Cecil, Hino, and Nani Razon are a mother-and-sons team that started building a network marketing business ten years ago from their home in the Philippines. Living without electricity, without transportation, and with only one phone for the entire family, they climbed their way out of debt and poverty, building one of their company’s largest organizations, called Eagles Alliance.

Whenever the company opened a new market, the Razons would be first to travel there and create a strong foothold working with referrals and cold market prospects. Today the Razons are spearheading their company’s largest team in Africa, adding about 500 new members a day.

On May 29, 2016, the Razons’ company celebrated its tenth anniversary in the largest indoor dome in the world (according to Guinness Book of World Records) which can accommodate 55,000 people. Last year the Razons’ team made up a quarter of the attendees.

Having secured their family’s future, the Razons have their hearts set on educating people around the world in personal development, financial freedom, and self-actualization. They are most passionate about sharing their opportunity with Overseas Filipino Workers, offering them a vehicle to come home to their loved ones and enjoy a life of freedom and prosperity.—J.G.

Who introduced you to the business?
Hino: The scenario was quite funny, because I had a closed mind towards network marketing. My mom had invited me numerous times, but I always said no. She had been involved in a lot of direct sales and network marketing companies in the Philippines. I knew what my mom was earning, and I doubted this business could change our lives for the better. We were barely surviving at that time.

I was forced to work at a young age to help my parents, because our family was going through “a dark age.” My mom will explain why we call it that. Even though I was a working student, this time she convinced me to attend, with my brother. She told us we were going to a birthday party. We were surprised when we saw this party had almost 300 people. She told us we would sit in front, which got us excited because it meant we would be near the food. We looked around, but there was no food.

Our greatest fears came true: we had been kidnapped into a network marketing seminar. We attended the meeting by force. For two hours, it was grueling.

Thankfully the speakers were good, because they were top network marketers and owners of the company. But nothing they said registered in my mind, because I was thinking about food.

What opened my mind was when the last speaker pointed out that in network marketing, no one asks you about your background. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school graduate, college graduate, what race you are, how much money you have, or how old you are. They don’t discriminate. They only ask, “Who has dreams? Who wants to build a better future? Who wants to be financially free?” That struck me. It touched my heart. It made me respect the speaker, and I fell in love with network marketing, at 18 years old.

Cecil: I was a banker before becoming a business owner. When I retired, it was the first time I had millions in the bank—in pesos, of course. After working as an employee for 20 years, all I wanted to do was start my own business. I started different ventures, but since all I knew was banking, they all flopped. Soon I burned through all my savings. I didn’t want to be employed again, so my only option left was network marketing. I earned some money, but I saw others who earned a lot more than I did, which was just a side income and didn’t sustain my family.

I knew there was something to this business I had yet to discover or learn. My upline didn’t bring me to leadership trainings, so when I was introduced to another company in 2006, I joined, this time with my sons. That’s where we started to make real income in network marketing. Up till then, we were doing it because it gave us something positive in our lives.

We were living “in the dark age” at the time, because I had accumulated a lot of debt after my failed business attempts. I had to sell my house, everything inside, even my car. Network marketing completely changed our life.

We had to sacrifice many things at first, but once we paid the price, we began reaping tremendous rewards. In network marketing, for a small investment you can grow your business, attend trainings, and become a leader. It didn’t only change our life, we have helped numerous others change their lives, too. It’s really a helping-people business. That’s what I appreciate the most about network marketing, compared to traditional commerce.

How did you all get started in the business?
Hino: We started as a family, and I’m really thankful my mom did not quit. In 2006 she was 54 years old, but she looked 70, because of stress. If she had quit on her dreams, we would not be here today. She looks younger now, at age 64.

Razon in Filipino means “reason.” We had every reason not to start when we found our company—and many reasons to quit along the way.

Let me tell you a little about our background. My mom and dad earned a middle class income in the Philippines when they were employed. They sent us to a private nursery and elementary school. We lived comfortably, but when it was time for high school, everything went downhill. It was literally our dark age, something we thought we would never experience.

We moved eight times in two years, because we could not pay the rent. Each time we had to find someone who didn’t know us, because if they knew us, they wouldn’t let us in. We could not even pay a 1,000 pesos, which is $20.

That was the time when we found our company. It cost 8,000 pesos to join, which was hard for us, but we found a way. We saw the light in network marketing, and thankfully my mom was able to influence us. She struggled in different network marketing companies before, but when she recruited my younger brother and me, her group exploded. There’s a big advantage when you do it with your family. It’s more fun.

A lot of distributors envy us doing the business with the whole family. We reached the Millionaire’s Club together. We went on our first US trip together. We are excited to share everything at our 10-year anniversary celebration, because 10 years ago we could not even pay $20 rent. We lived a year and a half without electricity. Today my brother has a beautiful place he is remodeling into his dream home.

There are also challenges in doing the business with your family, especially if your upline is your mom, and your business partner is your brother. There are pros and cons. Sometimes we don’t know who the upline is, so we correct each other. That is one of the advantages, because each of us has strengths and weaknesses. My strength is building and sales. My brother’s strength is training. He’s the best trainer in our group, and one of the best in the company. We call my mom Mother Earth, because it all began with her.

Nani: We had a rough start. Coming from a middle-class family, we were used to driving a car and living in a nice house. Everything changed when my mother was forced into early retirement at age 40 due to the bad economy in 1993. She received plenty of retirement pay, but having no experience, she lost all her investments.

We started out in a private school with a few students, but when our parents lost their businesses, we transferred to public school. The Philippines is a third-world country and public schools are over-attended. We were 130 students in a small classroom. When stretching your arm, you would hit three students. It’s very difficult to study that way.

To start a network marketing business, you need contacts—and you need integrity, because you’re selling yourself, not only the products. That was a problem. I was 17 years old and worked full time as a server and a janitor. I finished high school in four years, and my brother finished in five years, because we lacked money.

When my mother introduced us to network marketing, we had no electricity in the house, so we went to the company office which was air-conditioned.

Network marketing is full of positive people. The speakers are good at motivating us. In our late teens, my brother and I started to dream again, after we had lost all hope. Here in the Philippines, you need to graduate from college in order to find a good job. If you’re just a high school graduate, forget it. Right now, even if you have a college degree, it’s hard to find work. Network marketing saved us. It saved our family. It saved our dreams. We gained 10 times what we lost in the last 10 years.

The beginning was hard. How do you explain to people much older than you that they can get rich? How can they believe you? That was very challenging, but we never quit.

At first we didn’t expect people to join, because of the state we were in. Our target was simply to present, so we could become good speakers. One day I asked one of our mentors, “What’s the secret?”

“Share the opportunity with everyone you know or meet,” he said, “anyone who’s breathing.” That’s what we did, but most of our prospects said no.

Things changed for the better when I got hit with dengue fever. You get dengue when a mosquito bites you. Our company’s product saved me. That’s why our doctor joined our business, and then the whole medical team followed. Today the whole hospital has ties with our company. That’s how we started.

We got a lot of product testimonials. You don’t need to be good at selling to start. If the product is good, it speaks for itself. You must be a product of your product. That’s your first step. Even though I’m still young, I’m teaching young people to maintain their health, because health is wealth. Just promoting the product, we hit our first million in pesos—about $25,000—by the time I turned 18.

We set a company record, because at age 18 I became the youngest Millionaire’s Club member in the Philippines. We’ve kept that rank for 10 years, and now I own a house that’s valued at 30 million pesos, roughly $1 million USD. Last May our group was featured as one of the main teams in the Philippine arena when we celebrated our company’s tenth anniversary.

Can you share some prospecting stories and strategies that were successful?
Cecil: It was difficult for the boys because they were so young. For me, as a mother, my big struggle was that I was bankrupt. All the people I knew had lost faith in me, because all my businesses had failed. We had no other choice than to start with cold market prospects. It’s only now that our friends and family join. They first waited for our results, and only when they saw us grow, did they ask about our business.

In the beginning, we didn’t even have transportation. We walked everywhere. We had only one phone. We walked together as a family and we talked to people. Every time we left the house, we first had to sell some products before we could go home—or there would be no dinner. As hard as it was, we also had fun, because we were together. We had the same vision and goal. That’s why now we are still doing the business as a family. Seeing us together inspires a lot of mothers and fathers to bring their sons and daughters into the business.

I remember we were living in Manila, the main city on the island Luzon. We were always busy going out, but one day I ran into our neighbor and introduced myself. As we chatted, I found out her son had some health issues, so I told her, “Let me introduce my product. This might help him.” After about a week, her son improved a lot. Instead of joining my business, she said, “Why don’t you go see my relative in the south of the Philippines?”

Hino and I went there without knowing anyone except this neighbor’s relative. We walked around for five days without any sales whatsoever. This relative of hers was not interested in the business, but we only had a one-way ticket, so we had to make a sale or we couldn’t go back to Manila.

After five days we approached a school, because our company offers some special benefits for schools. Hino and I asked to see the owner of the school, and we offered him one of the benefits—the scholarship grant. Eventually we had a chance to introduce our product. We let the owner try it, and he loved how it gave him energy without causing heart palpitations. He bought the package and next we shared the opportunity.

We said, “Since you’re the owner of the school, you don’t have to go out to find referrals, you have all these teachers here. If we share the business with them, I’m sure you already have your network right here. This opportunity could generate additional revenues for your school.”

He agreed and the next day he let us do the presentation for his entire staff. The rest is history. From southern Luzon, it grew to different regions. This was one of our cold markets that really took off.

I’ve built a lot of cold markets where we just approached strangers. Filipinos are friendly and approachable, so if you are sincere, if you believe in your product, or if you let them feel you want to share an opportunity, people will listen to you. Since we believed we couldn’t work with our warm market, we talked to everyone who crossed our path—including people we sat next to on the bus.

When and how did you expand internationally?
Cecil:    The first country we went into was Brunei, eight years ago. We met this pastor and one of his churchgoers had a friend in Brunei. Hino and I went there, looked for that person, and he was so hospitable that he gave us accommodations and many more referrals. One challenge was we had to present in English instead of in our native dialect.

We stayed in Brunei until we were able to teach our new leaders how to present well and do things right. That was how our network grew. To this day, we make sure that when we leave a place, there is already a leader in place who can do everything we’re doing. That’s how we leverage ourselves.

After launching our first team abroad, we gained experience and our confidence level went up. From Brunei we went into Hong Kong and Taiwan. We continued expanding on the African continent, especially in Nigeria. We have lots of leaders in Lagos now.

Hino: Whenever there is a hint from our company that we will be opening in a new country, we make sure we are first to go there. Not every country we visited was successful. One of the hindrances in the beginning was that in many countries we didn’t have a local business center.

Before venturing into a new country, we make sure our products are legalized. Once our product is registered, we travel to the country. When opening Nigeria, we stayed in a hotel for three months. The business center owner, who also facilitated the registration of the products in Nigeria, is in our downline.

Almost everyone advised us against going to Africa, particularly Nigeria. They warned us about mosquitoes, malaria, abductions, and many more dangers. Going to another country, you need to have a compelling reason. In our case, we were very comfortable building in the Philippines. We already had hundreds of thousands of distributors and our team kept growing, so there was no necessity to go to Nigeria at that time. So why did we go there?

 When we discovered that there are lots of poor people in Africa—and lots of scams—we became motivated to reach out of our comfort zone. Our objective is to uplift network marketing and help our African brothers have better lives through network marketing. This is what I enjoy doing.

Eight years ago, in one of our trainings, we were taught about visualization. Even if it looks impossible, you must visualize. I believe the reason why today we have the largest group in Africa is that we visualized it. I remember we made a dream board and drew a globe and wrote Africa on it. One of the best tips we can give you is to create dream boards, because almost everything we put in our dream board nine years ago came true, including a large team in Africa.

Nani: Our dream is not just to build in the Philippines, but to conquer the world. Our leaders laughed at us when we put Africa (and even Antarctica and the North Pole!) on our dream board, but five to seven years later, it happened: we now have teams there. That is how powerful the Law of Attraction is.

To succeed in network marketing, aside from selling, you need to develop leaders. In this information age, you can talk to people on Skype and through Facebook. We have a lot of applications to chat. However, based on our experience over the past 10 years, if you want to create a leader, you must meet personally. You must talk one on one, face to face, so the other person can feel your heart.

If you want to duplicate the core values of your team, you need to connect with people emotionally. I’m always telling my leaders, “When you train, don’t memorize what you say. Instead, internalize it. Memorizing is for the brain, but internalizing is coming from the heart.”

Every time we want to build in a specific country, we spend time and money to build quality leaders by meeting and training them in person. You don’t need to train everybody; pick a handful of leaders you mentor personally, so they can feel your sincerity. They need to feel that the training is coming from you, not from a computer and chats. We believe you need to travel around the world if you want to build a huge global network.

What are your goals and dreams?
Nani: I have two kids right now, a daughter and a son. My family’s future here is secured, so my focus now is on creating 30 leaders around the world in the span of 10 years who earn the same income as I’m earning now.

I also want to help my fellow Filipino people who are working abroad. Of all countries, we have the largest number of expats. We call them OFW—Overseas Filipino Workers. They leave their country to work abroad and often stay for 20 years. Sometimes their boss is mean to them or punishes them. Many Filipinos are abused around the world, especially the women who work as domestic helpers. I want to help them by teaching them how to be financially free. I want to offer them our business opportunity before I sponsor other kinds of foreigners. It’s time for Filipinos to be the uplines, to be the boss right now. That’s one of my personal goals.

I’ve read a lot of books by Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, John Maxwell, and other business leaders. Even though I’m only a high school graduate, I want to share my knowledge and experience with every Filipino and other people around the world. I want to show them how good network marketing is, and how it is the business of the 21st century. I’m only 27 years old, so my future is bright. I love what I do and will never retire, just like Mom.

Hino: My goal is to help Nani achieve his dreams. Then I’ll be rich also, because he’s my business partner. Nani, will you work hard for it?

Nani: Of course.

Hino: Then I’ll just lay around here <laughs>. Anyway, one of my motivations is to uplift and educate network marketers, because our profession has one of the highest number of “unprofessional people” who became millionaires. I want to raise professionalism among network marketers, because we have a big responsibility. As a networker, you are a marketer, a psychologist, an accountant, a salesman, a coach, a trainer. You are a call center, because your downline will call you. You are in HR, you are a president, you are everything!

My first goal in life is to be happy. In order to be happy, you need to have a balanced life. To achieve momentum in business, you cannot expect balance at first, in terms of health, relationship, and business. But once you’ve achieved success in network marketing, you can maximize your leverage so that you don’t have to work all the time. A lot of network marketers forget about their relationships, or forget about their health. Life isn’t just about money. Creating balance and being healthy, you will enjoy your wealth more.

A long-term goal of mine is to become a billionaire in US dollars. Two years from now, I want to have 20 leaders who are earning as much or more than what I’m earning right now. To achieve this short-term goal, we’ve created a program called Wealth Compass under the Eagles Alliance group. Another specific goal is to maximize the information technology we have and leverage the applications that are available. To ensure continuous learning, we are providing all our Wealth Compass program members with a Networking Times digital subscription. I love how reading Networking Times will also inspire them to become social entrepreneurs.

Cecil: As a mom and grandmother, my goal is simple. I want to travel and promote network marketing, while helping my leaders wherever I go.

People ask me, “Why do you still work? Why don’t you retire like most people your age?” My answer is, “When you enjoy working, it’s not work at all. I believe that network marketing keeps me young, especially with the products we have.”

With me, the word “retirement” is out. I’ll be a networker until the end of my life, and I want to leave a legacy in such a way that when I’m no longer here, people will always remember me and say, “Cecil helped me so much to develop myself and become financially free.”

I want to connect with Filipinos who are employed in other countries, so I can share this opportunity with them. I want to tell them, “What happened to me and my family can also happen to you! With network marketing, you don’t have to go work abroad, because you have so much opportunity in the Philippines.”

Filipinos are family-oriented. We love seeing kids grow up surrounded by their parents. I will tell them, “This is the perfect vehicle for you to go back to the Philippines with your loved ones. No need to stay here alone. When you want to travel, you can go together and enjoy that beautiful country. You can see other places and just be a tourist.”

I thank God for giving me this opportunity to be a networker, because it changed my life from a simple banker to an extraordinary millionaire. What we are enjoying right now, I really want to share with as many people as possible.