Jay Coburn is a network marketing leader whose first exposure to the business happened thirty-five years ago. He fell in love with the personal development, the fun and excitement, and the promise of residual income, so he built several companies on a part-time basis over the years.
It wasn’t until he found a company and product he could fully get behind in 2003 that he jumped in with both feet. Originally from California, Jay currently lives in Las Vegas where he has a strong local team, and his organization has grown to 140,000 people worldwide. Because of his efforts Jay directly and indirectly helped create over twenty-one millionaires in his organization.
Jay remembers one of his mentors in the early days teaching him an important lesson. He said, “If you treat your business like a hobby, it will cost you money. If you treat it like a million-dollar business, it will pay you like a million-dollar owner. What do you want to do?”
When Jay confirmed his choice to build a million-dollar business, his mentor continued, “Here’s what you have to do: read every book, listen to every tape, attend every local meeting, regional, and national event. Get to know other companies and other compensation plans. Know your competition. When you do that, you will separate yourself from the crowd. You will become an expert people will naturally be attracted to.”
Jay said, “Consider it done.”
Today Jay warns people against the lottery ticket mentality, emphasizing that success requires discipline.
“Most people think discipline means spanking” he says, “but in reality it comes from the word disciple, which means student or follower. If you become a student of the profession, if you follow a system and learn to do the income-producing activities, you will create results.
One day in 1976 Jay and his friend were walking home from church and stopped at a convenience store to pick up some snacks and drinks.
When they came out, Jay asked his friend, “Where are you going?”
He said, “I’m going to a secret money-making meeting.”
Jay said, “I want to go!”
His friend said, “No, you can’t.”
Jay said, “What?”
“You can’t come,” his friend insisted. “I have to go. Talk to you later.”
“A secret money-making meeting…,” Jay thought. “What’s that all about?”
A week went by and again they hooked up after church.
Jay asked, “What are you doing?”
He and his friend used to do things together after church, like fishing, hunting, and working on cars.
His friend said, “We’re havng a secret money-making meeting.”
Jay said, “Okay, I want to go.”
When his friend said he couldn’t come, Jay asked, “What do you mean I can’t?”
His friend said, “You have to be invited.”
“What are you talking about?” Jay asked, but his friend said he had to go and left again.
The next week after church Jay told his friend, “Look, I want to come to your meeting. What are you guys doing?”
His friend looked at Jay and said, “You want to come? Okay then.”
He took Jay to someone’s home where a presenter talked about products and drew circles on a board.
At the end of the meeting, Jay’s friend asked, “What do you think?”
Jay said, “Sign me up!”
Just twenty years old, Jay was a journeyman carpenter in industrial construction and naturally excited about starting a business, even though he was getting paid $ 20 an hour because he was very good at his job.
Jay remained focused on his job while building the business part time. What grew his excitement was the personal development he received through the Tape of the Week program, the Book of the Month club, and listening to the different success stories. He built the business for almost three years, until he and his wife decided that the financial payoff wasn’t worth the time they put into it.
“I loved my company but we weren’t making the money we were told we would make at a certain level,” Jay says. “Instead of me drawing circles Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and my wife running all over the place delivering product, I could work as a carpenter one Saturday a month and get paid time and a half. This brought in as much money in one day as I was making in my home-based business all month.”
Jay stopped building the business, but kept enjoying the friendships, partnerships, and personal growth.
“I fell in love with the profession of network marketing,” he says, “but I took a break from it to put my full focus back into construction, which was my bread and butter.”
Celebrating a fiftieth birthday party with
legends Eric Worre and Richard Brooke.
Les Brown taught me, "If you do the easy things in life, your life will become hard; if you do the hard things in life, your life will become easy. Jay, choose the latter!"
A couple of years later Jay went through a difficult divorce and lost everything. A few weeks later, Jay received a call from his father who lived in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“Why don’t you come up here?” he said. “Sell your place, start a new life. I can put you to work immediately.”
Not knowing what else to do, Jay moved to Alaska. While staying with his dad, he reconnected with a local friend who told him about a couple of carpenters he knew who wanted to start a company. Jay joined in the partnership and began building again, focusing on what he thought would be a career. Four years into it, he and his partners had built a substantial enterprise.
“Money wasn’t a problem,” says Jay. “It just got to be a grind. I would come home and fix a quick dinner, and then I would pull out the blueprints and look at some files. I’d go to bed, and the next morning at 6 am, I would have my coffee, pull out the blueprints, and look at some more files. Then I would go open up the shop, let the employees in, and run the business. I started working on Saturdays, then on Sundays. I began dreaming I was on a job site somewhere. One day I decided: this is crazy.”
Jay told his friends, “It’s time for me to go.” He liquidated his shares in the company and moved to a little town close to Sacramento, California. Not knowing what he wanted to do, he started looking in the newspaper and saw an ad from a dealership looking for car salesmen. Even though he had never sold cars, Jay called the place and went through the interview process. He liked the manager and when he got home, he was really anxious to find out if he had gotten the job. Within the hour, he called back and asked if he could come to work.
The manager said, “You really want to do this, don’t you?”
Jay said, “Yes, I want to do it.”
The manager said, “Okay, come on back. Sign this paper to get your license, and then you can come to work.”
Jay started working and learning, listening to everything his supervisors told him to do. In three years he became the number one car salesman for 1,400 dealerships.
“What do I do now?” he thought. “Maybe I should start a business.”
He went to a business expo in Sacramento, where his attention was drawn to some cool looking wall-mounted miniature vending machines. He grabbed a brochure and before the sales representatives could to talk to him, his brain had already decided, “That’s a terrific idea. You could put those everywhere!”
A few days later Jay called the number on the brochure and invested $45,000 to buy twenty machines. He put them all up in what he thought would be the best locations.
“They literally became cash machines,” he says. “All I had to do was go to Costco once a week to buy the products, fill up the machines, and pull the cash out.”
Jay doing what he loves the most—drawing circles!
Accepting the Persistence award from
Jim and Kathy Coover.
Jay had a roommate at the time so he asked him if he would take care of the machines when he wanted to take a couple of days off. His roommate was happy to do it, so they grew Jay’s little business together.
Soon the salesman who sold Jay the machines said, “You could make a lot of money working with us.”
Jay said, “What’s a lot of money?”
He said, “How about $50,000 a weekend? We do shows all over the country, and if you’d like I’ll send you an airplane ticket so you can come down to San Diego to watch us do a show.”
Free airfare to San Diego sounded attractive to Jay, so he accepted. At the show he found out how much money people were making. “I can do this,” he thought.
He started working for the company while running his own business, learning everything from vacuuming the booth to making brochures and setting appointments with clients.
Jay became an expert in trade shows and franchise expos. He and his crew soon became the highest performing team in the company.
“If I dive into something, I’m going to succeed,” he says. “One weekend I was in Chicago, the next weekend in Miami. One day the owner sent me to Flint, Michigan, where nobody had ever done any business. I accepted the challenge and I wrote up $42,000 worth of business. For the next five years I traveled all across the U.S., presenting on stage and giving three-hour workshops the next day teaching new franchisees how to get started and make their business profitable.”
Again Jay became the number one performer and sometimes made over $150,000 a weekend after expenses. He was hooked.
Over the years Jay continued dabbling in different network marketing companies, because he always believed in residual income and was missing the personal development.
In the mid-nineties the economy turned and Jay’s business came crashing down. His expenses were sky high and sales were drying up.
“I was bleeding badly,” he says. “After six weekends of losing money, I could no longer pay my credit cards.”
It was time for a change. Jay sold his business and since California was in a recession, he and his girlfriend decided to venture out of state. He did some research and moved to Las Vegas, where he had a friend who had a telemarketing business.
“I’ll put you to work,” his friend said. “We can also start a new business if you like.”
Starting Another Business
Jay packed up a U-Haul, drove to Las Vegas, and started a cabinet shop with his friend.
“He didn’t know the first thing about building,” says Jay. “I had to teach him everything and retrain all the workers in the shop. But after a while, we were having a ball installing garage storage cabinets all over Las Vegas.”
During that time Jay attended several seminars to continue his personal development journey. He had met a couple that stayed in touch and one day invited him to look at a business opportunity. Jay hopped on a conference call and at the end of the presentation he said, “If this is real, I’m going to turn you into millionaires.”
He joined and immediately signed up his cabinet business partner.
“It was an information product created by Sandy Botkin,” says Jay. “We taught people how to get the greatest tax deductions possible by owning a home-based business.”
Jay and his partner dove in together and created a big team in Las Vegas. They expanded into Southern California and in Salt Lake City. They had reached the top level in that company when it closed its doors three years later.
During those years, Jay had made friends with one of the top leaders, Kathy Coover. He had helped some of Kathy’s team members in Las Vegas and shared the stage with her at different trainings. In 2002 Kathy and her husband Jim called Jay to let him know they were starting a new network marketing company.
Jay still had his construction company in Las Vegas and had gone back to what he knew how to do—remodeling and building. He had an excellent reputation and didn’t need to advertise.
“It was all happy customers’ word of mouth,” says Jay. “I had plenty of work. When Kathy told me her company’s product was a detoxifying and cleansing system, I thanked her but told her the timing was not right: I had plenty of work and had never sold a nutritional product.”
A year and a half later Jay’s friend Bill Mayer, who wrote the book The Magic in Asking the Right Questions, called him and now the timing was right. Bill asked him if he had heard of Jim and Kathy’s new company. He went on to share how the company was now paying people $25,000 a week.
“Bill was my friend, so I believed him,” says Jay. “I’d never heard of a company paying out this much after just eighteen months. I talked to my girlfriend and she gave me the green light, so we signed up.
“The product delivered great results in terms of weight loss and giving people energy, so I started telling my friends, relatives, and customers. I told them if they had a remodeling project, they’d better use me right away, because I’d be retiring within six months.”
Jay started giving out brochures and doing local meetings and trainings. He would get on the phone after work from seven till ten at night—prospecting, enrolling, and inviting people to events.
This was in June when the weather was blazing hot in Las Vegas. His friends would call him on Saturdays to go boating on the lake. When they asked Jay to come along, he’d say, “No, I can’t. I have to build my business.”
“Forget that,” they would reply. “Come and have some fun!”
“You don’t unde-rstand,” Jay said. “I have to build my business.” He kept repeating an affirmation he had picked up that helped him stay focused: Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I’ll have what others don’t.
Jay worked all day Saturday and Sunday building his new business, while Monday through Friday he continued to do construction. He had told his girlfriend, “There’s going to be a time where I will hang up my carpenter belt and never pick it back up.”
By the eighth month he was able to jump in full time. By 2006 he reached $40,000 of monthly income, and by 2007 he became one of the company’s top earners.
Being recognized as a top earner at the company´s national convention.
Life changed dramatically for Jay and his girlfriend as they started enjoying luxury gifts, exotic cruises, and incentive trips. In 2008 they moved out of their two-bedroom apartment into a beautiful home in a gate-guarded community. Jay traded in his beat-up truck for a brand new luxury car.
“Life was good,” says Jay, “so I decided to take a hiatus from building my business.”
Even though Jay went into retirement, every week the company sent him a check and his business kept growing. A planned two-year hiatus turned into four years, during which Jay was able to take care of his aging mother. In 2012 he decided it was “time to get back in the game and transform some more lives.
“The company added a lot more money on the front end. New people were climbing the ladder of success and surpassing the old leaders in monthly income after just one or two years. I formed another team in Las Vegas and picked some key people to work with. I started doing home presentations again once a week.”
Thankfully, Jay has a high closing ratio because his presentation is financially and emotionally compelling. He concentrates on his local group, even though he has members worldwide.
“I have strong enough leadership in my organization so that I don’t have to babysit anyone,” he says. “About eight to twelve people in my team are responsible for most of my income. I don’t have to lead them; they’re leaders on their own. I helped to build them in the beginning, but I wasn’t there every day on the phone. We’d talk maybe once a week, once a month, or I would see them at events. They just took the ball and ran with it.”
Jay loves to share the story of how he drove six hours from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City to his first meeting.
“I knew Jim and Kathy were going to be there,” he says, “so I didn’t hesitate. I sat through a two-hour presentation from 7 till 9 pm, then introduced myself to the top leaders in the company—Jimmy Smith, Renata Lee, Randi and Tony Escobar, and George Ruiz. I said, ‘Hi, my name’s Jay Coburn, and I’m going to blow this thing up. You’re going to see me at the top. Would you help me?’ They said, ‘Sure, I’d love to,’ and they gave me their card. I invited my upline Bill on many three-way calls, but also George and Jimmy and Renata. I used my upline leadership by listening to them and following their directions. I attended every meeting. I knew nothing about nutrition, so I went to all the trainings to learn from the doctors.”
Despite his confidence and success, Jay says he made many mistakes along the way, “from saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, to doing the wrong things, to thinking success was all about me. But mistakes don’t discourage me; I simply correct them. I love Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
“I’ve learned success is all about partnerships and instilling courage in others. I also tell people the truth: we’ve had the best of the best for the last 200 years here in the U.S., and things have changed—permanently. We have such a give-me-first-and-then-I’ll-produce attitude. This no longer works in a global economy. We’re competing with people who are hungry and willing to work for much less.”
Jay tells people, “If you will produce, this company will pay you. It’s a simple model, and there’s a lot of help. There are some veterans here who are more than happy to share their wisdom. What they offer can help you learn what took me thirty years to figure out.”
Having a blast big-game fishing with friends in Mexico.
Zip-lining in the jungle with million-dollar earners.
Doing fast laps at the track in a full-race Ferrari.
Leaving a Legacy
Jay has been a network marketing advocate for the past thirty-five years, but he strongly believes the profession is just now coming into full bloom.
“We’ve gotten a black eye so I’ve been defending it,” he says, “but the big boom has arrived. By 2020 one out of four people in the world will be running a home-based business.
“The truth passes through three phases. First, it’s denied. Second, it is violently opposed. Some of the greatest leaders of mankind lost their lives because of this. Third, it is accepted as self-evident. Today people are more open to looking at a ‘secret money-making meeting.’ I see huge growth in the future, long after I’m gone.”
Jay believes network marketing as a business model will surpass franchising.
“This is a vehicle for any person to break the chains of imprisonment,” he says. “Finally the veil is being lifted and people are seeing the truth. They’re going to take action, and it’s going to create results in their lives. That result is freedom of choice. Do I wake up or do I go back to sleep? Do I go on vacation or do I stay home? Do I buy a used car or a new car?
“Freedom of choice is something 99 percent of the people on the planet have never experienced. If they are lucky to have a job, they get up Monday to Friday, go to work, then spend time with their family on weekends. This profession allows anyone, if they’ll just open their mind and follow directions, to change their life completely.”
Jay has a final wish he has shared with his team and family.
“I’m going to be cremated,” he says, “and when they put me into that cardboard box to push me into the oven, I want a paper application laying on my chest and a Mont Blanc pen in my hand. This symbolizes for me that when I leave this place and go on to the next, wherever that might be, I want to be prepared to give that gift.
“The tree you’re planting will bear fruit. The money will fall to the ground—it’s how the universe works. It’s not about the money. Initially, yes—go make some money. Help yourself out. Make that car payment. Pay off the mortgage and the credit cards. The money in the beginning is important, but the personal development and the freedom that can be created, the relationships and the partnerships, that’s what this business is about.”
Jay likes to remind people life is not a dress rehearsal.
“This is the Super Bowl,” he says. “This is the game of your life, and you don’t get to do it again. You have to decide: am I in the first quarter? Is it the second quarter? Is it halftime? Is it the third quarter, or the fourth quarter of the game?
“Then you have to look at the scoreboard. I promise you, one day that clock is going to show five seconds, four, three, two, one—and the game will be over. What’s the score going to be? What do you want for your family? Do you want to leave them with a gift they can pass down from generation to generation? Do you want to be remembered as Grandpa Jay who left us this business he built fifty, 100 years ago and is still producing golden eggs? Or, ‘Grandpa Jay didn’t do much, he just lived his life the way most people do.’
“This is your life. It’s a gift of freedom. Nothing is more valuable.”