EEver wondered where on the planet people are most eager to join network marketing? Go to Google Trends and type *MLM* in the search box, and you will see the top country is Indonesia (followed by Malaysia, Reunion, Singapore, and Nigeria). One reason might be that Indonesia is the 4th most populous nation in the world (after China, India, and the U.S.), combined with the fact that the median age in Indonesia is 28.6 years. With about half of the population under the age of 30, the Indonesian archipelago counts millions of young entrepreneurs hungry for opportunity.
Indra Purba and Priscilla Kaurow are two of them, and their growing team counts many thousands more. Indra and Priscilla couldn’t be more grateful to have found network marketing when they were destitute, jobless, without hope, and sometimes even without food for their three young children. Indra and Priscilla’s English is limited, but their story below speaks volumes about their courage, dedication, love of people, and desire to help their country thrive.—J.G.
Indra: I was born in Kabanjahe in 1981, a small coastal town in North Sumatra. I grew up in a lower middle class family and went to school there until I finished Junior High. After that I transferred to De Britto College in the city of Yogyakarta, but unfortunately I dropped out of that school. I had to continue my Senior High elsewhere in Yogyakarta, where I spent four years.
After this experience I found myself not very eager to continue on to college, but persistent pushing from my parents led me to take an UMPTN test, which entitles you to attend a state college.
To my surprise, I was accepted in Medan State University or the University of North Sumatra. I stayed in college for three years, but seeing no career outlets and having no intention to continue my studies, I dropped out once again.
It was my dream to become a successful property and restaurant business owner. In 2003 I made the brave decision to try my luck and move to Jakarta, where there seemed to be much more opportunity.
I started working as a travel agent, then moved to online business/trading and cell phones. At one point I worked for a radio company in the city of Medan as their music director and event organizer.
I met my wife Priscilla in Jakarta. We started a family together and have lived there to this day.
Priscilla: The same age as Indra, I was born and raised in Jakarta. My higher education was at the Inter-Study Secretarial School, where I studied all aspects of secretarial work. I basically learned how to help my future employer, assisting in running a company or an organization.
The courses included drafting letters and meeting minutes, office administration, handling phone calls, filing systems, computers, and so on. We also acquired understanding and insight in management, IT, and business ethics.
Just as I was supposed to finish up on my thesis, my grandmother passed away. I was very sad, because ever since I was a baby, I had lived with my grandmother. I lost my focus and direction, but I did not let go of my dreams and my motivation to work as a secretary in a foreign company, even without a degree.
Thank God I eventually found a job working for a foreign timesharing company in Indonesia, even though the position was Consultant Marketing, which is completely different from what I had studied.
Indra: In 2007, the Indonesian economy tanked and we found ourselves both jobless and broke. Our son was very ill and we had no money for doctors or medicine. Our family supported us through our daily needs. It was extremely embarrassing and depressing.
In 2009, Priscilla’s cousin presented me with an opportunity to join a local network marketing company. Since we had no other option, I said “Okay, we’ll do it.”
The business worked quite well in the beginning. We earned a lot of money and bought a car, a house, and some other property. In 2012, however our local company started to have problems and in 2014 we quit network marketing with a big trauma from having lost our business.
Next, we started an online travel business. We also sold home-made organic chips and had a small cellphone store, but these two businesses did not do well. Slowly but surely, we had to sell our assets one by one.
We fell deeply into debt, and debt collectors would come and go. We had to hide our only car each time they came and experienced many pressures in every aspect of our life. Sometimes we didn’t have money to buy a meal for our three little kids. We knew we needed a financial breakthrough.
One night we were praying for a new door to open, and suddenly, early in the morning, God sent Priscilla’s other cousin who offered us a business opportunity with an international U.S.-based network marketing company. The products were great, but the company was not yet open in Indonesia. We had to do the business on our own, without a company presence, brochures, or product samples. All we had was a huge belief and a big vision.
Building a new network without any upline or even a local office in Indonesia is like blazing a trail through the jungle with a kitchen knife. But we had decided to “Go Professional” this time, even though it was not easy at all.
Priscilla: We had problems with distribution, bonuses, enrollment, and we had to handle them all alone. We went from city to city, and island to island, to share the opportunity and find leaders. Not having enough money to do roadshows or buy tools is one thing, but not enough money to feed our children or to operate our business was much worse. I remember at one point we had to lock our three brave little kids in their rooms, just so we could go meet some prospects, because we couldn’t afford a house keeper. Then we would come home to feed the kids, and go work again. This situation was unbearably painful for a parent, but we figured it would be even worse if we didn’t do anything and missed a huge chance to reach our dream.
We put a lot of effort into creating a system that duplicates the development of team leaders. Indonesia has many islands, so it takes time and money to get there. This was also a problem for our teams out in the islands, who needed to have good tools and comprehensive information. We had to choose a city that had the most enrollments, then travel and stay there for one or two months so we could grow the team and get the leaders to create some trainings. Since we didn’t have enough content of our own, our solution was to educate our team about leadership from books and videos. We created a WhatsApp group of each leader to duplicate the strategy for how to get started in the business.
Indra: There are thousands of network marketing companies (local and international) in Indonesia. This often affects our team members’ loyalty and professionalism. The only way to keep people in is to build with more love, respect, and partnership so we can continually strengthen the bonds with our team.
Another struggle is in handling objections from newbies. They often face price competition online, so we have to keep educating them about building a network of users and the benefit of passive income. Many of our team members cannot easily understand this concept, because most of them are housewives and government workers. You truly need passion and professionalism to handle these objections, and we only have a few leaders who can do it.
After consistent efforts of prospecting by phone and in person, we found an application called Table-Talk that allows us to connect with our community every day. We focus on making new connections, building relationships, and scheduling product presentations. We developed a follow-up system that allows us to stay in touch with our new customers, helps them gain more product education, and introduces them to the business opportunity.
Today we still maximize Table-Talk, home parties, and trainings to make a strong impact on new prospects. These three strategies together create huge duplication, which makes leadership a lot easier. Our priority is still to increase enrollments. With massive daily activity, we can build a big network and some true leaders will stand up.
Since the keys of passive income are duplication and edification, we developed a lot of new tools that are both user-friendly and low-cost. We are also making new videos that can be shared via WhatsApp, an app most housewives are very familiar with.
Priscilla: We are consistently prospecting both off- and online. Offline we maximize Table-Talk, either in one-on-one or two-on-one meetings, or even in groups where every member brings their prospect to a café or restaurant. Here we focus on building relationships and finding people’s “hot-buttons.” We either share the potential of building a network marketing business in Indonesia or go straight to our marketing plan.
Online, mainly via Facebook, we educate people about the profession, our community, and our vision. People love to see how we can create beautiful lives together.
In Indonesia, face-to-face methods like “table-talking” in person are more powerful than internet or social media campaigns. We are duplicating a system for the team to attract prospects by education via social media, and then schedule an in-person meeting for deepening the connections.
The term “duplication” is new for most people (even team members) in our market, even though they are doing it every day. We teach them how duplication is one of the keys to residual income: if they fail to teach it to their team, they will have to do the work all over and will never have time freedom. Our system teaches both duplication and edification in one package, so our team will find it easier to understand and apply it.
Indra: We believe positive competition is powerful to create leadership. We encourage people to achieve small targets and edify them in front of the team. This method allows us to find leaders who follow and rely on the system. We also pay attention to how they duplicate their success in their team. The last thing we show them is how they can earn bigger bonuses. When they earn more money, they are more likely to follow the system.
In terms of personal development resources, we are so lucky to have Tony Robbins and Eric Worre’s books, webinars, and videos. They are the best mentors for our team, so we edify them constantly and our team absorbs their material like a sponge.
The GoPro programs by Eric Worre and Money—Master the Game by Tony Robbins are awesome. Also the Law of Attraction video The Secret has been very powerful. It is exactly what we experienced in our life for the last two years.
Our dream is to educate Indonesian entrepreneurs about network marketing so they start treating it as profession and a real global business with unlimited income potential. We hope more legitimate and established network marketing companies around the world will come to Indonesia and operate here professionally.
Our vision is to become the world’s most successful network marketing professionals from Indonesia, and to be living proof of how well the business works here, if done professionally. Priscilla and I love meeting new people from many different cultures and countries, and growing new friendships. Sharing and giving are a way of life for us. We have learned that most people around the world have one thing in common: they love to create beautiful lives. This common need creates a loving bond between all our team leaders and is duplicated around the network. With love, respect, and partnership, we manage to build warm relationships around the world.
“Lessons We Teach”