For Every Legend, There Is A Beginning by Ron Henley
The founding fathers of the profession we now call network marketing were ordinary men who became extraordinary because network marketing gave them the track to run on and the code to live by to unlock their greatness.
Most new people in the profession, along with a great number
of “seasoned” veterans, don’t know how all of this got started.
That’s all about to change.
Every month, in this column, you will go on a journey into
network marketing history. You will be introduced to these
great men and women and the stories that created legends.
There is no better story to kick off this endeavor than the
story you are about to read. This story is one of my favorites
about Mr. J. Earl Shoaff.
The mentor of Jim Rohn, and so many others you will learn about,
he was always trying to stretch people’s minds and they were
never the same after meeting him.
One of the philosophies he shared with Jim Rohn was that
“$500 in your pocket feels better than $500 in the bank.”
Jim took that advice to heart, and always, as he called it, “carried heavy.”
This story will give you a deeper glimpse into that philosophy.
Earl Shoaff’s best friend and trusted business partner was a man named
Rich Schnackenberg and these guys were nothing short of incredible.
Read on and you’ll get a special glimpse into what being around these
guys was like.
Earl and Rich started a nutritional supplement company
called Nutri-Bio in July of 1957.
The men and their wives were staying at a hotel where they were
holding meetings to tell people about their company and the opportunity.
Rich called me one day and said “Ron, record this call because I’m
going to share a special story with you.”
So I hit “record” and Rich shared this story…
“I remember when I wanted to build a money consciousness. This
was when we had practically nothing and I was washing clothes for
a living, years ago, for $25 a week, take home pay. This was before
I met Earl.
The thing was, we lived on an alley in South Gate, California at
the time, and we didn’t have a car or a suit of clothes. I
remember taking a $20 dollar bill and putting it on top of a five
and some ones I had and I said ‘I’m not going to break that
twenty dollar bill, I’m going to keep it. Every time I open up
my wallet I’m going to see that twenty, and man I know I’m on my
And so, pretty soon, I WAS on my way. All of the sudden I had
other twenties and tens and fives, and then I thought ‘Okay, the
next step to build the money consciousness I’m going to get a
fifty dollar bill,’ which I did. I got a fifty and I put it on
top. I said ‘I’m not going to break it. I’ll go without, before
I break that fifty, because every time I open my wallet I want to
see that fifty there.’
So this kept going , next with a hundred. Back then they used to
make five-hundred dollar bills. So then I got a five-hundred and
had it on there, and a few hundreds underneath and so forth. And
I said ‘I’m not going to break that five-hundred, no way!’
They also used to make a thousand-dollar bill, so I got the thousand
dollar bill and I put it on top and I carried it with me.
Some years later, Earl, his wife Flossie, Liz and I went to the
Waldorf Astoria in New York. Earl, being the old pants presser,
as soon as we would arrive at a hotel, we always got a 2-bedroom
suite with a parlor in between. So he, immediately after getting
there, call down and had the bell man come up and get his
suit. Because he said, ‘I don’t go on the platform unless it’s
He gets the bell man to come get his suit and take it down to be
pressed. Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for the meeting that
evening. I’m all dressed and Earl is still in his robe. The
bell man brings his suit back. It’s all pressed, and nice and
neat. Of course Earl didn’t have his wallet with him. I was
getting ready to head out the door to go down and check
everything with the meeting rooms and stuff.
So he says ‘Hey Rich, you got your wallet?’ I said ‘Yeah’ and I
threw it over to him. Of course he knew that I carried that
thousand-dollar bill on top. He pulls out the thousand-dollar
bill. He hands it to the bell man and says, ‘Boy, that was great
service and I appreciate it!’ and handed him the thousand-dollar
The bell man looked at it and says, ‘Gee, it almost looks real
doesn’t it?’ and he hands it back to Earl! Earl says ‘You don’t
want it?’ and, the bell man just chuckled a little bit, so Earl
pulled out a five-dollar bill and gave it to him. The bell man
said ‘Gosh, thank you, sir, thank you!’
That bell man fell all over Earl Shoaff for a $5 bill. He had just
lost $995, because it was beyond his money consciousness that
anybody would ever give him a real thousand dollar bill!
How about you?
What would you have done in that situation?
Where is your money consciousness?
Would you have accepted the thousand dollar bill or would you be
more comfortable accepting a five dollar bill?
This story is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come every
month as we share the people and the stories that created the
profession we call network marketing.
The goal is to make you stretch, grow and think in ways you
could never have dreamed of.
Together, we will delve deeper into the true aspects of success,
and grand achievement that the network marketing history can provide.
Until next month!
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