Plant your flag and commit to excellence, for the true power lies in the unwavering dedication to your dreams and financial stewardship. Today, the tables are turned as John Solleder becomes the guest, who explores the keys to building a successful business. With Joe Garcia as host, they tackle the power of staying loyal to your vision and how commitment distinguishes you from those who constantly switch in pursuit of immediate satisfaction. Joe and John also stress the significance of humility and the power of being perpetual students in an ever-growing industry. If you are ready to create a thriving legacy business filled with impact, growth, and financial freedom, tune in to this insightful discussion now.
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How To Build A Successful Business With Joe Garcia And John Solleder
We are going to do something very different and very unique for this episode. My good friend Joe Garcia, an icon, a legend in the industry, a tremendous leader, and a tremendous wealth of talent, ability, and experience, came to me a few weeks ago. He said, “John, it would be fun to put you on the other side of the camera.”
In this episode, we’re going to do the first and we’ll probably do this a couple of times, Joe, with yourself. I’m thinking maybe a couple other of our friends in the industry where they get to ask me questions. I’m looking forward to being on this side of it. Don’t be too tough on me. I’m used to asking questions.
I’ve been known to use a big whip globally.
I’m afraid of that. It’s not that far from Toronto to Dallas these days. Joe, it’s a pleasure. I appreciate the great idea. I’ll turn the call over to you.
The reason why I came up with this idea is because there are very few people in the industry that has your story. You’re one of the few guys that I look up to in the industry. We just met. We have never crossed paths, even though you lived in my area for a long time. You got started a lot earlier than I did in the industry. You go way back in the ‘80s.
I thought it would be a great idea to pick your brain. Typically with myself, I’ve learned over the years just by asking questions. For example, when my wife and I were getting married 35 years ago, we had to take this marriage course. Our church made us take this marriage course and I was bothering the teachers of that course. I had millions of questions and that’s how I learned.
I take the great answers. For example, one of the questions I asked back then was, there was a couple that had appeared to have an incredible relationship. They were married 40-plus years by that time. I asked him, what was the number one reason why you guys had a great marriage? Do you know what he told me? He says, “Joe, every day I have told my wife that I love her. Sometimes I didn’t feel like it. A lot of times I didn’t feel like it, but it was a consistent action I did every day that improved our relationship. You can see what it’s done to our marriage over the last 40 years.”
I thought, “That’s incredible. Consistent action over time equals results.” That’s what I started to do. We are going to celebrate in Southern Spain our 35th anniversary where we had our honeymoon in Costa Del Sol in September. Based on this theme of asking the expert and the legend, I always tell people that I’m too young to be called a legend. You’re getting there, John. Over the years, tell me the differences between the young John to the John now.
Young John didn’t know what he didn’t know and it made me dangerous to myself. What I mean by that is I walked away from several opportunities in that I had invested my time, energy, and even, in some cases, my money. I walked away too early or prematurely because of either ego or arrogance on my part or feeling like, “I can go do this again.” I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to do it again but I made some mistakes.
I made some honest mistakes. I counsel young people to not walk away too early because, in our business, it’s a roller coaster. It’s all business, not just our business. You and I know our industry but it’s probably no different in real estate, automobile sales, travel sales, insurance, or whatever. Now, you’re not getting along with somebody and say, “I can’t work with this person. I’m out of here.” All of a sudden, a week or two later, you realize, “I made a crucial mistake.” I did that early in my career. I had a percentage of sales in a company here in Dallas building it on the corporate end from the sales standpoint. I got upset with the owner and he got upset with me. We were good friends.
Rather than us settling it, we had our egos in the way, he and I did. I walked away. It cost me a fortune. More than that, it cost me an opportunity. It’s not just the money. The money I would make more of in my life but it cost me the opportunity to do some of the things that I could have done with that company that may have kept that company on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, I chose differently. That was my decision.
You got to own your decisions in life. Not just in our business but in life. That was a mistake on my part. This John would never do that. This John would find a way to say, “Let’s sit down and talk.” It’s like when I look at the political scene now in the world. If people are talking to each other rather than at each other, there’s a big difference in what gets done. If you sit at a table with another human being and you share a meal, a cup of coffee, or time most importantly, you can get a lot of things done.If you sit at a table with another human being sharing a meal or a cup of coffee, you can get a lot of things done. Click To Tweet
Historically, when I look at people like Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill in the early ‘80s when I started in network marketing, I was just getting out of college, those guys were basically running the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States. They didn’t agree on a lot of stuff but they were able to sit down at the White House and have a beer together on a consistent basis for the good of not only their parties but more importantly, the good of the country.
That’s what I learned along the way. It’s better to sit down with somebody, whether it’s physically if you can. If you can’t, if you’re geographically removed, get on the same page. Say, “I got a problem with how you’re doing stuff or how you’re saying stuff or maybe you have a problem with how I’m doing stuff. Tell me what it is and let me own it,” because I can’t have every perspective. I ask people to give me their perspectives on what I could do better in my life.
One other thing I learned too, and I learned this when I stepped out of the industry for a short time in the early ‘80s, was to ask somebody why they didn’t buy from you. It’s a valuable lesson. It’s like when you get a sale and you feel great. You get on the phone and brag to your wife, “I made a sale. I recruited a new distributor. I sold some product.” You feel good. What about when the person doesn’t buy?
Is it something that you could have done better or was it something that they rejected for financial reasons or it wasn’t something they were looking for? Those are some of the lessons that I’ve learned over these 40-plus years of doing network marketing that are invaluable not only to myself now but to younger people that I counsel and coach.
You talked about ego. From what I got from your answer there, ego played a large role in other decisions. Do you think that’s a young thing that’s something that we have to learn or it’s who you are at the time?
It’s a combination there. I also felt like I could do this again and again. The 35-year-old me versus the 62-year-old me, I was full of energy. I got up in the morning and all I wanted to do was work. The 62-year-old me is a little smarter than that because I don’t have that level of energy or that desire anymore. There are other things I desire to do with my time besides network marketing.
I invest my time in my faith. One of the ministries that we’re involved with, my family, my workouts, and all the other things that I want to spend time doing preclude me from wanting to go and build a company from scratch, and work from 8:00 in the morning until faint at night, so to speak. It’s the old hours, Joe, 8:00 to faint. Do you remember that statement? I don’t know who said it first but it’s a great statement. That’s the way I was in my 20s and 30s and even my early 40s. That’s what it took to build a company. You had to work that hard.
You’re into your second marriage. Correct, John?
This is a very important question. It’s our philosophy when it comes down to it. I remember when I first got started in the industry back on June 23rd, 1993. I just recently celebrated my 30th year. I can’t believe it. Over and over again, I get this concept from every speaker and every leader that I saw training from an audio tape back when we were listening to the audio tapes. It was the concept that you got to pay the price for success.
At that time, I was newly married. I was five years into our marriage. I just became a father and I didn’t want my family to pay the price for my vision, my work ethic, and my high achiever philosophy. I kept on asking myself, “How can I create a balanced life and reach my dreams and my business world?” I’m doing it for my family. Ultimately, there’s an ego part of us high achievers that we want to get to the top. Nothing is good enough by getting to the top. When we reach the top, we want more and more.
That has a lot to do with the ego part of ourselves or how we’re wired. With you over the years, how did you balance? For example, I didn’t want my wife or my kids to pay the price for my success. I promised them as I started to travel that I would never travel for more than one week. That was my commitment to them, and 99.9% of the time, I managed to do that over and over again. That’s because my family is number one to me in my hierarchy of needs and wants and my values in life. How have you changed over the years from balancing that high-achievement mentality to getting the job done, becoming successful, and reaching your financial goals, and still having an incredible family life?
It’s a sad story that I hope nobody tuning in to this ever goes through, but I’m sure some people do.
Prior to this show, I did not share with John that I was going to ask him this question. It’s a challenging thing to create balance. There is a perception or a belief out there that you can’t be successful without you and your family paying the price. You see a lot of marriages break up because of that.
It is a sad story of how it happened. I met my wife now of 21 years. Because I was already in my early 40s, right off the bat we wanted to have a family. She had had a daughter from a previous relationship that I adopted and she’s my daughter now. She’s 28 and is in California. I started out with a ready-made family but I still wanted to have my own kids biologically. We conceived a child who, unfortunately, we lost at about eight and a half months into the pregnancy. At that point, I was still very narcissistic. I was still about business being the only priority. Family was important but business came first. It made me super successful, but it also cost me some of the valuable things in life. I’ll give you a couple of things that happened.By putting business first before family, you will become successful. But it will cost you some valuable things in life. Click To Tweet
When we lost that child, right then and there, I got on my knees and talked to my Lord and savior and said, “If you give me children,” because I’m not sure if I can have more. I’m not sure that this wasn’t something wrong with me.” We never found out what the cause of death was. “If you bless me with kids, I’m going to put them first. I’m going to make sure that they are my priority.” I did that and exactly one year later, on New Year’s Eve 2002, my son Frederick was born. He was born early, by the way.
He turned out to be an amazing kid and doing some great stuff on the internet and in network marketing. He’s doing very well and goes to SMU now, studying coding and all kinds of stuff off the charts. He’s a good kid. I’m really proud of him, then my daughter Grace came along eleven months later.
When they got involved with athletics, hockey, and figure skating, I never missed an event. I was so tenacious about that. I was in Columbia for the opening of our company on a Friday night with 4,000 screaming and yelling Columbians. At 6:00 the next morning, I was on a flight to Toronto because my son had a game that afternoon and he didn’t know I was coming. I hopped in that plane and I got there about five minutes before face off.
As I walk into the arena and he turns around, he sees me. He was like, “Wow. My dad’s here.” He knew I was in Columbia because I talked to him the day before. It’s that level of commitment. I’m not saying every parent can do that or can afford to do that but it was my commitment that I wouldn’t miss their games and their their life events, not just their sporting events. I’m an athlete. I’m a jock my whole life, so I love sports.
Grace was in an acting thing here in Dallas. I had a meeting in Los Angeles. The same thing, I hopped on a plane because she had a thing the next day. Sometimes you’re there with toothpicks in your eyes but I made it a priority that my kids were going to come before everything else. We’ve had our challenges with kids like everybody does, but they’re all on the straight and narrow. They’re all doing well. Grace will start at the University of Texas at Dallas right about when this episode airs.
She’ll be at UTD, Freddie will be at SMU, and Camille is doing well out in California. We’re blessed but I took that responsibility very seriously, more serious than I ever took the business. I took business extremely seriously but I took my family that much more seriously and their endeavors, supporting them not only financially but supporting them from the standpoint of communication. How can I help you? Is this something you’re struggling with? Do you need coaching? Do you need some level of assistance that you’re not getting at school or from the coaching staff? What is it that you need that I can help you with? That’s been important to me and valuable.
The lesson here is to write down your values. I would recommend everyone do this. What is the most important thing on your top ten list? A lot of times what happens with married couples, the male in the relationship would have freedom in the top five. Whereas the female in the relationship would have security in the top five. Can you imagine the conflict there between freedom and security? They’re fighting always about money because the guy wants to go for it, the freedom, where all she’s focused on is to make sure the kids are fed with a roof over their heads. That’s the most important thing. What you’ve done there is subconscious, you automatically put your family first and then your business life. You made it work.
You didn’t want your kids to pay. You wanted to be that dad who was there for everything. It’s the same with me. I wanted to be that dad. That’s why I worked from home. That was the number one dream I had back in 1993 when I manifested this industry. My dream was to work from home. I had no idea how I was going to do it. When I met a gentleman in a library that introduced me to this industry, I was like, “I could work from home.”
Going back to that comment about paying the price for success, you subconsciously and consciously at that moment in your early 40s when you became a dad made a conscious, whether it was a vision or a decision. You consciously said, “My family is the most important. I’m going to make this work. I’m going to attend every event. I’m not going to miss it.” This is important for all of us and for those that are high achievers. You can manifest anything you want in life. You can manifest an incredible family with a great business, at the same time, reach your goals and dreams. It is all possible. You’re a great example of that, John.
If you have a super successful business but you have no relationship with your kids, what have you gained? That’s what’s valuable as we get older. It’s our relationships not only with our friends and our colleagues but most importantly with our family and our kids. We’ve gone through things in our family where they’ve been divisive. There has been some divisiveness over the years. Things that have happened. Our oldest daughter, unfortunately, got involved with drugs at one point. We had to put her in a rehab facility.
You say, “How are you blessed by being in network marketing?” She didn’t have to go to the county hospital. She went to the best rehab facility in the State of Texas and 30 days later, she walked out of there. She used something that I learned from Larry Thompson. It’s a statement, “Day at a time, brick at a time, process by process.” Because she was older than her brother and sister, she grew up going to meetings with me. She’d been my date. She’d go to stuff with me. She would hear me say that over and over. She’d hear Larry say that over and over. She’d hear other people say that over and over.
We are leaving that drug rehab place after 30 days of hell. It’s hell what these kids go through and put themselves through. It’s their bad decision that put them there. Let’s not lose sight of that. At the end of the day, she turned to me as we were getting in the car. She says, “Dad, I know how I’m going to beat this thing.” I’m like, “How’s that, Camille?” She says, “A day at a time, brick at a time, process by process.”
I shared that at an event in April in Dallas with my organization. We had a big event here. A lady wrote to me about how much that helped her with one of her children that’s going through something similar. It’s not just our experience that we hold important for our families. It’s what we share with our organizations and with other people in our industry and other people that aren’t in our industry for that matter. That inspires them to give them some of the tools that they need to deal with a crisis.
Sometimes people look at you, they look at me, and some of the people that I interview on this show. They say, “They make a lot of money. They have houses. They drive fancy cars.” Those are all true but at the end of the day, we’re human beings. We have the same struggles. We might have more money in the bank than a lot of people do, but we have the same struggles going on with our families, ourselves, our health, and all the other things that every other human being does.
The difference is that we practice self-development on a daily basis because we’re leaders of teams of people. Some of those self-development tools carry over to people who are not inclined to be in our business but they hear them just like my daughter who’s not in our industry heard those statements as a kid, and it helped her at a critical time in her life.
That’s a great lesson for people in business, especially in the network marketing industry. When people ask me, “Joe, what’s your number one success secret of all time?” The first one is you got to fall in love with your dream. Combined with that is that I consistently did money-making activities over the last 30 years. Every single day, no matter where I was in the world and what I was doing, my onsite in my business was open for business.
That consistently sharing the product and sharing the business and working on myself, 30 years later, process by process, has determined my results. The things that I was doing back 30 years ago have affected my results now because I’m consistent. Whatever distractions came my way, I was able to overcome them. There have been massive distractions over time.
I looked at it and said, “I can jump over that one,” because I was consistent. Also, consistent with emotions and that’s a great segue into the next topic. When you’re in business and there’s a lot of money being involved, especially in our industries and the huge amount of relationships that we have, people end up betraying those relationships. It becomes very disappointing, especially with a guy like yourself who cares a lot about people and has a big heart. When people have betrayed you, how have you dealt with that? What’s your process for that?
To be honest with you, I had to deal with those over the years at different times. People have betrayed me, be it financially. They’re in your company or in your downline. You introduce them and you elevate them to leadership. You tell everybody what a superstar they are, then all of a sudden, they run off to some flaky pyramid scheme that’s not even legal. You say, “How can they be so stupid?”
They do it without even discussing it with you. I’m not talking about any particular case here but I’ve seen this happen for almost 40 years now. They’re not even saying, “John, here’s what I’m thinking of doing.” I get it if you’re not making money where you are and that you need to make money. I respect that. Somebody makes an honest move to another company but make an honest move. Don’t betray the contact capital that you’ve developed with other people in your company that are in other people’s downlines by moving somewhere else and all of a sudden, trying to take everybody with you. That’s wrong. That’s unethical. That’s immoral, in my opinion.
I’ve seen that happen repeatedly. First, I get angry and I go to the gym. I hit the heavy bag for about a half hour. I get that out of my system and say, “Let’s look at it this way. I know that my course is right and I’m going with the grain and not against it. I know that my company, my product, and my marketing plan are good. I know that we’re legal with regulatory people, etc., as best as you can be in a regulatory environment as we both deal in. At the end of the day, if I know I’m in good company and with good people, I’m going to stay in my course and continue to preach my message. I don’t care what anybody else does.”
That’s the way that I’ve gotten through some of the initial angst of people betraying trust. It’s tough because you feel let down because what happens too is you build relationships. You eat meals with people, hang out with people, and spend time on trips with people, and all of a sudden, they betray you. I don’t mind somebody leaving because they have to make a living. I mind somebody leaving in how they do it. There’s a way to do it.
For example, when I left this company in Dallas, I resigned and I never called a person. It’s not because I was afraid the company owner would sue me, which he probably would have. At the end of the day, I came into a business. I made relationships based on a company that somebody else started. When I left, I took the high road. Because of that, everything that I’ve done since, I’ve never had an issue. Nobody has ever said, “That guy is unethical. That guy did this or that guy did that.” I’m glad to have that reputation.
As my son enters into this industry and gets to know people like yourself, Dan McCormick, Larry Taylor Thompson, Keith Hooper, and all the people that he’s met, including the ownership of my company and management of my own company, I’m glad I have that reputation. I’ll continue to have that reputation until I go to the grave. I’m going to do what I think is the right thing. It might not always be the right thing but I’m going to do the right thing. I’m going to stay the course because I know what I have is legal, moral, and ethical, and people need it.
I don’t know necessarily whether somebody else has that same circumstance. Maybe they do and maybe they have something better. I don’t know. What I do know is there right way and a wrong way how to leave a relationship. It’s funny, my wife sometimes gives me a hard time. I probably shouldn’t say this. Hopefully, she won’t tune in to this but she probably will. I’m still friends with a lot of my ex-girlfriends. Some of them are on Facebook. I talk to them. I’ve watched their kids grow up. I’ve watched them remarry and stuff. People are like, “How can you be friends with your ex-girlfriends?” There’s a right way and a wrong way how to leave a relationship.
You’re in trouble if she tunes in to this.
She knows it. She respects it in a weird way. She’s French Canadian, Joe. Should I say more? There’s a little anger issue there sometimes. The reality is because you leave a relationship the right way with somebody and you’re honest with them, then they move on with their life and you move on to your life. You respect each other.
I’ve had friends that have left my company that I’m still friends with. I have some that I’ve interviewed on the show for that matter. They left for other companies but they did it the right way. The right way and the wrong way have to do anything in life. If we do it the right way, you can hold your head up and say, “Not everything is for everybody.” If there was only one company in our industry and it starts with an A and it’s up in Michigan, you wouldn’t be in your company. I wouldn’t be in mine. Our audience wouldn’t be in theirs. Not everything is for everybody and that’s okay but do it with class. That’s what it comes down to.Not everything is for everybody. What it all boils down to is doing your thing with class. Click To Tweet
It goes back to the values. With me, loyalty is in my top five. I’m extremely loyal. If you type in Joe Garcia on Google, I’m battling a famous artist and a Congressman in Florida for the top Google searches. I’ve been in my present company now for 22 years. The sister company prior to that merged with us. It’s a total of 27 years because I’m extremely loyal. I know what my values are. I’ve never strayed from that.
For example, if I end up going into that situation, how you move on and how you communicate are so important because you don’t want to burn bridges. There’s a law of karma. What we do to others will always come back to us. I’ll give you a great story. A woman from Mexico who was a longtime contact of mine through Russia and moved to Mexico reconnected with me. She’s been on your product for the last 5 or 6 months.
She’s not too sure where she wants to go, and I didn’t know that story. She was a prospect and very highly regarded. The type of person you want to enroll in your business. As soon as I heard that she was taking your product, I backed off. She thought it was weird. I go, “No because I have a great friend John who’s in that company. He’s probably in your upline. I encourage you to stay there. If the product is working for you, stay there, etc.” It’s because of my loyalty and my values that I understand very clearly.
Thank you for that, Joe. It shows not only your ethics but I feel the same way. We are in an industry that has some great companies and some great products. I’m the same thing. When I hear somebody is in a great company and whether I have a friend in a company or not, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t, it’s like, “We are in a great company. Why would you want to make a move?”
Stay where you are. Stay the course because you’re building a financial fortress around your family. That’s the priority. As much as I’d love to have you with me, I have to defer to you’re in a great company. If you’re in some silly company that you go, “I know about that company. It’s got no future and it’s got no money. It’s not going to be here,” that’s a different story but I’m a fan of our industry.
The reason I started this show was to support our industry and to give back some of the knowledge of people like yourself and some of the other people that I’ve interviewed over the last couple of years. Give it for free. We’ve never charged for anything. We never will charge for anything. If you want to buy my books, you’re going to pay for them because you got to pay Jeff Bezos because he sells them for me.
At the end of the day, we do it to give back because we believe in this industry. It’s been good for your family, my family, and a lot of our colleague’s families. We want to give back that knowledge and information not only to the current generation but to the next generation, your kids, and grandkids as they come up. There’s a great industry out there with many choices of many companies where somebody says, “This company doesn’t fit me because I don’t like that product category but this company over here has a product category that I feel comfortable with. I’m going to go do that.” I’m your biggest fan. How can I help you?
We are the industry. The people are the industry. How we act, react, share, and help people is all about us. We are the reflection of the industry. John, one of the challenges over the years, this is a two-part question that I’ve seen in leadership and I’ve dealt with it. As you start to make money, the entire team starts to think that you’re a bank. People with good hearts always want to help people. Over the years, everyone that I’ve lent money to has never paid me back within the organization. It’s a sign of betrayal and a sign of trust. We did it all for the right reasons.
One of the things that I and my business partner Dan did years ago was cut the line and said, “We’re not banks.” If you do it for one person, you got to do it for 2nd, 3rd, 5th, or 10th. You got to be consistent in leadership. We said, “We’re putting our foot down. We’re not going to lend money to anybody in the team. That’s our philosophy and this is the reason why.” Have you dealt with that? A while back we’ve had similar conversations about you lending money and no one paying you back.
Nobody is paying me back yet.
It hurts relationships no matter how hard you work on them because it is a sign of betrayal. One of my leadership rules is you always have to follow through with your promises. You can do something right for nine years straight but if in that ninth year, you break a promise, there goes the trust. People don’t focus on the hundreds of things that you did right for them. It’s that one thing that they’ll focus on. How have you dealt with that?
Two ways. Number one, like yourself, I’ve never been paid back. I’ve lent all sorts of money for 40 years for everything from somebody who’s got a family member sick to, “I’m doing this or I’m doing that and I need support.” In the cases where I still will give money for something, it’s got to be very specific. In other words, if somebody says, “I’m doing an event and I need some extra product.” Let’s say it’s a sporting event, “I need some extra product. Can you help me out a little bit?”
Depending on who it is, they have to be somebody I have a financial relationship with in the business. It can’t be somebody on my 63rd level. Will I help them? Depending on the circumstance. Send me the information about what it is you’re doing. Show me the event that you’re doing that you’re supporting. Can I help you out a little bit? That’ll be up to me and don’t ask me for specifics. I’ll do what I can if I can do anything. I leave it at that.
Sometimes I do because I’ll say, “This person is doing an event.” I’ll throw them a couple of extra boxes of our product. Most of the time though, I decline it for the same reason you do. It becomes a thing where it’s over and over again. I’ve never borrowed money from anybody in this industry, not even when I started and not even from my parents. They didn’t have it. They would’ve told me no anyway. I started, I went out, and I did what my sponsor told me to do.
I bought $800 worth of products. I got a 42% discount on that. I went out and I retailed it. The first seven days I was in the business, I had all my money back and a profit. All of a sudden, I was working from cashflow rather than somebody else’s money that I was then beholden to. I never wanted to be beholden to anybody.
One other example is when I first looked at my current company 26 years ago. The owner invited me to come up and I was going to bring a friend of mine who was a chiropractor in Dallas and another friend of mine from Toronto. He offered to pay for my travel and my friend’s travel. I declined it. If I got there and I didn’t like what I was going to look at, I wanted to be able to shake hands and say, “Thank you for your time,” and I’d be on my way. I didn’t want to feel like, “The guy paid for this. I owe the guy.” I never wanted to be that. Biblically, by the way, we shouldn’t owe anybody money.
That goes back to your values.
Here’s the other thing. Sometimes somebody comes with charity. When you have an organization like you do or I do, where you’re talking seven figures of human beings’ humanity, everybody’s got a kid in girl scouts or Little League. I had to draw the line too and say no to people. It’s not out of anything else. We do our 10% tithe to what we feel is important. We had to say to other people, “I’d love to help you but I can’t.”
To your point, if I help you and Mary says, “You help Susie with her little league. Why won’t you help me with my Girl Scout troop?” Bob hears it and says, “I’m coaching a soccer team and we need new shirts, John.” Before you know it, you’re writing cheques for all sorts of things. You’re self-employed. It’s not your responsibility to do that. Let them get that from the community, the grandparents, or their circle of influence, not from you. If they say, “You make money. You are the upline. Therefore, you’re obligated to pay all this stuff.” Absolutely, not.
One of the lessons I learned when my business started going international, I go into these places. One of the great aspects of building an organization is relationship building. Usually, after every event, especially if you go to Europe or throughout Asia, they want to go out to dinner. That’s where the real business is being done, in those dinner meetings. No matter how many people showed up, like 20, 30, or 40 people. I would pay the bill and I was happy to do that. It was just who I was.
What happened is as my leader started to go into those markets to support their teams, the local leadership would expect them to pay for the dinners. One day I got a call from one of my leaders. He says, “Joe, you got to stop doing what you’re doing because I’m not making the money you’re making now. I can’t afford to put down $2,000 per dinner.”
I thought, “What I’m doing is not duplicatable.” We instituted a law. It’s another leadership law that we have in the organization where everywhere around the world if you go out to dinner, everyone pays their way. That was much more duplicatable than me or my business partner Dan paying everything.
We’re on the same page 100% on that one because I learned that early in my career too. It’s like you went out to dinner with people you didn’t even know. You’d find out afterward, some of them hadn’t even joined the company. They were friends of somebody. The next thing you know, you’ve got a dinner tab for a couple of thousand bucks and it’s like no.
It’s not only not duplicatable but my theory is they’re going to eat now anyway. Whether they’re going to eat at home or they’re going to eat out. You tell them, “Tell the waiter, everybody’s on their own here.” I might be sitting at the head of the table but that’s the case. Unless it’s something like a recognition type of thing. For example, the time I’ll go into a city where somebody’s hit a rank and I’m taking them and their spouse out to dinner. I’ll tell, “Do you want to bring one or two of your team with you? Don’t worry, it’s on me but you can’t bring the whole team.” It’s not realistic. There’s a reason why company owners have to charge for events, by the way.
Very true. It’s another great segue. I should have been an interviewer in my life.
You’re doing a great job.
It’s everything of network marketing and I’m going through all my experiences over the years. A few years back, one of my top leaders, made serious money. She asked me for a $50,000 loan and she was making much more than that per month. She had a lot of influence on the team and in the organization. At that level, because I knew her personality, I was in a leadership dilemma.
If I didn’t lend her the money or find a solution to that, she would leave out of that because of her ego. There was a good chance of her doing it. I didn’t want that to happen. I thought, “I am contributing to her financial mismanagement.” If I lend the money out to her, I’m not helping her. I’m temporarily helping her. I’m thinking I got to help her.
This is where I started helping my leaders a number of years ago when they started to get to five figures a month and more to have a financial plan. One of the things I did very well in my network marketing career and my business career is I got to a lifestyle that my wife and I were comfortable with. I invested the difference. I didn’t get too crazy in anything. My rule of thumb was, for example, if that car didn’t give me joy, I wouldn’t buy it. I wouldn’t make that investment because it’s a horrible investment. That was my rule of thumb. If it didn’t give me joy. I wouldn’t buy it and I wouldn’t invest in it.
If it gave me joy, no matter how much it was, I would buy it. It was like my first $2,000 suit. I grew up thinking because my dad used to tell me, “Joe, a $100 suit is the same thing as a $2,000 suit.” Not really, or people say, “You’re paying for the brand name.” In a lot of cases, you may be paying a lot more for the brand name. When I put that $2,000 suit on, I walked differently because I knew what I paid for it. It was incredible. It’s sending the right signals to that part of the brand that made me feel good about myself.
I ended up going over her finances. She was living in a 15,000-square-foot home with just her and her husband. They literally needed to use their cell phones to communicate. She had five cars in her garage that she never used. Over and over again, I started going through all of her expenses. I realized quickly why she was in financial challenges despite the money she was making. You have some great incredible financial advice. You spend some time in the insurance industry, which I’m sure helped you. What’s your financial advice philosophy?
Let’s start there. I joined my first company in college in 1983. By 1985, it had a problem with the Food and Drug Administration. It basically blew up, so the business was untenable. You couldn’t build it in 1985 and that company survived. It’s still one of the great companies in the industry. At the end of the day, you couldn’t build it in 1985.
I get in the life insurance business with Metropolitan Life in New York and I’m still a kid. I’m still in my early 20s. I would sit down with people who were now our age group, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those days, there weren’t even laptops yet. You got all their financial data. I’d go back to my office and I’d run it through this huge Honeywell computer system. We’d plug in their stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement savings, and the equivalent of 401(k)s in the United States. If they were self-employed, their separate retirement plan that they may have had. It’s everything that they have and I’d come up with a number.
I’d come back and I’d say, “Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, let me show you what you’re going to have in your retirement years when you hit 65,” because back then, 65 was the magic number. I’m not lying, 9 out of 10 times, the people I went to in Northern New Jersey and Southern New York state where I was working. I had to tell them, “You got to sell your house. You can’t live here,” because they didn’t save anything. They worked 35 to 40 years, honorable good people. They paid their taxes. They sent their kids to school. They went to church on Sunday mornings but at the end of the day, they forgot to do something else. Financial stewardship of paying themselves first.
Take that 10% and put it aside. Put it into a separate retirement plan if you’re self-employed like we are. If you’re not, you can put it in any other financial vehicle. You guys have RSPs there in Canada. We have Roth IRAs here in the United States. Put it away because retirement will come. God, willing, you live long enough. The retirement age will come. If you haven’t saved any money, you are in big trouble.If you haven't saved any money, you are in big trouble today. Click To Tweet
Secondly, save money for your kids. What do I mean by that? When Freddie and Grace were young, I started to save in what was called 529(c)s. They’re financial instruments that Congress created so that you could put money away for your children’s education. You could offset some of your taxes like what you put in about a third of it, you got a tax deduction for it. Ultimately, they would use the money. Here we are now, two kids, two great colleges, SMU and UTD. Very expensive colleges but guess what? I’m not writing a cheque. The insurance company is writing a cheque because I put that money aside over the years.
Now did I put it all aside at once? No, I put $500 here and $100 there. “We got an extra thousand bucks. Let’s put it in Fred’s account. Let’s put it in Gracie’s account.” We saved that money so here we are now. They’re in college and their college is paid for. God forbid I drop dead tomorrow. They’ll have their educations. That was the second thing, retirement. Money is number one. About 10% of your income, you need to be saving on a monthly basis.
Number two, if you do have children, save for their college education while they’re young. Do it where you’re not going to miss the money. Do it where you say, “Do we need to go to Starbucks or Tim Horton’s three times a week?” Let’s go once. Let’s take that differential of an extra $100 and write a cheque. Put it away. By doing that, all of a sudden, that financial stewardship, you get to the point where you’re 10 or 15 years into the process. Your account statement shows up in the mail and you go, “Little Johnny or little Susie can go to a great college. We’re going to be able to retire at some point if we so choose.”
Now in our business, we never retire but in a normal business, you retire at some point. My family on my father’s side we’re all electricians. Your body gives out at about 50. From a practical standpoint, whether you’re in our industry or something else tuning in to this, you’ve got to save that money and you’ve got to be a good steward of your money because if you’re not, you’re going to have a problem. Another thing that Jesus said was, “Render under Caesar what is Caeser’s.” Whose picture is on this coin? Caesar. Render unto him. Pay your taxes. Network marketers, listen to me. Pay your taxes. It will catch up with you if you don’t. I worked with a guy many years ago.
The IRS eventually caught up to him. He was collecting disability payments in one state and living in another state and his company puts him on the front cover of a magazine. Guess who else got a copy of that magazine? The Internal Revenue Service and guess what happened to him? He had a big problem. Don’t be that guy. We hear about that all the time.
Financial stewardship. Pay your taxes, pay yourself first in respect of taking care of, A) Your retirement, B) Your children’s education fund, and C) The rainy day fund. What happens if your company crashes and burns? What happens if your income drops because people leave? What happens if the economy does what it’s done the last couple of years and goes the wrong way? Gas prices, food prices, and utility prices double or triple. All of a sudden, it costs you a lot more money to live.
Be prepared with financial stewardship in your working years. If you do that, your non-working years can be glorious and fun rather than stressful. Nothing breaks my heart, Joe, more than when I walk into a Walmart for example and I see a guy 75 or 80 years old as a Walmart greeter. Part of me thinks, “Maybe the guy wants to be there. Maybe his spouse is deceased. Maybe he wants the activity with other human beings.”
Realistically, they’re there because they have to be there. Don’t let that be you, people. You be the guy or the gal or the couple that says, “We did everything. We were pragmatic.” You don’t need a 15,000-square-foot house for two people. It’s impractical. Have a normal house. Pay your taxes. Pay yourself. Take care of those things and put that money aside.
Somebody asked me a long time ago. They said, “How come you’re not in a flash?” I have no flash, Joe. I wear my sports watch and I’ve got this thing. It supposedly helps with balance or something. I don’t know. That’s my jewelry collection. I don’t even wear my wedding ring because I go to the gym a lot and I don’t want to ding it up.
They say, “How come you never buy any of this stuff? Are you cheap?” I’m not cheap. I’m practical. Who do I have to impress? There was one guy I need to impress every year. His name is Ernest Barbaris. He’s my CPA. My other CPA, Mark, is up in London, Ontario, where I file my Canadian taxes. Those two guys I want to impress every year when they go, “You had another good year.” I want to impress those guys. Everybody else I could care less about. I’m not into this business to impress anybody. I’m here to lead people so that they can do the same thing, good financial stewardship, and good life long term.
I did a blog post that has gone viral because it resonated with a lot of people. It’s about the concept of momentum. People are wondering, what does the momentum have to do with the financial aspects of what we’re talking about? I believe and I’ve seen it over the years that network marketers have been addicted to momentum. Here’s what happens. As you know, momentum is not logical. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, there are going to be times when you’re not in momentum. Probably more times than you’re in momentum.
What happens with many network marketers and new business people, the business just takes off because of the honeymoon stage. We’ve all been in that stage where we’re newly married that first year. Everything is incredible. The same thing with a business. Either you’re going into a new market or starting with a new company and your income takes off. You get to $10,000 a month or $20,000 a month.
What ends up happening is everything that you’ve shared with everybody about financial stewardship, for example. That was the first thing that I did. When my kids were born, I was putting it into a college fund every single month. I didn’t even look at it. My son just graduated with a Master’s. He’s got a couple of degrees. My daughter has two degrees. That fund that I’ve been paying for all these years took care of all that. I didn’t realize they were going to be co-career students so far. Now they’re degree after degree. Education is important. The more you grow your mind, the more you’re going to be able to deal with life in a great way.
Anyways, the consumable momentum. What ends up happening is they start buying the cars. They’ll probably purchase a nice home. Their lifestyle grows with their income but here is the challenge. There’s going to be a down period. For example, if you look at any growth curve in network marketing, when you go into a new country, that first two years, if you do it right, you’re escalating very quickly. It’s a hockey stick curve. Eventually, there’s going to be a time when it levels off and starts to go the other way. That’s where the true leadership starts to work. The other ones will leave and go on to the next deal.
What ends up happening with the momentum and why it’s so harmful that addiction to momentum is as soon as there is a down period in the business, your leadership is always defined not in good times but in bad times or unstable times. This is where you need to work the business and need to kick it into overdrive. What ends up happening is now the mind starts to think, “I can’t afford my lifestyle now. I’m making less than what my lifestyle is.” I don’t want to hurt my lifestyle because it’s an ego thing.
Now the mind starts to think, “Why isn’t my downline working as hard as before?” The company has made an error here. The mind starts to blame the company and the team, where the blame should be centered on us. That’s what leadership does. What am I doing to cause this? How can I get it into overdrive? At that moment, because it’s fun to be a momentum, their mind starts to look on Facebook and other social media platforms, “Look at that company. It’s taken off. Look at what’s going on there,” then you get pitched.
Now, times are tough financially. This new company probably is offering you a deal or you’re now thinking, “If I get into that momentum again because it’s going to be hard here.” They make the decision because of the momentum aspect and they get into that new deal. The same cycle starts all over again. They get into momentum. Everything is so exciting that first year. They’re blasting it all over Facebook and social media platforms, then those post stop and the whole cycle starts over again. Because they’ve done it once, they’re going to do it a second time, a third time, and a fourth time. Now it becomes a habit and a way of doing business.
I have seen people in this industry call themselves startup specialists. Think about that. Not to judge them but you know what that means. “I’m going to go here, develop it for a year, and I’m going to the next thing. The next company is going to do the startup thing again and pay me to do that.” It’s that kind of thing. Listen to John and what he shared with you is financial stewardship. If you do that, you’re going to have incredible longevity in this industry. You’re going to have huge success long term. Money is going to be working for you rather than you chasing the money every year and trying to get that to pay for what you’re doing with regard to your spending. I know we’re coming up to an hour, John.
I want to add a couple of things to that though, Joe. There’s a lot of wisdom in what you said there. Number one, here’s the difference between Warren Buffet and most people. Guys like Warren Buffet take an interest in interest. Wealthy people take an interest in interest. Poor people pay interest. It’s a very different thing.Wealthy people take an interest in interest. Poor people pay interest. Click To Tweet
Think about it for a second. If you’re paying a lot of interest on your credit cards and on other bills perhaps that are overdue, you’re not paying attention to interest. You got to pay attention to interest. Would you rather be earning it? Interest rates are getting pretty good if you got money put away. We’re bad for a while. Now, they’re getting pretty good again. They’re getting good for all the wrong reasons but they’re getting good.
If you’ve got money put away, you’ll make money on your money now. What’s my other point on that? A number of years ago, Stewart Johnson, who’s the founder of Video Plus which is now called Success University something in Dallas, had an event and he invited people who made a certain amount of money in the industry to come to this event to be honored. He was launching a magazine. I forget which magazine it was. It was Success Magazine. He bought it and was rebranding it. Anyway, he invited me because I qualified for this club financially. I won’t use the figure for FTC reasons but it’s a substantial amount of money. We’re standing there myself, Jeff Roberti, and Dan McCormick.
Dan Cat, my business partner was there.
Dan Cat was there. He’s in that picture with me, and a number of other people. I can’t think of everybody. We’re standing around. We have all known each other for years. We’re all standing around, having a drink together, talking, and catching up. All of a sudden, here comes this big group of guys and women, about 18 or 19 of them. I’ve said to Roberti, “Do you know these guys, Jeff?” He goes, “I don’t know who they are.” I said, “Anybody knows who these guys are? What company are they in?”
All of a sudden, I see my friend John Addison walk in. John is the then CEO or CFO of the company that these folks were in, Primerica. There were about 40 of us that qualified for this amount of money, and there were more people in the industry. Larry Thompson was with us that night too. I think Tish was with us. Anyway, it’s a bunch of people. I said to John, “Are these your guys?” He said, “Yes.”
Here’s the funny part, Joe. When we think of the multilevel hitter, you couldn’t name these guys and I couldn’t either. The funny part is, you’ve been at your company for 20-plus years. I’ve been at my company for 20-plus years. We’ve got friends in the industry that are with companies. Jeff Roberti for 30-plus years at his company. Dan McCormick, I think he’s 30-plus years in his company.
Some of the guys over at some of the older companies have been here a long time. They’re not industry names. If you went to another company and you said, “So and so in this company or that company,” nobody knows who they are. Yet, they’ve made fortunes in our industry. They’ve got the money put away. They’ve got great lives and legacy businesses that they’ll pass along to their children or grandchildren because they’ve done it right.
The big multilevel names in our industry skip around, to your point. This year they’re at this company because there’s momentum. The momentum stops for whatever reason and they jump over to some other thing. Two years later, the momentum stops there and they jump again. Are they hitters? No, because the people who follow them wind up broke. If you make money in network marketing, plant your flag as you have in your great company and I have in my great company, and as some of our audience have it there.
My suggestion to everybody is if you’re in a good company that you’re comfortable with, the management is good, the product is good, and the comp plan is fair, plant your flag. Make that commitment to yourself and the most important people in your life, your spouse and your children, that you’re going to stick around. You’re going to build that business comes all the rollercoasters.
Believe me, Joe and I could go on the rollercoasters that he and I have been through with our companies for all these years. All the ups and downs, ownership change, management change, this change, and that change. It’s called life, folks. Stick to what you’re doing if you know it’s the right thing. Plant your flag in the ground and make that commitment like you have in your marriage and like you have to your faith. Make that commitment to your business.
Joe’s got the best advice of all. I steal this from him all the time. He doesn’t know I’ve been using it. Fall in love with your business like you did with your spouse and like you did with your children. The day they were born, you fell in love with them. You didn’t say, “They’re not the best-looking kids. I’m going to go get other kids.” No, you’re stuck out. “They don’t get the best grades,” you stuck it out. “They’re not the best athlete,” you stuck it out. “They’re not whatever,” you stuck it out and you made things work for them in their lives. That’s what we do in our business. You make that commitment.
We end with this. This is a great episode. Probably the best on Leave Nothing to Chance.
I think we’re going to change the host permanently.
I always tell people that when I got started, and to share your success secret, I fell in love with my dream. I knew exactly what I wanted. because that’s the key to life. I made a commitment that I would never quit. John, 30 years later, I’ve never quit on anybody. That’s what I’m most proud of. I’ve never quit on a company, anybody, any of my downline members, business partners, and family.
I’m very loyal but I made a commitment that I was going to see it through. It’s very difficult to do that because you need to have faith. I’m stubborn when it comes to this. As human beings, we tend not to follow through. I remember in the ’50s and the ’60s, I was born in the mid-’60s, and my dad would lend money to friends.
Back then, you didn’t need to sign a contract. The word was the most important because if your word was nothing, you were in trouble in society. No matter if you lived in the United States or Canada, wherever in the world. We have to understand that the word is our only power, the word to ourselves. I made a commitment to myself and my family that I would never quit on my dream, on my company, and on anybody. I was going to see it through no matter what.
That enabled me. If I were to quit on something or someone or company or whatever, I would never be able to live with myself. I knew the only power I have as a human being is my word, especially to myself. When you break your word for anybody, the person that you’re hurting the most is yourself. That commitment and falling in love with my dream are my top two. Consistency is my top three reasons where I am 30 years later. It’s served me well. We’ll end with your top three success secrets in longevity.
I would say number one is commitment. What’s your commitment to excellence? People say to me all the time, different friends of mine that aren’t in the industry and we’re all in about retirement age. Some of them are retired already. They’ll say, “When are you going to retire?” The day when I don’t think that I have any impact on other people’s lives would be the day I retire.
Joe, I hope that’s the day when they’re slamming the box on me and I’m laying down and my eyes are closed. When I stop having that positive impact on other human beings, whether in my company, in your company, in another company, or you’re new to the industry, that’s when I feel like it’s time to stop. I made that commitment to people a long time ago. Secondly, I believe in giving back. This is a giving-back business. What probably kept me somewhat humble through the years was I’ve always been an athlete. When I was younger, I was very involved with judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and Sambo.
John, that’s not an athlete. I’m kidding.
I know. You haven’t seen me get up in the morning. There are times I wish I hadn’t done all that. I would step across the mat, be it in training or in competition against people with all different backgrounds. All of a sudden, it didn’t matter that I was making X amount of dollars in network marketing. Nobody cared. You step across the mat from a guy who’s a truck driver or a school teacher or whatever that doesn’t make that money. He cares less about what you did. He’s going to try to whoop you if he can or vice versa. It taught me to be very humble because there’s always somebody better than you. Here’s the lesson from that.
You got the commitment and being humble.
Being humble and being willing, the third one is to be a student continuously. I am still reading. I read voraciously at any given time. Nutrition has become a passion of mine in the last few years. I read everything on nutrition that I can possibly get my hands on. I listen to podcasts on everything that I possibly can. I’m on Facebook groups with all kinds of stuff. Some stuff that I don’t even know. Some of these people are a little out there but I’ll read what they have to say even if I don’t necessarily agree or understand it. I want to be open to constantly educating myself and to new ideas for my life. Not just for my business. My business is a microcosm of the totality of my life.
I’m constantly a student. I’m back reading some stuff that Dan Kennedy put out. The great Dan Kennedy, the great copywriter, the best of the best when it comes to copywriting. I’m reading some stuff that Dan put together. I’m constantly refreshing myself on some of the things I’ve read in the past and things that I’m currently reading that I haven’t read before. Why? It’s because my best years are ahead of me.
I can look at it and say, “In 40 years, I made a lot of money.” I could stop if I wanted to, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to impact anybody. Without those new ideas and without learning some new skills, without learning, for example, about things like AI that we talked about in the last episode. When you tune in to this, folks, there will be another episode that will have aired where Scott Erickson, my good friend, who’s a world-class athlete, as well as an electrical engineer, talks about AI. We got to know about AI.
Whether we want to know about AI or not, we got to know about it. Why? It’s going to be part of our business. It is part of our business already. All I’m saying to you is the third thing is constantly getting educated. As you talked about your kids are students and my kids are students. Great. It’s constantly feeding that mind. I’ll close with this, Joe. Ben Franklin, one of the smartest people I think who ever lived, said, “Take the coins from your pocket and fill your mind. Your mind will refill your pocket many times.”
It doesn’t get any better than that.
I got about a hundred other questions but we’ll leave that for another time.
We’ll do this again. I’m sure.
John, you’ve been excellent. Fantastic show. This has not been scripted at all. I sat down five minutes before we were going to do the show and go, “What am what am I going to ask John?” I said, whatever comes out, I’m going to ask him. Awesome, John.
Joe, you’ve been a great host. I thank you for doing this and I’m sure we will do it again.
See you, everyone. Have a great day. Bye for now.