Lisa DeMayo is a master trainer and top earner in one of the leading 2015 Global-100 direct selling companies. From her home in New Jersey, Lisa leads a fast-growing organization spanning six countries on four continents.
Lisa became a network marketing multi-millionaire while raising her three children. Trained as a life, leadership, and executive coach, she joined network marketing in 2005 because she was “tired of the rat race.” Leveraging her strong leadership and people skills, she quickly rank-advanced in her company, but her success didn’t come without hard work.
In 2013 Lisa published her first book titled The Art of Getting What You Want: How to Cultivate the Happiness, Health and Wealth You Desire, inspiring solo-preneurs all over the world to reach for their dreams. Another one of Lisa’s passions is to help others develop self-love, self-reliance, and an abundance mindset.
What was your first encounter with network marketing?
I was 19 years old when one of my mom’s friends invited her to an opportunity meeting. My dad had just died and my mom was working three jobs. I was a freshman in college and working full time. Despite my crazy schedule, I said “I’ll go with you.” I went to support my mom and became fascinated, not so much with the product or the business, but with the people in front of the room.
This was in the early 80s, and from there I started signing myself up for different coaching courses—anything I came across. Having experienced many adversities during my teenage years I had become interested in personal coaching at the age of 16. Today I’m trained in many different modalities, including neuro-linguistic programing, somatic coaching, and ontological coaching.
I’m a Master Coach who trains coaches in how to lead leadership groups. I’ve trained in financial institutions, group settings, and one on one. Along the way I kept meeting network marketers, because they often frequent personal development courses. Many would invite me to their company events. I would watch the behavior of the presenters in front of the room and I would talk to people.
Young and naïve, I said yes to everyone who invited me. I can’t even tell you how many different company conventions I have attended. I wanted to understand how the leaders spoke to their groups, what leadership skills they had. While everybody was taking notes on the product and business statistics, I was observing, “This is where they ask the audience a question,” or “This is how the speaker edifies himself.” I would then bring what I learned to my coaching business. It wasn’t until August 2005 that I joined my first company. Five months later I achieved a top rank. My “overnight success” was a result of decades of working on myself. I had developed the leadership skills.
What convinced you to build a network marketing business?
I was stuck in the rat race, and I was well aware of it. I had two children and even though I was full-time employed as a pharmaceutical representative and professional coach, we were living paycheck to paycheck. I had done everything I was supposed to do—I graduated college, got a good job, worked overtime. Yet we were struggling financially and were living life according to someone else’s design.
I understood the network marketing business model fluently, because I had watched and observed it for so long. I saw it as a way out, but you had to have the evidence when people would ask, “How much money do you make?” I don’t know why, but in our profession that question is always asked. We talk about the money we make to provide evidence for people. When they asked, I would say, “$17, $25... and you really can’t make much more in your first, second, and third month.” I did not understand that compensation plans varied so much from company to company. In my current company, for instance, I was able to make much more within my first months!
I quickly found out my first company wasn’t the right fit for me. I just didn’t know what to look for in an opportunity. The hard part is making a decision to leave a company, because we always like to think we’re in the right place. I didn’t know what else was available. The company was mostly women, and I really wanted to do non-gender-specific health and wellness. I looked for years before I found a new home.
How did you start building?
For my first launch party I worked the phone nonstop personally inviting people. Then I called back, and then I called them back again. I was so diligent in my follow-up that 35 people came. Four people signed up at my dining room table, which was also my changing table. I had baby diapers on one side and my office on the other side. Living in this tiny house, I believed so much in myself and the opportunity in front of me that I created belief for my team.
That night I wrote them a letter which basically said: I have worked so much on myself, done so much leadership development and personal growth, done everything I was supposed to do, and nothing ever worked. I can’t see the light. My kids are in daycare. I can’t get out of this financial mess and I am tired. I will do every single thing it takes to get to the top of this company. I believe in the company. I believe in the product. I believe in myself, and I believe in you as my team. Even if we’re just this little group, we’re going to do this, and there will be a point in time where I will read this letter on stage, and I will tell everybody that it starts with mindset. You don’t need to know how to do anything. Ignorance on fire is so much better than knowledge on ice. We just need to keep talking about the product and getting new people on board.
I sent that letter out at 3:55 AM. I didn’t sleep that night I was so excited. Working a full-time job, I got up an hour earlier and went to bed an hour later. I bought precooked meals. I talked on the phone nonstop. Every second I had I worked. I didn’t have time to socialize. I said no to a lot so I could say yes to my business. I had kids on both hips going to meetings. I had to work around daycare issues, as so many moms do. I used to hire babysitters so all the kids could play in one room and all the moms could sit in another room to talk about the product. I worked seven days a week, nonstop, with a full-time job and two babies. A few weeks into it I thought I was sick or completely burnt out, until I realized I was pregnant with third. I told myself, “I need to make this happen yesterday.” I had already gone to the top, and that’s when I promoted my first person.
Was there a spouse involved? Did you have any support?
I was married at the time. I’m divorced now. When I started he was pretty neutral. He always believed in me. He didn’t help me with the business, as it was mostly women, but he did help at home. At first he was apprehensive and said, “You have two babies and a full-time job, and you’re already tired. You’re doing coaching. How are you going to put something else on your plate? This isn’t going to work, we have tried this before.” He knew I was just going to do what I was going to do. I would tell him, “I’m going out at 7:00 pm to give a presentation.” The kids were fed, bathed, in their cribs. There was dinner on the table, and I just went. I juggled all of my roles.
How soon were you able to quit your job?
Two months in, when I earned a company car. I knew I had to quit my job to gain some time in my day to devote to my business. My team was big enough so that within four or five months the income was going to be there. More than about the length of time, it was about the activity I had. I knew I had a strong enough foundation where I’d be able to replace my income, and at that point my job was holding me back.
We didn’t have Facebook at the time, so I went out to meet people. I would leave my house every morning with the babies in car seats. I would take five folders with me, curiosity packets we used to call them. I wouldn’t come home until I gave them all out and got people’s information. I did home parties, presentations, calls, or whatever was wanted and needed seven days a week, mornings and afternoons. If somebody said, “I have one friend coming over,” I would go. I was completely hands on. I called everybody. “Who do you know who knows somebody...?”
Of the first four people I sponsored, one woman was a complete stranger. I met her that morning in an exercise class. My daughter Victoria was two at the time, and she wouldn’t stay in the babysitting room. This woman in the front of the room said, “Just let her sit in the back and play, it’s okay.” After class I went up to her and said, “You were so kind. I appreciate you so much. I have a gift for you.”
I truly believe every time I talk to someone, I’m giving them an opportunity that can potentially change their life. She said she’d attend my launch party, but then she cancelled on me. I called her and said, “You promised me you were coming, and I’m doing this meeting for all the people who promised me. I cleaned my house, I cooked all day, I have a babysitter... what if everybody does this to me? You have to come.” She came and today she is one of my strongest leaders—and one of my dearest friends.
To this day I continue to talk to strangers. I do my best recruiting in airports. It’s amazing the number of people I’ve signed on who sat next to me. Now you can post on Facebook in the air, “I just met so-and-so on this airplane ride. Please welcome her to our team.” In the last couple of months I’ve signed on four people on airplanes!
What do you tell people who don’t believe they can do this?
I say, “Yes, you can. I believe I can. Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.” That’s the first place you need to check. You need to take inventory of what’s going on in your head, find out where that belief came from, and change it. Believe that you can, and put forth that energy.
The second part is, I hardly say anything; I just ask people a lot of questions. When people realize you’re listening generously, they will talk, and you’ll find out every single thing you need to know before that plane lands, or before that conversation ends.
Typically, if I meet somebody on the street somewhere or shopping, I would just initiate a conversation. “I may have something for you. I’m not sure if it fits in or not, but I’d love to have a conversation with you when you have some free time.” Then I try to control the amount of distractions. I like to meet them either at my home or theirs, or anywhere we can sit down and chat.
How did you change companies?
I’m a risk-taker. I believe life is not a dress rehearsal—this is it, and tomorrow is promised to no one. My soul wasn’t happy. I felt I was living this beautiful lie. I wasn’t passionate about the company. I had to ask myself, “Do you believe everything you tell people?”
What was holding me back was well-intended people telling me, “You’ll never do this again. You got really lucky. You’re never going to have the energy to pull this off twice.” That was hard. On top of that, my marriage was breaking down. People said, “Why can’t you just settle with this company? Why can’t you just settle in your marriage?” “The grass always looks greener on the other side, just be happy Lisa.”
I knew it’s all a mindset, and that the Universe always provides. In the moment we always have what we need. I was walking away from a mid-six-figure income—and planning to start the next day at zero (because you can’t bring anybody over). I didn’t have a safety net. I didn’t have a sign-on bonus. All I had was my phone. I took the plunge and early on in my new company I left my coaching business and was going through a divorce. I truly thought it was more than I could handle.
I did an inventory, “What do I really want out of this life? Do I want to coast?” It felt like I was coasting uphill. I knew there was going to be a place where I could really thrive. I watched my current company for two years. I flew out to the corporate office. I spoke to leaders and learned the compensation plan. I did my homework to understand different compensation plans and what would work for me four years, six years, 10 years down the line.
I found the perfect tripod of systems, comp plans, and products, all working synergistically. I loved that the company owner had walked in my shoes three times—she’d gone to the top of three different network marketing companies. Her husband had already built a network marketing company. I knew people who personally knew them and that they had integrity.
When I visited the home office, I went from room to room and interviewed the executive team. They had answers to all my questions—and evidence to back up those answers. “Which countries are we going to? When? Why? How long will that take? What’s in the pipeline?” Everything was planned out. They had done their due diligence and built a rock-solid foundation. I joined in 2011.
This time you had social media.
I wasn’t much of a Facebook user—until I realized, “This is the only way people are going to even find me.” I was afraid to use social media, because there were so many legal implications with my previous company. A few weeks into my new business, I posted, “Happy to start on my new products in my new home.” My attorney said, “I want you to stay off Facebook for at least another month.”
But people started messaging and calling me. It’s funny, I never worked with men, and I started my new business with my brother, who was brand new to network marketing, and my ex-husband, who said, “If you’re doing this, I want in.” Then my mom and sister joined, and then two of my leaders from my previous company who were miserable said, “If you go, I’m coming.” Then it was all my neighbors, none of whom had joined my previous team. It was a brand new market.
My family lives about two hours away. I started building locally. All I did was work. I woke up and I called my cousins. I called every person who had said no to me in my previous company but watched my success. I called pharmaceutical reps I had worked with. I called everybody, and most of them were yeses: “We watched you once before. We believe in you. If you say this is great, we’re in.” For the first time, I sponsored a lot of men.
How did your team grow over the past three years?
My fourth month I had made more money in one month than I had ever made in any month in my six-year career. I won the Rising Star award, then Shooting Star. We won a trip to Vegas. I was recognized as a top-25 income earner. That was huge for me. In January 2012 I was asked to be a main stage speaker at the New Year’s kickoff event. In August 2012 I was asked to keynote at the company convention. They asked me to train the Australian winners of a trip in Hawaii. The company started to fly me all over. I was working directly with corporate and sharing my ideas while training and building my team. In just a little over two years I was recognized as a million-dollar earner. This year I’m tracking for my first seven-figure year in my entire network marketing career.
And you did this as a single mom with three children.
I’m with my kids all the time. I’m very involved in their school, and they’re involved in my business. They love all their network marketing friends. They’ll come home and say, “Mom, my teacher wants to know what you do,” or “My friend’s mom wants to lose weight so I told her to talk to you about getting healthy.”
My kids are great recruiters for me. They’re my champions. The other night I was doing a call and my son came home from his Little League game. He said, “I’m so lucky. Every mom should do this, because you come to everything at school. You never say no to me.”
From the beginning, whenever I pushed for the next rank advancement I would let my kids in on it. I’d say, “This is what mom’s going for. This means when you come off the bus, I will be on the phone. When you guys sit down for dinner, sometimes I’m going to have to take a phone call. Is everybody okay with that?”
We would create our vision boards together. When I made millionaire, the kids were out of control screaming, because they earned a Disney cruise. I recently did a challenge on taking a bunch of my team members to the Atlantis. My kids won a trip to the Atlantis, because I rank-advanced twice this year. There’s always something in it for them when I achieve my goals.
I love my babies. What’s so incredible is their attitude. Because I’m home with them all the time, I hear them. I listen to them. I know how they are in the world, with their activities, in school. They’ll say, “I get to...,” not “I have to...” I teach them, “It’s just a choice how you look at something. You can’t change the circumstance—whether you like that teacher or that seat. You can only change your reaction to it.” They remind me of my little sayings all the time.
What do you see in the future? What do you dream about?
My dream is to continue to use this vehicle called network marketing to change the world, one life at a time—physically and financially. I also want to leave a legacy of teaching children about leadership and abundant thinking. I recently met Oprah Winfrey and I matched a donation for that purpose. I’m able to do that because of the money I make.
I support an after-school program to help inner city children. What I see myself doing is helping kids who don’t have a way to know that there’s an alternate way of being, to understand that they matter. We work with different communities where kids are given a choice whether to join a gang or get involved in a leadership course. It’s not a program you just go through once, it’s more like a housing project.
When I leave this world, my children will be in an incredible place financially and emotionally. They know they’re loved. They’re empowered. They will have the money they need, but the world isn’t so great. People steal and rob and take because of a scarcity mentality. If we can cultivate an abundance mindset in the next generation, we can create a better world. My children and I give a lot. That’s what matters.
What’s the greatest gift you’ve received?
Self-love. This business has empowered me tremendously. It’s taught me that there are many wonderful people in the world. I’ve been blessed with incredible friends, new networks of likeminded people who are out-of-the-box thinkers, eager to help others. It has truly enlightened me.
It allowed me to design my life, to live life on my own terms. When I wake up in the morning, I decide. Somebody else doesn’t decide what I’m worth, how much maternity leave I get, how much money I make. No one else is determining my outcome. It’s given me the autonomy to go ahead and create.
And the biggest lesson learned?
Humility. There’s always somebody better, stronger, smarter, whatever... Humility to always be a student. I still love to sit in the front row and take notes from that brand new person. I say to my team all the time, because I’m still actively building my business, “I pretend I don’t have what I have every day.” I still work with that level of intensity. I know when to take a break. I eat so much humble pie on a daily basis sometimes it just feels like Ritz crackers and peanut butter—like when you pour your heart and soul into a person, and then they send back the product.
I know this isn’t about me. It’s a constant lesson in humility. I never want to be the most significant person on my team. Strengthening and building leaders is allowing them to discover, grow, communicate, give, be in charge, be front and center. Leadership is always taking a step back and putting others first.
Back to top