How to Dream Big but Manage Expectations

Perspective in building residual income. 1, 3, 5 and 7 year expectations. The balance between dreaming big and managing expectations can be very tricky!

One of the Top Insights to Success

Why are some people more successful than others? Why do some people make more money and have bigger organizations in Direct Selling?  Why are some better recruiters while others are better at selling?

We are always looking for some SECRET, a way to have quicker success.  I don’t know if there are any secrets in this business, but I do know there are insights.  Insights that give us better vision.  Insights that give us better perspective.  I want to share with all of you one of the big insights that I’ve found that helps me in LIFE and in my business.  An insight that all successful people share in common.

Al Tomsik summed up my topic best when he said, “Success is tons of discipline.”

Think of someone in your life who was successful at business, sports, music or even a had successful marriage or family.  All of them throughout all of time had discipline in order to achieve that success.  Success is long lasting.  It isn’t a lucky break.  It is earned.


I once heard an author and speaker, Brian Tracy, tell a story that stood out to me.  Let me paraphrase:

Brian Tracy randomly met a man named Kop Kopmeyer.  Now Kop was someone Brian was familiar with because Mr. Kopmeyer had written four large books; each of which contained 250 success principles that he had derived from more than fifty years of research and study. Brian had read all four books from cover to cover–more than once.

Brian Tracy said that after they’d chatted for awhile, he asked Kop the question that many people in this situation would ask, “Of all the one thousand success principles that you have discovered, which do you think is the most important?”

The author smiled at Brian, as if he had been asked this question many times, and replied without hesitating, “The most important success principle of all was stated by Thomas Huxley many years ago. He said, ‘Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.'”

Kop went on to say, “There are 999 other success principles that I have found in my reading and experience, but without self-discipline, none of them work.”

Brian Tracy went on to say that Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. It is the magic quality that opens all doors for you and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him. But without self-discipline, a person with every blessing of background, education ,and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity.

Stephen Covey pointed out the same observation in the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Covey recites the essay written by EM Gray called, “The Common Denominator for Successful People”.  EM Gray spent his life searching for the one common denominator that all successful people shared.  He found it.  It wasn’t hard work, good luck, or astute human relations–though those are all important.  “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do,” he observed.  “They don’t like them either necessarily.  But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”

Let me share an experience I had when I was younger.  For two years, the head guy of the local church I attended continually asked me to speak in front of the congregation. I refused to. I had never spoke in church and didn’t want to. I had made a decision that I wasn’t going to speak in church until I was 19 years old.  So I never did.  It was basically taboo to tell the church leader “No,” but I didn’t care.  I always said, “No,” because of FEAR and stubbornness. The church leader even showed up at my house to plead with me but still I said there was no way I would ever speak in church until I was at least 19 years old. I had a fear of public speaking.  And even more a fear of just being average. So I avoided it.

When I started in the Direct Sales industry I was uncomfortable speaking in front of a small group of 2 or 3 people.  I hated it!  But I did it anyways. And I kept doing it.  Over and over.  My poor business partner, Lance Conrad, was there with me cringing because he knew he could present better.  My strength was talking with people one on one.  I was as good as it got at connecting people but I did not like public speaking!  When I started in this business, I knew what I needed to do.  I knew I had to overcome my fears; and so despite my fears, I still continued to get up in front of people.  For the past few years now I have felt very comfortable in front of large groups. It’s irrelevant if there are 50 people or 4000 people.

Now I share that story because of what we just read.  I will repeat what EM Gray wrote.  “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do,” he observed.  “They don’t like them either necessarily.  But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”

Another story.  I remember talking with my mentor a few summers ago.  We were talking about what it takes in any business, but especially in this one, to be successful.  My mentor told  me that discipline is the father of being consistent and persistent. Once again I was reminded the value of discipline.

James Allen, who wrote As a Man Thinketh, said, “Men do not attract that which they want but that which they are.”  How profound is that?!!!  You don’t attract what you want, but instead what you are.  You must become focused on becoming the ideal person you want to be.

Discipline is doing what you really don’t want to do so that you can do what you really want to do.  It is the key to becoming who you really want to be. For each of us, discipline will vary at different levels.  I firmly believe that if you can increase your discipline in anything it can help you in everything.

For years I’ve practiced increasing my discipline through things by tracking them on a spreadsheet.  A couple years ago I tracked everything: sugar, carbonation, books read, quotes memorized. By doing this, I developed habits that have stuck to this day. I haven’t missed reading personal development for over five years.  I have only missed reading something spiritual, like the Bible, once in the past five years.  I haven’t had  carbonation more than three times in a year in the past five years.  I have averaged about seven candy/dessert days a year in the past five years. I haven’t missed a week of working out in over five years.

Listen, I know some of these goals are kind of crazy. Ok, not kind of. They are crazy!!!  I’m not telling anyone to follow them.  Many of these goals I do for sheer practice of discipline!  I guarantee I like carbonation as much as you.  I used to have four Dr. Peppers a day.  I guarantee I like candy just as much as anyone.  I do crazy goals every year to practice discipline.  To prove to myself that I CAN!

The year before last, I decided I needed to do something great for my wife.  I wanted to show her how much I loved her.  So everyday for an entire year, I wrote something about our day, something I was grateful for about her (I had once heard of Darren Hardy doing this).  I did it in secret.  After one year, I got all of her friends and family to write their favorite things about her.  Then I took the journal I wrote, along with what her friends and family said, and added pictures from throughout that year.  I put it all in a book and gave it to her for our anniversary.  It was a great great strength to our marriage.  It took massive discipline and in the end it helped me tremendously.

Everything worthwhile takes discipline!  Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Most of us don’t track our most important thing which is our life!!!  We track our work but not anything else.  Really, think about that.  If you want to get better at anything in life, your discipline must increase.

“He who looks for an excuse always finds it. He who looks for a way can find it.” I WROTE that when I was 20 years old before I had ever read a personal development book.

Get disciplined in your business.  Get disciplined in your life.  Set goals.  Be specific.  Be disciplined with your time.  Who it’s spent with and how. Go out and own your life.  Go out and own your dreams.  This is your chance to make something happen.  God did not put us on this earth to fail; BUT to succeed you have to have discipline.

Gen Y Marketing is Not Just the Future

Gen Y, Millennials or even Gen C (connected) are the same group called by different names.

They were born in the 1980s and ’90s—roughly those now between the ages of 18 and 34 (though experts disagree on the precise time frame).  I was born in 1980 so depending on the exact dates I am the very oldest of this younger generation.


 We are everyone’s future but we aren’t just the future.  We are also the present.  By next year (2014), millennials will account for 36% of the U.S. workforce and by 2025, they will account for 75% of the global workplace. [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics / The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation].  If you don’t know much about them you are missing out and will eventually be left behind.  There are some staggering statistics about this generation.

MISUNDERSTOOD – This generation is very misunderstood. What comes off as aspirational and just plain narcissistic is really just a reflection of millennials’ desire to make a big impact on and improve the world.  I am not denying my generation being narcissistic.  I am only saying that it is misunderstood.  Yes there are millions of selfie pic’s on social media.  Yes we are a vain generation.  Many times with those type of attributes we are considered selfish but we also have huge hearts and are very misunderstood.  Many times because we are narcissistic we are thought of as the generation who only cares about ourselves.  That is far from the truth. 84% of this generation says that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. [Bentley University’s Center For Women And Business].  It isn’t just about the money we want a cause.  81% of us have donated money, goods or services. [Walden University and Harris Interactive].  Look at the famous shoe brand called Toms.  Buy a pair and one pair is donated to those in need.  That very concept is what my generation is about.

ASPIRATIONAL – Last year, a record 81% of college freshmen said that being wealthy was very important to them—double the amount of students who said so in 1966, according to an annual nationwide survey by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.  A recent survey of millennials using freelance job board Odesk found that 62% planned to quit their regular job within two years. That’s not surprising considering that overall, millennials stay with a company only two years on average, compared with five years for Gen X and seven years for baby boomers, according to Millennial Branding.  Jobs aren’t satisfying to my generation like they were to previous generations.  We want the possibility of greatness.  We are ok making less if we have the opportunity to potentially make more.  We want to see what we are capable of and we don’t settle.

We Need The Direct Sales Industry

Just 6 in 10 Millennials have jobs, half are part-time [Harvard University].  Median net worth fell 37% between 2005 and 2010. [U.S. Census].  Average student carries $12,700 in credit-card and other kinds of debt. [The Daily Beast].  In the Direct Sales industry generally there is no discrimination to age, race or gender.  Everything is based on performance giving us an opportunity to make what we feel we are worth.  48% of Millennials who say word-of-mouth influences their product purchases more than TV ads. Only 17% said a TV ad prompted them to buy. [Intrepid]  We are the connected generation.

genycellWHY DIRECT SALES IS A FIT FOR US The Younger Generation – 69% believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis [Cisco].  Ummm perfect because direct sales typically gives you that flexibility.  35% of employed Millennials have started their own business on the side to supplement their income . [Iconoculture].  Isn’t direct sales a great way to leverage starting your own business?  You are much more likely to be successful in direct sales than starting your own business.  90% say being an entrepreneur is a mindset instead of the role of a business owner [Millennial Branding / oDesk].  46% of Gen Y wants to start a business in the next 5 years. [Employers Insurance].  54% either want to start a business or already have started one. [Kauffman Foundation].  What does all this mean?  We are entrepreneurial.  We think big and VALUE TIME.  In other words Direct Sales is more than appealing.  Direct sales is a fit for us from an entrepreneurial, lifestyle and potential income standpoint.  It also is the present and future for who to market to from a consumer standpoint.  By 2015, their annual spending is expected to be $2.45 trillion and by 2018, they will eclipse boomers in spending power at $3.39 trillion. [Oracle].  Now is the time to shift your strategy and start to think about the younger generation.

In conclusion companies need to stop making a SMALL part of their company focus on us.  They need to start investing in us because we are quickly taking over the workplace!  We are the present and the future.

Switching MLM Companies or Simply Evaluating your Company

There are so many different things to consider when looking at your options in joining or switching network marketing companies. Maybe you have no intentions of switching companies and this article can strengthen your core beliefs in the company you are already part of.  There is not one true company out there; the better the company the higher the probability that you are interested in joining it. I am a big believer in the industry and although I have my opinions I always strive to edify other companies.  This article comes after I recently met with 20 different MLM companies.  It was an eye opening experience that was very informative.
Each company you look at will inevitably have strengths and weaknesses. Many times the biggest strengths become the biggest weaknesses.


The List of Facts to Consider When Evaluating Companies

1. Who is the owner? The most important aspect to look at when evaluating a company is the ownership. The owners will either right the ship or crash the ship. Personally I want to know as much as I can about the owner or owners. What their track record is, whether that be in the industry or previous successes with other industries. I obviously strongly prefer an owner who has industry experience. There are many millionaires and even some billionaires who start MLM companies based on success with ventures other than Network Marketing. Although that means something it surely doesn’t mean everything. Personally I would rather have an owner who has had success inside of the Network Marketing industry. The more experience an owner has, the more I can hedge my risk. I want to know the track record of the owners’ integrity. Who is the owner as a person? What is his or her vision and philosophies? The more information you can gather on the owner/owners the better.

2. What is the Company’s track record? The newer the company, the lower the percentage they will still be in business in 5 years. Studies have shown that 95% of new start-up companies go out of business in their first 2 years. In most cases I would steer clear of new start-up companies, but as always there is an exception to every rule. I would just use a great deal of caution if considering a new start-up company.  If you just joined or are planning on joining a new start up company do not be offended.  Every company was a start up at one point.  Think of a new start up company as a risky stock.  The upside can be huge but so can the downside.  So again I am not saying start up’s are evil! 🙂  I have friends that recently joined a start up company and I believe it was definitely the right call for them.  Those friends knew their stuff and I believe they made a very good decision.

Here are some questions to ask the company: How long have you been in business? What were your previous annual sales? What are you on pace for this year in annual sales? If you are focused on the U.S. market then what has your year over year revenue been in the U.S.?  (I say that because many larger companies will tout their momentum when in reality they are in momentum but only in international markets where you may or may not have any interest.) Don’t just take the distributors word for it!  Do your own due diligence.  Are you profitable? How long did it take for your company to become profitable? How profitable are you (they may or may not answer that question)? Are you a debt free company? (Since most companies are privately held, it is important to do your best to get real numbers.) What are the goals for this upcoming year as well as the next 5 years? What makes your company different?  Grill them on that last question.  Every company says they have the best of everything but get down to the core.  What separates you from everyone else?

Look beyond the standard answers. Every company thinks they are the best at everything.

3. What is the quality of and market for the Products? Each company will always tell you they have the greatest products. You have to do your due diligence and find out the truth. Ask yourself: If I made no money at all would I still be interested in these products? (If not then answer the next question.) If this company wasn’t a Network Marketing company would there be a demand for the product? Understand this, when someone is making money off of the products they are using or selling, they naturally become more passionate about them. I don’t think the intentions are bad but it is human nature and will always be that way.

4. Does the Compensation Plan fit your needs? Not all compensation plans are created equal. You need to consider: Are you going to do Network Marketing full-time or part-time?  Are you going to be more of a recruiter or are you better at helping teams reach their potential?  Do you want high minimums or are you looking for a lower minimum? Again every company will tell you how their compensation plan is the best and every other plan isn’t even close to their plan. Over the last 5 years the industry has evolved where there are more updated plans. Many love the newer plans while others would rather have a weaker compensation plan but a more long term, safe bet company. Obviously we all want the best of both worlds. The better you become at evaluating companies the better your decision will be. Too high of payout either means that the products are of lower quality or that the company will inevitably go out of business.   Percentages don’t mean everything. For example you could have two different companies that have completely different compensation plans. Both plans pay out 48% so one could argue they are identical. That doesn’t mean they are even close in terms of payout. It is all about where the money is allocated!  

5. Who Are You Working With? I would pick a great leadership upline and a good company over a good leadership upline and a great company. I have heard many leaders say that it doesn’t matter who your upline is. I don’t buy that for one minute. I have a very strong belief that in order to be successful we all need mentors. The better the mentor the greater chance you have of success. Of course you need to do your part, but all things being equal, a quality mentor can make all of the difference. If you have been in the industry you know that statement to be true. You do not have to be directly sponsored by the best. It is ok to be sandwiched in between several people who haven’t yet become leaders. The cream always rises to the top. As you show your commitment your upline will almost always take notice. As you are evaluating companies or a company I would meet with a few of the so called upline leaders to get a feel for their philosophies. If you are currently reevaluating your company meet with the best in your upline. Get to know them.

6. How is the Timing? Again you will hear how this is the perfect time to get involved with the company. You will want to establish for yourself if it truly is great timing. The above 5 paragraphs should help you decide how great the timing is or isn’t  Go back to the records of what direction the company is headed in. Are they growing in the U.S. (assuming that’s your focus)? Is the company ready to open in an international market and are you wanting to build your business there? What products are due to be released?

There is no such thing as a perfect company. When evaluating a company I would rate each one of these topics using the 1-10 scale, with 1 being awful and 10 being great. You then must decide what it is you are looking for. You may want a younger company that has much more upside and potential with a little bit of long term risk. You may want a company that has been around longer that may have less upside but you know has no long term risk. You may want a little bit of both meaning a company that you feel has been around long enough they don’t have much long term risk, but they still have massive short/long term upside.  Almost every company will tell you they provide it all – both long term stability and short term gain. You must become educated so that you can make the correct decision for you.

I am not here to tell you which company to choose. I am here to tell you there are many great companies and leaders out there. I know this industry can change lives and make a huge difference. Choosing a company is a very big decision. In the end once you have made an evaluation make sure that you go somewhere you can get passionate about. Go with your gut.  Never make a decision this big unless you have clearly thought it out. That doesn’t mean it has to be a decision that takes months or even weeks but make sure that you really evaluate who you are working with. Let’s all BUILD UP THE INDUSTRY RATHER THEN TEAR IT DOWN. I hope this article is helpful in your decision. Go light the industry on fire!

Myths And Truths About the Binary/Unilevel Hybrid Compensation Plan

Binary/Unilevel Hybrid Compensation Plan by Rob Sperry

Anyone who has studied binary compensation plans probably has heard a wide variety of opinions. That’s no different than with any compensation plan. There are strengths and weaknesses in every plan. Most companies pay out about the same 35% to 45%. When they say they payout 50% plus, they are basing it on a percentage of commissionable volume, which comes to between 35% and 45% when based on total revenue. The goal of this article is not to describe how the plan works specifically but more to discuss the strengths and weaknesses. My goal is to not tear down any other compensation plan but to point out some of the strengths of the binary/unilevel.  Just about every company feels their plan is the best and that the other plans aren’t even close.  There are definitely many different positive ways to skin the cat or in other words there are a bunch of different comp plans that are great.  Too often our industry has gotten caught up on building whatever they are a part of and tearing down whatever they are not apart of.  The keys to every compensation plan are where the money is allocated and what compensation plan is the best fit. Although I personally am of the belief that the better the compensation plan the more people it will fit.

Many studies conducted in the network marketing industry have shown that the average distributor sponsors 2-3 new distributors into their business. This is important to understand because 90% or more of the people in this industry are part-timers. What is also critical to understand is that what works in the network marketing industry is what duplicates. These findings mean that it would be very difficult for 90% or more of the distributors to be successful using some of the older compensation models that require distributors to recruit at least 6 or more frontline distributors to see a return. The other aspect to consider is with a down economy, most Americans have massive debt; it is even harder for a new distributor to commit to full-time. That being the case the industry has evolved to where a compensation plan has to accommodate the part-time network marketer. If the part time distributors are taken care of then those who aspire to make big money have as much or more of an opportunity to do so because they will naturally create more duplicable volume.

Mathematicians as well as company owners and top distributors saw these studies and the Binary plan was born in the 1990’s. This was created to give everybody a fair chance of success. Because the Binary Compensation Structure only allows the sponsoring of 2 frontline distributors it meant that network marketers who recruited even less than average still had the potential to achieve financial freedom using this compensation model. Additionally the binary compensation plan was developed such that if a new recruit is really struggling to build their downline it is in the interest of their upline distributors to give them as much help as they can. In other words the goal was to create MORE teamwork. Everyone wants a residual income but most of the time the outsider looking in doesn’t believe that to be possible. The binary compensation plan gives the average person (part-timer) a greater chance of making a residual income. Those who are interested in making the big bucks also increase their chances of doing so as they now have a compensation plan that will help the masses. As I alluded to above the best way to become successful is to help a lot of people have some success.

Before I go into some more of the strengths of the binary/unilevel hybrid compensation plan I wanted to cover a little bit more of the history as well as some of the pitfalls. Unfortunately in the early 1990’s there were several companies that gave binaries a bad rap. Those companies’ problems weren’t the compensation plan. It was the fact that they were frontloading as well
as solely promoting a compensation plan without making the products an important part of the foundation. Read the following article that gives some great insight on the history of the binary compensation plan: Also notice that the author says this “Personally, I have no great affinity towards the conventional binary plan (although I’m a huge fan of the binary/unilevel hybrid concept).”
I agree 100% with the author. I am not a huge fan of the conventional binary programs. The new binary/unilevel hybrid concept has caught on fire in the industry. It has taken the simple aspects of the binary, with just two legs to build, that everyone likes, and adds a unilevel recruiting aspect. The biggest issue with the binary compensation plan is that it is so simple that sometimes distributors aren’t as incentivized to recruit. The newer binary/unilevel hybrid programs have corrected that problem with personal enrollment trees. In short there is the binary downline as normal but there is also a secondary downline that the company keeps track of made up of people who are personally recruited. As they become leaders and as those leaders produce leaders the recruiter gets paid accordingly. Again I want to reiterate the biggest downfall of the binary is that it is promoted as easy! Yes it is much simpler. Yes I believe the part timer can succeed much more easily but as always it is still hard work and should be promoted as such. Otherwise it is a disservice to the recruiter and more importantly to their downline organization. There is no such thing as easy.

Another great point is made by the author of the above link “Companies today that employ binary or binary-hybrid plans, such as Usana, Monavie, Vemma, Mannatech and Market America, are all considered safe, legal companies and, with a combined history of over 50 years, have had no legal challenges specifically to their method of compensation. The legality of a network marketing opportunity has little to do with the design of their compensation structure and everything to do with the motivation for buying their products. History has shown us, over and over, that this applies to all companies equally regardless of their type of compensation plan.”  Bigger companies that rip on the binary compensation plan either don’t fully understand them or use the bad examples from the early 90’s as scare tactics. I find these scare tactics very distasteful.  Don’t you think there is a reason why newer companies don’t use the old compensation plans?  Those that have older compensation plans may tout how many new successful distributors they have which you would expect from a huge company.  That isn’t enough to justify that their compensation plan is a great one.  Each company will inevitable have different strengths that drive their business.  For some it may be their leadership while others it may be their product.  Obviously the goal for each company is to strive to have the best of each.  All companies I have studied believe they are different and they do indeed have the best product, leadership, systems and compensation plan.  That is normal and will never change.


1. Urgency equals wealth. This was one of the first principles I was taught when I started in the network marketing industry. We all work off of deadlines. We had or have deadlines in school, work and just about everything in life. The binary compensation plan has a weekly deadline which at the beginning can be a little stressful. However, the stress is self inflicted as an individual may work as much or as little as they want. Weekly deadlines create more urgency/focus which creates more wealth. It also creates more long term stability.

2. The next component to the weekly deadlines is that commissions are paid weekly in the binary compensation plan. No other compensation plan does that. They may pay small bonuses for new sign ups but they don’t pay weekly commissions from the volume of the distributor’s entire organization. The world has turned into a world of instant gratification. Weekly commission checks help the new distributor survive financially as well as give them the much needed confidence that the business is real in a timely fashion.

3. Teamwork! When a distributor is new, it is scary to build a business that they know very little about. The more teamwork and support they receive, the better. When the compensation plan only allows sponsoring two people on the frontline, that helps the sponsor to focus on helping their downline. It narrows their focus. In the binary compensation plan, payment is not based on a certain number of levels deep. Distributors are paid until their volume reaches the cap. (Note that once the cap is reached, the distributor is given another position with more income potential.) This concept is brilliant as it incentivizes everyone to help everyone. Compensation plans drive human behavior. When the plan rewards people financially to build their depth based on volume, not levels, more people win. No one wants anyone to roll out of this plan as that doesn’t help anyone. Isn’t that how it should be?  Shouldn’t the compensation plan help everyone to succeed? That comment makes sense to
those who have some extensive experience with other compensation plans.

4. To help avoid people rolling out of the binary compensation plan there are no huge minimum volumes required. Most binary compensation plans require a monthly order of around $100 to $200 to be auto-shipped for commissions to be paid to a distributor on the volume on their organization. This enables the masses the opportunity to do the business part time.                                                      

5. Simplicity and Targeted Rewards.                                                                                                  

• a Binary is very simple to explain and understand

• immediate income with each enrollment

• target specific behavior by paying bonuses

• high end pools that reward successful leaders

CAN YOU MAKE BIG MONEY? At least 20 of the top 100 network marketing earners are from companies with some form of binary compensation plan. And almost all of those companies with the exception of one or two are from the late 90’s and on. That is pretty remarkable considering these earners are competing with many top earners who have had decades longer to grow their organizations. Is there big money to be made in the binary plans?

My goal is not to rip on any other compensation plan. Every plan has its strengths and weaknesses. My goal is to point out how the newer binary/hybrid unilevel plans are very beneficial. I have heard leaders and companies say that the compensation plan doesn’t matter much. I disagree. One of the top earners in the industry recently said this about compensation plans, “if it isn’t the most important thing then it is right up there.” I completely agree with that statement. Of course there are many other considerations such as “What are the products?”,Who are the owners?” and ”What’s the track record of the company?”, but make no mistake, not all compensation plans are created equal.  Overall pay out means something but the real value is in the details.  The industry is evolving as are the compensation plans.  There isn’t one true perfect compensation plan.  There are many that are great.  All have there strong points and weak points.  I guess the question is what are you looking for?