“What happens if I quit?” Surely, we’ve asked that to ourselves at least once in our lives. It’s hard to fathom how a single question can shift the entire course of your path. John Solleder welcomes his first guest for 2022, industry icon and business leader Dan Catto, as they talk about Dan’s fair share of ups and downs—from losing his business, going through a divorce, and battling Crohn’s disease. Listen in as Dan shares how the industry has radically changed and saved his life and how his rock bottom propelled him to reach his peak.
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If I Had Quit That Snowy Night With Dan Catto
This is going to be a fun interview. The great Dan Catto is on the show. I know we’re recording this a little bit before New Year, but this is our first show of 2022, so happy New Year to everybody else. Thanks so much for being here. He is an industry icon, a legend, a business builder, and a trainer. I have not enough great things I can say about this man in a career that he’s had. How long have you been in the industry?
First of all, thanks so much for having you invite me to your show. It’s an honor. We were having so much fun reminiscing about the industry. As I was sharing with you, you’re one of the people in this industry that has been around longer than me. I’ve got tremendous respect for you and what you’ve done in terms of your track record, your successes, and what you’ve done for the industry.
This industry, for me, has radically changed and saved my life, which I know we’ll be talking about, discussing, and sharing with you. I got involved back in 1988. You and I were laughing about that earlier. There were all of these fun stories. When I say laughing, it was because of joy. We talked about the ups and the downs of the industry, but also some of the fun stories that we have of the industry and how it has evolved, the things that we’ve gone through, and how much the industry has changed, but still, that same time, how much the industry hasn’t changed.
I know those will be some of the things that we’ll be discussing and talking about in terms of the fundamentals of the business. I got started in 1988. It seems like yesterday because there are so many clear-cut pictures in my mind. We were talking about some of the great leaders and icons of our industry that got started around that time and now are the heads of companies. It’s their companies. They are the great leaders. Many of the names that are out there, we’ll talk about them in this episode. I don’t know if we’re allowed to, but it was a defining moment in my life back in 1988 when I started. Should I share with you how I got started?
I got started in June of 1988 in Canada. I was in Toronto, Canada. I had spent the previous 12 or 13 years in the corporate world. I was born and not raised in Toronto entirely because I lived overseas in Africa for a while. My father was a United Church minister. He did missionary work in Africa. I lived in Northern Canada for a couple of years as a very young boy but traveled a fair bit as a young man. I started my business career as an adult in Toronto in 1988. It was not a good time for me. I went through, as I say, my own personal 9/11.
I had been in the corporate world for about ten years. From the mid-‘70s to the mid-‘80s, I left the corporate world to start my own business. I ran and operated my own business for two years, but that business went under. I lost all of that. I went into massive debt. As a matter of fact, I was certainly the most broke person I knew. I went back into the security of corporate at that time, which was the tail end of ‘87. The early part of 1988 was all of this transition and this whole process. I had to move back in with my parents. I was going through a divorce because my wife left me. I had lost my business. I was in massively six figures of debt. I moved back in with my parents, and I went back into the security of corporate.
I had done well in the corporate world, but I had left that to start my own business. I wanted my own business and be my own boss. After losing that and going back into the security corporate, that company that I was with that I joined after I became a part of, after three months, I was bought out by a US parent. That was in the spring of 1988, and that was when I was introduced to this industry. When I was introduced to this industry, I was massively in debt.
I was living with my parents on government assistance. My wife had left me. I was going through that divorce. I had also been in the hospital for two months in the tail end of ‘87 and early part of ‘88 with a medical issue called ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. I was very sick, so I got up, moved back in with my parents, and that was when I was introduced to this industry for the very first time. I couldn’t have been more skeptical.
My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I answered an ad back when they had advertisements in the newspapers. It was an ad in the Toronto business newspaper. It was the Toronto Star back in Canada in 1988. It had a little wee ad that talked about a six-figure income, marketing environmental products, which were water filtration systems back then.
I answered an ad on an industry that I didn’t know and understand, and I started to probe on a guy that I didn’t know because he was the guy running the ad and on a company that had come to Canada. I thought it was illegal. It was a company based out of the United States. My self-esteem is at an all-time low in an industry that I didn’t understand. I was massively in debt. It wasn’t a good time, but it was the best time for me, and I didn’t realize it until later, because I had to look. I had nowhere else to go at that time. I could not afford to go back into business for myself.
I’ve lost all faith in corporate, and it was out of desperation. They said motivation comes from inspiration or desperation. I was massively desperate, and I was inspired by one thing that said the six-figure income. I owe way more than six figures because of the bankruptcy that I was going through, so I had to do something. Out of desperation, I went to an opportunity meeting back in June of 1988 on the airport strip at an airport hotel in Toronto, Canada. That day changed my life.
Here’s what moved me that day. First of all, I owe so much to the guy that had run the ad. His name’s Doug. I’ll go on a first-name basis here. When I answered this ad, I was talking to him on the phone. I lay into him for about twenty minutes, and it’s because I’m dumping all of this frustration on him. After about twenty minutes, I was pretty impressed with his patience with me. When I was finally done dumping on him, he doesn’t know me, he said, “Mr. Catto, it’s one of two things. You can come out and take a look at it. It’s either for you or it’s not. If it’s not for you, walk away. If it’s for you, run with it,” I thought, “What have I got to lose?” I said, “I’ll come. I’ll show up.”
He did not know how broke I was. I still looked good because I was wearing my $100 suits that I had from this fashion company that I was running. He said, “Why don’t you bring someone that you value and trust in terms of business acumen or business judgment? Bring them along to get their opinion as well.” I was like, “I’d love to do that,” because there was a guy, and his name was Navin. The gentleman was originally from India years back. He and I were in the same fashion company. He was running a division of the company that we were part of, and I was running another division.
We’re both based out of Toronto. We became pretty good friends in this three-month period when I got back from security corporate. Navin and I have been talking back and forth when our company got downsized. He said, “Let’s go into business for ourselves,” and he wanted to go into this hair transplant franchise, which was going to cost us about $150,000 or $125,000. This deal with good. Navin had the capital, but he didn’t have any hair. I had the hair, but I had no capital, so our relationship was perfect.
We go out to the airport hotel in Toronto. There are 25 people in the room, and a former truck driver is giving the presentation. I’ll give his first name. His name is Fred. For the first ten minutes, I was looking around the room. It wasn’t an impressive room. I met a grandmother, a housewife, a student, and a couple of corporate guys. I felt I had the best game in town just by looking at this room. I thought, “There’s no one in here that could help business me.” I listened to this presentation. I didn’t understand the industry. I was completely confused.
I understood these products because they were environmental products. They’re water filtration systems, and I understood that they made the water, coffee, and tea taste better. I got that, and then they talked about the compensation plan. I got really confused. I was confused about the industry, but I was more confused about the compensation plan. The guy at the front of the room talked about what he was earning. When I heard that, I understood that part. The guy at the front of the room was making more than a month than I was earning in an entire year in my best years in corporate. By the way, from a compliance standpoint, are we okay? I know we cannot talk about income, and I want to respect that. The company I’m associated with is a publicly-traded company.
From a compliance standpoint, there will be no income statements here. I got to say that upfront. That was several years ago, and that was what I heard. He got my attention. I understood that part where I didn’t understand anything that day. The thing that I understood is that if that guy can do it, I can do it. It was the very first part of me in my journey going forward in understanding the most important part when I started doing so many trainings over the years is belief. I’ve found that belief was critical on two fronts. When someone gets involved in this industry, and you’re prospecting, and I found this going forward, other people that’d be looking at our business, in its core for them to get involved in the business was belief.
It was a belief on two fronts. They believed that there was an opportunity here. They believed that this was a good company. They believed that this product worked. They believed in this system. They believed in that, but the second thing, which was the most important thing, is I believed I could do it. On that very first day being exposed to this industry, and when the lights went on, it was that. I was like, “There’s an opportunity here,” and I got that. Number two, I can do it. It was the belief in myself.They say motivation either comes from inspiration or desperation. Click To Tweet
Nothing else mattered that day. I didn’t care about how the product or the compensation worked. I didn’t care about any of these. I knew I had belief, and I did not sleep for the next five years. I went nuts and ballistically crazy. That was a defining moment that day in that first 30 minutes, and understanding that. It all comes down to belief. There’s a lot more that I could share with you in how that day evolved and how I went forward, but I really believe, and I know, that that was a defining moment in my life because it was a beginning. It was certainly a defining moment in my business because, at its core, it was belief.
As I go forward here, when you look at this industry when we talk to other people or leaders in our industry, belief is critical. The most important is belief in yourself, but when I talk to my leaders around the world at my organization, I talk about the six cores of belief. The first one is the industry. The second one is your company. The third one is your product. The fourth one is the compensation plan. This is for people that are building a business that is full-time or want to build a full-time career in the business.
You’ve got to believe that there’s an opportunity from a compensation standpoint, but also believe in the system and that what you’re doing is right. The sixth one is believing in yourself. That is the single most important aspect of all of this. If you don’t have belief in yourself, you’re going to have a tough time on those other five. If you’re having an issue with the belief in yourself, you and I know what we’ve got to talk to them about in terms of personal development, the Law of Association, your mentorship, and your coaching. I’m starting to train now.
I’m taking notes, so it’s a perfect segue though. I know that you read my book, Leaving Nothing to Chance. What was your favorite principle that we talked about there?
You had a bunch. You and I have gone on similar paths. Being in the corporate world, and we’ve been doing this a long time, Canadian relationship. There was a couple, and one of them jumped out because they were traveling more than me. It was the one about committing. Many people that I’ve seen in this business give up too soon, too quick, and too early. It’s chapter five that you narrowed it in terms of commitment because they give up too early.
I’ve got a personal one that I went through. I came this close to quitting, and I have to share the story on why. I read that chapter that same month that I came this close, and it was in the most important book for me when I started off in this industry, which was Think and Grow Rich. There’s a chapter in there about persistence, and I got to talk about it because there’s a story about Darby, the guy that became a legend in the insurance industry. I read that chapter the same time I went through what you talked about on giving up too early. Let’s expand on that. What’s our guy’s name? I’m drawing a blank on him. He wrote David and Goliath and The Tipping Point. He’s from London, Ontario.
In chapter five, when you’re talking about committing, there are so many people that I’ve seen in this industry that have given up prematurely. If you take a look outside of our business, how long does it take for someone to be successful in any endeavor that you take? It doesn’t matter if it’s having relationships or becoming a professional athlete. The amount of people as well in terms of attrition, if you look at accounting in Canada, they say that 85% of the people that enter accounting never become CAs. 96% of the people that enter pre-med never become physicians. 85% of the people that enter the military never get promoted.
It goes on and on about how many people either quit, give up, and fail, but the biggest one for me on that particular chapter is about perseverance, commitment, consistency, persistency, and not quitting. It is February of 1989. I had been in the industry. I’ve been with the company that I joined for about eight months, and I’m still living with my parents. The business was up and down.
I got a phone call from a guy that I respected from a town called Windsor, which is a four-hour drive outside of Toronto, Canada. We chatted for about 30 minutes on the phone. It hadn’t even gone 35 minutes, and he said, “I’m in. What’s the highest position that you could join in this company? What is the financial commitment? Tell me what to do, and I’m going to do it.”
This guy was a financial advisor from the town where my ex-wife used to live or still is living. His name was John, by the way. I said, “This is great. I’m going to come out and do a presentation for you. Can you fill the room?” He says, “I’ll have 100 people for you in the Holiday Inn next Saturday.” The guys still hadn’t signed up. We didn’t have the tools that we’ve got now.
He says, “When you come, I’m going to be buying the product. I’ll give you the check.” Long story short, I did not sleep that week. I was so excited about him filling up the room and me getting rich. I drove out there to Windsor in February of 1988. It’s a four-hour drive on a beautiful day without traffic back then. We called the meeting for 7:00 PM. I remember my mom waving bye. She was at the end of the driveway. I drove all the way to Windsor in my old, beat-up jalopy. This thing could barely run. It had holes in the floorboard, and the radio and heater didn’t work. I didn’t have a cellphone. This car barely got to Windsor, but I got there.
I didn’t park it in the same parking lot. I didn’t want to have any of those guests see my car, so I parked it in another parking lot that was beside the Holiday Inn hotel, which is right on Riverside Drive in Windsor. That hotel is no longer there. There’s another hotel that’s there. Anyway, this is fairway ‘88. It’s around 6:00 PM. I said, “Make sure you get there at 6:00 because we’ve got to set up the product, the registration, and all of this.” I got there around 4:00 or 4:30. Around 6:00, John doesn’t show. It’s 6:30, and he doesn’t show.
It’s 7:00, and he’s not there. When it was 7:30, I understood that there was no him. There’s no one there. Nothing happened. I had talked to him all through the course of the week, and he said he was going to have over a hundred people there. It was around 7:30, and I was calling him and leaving voicemail messages. He hadn’t picked up the phone. I didn’t know where he lived.
By around 9:00, I realized this was not happening. I drove around the neighborhood where I thought he lived, which was near the neighborhood of my ex-wife. I thought, “The last thing I need is to run into her.” I was not feeling good about myself and the business. Long story short here, it’s around 11:00 PM, and I know this is not going to happen. I got to drive home. I did not have the money to stay overnight in the hotel. I had to drive home. It was around 11:15, and it started to snow. In fact, it was a blizzard. I’m driving, and the snow gets worse.
I had enough money for gas to pull over to gas stations, but there was no heat in the car. It was a four-hour drive that took a little over eight hours in a snow storm. I couldn’t pull over because I didn’t have heat in the car. It gives you a lot of time to think. In those eight hours, I came this close to Baylor, but here’s the blessing in disguise. I had nowhere else to go. I could not afford to go back into business for myself, and I’ve lost all faith in corporate. I had to make this work. I couldn’t quit.
It was weeks before that I’d read a chapter in Think and Grow Rich about an insurance guy. His name was Darby. This is a very rough story on what had happened, but he had gone into California back in the mining days. It was in the early 1900s or late 1800s. He kept on mining, looking for this vein of gold. He found it a little bit challenging and testing. It was tough, and then he gave it all up. He said, “That’s it. I’m going to go back to New York. I’m going to go back to Northeast and go back into what I know.” He went back into the insurance business.The core for people to get involved in a business is belief, and the most important thing is belief in themselves. Click To Tweet
He was struggling in the insurance business, and about two years into the insurance business, he reads in a piece of paper in California about this guy who had sold his mining company to another mining company, and when they sold it, the guy had quit mining before they found one of the largest veins of gold in the history of California. When he quit, he was 3 feet from that vein of gold. Darby became very successful in the insurance business after he read that. He got a plaque, and he put it on his desk, and it said, “3 more feet.” He said every time that he was having a tough time with a sale or with the business, he always looked at that 3 more feet. I never forgot that drive that I went through, and I came so close to quitting. I arrived back at my home outside of Toronto. My mother was crying. She didn’t think I was going to make it.
It was a very tough time, but I didn’t quit. There was another movie that I’ll never forget. It was An Officer and A Gentleman. Richard Gere was getting beaten down by the sergeant who was trying to make him quit, but Gere kept on backtalking to him. His father was in the military, but his dad gave him a really tough time. This sergeant that kept beating on Gere in this movie was making him do 1,000 pushups in just a few hours. Gere is under another name in the movie. His name was Mayo. Gere looked up at the sergeant, and the Sergeant looked down at him and said, “Why don’t you quit?” He looked at the sergeant, and he said, “I got nowhere else to go.”
For me, back then, I had nowhere else to go, and I had to make it work. Those tough and challenging times, it’s what you make of those and the meaning you give it, so that worst day became my best day because I never forgot that. How many challenges have we gone through in our journey? I went through that traditional business too, but the rewards that I’ve got here are so much greater. I’m not going to talk about it from a compliant standpoint, but there’s nothing I would have rather ever do than do what I’m doing now. I love it.
Let me make a couple of quick points. First of all, you had such a heartfelt story, and everybody reading this has had that moment. If you haven’t had it and you’re new to network marketing, you will have it. Take my word for it. Don’t quit, because if Dan had quit on the 401 highway and had pulled into Tim Horton’s and said, “The heck with all of this. I’m not doing it,” and got home and took a job, tens of thousands of lives that he’s helped to change never would have been changed. It’s not only here in North America but throughout the world.
That’s the responsibility of leadership that he took on, and the results have been amazing. Once again, for compliance, we can’t get into the money. He has been incredibly successful financially, but more than that, there are all of those people who have been helped because he didn’t give up that snowy night. That’s Malcolm Gladwell that we’re thinking of that we can’t think of, by the way. I love his work. He’s a great sportswriter too. I don’t know if you know that.
He’s fabulous. I love him, and he’s Canadian.
He’s an amazing guy. I quote him all the time. Obviously, Think and Grow Rich had a huge impact on you. I know you’re in beautiful Florida, but if they arrived at your house and said, “You and your wife should pack up. We’re taking you to a deserted island with plenty of food and water, but you’re limited on what you can bring. You can only bring three books with you.” Think and Grow Rich would be one. What would the others be?
Think and Grow Rich is the first one. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl would be number two. Number three was not my choice many years ago, but it is now, and that’s the Bible.
Let me ask you this. Through many years, you’ve helped lots of people get started in this industry. What’s the best way to get somebody started? How do you get them started? Not only physically, because they sign up, and that’s all a given. How do you get them started in terms of getting them off to a fast start, get them to see that the business is real, and as you said earlier, get them to believe that they can do what you have already done and others are doing in your company? What do you do to do that?
Before I get there, which is important, because that is such a great question for the audience because you’re reaching multiple countries and markets around the world, in technology, there are so many tools, and we’ll talk about that, that are out there that are available now that we didn’t have back when we got started, which in a way, might’ve been a blessing because that part of it didn’t complicate things. It made us keep the business simple. It brings us to your question. With cultures and countries being different, there are two things that are constant.
Certainly, for us with my business and my company, number one, everyone loves the products that I’m involved with my business, but everyone wants a better way of life. That is a constant. No matter where you are, I don’t care where it is and what status they have. They want a better way of life. I want to talk about before they get started and what I do to get them off to the fast start. The first thing is I can’t work with someone unless they’re hungry. I had looked for someone that has got burning desire, and if they’re not hungry, I can’t work with them. The second thing I look for is if they’re prepared to go to work, and we talk about that. We talk about going to work, what you need to do, and the game plan, relative to what their goals are with the business.
It doesn’t matter if it’s part-time, full-time, or all the time. There is going to be work involved, so they’ve got to be hungry, they’ve got to go to work, and they’ve got to be teachable. If they’re telling me how they’re going to do this business, I can’t work with them. They have to be listening to me in terms of our program, what we’ve got to do in terms of a model or system, and what we’ve got to do to get them off to the kind of start that they wanted in the business.
Those three things, the burning desire, that willingness to work, and that coachability or teachability, are a constant no matter what country, what market you’re in around the world, what gender you are, how old you are, or where you come from. It doesn’t matter. When you and I first got started, it was like there were only two countries. It was Canada and United States for us, but it didn’t take too long. We were over in the UK and Europe.
For a lot of us, we had to go over there and make a massive commitment. It was unbelievable, but now, we can reach the world so fast, so efficiently, and so quickly. I’m talking to the audience here that knows more about technology probably than I do because of my age and my generation. You and I were joking about this earlier. The Millennials and before the Millennials, they’ll forget more than you and I will ever know about technology and how to reach the world.
What a time in terms of opportunity for them as far as building a business and building a global business, and having 6 to 7 billion people to reach. Back when we got started many years ago, if there was somebody outside of my area code, I thought I had gone to another universe. I’m like, “I got somebody in another town or in another area code,” but now, we can reach the world. The constant that you have are the characteristics of someone who’s going to be successful in this business, so you need to have that someone that’s going to be hungry, prepared to go to work, and is going to be a student. They’re going to listen to you, and they’re going to be teachable.
In terms of getting them started, simplicity is so important. Keep the thing as simple as you can. It has to be so seamless and so simple that in just a few minutes, you’re able to get this person into the business, off to a quick start, and get them going. I’m talking about that DMO when someone gets started off in the business. Those three characteristics that I talked about and the DMO, or the very simple Daily Method of Operation, in the first 48 hours and the first seven days that they’re in the business, simplicity is critical. Don’t complicate because if you complicate, you can’t duplicate. Never forget that.
The basics of the business are critical. I don’t want them to do anything else than share the product, share the opportunity, and promote the next event. There should be nothing else in their head. All distractions and all excuses are equal. The first 48 hours are key. Do you know that 85% of the people that buy a car that go to the car dealership purchase that car within the first 48 hours? That’s a clue, and that’s a big-ticket purchase, so in that first 48 hours when you got that brand new and excited baby distributor getting involved in the business, and they’re all pumped up and fired up, you’ve got to get in front of their people, so you keep it simple, and you focus on them getting in front of their people.
When I got started off in the business, I do the same thing now. I’m going to say two names, Doug and Jeff. Those guys were very instrumental. You know the Jeff I’m talking about. I connected with him immediately. He is one of my dear friends. I was on the phone with him. He lives over in Siesta Key here in South Florida. He said, “You provide the people, and we’ll provide the presentation.” I was like, “I can do that.” Belief comes right back. It was simple. I didn’t have to do this or do that. All I need to do is provide people.Leaders are readers. For you to remain a leader, you've got to remain a student. Click To Tweet
Now, you’ve got social media. It’s coming out of the woodwork in terms of connection and the sphere of influence that you’ve got. Back then, I had 48 hours to get started. I had to provide a list of everybody that I knew. Don’t pre-judge because the ones you think will, won’t, and the ones you think won’t, will. Put everybody on the paper. It’s just paper until it’s on the paper. I had to put everything onto the paper, and then we broke it down. It was product and business, and that’s all it was. How are we going to lead? We’re going to lead with a product, or we’re going to leave with the opportunity.
I provided the people and they provided the presentation, and that goes back to belief. When you have belief, what do you do? You take action. If you don’t believe, you stall. They say the confused mind will say no, so keep it simple. Get to the person that says, “I can do that.” When they say that, they’re going to take action.
What do you want to take them action on? People. As an upline or as a sponsored leader upline, what you don’t have is what they have, and that’s people. You don’t have their list. You don’t have their sphere of influence of the people that they know. That’s what you got to get to quickly, and you got to do it. It’s not even 7 days. It’s 48 hours. As Jim Rohn will say, “The birds will get them.” The birds got my guy way back in Windsor in 1988.
I don’t know what kind of birds they were, but they got him. I never did talk to that guy. He never answered the phone. He never returned my calls. It was years before I finally talked to the guy, and by that time, it didn’t matter. I had a lot of success. I’ll say that, and way more success than he had in his business. By the way, that’s a fun story when I showed up at his place, because it was down the street from my ex-wife’s place who left me, and that’s another funny story too.
To cut right back to this and what you’re sharing with me, I focused from the very beginning on that hungry, teachable person that wants to get started and that’s prepared to go to work because everyone has a little bit of a different system with their company in getting them started, but make sure your company’s system is simple, and the masses can do it. If it’s simple, you could duplicate it. It’s got to be so simple that anyone can go boom, boom, boom. Mind you, a three-year-old knows more about technology than I do, and that’s for sure, but no matter what your system is, it has to be a massively simple and duplicatable type system that someone could do quickly that you can expose the masses to fast.
You’re making incredible teaching and points. I can listen to you all day on this one subject, but perfect illustration. We were talking about some of our common roots before and going back to Larry Thompson, for example, in Herbalife. I remember when I started in 1983 that I heard a girl speak at an event that I went to sometime in that first year I was in that company. She said, “I got my first check, and it was $0.97.” I don’t even know if I would bother to cash a $0.97 check, but she made a great point, and it stayed with me many years later.
It backs up exactly everything you were talking about. She said, “I took it to the bank, and it cleared and approved to me the company was real.” She was like, “The company really has a bank account,” so it was her belief in herself because it also backed up the company. Let me ask you about tools. We’ve had tools for as long as we have both been doing this, but the tools have changed. How do you use tools now? How do you implement them? How important are they to the growth of your business continually?
I can do a whole day or even a couple of days on this. I know with your audience, for the most part, they’re distributors in this business. I’m sure we’ve got a lot of people that join this that are tuning in to your show. They may be learning about the industry or agreeing to the industry, but they want to learn more about it. They’ve always said that leaders are readers. For you to remain a leader, you’ve got to remain a student, and that’s one thing I remembered from my guy, Jeff.
This is going to come right back to what your point is in terms of tools. I phoned him several years ago. He had done very well, and I hadn’t. He had come before me and mentored me in those early days. It evolved into a great friendship, but there’s still that mentorship there, and still is now. I phoned him, and I said, “Now what?” He said, “Number one, don’t ever forget where you came from, and then two, always remain humble. Number three, don’t ever stop growing. Remain a student.” He also said something, which was the fourth thing. He says, “Don’t do anything stupid.” That was the big one. Anyway, let’s go back to tools.
As I talked about in the very beginning, you’ve got this brand-new distributor, and they’re getting started off in the business. I don’t teach them a lot. I just take that brand new baby distributor who’s really excited. Don’t complicate it. They’re all fired up, and you want to get to their contacts and help them because it helps with their belief. There’s not a lot that I’m teaching them. They’re fired up, and I want to get in front of the people. They will learn as they earn. This is activity knowledge in the very beginning, but as you’re developing this big organization or this team, you look at the core of this organization, the system, and how does the system work.
The system revolves around three things. The pillars of the system are events, recognition, and tools. They’re at the cornerstone of the system. At its core, the system is the culture, and the culture is the fabric that holds this volunteer army. This one is a non-employed business that you’ve got. When my father’s mentor, JC, started his deal many years ago, people weren’t getting paid. He had a volunteer army. He had twelve frontlines that didn’t all work out. It was a breakaway. How do you hold that together? They had weekly meetings, and they had quarterly events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and you had to read the good book every day. It was personal development.
I’m going to finish with tools here because it’s such a great point on how tools have evolved. The tools are again at the core of the system, as I said, with those three things. I’ll fast forward to your question on the tools because when you and I got started, we only had a handful of tools, and it wasn’t complicated. We weren’t able to build a global business. Now, it’s still over time and not overnight. Success is really over time and not overnight, but the tools that we’ve got now are insane, which most of the tools that you and I are using now, we did not have them years ago. Remember we were talking about the tape cassette, which they now find in a cave, which is your garage.
I remember when the first cellphone came out in ‘89. It was the size of a rain boat. You had to pull over because you needed two hands to hold the thing. It wasn’t a smartphone, but you and I did not have a lot of tools. The biggest tool that you and I had back then that we had was the phone. We had the phone, and with cassette tapes, videotapes came out. The message here is that we leverage from the tools. I could not be the issue. The system was the issue. If I was the issue, I couldn’t be duplicated, but the system could be. The tools had to be duplicatable tools that the masses could use.
If a tool was being introduced back when I got started, and I remember talking to my buddy, Jeff, my mentor, back then, if the masses couldn’t use a dunk, use it because it can’t be duplicated. If you’ve got a tool that only one person could use, don’t use it. If only you can use it, don’t use it, because your people are going to do what you do and not what you tell them to do. They’re going to be watching you. We didn’t have a lot of the tools back then. Your stuff that’s in your books is gold. It’s pristine. We’ve always said facts tell and stories sell.
You’ve got incredible stories in there. It emotionally drives people because we’re an emotionally-driven business. Your stories are credible, but they’re real, and it’s fantastic training. In terms of tools, I’ll give you an example. I did my group call for South America. I did a Zoom call. My business is in 60 countries. I’ve got 1.4 million distributors in my organization. We’re in over 60 countries.
I started this a couple of years ago, and I’ve been in the industry for many years. This has got to be compliant because, again, not everybody can do this. I want to say this right because I am associated with a publicly-traded company. I am not tooting my horn here. It’s to say that most talked to me many years ago, and you talked about Larry Thompson. I don’t mind mentioning his name because he was the mentor to my mentor. He has influenced this industry.
I don’t know if we’ll ever know how much he has influenced this industry. It was interesting. The second company that I was with, because I’ve only been in three, but I remember LT coming in, and I was with a good friend of ours. I’ll say his name. It’s Danny S. Him, and I are sitting in that diamond council, and LT came in talking about his training system. We didn’t take it on at that time, but I got to meet LT and spend some time with him back then. We owe so much to him and to what he taught back then, but to finish off with the tools and what we’ve got, and I was saying with 1.4 million distributors, when I started my first group and the first company that I was with for five years, we built an organization of 10,000 distributors. That company had some major issues. It was an environmental operator company at that time.It’s what you make of those tough times and the meaning you give it—that’s how your worst day becomes your best day. Click To Tweet
My marketing environmental products transitioned into another division with nutritional supplements and soared. They’ve done very well. They were able to pivot, adapt, and adjust. As Charles Darwin said, “The true genius in life is the ability to adapt and adjust to change.” The one constant that you’ll have in life is change. For things to change, you may need to change. That taught me that my mentor I was still with now were able to certainly pivot. They’ve been very instrumental in what they’ve been able to do in impacting this industry. I learned so much in the first five years.
They built a group of 10,000 distributors. I left that company, went to another one, and in half the time, we built a group of over 30,000 distributors. That company went into chapter 11, which is not a good recruiting tool. I knew I had to lead them, and that’s what we went with the sister company that I’m with now. We built a model of 50,000 distributors in a 5-year or 6-year span and opened another division, which is the company that I’m with now, which is publicly traded and operating for a few years already. It’s now at 1.4 million. My point is I had something to do with it, but what had to do with it was the systems and the model that was a constant back then, and that is still now.
The tools are critical, no matter what they are. The tools will change, but you have to have the tools. You cannot build a house if you’re an architect or a carpenter without that toolbox. Maybe the phone has evolved into a different phone, but what is constant is that you need your tools to build your business, and the tools need to be duplicatable for the masses in your organization. In whatever group I’m talking to or reading this, whatever leader in your organization, the tools that you have for your organization in your team and business, if the masses can’t use them, dump them because you won’t be able to duplicate it.
They have to be simple, duplicatable tools that the masses can use. Social media is huge, and the computer, websites, podcasts, and being able to go on 24/7. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Asia or Eastern Europe, because I’m in Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia, which I spent so many times in. My last big trip that I made was down to South America, to Lima, Peru, where I’ve got a massive organization. We were going throughout all of South America. The tools have to be consistently simple in terms of being relatable to the masses. That’s critical. If you can’t do it, repeat it again. Don’t introduce it to your group.
That’s great advice. We’ll wrap up here, but I would love to have you and Joe Garcia on a call together, and maybe even with a couple of our other friends, about some of these subjects like tool culture, for example, because you’re right. For things to change, you got to change. When I heard that statement in 1983, that was the first thing that got me in multi-level. I talk about that in this book, Moving Up 2020, and also, Leave Nothing to Chance that we talked about. You can get these books on Amazon. They’re available in Español and digitally as well.
This has been such a privilege to have you on the show. You’re one of the people in the industry that has stayed the course. You’ve been consistent. You’ve been a model of consistency for all of these years since the first time we met in Toronto many years ago when we were both young. It has been a privilege. I’m going to give you the last word here to wrap up. Do you have any thoughts here about starting a new year? Do you have any messages you want to send to your organization or your friends in the industry? Go ahead.
You and I shared stuff back and forth. We were laughing and smiling for the first 40 minutes before we even started the call. It’s our joy and our love for this industry, and our stories and experience and the people that we know in all of this. The appreciation, gratitude, and respect that we have for this industry is don’t take for granted what you have. I’ll leave that with you. Don’t take this opportunity for granted. I’ve been saying this as long as I’ve been in the industry. Treat it and play it like a hobby, but more than that, if you’re really serious about making some changes in your life and being able to do things in your life on so many different levels spiritually, mentally, and being able to give back, there are so many things. Treat it like the respect that this industry, I believe, should be and is earning, and it has year after year.
I know the great German philosopher Schopenhauer said years ago that every truth goes through three phases. First, it’s ridiculed, then it’s opposed, and then it’s served as self-evident. This industry now, more than ever before, is becoming self-evident. There’s another book, The Next Trillion, that was written by Paul Zane Pilzer. It’s about the health industry, direct sales, and direct marketing, but in his first book, Unlimited Wealth, which he wrote in 1989, he said that distribution, communication, and technology was going to be the world of wealth where wealth is going to be created in the coming century, and he was dead on. Our industry now, I believe, is the next trillion-dollar industry. In his book, The Next Trillion, he talks about that along with what’s happening with health. Don’t take it for granted and have a lot of fun. I’ve had a lot of fun on this episode.
I had fun too. As we said, we leave nothing to chance as well. Thanks so much.
- Dan Catto
- Leaving Nothing to Chance
- Think and Grow Rich
- David and Goliath
- The Tipping Point
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- Moving Up 2020
- The Next Trillion
- Unlimited Wealth
About Dan Catto
In 1988, after 10 years in the Corporate world and 2 years of owning and operating an Import/Export business, Dan started a Direct Sales Business. Dan’s vision and passion pushed the Sales Organization to grow to over 100,000 distributors in more than 30 countries with sales exceeding $100 million. In 2001 with along with key partners and a new technology call the internet, they embarked on a never-before seen business model. A model that would allow aspiring entrepreneurs to grab hold of the power of e-commerce and Virtual Franchising to empower themselves to build a global business from the comfort of their home. All of this with little to no previous experience and minimal start-up costs compared to a traditional business.
Action speaks louder than words. What started in 2001 as a vision has turned into a business model spanning 70 countries, is publicly traded on NASDAQ and has done more than $2 billion in sales. A business that continues to be fueled by cutting-edge, Nobel-prize winning products and a customer/distributor base of well over one million worldwide. Yet in all of this, Dan says “We’re just getting started!” As passionate today as he was on that first day in 1988, Dan continues to be a massive influence and source of knowledge. Through his experiences and successes, Dan has an endless well of skills and stories he happily shares in his legendary trainings. He is a mentor, coach and friend to developing entrepreneurs of all ages, across all markets.
Through all his success in business, Dan lives by his consistent beliefs that contribution, serving and giving back are life’s greatest rewards. By simply listening to Dan you will feel that belief and understand why there is so much more still to do!