Is it really possible to pursue your passion for traveling around the world while earning money? Let’s listen to Ed Mercer as he shares his 50 years of journey in multi-level marketing. The money he earned from being in the industry helped him travel and see the seven wonders of the world. During this course, Ed visited 86 countries and still plans to visit more. He also encountered different circumstances as he explored those places. For instance, he saw people abusing animals to earn money. This ignited something in him to stop these people and help the animals, leading him to an environmental hall of fame. Dive into a networker’s life and fuel the passion you have within you to achieve greater things.
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Ed Mercer “86 Countries And Counting, A Networker’s Life”
It is a pleasure to say hello to Mr. Ed Mercer. How are you?
I’m over the top happy. I’m here in Florida. It’s 78 degrees, and the sun is shining.
Did you get out of that beautiful Canadian weather?
As I’ve mentioned, the other day, it was 26 below zero. We had two feet of snow in one day.
The 78 degrees in Florida would be very different. You had been in the industry a long time. What year did you get started?
You’ve had a lot of speakers and people on your calls over the years, but I can tell you I’ve been in the business since I was a teenager. My story is much different perhaps than everybody else’s. I’ve never ever had a job and worked and got a paycheck from anyone in my entire life. All I’ve done is multilevel marketing, but I did it a little differently, although I’ve been involved in the industry for many years. I worked hard. They say, “If you’re working 9:00 to 5:00, you’ll make a living. If you work 5:00 to 9:00, you’ll make a fortune.” Whenever I got involved in a company, I took it to the top. After I made enough money, I took that money and traveled around the world.
I’ve traveled to 86 countries. I’ve been in every state of the United States, every province in Canada, all 32 countries, South and Central America. I’ve seen the seven wonders of the world. I’ve done all those things. That’s what I did with my money. I took my money and built 200 homes for the homeless. I traveled and worked with the World Wildlife Foundation, National Geographic, Greenpeace, and a bunch of societies. I traveled around the world, like India, Africa, and Asia, doing what I wanted to do. My book was called The Eighth Grade Millionaire. The reason why it was named like that was because it kept me out of high school. I never went to school, only until grade eight. I was always in the direct marketing industry.
I’m astounded at 86 countries. You would beat Joe Garcia in 1967 or 1968. That’s amazing. I got to ask you, and no disrespect to the countries you did not name. What would be your favorite place in the world?
Up until a few years ago, it was Canada. I don’t know if you know anything about Canada. The restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and schools are all closed. Even Montreal and Quebec had a curfew. You have to be in the house by 10:00. You can’t even go out to walk your dog. Canada was number two in the world a few years ago. It went from number 2 to 27. It’s not the Canada that I grew up in.
What would be your favorite place then in the world?
I’ve been in Costa Rica for many years. I love Costa Rica. When I was there, I was inducted into the Environmental Hall of Fame. I worked in Costa Rica. I will tell you briefly what I did there. I say this in all kindness. The Americans were coming in and stealing the Scarlet Macaw parrots. Not only were they stealing them, but they were also killing them and selling the feathers on Rodeo Drive for expensive hats, purses, dresses, and that type of thing.
Also, a lot of people with extreme wealth feel that they or their children can have a monkey for a pet. The only way you can have a monkey for a pet is to kill the mother. The mother will physically commit suicide. There were stealing turtle eggs by the hundreds of thousands from Asia for aphrodisiacs. I took over Garza Island and hired over 18 armed guards, and planted over 5,000 different almond trees. We brought back over 450 Congo monkeys and a large population of Scarlet Macaw parrots. We stopped all the poaching and robbing of the turtle eggs. That’s how I got inducted to the Environmental Hall of Fame. I was doing that for eight years.To have more, you must become more. Click To Tweet
I hear stuff like that all the time. I don’t want to name the guy, but he owns a chain of restaurants here in the United States, poaching elephants. He goes over to Africa, shoots elephants, and takes the tusks. It’s like, “What is wrong with these people?” They don’t get that, there’s a finite amount of these creatures on the earth, and they’re beautiful. God put them here for a reason, as he put us here. I never get it. We’re on the same page on that one. No question. I don’t understand when people do stuff like that.
Here’s one more thing about what they were doing. People from all over the world were coming in, and it was called shark finning. They would come in and take a 1,200 or 1,500-pound shark, bring it on board, cut off the fin with a chainsaw, and throw it back into the ocean where it would physically drown. They were selling the fin for $3,000, which a shark fin soup is over $100 a bowl in China, and the fine was only $500. Working with the organization, we’re able to increase the fine to $100,000, 2 years in prison, and confiscate their boats. We’re able to stop almost 100% of it.
Thank you for doing that because the next generation of our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids deserve to know these wonderful creatures. Without work like that, unfortunately, they won’t be here for us. Thank you for doing that. It’s great work. Let’s come back to network marketing. You’ve been in it a long time. Network marketing, as you and I know, is a self-development business. If you don’t develop as a human being, you’re never going to be as successful as you possibly could be. What was the first book that got your attention?
I believe in order to have more, you must become more. When you’re talking about books, if you want to be a leader, you must be a reader. That’s important. Think and Grow Rich is almost biblical. It’s funny when you read, Think and Grow Rich because I read it 4 or 5 times. “That page wasn’t there last time I read it.” The more you read it, the more you pick up some great information. It was like watching a movie. You may watch the movie 2 or 3 times and say, “That wasn’t there in the movie last time I watched it.”
I became a big advocate of a guy named Wim Hof. Somebody said, “How did you even hear about this thing?” It’s exactly what you said, but I use the comparison, “If you buy a new car and you think nobody has this car, you pull up to the street, and there are three of them.” I heard of this Wim Hof about a few years ago, and then I heard about him again from Dan McCormick, who you know in California.
I was watching Bryant Gumbel’s show one night, Real Sports, and they did this whole thing about the guy. I started to follow and adopt some of what he did. Sometimes you hear it, and then you’ll wind up embracing it. You’re right. With Think and Grow Rich, the same experience, you read the thing, and you go, “That must be new.” I don’t think so.
Let me ask you this. They show up there in Florida, and you’re in a beautiful place. They pull up and say, “We are going to take you to a beautiful deserted island. You’ll have plenty of food, water, and sustenance, but you’re limited on what you can bring. We’re going to let you bring your Holy Bible. In addition to that, you can only bring three other books.” What would they be?
The book that I’ve read often is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. That’s what I did a long time ago. That’s why I said when I made money. A lot of people go out and buy a Rolls-Royce, jewelry, or this and that. I traveled all over the world on cruises, did everything, and lived my life. When I started reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, that’s what I wanted to do. I want to live my life and tell people the same story.
I was reading a book one time, and three people in the senior citizens’ home won $27 million. The first person was in a horrific car accident and was paralyzed for life. The second person couldn’t speak or hear. The other person was crippled. They said, “We’re going to divide that money $9 million a person.” When they interviewed the person, the lady in the accident and blinded said, “If I could only see my husband and my children, I’d give up my $9 million.”
The other person, through sign language, said, “If I could only speak and hear, I’d give up my $9 million.” The other person said, “If I could only get out of this wheelchair one day, I’ll give up my $9 million to see what’s like to be able to walk.” I figured that God gave me all those gifts, and it was up to me to use them in the right direction. That’s what I did. I traveled to Egypt, Africa, and India, all over the world.
Is there another book that you would bring?
I’ve co-authored a few books, but the next one is Ed Mercer Millionaire Mentor. Another book, too, was The Magic of Thinking Big. For me, it’s always, “Wherever you are, be there.” What was important to me was that if you’re going to do something, the speed of the leader is always the speed of the pack. People will only do what you do.Wherever you are, be there. Click To Tweet
I lived in Canada in a little town called Aylmer, Ontario. Someone would say, “How far is from there to Ontario?” I say, “Three tapes.” “How far is it to Toronto?” I say, “Five tapes.” I didn’t even know how many miles it was. All I knew was that I had a recording going out of my car all the time, whether it be Jim Rohn or whoever. That was my motivation. I had tapes, read books, and attended positive seminars. Even now, I became an ordained minister years ago.
You’ve had a very busy life, Mr. Mercer.
Like I said, “Wherever you are, be there.” It’s important to me that you keep active. I always say gravity takes over.
That’s a great way to think about it. There’s nobody I’ve interviewed and worked with for many years I’ve been in the industry that is not a voracious reader and/or listener. Some of the younger people listen more than they read with all the gadgets they can now. Either way, it’s always feeding the mind. A great point that you made there is, “Forget the mileage. How many tapes can I listen to? How can I feed myself intellectually on this trip? I just don’t make the trip. I gain from making every trip,” which is a wonderful way to think about it.
You’ve heard this 100 times, but if you take a goldfish and put it into a small bowl, it will only grow like an inch long, but if you take the same goldfish and throw it in a lake, it will grow 4 or 5 feet long. It’s the same goldfish but in a different environment. You’re always a product of your environment. It’s the same thing that goes with people. Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future. You’ve heard all that before, but it is true. I’m only around positive people, issues, and conversations. If the conversation changed to be something negative, all of a sudden, I get a very important call or something. I have to go. I can’t listen to that.
In the last years, with everything that’s going on in the world, we all have to change the film in the camera, which is have positive conversations, because there’s still a lot of great things happening, and they’re going to continue to be great things that will happen. I could not agree more. You and I have been in the industry that we’re in for a long time. Many of our readers range anywhere from a couple of weeks or months in the industry like ourselves, 30, 40, or 50 years. When I look at these last few years prior to this, there were certain people that would not look at the network marketing space for whatever reason.
They had ideas about it, or they didn’t need to. They were doing something else. Let me set up a question for you. I would love your input on this. As you’re sitting there enjoying the beautiful Florida weather, there’s a 25-year-old son and a 60-year-old dad. Prior to the pandemic, the dad was doing well. He was in upper-level management with a company, did well financially, saved money for retirement, and started to look at improving his golf score over the next couple of decades.
The son went to college, did hard work, graduated on time, did all the things he was supposed to do, started out his business career, and then all of a sudden, we know what happened about the last few years ago as we speak. Prior to the pandemic, those guys had no interest or desire for network marketing. They didn’t want to hear about it. All of a sudden, the world has changed, and we’ve got the evolution of things like Zoom and all these other great technologies that fit in place with network marketing along the way over these years.
They say, “Ed has been in this stuff for decades. He has written books on it. He has made a fortune with it. Let’s go over there and pick his brain.” What would you tell that 25-year-old and 60-year-old that they should consider the industry now as opposed to when they looked or considered it previously and didn’t act on it?
I always say, in the whole world, there are only three ships. There are big and small ships, but the biggest ships are relationships. I believe that the 25-year-old son with the 60-year-old father gives them an opportunity to work together. With the pandemic as negative or better as it is now, or may continue for a while, the whole thing is that more people are looking at the industry.
First of all, they have to have a product that they believe in. That’s important. The key is they need to become a product of the product. The thing is, there are so many good products out there. There are people that are not 60 years old or people even older that have some successful careers that unfortunately have fallen apart, and they’re looking for something. Multilevel marketing, to me, is something that doesn’t matter what your past has been, whether you’ve been a lawyer, doctor, rocket scientist. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can get into a business for a couple of hundred dollars.
Many people don’t understand the industry because, for example, if you have a home-based business, you can write a portion of your electricity bill, water bill, and space in your home. You could use that as a discount on your mortgage. You can do all kinds of things. There are over 30 different areas of things that you can do by being involved in a multilevel marketing company. You don’t even have to make any money for a couple of years to be able to have those write-offs. It’s a very exciting opportunity if you know what you’re doing.You're always a product of your environment. Click To Tweet
You’re right because as they’re getting their on-the-job training by doing, they’re getting some decent write-offs at the same time as they’re gaining the experience to grow a business. You started thousands of people in network marketing businesses over these many years. What’s your strategy for getting somebody to go fast enough that they see that it’s going to work for them? They gain their hair on their chest, as our friend, Larry Thompson, used to say. They gained that, “I can do what Ed’s or John’s or somebody else is doing.” What’s been your strategy to get people moving forward?
As I said, the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. You do not tell people what to do. You show them what to do. You can’t expect someone to do something you have not done yourself. For the first little while, you need to take people by the hand. It’s like anything else. If you started a new job, you didn’t know what you were doing. You usually have a trainer or have someone beside you who trains and directs you in the right direction to do what you’re supposed to do.
It’s the same thing in this industry. It’s a little bit of handholding in the beginning, but it’s like an eagle after a while. They kick a young out of the vessel and let them fly on their own. You can’t be there with them forever. You need to train them because everything is about duplication. You need to share your product every single day. You need to become a product of the product. If you believe in what you’re doing, you’re speaking from your heart, not from your mouth. That’s the whole thing.
A lot of people think that in order to be successful, you need to be a salesperson. That’s not true. The real truth is to speak from your heart, not from your mouth. People can see if you’re sincere, and that’s the whole thing. There are ten reasons for being successful. Number 1 is integrity, and the other 9 nine don’t count. The Bible says the 10 commandments, not 10 suggestions. You need to go out, and as I said, everything is based on integrity.
There are some people that are never going to do this. There are going to be people that are the dropout, but they drop out for a reason. Sometimes, people get out there. They’re good recruiters, so what they do is recruit and recruit, and because they recruited too many people at the same time, they have no time to work for the people or follow up. I recruit slow, but I have the longevity of the people. When I recruit someone, they last for years, not for weeks. Everything is about retention.
You’ve been doing this for a long time. You’re in the process of moving to a very exciting place. If you want to share about that, feel free. You’ve had a very successful and interesting life. You’ve been in a lot of places, covered a lot of geographies, and seen a lot of things that a lot of us may or may not ever have the opportunity to do. What does success mean to you at this stage of your life?
Monetarily I’ve had well, but prior to being here in Fort Lauderdale, I was in the Philippines for a year and a half. I had 3,500 applications from homeless people from the church. They gave me a list of the people. Street women are doing all things that they should not be doing. We took 863 girls off the street, provided them with home, food, gave them computer training, got them jobs in call centers, and reunited them back with their families.
That’s success for me. It’s not how much money you make. It’s what you become as a result of it. I was able to build over 200 homes for the homeless. I was able to donate a lot of money to a project in Africa where we dug wells. I want to share with you and this is exciting. People were walking twelve miles to get a dirty pale of water. You even allow your dog to drink that water. Some people are dying going there and trying to get back. They are only allowed one pale of water. They drank, cooked, and bathed with that little bit of water that they had. We’re able to dig wells.
What happened was that they couldn’t have chickens, ducks, cows, or grow a garden because they had no water. Once they got the water, they were able to have sheep, goats, grow gardens, and do everything. That changed the lives of over 300,000 people, and it costs less than $80,000 to do that. There are so many people out there that make so much money. What they do is go from Timex to Rolex, Pontiac to a Cadillac, and outhouse to the penthouse. All they do is spend their money on jewelry and all the things they think are important, but none of those things are important.
Someone asked me one day, “How much money did Howard Hughes leave when he died?” I said, “I know exactly how much he left.” He said, “How much did he leave? How do you know?” I said, “He left it all.” The whole thing is no matter how much money you have, when you pass away, you leave it all. All those things that you have, whether it be a nice car or house, none of those things are yours. You’re only here for the time you’re here.
What I have always done is travel all over the world. I spent my money and gave it away. I did things that I wanted to do. Let me explain to you. I was a street person when I was 15 years old, and I was a millionaire when I was 27. I lived in a condemned house with no running water, electricity, and plumbing. I was an abused child and lived with my grandparents.
My grandfather died of a heart attack, and my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. I had a choice to either go to the children’s aid or on the streets. I decided to go on the streets at the age of fifteen, so because of my upbringing and where I was, I made up my mind many years ago that no matter what I touched, whether it be a person or an opportunity, I was going to make that person or opportunity better than when I found it. That’s my idea of success.It's not how much money you make; it's what you become as a result of it. Click To Tweet
There was a famous poet that had written like that about leaving the planet better than you found it when you got here. That’s what you’ve done by all of those projects, which were amazing, but what’s next? I know you’ve got something ahead here that you shared with me and if you want to share it with the audience.
I’m going to Costa Rica. I’m going to be working with the World Wildlife Foundation as a volunteer. I became an ordained minister, so I’m going to start working with the ministry in a small town. That’s what I’m doing. It’s not a moneymaker. I say this all nicely. I don’t need to make any money. I’m okay financially. I’m going to live out my life. Everything now is about my legacy. I’m an antique. When I walk into a room, I want that room to be a better place to be because I’m there.
Your story is amazing. The places you’ve been, the people you’ve touched, and the projects you’ve done are phenomenal. In closing, the real final question I would have is how have you taken some of the skills you’ve acquired in network marketing, which is the business near and dear to your, mine, and our readers’ hearts?
How have you taken some of those skills and suddenly applied them in philanthropy, ministry, or the World Wildlife stuff that you’ve been involved with? How have they transcended what you learned in being motivated to make money and build businesses in network marketing? How have you taken some of that stuff and applied it elsewhere?
The whole thing is because of my background, living in a condemned and not a very good environment. I decided I didn’t want to live like that. Whenever I got involved in a company, the first thing I did was to know who the top distributor in the company was. They said, “This person here has got a six-figure income.” I wanted to be as close to that person as possible.
I want them to know what he or she did. I wanted them to know what type of values they had and everything about them. Once I knew what they were doing, I duplicated what they were doing, but I did more of it. It’s not that I was smarter than they were. It is that I was willing to work harder than anybody else. I don’t want to get involved with big conversations, but I did have six-figure months and had some six-figure years.
I didn’t jump around through hundreds of companies. I stayed with the same companies for a long time. I went to the top with every company. I’ve become a diamond, 6-star or 5-star, won new cars, trips, and all that thing. I was very motivated to be at the top. While people were out partying and carrying on, I was out recruiting. If you want to work from 9:00 to 5:00, you’ll make a living. If you want to work from 5:00 to 9:00, you’ll make a fortune, and that’s what I did. When I made enough money, I said, “Where can I go now?” I would go to Greece, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, I go to wherever.
You’ve been to a lot of places. It sounds like you’re not done yet. I wish you well in Costa Rica and all of your philanthropic and non-philanthropic projects. You and I only met once. I was thinking about Atlantic Canada. I can’t tell you what year it was. It was in the ’80s, but we were in at the same restaurant. I was with a couple of guys I was working with, and you were doing a meeting out there. I want to say New Brunswick, in a restaurant where you can eat all of the lobster tail that you can eat nonstop. It’s famous. I think it was in Shediac. I’m trying to think of the name. Do you remember that place?
I have to be honest with you. I don’t. When I was with one company, for example, I was on twelve flights a month all over the world. I did it nonstop. I was physically down the road for eight years.
All I remember was the guys I was with were like, “There’s Ed Mercer,” I was like, “I’ve heard of Ed Mercer.” I knew who you were in the industry. I was a kid. We talked for a few minutes. I want to say it was New Brunswick, but it was a long time ago. This has been a pleasure. Our guest, Ed Mercer, is an industry veteran in network marketing, Philanthropists, World Traveler, etc. It has been a fun interview. Our books are called Leave Nothing to Chance and Moving Up 2020, available on Amazon in English and Spanish. This has been a privilege and a pleasure. I want to wish you well going forward to Costa Rica and give you the last word to our readers. Any last words of advice for them?
Thank you, and God bless you and your family and all the readers. Hopefully, some of the things that I was saying to you are helpful. Every day we live in the last day we have. I call it celebrate or fix. Every single day I celebrate, and if I mess up, I fix it.
That’s perfect advice. Thank you once again.
- Ed Mercer – Facebook
- World Wildlife Foundation
- National Geographic
- The Eighth Grade Millionaire
- Think and Grow Rich
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
- The Magic of Thinking Big
- Leave Nothing to Chance
- Moving Up 2020
About Ed Mercer
Mr. Mercer started his career in the MLM profession at a young age of 20. Coming from a condemned home with no running water, no electricity, no flooring where two of his brothers died of overdose, his youngest shot to death, his remaining brother and father died of cancer and despite all odds, he made his first million in MLM at the age of 27.
There is more to Ed Mercer than Mr. MLM. He is also known as Mr. Costa Rica for donating millions of dollars to the Homeless and Humanitarian Project and the only non-Costa Rican to have been inducted into the environmental hall of fame. Ed has also worked with the Wild Life Association, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, World Wildlife Society, and National Geographic.
Having spent over half a century in the industry, Mr. Mercer has been one of the top leaders in the direct marketing industry. He has build MLM distributorship in 86 countries with a team size of a whopping 1.3 million distributors.
Mr. Mercer is also the author of the book “The Eight Grade Millionaire and a top motivational speaker who has shared the stage with 140 other top speakers in the world including Jim John, Randy Gage, Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Donald Trump, and Robert Kyosaki just to name a few.