Carolyne Rodrigues is a former flight attendant who
Originally from India, Carolyne had immigrated to Canada with her parents at the age of eleven. Coming from an impoverished country, she felt privileged to have the opportunity to live in a land of abundance. However, no one had ever taught her how to pursue her dreams.
When she started building a network marketing business, she invested mostly in learning about herself and how to improve her mindset. As her confidence grew, she continued learning about leadership and business development from powerful mentors at the top of her company.
Leaving the airline in 2008.
Today Carolyne leads a team of over 50,000 people and is a top twenty-five earner in her company. In 2011, she was awarded Woman of the Year, a title she had been pursuing with selfless deeds of servant leadership not only to her team but across the company and into the global community of people in need.
Discovering the Business
In 1997, Carolyne was struggling with a physical injury and exploring different holistic products that might help her.
“Being a flight attendant puts a lot of stress on the body,” she says. “One day a pilot demonstrated some unique products to me, which I bought from him. They really worked, so I wanted to buy more, but he never gave me his card.”
Instead, the pilot had given Carolyne an audiotape, which she didn’t listen to right away. One day, as she was running some errands, she finally played the tape.
“The presenter was asking some profound questions,” she says. “Where will you be in your life two years from now? Will you fulfill your dreams? What are your health goals?” I really wanted to connect with these people, but there was no name or contact information on the tape.”
Looking for somebody she could buy more products from, Carolyne came across a person who knew the company and provided her with a couple of names to contact. After a few phone calls Carolyne connected with a lovely lady who helped her get started in choosing products that would assist her with her health issues.
“This lady lived three hours away,” says Carolyne, “but she made the drive to demonstrate the products to me. I felt so amazing I told her I wanted to buy the whole line.”
When asked if she wanted to pay retail or wholesale, Carolyne said wholesale, so the lady had her sign an agreement. Carolyne had no idea she was signing up as a network marketing associate.
“I didn’t know what network marketing was,” she says, “much less the stigma that was attached to it. I just wanted the products.”
After a while, Carolyne’s friends and colleagues started noticing how much better she was feeling and asking her about the products. Carolyne called the lady and said, “I have some business for you.” She said, “How about I show you how to create the business for yourself?” and invited Carolyne to a company event.
At the event Carolyne couldn’t help but notice how happy everyone seemed to be. They were hugging—even the men—and high-fiving each other.
“I was used to working in a union environment where people have a sense of entitlement and did a lot of complaining,” she says. Attracted to the culture, she told her sponsor, “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”
Carolyne’s sponsor gave her some tips and ideas, then suggested several events she should attend to assist her learning curve.
Carolyne says she had a lot of excuses at the time, such as I can’t come to this meeting because I’m in Rome or I can’t be there because I’m in Tokyo. Until another leader in the company sat her down and gave her a piece of advice that turned her around.
“Carolyne,” he said, “if what you want is truly what you want, you’re not demonstrating it by your actions.”
“What do you mean?” Carolyne replied.
He said, “If you want to change your circumstances and earn the income you desire, you have to flip the switch. Since you are in charge of your schedule, first put in the company events that are going to help you fulfill your dreams and goals, and then build your flying schedule around those events.”
Carolyne says the commitment she made that day was truly like flipping a switch. She was willing to give up her trips to Rome and fly to less desirable destinations. She also started learning the skills and doing the activities she was told to do, and gradually she began experiencing growth in her business. She asked people to try the products. When they saw results, she was able to engage them, and with the assistance of her upline, she started to grow her team.
Training on stage at her company’s national convention in Las Vegas, 2013 .
Due to her previous injury Carolyne had given up a lot of physical activities, such as golfing and skiing, and now that she was able to do them again, many of her friends and colleagues asked her what happened.
Carolyne would simply say, “I’m using these wonderful products and sleeping so much better,” and loan out products so people could experience what she had experienced. Through her sphere of influence as a flight attendant, she found a few people who took an interest.
“I had no sales background, no university degrees, and I didn’t know that many people,” she says. “What I lacked in those areas, I made up in determination and skill. I invested heavily in educating myself. I took a Dale Carnegie course because I was afraid to talk in front of the room. My husband thought I was bananas and couldn’t understand why I would spend $2,000 on a seminar rather than buying myself a new set of golf clubs.”
Eager to improve her mindset, Carolyne became a student of Bob Proctor, which she says was transformational.
Nobody had taught me that I could have what I wanted. Nobody told me that was possible. Bob was a great mentor to me. His wife was a distributor in my previous company so I had access to his materials and seminars at a great price.
“One penetrating question Bob asked really stuck with me: What would your life look like if your annual income became your monthly income? Today I’m living that reality and I am forever thankful to Bob for his vision.”
Carolyne also went to trade shows and community events—places where she could publicly display what she had to offer. She kept a full flying schedule and built her business on her days off, for which she learned how to reprioritize her time.
An important question one of her mentors asked her was, What are you willing to give up to get what you want?
Reflecting on this question, Carolyne realized her time was filled with leisure activities, such as lunch with girlfriends, shopping, and watching TV. She agreed to give up some of that time and use it to attend trainings and bring people to opportunity meetings. Today she is forever grateful to this gentleman for teaching her how to create a schedule for herself as an entrepreneur.
At first Carolyne’s husband Steven was not at all supportive of her getting involved in network marketing. He had been exposed to a company by a distributor who had bamboozled him into coming to an event. His impression was that network marketers were shyster people who just wanted to take your money.
Carolyne did not let this deter her. Today her advice to those who have an unsupportive spouse is: Go for it and show the person by committing to being in action!
“Personally I had to prove to myself and to the people around me that I could accomplish what I set my mind on doing,” she says. “Between the ages of thirty and forty, I had a lot of ideas I never executed. I talked a lot about what I was going to do but didn’t complete what I started. I did not have a lot of credibility with my spouse and the people around me. When I turned forty, I decided in my next decade I was going to talk about what I’d completed after I’d done it.”
To keep herself engaged, Carolyne surrounded herself with supporters who would encourage her and be there for her. She formed a mastermind group with five ladies, some from teams other than her own, who would meet for breakfast once a week.
“We would celebrate our successes and map out our game plan for the week,” she says. “We asked each other, ‘What did you do well that worked? What did you do that didn’t work?’ We would bring up our challenges and brainstorm for solutions. This helped us all stay the course, despite the lack of support most of us experienced at home.”
Honored with the Impact Award for
contribution and training.
Millionaire recognition by company founder.
In 2003, six years into her business, Carolyne had built a decent part-time income but she had not attained the results she had hoped for.
“I realized I wasn’t advancing the way I should,” she says, “and I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. I was fully committed, had done everything I was told to do, and more.”
She asked herself, “What am I doing wrong?” It had never occurred to her that there were different companies out there with different compensation plans and products. Questions kept bubbling up, “What can I do better? Is there something better?” She prayed, “Lord, show me what it is you want me to do.”
That same year the company Steven worked for decided it no longer needed a Canadian president and let him go. Carolyne’s father was dying and required daily help from the family. Just when she needed her residual income the most, her company changed the compensation plan, disqualifying distributors who didn’t meet their monthly quotas. Carolyne had to wait a period of time to re-qualify before she could get paid again.
“That was a low blow for me,” she says. “It made me question the integrity of the company and if they really had their associates’ best interest at heart.”
Because of all the stress in her life, she started putting on weight. She didn’t want to go on a diet, so a friend offered her a product she said could assist her. Knowing it was a network marketing company, Carolyne turned her down for three months because she was still loyal to her company and all the friends she had made.
Steven kept telling her, “Your loyalty is not going to buy you a paycheck or put a roof over your head.” Carolyne knew he was right: her friends couldn’t help her in the way she needed. Making every effort to detach herself from the relationships, Carolyne evaluated the opportunity and how she was going to generate income.
“I had taken a 20 percent pay cut as a flight attendant at the time,” she says, “A lot of things came crashing down at once. I finally jumped on this new weight loss product line in December 2003. People around me thought it was crazy to do this over the holidays, but I had a good reason: I couldn’t fit into my uniform and I didn’t want to buy a new one.”
Carolyne dropped the weight and, again, people started asking what she was doing. At first she was hesitant to tell them, because she was still attached to her first company. One of her girlfriends kept pressuring her and said, “You better tell me what you’re doing. If it’s network marketing, I want to know about it.”
That’s when Steven suggested Carolyne submit her resignation rather than trying to sell her business.
“What about my downline?” she said.
“You’ve given it your best shot,” he replied, and she knew he was right: she had developed the skill of presenting and assisted many teams on whose volume she didn’t earn commissions. When her name disappeared from the genealogy, her team started calling her, “Where did you go? What are you doing?” Carolyne called only her frontline, which she was allowed to do, but in time, others in the company found out she had left. Knowing how committed she had been, they were more than curious to find out why.
“Eventually a number of people joined me,” says Carolyne. “It took me about six months to fully understand the new compensation plan. This transition allowed me time to complete the process of letting go of the spiritual and emotional bonds I had with my first company. By the summer of 2004 I was fully on board with my new company.”
One of the first things Carolyne did was meet with the number one income earner in her new company, Jimmy Smith, who was seventy-three at the time. He gave her some tips on how to assess a network marketing company. He told her where she was in his organization—way down deep.
“In my previous company, I would not have had access to a leader that far above me,” she says. “Some would not have worked with me because they would not have been paid on me. This was a major issue in my last business: I had people beneath my pay level that were doing wonderful things and I worked with them but I never saw any return.
“Next, Jimmy told me that every month my volume didn’t flush, it simply accrued. I couldn’t believe how different the compensation plan was, and how much easier it was for a new person like me to start seeing results.”
Celebrating with top leaders at leadership retreat in San Diego´s Coronado Beach Hotel.
By now, Steven had taken an interest in Carolyne’s business. He met with the company owners and saw the difference in culture and the support that was available. He saw that the compensation plan was much easier and that the product line was timed for the marketplace.
“Steven started to track my numbers from day one,” says Carolyne. “I think he wanted to show me that I wouldn’t succeed here either. But within six months of applying effort to my business, I had replaced my full-time Air Canada income. In my second year, I doubled it. In my third year, I tripled it, and by my fifth year I had made a million dollars.”
Looking back, Carolyne says the six years in her first company she mostly worked on herself.
“When you work with people who are all at the same level, you don’t progress quickly. You’re all learning the same skills. What’s different in my current company is that we have access to all kinds of leaders because they have a financial stake in our success. They are willing to mentor us, for instance Susan Sly became another mentor of mine.”
By the end of her fifth year, Carolyne was still working full time as a flight attendant. Once she had earned a million dollars, she finally decided to quit after thirty-three years. Today she teaches people not to let go of their jobs until they have built a steady network marketing income.
“A lot of networkers make this mistake,” she says. “They start to earn a significant income and quit their jobs too soon. When you first start out, your income sometimes fluctuates from month to month. You may have a big week and hit a rank, and the next week your income may dip. Eventually it starts to level out. I wanted to make sure my highs weren’t too high and my lows weren’t too low so my income was steady.
“When you quit your job, you limit the people you come in contact with. Each time I got on a flight, there were fifteen flight attendants I had an opportunity to interact with. I never solicited my passengers because I could get fired for that, but they would often ask what I was drinking, and I would say, ‘It’s a product that has greatly assisted me with my health and helped me maintain my weight as well as develop a part-time income.
“They would say, ‘What is it?’ I would ask, ‘Do you have a business card? I would be happy to share that with you when we’re on the ground.’ Create the curiosity, get their information, and book an appointment to speak later.”
To launch her business, Carolyne started doing in-home presentations right away. Susan Sly, who lived four hours away, helped Carolyne get started. To leverage Susan’s time Carolyne organized three events in one day: one morning meeting for the moms who had dropped off their kids at school, one for the lunchtime crowd, and one in the evening for the working crowd.
Jimmy Smith visited her a couple months later to do a grand opening. Carolyne invited a hundred people and about thirty-three came. Susan held a weekly call to which Carolyne invited all her team members, and that’s how her business took off.
“Our company was so new there were no events in our neighborhood,” says Carolyne. “Between four local leaders, we started doing monthly events. We compelled our team to attend, using the principles I learned, ‘What are you willing to give up to get what you want?’ and ‘Are you willing to prioritize your time and put your business goals first?’ We were very strategic in getting people to events to see the bigger picture.”
Awarded "Woman of the Year" in 2011.
Currently Carolyne holds five training calls a week based on her team members’ different skill levels, from newbies all the way to her core leaders.
“With each group we work on a ninety-day action plan,” she says. “You set a target, decide what activities you’re going to commit to, determine who you’re going to work with, and what your daily activity will look like. Every week, people have to report in. What did they achieve, what were their challenges, and what are they going to take on in the coming week? That’s how we keep people moving forward.”
Carolyne learned from Steven, who ran a multimillion-dollar company, a five-part business plan that she imparts to her team.
When Carolyne got started in her current company and Steven had lost his job, they were living on 15 percent of what they used to earn together. She had a compelling why: she wanted to regain the lifestyle they once had, which allowed them great freedom and flexibility.
“I wasn’t willing to live a small life,” she says. “I knew I had a big life in front of me and I needed to make it happen sooner rather than later. It’s less painful to rip the band-aid off fast than to pull it off slowly.”
When Steven saw Carolyne’s numbers progressing, he became gradually more supportive of her business and started helping her make strategic decisions.
“Steven tracked everybody’s numbers, which is something many network marketers neglect,” says Carolyne. “If you don’t track your activity, you can’t know if you’ve made progress. Every week we look at our team volume, at how many new people came into our team, and how many new leaders advanced in rank. Based on the answers, we help our team set new goals, which allows us to reach our goals.”
Since Carolyne got involved in network marketing, she has carried an affirmation card around which says, I am one of the top leaders in my company. It’s my destination to reach the top. I do it by being in service to others.
When she joined her current company, she changed the first sentence to “I am one of the top 25 income earners in ...” and filled in her company name.
“I always knew I would reach the top,” she says. “It all comes from being in service and I’m thankful to God for leading me to the people, places, and things He wanted me to see.”
Volunteering at orphanage in Haiti.
With her company expanding internationally, Carolyne is starting to grow a team in Hong Kong and Australia. She very much believes in her company CEO’s motto, Think locally, grow globally.
“I focus on who in my home market has access to people on other continents. Who do I know here who knows people in the markets we operate in? One of our local associates moved to Hong Kong, which is how we started a team there. Through social media, my team is reaching out into the other global markets our company is opening.”
Carolyne actively embraces new technologies and online media, and she regularly invites younger leaders to her training calls to teach the specialties they excel in.
“I create space to groom new leaders and allow the light to shine on them. It validates them in the eyes of their team members and we all learn something in the process.”
Carolyne remains just as committed to personal and professional development as she once was. She attends Art Jonak’s yearly Mastermind event, has been to T. Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mind, and has taken courses with David Wood.
“My car is a rolling university,” she says. “I’m constantly listening to a podcast because my mind, like a cell phone, needs to be recharged daily.”
In the same spirit of lifelong learning, she recommends Networking Times to all her team members and often rewards rank advancements with a six-month subscription. Most importantly, she believes network marketing leaders must expose themselves to professional development outside their company culture.
“I’ve learned a lot and met some incredible people from all over the world at generic training events,” she says. “Seeing the global reach and impact network marketers have helps us understand what our business is all about.”
Today Carolyne considers herself an ambassador for the network marketing profession and its power to change lives.
“My motivation is no longer focused around making money,” she says. “Instead, I look for who around me I can serve. As a Christian, I believe everything I have was provided to me by God. He is the steward of my finances, and ‘from those to whom much is given, much is expected.’
“I always ask myself, ‘How can I give and do more?’ I have a passion for women and children in the developing world. With my church, I’ve been to Haiti to work with refugees, people who have no identity and no means of making money. We go in with medical and dental teams to provide assistance. We work with AIDS patients in hospitals. We just show up to be in service.”
Carolyne’s cousin is a doctor with a heart of service who is partnered with the Swiss Emmaus hospital in India. He does reconstructive surgeries for adults and children with leprosy and makes special shoes for amputees so they can walk again without crutches. Carolyne is partnering with him not only by sending money but her goal is to go spend time in India to work with him.
Another goal she has is to sponsor a hundred children worldwide who need food, clothing, and shelter.
Carolyne’s business goal is helping her team members achieve six- and seven-figure incomes. “Life is not about money,” she says, “it’s about people. Raising people up and being in service to others, that’s my vision.”