Angel Fletcher and Ryan D. Higgins are network marketing leaders who, after being business partners for several years, recently decided to take their relationship to the next level. Today they look forward to impacting even more lives as a couple and in a totally new way.
Angel got started in network marketing sharing a weight loss product. In 2012 she met Ryan who was a product user at the time and completely absorbed by his traditional business of providing swag to their company.
Seeing the time freedom and income potential of network marketing, Ryan followed Angel’s overtures to become a network marketing professional and eventually decided to give the opportunity his full focus. Ryan dedicated himself to personal and professional development, and together with Angel, transitioned to their current company in 2014.
Today Angel and Ryan have a customer-driven business with a sampling program that has allowed them to build a global team from their home in Louisiana. In love with the profession, Angel and Ryan particularly enjoy growing together, helping people, having time for their families, and contributing to their favorite charities.—J.G.
Angel, since we featured your story in our Mar/Apr 2015 issue, let’s give Ryan a chance to catch up.
Ryan: I wasborn and raised right outside of New Orleans, went to school there through high school. I graduated college from Southeastern, which is only 45 minutes from there, so I really never left home. I think I’ll never leave Slidell.
We owned a t-shirt company with my parents and my brother, doing screen printing and embroidery. My dad always told me, “Things don’t come easy. You have to work for what you want,” and I became a workaholic. I would work 20 hours a day if I had to. There were times when jobs would come in and I would work to my limit, which I knew was 72 hours straight. After that, I would crash. I did whatever I had to do to pay the bills.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the struggles begun. My home at the time had 7 feet of water. We lost everything. The shop flooded as well, so we had to re-grow. We took every job we could. I was never home. I missed meals with my family. I had three kids, missed ballgames and dance recitals, because I was working nonstop.
I was introduced to my former company by a neighbor who wanted to help me lose weight. I said, “Why don’t we just join so we can get the product at the best price?” I heard about the opportunity and dillydallied with it. I knew very little about network marketing.
More neighbors signed up, and in short order, the whole subdivision had joined. None of us knew what we were doing. I knew how to make t-shirts, how to embroider polos and jackets, and make banners and hats, so I turned into the swag guy for my former company.
I became well known to all the associates, but I was still stuck at working 24/7. I would work during the day for my t-shirt company, and at night I would process all the swag orders that had come in through my network marketing company. Then I got into doing meetings and going to their conventions and selling t-shirts and hats out of my hotel room. I met Angel Fletcher at a convention right outside of New Orleans.
Angel: We started doing business together. I was already a leader at the time. Ryan gave me a really good deal, because I was regularly placing big orders for items I would use as incentives and prizes.
At the time I lived on the Pacific Coast, and he was on Central Time. I would call his phone at what was midnight for me, because I’m a night owl, to leave him a message about an order or whatever.
Lo and behold, he’d answer the phone, and I’d be like, “What are you doing?” He said, “I have this huge order of 10,000 I’m trying to get out, so I have to work all night.” I’d say, “Then don’t answer my call!”
Watching Ryan interact with people, I saw he was a magnet—all about service and customer satisfaction, always providing what they needed and accommodating their schedules. He was completely selfless in everything he did, so I started harping on him…
I was begging him for a year, “You have to stop this. You have to do network marketing. I’ll teach you. I’ll train you one on one.” He wasn’t even in my downline. “No, I can’t do that,” he would answer.
One day I called him and said, “I want to take you and your family to Disneyworld this weekend as a big thank you.”
I flew to Louisiana, we hopped in the Suburban with his whole family at the time, and started our 10-hour drive to Orlando. A few miles into it, I said, “Ryan, you’re not really going to Disneyworld this weekend.”
He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “You’re not going to see Mickey Mouse. The rest of the family is, but you and I are going to a big network marketing event in Orlando. I know some big leaders there. I think you could get your foot in the door with your swag business.”
Ryan said, “Ok, let’s go.” That was in 2014.
Ryan: I was bitten. I met Lisa Grossmann and Curtis Broome. Diane Hochman was there, and so was Ray Higdon. I was talking to all of them, and Angel was telling them how I’m so personable and a great networker.
One night we were all hanging out, and these 20 year olds—I was 34 at the time—are all telling me how much money they’re making, how they’re giving back to their parents, how they have a house in California, and one in Miami. I thought, “Good Lord, these guys are almost 15 years younger than I and doing all this. I can do this!”
A few days later we were sitting by the pool, and in the middle of the conversation, it clicked: I was going to do this. I went to my room and started doing research, because I wasn’t happy at my existing company. I went on this mad search for a company, and on the way home I didn’t shut up about it.
I was telling Angel what I was going to do, who I was going to contact. I had my list made. I had absorbed everything I learned that weekend, and it was just flowing through my brain.
A month later, I put in a request with my company asking to be able to move to under a leader, because I didn’t know anybody in my upline, which was basically inactive. The closest decent leader was 10 levels above me, so I had no support whatsoever. Angel was third on my list and I picked a few other Diamonds who lived close to me, so I could go to their meetings.
When the company denied my request, I said, “Fine, I’m going somewhere else.”
Angel: Meanwhile, in my life, because of the politics I had become very complacent with that particular company. Nothing about me fit. Standing on stage and looking around, I felt surrounded by people who just weren’t like me. I’m real, I’m down to earth, and I’m about people and the masses. Parading checks across a stage felt funny. I knew after attending convention that year, this was no longer my home.
Next I got a phone call from my upline, Alyssa, who said, “Do you trust me?” I said, “Absolutely.” This was July 2014. She said, “I need you to come to Jacksonville and meet me tomorrow.” I said, “Okay.” I didn’t ask any questions. I just said, “I’ll meet you there tomorrow. Pick me up at the airport.” I booked a flight, went to Jacksonville, and I met with her. She told me about a new company, and I said, “I’m a product girl, first and foremost. I don’t make decisions based on money. I didn’t join this business for a dollar, I’m not staying with that company for a dollar, and I’m not jumping to a new one for a dollar. I don’t care about the comp plan. I don’t care about anything other than the product.”
She gave me a couple of samples, and the next day I gave one to Ryan and one to my daughter. This was a Tuesday, and by Thursday Ryan said, “I’m in love.” But the deciding factor for me was my daughter. She had been my reason for success in my previous company. I didn’t have a why; I had a who.
On Friday that week, Ryan and I were driving in his truck, and my daughter was in the back. She was talking to a friend on the phone and said, “I don’t know how, but I’ve lost five pounds this week.”
Tears started rolling down my face. Then she said, “If I had to describe it with one word, I feel incredible.” I told Ryan, “Stop the truck. I’m going to have a meltdown. I have to get out, because she can’t witness this.” On the side of I-10, standing behind the truck, I was boohooing… and everything started making sense.
I didn’t join the company; instead I signed my daughter up. I had met with one of the CEOs, Travis Martin, and he said, “Angel, you make a lot of money. Don’t do this.” I said, “It doesn’t have anything to do with money. Money can be replaced.” He said probably seven or eight times in our meeting, “Don’t do this. I’m worried our company is not going to allow you to make the kind of income you’re making…”
I looked at him and said, “Just promise me not to run out of product. I know what I’m capable of. I got this.” A couple of weeks went by, and when my company found out my daughter was signed up elsewhere, they terminated me.
It was bad. It’s like being married to your very first high school sweetheart, and then finding out you’re no longer in love. It’s heartbreak. You go through a mourning. I defined my existence by that company, by that product. You fall in love with people, and you believe them, and you trust them. Then when you leave, hell happens. They hate you, and they are mean, turning into bullies. I was awful, but there’s life after that.
I lost a child when I was 15 years old, and I can tell you that the hurt and the pain I went through for an entire year is very close to that, because I didn’t see it coming. There was no book written to prepare me. There was nobody out there sharing their story. With every struggle I went through building to the top earner of that company, I had Lisa Grossmann as a mentor. Because early on I had seen her talk, and she had been to jail. Every time I was facing a challenge, my head would immediately revert to Lisa Grossmann’s story, and my brain would go, “You’re not in jail.” It gave me a comparison.
But this felt worse than jail. Then the magic happened. I figured out this time it wasn’t about me becoming a top earner. Here we joined this new company, and my partner Ryan starts immediately breaking every record. The first month he went to one-star, which is equivalent to having 90 people underneath you. He skipped right over two ranks completely in 30 days, and then the second month went three-star. The third month he went four-star. By the fourth month we were in this company, he was in the bonus pool, and the company owners were like, “We didn’t anticipate anybody to be here this soon.”
What exactly did you do those first months?
Ryan: I just listened to Lisa and Curtis and Angel, and they told me to share my product with as many people as I could. I’m pretty well known in my hometown. I was in the Chamber of Commerce. I’m in a couple of Mardi Gras clubs. My dad was a high ranking police officer, so the Higgins name was pretty well known. I put all that into action and next thing I knew, everybody was losing weight hand over fist.
We were selling probably 5,000 samples a month for our first 6 to 8 months. We could hardly keep up, working 22 to 23 hours a day. Angel told me, “There’s one rule. You can ask me any question, any time, but you can never question me.” I did exactly that. I was coachable, I listened, and I was hungry. I already knew network marketing worked, so she didn’t have to sell me on the business model.
Angel: During all this, our former company filed a lawsuit against us. It scared us, but that was another motivation for us to keep up. We gave ourselves two choices, “You can either do what you’re doing with integrity and honesty, while not breaking any laws or policies and procedures; or you can just stop.” It’s a whole lot easier to fight a multimillion-dollar lawsuit when you’re making a million dollars a year.
Ryan: This became our motivation. We figured out what it was going to cost us monthly for lawyers and decided, “We need to do this much in revenue, sign this many people up, and sell this much product.” We set goals and took massive action.
Our former company didn’t anticipate us to fly through the ranks like we did, make as much money, and keep up with them. The lawsuit was settled as we both were about to reach the top of our company. Angel ended up being the first seven-star, and I broke seven-star three months later.
Angel: After my first company had terminated me, I took over my daughter’s position. One of the things that excited me about our new company was that having just started, they had no policies and procedures. Because I was in trouble all the time in my previous company—for things like my dress being too low or for not taking their car program—I thought, “This is my kind of company. They have no rules. I was the rogue in the other one; I can’t be a rogue if there are no rules to break.” When we signed my daughter up, she was only 16. When the company came out with policies and procedures, rather than dissolving her position because you had to be 18, corporate allowed me to take it over in 2014.
Ryan: We did home parties and weekly local meetings, but social media became my largest avenue to reach a lot of people. I had already experimented with different Facebook profiles and business pages, so I started reaching out to my contacts and followers, sharing my story of losing weight.
I was always told, “Stories sell.” I was the dad who weighed 320 pounds, huffing and puffing trying to keep up with his kids. When you’re big like that, it’s not easy to jump on the floor and play tackle, or to change a diaper.
I had a friend who owned a local fitness magazine and he did a cover story on me. It was a big spread that got me lots of exposure locally.
I used a combination of old-school media and social media.
I love word of mouth and talking to people one on one. Usually when people get to know me, they feel they’ve known me forever. I don’t know a stranger. My uncle once told me when I was in high school, “Always smile, and tell everybody hello, and ask how they are doing, because you never know where they’re at in life and how you can impact them.”
When you look at somebody and say, “How are you doing?” you’re acknowledging them. How many people go through Walmart or shopping and nobody ever says hello? They wonder, “Did anybody even notice me today?” You can impact somebody simply by making eye contact and saying hello. That’s how I do it.
Even with social media, I get people on the phone as quickly as I can. That way they can hear the passion in my voice. It’s not always about the business or your product right off the bat. Be a good human being and show interest. “I hear your kids in the background. I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old. What do you have?” Building those relationships right away is just golden. With my team, we’ve built a bond and a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Angel: What sets Ryan apart from a lot of other people in this profession is he was bold. He was brave. He loved listening to Ray Higdon, Todd Falcone, and Brian Carruthers. I would say, “Here’s somebody else I want you to check out. Go to their Facebook page. I want you to like them, follow them. If they’re on Instagram, if they’re on YouTube, go find all their videos. Google them. If they have a newsletter, I want you to sign up for it. I want you to be as connected to them as you can, because one day you’re going to meet these people, and when you meet them I want you to feel like you just met your long lost brother.”
Ryan: I try to soak in as much as I can. I have a college degree, but I never pushed myself or implemented a lot. I always did enough to get by, but I never went that extra step. With network marketing I found my passion. I found what motivates me and gives me fulfillment.
I just cannot learn enough. I’m nonstop reading books. I share this in my meetings, “Until I found network marketing, at 34 years old, I don’t even remember reading a book since probably eighth grade. Now, I have the largest library of anyone I know. I’m all about personal and professional development, because you can always be a student of the profession we’re in.
Angel: I would say, “Okay, Ryan, I want you to make a list,” and the next day I would go to his house, and he would have a list. One night I said, “I want your goals written down. I want you to think about personal goals, financial goals, time goals, everything. Then I want you to put them on a timeline.” The next morning, I came over at 8 am, because we worked out of his garage at the time, and he had this huge flat screen TV that he uses as his monitor, and he had all these goals written out on sticky notes on his monitor. I was floored.
Seeing his motivation gave me the ability to get through all those struggles, and from there we partnered. Our upline is Alyssa, and the three of us work together: we provide leadership in our group pages, do conference calls, webinars, three-way calls… We love to take advantage of technology, but we also teach people the Zig Ziglar approach, the belly to belly, the handing people a product and building a local tribe.
We have created a culture where we lead without regard to legs, lines, or levels. We don’t care where you are in the company or in our downline. Need help? Pick up the phone, send us a message, post in our group pages, and we’re here for you.
Ryan: I never really understood sidelines and things like that. I just want everybody to be as successful as we are in the company. I understand people have hardships, because I’ve come from that. I share every now and then at meetings, “I know what it’s like for the repo man to come on a Tuesday and tell me, ‘A tow truck’s coming on Saturday if you don’t make your car payment.’ I know what it’s like to have your power turned off.”
I knew exactly what bill I had to pay this month, and which one I could skip to get to the next month. I did what I had to do to get by. That’s why I don’t think twice about helping someone, even if I don’t know them. If they reach out to me, apparently they need my help. Who’s to say that’s not a sign that this could be a friendship that will grow into something more?
A lot of people don’t like to talk about money, or don’t want to be money-driven, but when you’re broke and you’re borrowing money from your parents and have $80,000 of credit card debt, money does drive you to be able to pay your bills.
My first monthly check from my company was around $10,000. I was struck with the money aspect, and Angel told me, “You can’t make it all about the money in this business. You have to start thinking about the people.”
I said, “I’m so far in debt. I have to pay all these bills.” That’s what I did, and I was able to get out of debt quickly. I’m debt free now.
We don’t have a car program. We can buy whatever we want. Two years ago, when I got one of my largest checks, I was able to go buy a brand new Corvette, and it totally blew the dealership away. They kept wanting me to finance, and I said, “No. I’m going to pay cash for this thing.”
Angel: It’s a funny story. We both went in and bought our very first brand new cars in our entire lives, and paid cash for them. Ryan’s version of his perfect car was a Corvette. Mine was a Chevy SS. Completely different ends of the spectrum, but because of the company we’re partnered with, and the freedoms we have, it’s okay for him to buy a Corvette, and it’s okay for me to have my SS, because that’s what I wanted. My wants, and my needs, and my idea of what success is didn’t have to fit into somebody else’s box.
When you buy a car, it takes a while to sign all the paperwork and everything. Ryan signed up the entire car dealership—first the finance guy, and then the rest of the car dealership underneath him and we built him a team.
What excites you most about the future?
Angel: Now that we work together as a couple, we’re very excited to bring our combined gifts and dynamic to the profession. We’ve been blessed to impact lots of lives and want to take our business and relationship to the next level. We partner with a company, and we share a product, but we are us. Our motto is, “Fish for friendship, be yourself, and the rest will follow.”
We love this profession! We eat, sleep, and breathe network marketing. On Friday night, we curl up on the couch and read books, learning together. It’s our lifestyle.
Ryan: I have four kids between the ages of 9 and 2. One of the things I cherish the most about this business is being able to spend time with them. I love making memories together instead of watching them happen on Facebook. When I had my T-shirt business, I would have to FaceTime with my kids to know what was happening.
Now we do fun things every weekend with our kids. It’s what brings me joy, and I missed that when they were younger. I’m so happy to have that freedom now!
When I ask my kids what they want to do when they grow up, my son says, “I want to be just like you, dad! I want to have a team and be a leader. I want to be at the top!”