Mike Sims is a top earner in one of the fastest growing network marketing companies in the world today. Born and raised in Opelika, Alabama, Mike currently holds residences in Atlanta and Miami. He also spends time traveling the world to lead his global team of over 150,000 members.
Mike also serves as the CEO of Mike Sims Worldwide, a company with a focus on venture capital investments, apparel design, real estate, business coaching and mentoring.
As a mentor, Mike is dedicated to using his expertise to help others realize their dreams. He says his gift to connect with people has provided him with a unique opportunity to give back what has been poured into him by the multiple mentors he has been fortunate to learn from over the years.
An internationally recognized personal growth and leadership expert, Mike is committed to using his platform to educate youth and business-minded adults by providing world-class training and resources for developing life and business skills.
What was your first encounter with network marketing?
My background is in financial services, and I noticed one of my clients had a residual income stream of multiple six figures a month. As I started to ask questions, he let me know it came from network marketing and encouraged me to take a look at it. He was earning more in a week than I was in the entire year, so his financial plan was a lot better than mine, even though I was his financial planner. I was intrigued, but I didn’t get involved in network marketing immediately. I asked my parents and some other people for advice, and because they either had a bad experience or no business experience, they recommended that I stick to my job.
A couple of months later I met another successful network marketing professional who invited me to a seminar the following day. One of the presenters was Brad Hager, the second six-figure monthly earner I met. He said something that got my attention: If you buy other people’s opinions, you buy their lifestyle. Life is something everyone has; style is the way you get to live it.
That’s when I decided to stop buying other people’s opinions and start listening to individuals who had the outcomes I was looking for in terms of financial and time freedom. I found a network marketing company and got started. This was in 2000 and I was 22 years old.
How did you find your company?
I did some research and came across an ad in the paper that mentioned a six-figure income and a businessman looking for a few people to train and coach. When I called the number, the gentleman said, “You sound like a great candidate for what we have.” I had no idea it was a network marketing opportunity, even though I was already looking for one. I sat down with him and got started in a company selling legal services.
I quit my job a few days later, because one of the things I heard at that initial seminar was, “If someone tells you how much time you have for lunch every day, they have too much control over your life.” The next Monday I was hurrying up to finish my lunch at work because someone had changed the schedule around. I said, “That’s it.” What I heard at that seminar kept replaying in my head, and I decided to walk out.
Everybody at the job said I’d be back. A lot of them laughed and said I was making a huge mistake. My parents thought I was going crazy. I went for it anyway, because I didn’t want to buy the opinions of people who didn’t have what I was looking for.
What exactly did you do once you quit?
The first couple of months I was nervous and really didn’t know what to do. The gentleman who signed me up in the company had only been in the business for a little while. I wasn’t sure he had the ability to teach me what I needed to do. He said, “Just go talk to people.” I was uncomfortable just walking up to people. I knew I couldn’t call my parents. The first people I called I must have said the wrong thing to, because they weren’t interested at all.
After three months of struggle, I attended a two-day training by Eric Worre and Jeff Olson in Charlotte, North Carolina. That’s where I learned everything I needed to know to really get started in the business and be successful. I immediately implemented what I learned, recruited some people, got some traction, and things took off for me.
Was your age an issue?
None of my peers were interested. I exposed a few people I went to college with to the opportunity, but they kind of ran from me for a couple of months. Some of my close friends said they would take a look, but never did. My mentality then was— whoever is beating around the bush, or whoever’s stringing me along, whoever’s telling me no, I’m going to put them on my Make Them Pay list. The idea to make these people pay for not even taking a look at my business really motivated me.
For a lot of people, hearing no drives them out of the business. I didn’t really have another choice because I quit my job. When people told me no, it drove me further into the business. It gave me energy to prove them wrong. There was no way I could let them be right.
Personal development played a big part in that. Reading became a daily commitment, even though I had only read two books through all of high school and college. When Eric and Jeff taught the importance of self-development, it really resonated with me. I started growing and becoming someone who could attract people from all walks of life. That helped me overcome most of the challenges that would come as a result of my age.
Of course, sometimes in the beginning older folks didn’t want to buy into the vision of a 22-year-old, but personal development started to help my ability to clearly articulate the vision and to inspire them to follow me as well.
Three months into the business, I even signed up my parents. They asked me how well my business was going, because I hadn’t asked them for any money. They figured either I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing, or my business was working. Both had been involved in education for over 20 years. They figured if they did a little work in network marketing, they might be able to retire. They could generate the income they would lose in retirement by building a network marketing business part time. They ended up joining me and have now been involved full time in network marketing for 15 years.
Where did you start building and how long did you stay with your first company?
I started in Atlanta because that’s where I was introduced to the business. As soon as I got some traction there, I expanded into my home state of Alabama where I knew a lot of people. I had never really heard of anybody building or being successful in my first company in that state, so I built a huge organization locally and then we branched out through all 50 states and into Canada.
I stayed with my first company for six years and built my team up to about 30,000 members. As I continued to study the profession, I met many successful networkers with businesses that were generating multiple six-figure monthly incomes. Looking at the DSA Global-100 list and some other lists, I noticed the majority of the top companies sold a consumable product and had a big international presence. My first company operated only in North America, and due to the nature of the service, the likelihood of it ever going international was slim to none.
I really wanted to build an international business and have an opportunity to generate what I called “the big money” in network marketing, so I decided to explore my options. I took some time away from my business and for about a year spent time with mentors who had been in product-based companies for a decade or more. They started telling me what to look for and teaching me the criteria for a long-term legacy opportunity. I wanted what they had, because I recognized network marketing was a tough business that takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I wanted to put myself in the best position possible to never have to start over again.
What made you decide on your current company?
I was taught, “You want to get involved in something where the management is seasoned in building network marketing companies. Next, look for a product that’s a category creator, meaning they are the first company to bring something to market, not a knockoff or a version of something else that’s already been established or around for a while.”
They told me to find a company with a compensation plan that was balanced, meaning people could get their money back quickly once they got started, but that also rewards people for the hard work they put in at the top. Timing is important. They told me to find a company that hasn’t grown through the masses yet, where people hadn’t really heard about it, so you can be part of the reason why that company hits momentum and becomes a household name. Then the training and support were very important. You want to make sure training systems are in place so the person with no experience can succeed. The company I’m involved in now had all those criteria, except the training and support, because it was a startup. Based on the experience I had and some other partners that were involved in the beginning, I knew we could set up the training and support systems we needed to get off the ground and grow. I joined in September 2006.
How did you transition into your new company?
I left everything behind and started over from scratch. This was tough, because I was used to earning an income just by showing up for trainings and not having to worry about filling the seats at the event.
I had to go back to doing the things I did in the early part of my career, because those things were necessary. Nobody had ever heard of us before, which was a good thing, but it was also what kept some people from saying yes. They wanted to see if we would make it for six months. Then they wanted to see if we’d be around for a year. Once we did $10 million in sales some people wanted to wait till we reached $25 million.
Thankfully we were able to generate momentum by going out and finding new people and being able to articulate the vision of what we do or what’s in it for them long term, as well as the power of our products. Our product line often gives people life-changing results, which was a major part in us being able to create some traction.
How did you find new people?
The fastest way to get started is working with your warm market. Go to any network marketing event and ask the audience, “Raise your hand if you were introduced to this business by someone you knew before.” I guarantee 90 to 95 percent of the people in that room were introduced by someone they already knew. It’s a relationship business, so nothing will get you more profitable faster than contacting your warm market.
Then I would strike up conversations with people as I go about my day. The concept I teach is, “Do this business around your life,” so if I was going to the car wash I would talk with someone about cars or something that had nothing to do with the business. Eventually, once I built rapport and we had a chance to get to know each other, I would ask that person, “Do you keep your options open for taking a look at ways to generate additional sources of income?” If I go to my dry cleaners, or to a sporting event, whatever it is, I’m always sitting by, talking to, or looking for someone who displays some criteria or characteristic that I would want in my business.
One of my rules is, “Always recruit or try to attract people your business needs, not people who need your business.” People who need your business will find you anyway, because they join pretty much everything they see. The people your business needs, you want to either put them on a list on purpose, or you want to put yourself in a position to attract them to your business.
In the beginning we were doing private business receptions in living rooms all across the country. As we grew and started to build a distributor base, we held open opportunity meetings new people could plug into. Then opportunity meetings built toward larger meetings, what we call Super Saturdays and have once a month in different markets. Then the Super Saturday event would build up to a regional event that was even larger, and the regional event launched us into the big corporate event once a year.
Looking at the past nine years, can you share some milestones?
The first two or three years were very exciting. It was 100 miles an hour, all-out massive activity, finding the people who were going to emerge or grow into leaders. But it was tough as well. As our team grew, we had to start teaching people how to grow and become leaders themselves. Once we started doing that, our team grew exponentially.
Going international was also exciting but poses different challenges, because of language barriers, customs, different ways of doing business in different parts of the world, and so on. Time zone differences and traveling takes a lot out of you, but it can be a lot of fun.
One thing I learned from doing business around the world is that despite different religions, ethnicities, and cultures, at the core we are all very much alike. Everybody is looking to better their health, to build something that can continue to pay them and that allows them to leave a legacy behind for their loved ones. That’s one of the things that bonds us all together. It’s been a fun experience. It was one of my dreams when I got started in the profession to have a business over which the suns never sets.
With such diversity, how do you accomplish team unity?
We all share the common goal of creating leadership within the organization that genuinely cares about people. Once people figure out that you have their best interest at heart, that you don’t look at them just as volume and commissions, then they buy into the overall vision of the team. We create a strong culture within the organization and we’re plugging into the same training system. Once you have that team culture in place, you have an organization that can’t be stopped.
The key is leadership. If the vision is articulated clearly and everybody knows the mission of the organization, then the rest is just hard work, dedication, and consistency.
Thankfully today you don’t need to have a huge phone bill to be able to build a business internationally. You can use all kinds of apps and many different technologies to communicate with people all over the world. That makes it a whole lot easier and more economical than before. We have the power of Facebook and Instagram and other means to connect. We can see what’s going on in everybody’s life and what’s going on in the team. We can all come together on these different platforms to share ideas and do trainings.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple to build an international business today. It’s simple to upload a training video on YouTube and send that to your organization all over the world so they can watch it over and over.
What are some of the common challenges people face on your team?
I have a rule, “If you’re not plugged in, your check will never light up.” First you have to plug in to everything that’s happening. The second rule is to apply what the leadership talked about in the training. My mentors always told me they had made a lot of mistakes, and the reason they were doing the training is so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes. I believed them, so I did the best I could to skip all the errors in judgment they had made in the past. I treat it like they went through that for me so I don’t have to go through it.
I tell the team, “Until you try and implement the things the leadership has trained on, you don’t even have permission to reach out for help.” It’s almost disrespectful of a leader’s time if we say things aren’t working, and we’re not working.
I have another saying, “At the end of the day, after everything is said and done, always make sure there’s more done than said.” When people are applying the training and actually doing the work it takes to be successful, they’re going to get results, because as they’re doing the work they’re going to get better and better and better. We’ve created a culture where if people are out doing the business, all we have to do is tweak things here or there, for instance the verbiage or maybe the posture or the confidence or the belief. Those are some things we can tweak, but you have to be doing some activities first.
The main challenges people have all go back to lack of belief. Either they don’t believe in themselves, or they don’t believe in the company. They believe in the products, because they’ve benefited themselves and seen thousands of testimonials. They believe in the compensation plan, because they see many people earning great part-time incomes as well as seven-figure incomes. The main challenge is getting people to believe they can be a success story too.
You can’t overcome that challenge until you get into activity. A lot of times people want to see themselves at the pinnacle, but that’s too far out. There’s always a voice in your head that’s telling you, “You’ll never get to seven figures,” or “You’ll never get to six figures,” or “You’ll never get to $50,000 a year.” The way to silence that voice is to accomplish a series of small milestones. You start with one, and then you set another goal, and you accomplish that goal. Then you set another goal, and you accomplish that goal. You do that over and over again while stringing together a lot of small victories, and that leads to you accomplishing your big long-term goal—and it helps build your belief along the way.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
I am highly committed to continuing to build my organization. I never want to become complacent. I feel blessed and grateful for where I am, and I also take time away from business to do things that are important to me, like spending time with family and engaging in activities based around my religious beliefs. At the same time I know we have a lot more people to help in building this business. I want to be part of the reason why my company becomes a “legacy company” or one of the largest companies in the network marketing space.
One of my mentors years ago taught me, “Never forget to send the elevator back down,” meaning if you have been coached, trained, and mentored, and you ascend to greater heights, make sure to send the elevator back down for someone else.
There’s another principle I teach: Once you get out of the ditch, it’s your responsibility to help others out of the ditch, but you can’t help anybody out of it if you’re still in it. As I accomplished some goals and built the lifestyle of freedom network marketing can provide, I’ve always reflected on the people who helped me and the things I learned along the way. I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the profession as much as I possibly can, because it’s blessed me with so much.
A couple of years ago some of my mentors asked me why I wasn’t training more and showing others outside my company how to create huge success. I didn’t have a good answer or excuse, so I started doing it. I produced some tools and started giving trainings for other companies. I started doing seminars with some of my mentors, including Les Brown and Eric Worre. It’s been a fun, rewarding experience, and I want to do a lot more of it over the next couple years.
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