Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ricardo Jimenez immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 to start a new life. After struggling with addiction, Ricardo had some run-ins with the law due to some drug-related infractions. He knew he had to change if he wanted to live his purpose and be a good role model for his children. When he found network marketing, he saw how it could give him the tools to turn his life around and make his mark on the world.—J.G.
When Ricardo arrived in the U.S. at age 23, he had no money and no friends in Texas where he settled down. Thankfully he found a job right away stocking shelves at a big box home improvement retail store. Eager to grow, he worked his way up to manager in just a few years. He became an expert at managing people and applying systems, and subsequently opened eight new stores in the Dallas area.
In 2011 Ricardo was introduced to network marketing by a friend he had met through a personal development program they had attended together.
“We knew each other’s families,” he says. “His kids are the same age as mine. He knew I had leadership skills, because I ran a store with 150 employees. He was always telling me, ‘You would be great in this business.’ I was not interested, because I’d heard a lot of negativity about the profession. Call it ignorance on my part, but I thought it was a business where people work hard and make very little.”
Ricardo wanted nothing to do with the business, but he agreed to try the product, which was coffee, something he was already consuming daily. One day his friend invited him again to a meeting, and Ricardo’s wife said, “Why don’t you go and take a look? You never know.”
Ricardo followed her advice, and that’s when his eyes and mind opened to the power of residual income. What interested him the most was the idea of earning 1 percent of one million people’s efforts, versus earning 100 percent of his own efforts.
Ricardo joined his friend’s business while continuing his job as store manager—until a few months later, a dramatic turn of events made him say goodbye to the employer he had served for 11 years.
“My brother who was 29 went to work in the morning on his motorcycle and around 8 AM a lady ran the red light and killed him in an instant. Unable to handle the situation, she fled to Mexico, and our family was devastated.
“That day I needed to be in the store at 3 PM. I called in and told my supervisor what happened, and he told me this wasn’t his problem, and that I needed to be there. This was after opening eight stores and taking my store in north Dallas from #27 to #1 in the company in three and a half years, ahead of any stores in California and New York.
“I accomplished a lot in that company and made a ton of money for them. When I called them and heard their response, that’s when it hit me: I knew I needed to do something else. I didn’t want to be an employee all my life. I realized employers were not going to treat me differently because of what I had done for them. I knew if I could take this company’s store to #1, I could do it for myself. I decided to go full time in network marketing.
“In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest move to quit my job cold turkey. I don’t recommend this to anyone on my team. However, in my position, I knew that’s what I needed to do. If I hadn’t done that, I might not have made it, because I had a pretty good income in that job, and I was going to be too comfortable to make it happen in network marketing.”
The next day after he quit, Ricardo realized the challenge he was in. He didn’t know anything about network marketing, so he had to start from scratch.
“I made a lot of mistakes,” he says. “It was very stressful. As nothing was working, I called a couple of leaders in the profession, offering to pay them $100 to see if they’d sit down with me for an hour and let me pick their brains.
“I think the success I’ve achieved in just five years is because I compressed time and knowledge of people. I went straight to personal development and committed to an intense program of working on myself: I got rid of the TVs in my house, I no longer listened to music in my car, I filled my phone with audios and books on network marketing and personal development. I went on a strict diet in terms of what I put into my mind, and that’s what made the difference.”
Ricardo had started to study John C. Maxwell when he was still working at the store. Today he is a John Maxwell Certified coach, teacher and speaker. Ricardo also worked a lot with Tony Robbins. Three other business philosophers Ricardo considers his mentors are Bob Proctor, Zig Ziglar, and Jim Rohn.
“My major challenge was leadership development,” says Ricardo. “I was used to managing people, so instead of leading my team I was managing them. It was hard for me to figure out the difference. I was building in one city, and as soon as I left for another city, activity in that first city died. Instead of creating leadership, I was just getting people excited about what I was telling them to do. They did as I said as long as I was there, but when I left, they stopped doing it.
“I had no duplication at all in the beginning. I didn’t have a system others could follow. What I was doing was too hard. I wanted them to learn what I had learned in all those years studying leadership. I wanted everybody to absorb what had taken me years to acquire in one or two months, which was impossible.”
Ricardo eventually created a simple system everybody could duplicate, and from there his business started growing. Instead of telling prospects everything about his company, he recorded the information in a 6- to 10-minute call.
“I compressed time by having many people listen to the same information all at once,” he says. “Every time I’d meet someone, I’d simply ask them, ‘If I give you a recorded call, can you listen to it and give me your opinion?’ They’d say, ‘Of course,’ so I’d give them the number to call. I’d ask for their phone number and say, ‘I’ll call you in 30 minutes so you can tell me what you think.’ This was something everybody on my team could do. It was simple. They didn’t need any experience, education, or money. They were just sending people to that recorded call, and that’s how we built it.”
Ricardo stayed with his first company for three and a half years before moving to his current company in 2014.
“I focused on building in Mexico and was working really hard,” he says. “For a whole year I was driving across the country, often sleeping in my car, because I couldn’t afford a hotel. Mexico is not the safest place to spend the night in a car. I have U.S. license plates and I don’t look too Mexican. I’d park by a gas station or motel so I could take a shower in the morning. People would knock on my window and warn me, ‘You’re going to get killed!’”
Doing everything possible to succeed, Ricardo was making some progress, but when his company made a change in the compensation plan, it set him back in a major way. He was now making even less than when he started and incurring travel expenses, so he decided to look for something else to do.
“I didn’t lose trust in network marketing,” he says. “I believed this was the only profession where I could succeed without working a job. It was my only option. I just needed a fresh start. I was burned out on traveling for three and a half years without making money. I decided if I could find something I could be passionate about, I would start over. When you lose passion, it’s hard to stand in front of 20 or 40 people and ask them to join you.”
Ricardo found his current company through somebody from his first company who had moved over. He had put a link on Facebook, and Ricardo clicked it. The video he saw was enticing so he signed up. He stayed in Mexico for four more months and got to know his upline over the phone. When Ricardo moved back to Texas, he was ready to start building again.
“I didn’t have friends, because I’d been in Mexico for over a year,” he says. “I didn’t have any family I could go to, because they were all burned out on my first company. I couldn’t take my team, which was in Mexico, and my new company was not open in Mexico. I had no other choice than to build 100 percent cold market.”
Ricardo’s company sold nutritional products, so he started reaching out to gyms, Zumba teachers, and personal trainers—people whose business it was to help others get healthy and in shape.
“I used Google search to find places in my area,” he says. “Google told me, ‘Go here first, go there next…,’ so again I compressed time, which allowed me to visit 5 to 7 prospects a day. I would say, ‘I really would love for you to see what I’m doing and try this product, because I know what we’re doing is going to help you guys.’ I gave product samples and sent people to my recorded call, and then followed up.”
After getting his prospects’ agreement to listen to a prerecorded call, Ricardo would give them 30 or 40 minutes, maximum an hour, and then call them back to set up another meeting.
“I don’t want people to join in those first three to four approaches,” he says. “I just want to expose them to some information, which consists of a recorded call, a video, some testimonies on the fan page, and finally I provide the website link and information about the product. Only then do I ask if they want to join my business.”
This combination of in-person meetings, online tools, and follow-up over the phone helped Ricardo launch his business. Today, however, he says 95 percent of his recruits come from Facebook, where he continues to do cold marketing by following people and joining groups with whom he shares a commonality. He also took some courses and learned how to master Facebook advertising campaigns.
“My approach is to give away something valuable so I can capture people’s email addresses,” he says. “An example would be a PDF called Seven Step to Succeed in Network Marketing. Next I use an automated system to send out a sequence of 10 emails over 10 days. Each email includes a video of myself delivering a message that builds trust. In the fifth email or so, I ask for people’s phone number and contact information so I can talk to them personally. Of course, some people unsubscribe after a few emails, but this system filters out all those who are not interested so that in the end up I talk only to the people who are ready.”
Ricardo spent a lot of money on trainings to become knowledgeable in Facebook marketing, but he says they were more than worth it.
“Compare Facebook advertising to billboards. Most people looking at them are not interested, and you pay a lot for them. With Facebook, you get exactly who is interested. You know how much money they make, what clothes they buy, what books they read, and what music they listen to. You can target the exact people you want. You can search for who likes network marketing, what kind of companies they like, anything you want to find out. Once you connect with your target market, you know they want what you have.
“We don’t use Facebook to sell; it’s just to meet people, get them out of Facebook, and start a relationship with them. If you build that relationship with the right people, chances are they will want to join your business.”
Facebook ads is not a strategy Ricardo recommends to his entire team. He only shares it with business builders who have reached a steady $40,000 to $80,000 in monthly sales. To everyone else, he teaches to apply his simple system of sending prospects to pre-recorded introduction and testimony calls, and following up.
Ricardo currently has about 18,000 business builders or “promoters” on his team, and his customer base is around 75,000.
“It’s growing really fast,” he says, “partly because signing up is free. We are currently only in the United States and Puerto Rico. Soon we’re going to open in Mexico. We are generating $2 million a month right now in sales. We are really excited about what’s coming.
“People who knew me from back when I left Puerto Rico probably couldn’t imagine I was going to be in this position right now. I have a long story, and a strong why. My dad was a captain of the Drug Enforcement Administration for 20 years. He died in a car accident. After I lost my dad, I started doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, and I got in a lot of problems. I got caught and went to jail for five and a half years. In jail we were in the biggest riot in the history of the jails in Puerto Rico. That’s when my life turned around. I decided I needed to change. I began to study and read a lot of books.
“When my jail sentence came up for parole, my mom was in Texas, and I was given two options: stay longer, or move to Texas and finish whatever I had left over there. That’s what I did.
“When I came to Texas 16 years ago I had no money, nothing. Mentally I was not in a good place, but I decided to work on myself and start a new life, because I had kids. Thank God I found personal development and network marketing. It’s incredible what we can accomplish when we work on our mindset and take action based on our newfound beliefs.“My family and everyone who knows my story are super proud of everything I have done up until now, and we’re only getting started. The future is bright and I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me over the next years.”