and Tina turned out to be incredible leaders and their business really took off,” says Anthony. “They also had remarkable health results from the product which gave them great passion and excitement. They were able to attract large numbers of people into their groups quickly because of their relationships and leadership.
“Onyx was a wonderful upline and consistently helped our team both in the U.S. and Australia, then in all the other countries we grew into. Once we got back to Australia we worked with my mother, Val, and her business partner, Helen. They also became successful rather quickly.
“Megan and I rekindled our old relationships in Australia and also built new ones. Our biggest challenge was growing our contact list quickly, because we had lost touch with many people in Australia during the ten years we lived away.”
Another challenge Megan and Anthony faced was how to best support their teams in the U.S. “We travelled there as often as we could,” says Megan, “relying heavily on technology to keep in touch. With so many great leaders, after a while they did not need us anymore.”
Megan with her mother-in-law Val Wolfenden
and Val´s business partner Helen Newham.
With top distributor Shelley Ke
and mother-in-law Val.
Mastering the Basics
As soon as she got started in network marketing, Megan wrote a business plan because working in banking she was familiar with this tool. She shared it with Anthony and got his input and buy-in.
She wrote down how many business calls she was going to make a day, how many presentations she was going to give a week, how many training sessions, which cities she was going to travel to, and so on. Initially she had envisioned a business that netted $100,000 per year. She allocated a marketing budget of 6 percent or $6,000. Executing her daily plan, she hit the $100,000 mark in just months and hardly used the marketing budget.
Anthony started doing some of the presentations while still working full time, or he stayed home with the kids while Megan was out presenting. After nine months in the business she showed Anthony her earnings check.
“Is this an annual payment?” he asked.
She said no.
He continued, “Is it a monthly payment?”
She said, “No, this is a weekly payment.”
Anthony was challenged and thrilled at the same time. He had studied for years at the university and worked many more years in IT to make that amount. Here, they were earning six figures after just nine months in the business.
“What delighted us even more is that we were being paid while figuring out what to do,” says Megan. “Soon after that, we were traveling so much on either incentive trips or to support our growing organization that Anthony had to give up his job. He could not imagine working for someone as an employee ever again.”
Today Anthony and Megan spend their days calling prospects, adding names to their candidate list, and giving presentations and trainings. They also mentor team members who want to move to the next level and strategically plan which countries they are going to build into next.
“Team members call us from around the world to do three-way conferences with their prospects,” says Megan. “We frequently speak at our company’s events on current topics that inspire and motivate people. Sometimes we join the company on taskforce teams related to new products or new markets. What we love most about this business is that we can keep learning and teaching.”
When it comes to providing leadership for their team, Anthony and Megan’s first principle is to lead by example. Even though they have reached a top rank in their company’s pay plan, they continue to do all the things they expect of their team—prospecting, inviting, presenting, teaching, and mentoring.
“Leaders quickly show themselves,” says Megan, “and we make sure the lines of communication are always open so anyone can ask for help when needed. Even as people become successful and need us less and less, we build lifelong friendships and keep the community strong.
“The phone is still our most important tool in communicating with all levels of our team, but we also make use of social media, webinars, conference calls, email, websites, and live seminars. We use incentive trips to work with our leaders on future achievements.”
In addition to goal setting, Megan and Anthony invest heavily in team building.
“Everyone has different skills to offer a team and it’s important to embrace all those skills,” says Anthony. “In network marketing, we often find that teams form with complementary skills and this speeds momentum for each group, as long as each leader is respected for his or her contribution.”
“It also helps when company employees take a team approach with the field leaders,” Megan adds. “We are fortunate to have excellent working relationships with the general managers for each region we work in. They play an important role in our business and we appreciate the foundation they give us to work from.”
A Global Business
Anthony and Megan believe today is one of the most exciting times for network marketing because of the global nature of the business and the decline of bricks-and-mortar retailing.
“The world is much more connected,” says Anthony, “and personal testimonies, trust, and teamwork have become driving factors in business. In most countries I see the general population more and more accepting of multilevel marketing. Because many people have had significant success, others are more inclined than ever to listen to a presentation. Objections are much more about people’s own perceived lack of time or abilities than about the business model.”
“We also see governments changing their views on network marketing,” Megan adds. “For example, the Chinese government is beginning to understand that we offer a viable business alternative for its growing population.”
With some of their Diamond leaders having fun in Hawaii.
Team building and making lasting friendships.
Taking their leaders out to Spagos for a special dinner.
Malaysian team conference.
“Globalization is changing everything,” Anthony continues. “Small businesses are being challenged by huge corporations and off-shoring. The work you do can in most cases be done better, cheaper, and faster by someone in another country who will work longer and harder for less. Rather than being a victim of this trend, you can take advantage of it. Network marketing incents people to help others around the world to build successful businesses. We align ourselves with globalization rather than fighting a trend no one can stop. Success in our business does not depend on education, background, location, or resources, but merely on a desire to learn and work to achieve results.”
Actively building in seventeen countries on five continents, the Wolfendens have become global citizens who remain sensitive to local cultural dictates.
“Every country has its own socio-cultural norms but once you are familiar with a region you can usually spot these quite quickly,” says Megan. “In Asian countries, for instance, there is often a lot of tea drinking before meetings or before talking about business so that the parties can get to know each other.
“In some countries people will reply yes to you because they think that is what you want to hear, even when the true answer might be no. For example, when teaching people you may ask if they understand you and they may say yes, but they actually need more explanation. The way around this is to avoid yes-or-no questions and ask them to repeat what they just learned or understood.”
When Anthony and Megan start building in a new city, they ask their hosts:
The Wolfendens also make sure to know the names and success stories of as many leaders in the area as possible.
“In Asia, after meetings the team usually goes out to dinner,” says Anthony. “That’s where a lot of training takes place. It can be a very late night, so we have learned not to schedule anything for the next morning. If we are unable to drink the water or the food is too spicy, we make sure to be prepared.
“Having been in situations where we have travelled long distances without air conditioning in hot weather, we have learned to rehearse our entire itinerary and adjust it so we can manage all occurrences.”
“Working in Asia is great fun for us,” Megan adds. “We love meeting all the people who come to our events and we derive great pleasure from learning about new cultures. As long as we show respect and make an effort to understand them, people are usually quite forgiving if we make a cultural mistake and we can laugh about it later.”
Costume party on the Nile.
Skiing in Park City, Utah.
Snowmobiling in Utah.
Visiting the pyramids in Cairo.
For Anthony and Megan, being a leader comes with a strong social responsibility.
“When we become prosperous, we need to give back and help those who cannot take care of themselves,” says Megan. “Many books on financial success teach us about supporting causes we are passionate about. Most every successful network marketing company has aligned with a charity its leaders feel strongly about and this contribution builds team spirit and purpose.”
“We believe leadership is earned through building a strong and lasting business while doing the right thing for your team and the company,” Anthony adds. “Some of our mentors and books that taught us leadership principles include:
“Apart from these formative books, many people have guided us in learning new skills, from the colleagues we worked with when we were employed, to our upline, company leaders, and especially our team.
“In the U.S., Tamara taught us to be organized and stick with a goal until we met it. Tina taught us tenacity—the importance of developing a plan and sticking to it no matter what obstacles arise. Onyx taught us to become experts in our field and be of service to the team.
“In Australia, Val and Helen taught us the skill of talking to cold contacts and prospecting. Shelley Ke taught us how to bridge cultural differences and that records can be broken with hard work and dedication. Many of our team members continue to teach us old lessons in more depth, which we are very grateful for.”
Shelley Ke joined Anthony and Megan’s team under Val and Helen, three and a half years after they started. In three years she reached a top level that took the Wolfendens six years to achieve. Shelley has since reached the highest rank in the company in Australia, and she is one of the top-ten earners in the company worldwide.
“Shelley is proof that in network marketing, it does not matter when you join,” says Megan. “What matters is how hard you work, because unlike in a job, your income can quickly surpass that of your sponsor.”
To consolidate her life lessons, Megan has written a book, Extraordinary You: A Woman’s Guide to Having It All. It talks about the importance of lifelong education and celebrating successes along the way while learning from mistakes.
“Network marketing has allowed us to be financially free,” says Anthony, “but more importantly, to help our family, friends, and others we didn’t know to achieve the same.
“My epiphany came when our four-year-old asked what I did for a living. Working for a large corporation, I could not easily explain my job to a child—and I certainly could not state how it benefited the people around me. When I told my son my work is to make people healthy and set them free, he said he understood that. This brought tears to my eyes and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. In that moment, I changed from being an engineer who built a network marketing business to a network marketer who happened to be trained as an engineer.”
Today Anthony and Megan are ready to move to the next level of their pay plan, not because they need the money, but because they want to help more people reach for their dreams and show them what is possible in any economy and any country.
“We are only limited by the size of our dreams,” says Megan, “so we are dreaming big!”
Tips from the Field