Based in Houston, Texas, Sam and Kim Bean are stay-at-home parents who lead a growing network marketing organization with over 70,000 distributors and customers in 20 countries to date. The Beans attribute their extraordinary success to the mentorship and inspiration they received from their company’s VP of Sales Holton Buggs.
Both Sam and Kim are driven by a desire to raise their children in a different environment than the one they grew up in. Kim’s parents are Vietnamese immigrants who worked hard to make ends meet. Sam’s mom relied on government assistance and was a substitute teacher when there were openings. At the age of eight, Sam would cut lawns, wash cars, and recycle cans to help support his family. He wore second-hand clothing and often didn’t have enough money to play sports. Today, because of network marketing, the Beans’ young sons attend a Montessori school, take Tae Kwon Do, play in several sports leagues, and are being groomed as young businessmen.
The Bean family remembers not having enough money for gifts on birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s or Father’s Day. “Now,” they say, “every day is a holiday!” Just six years ago the Beans were struggling to keep their house and cars. Today they enjoy being able to go on two or three dream vacations each year, as well as to give generously to the charities of their choice.
“After hiding our cars from the creditors in the ‘witness protection program,’ we now drive beautiful vehicles that are paid for in cash—the one-payment plan,” says Sam. “The home we were about to lose is paid off, and we are working on acquiring our second home. This isn’t bragging; I simply want people to know that this business was created for people like us, and people like them, and that if we can do it, so can they.”—J.G.
When did you join your first company?
Sam: In 1996 I’d just come home from the military. I was a veteran from the Desert Storm era. I needed something to do in transition. While I was dabbling in real estate I watched an infomercial for a nutritional company at 3:00 in the morning. I saw an opportunity to be what I’ve always wanted to be: a business owner. What attracted me was a turnkey system and the flexibility to work from home. I had no idea what network marketing was at the time.
I called the toll-free number and was assigned an upline in Iowa, even though I was living in Houston. I never met the person; we just talked over the phone, which was a challenge. I went to the events, got excited, and sold some product, but I never really built a team. In fact, in that company I never sponsored one person. All I ever did was take the products and purchase motivational books and tapes.
In 1997 I transitioned to my first major network marketing company, which sold legal services. Surrounded by people who could help me develop and grow, I really got excited. In my first 60 days I sponsored 28 people. Within two years we built a team that generated some financial results, but the system was flawed in Texas, because we had to be licensed to do it, and not everyone could pass the test. This put a cap on how quickly we were able to move forward. I was doing it full time so I encountered some financial difficulties, which led me back to the workforce in 1998. I worked in corporate recovery for American Express for five years, helping people get their finances together and reestablish their credit.
The skills I learned through network marketing helped me a great deal. I found myself working early hours when everybody else was on their way in, and staying late after everyone went home. The personal development allowed me to progress much faster than my colleagues because the company was able to rely on me.
With mastermind group led by Holton and Earlene Buggs.
What year did the two of you meet?
Kim: We met in 2002 while we were both working for American Express. I had already been exposed to network marketing when we started dating. My brother connected me with a friend who was involved in a nutritional company headquartered in Dallas. I had met her years ago when she was one of the top earners in a makeup company. I saw her shine on stage—the glitz and glamour—and also develop professionally. Just knowing her background, I was intrigued, so I borrowed the $5,000 start-up fee from my brother thinking this would be the vehicle for me to retire my mom. That was a short-lived experience because the company lacked leadership and systems that were easy to duplicate.
My parents are from Vietnam, and they struggled to come over here. My father was a fisherman who did odd jobs including construction. My mom worked in a restaurant until she retired.I was born in the U.S., so I was never exposed to the life they left behind, but I’ve heard the stories and the hardships. My parents taught me to go to school and get a good job so I could take care of my family, including them—that was the culture. At that point, working for others had become a challenge for me, because for six years I’d dedicated my life to a company that didn’t appreciate my time and effort. I managed a department of over 200 employees, overseeing customer service, collections, the attorney’s office, and a telemarketing department. Having reached a financial ceiling, I left that company, convinced that corporate America wasn’t for me.
In 2004 a persistent gentleman from church, nagged us about another company, which Sam and I joined in 2004. That’s where we met Holton Buggs and Edwin Haynes, who had sponsored him.
Did you both do it full time?
Kim: First we transitioned, doing it part time for maybe a year, but we quickly built an average income of about $5,000 a month, so we went full time. We had to overcome a lot of challenges, such as figuring out our roles, because we are both strong minded. If you have two heads trying to lead, you create a monster. I eventually realized Sam had to lead, so I stepped back and became the support partner.
Unfortunately the company didn’t have it together at that time, so we left and started building our real estate and foreclosure protection companies. We stayed connected with Holton because of the strong respect we had for him. In 2007 Edwin Haynes called us about a travel company he was building. It was right around the time the real estate industry started going upside down. We were making about $40,000 a month with our foreclosure protection company, our real estate company, and our partnership in a mortgage corporation, and when the bubble burst we had to close all three. Two banks and several lending institutions closed on us and we lost over a quarter of a million dollars in commissions.
Sam: We were desperate financially. I was thinking about going back to work as an agent for ReMax. When we got that call from Ed about the travel company, we joined and our first three months we averaged about $8,000. Things started going downhill when the company got hit with a lawsuit from the state of California. In August 2008 we made the decision to transition to our current company, which was in prelaunch.
Kim launching Barista Bash program.
Sam as Ambassador of Houston awardee.
What made you decide on this company?
Sam: We knew it had the right leadership with Mr. Buggs, and when I looked at the product, it was something everybody consumes—coffee. In my previous companies, most people in my organization made little to no money, even when we made a little money. We wanted to join a company where we truly believed everyone could succeed, and that’s something coffee gave us, coupled with Mr. Buggs’ leadership and system.
We literally started this company as a member of the “NFL”—No Friends Left, No Family Left, No Finances Left. Our pipeline was dry, because people had seen us work hard to reach a lower or middle rank in some of these companies, and then our business collapsed.
Kim: When we joined, we were two weeks from foreclosure, hiding our cars from the creditors, and I was six months pregnant.
Sam: I remember Mr. Buggs telling me, “If you do everything I ask you to do for the next twelve months, you’ll put yourself in a position where you will never have to worry about money again. All the cars you’re about to lose, you’ll get better ones. The house you’re about to lose, you’ll have the one you truly deserve.”
My biggest concern was not knowing where my newborn son was going to lay his head. All I wanted to do was change the generational curses I was raised in financially into generational blessings.
We were already at the bottom, so we didn’t have anywhere else to go. Mr. Buggs had a resume of creating millionaires and we were business-minded people, so we jumped in. Even if the company didn’t work out, it would give us a chance to watch a business leader we highly respected and admired build a company from its inception. We wanted to see his wealth principles and business philosophies in play, so we could make them our own. We knew we could take those lessons to any business, traditional or network marketing.
How did you get started?
Sam: In the beginning we prospected everywhere we went. I was kicked out of Starbucks on a couple of occasions. We learned how to make friends using the F.O.R.M. technique (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message). My wife and I prospected close to 400 people since we’ve been in business and we’ve enrolled 102. Of the 102 we only knew 20 before we joined the company, and those 20 only joined after we’d built a successful team.
Kim: We had to learn patience and how to “hurry up and wait.” We found out that if you build out of necessity, it creates a destructive cycle, because you are communicating from a place of desperation. If you “force” people into the business, they don’t stay in. We learned how to build relationships in order to build distributorships; how to build loyalty, which built security. We developed ourselves, increased our value as human beings, and became more attractive to people who never knew us, so they couldn’t judge us.
Sam: We “sampled” everybody using the three-foot rule: whoever comes within three feet of you, introduce yourself and somehow get your product in their hands. I also had an eyesight rule: if I saw you see me, we were going to have a conversation. The sampling process was an awakening because the product was unlike anything we’ve ever sold before. People wanted what we gave them and they returned our phone calls when we followed up. We made it a habit to focus on retailing before recruiting. This was our first network marketing experience where we could actually lead with the product.
Featured in Success from Home magazine.
Reading the Wall Street Journal to expand business portfolio.
Where did you go to meet new people?
Kim: We would dress sharply but casually and walk around in malls to dream-build and prospect. A lot of times we would eat cold cuts at home and then go to a restaurant to have dessert while watching and studying people. We would go test drive vehicles and prospect people there. Our philosophy has always been, “You don’t go out to prospect; prospect while you’re out.” Since you can’t prospect at home, we stayed out all the time.
Sam: Fear was a determining factor for our success. Most people fear talking to people and prospecting because they don’t know what to say. As part of our company training we were taught to create a short conversation where you ask four questions and let the people do most of the talking. At the end you give them a product sample and then follow up. At first, because of my financial situation, I was a little pushy, but after awhile, it became natural like breathing. Eventually I found myself doing it even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about it.
To this day I have fears, and I tell people it’s okay to be scared. Most of us need to be scared to become successful, but you have to be scared of the right things. I always pit fear against fear. I will weigh something uncomfortable like talking to a stranger against my wife having to go back to work. I will weigh having to do an auto-ship against losing my car. I will weigh spending my last dime going to a big event against my children having to wear hand-me-downs and do things I had to do when I was 7 years old and my father was in and out of the household.
I always weighed something that made me uncomfortable in the business against something that would make me even more uncomfortable as a man, as a husband, as a father. If my wife or my children had to suffer, that greatly outweighed what I had to do to become successful in the business.
I also made sure to “burn my bridge”: I let my real estate license expire on purpose so I wouldn’t have a way to turn back. I had to make this happen and my fear helped me fail forward. Even when nothing was working, I made sure I was scared of the right things.
Kim, what was it like for you?
Kim: Being pregnant, I was definitely on an emotional roller coaster during that time. Growing up I never saw my parents fight over money, although we didn’t have any. That was also the philosophy I adopted: when money was tight, we made certain we weren’t going to fight over it. We decided to build this business, and we’re going to build it big, even though at times we wondered if we were going to make it as a couple.
This year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary and I believe our firstborn son is the reason we’re still together. We also attribute it to watching Mr. and Mrs. Buggs together and Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Haynes. But when we got started, it was difficult. I had to stay positive and affirm that things were going to be brighter at the end of the tunnel.
My husband didn’t want me to go back to work, and I had committed to being his helper instead of the breadwinner. I told myself, “He’s going to go out there and build it big. I’m going to take care of the home front so he won’t have to get distracted.” We literally made a contract: you put 100 percent into the business; I’ll put 100 percent into taking care of the household.
We teach that to build this business as a couple, you have to be spiritually yoked, business yoked, and personal-development yoked. When anything negative came my way, I literally stepped into a different room and professed that it go away. It sounds cliché, but that’s what I had to do to not transfer the negative energy to Sam.
Celebrating Christmas as sponsors/volunteers for the US Dream Academy.
Can you say more about being equally yoked spiritually and in personal development?
Kim: We both had an insatiable desire for personal development through reading books and listening to audio programs. In our first company, we were told to buy an iPod and upload it with programs by John Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown, Anthony Robbins, even Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, and more. That’s what we did, and every time we faced a challenge, we listened to the iPod. That helped us tremendously, not only in the business but in day-to-day life.
In a marriage where one spouse is focused on personal development and the other one is not, because he or she is detached, it will be nearly impossible for both partners to see eye to eye. Their differing philosophies will force them to grow apart as well as create resentment. The same goes for spiritual development. I’ve seen several relationships end because the partners were unaware of how crucial it is to be “on the same page” with the ones you love if you want to create a successful partnership—in business or in life!
When did you take a more active role in the business?
Kim: I gradually felt the need to engage in the business somehow, so I started volunteering. I learned a lot from Mrs. Earlene Buggs and asked if I could assist with some of the event preparations. I saw it as a way to contribute and learn. Sometimes Sam and I couldn’t afford to purchase flights for both of us, so he traveled to events while I helped set them up from home. I stayed plugged into personal growth while he was getting the nuggets at the events, and when he came home he’d share his notes with me.
Other women started to come up to me and say, “I want to be like you—stay home and spend time with the kids, and let my husband be in front of the room.”
Being independent all my life, I’ve always said if I were to ever get married I would never lose myself. If I was to have children, I’d still want to be me, because I’m a woman first, before kids, before husband, before everything else.
A lot of women in our company felt reduced to their role of wife and mother. That’s when I felt a strong calling to start speaking in front of the room. My message to them was, “This is not his business. If you’re at home putting his outfits together, paying the bills, or taking care of the kids, guess what? It’s your business, because you’re doing what you need to do in order for him to be in front of the room and look good.”
I strongly emphasize that a wife’s role is as important as the husband’s. If it wasn’t for the spouse, the person in front of the room wouldn’t be able to shine. I’ve been able to share the stage with Sam on plenty of occasions to present and train, particularly on this topic.
Enjoying the rewards of servant leadership.
Dream vacation in the Bahamas.
The young Beans being groomed as businessmen.
Do you also encourage women to participate in growing the business?
Kim: Yes, Sam and I put our heads together and said, “What can we do for the women who don’t feel strong enough to present or lead their own businesses?” They’re the ones who’d rather just support their spouses. Last year we put a Barista Bash program together where the women give home parties and cook up specialty drinks based on amazing recipes we created. All they do is invite their friends over, play a quick DVD showing where the company is going, serve the drinks, and then do what women often do better than men—retail products!
A lot of women are stepping up to do these parties and starting to take ownership of their husband’s business. I’m happy I was able to play a small role in that. My mission is to help one million women directly or indirectly and positively impacting them spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially through our company. Thanks to this business, I went from not even knowing what my mission in life was, to knowing that when I leave this beautiful earth I played a significant part in some women’s lives.
Sam, as your business grew, how did your mode of operation evolve?
Sam: In the beginning I was constantly prospecting. After 11 p.m., when I could no longer go out or call anyone, I connected with people on different social media sites until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. Every day was booked with one-on-one presentations and in the evening we held Coffee and Jazz mixers. I was doing a lot of three-way calls for new people and their warm markets. I stayed in touch with Mr. Haynes and Mr. Buggs daily for accountability. We held game plan sessions all the time.
I worked 50-60 hours a week for the first year. Now it’s down to 25-30 hours a week, with more quality time in the business as opposed to quantity. I’ve evolved from “shotgunning” to “lasering.” In the beginning you aim your shotgun into an area, and whatever you hit you recruit. Once you build a team of leaders and a financial resume, you can recruit a higher quality person. You can also focus more on emerging leaders and builders in your group.
Today, I wake up when I’m done sleeping, spend time with my children at breakfast, work out, and invest time with my wife. We exercise together from time to time, or have lunch, or catch a movie in the middle of the day. I still have my game plan sessions and prospect wherever I go; I just do it on a higher level. I lean heavily on the system. I edify the tools, the events, Mr. Buggs and Mr. Haynes, because what you do, your team will duplicate down in depth.
I do leadership and personal development calls on Saturday mornings for my team, because I believe in building the entire person, not just their business. We organize leadership retreats and boot camps, as well as regional Super Saturday trainings for people in different countries. I have a small group of individuals I mentor, and they in turn go out and lead the masses.
We believe—and invest—in recognition so we developed a monthly campaign called the Ultimate Champion Series. We give out high-quality crystal awards in four categories—Ultimate Achiever, Ultimate Recruiter, Ultimate Retailer, and Ultimate Rookie of the Month.
What are your dreams and goals for the future?
Sam: Our business goal is to help 20 people on our team get to $25,000 or more per month over the next three to five years. We also want to create 10,000 entrepreneurs worldwide who earn true residual income—not based on recruiting, just from reoccurring orders—of at least $1,000 per month. When you show someone how to get to $1,000 a month, that person now has the blueprint for any desired monthly income, whether it’s $5,000 or $500,000 a month.
Looking beyond our company, I want to be a beacon of light and an ambassador for the network marketing profession. I currently mentor three people in different companies I don’t earn money from. I believe if you increase the value of people in other companies, you increase the value of the profession overall.
We want to create a new generation of traditional business owners by helping people with an employee mindset transition to a business owner mindset with leadership skills. Most traditional businesses fail in the first two to five years due to lack of finances and leadership. Network marketing is the gateway to success for a new business owner. It’s kind of like the military. I was in the Army during Desert Storm. I believe everybody needs some sort of discipline or experience that will help them become a better person and a contributor to society. Network marketing is a shortcut that will give you the courage, the discipline, and the skills you need to go out there and create a successful business, instead of becoming a statistic.
The leadership in this profession has impacted our lives in ways I can’t even begin to describe. It’s made Kim and I better spouses, parents, friends, leaders, and contributors to society. Generational curses have been broken and legacies are being built. I can truly say we are in a position where we will never have to worry about money again as long as we live because we’ve learned how to control what produces it—our minds. Once you control your mind, there’s no such thing as “impossible,” fear, failure, or working for anyone else!
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