Both veteran network marketing professionals, John Haremza and Ted Wilson recently partnered in an opportunity they consider the final episode in their almost three-decade careers. They chose each other and their company based on genuine enjoyment of working together for a common cause. They reveal their success secrets and strategies to help as many people as possible and contribute to the next generation of developing leaders.

John is the author of Right or Almost Right: The Fine Line Between Phenomenal Success and Average Results in Network Marketing. As John says, “I meet so many incredibly hardworking and talented network marketers who are not seeing the results they expected. It seems they are doing everything right, but the question is, ‘Are they doing it right or almost right?’ It’s the little adjustments that make a huge difference in the results. This book is my opportunity to give back to our profession for how it changed my life.”—J.G.

Right or Almost Right, bookGet it free at johnharemzabooks.com

Tell us a little about your story, where you came from and how you got started.
John: I came to network marketing with no business or professional experience and I had never sold anything in my life. I was a blue collar worker with a high school education. I have severe dyslexia, which back then was an unknown condition. Everyone, even my family, assumed that I was slow, dumb, or lazy. I was put in special classes and tests were read to me. The worst experience was being asked to read out loud in class. It was a humiliating experience which left me totally introverted. I wouldn’t even say hi to somebody unless they said hi to me in the hall. I certainly wasn’t at the top of anyone’s prospect list. The lesson: Don’t ever prejudge anybody, because you just never know.

Like most people, I was introduced to network marketing completely by accident. One evening a friend invited me to his home to look at water filters. In-home water filtration was cutting edge 28 years ago. I saw this terrible smelling water turn odorless and clear and I thought, “Everyone needs one of these!”

The product was sold using the puppy-dog approach. You’d get someone to try it for a week, just like giving someone a puppy. They would fall in love with it and wouldn’t want to give it up. I could buy those filters for $120, sell them for $179, and make $59. That night at the event, I bought four water filters. I went out the next weekend and got three people to try them. When I went back a week later I took my brother with me for moral support. I sold one of the three, put $59 in my pocket and thought, “I’m going to be rich.” I didn’t start out in this business to make a million dollars.

Most networkers get started to make “some extra money.”

When my brother saw me make $59, he wanted to join me. I thought, “I don’t want to create my own competition. But… he’s my brother,” so I said, “Hey, I’m going to let you do this, but let’s make a pact between us: no one else is to know about it.”

Network marketing is all about sharing not just our product, but also our opportunity so we can build a network, a business. But here I was, trying to keep it a secret.

When you look at leaders in this profession, and you see them up on stage, and the millions of dollars they’re making, you think, “It was easy for them.” The truth is, everyone starts somewhere. I didn’t even talk about the opportunity, because I didn’t understand the business.

I spent four years in my first company and it was an incredible learning experience. I made $400,000, which for a former maintenance manager making $9 an hour was huge. More importantly, I learned the fundamentals of the business and got completely sold on the concept of network marketing as the “better way.” I’m convinced that network marketing sells better products with better care. I’m amazed people aren’t standing in line to do what we do. I absolutely love everything about it. Over those four years I learned some critical lessons which led me to the lifestyle and million-dollar earnings I went on to achieve in network marketing. I talk about this more in depth in Right or Almost Right.

When I realized it was time to move on from my first company, I found another company and that’s where I made my first real money, $4 million in 12 years. This business is all about belief. People buy people. it’s your passion, posture, belief, and enthusiasm about what you’re doing that will attract and influence others. Most of us aren’t sales people. Our personal belief and enthusiasm is what will lead to long-term success.

You have to truly believe in what you’re doing.

It’s all about how you treat people and how you make them feel. We all want to be appreciated and recognized. About the only time most people ever get recognized on their job is when they mess up. The amount of recognition and personal development that comes through this business model is probably worth as much as the income potential, and in some cases much, much more.

After 12 years at my second company, I had the opportunity to become the master distributor of a network marketing startup, where over the next 12 years I made $12 million. I thought for sure that I was going to be there for life, but things happen and I knew I had to move on.

Another great opportunity came along, and today I’m part of a company which I feel is my home.

All companies are made up of five critical elements—the product, the compensation, the timing, the training, and support. If you are fortunate, you may find a company that has a sixth element which is harder to describe. It’s in the environment and the culture. It’s an energy and a vibe. Today I believe I’m a part of something special. I love this profession. It changed my life beyond my wildest imagination.

Over the years I developed a personal philosophy, “Small Steps to the Top.” Success does not come from some great quantum leap. A good example is when I was invited to my friend’s house to look at that water filter 28 years ago. That day there had been a breakdown at the factory. I showed up two hours late after a 10-hour day. All I really wanted to do was go home and sink into the couch. Back then I was living in a mobile home, and I just wanted to be done for the day. Instead, I knew I had made a commitment to be there, so I went.

That little decision of keeping my commitment and going to that meeting changed my life. Imagine the ripple effect and impact of that decision—the people I’ve introduced, and the ones they’ve introduced, literally there have been hundreds of thousands of people touched as a result. Don’t ever underestimate the impact of every decision you make.

How did you get started, Ted?
Ted: Born and raised in Canada, I reside in British Columbia with my lovely family—a wife of 20 years and two very active teenagers. I have a degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s in Nutrition. Like John, 28 years ago—coincidentally—I was introduced to the same company he was in. When I first heard the idea of earning 1 percent of the efforts of 100 people versus 100 percent of my own efforts, I got excited. This concept of leverage was never taught to me in my formal education.

I grew up in a lower middle class family and I vowed I would never put my own family—should I be lucky enough to have one of my own—in the same situation of feast or famine. I saw the concept of network marketing as my savior, the ability to earn what I’m worth instead of what a “job” pays. The proverbial 40-40-40 plan—work 40 hours a week for 40 years to retire on 40 percent of your income—wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to peg my future hopes and dreams on being able to retire at 65, timing the markets to sell off my mutual funds at the high. How did the 65 million people in 2008 feel when they tried to do the same thing—and couldn’t?

My leadership in network marketing is based on education and giving people a wakeup call. I don’t chase or convince anyone. My passion is nutrition and wellness. Back in 1989, the word antioxidant was a foreign concept. Today, it’s a household term and most people understand the need for quality nutrition. Marketing nutritional products wasn’t easy in the early 90s. However, the education around a plan B is what I became a specialist in.
How did I become an expert? I joined over 90 companies, and I proudly tell people that. I’m not an MLM junkie. On the contrary, I’m a network marketing professional. It’s much easier to learn from the inside out, instead of being a book-smart outsider looking in, claiming to know what network marketing is.

I love distributor kits. I love DVDs and the old VHS cassettes. I used to love interviewing master distributors and company builders, and looking at compensation plans. That’s my degree in network marketing. I know this profession.
I first heard of John Haremza in the late 1990s—the iconic figure he had become as a potato chip manufacturer worker. His story was another amazing example of the power of leverage and residual income.

Luck—Labor Under Correct Knowledge

My leadership was built on self-education and working in the trenches. I don’t negotiate backdoor deals. I don’t look at positioning or try to have organizations given to me. John and I have had to earn our keep. Sadly, some people think that to be successful in network marketing you have to be at the right place at the right time, in the right circumstances, and know the right people. There might be some truth to that, but the reality is, the harder I work, the luckier I get.

If a company is offering backdoor deals, that’s an indication that the opportunity can’t stand on its own. You can’t buy timing. When you have a company that is a legitimate bona fide opportunity, there shouldn’t be any need for a backdoor deal.

To this day I’ve made $8 million in this profession, and it’s been a great career for me. There are many who have made more money than I, but I love that I know most every company, every compensation plan/model, and most every master distributor. I know most nuances of the business and it has been a love/hate/love relationship over the past 28 years.

Success leaves clues. Respectfully and humbly, I can say we are two iconic figures who have been in the profession for 28 years. John and I don’t just follow the herd; we’re leaders who understand market conditions, market responsiveness, and innovation with simplicity.

Gone are the days of selling “lotions and potions and scum from the oceans.” Having to push science into the marketplace, and educate and convince people of why they should be spending hundreds of dollars a month on some super nutrient or some magical berry—those days are done. Network marketing has been around long enough and people are too educated to fall for exaggerations and hype.

John: This is a business of duplication, and if what you have is so complicated that you have to put on a white coat and have a stethoscope, it slows everything down. There’s only one way you can grow your business, no matter what company you’re in. You have to add new people. If it’s complicated, it just slows that growth down.

The only one way to grow your business is to add new people.

Ted: One of my favorite quotes of all time is ”Simplicity is evidence of the most advanced teaching,” by Emilie Cady, the famous author and homeopathic physician. Nothing could be more true and timely. People are looking for ways to generate more income, freeing up time, and create a happier, healthier version of themselves. That’s today’s marketplace.

Everyone is on their cellphone, so make sure you’re fully mobile optimized. You need to have a mobile app that takes people to a website where they can collect—in a very short period of time, five minutes or less—information that’s compelling; that’s forthright, refreshingly honest, and evokes healthy curiosity.

From there, schedule a follow-up phone call, using technology. You must demonstrate support through three-way calling, showing your prospect that they’re not in business by themselves, that there is a support mechanism in place through a success team that’s in business with them.

Next, you need to have a simple product or service that demonstrates the viability of making money, provides freeing up of time, and offers a healthier version of you in the process that does not require forming new habits. Asking people to stop what they’re doing and mix up a protein shake, count calories, follow a meal plan, or follow a medically prescribed exercise plan, is no longer effective.

We are creatures of habit. If you can’t demonstrate simplicity and an effect within that first day, people aren’t going to stick around. The three R’s of this industry are: high Retention, high Re-order rate, and continuous Residual income. If you are missing any of these R’s, your opportunity is not going to catch on.

John: We have such a wide range of participants, from myself being a maintenance person to Ted being a well-educated business person, to bankers, to line workers. You need to have a simple system that’s doable and easily understood by the masses. Yet, you have to be skeptical if somebody tells you they have a system that will build your business without having to talk to people. We can have the best systems and technology in place, but if we ever lose the human element, we have no business as there is no need for a distributor. Network marketing is a relationship business that requires people talking to each other.

When we started 28 years ago, the three-way phone call was a powerful tool, as were conference calls. Three-way calling is still the most powerful tool in our profession.

Ted: One thing that makes our opportunity unique is we don’t have to convince people of the value of our products. We’re simply introducing what people are already doing every day right now anyway. Do you drink coffee? Would you like to lose some weight? Would you like to feel better about yourself? Would you like to learn how to make some money and free up some time? It’s a simple conversation, but you have to demonstrate the simplicity that generates the feeling, “I can do this.” Those are the four magical words and it’s what we teach people. Nothing has been simpler than our current business; John and I couldn’t be more excited to be in business together.

When you try to convince somebody, defenses go up.

John: Everybody wants their prospect to say yes. Well, they’re not going to say yes until they believe they can do it.

As Ted said, don’t try to change people’s habits. Most weight loss programs require you to change everything. Just look around and you see how that doesn’t work. When you’re introducing something new into people’s lives, you’re in the convincing business. But if you’re representing a product they’re already using, there’s no convincing. The difference is night and day. When you try to convince somebody, they sense you’re trying to sell them something and their defenses go up. When you’re trying to convey your belief, they go, “Really? I’ve never heard of that. Where can I get it? How much is it?”

What’s it like for the two of you to work together?
John: The foundation of belief is trust. Having different backgrounds, Ted and I never really knew each other until we met briefly about 10 years ago. We’ve now partnered on a mutual effort to grow a company that we have tremendous respect for. Having been burned many times, we found something we can put our heart and soul into. That becomes much easier when you know somebody has your back—a person you completely trust and who is a true peer in the profession. When the leadership has that mutual respect, that appreciation, and is on the same page in building a company, it creates a powerful dynamic for growth.

Ted: John Haremza is a foundational leader of our company. Having the opportunity to work with him directly in lineage, so that my business impacts his business, and his business and skillset impact my business, is an incredible reciprocal relationship.

I appreciate John’s accolades around trust, respect, and building belief. Those are the cornerstones for success in any business. You have to believe in what you’re doing. You have to trust the people you’re in business with, and you need to be passionate about the process, so it’s not seen as work. We call it “netfun marketing,” not network marketing.

We teach people how to engage your prospect and open up conversations around your opportunity in an ultra-simple, straightforward approach. Our company is about to go vertical in the proverbial momentum curve. It’s an exciting time, and word is getting out that John and I are now together in a business that is about to go into that rare growth stage.

Another factor is that we’re truly a homebased business. We’re not a hotel-based business, or a trade show or flea market based business. Nothing wrong with gathering folks every so often for validation of a good decision, some training, recognition and socialization. However, fundamentally we wanted to create a system that’s Internet based, that you could build on your phone, whether at home, on the beach, or at the stands of a baseball park. Practically, John and I do daily three-way calls. We do conference calls weekly. We do webinars that engage prospects, but most of our business building is electronic and automatic.

What would you say is the power of your partnership? Is it mainly mutual edification?
Ted: We are not partners in the traditional sense. We each have our own business. John is my upline, and I’m privileged to be in John’s downline. We see each other as true business partners, because of respect and trust.

John: We are aligned in our vision. We are definitely partners in our mission, and in the admiration of and belief in the other person. We work together as a family.

We’re also partners with the company, and with the other leadership. That speaks a little bit to that sixth element I mentioned earlier. There’s an environment of mutual support. There’s a culture, an energy, and a vibe that really starts from the top down. It’s so incredibly refreshing not to have egos involved, not to have the types of issues that ultimately backfire and destroy companies.

Ted: It might sound like unicorns and rainbows, but it truly does exist here. It can be built out of mutual admiration and the four letter word, love. This is a family of people coming together. Whether you’re upline, downline, or sideline, it doesn’t matter. Our company has built a culture of contribution and respect, and, quite frankly, that’s the real vibe of our opportunity. That is what people feel intrinsically, and it gets them excited far beyond simply a system for making money. Love is the highest power, and it attracts people. That’s why we’re so successful.

John and Ted’s Success Tips