In the last 54 months, the Amway and NSA grad’ has had over 80,000 new people join his Team National organization. When asked if he’s proud of himself, David said simply, “Somewhat”. When he was 56, he walked away from a six-figure purely passive income to join his new company.
Everybody can do it, whether they will or not I don’t know but everybody can do it! If they’ll just hang in and learn enough and do enough, get their head straight and their attitude straight, they can do it.
David, what got you involved with network marketing to begin with? I was a bank officer when I got out of college and I quit the day after they made me an officer, because I just couldn’t take the inside work. NULL I’ve always been ambitious, even as a kid. In the small town I grew up in I built lemonade stands and even built a shoe shine stand and that type thing. In college I helped work my way through booking blues bands— Muddy Waters, Little Milt, people like that. To me the bank offered nothing entrepreneurial, so I got out of that and into sales. Textbook sales and educational film sales, and I liked that because I didn’t work in the summer and I was off Thanksgiving week and Christmas week and I could always do something else to make money on the side. In fact, at one time I was a sales rep for two different companies unbeknownst to them. In fact, I had two company cars and would use one when one boss came to town and the other when the other boss came to town and I was top producer in both companies. So, I never minded work but I was always looking for a vehicle that would allow me to really earn some serious money. When I heard about network marketing with Amway in the late 70’s I joined and was terrible at it, but I learned. Why were you terrible? I don’t know. In the beginning it could have been belief… maybe in the company or maybe in me. Yet you were a superb salesman, that’s clear. Yes, and eventually I figured the darn thing out. I thought, ‘Well, there’s got to be a secret to doing well with this’, and I figured out that secret was reading good books and attending functions and listening to the tapes.
Then it all clicked and I ended up full time with it, even speaking around the country. It was just the hardest work I ever had to do for the money, but I learned a lot.
David, what was it that helped you turning that corner from being bad at it to being good at it? I would have to say as a result of the books and tapes I became a better me. More self confidence in what I was doing, since it was totally different dealing with people rather than just calling on people. Can you tell me about that difference? When I was selling something, I was just calling on people to give them a presentation to get them to either order or not. I learned to help develop people in the Amway business due to the tapes, books and functions. I think all of that just came together and each step made me a better person for the industry as far as helping other people. So you would hold with the axiom that your business will only grow as big and fast as you do? Probably so, yes. You said doing Amway was the hardest work you’ve ever done. What made it so hard, David? I think due to the nature of that business you end up a marriage counselor, a veterinarian, you had people picking up products, you had to show the program every night, it was just a seven day a week, 18 hour a day deal— or I made it that way, anyway. One morning I woke up and I said, “I can’t do this anymore”. I talked to my wife and of course we were both so heavily involved with it she went into shock.
I said, “No, I feel like I’m telling a lie every time I show someone this program. If people knew how hard it really was they’d never do it.” So I quit.
About that same time some people convinced me that I was such a sharp guy I ought to be in the oil and gas business with them. So, we opened an office in Memphis some 200 miles from here. We were going to sell limited partnerships and it ended up taking two years to get approved by the state of Tennessee. By then I was sleeping on the floor in my office and my wife and family were 200 miles away, all the money was gone, I’d had no paycheck in two years and the five partners scattered leaving me with the attorney bills, office rent, everything. I was selling everything I could find to sell trying to stay afloat—t with a daughter in college and a son in private school. This was in 1985 to 1987. Then in ’87 I had a good friend approach me and talk about NSA and I said, “Why not? I don’t have anywhere else to go!” I ended up with that company for 11 years and was one of 62 distributorships in the world to reach the top level in that company. I figure my Amway training helped me a lot there. You can look at the top of many network marketing companies and you always find people who got their training learning to build an organization in Amway. What do you think it was that Amway gave you? It was really not Amway, itself; it was the organizations that really pushed self-help. I was not in the Yager organization that was deeply, deeply into that, I was downline from Charlie Marsh, who was upline to those guys and he was a First Crown. But, I don’t know, it was just that everybody was listening to tapes and books and attending functions and I liked that part. It made the tools available that if a person would take advantage of them I think they would turn out a better person. What about the social component? It was all social. It was like you lived in a different world. There was the world and there was the Amway world. We did a lot of socializing, met a lot of good people. So, you had your own, what we call a “dog food” moment… I did. I can remember I took my last $80 and went to the bookstore at the mall and bought self-help books and I said,
“I can’t go any lower. I’ve got to dig out of this and the only way I know to dig out is to go back to the one thing I did that worked.”
So you immersed yourself in self-help books. Is there a book or two that stands out for you as the most important of all? Well, there’s Think and Grow Rich, of course, and How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success by Frank Bettger. So you raised yourself up from failure. What did you do next, David? That’s when I got in with NSA, the water filter and air filter company. That was one of the best things, at that time, which had ever happened to me. It was a growing company, a good compensation plan, a lot of good people and it was only 200 miles from me, located in Memphis, so we could take people up to the company all the time. With all of that, after 11 years I had a six-figure income, passive income, doing nothing, and I really got just kind of bored. I was really not looking for anything, but I had some people that were in NSA that I had done some training for— they were not in my group out of Missouri— and they joined Team National and talked to me about it. They said they’d only been in it a week and I couldn’t understand a thing they were telling me. None of it made any sense, so I finally flew out to the Home Office and met the founder of the company and spent a couple of days asking questions. I saw some things that were different. The problem was that if I left NSA, NSA was going to stop my paycheck, which they did two weeks after they found out I was in Team National.
I look back now and say, ‘Were you completely crazy to give up a passive income of six figures to start something brand new?!?’ But the third month I tripled what I had been earning.
That’s extraordinary! Tell me how you approached i
t. I mean, you walked away from NSA… Well what I did— after I started seeing some differences and things I liked… of course the first determination I had to make was would this company last. They had been around, but when I joined they didn’t have a colored piece of paper in the whole company, no video tapes, and we had one audio tape, but it was nothing, really there was not much of a company but the concept was fantastic.
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