"I'm Living Up to My Potential"
Judith Alexander of Morinda
While raising two children, Judith Alexander went back to college at the age of 36. When she graduated five years later, she began what became a successful career in the banking industry. By the time she turned 50, however, Judith decided she'd had enough of the corporate world. "I told my husband I couldn't deal with it anymore," she recalls. He supported her decision to leave banking, and after researching a number of possibilities, Judith opened an upscale consignment shop in her hometown of Orlando, FL. She also dabbled part-time in Network Marketing, and even became a successful retailer with one company, but most of her time and effort went into her shop which, although it was successful, did not allow her to save for retirement. Soon after she was introduced to Morinda, Judith realized it was time to focus on building a residual income...
Some of the companies I'd been involved in before had gone out of business, so although the concept still appealed to me, my belief in the industry was shaken. When I first got involved in Morinda, I just used the product and watched from the sidelines for the first six months. I wanted to make sure the company was going to be there. I saw that my sponsors, Bob and Della Bourke, were becoming successful, and I thought to myself, "Wait a minute -- I do believe in this product, I do believe in Network Marketing, and now I believe in this company." I decided to commit the next year to the Networking business and told my two shop managers that I'd need them to pick up the slack as I started devoting ten hours a week to it.
At the end of the year, I did the books and realized that I'd made more with Network Marketing in ten hours a week than I had in the 50 hours I'd been putting into my shop. Even though I loved my shop, it was clearly time to sell it and do Network Marketing full-time. That was July of 1998. Now I earn more in a year than I did in six years with my shop.
I think the biggest challenge in Network Marketing is staying motivated and keeping our belief systems strong. That's something we have to work at all the time in an ongoing way, and the best tool I've found for that is success stories. If my check is lower than usual one month, I know that the people in my group probably received smaller checks, too, so it's important to connect, support each other, and take responsibility. I look closely at my report to see who needs what, and then we talk about the success that other people are having and why.
My sponsors taught me an important lesson about duplication early on -- there were two hour-long leadership conference calls a week and I wasn't always on them because of the long distance expense. One day Bob said to me, "If you want to be a leader, you need to be on these calls." I knew I wanted to duplicate their success, so I learned that if they said "put your left foot forward," I should do it. Now my group is doing that with me and duplicating what I do.
I think most of us who are successful now but weren't in other companies realize in retrospect that we could have done it knowing what we know now. It's a learning process, I guess. In the past I had trouble talking to people, and I'm an extrovert, so that's not usually a problem for me -- my belief just wasn't strong enough. I'm so proud of the industry now, but I wasn't back then.
One of the most important things I've done to build a strong group is to have regular, dynamic meetings. A lot of people dislike that word, but we love meetings. I had people who'd been in for six to eight months but had no regular interaction with other distributors and it showed in their businesses. We first started having meetings at my shop, then switched to one of my leaders' homes that's centrally located and has a beautiful view of a lake. Attendance grew to over 40, so we had to move to a larger location, but I've turned those meetings over to my sponsors -- I prefer to keep my meetings at around 20 so that people can really bond. I told the group the other day, "Do you realize that we do almost $100,000 a month?" I'm not a real big hitter, but our group has a consistently high volume, and I think our regular meetings play a role in that. When a new person joins, the first thing we do is get them coming to the weekly meetings. We try to create fun environments.
In addition to the weekly group meetings, I host a leadership meeting once a month for the seven top leaders in my group. We've organized ourselves like the distributors did in the February Upline 1998 article "<../up0298/womenonfire.html">Women on Fire," except we're "Women on Fire plus one man." I made copies of the article for everyone and assigned the accountability partnerships. After we'd been doing it for a while, I asked the leaders what it's done for them and they said it's given them focus and hope. Several of them have started the same thing for their downlines. I participate too, so it keeps the pressure on me -- if I talk to only four people one week, are the others going to duplicate that? I have to keep asking myself questions like that.
The biggest thing about the meetings, though, is the caring. If I tell them that so-and-so is having a bad week and lost a few people, the rest of the team will call to cheer that person on. I love my group, I'm so proud of all their achievements. I'm always available to them -- I carry a cell phone with me all the time and they all have the number.
We have a saying in Network Marketing: You can't push a rope. If you get someone involved and want it more for them than they want it themselves, you can push and push but they'll never succeed. We all tend to get excited about this industry, but you don't want your friends worrying that every time they see you you're going to try to recruit them. If you have some friends who aren't going to do the business, just love them and don't ask them about it over and over again. They're happy where they are -- don't be pushy.
In Network Marketing, I feel like I'm living up to my potential as a human being. The money is good, but honestly, even though I haven't reached my financial goals yet, it's not as important as it was when I first went full time. I've raised children, I've been in other businesses, but as far as in the work world, I feel like I have more influence, I'm able to effect people's lives in a positive way. I'm still learning how to be a better and stronger leader, and I like knowing that there's no one "above" me who will try to keep me down. The other night I looked over at my husband, Foy, and asked him, "Could you be any happier than you are right now?" He turned and smiled at me and said, "No." I said, "Me either." We feel very fortunate.
JUDITH ALEXANDER is a full-time Diamond Pearl with Morinda, Network Marketers of Tahitian Noni juice and related nutritional products. She has been with four other companies -- one of which she was with for seven years -- and she's been with Morinda for two and a half years. Judith lives with her husband, Foy Shingleton, in Orlando, FL.
Reprinted with permission from Upline, Alexander Profile - January 2000, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com