Shauna Ekstrom and Scott Peterson are newlyweds who found each other through network marketing three years ago. Today they are business partners who lead a growing organization on three continents while enjoying a life of freedom that was impossible to achieve in their previous careers.
Shauna became a hairdresser at age sixteen, got married at seventeen, and became a mom at eighteen. She didn’t go to high school, but was an astute learner who developed keen people skills from conversing with her salon customers. Her knack for understanding people became a key to her rapid success in her current company, where she has been a top earner for the past twelve years.
Scott was a twenty-seven-year practicing dentist who had grown tired of trading time for money. Looking to leverage his networking and communication skills to accelerate his dental practice, he had started a dental marketing company. When his business partner introduced him to Shauna who needed help with online marketing, Scott became intrigued with the size of her business and the lifestyle it afforded her.
When Shauna met Scott, they were both accomplished entrepreneurs, but both had a longing in their hearts to spend more time enjoying life with loved ones. Fascinated with marketing, Scott understood how network marketing could be a powerful vehicle to distribute any product. He just had never met anyone personally who could show him how the business worked, so when he and Shauna fell in love, it was a perfect fit.
“Working the business together has been wonderful for our new relationship,” says Shauna. “We feel like we’ve been together forever. How many married couples can spend this much time with each other? When you have different careers, it’s hard to get to know your spouse this closely.”
Originally from Utah, Shauna lived in Washington State for 23 years, then moved to Houston in 2007. She and Scott currently reside in Dallas when not traveling the world. They have learned to work off each other’s strengths and complete each other in every aspect of the business.
Shauna learned this success principle at one of her earliest trainings, when someone said from the stage, “Make your strengths productive and your weaknesses irrelevant.” In that moment Shauna realized she could do this business, and today her example continues to ripple out into the world.
With Todd and Joni Brewer at a training in Seattle.
With Carole Taylor and Peter Oelmann
at company event in the Bahamas.
With company founders Jim and Kathy Coover.
One day in September 1997 Shauna was hired to do hair and make-up at a big wedding in Seattle, about an hour drive from the little village where she was living. She had invited her girlfriend Joni Brewer, to come along to be her helper. On the way over, Joni excitedly asked Shauna if she would listen to a tape about a network marketing company she and her husband had just joined.
“We always thought it would be fun to work together,” says Shauna, “but we lived an hour and a half apart. We’d only get together when it was time to do her hair, or sometimes socially with our kids who were of similar age. We were both entrepreneurs, but in completely different businesses: she owned a diet center while I had my salon.”
Shauna wasn’t eager to listen to the tape so she tried to change the subject. Having been approached many times, all she could remember was being pushed by overzealous networkers telling her she would be perfect for the business.
On the way home, after a twelve-hour day of hairstyling, Shauna finally agreed to listen. At the end of the audio, she promised to accompany Joni to a meeting. By the end of the meeting, Shauna thanked Joni for her persistence and became her first recruit.
“I caught the vision because timing was right for me,” says Shauna. “I was raising three kids and working full time, so I had no time. As a hairdresser, the better you become at what you do, the less time you have because you now have even more clients to take care of.”
After joining Joni’s business, Shauna heard about a big event coming up in Long Beach two weeks later. “We have to go to that,” she said. “I can’t do something I don’t fully understand—I have to see the big picture!”
Joni was hesitant, but Shauna convinced her to come along. The first night in Los Angeles Shauna signed up two people—her mom and her aunt. Shauna and Joni got so excited they wrote a song, sang it to Shauna’s first recruits, and recorded it on the company voicemail.
“It was a goofy way to express ourselves,” says Shauna, “but we both started dreaming, ‘What if…?’ We challenged each other: if I signed someone up, I would call Joni and say, ‘Tag, you’re it!’ Then she’d have to enroll somebody. We were just girlfriends having fun.”
Soon after the event Joni found a big box of Big Al Tells All books at a garage sale. She bought them for a dollar and shared them with Shauna and the small team of distributors they had assembled.
“We would read Big Al excerpts to each other over the phone,” says Shauna. “Next thing we knew, Big Al was coming to Edmonton, Canada. Five of us flew up there because we were hungry for education. We were all broke, so we shared a hotel room using a credit card. We were high on this newfound belief in something we knew we could share with people.”
Shauna stayed in her first company for four years. Even though she never reached the success she was looking for, she says the training she received really helped her understand the business.
A few years into the business, Shauna found out some things within the company that were unethical.
“I saw the handwriting on the wall and could no longer look the other way,” she says. “I started looking around and when somebody introduced me to another company, I left without making any announcements. Sad to leave my team behind, I still loved the business model.”
With her enthusiasm intact and because of the mentoring she had received, Shauna started making money right away in her new company. Six months later it was shut down by the government. Heartbroken, she didn’t let go of the dream that network marketing could give her the freedom to spend time with her children and retire her husband at the time.
Most of Shauna’s business partners never wanted to touch network marketing again—except for a few close friends, including Stan Barker. Stan had been in the business for many years and had been mentored by Dexter Yager, Bill Britt, and Jim Brooks. Stan in turn became a mentor to Shauna, who was still running her full-time salon working sixty hours a week.
“We don’t have a company, but we have each other,” Stan said, “Let’s continue to meet every week.” He brought old VHS tapes and continued to give trainings for several months.
Shauna’s two oldest children were grown at the time, while her youngest son was a teenager. She would take him with her to trainings, telling him to hang out by the pool. She trusted she would eventually find the right company and Stan’s trainings strengthened her belief.
In her search she heard about several new companies, one of which she joined, even though she wasn’t in love with the product. She missed the collaboration with Joni when they first got started. Joni had stayed the course at their first company and Shauna did not want to distract her, although she knew Joni was struggling.
While dabbling in her new company, Shauna met a top leader, Carole Taylor, who had also joined in a new wellness company. She sent Shauna a picture of her husband who had lost 31 pounds in 33 days. This got Shauna’s attention.
“A light bulb went on in my head,” she says. “I understood this was a visual, emotional product. My hair clients wouldn’t be open to hearing about one more deal or another thing to sell, but if I could create my personal story—if this product really worked—I could develop a team.”
Shauna had gained some weight as a result of going through a divorce. She started taking the product, followed the program to a T, and within four weeks lost three dress sizes.
“I just wore clothes that showed my new figure,” she says. “Instead of selling this to my clients, I was making them beg me for it (another Big Al approach I had learned). I’d make sure they asked me twice before I would tell them much. A lot of people wanted to try it, so I signed them up.”
With team members at a training in Minneapolis.
This time Shauna called Joni right away, telling her, “I don’t want to leave you behind... This is too amazing!”
But Joni was still hurt by Shauna’s departure from their first company and said, “No thanks. Be a leader in that company, I’ll be a leader here, and that’s it.”
Eventually, almost two years later, Shauna found out Joni’s company had made some mistakes, which had caused Joni to lose a significant portion of her check.
Knowing that Joni was spending more than she was making, Shauna sent Joni some product for her and her husband. While Joni was losing her heart for the business, she could also see Shauna was doing well in her newfound company.
Shauna’s business grew quickly because she knew exactly what to do.
“My clients brought up weight issues every single day,” she says. “Skinny or fat, women complain about their weight. This is how I built a team pretty fast. I’ve been a top earner in my company ever since.”
To this day having been able to help turn Joni’s life around is one of Shauna’s happiest achievements.
“When Joni finally joined, she really made the difference in my business,” says Shauna. “Girlfriends working together again created momentum. But the biggest shift came from the fact that Joni was a seasoned network marketer, while most of my other team members were clients of mine. I didn’t have the time to go out and find network marketers, even though I knew some, so I was limited by the number of clients I could see in a day. But one person at a time led me to the next person, and the next. Because the product worked so well, it eventually changed my life.”
Over the years, Joni’s line has generated eight millionaires in a row, just “girlfriends sharing with girlfriends.” Only one of them was Shauna’s personal recruit and none of them had ever touched network marketing before.
The first month in the business Shauna had to enroll thirty people in order to become a Founding Executive. She thought she could sign up ten and help each one find two—not pushing anybody, just welcoming them to the product.
“Finding ten was still a little tough to do,” she says, “so I signed up my kids. I also enrolled my ex-husband, my mom, my sister—anybody who had a social security number. The blessing is that today they all have huge businesses they can pursue whenever they want.”
Shauna was able to buy her mom a beautiful condominium with a double-car garage several years ago. “I could have never done that as a hair dresser,” she says.
Shauna’s sons are just now, after twelve years, looking at the business seriously. For years her daughter kept telling her, “Mom, I’m an artist!” Today she couldn’t be more thankful for the blessings the business has brought her. A stay-at-home mom with three young children, she now has a career she loves, earning a multiple six-figure income from home.
“For five years she didn’t even want to try the product,” says Shauna. “She saw me chasing the rabbit, but she didn’t see the rabbit. She thought I was crazy. Now she has an extraordinary ability to help others ‘get it’ quickly, when their timing is right.”
Going Full Time
Shauna found her current company in 2002, a year after her separation from her ex-husband, which she says turned out to be perfect timing. She was living in a tiny apartment behind her shop to cut back on rent and save time. Her 14-year-old son was going back and forth between her and his dad who lived in the same town. After school he would often make calls to remind people to come to meetings, to which he accompanied his mom.
Four years into the business Shauna was able to sell her shop and go full time.
“By then I knew I needed to quit,” she says, “because even though I loved doing hair, it was difficult to schedule appointments with my busy calendar. I had already cut down my salon hours to two days a week. When I finally closed my salon, my clients couldn’t believe it, because they knew my passion for hairstyling, which I practiced as an art. But it was no longer fun, because there was no freedom in it, while my new business allowed me to see the world.”
Most people who joined Shauna’s business initially didn’t stick with it, but she didn’t see this as a problem.
“Don’t look at the people who fizzle out,” she says. “Only look at the numbers that are growing. People quit and leave businesses everywhere, not just in network marketing. If you look down the street in the town where I lived, over the years all kinds of shops have changed hands. That’s just life.
“Instead of focusing on attrition, I choose to look at those who stay, because eventually they lead you to somebody. While sifting and sorting, searching for that big leader to materialize, I enjoy the people I meet along the way.”
Shauna built her business entirely through word of mouth.
“I share with people and then talk to their contacts,” she says. “I didn’t ever take the time to become Internet savvy, apart from using email and our company’s back office. Online marketing just didn’t seem like something I thought I needed or had a passion for—until I met my new husband and soul mate Scott.”
Two and a half years ago Shauna’s financial planner introduced her to his partner, a dentist who also runs a dental marketing company.
“You’ve done so well with this business working offline,” her financial planner said. “Maybe you should talk to Scott about how to market it online.”
Shauna agre-ed to meet Scott and while she immediately liked him, she noticed he had a belly. He told her how he’d just been through a divorce and gained weight from having margaritas with chips every night.
“Good,” Shauna thought, “I can help him with my product.”
She told him her story and what the business had done for her. He was intrigued because he had dabbled in network marketing himself and was an entrepreneur at heart. He said, “If you hire me to do online marketing for you, I should try your product so I can write better copy for you.”
Shauna said, “If you will not cheat, I will give you the product, and I will coach you.”
Partnering with Scott
The next day, Scott sent Shauna the famous Goethe quote, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too...”
This impressed Shauna, because many people she had given free product to did not fully appreciate it or did not take the weight loss program seriously.
Scott lost 15 pounds the first two weeks. He was excited about the results, but told Shauna he was never going to do network marketing.
She said, “Sure, but if the product works, would you want to give me a referral if somebody wants to know about it? And would you turn down the money the company would pay you? You don’t have to do this, but if it comes to you in the back door, because the product is visual and emotional, would you be opposed to it?”
Scott promised to keep an open mind, and soon he came up with a list of candidates for the product and the opportunity.
“If you’re considering doing this, write down the reasons why you would do it,” Shauna said.
Scott found nine reasons why the business would be good for him. Within a couple of months he had shed 43 pounds, and he and Shauna discovered they had a lot in common, including a passion for personal development.
“This is where we really connected,” says Shauna. “Scott is gifted with good looks, but I fell in love with his heart, his exuberance, and his excitement for life—which comes from a lifetime of working on oneself.”
Scott had started his personal development journey in his thirties and had taken many Tony Robbins trainings. Shauna developed her people skills while doing hair.
“I helped my clients in more ways than just making them feel pretty on the outside,” she says. “They knew me and I knew them really well over time. I would share self-help books with them or invite them to personal growth seminars.”
Both Scott and Shauna were avid readers of business classics such as Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Shauna explained to Scott how she was now monetizing her people skills through network marketing, which by then was providing her with a multiple-six-figure income.
Scott looked back at all the network marketing opportunities he had been involved in, and counted eleven companies. He thought the business model made sense, but he had never met anyone who could coach him to success.
When he saw Shauna’s income, he got excited because he realized his marketing company was another “job” with no time freedom. Shauna pointed out some commonalities that made him think he could work with her.
“I was behind the chair, you were by the side of the chair,” she said. “Both our businesses are about serving people and making them happy. We are experts at building relationships. You never had to look for patients, and I never looked for clients. It all came from networking—one happy client bringing in another client. This gives us the perfect qualifications to succeed in network marketing!”
“Shauna was right,” Scott adds. “Dentists heavily rely on referrals. If we take good care of people, they refer others. That’s how I built my business from scratch. For five years I went to breakfast clubs and luncheon groups so I could learn how to network. When I found a business where I could leverage this skill and also have time freedom, I did not hesitate.”
Shauna´s first Porsche.
Grandmother, daughter, and three junior entrepreneurs in training.
Recent family vacation in Disneyland, California.
Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
Grand view from Harbor Bridge, Sydney Australia.
Building as a Couple
Scott and Shauna got married in August 2013. He has two teenage daughters and she has three adult children and three grandchildren.
“It’s fun to have kids of all ages,” says Shauna. “We can stop working and go see them whenever they need us.
“Last year after we got married, we decided to just take off. We got Visas and four days later we were on a plane to Australia. We made it a working honeymoon, because everything you do in network marketing is fun and work. We stayed five weeks in Sydney and went to Gold Coast for a couple of days. Then we flew to Beijing and saw the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
“The beauty of network marketing is we didn’t have to plan this. Neither one of us could have ever experienced seven weeks of fabulous meals, hotels, and freedom in our previous careers. We were on a mission to grow our business fast so we could help others achieve their goals and dreams.”
Today Scott and Shauna have a growing team of over 110,000 customers and distributors.
“People just see our lifestyle and they want it,” says Shauna, “and we want it for them. It’s not about us going to the top. I tell people this has not always been easy, but all the struggles and hard times—for instance, when I lived in my 600-square-foot apartment behind my salon sharing a bunk bed with my son—all those things have taught me to deeply appreciate what we have today.
“Some of the new people who are joining my team are struggling financially, and I understand them because I have been there. They can hardly afford coming to events, but when they do, I tell them they’ll have success—if they don’t quit.”
Even though Shauna has a great story, when connecting with people she likes to listen first so she can see which piece of her story she can weave in to help them.
“It’s one of the things my salon taught me,” she says. “I started beauty school the day after I turned sixteen. I was very shy and it made me nervous when the person in my chair wasn’t talking, so I learned to ask them questions. They’d tell me about themselves and I realized people are fascinating. The more I learned about them, the more I became curious. I began to wonder how they became successful, or how they became a great parent, so I asked them for advice.
“Today I ask questions not only because I’m interested, but also because I want to know how to direct the conversation—is this person hungry for money, do they need the product, or do they need a friend? Finding out about people’s lives has always helped me make a living, and I discovered this early on.”
Scott likes to say Shauna got her Ph.D. in life. “She used to be embarrassed to admit she didn’t go to high school, but today she uses this part of her story to give hope to those who think they can’t do this.”
“This business can work for anybody,” Shauna adds, “because it’s about who you become and it comes with all the training you’ll ever need. My story proves that as long as you’re a student of the business, you can succeed. I want to help those who are willing to do a little more now to have a lot more later.”
Heartfelt Network Marketing™
By Shauna Ekstrom
I was not an overnight success, but I was empowered by my hopes and dreams. In the beginning, it was difficult. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just did what the top achievers told me to do. It never felt quite right, but I was a newbie so I thought it was just me. Five companies and fifteen years later, I stopped listening to everyone and started to listen to myself. As soon as I found my own voice, my network marketing career changed for the better.
With every little success I became more confident of my different approach to the business, and ultimately developed my Heartfelt Network Marketing manifesto. I have always come from the position of genuinely wanting to help people feel better about themselves and give them hope. The principles of Heartfelt Network Marketing have allowed me to dramatically change, both physically and financially, my life, my family’s life, and the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country.
I am proud to be a Heartfelt Network Marketer. Why wouldn’t I be? The network marketing profession is overflowing with caring, hard-working, motivated, fun, supportive individuals who started with nothing, found hope, and began dreaming. I am one of them, and I am proof that it can be done without compromising your ethics and alienating your family and friends—although through my excitement over my newfound freedom, I did in the beginning.
I’m also thrilled that so many accomplished professionals are deciding to join our business. Many of them already have high incomes, but they need a new challenge or are looking for the security and time freedom they are lacking in the corporate world or being self-employed. Scott really exemplifies this type of professional looking for more. Network marketing truly has something for everyone.
My wonderful husband has encouraged me to spread my story and the gift of Heartfelt Network Marketing to as many people as humanly and technologically possible. I want everyone to know what it’s like to feel free; to be able to help your elderly parents, pay for your children’s college education, or contribute to a cause you’re passionate about. To this end, I am publishing my book Beyond the Red Doors: The Dawn of Heartfelt Network Marketing.
My last hair salon was called The Red Door. Beyond the Red Doors is about overcoming fear and breaking down the barriers you have to step through to succeed. I explain the methodology and philosophy I followed while building my business. I didn’t resent starting out with two strikes against me because it gave me a chance to learn that if it’s to be, it’s up to me. I also realized early on that you can’t feed the poor when you’re one of them.
I worked my way up from humble beginnings and created the lifestyle of my dreams through Heartfelt Network Marketing. Now it is my turn to pay it forward and help others who are open and willing to be, do, and have more.
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