As network marketers or business people, in general, sometimes we have a lid on our head that keeps us from seeing things as they are or do everything that we could. Karen Ford, a.k.a. Momma K, discovered this realization to be the most life-changing thing for her in the network marketing industry, seeing as how taking off that lid has led to a completely different life. She joins John Solleder to share her extraordinary journey into network marketing and how the fifteen principles from the book, Leave Nothing To Chance, helped her understand how to go from average to success to greatness.
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Karen Ford AKA Momma K
Karen, how are you?
I am great. John, how are you?
I am great. This is the great Karen Ford who has been a friend of mine and a business colleague. We started network marketing as children. When did you start? What was your first experience?
I started in 1985, but that was short-lived. I started with the company that gave me pink Cadillacs for trophies. That was my first venture, but I don’t know. It didn’t fit what I was looking for because I had to work every evening. I had to work every Saturday doing shows. I did that for about four years and then I decided I didn’t have any time. I got out of the industry until I was introduced to nutrition. That was in 1994.
That’s where we met way back then.
I was thinking about this, John. The first meeting we did in that company in Vegas, you were late. You were trying to get there and you were in the back of the room. I remember going back. That owner took me back there and introduced me to you. I met you in Las Vegas at that first event. We’ve been buddies ever since.
Yes, I remember that. I don’t remember what happened with my flight. I was leaving Dallas and something happened. It was weather-related that we were delayed getting in there. We finally got there. Part of my life for a long time was checking into hotels. I’m literally changing not even in my room but changing downstairs, checking in my luggage and going to a meeting, which happened many times. In 2020, it hasn’t happened at all because I haven’t been able to leave home.
I can’t wait for that.
Karen, our book came out, Leave Nothing To Chance. Our show is called Leaving Nothing To Chance because I couldn’t get the URL, Leave Nothing To Chance. A bank owned it. Anyway, I know you’ve read the book and there are fifteen specific success principles in that book. Which one of those fifteen would be your favorite and why?
All of them. My favorite that resonated with me that I read twice was principle number eight, Water in the Sea, because that related so much to my business. It related so much to be able to build the way that I have been able to build. Yes, I read it in the book, but that’s what you taught me. What you taught me has never ever left me. First, I want to say that I’m so grateful to you. I’m grateful for who you are as a person. I’m grateful for who you are as a leader. I’m grateful for who you are as my friend. When I was reading your book, I was like, “This is why I’m still here many years later because of the principles that you taught me. They carry on and they’re as powerful now as they were many years ago.” I’m grateful.
I’ve appreciated your friendship all these years. This is a unique industry because you’ll meet people through the business. They become friends. You get to know them as you go down the road because life sometimes intercedes as it has for you and me, whether it’s been health, family or issues with kids and grandkids. I love you, Karen. You’ve been an amazing inspiration over these years and an amazing leader. I value our friendship so tremendously. Thank you for saying that. I do appreciate it.
Karen, I know you’ve been a student of self-development all these years. One of the things that stood out all those years ago was I knew that you were somebody who had aspirations. You were reading the right material. You were surrounding yourself with the right people. Going back to when you began, I’m sure there was one book that you picked up or tripped across it or somehow it found its way into your hands. You read it and it impacted you. What would have been that book?
It was the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. That was the most powerful book that I ever picked up as far as self-development. My favorite law of that book is law number one, Raising the Lid. You were a part of that. When we were first studying that book, I realized that until I could take the lid off of my head, I was never going to go rise up. When I began to read those laws, I went back to law number one and said, “I have to stay here until I know that that lid is lifted.” Often, I feel like as network marketer people, as business people in general or even as parents, sometimes we have that lid on our head that keeps us from seeing things as they are, or keeps us down to the point that maybe we don’t do everything that we could because we let it fall back down.
That was the most life-changing thing for me in this industry because I learned that my life became completely different. I go back to it even now. I said, “I’m old-school. I’ve been in this industry for a long time. I’m 66 years old. I still believe that the principles that we followed at the beginning of our industry are still the principles that are the most important for the new people now.” Back then, we didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok. We didn’t have all of those things, but we had to build the relationships that we had like ours. We build relationships. That is what I believe the reason that we have been able to stay for the endurance of our career. It’s because of the principles that were there, the leadership that was there, and the basics of building a solid business. It was all about relationships.When you work from your heart and you truly want to see the other people win, that’s when the money comes. Click To Tweet
Let’s go back in ways too. Let’s say that we could go back and fly again. That would be nice. You get dropped on a beautiful deserted island. Maybe it’s not deserted. Maybe it’s even got everything that you want on it. Karen, here’s the deal. I know you’re a very religious lady. Besides your Holy Bible, you can only bring three other books with you. What would those three books be?
That book, for one. I would always take that with me. I still probably have it close by here somewhere. John Maxwell’s books. Also, I have new books. I love Joel Osteen’s book, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. I love reading that over and over again. Also, we have a lot of new things like Earl Nightingale and James Rollins. It’s all of the bit. I’m telling you my age because I still love old things. I love those because I feel like they were not written just because of skill or talent, but they were written from the heart and the wisdom. I always go back to those. Until I do for my whole duration of networking, I will still stick to that because that is my foundation.
I’m there in Virginia and I stopped by your house. I come into your office and say, “Karen, what are you reading?”
It’s Leave Nothing To Chance.
That’s a good one. How do you like it?
I love that book. Let me tell you this. I have made a decision, “I’m going to go on the fifteen principles that are in there.” I’m going to use that book as my training every week for my team because I believe that the principles are so important to understand how to go from average to success to greatness. I know that for me, you instilled that in me. I know I keep saying, “You did this. You did that,” but you did. I have to still give credit where credit is due. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for you. It is what it is.
The principles that you have in this book are the foundation of our industry. It’s the foundation of success. It’s the foundation for people to go from average to greatness. I believe spiritually, we were designed and created to have a life of excellence. We were created to have freedom, have the financial blessings, pour into people, level on people and give our heart as servant leaders to help other people to be successful. I truly believe that my success in this industry is based on what I do to help other people to see the bigger picture. If I give people a sip of hope, confidence, determination and financial freedom, that’s the only time we get paid as a top-level, by pouring into other people.
It’s not just about money. The money comes. When you work from your heart and you truly want to see the other people win, John, you know how I feel. There is nothing more rewarding but to see a Karen Ford going from $1,500 a month to $15,000 a month because you told me I could do it. You gave me the Ten-Penny Rule and said, “Karen, you have to do this.” I will never forget when the first day I didn’t do all ten, you called me and said you wanted to follow up. You followed up, but I only did seven. I thought I wouldn’t have to do the other three, but you said, “Sorry, you didn’t have time to do that. Now, you need to add those other three pennies to your ten. You’re going to have to do it tomorrow.” I remember I was like, “He is such a brat. He’s being mean to me.”
I realized that was hard. I couldn’t do ten the first day and I should do thirteen the second day, but I did it. I didn’t want to ever have to do that again because it was tough. It’s the principle’s job. It’s working from your heart. If you’re just chasing shiny objects, it’s not very fun. I watched people do that and see them chase that. I remember Jeff Roberti said one time, “Why am I one of the top-income earners? Because I stuck to it. When it was good, bad, pretty and ugly, I stayed solid.” I looked at my own business now. Is it because we’re perfect? No, but I stuck and stayed. I tell people all the time, “I was called into this. I feel like this is a mission that I was called into to give people that hope and freedom by being an example for people to follow.” I love our industry. It’s the biggest blessing I’ve ever had.
What I knew from a coaching standpoint was that’s the way I grew my own organizations. On the days when I missed, I had to get that discipline because it was too easy. It’s like what Jim Rohn used to say, “It’s too easy to do it. It’s also easier not to do it.” Ten became nine, and nine easily became eight. Eight all of a sudden became five, and then five became, “I’m taking the day off now.” Before you know it, you backslide in your habits. One of those habits is being disciplined. That’s why I was like, “Karen, you got to do it tomorrow. I don’t care whether they sign up or not. I don’t care whether they buy a product or not, but you got to do them because that discipline has to be there.”
That’s how you became a disciplined distributor. You were saying, “If that’s what I got to do, that’s what I’ll do.” You were not only one of the leaders of that particular company, but why I believe you’ve had so much tremendous success is you became so disciplined. You became a great teacher of that discipline to your network and here you are. Results happen because of discipline. I try to tell people this all the time, “Some of these things are hard. If they weren’t hard, everybody would do them.” That whole naivety that people have about network marketing of, “You started at the top or you started first,” has nothing to do with it. What do you do? If you join the oldest company in the industry now, you’d be successful because you know the habits that it takes to be successful.
The real messaging of all of that is to do those things on a continual basis, even when they’re painful. Even when everybody says no, do them anyway. It’s like what you shared of Jeff Roberti, our good friend. It’s not always easy. I haven’t done this for a long time. This is something that I find too. Even when you’re making money and you don’t have to do those things, you got to do them anyway. If you don’t do them, then you can’t teach them because you can’t be real to your network. You say, “You need to do this.” “When was the last time you sponsored somebody?” “1998.” It doesn’t work. You got to do it. You got to qualify for the trips. You got to do the stuff to lead by example.
Let’s go onto another subject here. You have started with so many people who are successful in your company. I know what you’re doing and I’m following it. You’re keeping me in the loop. I’m following you on Facebook. I see you even got networks now in Malta and some other places of people achieving around the world. I know like the rest of us, you’re working from home. You’d love to be there, but you can’t under the circumstance. Let me set the question up this way, Karen. It’s twofold. There are two groups of people that I’m seeing looking at our industry, perhaps for the first time. The one group is of those 25-year-olds. They might be 30 or 22. In a lot of cases, they’re college-educated. They’re certainly internet-educated, better than you and I certainly are. They grew up with cell phones in their hands, technology, school. A lot of them are getting out of other colleges in some cases. In some cases, maybe they didn’t go, but they had started doing whatever they were going to do, whatever path they were on. All of a sudden, COVID happened and that path got usurped.Spiritually, we were designed and created to have a life of excellence. Click To Tweet
The other group of people in our age group, the 60-year-olds. Maybe they’re 55, 65, 70, but they’re older Americans, Canadians, etc., that perhaps were successful. Perhaps they own a traditional business, a brick-and-mortar type of business. Perhaps they were a senior-level manager or leader in somebody else’s business and they were starting to say, “Retirement is coming up.” They’re putting away money and everything is going well. All of a sudden, COVID happened. Now, they’re looking at this industry that may be a friend, family member, somebody on their street does or somebody at their church that they always poo-pooed and said, “That’s fine. That’s good for you to sell that stuff, but I’m not interested in that. I do whatever.” All of a sudden, they’re forced to consider at least a Plan B or maybe a Plan A of network marketing. Having said all that, a 25-year-old and a 60-year-old, a father and son team walked into Karen’s office now and they said, “Karen Ford, why should we do network marketing?”
It’s the ultimate way for people to change their life forever. First of all, I can look at my self when I started with you. It gives people the opportunity to go beyond what they expect that they can do. I was a single mom. I had two kids. I worked two and a half jobs. When I first started, I realized it because of the teachings and principles that you helped instill in my head. If you could take what was in your head and put it in my head, I could have been good. The groundwork is the same, regardless if you’re 25 or 70. It is about lifting people, helping people and teaching them what to do. Many times, I said, “Not everybody is designed to be a distributor.” I talked to my team sometimes and said, “Not everybody is a good candidate for you to build with. Even though everybody has the potential, not everybody has the desire or discipline to do what it takes.”
When you identify people’s why, then you’re able to dig into their why. It’s not just about the money, but their why. Why do they need that money? Is it to take care of their mom and dad? Is it to pay for college? When we’re able to identify people’s why, only then are we able to put ourselves in that position to help them to know exactly what to do. I think by being able to ask the right questions and knowing what they want and where they want to go, we can show them a system that works every single time. I’m good at point-and-click. I want to have everything right there. If you asked me, “How do I do this?” I want to point to something and you click on it. That’s going to give you what you need to know. It helps people with duplication. It’s duplicatable. Everybody wins. I believe that this is the perfect platform to create amazing wealth. I had my fifth anniversary and I’ve made several seven figures since I’ve been here. I said, “Granny gone wild. I’m going to make another seven figures this year.” The industry is a true blessing.
You’ve led a lot of people. Along those lines, I know you’re still sponsoring people, how do you get a new person started? Let me give a little more to the question. Some people I interviewed had a 24-hour plan, some had a 48-hour plan and some had a one-month plan. What’s Karen’s plan? If you sponsor me today. I want to see papers so I know the business is real. I probably need to make money. Maybe I don’t need to make it tomorrow, but I need to certainly see some results for my time and effort. How do you guide me? What’s your plan to get me jump-started so I’m excited and I see results most importantly so that I stick around and build a business?
First of all, let’s say you need to make $3,000 a month. I often ask people, “If you need to make $3,000 a month, how much time do you have? Because I need to put a plan together for you so that you can start. I want you to be able to do it. Do you need it in 30 days, 60 days or 90 days? I can show you how you can make $1,000, $3,000 or $6,000 a month in 30, 60, 90 days. What do you need for this business to do for you?” When I do that, I have a system. With my company, I have a system that I can point and click and show them exactly what they need to do. If they only have two hours a day, we can still make that work when you have a system in place. That’s what I did. I point and click to a system that is proven. My open is always, “I need to know if you want to make $1,000, $3,000 or $6,000 a month in the next 30, 60, 90 days because I have a plan. I need to know what you want and how much time you have.” We go down that trail and it works.
You’re involving them in the process instead of telling them, “$6,000 a month sounds great. If this was my Plan B and I’ve already got a job and three kids under the age of eighteen and I’m running Little League games four nights a week, $6,000 sounds great but $1,000 is what I need to pay my car payment or put little Johnny in piano lessons or put little Susie in ballet lessons.” It’s great that you tailor it for them. You’re going where they need to be. Sometimes, especially top-incomers like yourself and myself, we think at a different level of what somebody needs to make, but 80%, 85%, 90% of people are just looking for that Plan B, “Let me get my feet wet. Let me get comfortable with what I’m doing. Let me see it works. I know it worked for you, but that doesn’t mean it will work for me. Let me see those results.” That’s so valuable and you become such a great teacher.
Here’s one thing that I believe is so important for all of us in networking. We have to meet people where they are, not where we want them to be. Wherever they are, we find out where they are and that’s where we go. We meet them there. It’s not for me to say, “I made $30,000 last week.” It would throw them out of the boat because they’d be going, “How is it? I didn’t make that last year. I’m struggling.” I feel like when we meet people where they are, regardless of where it is, we find out what they want, why they want it and not just what they want. We all want to be filthy rich and have more money than we can spend, but that doesn’t solidify the commitment for people. They have to have that why. Once they have that why, I love it because I love lifting people up.
I was thinking about going to Zooms, events or meetings. The motivation that people get from that is great, but it’s temporary. Until you have that self-motivation, it’s only temporary. I’ve seen people myself at the beginning going into an event. I walked out and thought I was going to conquer the world. When I got out of the excitement and out of the rah-rah, it died down. I had to motivate myself. It had to come from deep inside of me in order for me to continue on my journey towards success. I’m passionate about people. I’m passionate about seeing people win and meeting people where they are. It doesn’t matter. It’s not too low. It’s not too high. You lead them where they are and you give them that feeling of knowing they’re in control, “I can help you. I will lift you. I will guide you. I will coach you.” I can truly say this, watching people win is the biggest blessing I’ve ever had in my life.
How important that is?
It’s so important. When you can see a single mom like I was one time to be able to have financial freedom, to go out and not live paycheck to paycheck and have that opportunity to live life abundantly, I cry often. My heart is overflowing with gratitude and humility. I never want to not walk this journey without humility because that puts you in touch with the people of how they feel inside. I love seeing people win and I will never stop. I came to this company so I could have some play money. All of the lives I have changed, I will probably never retire. I may work with more or less intensity, but I will never retire because I know that if we continue to lift, love, guide and coach people, hold their hand, help them, let them cry on our shoulders, laugh with them or whatever, the reward is far greater than money. We just happened to get paid to do all of that and I’m blessed.Network marketing is the perfect platform to create amazing wealth. Click To Tweet
You went from being a queen when you were young to being a queenmaker or kingmaker. To that point, to see people achieve and then come back and say, “You taught me this. You taught me that. You were there to answer my phone call when I thought I was going to quit.” We’ve all been there too, especially those first couple of weeks or first couple of months where you were like, “This isn’t going to work. What am I crazy?” To be there, which you’ve been for so many people for such a long period of time is why you’re so successful. Sometimes you play upline and sometimes you play a mom, friend or whatever the role is for that person. When they find out that you’re real like you are, it’s like, “I’m not in business with somebody who just has dollar signs in their eyes.” They have the integrity to say, “You are interested in me as a person, my family and my needs.”
I believe that’s why you’ve been as successful as you are is you’ve always had that biblically appointed way of dealing with people in such a great way. You’ve grown people now around the world. I keep watching your Facebook every couple of days and I go, “Karen has got a new one from Malta.” I can’t kick Malta out of my mind. It’s the first time in many years that I even know of somebody in Malta building a multilevel downline and obviously hitting high ranks.” Congratulations on that. It’s phenomenal.
Our company is incredible. With everything going on in our world, Malta, Spain, Belgium and South Africa, we’re like, “How has that happened?” If you know what you know and you can’t unsee what you saw, it’s hard to not share it all over the world. Everybody is looking. That’s what I know. Everybody is looking for a life of freedom. Regardless of what company people are with, when you’re solid in your belief and you follow your calling, you’re not a jumper. You stay solid in what you know. You share and give people the vision of living a life of abundance. I am very grateful for the industry. I am very grateful for you reaching out to me with that one phone call. You said, “Karen, you have the eye of a tiger. Would you be willing to do whatever it takes to go from where you are to having wealth so that you can have a life of freedom?” When you said that, I was like, “Eye of a tiger, how does he think that?” I’m a struggling single mom and working two jobs. When I said yes to you, it wasn’t that I knew it then. This is good for people to know what to do with their people.
Sometimes we have to believe in them before they believe in themselves. You did that for me. You gave me a roadmap to follow the Ten-Penny Rule. I still teach that sometimes now. It’s still true to be helping you to be successful. You believed in me and gave me a roadmap. I followed it step-by-step. Was it perfect? No, but I remember I went from $1,500 a month at my job to $15,000 a month in 90 days, going out and swapping pennies from one side to the other. Forever I’m grateful because that was the beginning of living a life of freedom. I always go back to it. It’s amazing.
I remember you were calling me and said, “I got another one now.” The next day, “I got another one,” and then, “I got two.” Before you knew it was like $1,500 to $15,000. We didn’t blink. We probably didn’t sleep either. We were both working pretty hard in those days. It was a lot of fun. You’ve been incredibly successful. You’ve had an incredible life. You’ve had challenges. It’s okay. Karen had challenges like every leader that we interview. Nobody gets here or gets to the Leaving Nothing To Chance show without putting any effort. Everybody that we’ve interviewed is real. In saying that, what is the greatest obstacle that Karen Ford has had to overcome in many years in network marketing to get to where you are now?
It’s being willing to have the time, but it was time management that I didn’t understand at the beginning. Once I learned how to balance my life, keeping God first, family second and then my career, if I kept things in that order, all the obstacles fell into place. When I started turning them around and said, “No, I’ll do this first or this first,” I would see my business going down. I’d have to take a step back and say, “Stick to what you know is right. Stick to the principles and keep them in order.” When they’re in order, people will not fail. I don’t mean to be all Pentecostal on you, but it’s so true. It’s like God, family and career. If you focus just on your career, then your family loses and then your spiritual walk is less. Always, if you keep that in order, I promise you, you will not be defeated. That is the biggest obstacle that I had to work with every single day to be able to keep that balance. I didn’t always. Sometimes I was a total failure at it, but I always knew when I looked at my business, “Why is this going like this? Why is this? Why is that?” You get back to getting your priorities in order and everything will fall back.
Karen, it’s been incredible catching up and interviewing you. Thank you so much. Continue the great success. To the day that we are no longer here, we’re going to continue to do what we’re doing to help and bless people. You bless so many people around the world and you continue to. I’m so proud to call you my friend. I’m glad I had a little role in helping you along the way at the right time. I know you’ve passed that along to so many people in terms of when they’ve been struggling to give them that little kick in the butt and say, “I know you could do this. You may not know you could do this, but I know you could do this. Why don’t we do this?” It’s been great visiting you.
You can get the archives of the show on LeavingNothingToChance.com. We’re on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and iTunes. We’re on seven other networks as well and growing. Every Tuesday, our show is published. You can find another show of Leaving Nothing To Chance with another network marketing leader. Sometimes we reach out to people in leadership roles and other things in life. For example, we’ve had a lady who was one of the nineteen people who has ever swum the seven oceans of the world. In a few weeks, we’re going to have a gentleman who’s written 28 books on network marketing and been an advisor to some of the top companies in the world of network marketing.We have to meet people where they are, not where we want them to be. Click To Tweet
We’re bringing people in from different walks of life and different success, Karen. It’s not always people like us. Sometimes it’s people with a little bit different careers, but extremely successful and motivational. The name of our books, Leave Nothing To Chance. It’s available on Amazon. Also, a book that Karen was in, Moving Up: 2020 and Beyond. Karen was featured in that book as well if you want to read a little bit more about Karen. Karen, I’ll give you the last word. I’ll let you sign off and say whatever you want to say to our audience.
First, I want to say thank you, but I want to end by saying this. Always believe in who you are. Always believe that you are heading down the road. This is just a journey. It’s a journey to help you to reach that destination that you deserve. Continue to lift people, praise people, love people, be an example and people follow. Don’t be a shiny object chaser. Be real. Be what you were called to be and you will be blessed abundantly. I thank you, John, for having me on.
Thank you, Karen, as well.