“THE PROJECT” Getting People Started: A 12 Month Plan That Really Works! A February 1998 Classic by Russ DeVan

Russ DeVa

A Success by Design Business-Building System By Russ DeVan

Russ DeVan’s simple system for getting people started in the business the right way makes sure your new distributors will still be in the business a year from now – and they’ll be making money too! Here is a proven, easy-to-do success plan that works for everyone who works the plan.

How do you keep your people motivated?

That’s like a good news/bad news, joke.  The “bad” news is – you don’t and you can’t.  If they’re relying on you for their motivation then you have to continually crank them up and who’s going to crank them up when you’re not around?

The “good” news – is it isn’t your “job” or responsibility in the first place.  It’s better to be a leader and keep people in action, moving towards a goal and a reward they’re committed to.  That is the philosophy behind this 12-month “project” plan.

The First Step

The very first step in creating an effective 12 Month Plan with your new distributor is to ask them… What are you “building” in Network Marketing? Who does it include? What does it provide or Who does it serve? Why would someone want to be a part of it?  Have them really think about those questions and be specific with their answers. 

I know that they want to make money.  That’s great, but why exactly?  Is it because their job is a dead-end?  Is it because they want a choice?

I believe that’s what it’s really about for people – being able to choose what we want to do.  That’s how I understand the term “financial freedom.”   This business can buy people a choice.

If you’re helping someone in your group devise a 12 Month Plan, you want to find out where they’re committed to going – and why.  What they’re committed to having – and why. 

A “New” Possibility For Setting Goals

In the last year or so I’ve come to the conclusion that people don’t really work for goals.  Instead, I believe that people work for the rewards that goals represent and that’s an important distinction in creating goals that will actually motivate people. 

For example, Olympic athletes don’t work for the gold medal.  They’re driven to get what it represents.  It represents being the best, the winner, maybe even the Olympic and/or World Record Holder in some countries it represents a house, a better way of living, and more income.  In the United States, it represents endorsements, the possibilities of getting into pro sports, and perhaps even movie and television opportunities.  The value is not in the little piece of metal, it’s the honor, the glory, the recognition, the endorsements, and the money that the gold medal represents.

By the way, what is the value of a moment you have dreamed of and visualized for years and hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of painful sacrifice and training? A moment when you stand, alone, on the highest pedestal, and while your country’s National Anthem is played, you are acknowledged by 3 Billion watching, as the greatest, at that moment, that ever lived. That moment is one you will carry for the rest of your life.

In-Network Marketing we often make the mistake of working for a goal rather than a reward. 

People can’t work for goals.  I mean, $10,000 a month may be a goal but so what?  So you’ve got $10,000 a month.  What’s the $10,000 a month for?  Does it represent being able to afford a better home?  Does it mean that now you can leave the $60,000 a year job that you don’t like?  Does it represent better education for your children?

People need to think about what rewards them.  A long-term reward, something they will enjoy long past attaining the goal and you set a reward they give themselves as soon as they reach the goal. 

Have you ever noticed how hard people work for prizes?  Even if the prize is nothing more than recognition. 

The intention here is to have every step, every income goal, in the entire12 month project be directly linked to a “prize.”

Structuring the 12-Month Plan

Because income is the most tangible measure of progress.  I always set income goals first.  In any compensation plan, you can figure that X amount of volume at Y percentage equals Z amount of income. 

So income goals provide the backbone of your distributor’s plan. 

Another benefit of creating income goals is that it clarifies people’s expectations.  Many people come into Network Marketing with visions of sugar plum dollars dancing in their heads.  They rarely have matching visions about what work they’ll need to do to get those plums.  Vague but shiny expectations set people up for disappointment. 

So you begin by doing the math, starting with the 12-month mark.  Decide how much income your distributor’s going for and associate that number with the amount of volume needed to create it. 

Next, divide that figure by the number of key leaders since that number works well in almost any plan.  Let’s assume that $200,000 of volume a month, divided by five key leaders since that number works well in almost any plan. 

Let’s assume that $200,000 of volume a month divided by five key leaders equals $40,000 per leader per month in volume.  That $200,000 of volume at say five percent pays $10,000 a month.  (Fit this model to your own compensation plan).

Once you calculate 12 months of income in terms of volume and leaders, then you go all the way back to the beginning to the first 30 days.    

Setting the 30-Day Goal

In my system, there are seven components to a 30-day goal: 

Intended Result


Conditions or Criteria of Satisfaction


Single Daily Action

Hot Team and

“What’s Next?” 

You’ll notice that some of these components are ways to break the journey toward your goal into smaller and smaller steps.  I call it “eating the elephant one bite at a time.” 

Intended Result

Look at the year’s goal and ask, “What are you going to put in place this month that’s going to advance you towards that goal?” 

Note that the first couple of months is predominately structural, they’re not really for earning income.  Your distributor is laying the foundation for what they’re going to be building over the course of the next year.  A good example of an intended result for the first 30-day goal would be to have two of your distributor’s five key leaders in the business. 

Each 30-day goal needs to put them one step closer to the 12-month goal.  Each month builds on the one before.  A person’s intended result must be specific and measurable, so they’ll know exactly what to build in the next 30 days.


She’s set her goal, so what’s the reward?

Every 30 days, you have a reward attached to a goal.  The reward doesn’t need to be extravagant, but it needs to be significant to your distributor and she needs to be as committed to the reward as she is to the goal.  Maybe even more so.

Set a reward so that she has this little prize at the end:  an outfit she picked out because it looked fun to wear, a romantic dinner with her spouse, 24 hours of guilt-free loafing, and a marathon manicure.   Just make sure it’s something that really is a treat, something that she’s going to look forward to that’s worth the commitment.

Conditions of Satisfaction

The next component – if the goal is to find two key leaders in the business by the end of the month – is to determine the conditions of satisfaction. 

What are the criteria for a key leader?  What does a key leader look like?  Does your new distributor meet the criteria?  Do you?

I have people articulate their conditions for somebody to be considered a key leader.  You might define it by whether or not they purchase a certain amount of product when they start the business or maybe they already have an idea of where they want to go.  Is their attitude right?  Are they committed?  Do they know people and have they made a list of contacts and prospects? Do they subscribe to The Network Marketing Magazine?

If your distributor is clear on their conditions of satisfaction, then when they’re going through the sorting process, they can make decisions based on each prospect’s characteristics and how they fit the coach’s strategy for success.  The purpose is not to put anyone down but to make it easier for your people to determine when they actually have the kind of leader they’re looking for.

When I put someone in the business, the first thing we do after they’ve done their physical enrollment is set up what I call “orientation”  

Orientation is where I coach them through this entire system in a one-hour to 90-minute call.  During the orientation, I tell them that most of this system has come from what I think has been missing in a successful Network Marketing experience. 

People don’t have much structure to what they’re building and they don’t know why they’re building it.  I think that’s why people get caught up in the get-rich-quick, no work, lottery-like mentality.

I teach them to see this as a methodology that requires work and discipline. 

I tell people up front that if you want productivity and you want income in this business, I haven’t found a way in 42 years to do it without hard work. 

One of my conditions of satisfaction for someone in my organization is that the person must be willing to work.  I also look for commitment.  If someone lacks those two qualities then they make a better friend than a business partner. 


Milestones are the “by whens.”

Using the same example, if my distributor is going to get two key leaders in the business in the first 30 days, by when will she have her list of candidates?  By when will she have talked to at least 10 people on the list?  By when will she have put two of the five in the business?

You see, this way, in a four-week structure, your distributor can have her prospect list and make contacts knowing which milestone she’ll need to reach each week-  “This is what I’m going to do this week.  This is what I’m going to do next week.”  And so on.  It’s a natural progression towards the end. 

Single Daily Action

The next piece is the single daily action which, for these purposes, is defined as something you commit to doing each and every day that is easy, fun, and contributes to the intended result of the month. 

For instance, your distributor has a prospect list with 20 names on it.  A good single daily action would be to speak directly to one person on the list.  I don’t care if it’s the same person two days in a row.

 Just speak to someone on that prospect list about the business every day, five days a week.  You know he may have to make more than one call to reach someone directly but have him keep calling until he does. Why? 

Because “voice mail messages” don’t count as conversations

If you find that your distributor’s single daily action is something he dreads doing or an action that doesn’t move him towards his goal, then change it.  A single daily action is a tool, not a punishment or chore. 

Used properly, you will find the SDA will keep you from hours of wasted time, while convincing yourself you’re working, and you can accomplish more in 15 minutes a day than you do “spinning your wheels for 10 hours a week!

*Hot Team 


The Hot Team concept is something that I think is badly needed in Network Marketing because most people have only their sponsor for support and 95% of the time they don’t get what they need. 

I request that everyone develop a Hot Team – a four- or five-person structure for support.  Team members can be in the business or not.  Upline, downline, No line…. doesn’t matter. 

Now, these are five people who your distributor enrolls in what he or she’s doing and who agree to be available to her when they need support.  Being on a Hot Team is a request and candidates can decline without concern of offending.  You can’t force people to support you – it won’t work.  Once people agree to be on your distributor’s Hot Team, their responsibility is to be there for them and not to criticize.  Their job is to cheerlead, be supportive, encourage and listen.

A Hot Team gives people a place to go for support when their sponsor is unavailable for whatever reason.  However, you may want to be on your distributor’s Hot Team and that’s fine, too….if they INVITE you! 

What’s Next?

The last component is what I call the “What’s Next?”

For a long time I’ve believed that goals need to live as inevitabilities, that the more inevitable they are, the more surely they will happen. 

I feel that defining What’s Next? before the goal is achieved is a great way to reinforce that idea.  “I’m committed to reaching this goal in this time frame, therefore, what’s the next step after I’ve accomplished that?” 

When people are setting their first 30-day goal, I ask them to also be thinking about what the 60-day goad is- but only as a sketch.  When this is complete, what will the next step be?  That way, when they get close to the end of the first month, they’re already clear about what they’re going to be doing next and it makes it easier for them to set up the next 30-day goal. 

Six-Month Milestone – Check Point                                                                

After six months we do a comprehensive evaluation “What do you think about your 12-month goal now that you’re at the halfway point?” 

To prepare, have your distributor note, in the very beginning where he needs to be in six months to be on track.  You can tell very quickly whether a person’s ahead or behind the pace for reaching their goal.  If I’m putting my own team in place, my second month’s goal is the next two key leaders in the business plus helping the first two get their first key leaders.  

Then I know what I have to do to ensure that I’m on track when my Six Month Check Point comes around. 

If your distributor’s goal is to make $10,000 a month at the end of the year, what does his level of income need to be at the end of six months?”  For that goal, most people think they need an income somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. 

But it’s actually a little lower, because of how effort duplicates- if you have five people earning $2,000 a month and it takes you six months to earn $2,000 a month, you could spend the next six months getting THEM there and that’s going to cinch $10,000 for you. Cool, huh? I have actually NEVER known this to fail.


To me, the most exciting part of this 12 Month Project is the way it makes lights go on all over the place for people. 

For once they can actually see how their success is going to happen.  Usually in this business, too much is left to the imagination, and too few steps are mapped out between the starting line and the goal. 

I noticed that there are a ton of people in Network Marketing that spend a lot of money and work very hard on their businesses without getting anywhere. 

I think that’s because when people don’t have a structure for what they’re building, they don’t know what they’re committed to accomplishing or how to do it – and neither do the people they’re putting in the business!  Everybody’s excited but the steps to reaching their goals are vague at best.  When they write out a monthly course of action toward a specific result and the tasks along the way are rewarded, they win every month!  They’re never disappointed by an $800.00 check because that’s an expected milestone in the plan. 

Once people feel like they’re on track to attain the rewards represented by their goals, they stay in the business. 


Communication, support, and follow-up are the keys to making the 12 Month Plan really work. 

There are many ways to skin the multilevel cat and make money and this isn’t the only way.  But it is a way I’ve found works 100% of the time if it’s done consistently.  There’s almost no way to do it wrong either – except not to do it.              

I’ve learned that people have a very deep need to contribute and this is the way for them to not only succeed themselves but effectively teach and coach others to be productive.  That’s a wonderful gift to be able to give.  It’s part of what makes this system so powerful and effective.                

When you give somebody a structure, that holds the values and objectives they are committed to, then they start to hold themselves accountable and discover their own strengths and abilities.  You reach something deep in people by looking for all that they can be and giving them the gift of themselves.  People have a need to give and contribute and to be loved as a result.

This Twelve Month “Project” is a simple, proven system for achieving that. 

 Action Summary

1> Articulate exactly why you’re in Network Marketing

Where are you committed to going, what are you committed to having, and WHY?

2> Set your 12-month goals.

How much do you plan to earn by the 12th month, and what rewards does that figure represent?

3> Structure your 12 Month Plan

Start with month 12 and determine, according to your compensation plan, how much volume between how many leaders will you need to produce to hit your goal.

Do the math all the way back to the first month.

4> Set your 30-day goal.

Intended Results: determine the result you want for that 30 days and the actions needed to attain that result.

Reward: plan a reward for yourself if your goal is achieved.

Conditions of Satisfaction: know the criteria for leaders to expedite the sorting process.

Milestones: set “by whens” within the month so that you know exactly what you need to do every day.

Hot Teams: develop a four or five-person support structure for your business efforts.

What’s Next?: Know the next step you’ll need to take after you reach your goal so that you’re clear and “ready to rock” when the time comes.

5> Six-month checkpoint.

In the beginning, note where you need to be at six months to reach the 12-month goal.

After six months, do a comprehensive evaluation. If you need to, adjust the action plan. If you’re on track, keep going and you’ll reach the finish line!

Russ DeVan
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