Warren Nelson by TNMM Editor

It takes teamwork to make a dream work, is FreeLife’s Warren’s story- and he’s been stickin’ to it for 15 years. BTW, the man’s got a Harvard MBA and a very intriguing view of network marketing, and he’s been at the very top of 3 different MLM compan

In network marketing, we’re all naked. You build an organization and earn an income in direct proportion to what you and your organization do. It has nothing to do with politics and back-biting, which are the essence of the corporate world.

Warren, when was the first time that you heard about Network Marketing? The first hint I got was in 1979 when my wife was buying soap in bulk, back when biodegradable really was unique. She made a comment to me about this gentleman talking about making her a dealer. I was busy in the corporate world and didn’t know what she was talking about but I had a strong feeling that I didn’t want some guy making my wife a distributor of anything.  NULL What did you do in the corporate world Warren? I was in technology: Management, Sales, Marketing, National Sales Management and General Management with technology companies. So you were deep in the corporate world? And up there a bit? I was… and very busy up there. I’ve got three degrees, two in science and then after I got out of school I discovered companies have an ‘age wage curve’ and you can’t get off that curve. Even if you rise in management you can’t get off the curve unless you get into ‘incentive’ compensations. When I learned that I asked, “How do you do that?” and I was told that people in the sales and marketing area often get in on incentives, where you earn based on what you produce. So, I got an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. I took Corporate Finance, Marketing and Sales and went on a sales career and it worked out exactly as I was told. Turned out I was a big producer and I made a lot more money. You are what we lovingly and respectfully call a ‘hotshot’. I guess, yes, I was a hotshot. And up at 5:15 in the morning, choking down coffee, riding the brakes all the way into the office only to spend my days in smoke-filled rooms under fluorescent lights and missing most of what’s happening with my kids. And your life goes by…. But I was brought up in the day where I didn’t complain at all because I was taught to believe you grow up to seek the American Dream by going out and being productive for somebody else. So I did it and enjoyed the marketing and sales aspect of it. But once you get involved with an organization you really are limited by the structure, one way or another. I eventually learned it was pretty much a no-win game, unless you really liked that game and really get up to the high boardroom levels. Even a lot of the CEO’s have learned that still doesn’t work either.

The pyramid in the corporate world really is brutal. Very few people get to the top of the strong companies and if you do you’re working day and night….

You’ve got bottom-line responsibility for an employee in a foreign country who goes to jail or a door being left open in a warehouse.

You’ve got responsibility for everything and time of day or night simply doesn’t matter.

And that wore you out? The challenge for me was that I was missing out on my kids’ lives. I didn’t mind the work or feel so worn out from that, although I didn’t smoke and didn’t like being inside smoke-filled rooms and under those lights. Also, I’m more entrepreneurial minded and more results oriented and was always out of sync with most of the people. I think that over 95 percent of the corporate types are the kind of people who are into the process of milking the system and I’ve actually always been a guy to go for objectives and build things. That can be a blessing but also a curse because there are always so many people competing with you if you’re a builder or producer. So take us back to the beginning with the soap… When my wife Mary said something about this man making her a distributor I had no idea about Network Marketing. All I knew was no guy was going to make my wife a distributor. She didn’t push too much and she could tell I was not wild about the idea. Later a woman from a company that, I think, sold Aloe Vera, approached her about a business opportunity, but I still didn’t know about network marketing. You see, Mary is a very charming, powerful, gregarious lady who would always be President of whatever she was involved in, and she’s really good with people, so naturally she’s a good prospect. But nobody ever really came home and got in front of me and her and explained leveraged income or anything else for that matter. If they had I could have opened my mind, but nobody ever did… until we landed in Chicago. Mary was in real estate in the fifth fastest growing city in the country, making a good six-figure income and I was running a company in Naperville. We had two kids, a suburban life, and it was good. She came home late one Monday night and said, “If what I just heard is true, this really sounds great, like I could leverage myself out of real estate.” This worried me. If you’ve got a spouse with a six-figure income you can see that money flying right out the window. I almost came flying up out of bed. Fortunately I was smart and thought I’d wait and find out about it. That motivated me enough to go find out about network marketing. That was on a Monday night. Later in the week I discovered that that company had somebody coming into Chicago that weekend, so this was urgent, I had to do something fast. Warren, when you say you had to do something… do you mean to deflect it, to shoot it down? YES… to keep her from getting involved in it! The truth is, Harvard Business School is really, really good. We evaluated three businesses per day, five days a week for two years. Every night you had to go home and study two hours per case and the next morning if you were called on you started out analyzing the case and making recommendations. If you weren’t ready to do that… well, they actually flunked a few people out. So, you were ready every day and you get pretty good at assessing a business quickly. I figured in a few hours I would be able to figure out plenty of things wrong with this business venture. We were invited to a Friday night ‘business’ meeting and Saturday ‘training’. All I can remember thinking about the business conference is I had visions of sitting around in a very accountant oriented meeting and talking about budgets. So I didn’t go to the Friday night meeting. Of course it was an Opportunity Meeting and I probably would have enjoyed it. I did go to the Saturday Training with Mary and she was astounded that I went. I was really hooked by a few concepts. One, of course, was leveraged income and the idea of geometric expansion. I was also intrigued when the speaker started talking about the company’s product positioning and timing. I knew that if they actually had better products with good pricing the company could grow very well.

The final ’hook’ came when he said the only way you succeed is by helping other people succeed— in other words, building a team and keeping them with you.

What dawned on me was it’s a marked contrast from the corporate world where if you have six people working for you, they’re your enemy, they could take your job, so you only train people to a level where they can do their job, because if they get too feisty or knowledgeable you had to either promote them laterally somewhere else or prepare to lose your job… so here I’m listening to a concept exactly the opposite of the corporate world— and I liked it!

Warren, I’m curious. I have an image of you in this training and your resistance is eroding piece-by-piece, is that how it was? < /p> There was this speaker, John Sexsmith. John is out of Florida and later became a Blue Diamond with Nuskin, that was the company I was hearing about, and John’s wife was there. What made the whole thing work is that John was kind of dry and technical, yet there was a lot of validity to what he had to say, and then there was his wife who was just a bundle of energy. She would pop up and say something and brighten the whole room. They complimented one another so well. It was really refreshing. So it was very easy to listen to for the whole day. It was a good training. I found myself hearing about things I had never heard about. It was the first time I’d heard the acronym J.O.B., just over broke, and those kinds of concepts that are valid, so yes, I had a good time and it did interest me.


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