Based in Vancouver, Canada, Ken and Lisa Seto are a dynamic and reputable couple in the network marketing space. Ken has been a top earner in the profession for almost two decades. As a result of building businesses in Asia he became an expert and consults with companies and field leaders looking to launch in those markets.
Originally from Manitoba, Lisa moved to British Columbia in 1995 and a few months later met Ken at a network marketing event where he was training. She grew from being his admirer and supporter, to becoming his partner in business and in life, to blossoming into an accomplished leader and trainer in her own right.
Today Lisa builds teams in North America while Ken focuses on the other fifteen countries their company operates in. Ken and Lisa have created their dream life, travelling to different countries and taking vacations with great friends several times a year. Their focus today and vision for the future is to help create this lifestyle by design for anyone who is ready to join their team.
In 1994, Ken was in dire straits financially and looking for something to supplement his income when a friend approached him about network marketing.
“I didn’t know a thing about the business,” says Ken. “I joined because I liked the idea of working for yourself but not by yourself, and creating success by developing a team.”
Ken’s friend was brand new to the business herself, so she couldn’t teach him much. Ken soon found out that the company had been around for many years and that most people, when he mentioned the name, would run the other way. This was a surprise to Ken and made it hard to get his business off the ground. Instead, he focused on growing his understanding of how the business worked and the personal development trainings the company offered.
Later that same year, Ken got involved in another company, which he considers his first company, because that’s the first company he really worked and became successful at.
“This company was newer and had a different compensation plan,” he explains. “It also offered an innovative system that made it much easier for anyone to succeed.”
Ken was hungry to make money so he applied himself, doing the basic daily activities the system prescribed for rapid results.
“The problem with network marketing is that most people, because of the low cost of entry, don’t take it seriously,” he says. “My upline had made an audio cassette tape (this was before the Internet or even CDs) that briefly explained why people should take a look at the products and the opportunity. I would contact people, tell them why I got involved, then I would share the tape with them. If they showed interest after listening to the tape, we got together.”
Ken was averaging six to eight presentations per day, be it by phone or meeting someone in person. He would follow up with those who were ready to start. On Saturdays he would give a training, first in his backyard, and eventually in a hotel room.
“I basically contacted people I had met at different business seminars and courses I had taken, for example with Jim Rohn,” he says. “I had collected names and business cards and called people who knew of me but perhaps didn’t know me that well. I shared with them that I got involved in something I thought might be great for them as well. After people joined my business, I would work with them to contact their sphere of influence.”
As a result of his aggressive sponsoring approach, Ken quickly became his company’s top earner. In 2001 he was awarded Distributor of the Year for the company worldwide. He stayed with this first company for seven and a half years.
In her early twenties, Lisa wanted to climb that corporate ladder and worked for an insurance company, then for the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Dissatisfied with her job, in 1998 she decided to move to Vancouver based on a stunning picture of the city she had seen on a postcard.
Lisa had never been to Vancouver before but she didn’t have any attachments and felt “ready to fly into something new.” Settling into her new environment, she started working in investment real estate, helping to find investors for condos in British Columbia and Alberta.
“My twin sister and I were approached by some friends about a health product,” says Lisa. “When they invited us to a presentation, my sister wanted to go and had to twist my arm for me to come with her. I’ll be forever grateful because that’s where I met Ken and we fell in love.”
The company was represented by a scientist Lisa’s sister knew and respected, so Lisa and her sister decided to join. They didn’t immediately grasp the power of the business opportunity and became purely product users.
As Lisa and Ken started dating, she began watching him and supporting him. The more she learned about the business, the more she grew to respect him as a professional and she started helping him behind the scenes.
“I admired his commitment and dedication,” she says. “I was inspired by his incredible work ethic and the way he jumped out of bed every day to build his business. It didn’t matter to me that he dropped out of high school; he was quietly powerful, and remains that way today. Ken is a master networker who excels at building relationships. This rubbed off on me and served me extremely well in our profession.”
Lisa says she received her network marketing education from observing Ken and attending events, including the trainings Ken conducted himself. She also became in charge of selling prospecting and training tools from their home to the Canadian market.
“To support our Canadian teams, we had to import tools from the U.S.,” she explains. “We had a whole bedroom full of them stored in our home. We didn’t do this to make money; it was a break-even business at best. Often we lost money because sales tools frequently get updated and the older version had to be recycled.
While Lisa was running the store and planning events, Ken was voraciously meeting with prospects, mostly one on one or two on one, in coffee shops or hotels.
Lisa says sitting in on those meetings taught her that the business is about developing know, like, and trust.
“If people like what they hear, they’re going to partner with you because they get a good feeling from you. I learned so much from watching and listening to people, and that’s why I think attending events, whether local meetings or conferences, is the best education. This was my involvement in the business until we started building our second company in 2004.”
Celebrating Ken´s birthday on the MLM Cruise 2012.
Lisa locking arms with team members after her training in Las Vegas, 2013.
Applying the Basics
It so happened that Ken and Lisa were terminated by their first company in 2001.
“I’m not sure if the company was struggling financially at the time,” says Ken, “but they got rid of a lot of leaders like us. The challenge for me was that I was so vested in the business that I had offices in Hong Kong and Japan, which I financed with the proceeds of my business. The company knew this and was most likely betting on the fact that I wouldn’t have enough money saved to defend myself. But we pulled through and learned an important lesson.”
Ken and Lisa’s second company was only one year old when they joined in 2003. They first became product users for a year, then jumped on the business opportunity in 2004. They ended up achieving the same level of success in two and a half years as they did in their previous company in over seven years.
“Because we knew what we were doing, we did it in less than half the time,” says Ken. “We also had a more distributor-friendly, updated compensation plan. I knew that this business is solely built on getting the story out there to as many people as possible. Companies pay us to create lifetime customers, so the more we get in front of people, the more likely that’s going to happen. Having effective tools to support us is crucial, because we only have so many hours in a day.”
Using tools is what Ken and Lisa teach their team every day.
“I never set out to become a teacher or trainer myself,” says Lisa. “In fact, I was perfectly happy working behind the scenes while wearing many hats. Many people coming from different backgrounds—doctors, pharmacists, financial advisors, fashion designers, or single moms—join this business and are relying on us, so we lead the way. I like to show them the shortest path in terms of what they need to do to get themselves paid quickly, and to help their teams get paid quickly. That has been my main focus from the beginning.
“Today, I also present and train in the front of the room, something I never anticipated or really wanted to do. I’m leading calls with people all over North America, building our business. We work it together but the group Ken works with is separate from the group I work with. Ken works mainly with people in Asia and it’s usually at conferences that we get to meet each other’s teams. It’s what works in our household.”
Ken shares the story of how Lisa made her debut on stage. “I had a trip planned to Asia and couldn’t present at an event we had scheduled. Lisa asked me to cancel it, but I said, ‘No, you’re going to have to present.’ Essentially, I picked her up and threw her into the fire and as scared as she was—she even told me when she stood in front of the room that first time, her lips were quivering and knees were knocking—after doing a few tries, she got used to doing it. Sometimes it’s not about being the best at something but at least making progress in a certain direction that makes us a leader. Today, Lisa is a great presenter and trainer even though she still doesn’t like to be in front of the room.”
“When my company asks me to train at the annual convention, I’d rather see my team members who like to be up there,” Lisa says. “But since I’m familiar with all the training topics, I will do it because the message needs to be delivered. I also believe it’s important that we see women present on stage. There are many female six-figure-a-month earners in our business no one even knows about.”
With Korean team in Las Vegas, 2012.
Celebrating life with great friends in Miami, 2012.
Having built network marketing businesses in Asia for almost two decades, Ken has become an expert and authority on the subject.
“Asian cultures approach the business quite differently,” he explains. “For instance, they don’t build with home meetings. They treat their network marketing business more like a traditional business so they prefer to meet in hotels or in an office. That’s why most companies, when opening one of the Asian markets, provide a space in their local offices where distributors and prospects can meet.”
“While the format is quite different, building a foreign market is exciting. One reason is that you’re going to get a lot more traction a lot faster. Once people in Asia trust you, they bring in their friends, family, neighbors, pretty much everyone they know. The pace your team grows at is much, much faster—I would say, on average, three to four times faster than building in America. For example, building a group of fifty people in North America will take me some time, while I could have that done within the first thirty days in a foreign market.”
One of Ken’s first experiences building abroad started with a young man emailing him from Japan. This was before social media and he was looking online for a company he could join. He found Ken’s story on the corporate web site and first reached out to the company, wondering when it was going to open in Japan. The company put him in touch with Ken.
“We weren’t operating in Japan when he contacted me,” says Ken. “On my first trip to Japan, we met and became acquainted through an interpreter. I didn’t know who he was; he was about twenty years old. He had already been involved in network marketing for a short period of time and knew a lot of people.
“Our first meeting went well and we decided to work together on premarketing for my company’s opening of Japan. Over the course of the next year, I went back there three or four more times and things really started to take off. This young man put me in touch with a lot of others. We were having four or five meetings with leaders from different network marketing companies every single day. When those people became interested, they brought contacts as well, and everything accelerated from there. It all started with one person contacting me, me reaching out, flying out there, and really fostering that relationship.”
Today, Ken says, social media makes finding prospects and staying in touch much easier.
“When I talk to people internationally, I’m not expecting them to get involved right away. I’m there to build a relationship so that when the time is right and they’re looking for a company, they will consider working with me because of how I treated them.”
Enjoying time at home.
Visiting the Petronas Twin Towers
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Enjoying dinner during incentive trip.
Enjoying the Caribbean Sea during MLM Cruise.
Finding a Home
As Ken grew his expertise in building foreign markets, he started doing some consulting on the side, helping companies with their compensation plans and making introductions to potential business partners. This is how he found his current company in 2009.
A mutual friend of the owner asked Ken to help get the company off the ground. Ken agreed to do so, but when the owners of the company he was building at the time found out, they were not pleased.
“It was strange because I had been consulting for six years,” he says. “It was never a problem up till then. I suspect it had to do the fact that a number of leaders were leaving the company and taking people with them. Lisa and I were number seven of the top earners. Hearing that I was helping another company launch raised the concern that I was going to leave and take people with me as well.”
Ken says he has been consulting for companies other than his own for a long time and it never caused ripples because he doesn’t believe in poaching people.
“Even when I build multiple networks simultaneously, I keep them totally separate,” he says. “I also don’t expect the other company to ask me to pull distributors from my company to theirs and I make this very clear from the beginning. I believe it’s possible to build more than one network at a time, because I’ve done it. But I don’t recommend it because it takes a real talent and you have to keep your teams completely separate.”
Ken even goes a step further and believes that in the future, as network marketing sees more and more product offerings in different companies, the time will come, and he says it’s currently happening in Asia, when most big leaders build two or three companies simultaneously.
“Here’s what a lot of people don’t realize,” he explains. “When a leader leaves for another company, it’s not always about money. It’s about whether that leader is happy with the work environment, the culture, the pay plan, or the corporate team. A leader can get bored, or the relationship with corporate can change. There are lots of variables. We think it’s only about the money, but usually it’s more complicated.”
When Ken agreed to do a consulting project with his latest company, he did not sign up as a distributor in the beginning. However, once his second company decided to hold his check, the owners of the new company said, “You helped us launch, everybody who has come to our company did so as a results of your introduction, so why don’t you take a position in our network?”
Ken said yes, but looking back on how hard it was to launch a new company from scratch, he says he and Lisa are not sure if they would do it again.
“Most founders of network marketing companies have had experience owning and running those kinds of companies,” he says. “This can create a fortunate situation for the master distributor, because the company already has a lot of people wanting to join. As the master distributor, you get placed at the top of the network, so you’re essentially making money right from the get go.
“What was different with the company we’re with right now is the founders don’t come from a network marketing background. They come from traditional business so when we started they had no relationships with leaders in the profession. I essentially built from ground zero, talked to a few friends and leaders from other companies, and before we knew it, a team started to form and the company took off. That’s probably not the way I would recommend for people to get involved in a new company because it was a huge risk.”
Ken and Lisa were making a seven-figure residual income from their previous company when they lost their check, so starting afresh completely turned their lives upside down. Ken says if he had not made the commitment to the owners of the new company he was consulting with that he would help to get it off the ground, he would probably just have walked away when he found out his consulting job had jeopardized his check.
“Because I had made that promise,” he says, “even though I could have gone back and complied with the demands of my old company, and gotten all our checks they were holding—Lisa’s check, my mother’s, my father’s, my whole family’s—I still wanted to keep my integrity. Fortunately, we had money put away to tie us over, so it’s not like we were going to be on the street. I followed my intuition, we took the risk, and it paid off. In fact, I believe it will be the biggest pay-off ever in my career.”
Dreams and Goals
Lisa says starting over with a new company also allowed her to find her groove and really make the business her own.
“The beauty of this profession is that we get to create our day and do our business any way we want to. If you’re a night owl and want to start your business at noon, you can do that. If you want to start at 6 a.m., you can do that. If you want to work four-day weeks, or three-day weeks, you can do that.
“My team knows I don’t like to do calls before 11 a.m. and they’re okay with that. I don’t mind doing calls late at night, but Ken and I have implemented a lot more balance into our lives now than we did in our first company. Before, our family members didn’t join us because they saw us working all the time. Why would they want to join that?”
With Keith McEachern at Mastermind event
With Robert Butwin.
With Nikita Gromyko.
With Tom Schreiter.
Today Lisa and Ken have found a nice rhythm of working and taking vacations together. When Ken comes across leads who want to work in North America, he passes them over to Lisa. Lisa travels a lot less internationally, but even Ken does not have to constantly visit his foreign teams.
“Once I identify and work with a few leaders in each foreign market, I don’t have to be there except for the trainings I schedule myself.”
“I feel that we’re only getting started,” says Lisa. “This profession is not the same as it was in the nineties, or in 2000, or even 2005 or 2008. With social media entering the picture, network marketing is evolving rapidly and I’m more excited than ever to be a part of it. I think the best is yet to come and we create that on a daily basis.
“Today our business is not about me or us anymore—we’re already doing extremely well. It becomes more about helping those people who raise their hands and say, ‘I want this too!’ That’s who we lock arms with and run with—and it’s what gives me the greatest pleasure. Whether they want to earn $10,000 a month or seven figures a year, whatever each new person sets their heart on, I’m in there with them like white on rice. That’s truly what life’s rewards look like for me.
“More than about attaining the goals, it’s about focusing on those daily disciplines in a world of distractions and creating a life they only ever dreamed of. In the process of overcoming challenges, we see them grow into powerful contributors and leaders, to the point where they have to pinch themselves and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I had it in me. This really works.’”
Ken adds his own vision of what he wants to accomplish.
“First, I have a personal goal to hit a whole new benchmark that very few people in the profession have ever reached before. It’s not that I need the money, but I want to prove to myself that it actually can be done.
“The other dream I have is to become a true ambassador for the profession, through my consulting and through a number of different websites I plan to put up. I want to help bridge the gap for people who are in foreign markets and want to have access to companies from North America, or vice versa. I’m talking about not only a platform for training and consulting, but also a meeting place for people who want to be introduced to different opportunities.
“I see a great need for this in the market and I’ve never seen this done. Generally, people who promote network marketing, on social media or elsewhere, have always done so from a point of view where they look for others to join their own company.
“I want to open it up and work with several companies, because here’s what I’ve discovered over the last twenty years. Not everyone is going to be interested in your opportunity, so rather than putting down the other companies your prospect might be interested in, why not be that spokesperson for the profession and help the person by paving the way for them to find the perfect opportunity if they’re not going to get involved with yours.
“A lot of times, my contacts may not get involved with me and may even join another company, but three years down the line, five years down the line, circumstances change. Maybe that company doesn’t make it. Maybe they experience challenges, or find out the company they decided to go with that I introduced them to was not a good fit after all. At that point, if I maintained a good relationship with that person, it obviously is a chance for them to either come back to me and reconsider my opportunity—or I can again help them move on and find what they are looking for.”
For those who know Ken and Lisa, it is clear they are already living Ken’s dream in their daily lives by working, traveling, and having fun with friends in many different companies.
“Rather than the us-against-them approach, I would like to show the world a unified profession where we all support each other,” says Ken. “My role model here is Tom Schreiter. Tom doesn’t battle with anyone; he helps everyone. He is a true ambassador for the profession, and that’s who I’m aspiring to be.”