Network Marketing Makes Me a Better Man - An Upline Interview with Jim Grande of Watkins
Jim Grande was corporate America. He had the nice office, the healthy six-figure income, the big title, and all the benefits-- but he lacked peace of mind. After 20 years with a Fortune 200 aerospace company, working on everything from airbags to the space shuttle, Jim Grande was losing faith in the corporate world. Thanks to his lofty position in management, he had the unenviable job of hiring and firing-- which, in an industry faced with massive downsizing, meant that he was constantly having to let people go. "These were good people," he remembers. "One after another, it was my job to fire them. The worst part of it all is that people were fired all the time, not for being inefficient, but usually for something stupid like their benefits were too high. It was all about the bottom line, not the people. It was very discouraging."
About the same time that Jim was having second thoughts about his future with the company, he and his wife Marge were blessed with a baby boy. That got Jim thinking even more. It was time for action....
I was desperate to find a business where people were rewarded for sticking it out; where people weren't fired because they were doing well. I was sick of that. I saw too many people being penalized for having experience and for committing to a company. I just knew there had to be business in which perseverance and commitment were rewarded.
Over the course of about a year, I looked at over 500 different business opportunities-- everything from a McDonald's franchise to want ads. I knew what I was looking for: an opportunity to work at home and be with my family; something that offered a strong residual base, with a reputable company to back it up; a solid product line that filled a market niche; and a business that included successful people who were willing to mentor me. Those were my criteria.
The first time I saw MLM in a newspaper ad, I didn't even know what it meant, but I started learning about the industry, and it intrigued me from the start. I saw some good things about it; I saw some bad things. But the one thing that kept me interested was the residual income.
Within three years, I was making more working part-time in Network Marketing than I was working full-time with the corporation, so it was time to leave. I became a full-time Networker, and I've never before had so much fun in my life.
Network Marketing is such a powerful thing, if done correctly, but I was pretty clueless about how to do it right when I got started. I made a lot of mistakes. Looking back now, I can see that fumbling through all those challenges is what got me where I am today.
I didn't know what it meant to Network professionally. I would sit down with people and go on and on about what a great business opportunity I was offering because that's what had attracted me. I wasn't really paying attention to what my prospects might be looking for. I was too apprehensive to ask them what they wanted out of life, because I thought for sure they would laugh. I just focused on selling them on what a good company it was, which I now know isn't enough.
My challenge was to learn to be more comfortable with the industry so that I could talk with people and not feel like I was giving them a pitch.
Another big challenge I had was learning to stay enthusiastic about the process. Like anything else, there are times when you just don't feel like doing the business, no matter how great you know it is. I had to learn to have fun with it, so that I looked forward to doing the work. That was hard for me, coming from the corporate world, where fun isn't exactly a requirement.
I stayed focused on the end result, and kept moving forward. The work gets easier when you realize there's much more waiting for you at the end than just another paycheck.
I started to listen to people and focus on their dreams. I got over my apprehension, and starting asking people right up front: What do you want out of life? I was surprised by how many people lit up and loved to talk about what they wanted. That changed everything, once I got people to see that it wasn't just a great business opportunity, but that it offered something to them personally. Then they could see something in it for themselves.
To become more comfortable with the industry, I read all I could about Network Marketing. I stay plugged in to Upline, and learned that this was a giant industry with a long history. If done right-- with integrity and sincerity-- it is as good if not better than any other opportunity out there.
From the very beginning, I treated this like a big business. I started by developing a business plan-- wrote down exactly where I wanted to be, when I planned to get there, and what I would do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Then I took action right away. That meant getting out there to generate leads and talk with people. You must reach out to people if you want this to work, and you'll find the ones who want it too. Those people are the keys to your business. Let's face it, they're not the norm. They're the gems, they rise to the top. If you stay in motion, they will come forward and say: I want to do this, show me how it's done!
We'd draw up their business plan and get them focused on the basics: staying in touch with the company; promoting and using the products; reading and studying about success principles and about the industry; and staying committed to a pattern of reaching out to others.
Ultimately, successful people have certain traits common among them. If we want to be successful at anything in life, we have to pay attention to their formula: know what you want out of life; be as specific as possible about it; write it down. Then, get passionate about your dreams and make the decision to go after them. Develop a plan for getting there and work with a mentor. Commit to your plan and work your plan-- no matter what, persevere at all costs. If you do that, you will succeed.
Our son Nathan is now six years old, and I can spend as much time as I'd like with him. He asks me to come in for a father-son event at school, and he'll look at me and say: `Dad, you can stay with me all day,' while all the other dads are hurrying back to the office.
You know, I'm a better father, a better husband, and a better man than the guy who used to spend ten hours a day behind a desk working for a big corporation. I don't have to worry anymore that I'm missing my life or watching it go by outside the office window.
JIM GRANDE is a full-time distributor with Watkins, Network Marketers of health and personal care products, as well as cleaning supplies and gourmet foods. Jim has been with the company for six and a half years and has achieved Watkin's highest Executive level. He lives with his wife Marge and son Nathan in Hockessin, DE.
Reprinted with permission from Upline, Grande-Success Story-March 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com