Steve and Amber Saunders were a typical busy family before they started their network marketing business just two years ago. Steve was putting in forty to fifty hours a week as a graphic designer, and Amber was working over fifty hours a week in a salon doing nails. The holiday season was an especially busy time of year for both of them.
“In December 2012 we were living in Steve’s mom’s basement with our two little boys, trying to save money to move into our own home and planning Christmas for our family,” says Amber. “Our plates were completely full, with not enough time or money to live the way we wanted. We decided something had to change; we didn’t want to work our lives away eight-to-faint.”
Steve and Amber especially missed spending quality time with their two young boys, resenting the fact that others spent more time with them than they were able to. Looking around at their options, they didn’t see a way out of their daily grind.
“We looked at opening storefront businesses so we could work for ourselves instead of building someone else’s dreams,” says Steve, “but the startup costs were prohibitive and it could take years to grow a profitable business.”
Steve and Amber were desperate for a change, when finally a longtime friend and nail client of Amber’s, Sandie Parker, told them about a new “relationship marketing” business. The startup costs were low, the timing was right, and both wanted more for their family, so they jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back since.
Sharing versus Selling
In the beginning Steve and Amber were nervous about starting what turned out to be a multilevel marketing business.
“Just like so many others, we had mixed feelings because of the stories we had heard,” says Steve. “We both knew people who had lost money or felt they had gotten ‘ripped off.’ Neither of us had any experience in this business model and we’re both awful when it comes to sales.”
Fortunately, the idea that this new business could give them more time with their kids while paying the bills was far more appealing than any perceived risks or obstacles.
“We were looking for a way to change our lives for the better,” says Amber. “We just hadn’t found the right vehicle to get us there.”
Steve and Amber quickly found that their fear of sales was countered by a fail-proof training and mentorship program offered by a company with an exclusive product. They also discovered that relationship marketing is more about sharing your excitement for a product and business than about selling.
“This business model grew on us very quickly,” says Steve. “Today we feel right at home in the business of helping others achieve their dreams and goals, and we can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Consistent Small Efforts
Once they joined the business, they went full steam ahead, following a step-by-step system for exposing others to the product and opportunity, all the while keeping their approach as simple as possible.
“We used the systems that were in place, which allowed us to earn as we learned,” says Amber. “We have the most experienced and dedicated upline and support team we could have wished for, and we constantly strive to model ourselves after them.”
Steve and Amber also found out that the “simple” parts of the business can also be the most challenging.
“While the day-to-day activities that build our business are easy to do, they are just as easy not to do,” says Steve. “It takes determination and practice to focus on and finish simple daily goals. But, once we learned that consistency and persistency builds a strong, sustainable business, it became second nature to just do those activities and not come up with excuses.”
“We really have taken Jeff Olson’s philosophy of The Slight Edge to heart,” Amber adds, “taking small steps every day that add up to big changes over time. This has made a powerful positive impact not only on our business but also in our lives.”
Reflecting on their pre-network-marketing days, Steve and Amber remember their daily schedules as daunting: wake up at 6:30 a.m., get ready and drive 30 minutes to work, work eight to ten hours, come home and do housework, try to carve out a little family time, rinse and repeat.
Being in charge of their daily schedule, they now follow a points system to stay productive and on track, all the while keeping a healthy work/life balance.
“We each commit to scoring eight points every day by doing a certain number of income producing activities,” Steve explains. “This adds up to 40 points a week or 160 points a month. This point system is easy to stick to and duplicable for everyone in our organization.”
Steve and Amber’s daily activities consist of team calls, market parties, one-on-one meetings, company update calls, and trainings to keep team members up-to-date and involved.
“We try to do a few of these activities every day, but not all of them in one day,” says Amber. “One day we might drill down in our organization and help people achieve short-term daily goals, identifying the ‘runners’ so we can help them set long-term success goals. Another day we might have team calls to keep everyone engaged. We go out and try to meet new people every day. Making our own schedule and meeting new people are the things we love the most about this business model.”
Steve and Amber’s goal is to meet at least two new prospects every day.
“As one of our mentors taught us, we are always open for business,” says Steve. “We carry third-party tools with us at all times to give to new prospects or contacts. Nothing worse than talking to somebody about what we do and not being able to share the product because we aren’t prepared.”
Part of being open for business is also having a warm, inviting, friendly attitude.
“We daily remind ourselves of our blessings so that we can go out into the world with smiles on our faces and a happy attitude,” says Amber. “We know that being happy with yourself and your life is key to success in relationship marketing. We try our best to become the kind of people we want to attract.”
As their business grew, Steve and Amber learned that the best way to lead is by example.
“Don’t just talk—go out and do!” says Amber. “To build a strong team, you must do the activities you want your team to do. We follow the system to a T and make sure everyone we introduce to our business knows what to do instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.”
“Staying plugged in and involved is another key part of being a good leader,” says Steve. “We stay in close touch with our team and are big on building relationships beyond the business environment. Our team is like family and we do everything in our power to help them achieve their goals.”
Both Amber and Steve feel blessed with the outstanding leaders and mentors they have found since starting their business.
“Our role models include Jeff Olson, Dennis Windsor, Mark and Tammy Smith, Ron Forrester, Leslie Hocker, Scott Myrick, Sandie and Charlie Parker, and so many others,” says Amber. “We have learned more than we could have ever dreamed from these amazing individuals, who have played key roles in our development and the success of our business.”
Steve and Amber are avid readers of business and personal development classics such as Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and The Law of Success, Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage, and other books by John C. Maxwell and Malcolm Gladwell.
Tips from the Field
Steve and Amber say the best advice they can give from their experiences so far is to just show up.
“The simple act of fully showing—for your business and in life—separates you from the masses,” says Amber. “What we mean is being present. Don’t let any of the opportunities life offers pass you by. If you do this business persistently and consistently over a long enough period of time, it will work.”
“Also know that everyone is on a different path and that our timelines are different,” Steve adds. “Being discouraged at times is okay; it’s a normal feeling in this business. We have had our fair share of challenges—and we still do. Simply move past discouragement and use it to fuel positive actions to achieve your goals. This is not a quantum-leap business model; it takes time and effort to build. Just like with anything else in life that’s worth pursuing, it can get frustrating and hard, but the ‘ups’ far outweigh the ‘downs,’ which we use as learning experiences to help us to better ourselves. Use this business model as your vehicle to take you to your biggest dreams!”
Steve and Amber feel deeply grateful to be on their new journey, which they believe has just begun.
“We can’t wait to travel the world with our family and friends, surrounded by the brightest and most generous people in the world,” says Steve. “We strive to live happy and full lives and we believe relationship marketing will open doors for us that were out of reach just two years ago.”
“We want to help as many people as possible to change their circumstances for the better and give them choices in life,” Amber adds. “We love that we can build our business from anywhere in the world, living a life of contribution. We are quickly becoming addicted to the high of helping others succeed and achieve their dreams.”