Based in Ontario, Canada, Tara Cooper is a young mother of three and one of the top 200 income earners in her company making a multiple six-figure income. When Tara was first introduced to her company in 2009, she was a stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old. “I was also a struggling part-time elementary school teacher,” she says. “Thankfully a friend of mine cared enough about me to share her opportunity.”
Tara wasn’t immediately receptive to building a business, because her prior experience in multilevel marketing had not been positive. Years ago she was in a couple of companies whose products she liked, but she remembers having trouble filling her monthly quota to remain an active associate. “I constantly felt I was begging my friends and family to help me reach my required volume,” she says. “During those times I would often resent spending money just to remain eligible for commissions.”
When her friend approached her six years ago, Tara told her she wanted to think about it and gave her lots of excuses for why she should say no. After two months of discussion, she finally joined, knowing it was time to take better care of her health. In her first company, Tara wasn’t as passionate about the products as she is in her current company, which she learned makes all the difference.
Tara quickly found out that launching a new business comes with multiple challenges. “Many of these challenges simply occur because our belief level is low and we lack knowledge and skills,” she says.
As Tara started building, she remembers being faced with ridicule, judgment, laughter, and avoidance from the very people she loved the most. “Thank goodness I was told that this is common,” she says, “because if no one had warned me, I may have given up and continued to believe that network marketing doesn’t work.”
Tara’s husband, with whom she’d always had a happy marriage, was very critical, closed-minded, and negative towards her business choices. When she asked him why, he said he didn’t want to see her get hurt. He also felt that she should pursue her teaching career for the benefits and lifestyle it offers.
“For 18 months, instead of trying to convince him, I just kept moving forward,” she says. “I educated myself, took action, and increased my confidence and belief by reading the right books and magazines. I attended events and surrounded myself with people who were already successful and believed in my potential before I believed myself.”
Another struggle Tara experienced was that she desperately tried to prove herself to the skeptics. “Therefore I was more focused on enrolling people rather than supporting them,” she says. “Looking for anyone who has ‘a pulse and a credit card’ is not the way to create a sustainable business, and I learned this the hard way.”
Reflecting on her daily mode of operation then and now, Tara says not much has changed. “When I began, I was eager to learn and totally coachable. I wanted to become a master in this profession. I love how David Wood (a wonderful mentor and trainer in my company) puts it: Every master was once a disaster.
Tara quickly discovered that the only way to build a network marketing business successfully is to have the desire to help others and the ability to follow simple systems. In teaching her team, she emphasizes the need to remain coachable and to consistently take the necessary actions, including:
Tara believes people often overcomplicate things, when in reality the network marketing business model is simple. As a busy mom of three young children—being pregnant or nursing babies for three years—she was able to build her business in the “pockets of my life. At times, 15 minutes was all I had. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15-minute increments. Stick with the basics and let the tools work for you!”
When team members come to Tara saying they have no one to connect with, or “I’ve contacted everyone on my list,” she explains to them how this is impossible. “I once read that the average person knows 1,000 people,” she says. “Even after six years in the business I haven’t reached all the people I know. My circle of influence continues to grow each day. If we embrace social media, we will never run out of people to talk with.”
Reaching out to strangers online was uncomfortable at first. “I was willing to continue to put myself in new situations,” says Tara, “always open to meeting new people. When we are positive, authentic, and willing to add value, we start to attract people without even realizing it.”
Tara met one of her most cherished business partners online. “She has also become one of my best friends, and we didn’t even know each another before she contacted me to join my business.” On the other hand, Tara did lose a few friends as her business grew. “One friend ‘unfriended’ me because she found my posts were overly positive. I was becoming the sum of the people I was spending the most time with and no longer interested in being unhappy and full of drama. Some friends want to stay in that place, which is okay. I just know I deserve to attract the right people into my life.” Tara believes social media is a powerful tool every network marketer should embrace.
Creating duplication and providing leadership for her team is an ongoing process for Tara. “I love helping people so much that in my first four years, I got into the terrible habit of doing things for others, which enabled them and sucked the energy out of me. This was the opposite of duplication and it was harming my business success and the success of my team. The past year I have changed the way I work with people, empowering them to become the leaders they deserve to be.”
Tara provides tools, systems, training calls, and live events for anyone serious about creating a successful organization. Reflecting on her mentors, she first thinks of her sponsors who were a wonderful couple, but they quit the business after a few months.
“I was grateful I could reach up to other leaders who were willing to assist me in my growth,” she says. “Pamela and Kevin Barnum, as well as Mike and Robin Dallaire, were amazing mentors and coaches for me in my first few years and still are today. If they recommend something, I listen. True leaders don’t ask us to do something they haven’t already done. I witnessed their success and knew that as long as I was willing to do what they do, I would be able to reach my own dreams.”
Another leader and mentor Tara was able to learn from early on was PK Smith. “Co-creation was the term he used for working with others to grow together—never in competition but always with an abundance mindset. Our company has a healthy culture of inclusion: we may be in different teams around the globe, but we always consider ourselves part of one family. We support one another regardless of whether we are financially linked. This creates opportunity and growth for all.”
Tara teaches that network marketing professionals need to build belief in three areas—their company (products and compensation plan), the profession, and self. “As soon as our belief is 100 percent in these three areas, we become unstoppable,” she says. “Because my first experience in network marketing was not so positive, my belief was weak. Once I read The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki everything changed in one week. There are tools to increase your belief in a short period of time, and this is a goal we have for our team. Building belief in self is an ongoing part of this journey as we practice skills and personal growth as a daily action.
The most important tip Tara teaches is to never give up. A top leader in her company, Jimmy Smith, told her shortly after she joined, “The only way you can fail at this is to quit.” On the other hand, She didn’t expect to get rich quick.
“I knew this was going to take dedication, consistency, some time, and hard work,” she says. “I was willing to do what it took, which included becoming a better version of myself.”
Another tip Tara shares is to make sure you find the company that’s right for you. Having tried several companies before finding her current one, Tara almost gave up on the profession. “I didn’t know I had my ladder leaning against the wrong wall (companies that weren’t right for me). Companies may let you down, but that’s no reason to give up on this incredible profession. You know you are in the right company when you can align all your values with it, without sacrificing any.”
Thinking about the future, Tara says her vision continues to expand to completely new heights. “As our family is achieving new goals and dreams we put on our vision board, we know anything is possible when we believe. My seven-, and six-, and three-year-old are just beginning to learn about what’s possible for them.”
Tara loves how her business allows her to live her life the way she designs it.
“Everyone deserves a life of abundance and the freedom to create their own story. Some people love their chosen career, and that is fantastic; but for those who feel they are forced to go to work to pay the bills, we can offer them a better way. That excites me. We are liberating families to create future choices! Network marketing is the only way for me. I am so grateful I pushed through and didn’t give up!”