The business of network marketing has a rich and storied history that bears preserving. Join John Solleder as he talks to third-generation marketer and business advocate Ron Henley as they reminisce about the titans of the network marketing field. Ron talks about preserving the legacy of those who came before and of the products that they marketed over the years. John and Ron also discuss the shape and form of the Network Marketing Museum.
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The Network Marketing Historical Society Part 1 With Ron Henley
It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Mr. Ron Henley to the show. He has such an interesting background in network marketing. He’s a stellar advocate of the industry and all the people who’ve been in it. He knows the history of this industry better than anybody in the world. He’s an authority on it. Ron, let’s get started. How long have you been in the industry and what have been the greatest lessons that you’ve learned? I have been around the profession for many years. Is mom and dad in the industry? My dad and my grandpa had a business out of Dallas, Texas called Automotive Performance back in 1968 and Zig Ziglar was the corporate trainer. This is before he wrote his books and before he did all that stuff. That didn’t happen until 1972. My dad and my grandpa, under his mentorship, built the largest organization in the Southeast for that company and Zig would fly over from Dallas and give special training for their group. I got to meet him when I was five. There’s a picture somewhere. Zig is down on one knee shaking my hand. I’m five years old and he’s shaking my hand. That’s how I got started. They played his records all over the house. Me being a five-year-old kid, what do five-year-old kids do when they hear things over and over? They start repeating them. Without even knowing it, I started repeating what I was hearing Zig says in these trainings. My dad and grandpa thought it was cool. They used to put me up in front of their room for their meetings to give little Zig talks. I’m this little five-year-old kid up there. “You got to pay the price,” that stuff that Zig used to say. I’m telling you, it was a great recruiting tool. It was different because people brought their kids and bumping their kids in their arms and say, “You could be that if you pay attention,” and that kind of thing. I got started when I was five because of my dad and my grandpa. What an influence to know somebody like Zig. He was such a great man. I only met him once. I’ll tell you a real fast story and you’ll appreciate this because he was as real off the stage as he was on. When I first moved to Dallas, I was working with Charlie Ragus. This was in the early 1990s. My gym was right next door to a hair salon and he got out one Saturday morning. Everybody knew who he was. We see him pull up, go to the other door, let his wife out, and walk her in by the elbow into the hair salon. He left probably a couple of minutes. He came back about an hour or so later, and he did the same thing. He went to the door and walked her back to the car. Sometimes, you meet the legends of stuff, and off the stage, they’re so different. That guy was consistent. He’s a great man. I know you’ve had a chance to review our book, Leave Nothing to Chance, a little bit and it got fifteen principles in there. Is there one that stands out to you and if so, why? Let me preface this by saying that the one that sticks out with me now is because that’s where I am in my personal development journey. Let me read about 25, 35 books and ask me this question again. It may be a totally different principle out of the fifteen. Who knows? We’re always growing and changing. Right now the very first one is the one that caught my attention because I wake up every morning with a great attitude, excited, blessed, and full of gratitude to have another day on this planet. I spend the first fifteen minutes of every morning dwelling in gratitude, thanking the universe for everything, and the blessings that I have. I have an amazing life and I don’t take anything for granted. The others are important too but number one jumped up and got me because that’s where I am right now. I try to stay in as much gratitude as I can and the way you start the day off as you said in principle number one. Is pretty much the way your day is going to go. You’ve had such a long life of self-development and being around your dad, your granddad, Zig Ziglar, and others. What was that first self-development book that somebody put in your hands? Maybe when you were a little kid or you were in high school that you had that a-ha moment where you said, “I get it.” The way you start the day off is pretty much the way your day is going to go. Click To Tweet I’ve been thinking about that and it’s hard for me to say that because me, being around that kind of stuff, there was always something positive brought into the house either some magazine, an article, a book, or something. To be honest, I can’t remember the very first one. I know that in 1972 when Zig published Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles, which became See You At The Top, I remember being nine years old and reading that. It zeroed in everything that he had been talking about in all these trainings and everything. If I had to guess the one that impacted me first, it would probably be that one. It’s such a young age. I wish I was nine and got exposed to stuff like that. What a blessing to have a dad and granddad who believes in self-development. I’ve interviewed Tracey Jones a bunch of times and asked her questions about Charlie and it was like, “You couldn’t escape it.” He is a great guy. Let me ask you this, Ron. Let’s say that they came along tomorrow and they said, of all the books besides the Holy Bible, in addition to that, you got to go live on a deserted island somewhere and you could only bring three additional books with you, what would they be? The very first one would be Jim Rohn’s Leading an Inspired Life. Number two would be the The Millionaire Training. I’m getting so much out of that book and it’s mind-blowing. The third one would be a compilation of the Og Mandino’s University of Success. The fourth one would be The Universal Laws of Success and Achievement by Brian Tracy. Those are all classics. If I stopped by your house now, what are you reading? What is on your coffee table? This one is at the top of the list right now and I always keep this one handy. These are the ones that I’ve got in the mail, Success Habits of Super Achievers, The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene who wrote the 48 Laws of Power, and Dream Machine by Jane Willhite and Bob Proctor. Robert White wrote a book called Living An Extraordinary Life. I’m reading that one. Ray and Jessica Higdon’s Time, Money, Freedom. Lasting Impact by Chris Weidner and Network Marketing Secrets by Russell Brunson. The re-updated Magnetic Sponsoring by Mike Dillard. This is the one that I’ve got from my own personal development. It’s called How to Work Miracles in Your Life. This book was written by William Casselberry, who was the very first one with neutral light back in the day. September 1st, 1945 started the whole network marketing business model that we know now. That’s a small list. Starting with Zig at five years old, you’ve known everybody that you’ve ever could possibly have known in this industry. Let’s talk about Jim Rohn a little bit because you had a special relationship with him. Share that if you would. People are always saying, “Who knew Jim the best?” I don’t know that. I certainly did not know him the best. He had friends that he kept around him for 50, 60, 70 years that knew him probably better than any of us. What I can claim is that I knew Jim differently. We connected uniquely over this historical aspect of network marketing. After Jim passed, Success Magazine did a public service in remembrance of him. Brian Tracy got up there and called Jim an extrovert-introvert, which is very true. If Jim was at a party, he would be the one sitting over in the corner with a drink in his hand watching everybody. He was very reserved and that’s the introvert that he was. When he got on the stage, he was an extrovert because that’s what the situation called for him. He was an introvert-extrovert. The thing about Jim is he liked it quiet unless he had to be. If he was talking to you, he might be a little reserved but he would eventually start to come out of his shell. When I started talking to him about this net marketing history stuff, he just lit up like a Christmas tree. It was unbelievable. He was excited as a five-year-old kid on Christmas morning and we would get talking about this stuff. I’d be like, “Jim, you’re so passionate about this. Why haven’t you talked about it before?” He said, “Nobody has ever asked me. You’re the only one that’s ever asked me.” Up until I came along, nobody ever asked him about Earl Shoaff. The people that were around him, the adventures, and achievement days in the early 1970s had no idea about Earl. They had no idea what he looked like. They’d never seen a picture. None of that stuff. Jim talked about Earl in his seminars but I wanted to make Earl a real person, not just a reference. When I first heard Jim when I was fourteen years old on July the 15th, 1978, I’ll never forget it, he started talking about Earl Shoaff and that got me started on my enhanced history because I thought, “Jim turned out amazing. Maybe if I could find this Earl Shoaff character, I could learn from him and that would give me a deeper insight into Jim’s work.” I didn’t know that he had passed in 1965. The search for Earl is what led to the history museum. Jim was an incredible human being. There’ll never be another like him and I miss him every day. I’ve still got all of his contact info on my phone. I can’t bring myself to delete it. I love all the pictures of you and Jim that you post on Facebook. Jim was just being Jim because he was an amazing man. You knew him so well and I know Larry knows him so well.
I spent more stage time with him than anybody on the planet. I only had the chance to meet with him once and it was myself, Ron Reynolds, and Charlie Ragus. We had lunch here in Dallas and I’ll never forget him chastising the three of us for not having our journals. I’m a big guy Ron and you would’ve thought I was Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt because he started going down that road of the lack of journals at the table. I said, “Excuse me, Mr. Rohn,” I ran to my car. You would’ve thought I was a world-class sprinter. I came back. I was perspiring but I was like, “I heard you.” Since that time, I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a meeting without a Day-Timer, my phone, or something that I can say, “I got it. It’s mine now. I’m going to write that down.” It’s an amazing experience and he was absolutely right. Let’s talk about this because you’re doing something and I admire you for what you’re doing for all of us who’ve been in this industry. I’m on for more than 38 years. I’m having breakfast with Larry, and he’s in for more than 52 years. I interviewed Dan McCormick. He’s more than 39 years. Jeff Weisberg is more than 30 years and Foster Owusu is at about 30. All these different friends of ours that I’m interviewing on the show and you’re doing something for all of us that’s a labor of love. I have no idea how you’re going to monetize it. Hopefully, you do. Going back to Andrew Carnegie. He started so many public libraries to help perpetuate things not only the industry but history and everything else. You’re doing something that is along that same path. I want you to talk about what you’re doing, I’m calling it the MLM Hall of Fame, but I know you’ve got a more official name than that. It’s written on your shirt. It’s Network Marketing Historical Society. That is much better than just the Hall of Fame Network Marketing Historical Society. The Hall of Fame was coming but there are other organizations in the profession that have that already. I don’t know if I’m going to pursue it that hard. I may lend a historical aspect to it. The best way I know to explain it is serendipity. If I had to describe my entire life, it would be serendipity because many things have happened that shouldn’t have happened to make all this possible. Many moments that there’s no way you can fathom it ever coming to happen and put priceless things in my hand. Somebody once said I was like the Forrest Gump of Network Marketing and I’m like, “What?” “Like the movie, every time something key happened, he was there.” I’m like, “I’ll accept that aspect of it, just don’t call me a dummy,” but it’s pretty much the truth and that’s history. The fact that nobody really pursued it. I’m the guy that even when I was a kid, I loved history. If we’re driving down the road, taking a trip, or something and you see something happening on the side of the road, in passing somebody would say, “I wonder what’s happening over there.” The next time you saw me, you would know because I would go find out. That’s the way that I’m built. All of these different things, I started to see a real need for this because many people who had been in the profession since the beginning, the pioneers, and a lot of this stuff, I got from Rich Schnackenberg, who was the man that every single company, icon, and legend can be directly traced back to. I got to know him the last seven years of his life and he’s an amazing human being, but it came up that many of these people, had I not got the stuff from Rich that I got. When he passed away, it would have gone in the dumpster because the people who have never been a part of our profession don’t know about the magnificence of this stuff. The people who have it hold on because it means something to them. They keep hoping for a place to send it to or a way for it to survive them and they hang on. They then pass away. Their kids don’t realize and the treasures that they have don’t mean anything to them. They go in the dumpster. They end up in a landfill somewhere. I thought we needed an official recognized historical entity for the profession, a place that when people thought of, “What am I going to do with this stuff?” The NMHS would come to mind as a place where this stuff can be sent to preserve, protect, and display for the benefit of the entire profession. My goal is to have a place where anybody comes here to Atlanta and see these artifacts, which is what I call them because that’s what they are. A lot of the stuff I have there, they’re one-offs. There’s no way you’re going to find them anywhere else. In my past years, I’ve been able to collect them and hold on to them as if by divine guidance, because it’s something I can’t do. I’m thinking about it constantly. I’m making calls, I’m doing research, and it’s always on my mind. It’s my driving force to get this done. Right now, it’s online because COVID-19 hit and everything else. We’re still trying to work our way out of that. I have a Facebook group, Network Marketing Historical Society, if anybody that wants to can go and see what’s going on there. The plan is to open up a physical museum that people can come and see these artifacts, hear the stories behind them, and experience the birth of this profession because once you understand the history, you can truly get a vision of how great we can be. If we stick to the core fundamentals that this thing was founded on, my entire goal is to make this a place of value for network marketers and people who don’t know anything about network marketing but would like to learn. I want it to serve as many people as they want it. Once you understand the history, then you can truly get a vision of how great we can be. Click To Tweet Let me ask you this. What is the oldest artifact that you have there so far? The oldest would be a Nutrilite tablet bottle from 1939. If I had to think off the top of my head, but I’ve captured everything, the lineage that Taylor Thompson always talks about how cool the lineage is because you see what started, who came out of it, and what they did, and it’s amazing. As I said, everybody can be traced back to Rich Schnackenberg. That’s a name that a lot of people have never even heard. What was his first company? His first company was Nutrilite. He started in 1948. Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel were in his downline. In 1934, Carl Rehnborg came out with the California Vitamin Company. It was not doing very well five years into it. In 1939, they change the name to Nutrilite. There’s more to it, but I’m hitting the highlights here. He’s still not doing what he wanted to do. He met Casselberry who met Mytinger, and those two came up with a plan that they pitched to Rehnborg and they signed an official exclusive distributor agreement for Nutrilite on September 1st, 1945. That’s when the business model that we now call network marketing started. It officially started on that date. Three years later, they’re trying to implement this thing, along comes Rich Schnackenberg and like pouring gas on a fire. He made the thing explode. If you look at their sales up until the point where Rich got involved, they were doing okay, but they went off like a rocket when Rich brought his personal development with a pay plan attitude and all that with it. He started doing so well with that and as I said, Van Andel and DeVos were both in his downline that came in 1949. Everybody can be traced back to Rich. He was the Adam of our industry? Yes. If you’re talking about it from a distributor standpoint, absolutely. He’s the one that started it. I got a few other questions on this. I look at my mentor, Larry Thompson and the biggest one Mark Hughes. Unfortunately, I only knew Mark for short time. I look at Larry, for example, and I’ll never forget going out to the ranch when he was living in California. This would have been about 1992 or 1991. It was a long time ago, Larry said, “Have you ever met Bobby?” I said “Bobby who? There’s more than one Bobby in the world you know.” He’s like, “Bobby, my mentor.” We sat and Bobby could drink coffee nonstop and smoke cigarettes nonstop. We sat on the porch at Larry’s old house and I don’t know where Larry went. He went somewhere. he had something else to do. We had wealth-building on at that time. He had the little house and Vicki Tarr was working for him, Carolyn’s daughter, who ultimately married Rolf Sorg who’s done extremely well and continues to. He was down there. He had some administrative stuff to do. He just said, “You guys just hang out.” We hung out. We talked non-stop for seven hours about network marketing. It’s one of my greatest experiences. That whole era of Bobby and Jim, correct me if I’m wrong, would have been a second-generation if you think about Schnackenberg and the other guys that you’re talking about. Rich and Jay being the first. I’m not going to get into it because it’s a long story, but after Rich left Nutrilite, he went to AbundaVita in 1953 and so did Earl Shoaff. Earl Shoaff was making $100 a week as a pants presser at a department store. He heard the story and joined. Long story short, Rich and Earl became the best of friends. Rich told me they were closer than brothers. After they left AbundaVita over a dispute with the owner who did them wrong, they started Nutri-Bio.
Jim came to AbundaVita in November 1955. He had turned 25 years old and he met his friend Jackson. They called him Jack Baird, who used to work with Jim at Sears. Four months later, Jack comes in and pays cash for four new suits and that got Jim’s attention. He said, “Earl was coming to town. Come and see him.” Jim goes, “Here’s the story. He joins the company.” After they left AbundaVita. Rich and Earl started Nutri-Bio in July of 1957. That is when Jim left AbundaVita. Either Earl and Rich never approached a single AbundaVita distributor to lead that company and come join them. They never did that. People left to their own accord and joined the company. They started recruiting a bunch of other people, so did Jim. Jim moved over and that is when Bobby Depew comes in because Bobby joined Nutri-Bio and worked his way up like Jim to the top position, which was group coordinator. I actually got a picture of Bobby and his wife at a grand coordinator’s dinner. That’s how Bobby got in. Bobby and William Penn Patrick who started Holiday Magic recruited William E. Bailey, who started Bestline where Larry got started in 1968. All these things are happening. It’s crazy. Bobby came in Nutri-Bio. That’s when his story got started and so did Zig Ziglar. He got his start in Nutri-Bio and knew Jim back in the late 1950s. That’s how late their profession goes back. I remember Jim, one of the many tapes telling a story about how the Japanese gardener said, “When I make money, I’m going to have a Caucasian gardener.” A number of years ago, I’m out and Toro was at the first meeting Larry went to for the Bestline and they became pretty good friends. I’m doing a meeting in California for my company and another guy said, “Do you want to have dinner with an old friend of mine who I know in the industry? He’s an older guy and you’ll enjoy meeting him. He knows your friend, Larry.” “Why not?” We went and it was Toro. He had to be pushing 80 at that point and he was still in great shape. He was still going strong, doing some consulting, and work in the industry. When he said, “I’m the guy that said that,” I was like, “It’s amazing to meet some of these guys,” and realize, I would not have a business without these guys paying the price with FTC and FDA regulatory, this and that. These guys went through the baptismal fire for the rest of us, along with obviously Jay and Rich being a catalyst of so much from a legal standpoint. It’s amazing to talk about some of these people. Roughly, that was the first generation. We got to include Dr. Shaklee of course. I’ll say this, Ron. I’ve been to two Hall of Fames. One is the Shaklee in California, the Mary Kay here in Dallas, and you see that without these folks, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’d be selling insurance and you’d be running a museum or something. We’d be doing something different than we get to do for a living. That generation and then of course the next generation includes our mutual friend, Larry Thompson. You and I are both in Larry’s book, The Millionaire Training. Larry and Mark come about. Do you want to talk about either one of those gentlemen, a little bit? What can you say about Larry Thompson? The guy is a force of nature. He came into my life when I joined my first company myself when I was seventeen years old on May 1, 1981. The Millionaire Training had been recorded three months before then. Evidently, they couldn’t get them out to the field fast enough because people were making copies and I got an old Memorex cassette tape. I apologize to him the first time I met him. I said, “I’m sorry but the very first tape was a copy,” but I’ve got a brand-new shrink wrap set still in the cabinet in here. I went through several of those things and it was cool to find out that Larry was my up-line. Ever since that day, he has been an important part of my life. I’m so grateful for his friendship or his mentorship. Every time I call, he picks up the phone. He calls me. There’s nothing more exciting to me to hear Larry’s voice from the other end of the phone saying, “I’ve got an idea. I want to run by you.” I know I’m about to get hit. Those two bring out the best in each other. Mark Hughes, what a history that guy had, starting the way he did, ending up the way he did. Being brought to a Jim Rohn meeting in 1977, hearing Jim, and then when he started his company in 1980. Using Jim and officially bringing Jim on 1986 with Larry, Mark Hughes is another force of nature. He’s one of those people that you look at the history of what he did. When you study his life, there’s no other way that was going to happen. There’s no other way for it to happen. He left us in 2000 and thank goodness, Larry is still around. Larry is getting his second wind with everything he’s doing now and with the book coming out. There are people that are discovering Larry like he is brand new. They have no idea he’s been around for over half a century. These are the same people that think that network marketing started five years ago. It’s an exciting new re-introduction and I’m blessed to know Larry like you and there’s nothing else you can say about him. He’s an incredible human being. You’re right and he is getting his second wind. He’s not a young guy anymore, but he is going strong. I’m going to see him and I’ll give him a big hug for you. Network marketing is by far the best avenue for anybody to take no matter where you are or who you are. Click To Tweet You would never know talking to him on the phone that the guy is old. Going back to Mark for a second. I met Mark twice. I spent time with them. I’ve been in meetings with him many times because that’s where I started. I wound end up graduating college in May of 1983. Ronald Reagan was our commencement speaker. Reagan was the guy who pointed me in the right direction, believe it or not, as far as multilevel. How did you get your start, John?” I got sponsored in April. Ronald Reagan said, “Find a mentor. Find something you’re good at, passionate about, and then learn it.” I was like, “Okay.” Reagan had that ability, by the way, and I’m sure you’ve seen many great speakers where he was talking like you and I are right now. There were 4,000 people there including the Secret Service and all. I met him and in the next month, I met Larry. It was June 18th of 1983. My sponsor had moved out to California and as a young kid, he says, “Why don’t you come out?” I’m staying with another guy. We were all high school wrestlers and stuff. We were all buddies and we were used to living in all sorts of different arrangements. He says, “Leo, Scott has got an apartment. He’s got the bedroom. I’m sleeping in the living room. If you come out, there’s another couch.” All of a sudden, in New Jersey, the weather starts to get pretty crummy around November or December, where I’m originally from. I’m like, “After Christmas, I’m going to go out and spend some time in California. I’ve never been there before. I go out and I’m there for maybe a week. We were living in Long Beach. Tom says, “Let’s go up to the warehouse and get some product,” because we’re selling this stuff like crazy. It was so easy to retail that stuff and we’re living on the beach too. We would go with the NRG capsules and we would literally give them out on the beach. The next thing you know, people say, “Give me a bottle. Get me two bottles.” It was easy to sell the product. Long story short, we take a bus from Long Beach, about three buses, and we go the wrong way on La Cienega Boulevard. We wind up in a place you don’t want to end up. We figure it out pretty quickly. We turned around and we go the other way. We get up to the warehouse there where the office was on La Cienega Boulevard. We get up there and we look disheveled. We’ve been on buses for four hours. Mark sees us out of his office window and we’re two young kids. We’re in there and picking up some product and stuff. The next thing we know, the guy in the warehouse says, “Mr. Hughes wants to meet with you guys.” I’m like, “Mark Hughes wants to meet us? We’re just two nobodies. We’re these two little distributors from New Jersey that move to California.” We go in and Mark says, “You guys look like you could use some lunch.” We hopped in his Rolls Royce. He took these two young kids out to lunch. He was not that much older than us. He was probably ten years on me and 6 or 7 on Tommy Husted, my sponsor. He was a gentleman and cared about us. He wanted to know us and had an interest in us. I still cried my eyes out when I found out that he passed because he was such a human being. He built a big company and he had a troubled life obviously with what happened to him but he was such a great person. That legacy, unfortunately, stopped too soon. He was 44 when he passed. I met Jim. Larry and I are still good friends here. We live in Dallas together and we don’t see each other from time to time. Do a few projects here and there and see what kind of trouble we can get in. We take any occasional ballgame but it’s been such a privilege to have known all three of those guys. It’s such a blessing. Let’s come back to a couple of other guys. Let me throw some names out because you know everybody who’s anybody. How about Dexter Yager? Dexter Yager’s story is amazing. Everybody knows what company he got started in. If I remember correctly, it was in 1956 or 1957 when he got started. He and his wife Birdie epitomized to me what the profession is all about. They hit it hard. They never stopped and they talked to anything that showed an interest. They never pushed themselves on anybody so they did it right. If somebody showed an interest, they showed them the whole deal, what was possible, the motivation, the mindset, and the entire thing. If I remember correctly, up to this day, Dexter’s organization is the largest earning organization in the entire profession. The guy has passed on several years ago and his payment is coming to his estate or whatever you want to call it. It’s still the largest in the profession. What about Bill Britt? Did you ever meet him? No. I never got a chance to meet Bill Britt but I have a bunch of his tapes and I’ve got videos of him. He was another amazing human being. He’s the one that famously put out that graph that said he only showed the plan to a few people. It was 200 people. Ten percent of those signed on and then 10% of those actually did something. The last six made him a millionaire. It encapsulates the whole thing but Bill Britt was another legend. I wish I would have known him.
I’ve read some of his stuff. He was ahead of his time the way he thought it. He was a smart guy. We’ve got to talk about Rich and Jay a little bit. We’ve referenced them but let’s start with Rich DeVos. What are your thoughts on him? If I didn’t know anything and had never heard that name before but I knew Larry Thompson, what Larry said about Rich DeVos will stick with me forever because Larry has a unique history and experience base to pull from. He said that if he could meet one person, he would have liked to have met Rich DeVos because the two of them have so much in common. They’ve started companies. They built companies, they’ve lost companies with the FTC, and all these things that Amway’s tackled in the early 1970s which ended with the consent decree in 1979. Herbalife is going through their stuff. Larry would have loved to shut down and talk with Rich DeVos. If I’d never heard the name before or the fact that somebody like Larry had that on his bucket list tells me everything I needed to know about Rich. Rich DeVos was the word legend, and icon is not even fair because what he did through his company and what that company continues to do is mind-blowing. They’re approaching $10 billion in sales a year. His partner was Jay Van Andel. Jay was the older of the two of them and it was Jay Van Andel’s cousin, Neil Maaskant who joined Nutrilite first and told Jay about it. Jay told Rich DeVos about it and the two of them went to a Nutrilite meeting to sign up under Neil Maaskant which was his cousin. Jay is the one that brought Rich into network marketing. Before then, the two of them knew each other from childhood almost giving each other rides to work and things like that as they got older. They were doing something all the time. They were entrepreneurs from the very beginning trying different things. Nothing worked until the network marketing business model hit them. They found their calling and the rest is history. What are your thoughts on Mary Kay? I thought it was very interesting. I was born on September 30th, 1963. Mary Kay was launched in September of 1963. What I have become pales in comparison to what Mary Kay has become with her company and everything else. The way that Zig and Jim Rohn talked about her, I never got a chance to meet her. I would have loved to have sat down and picked her brain because she was a woman who started her own business in 1963 for other women. She has a very unique place in the history of this profession. Her company continues to thrive to this day, years and years after she’s been gone and that should tell you that it was built on the right principles and foundations. It’s amazing when I’ve gone through the museum there. I have a good friend and he’s retired now, but he was an executive there. He took me through that museum a couple of times. You’re absolutely right. Number one, a woman starting a business in 1963 was unique. There’s somebody unrelated to our industry-leading Ebby Halliday. She’s passed away now too. She made it to 101. She was here in Dallas, also around the same time. She started Ebby Halliday Real Estate, which was huge. Roger Staubach acquired the company if I’m not mistaken before he sold his company, but he has a long history. I may have my history wrong but I know Roger has something to do with her. It’s funny because those two ladies were so far ahead of their time in terms of women starting businesses in the United States at that juncture. What’s also amazing that a lot of people forget is her husband passed away right before she started. She went on with her son’s help a little bit. He was a young guy, Richard Rogers. What they did amazes me. We got to talk to him. We mentioned Mary Kay Herbalife, Amway and we got to mention again, Dr. Forrest Shaklee. He was a guy ahead of his time in terms of the products that he made. Talk about Dr. Shaklee a little bit, if you will. Dr. Shaklee has a unique place in history. His company, Shaklee, started in 1956. For decades before then, if you read his life history like Carl Rehnborg, they had gone abroad to find out and study how nutrients affect the human body. He, like Rehnborg, experimented with different formulations and things to get the best result for health. Shaklee is still around and they certainly deserve a place in the Network Marketing History Museum because many people started with Shaklee that are absolute icons in the profession. Dale Calvert for one got his start in Shaklee in 1980 and he is an absolute juggernaut that’s still going strong. Shaklee is part of that first generation that laid the foundation for the rest of us to build on. Without them attributing what they contributed, I don’t think we’d be here. I agree. I even got a chance to sit at his desk because the new owner was a semi friend of mine of the company. What was amazing when we think of the whole green movement and everything that’s going on now that’s so newsworthy and necessary, he started with some of those cleaning products because he didn’t want his own kids taking some of the stuff under the sink and getting into it. He was motivated partially by that cause of, “I don’t want my kids getting sick.” All those things came from him, which was incredible. You and I weren’t even born when he was making this stuff which is amazing. In reference to news, a couple of newer companies, maybe not new for you and I, but newer compared to the ones we mentioned. Nu Skin had a huge influence in our industry, obviously. I don’t know that much about their history to be honest with you. I need to get with Dan and lock that down. I have a lot of personal development to do in that arena myself. I’ve never been involved with Nu Skin personally, but I know a lot of the people who are. That’s on my list of things to lock down, capture, and record for all time. I need to get with Dan. Network marketing is inexpensive to get started. All you have to do is develop yourself, put in the work, and the rewards will come. Click To Tweet Another company that comes to mind that certainly had an influence in the industry is A.L. Williams, which is now Primerica. Arthur Williams is a Georgia boy. I know he was a football coach at one time down there. What do we know about that organization? A.L. Williams was a coach that just wanted something better for his life. He got turned on to selling life insurance, started studying what it does, and how it would best benefit people. When he started pushing what he thought was best, his higher-ups didn’t agree with him. They wanted to sell what would make the most money, not what would best serve the customer. That is how he left all that behind and started A.L. Williams. The speech that he got been worn out on YouTube and everything else. He’s an incredible guy. I never got a chance to meet him but the thing I liked the most about him is he tells you the way it is. He doesn’t pull punches, sugar coat, he won’t burp, and diaper you. He tells you the way it is so do it. That speaks to the game. If you didn’t know anything about the man, go watch that and that’ll tell you everything you need to know about him. He built a life on what he shared there. He has a great book that some of our readers may want to recall, All You Can Do Is All You Can Do But All You Can So Is Enough! I probably read that book 30 times and he was just another amazing influence. We could go on all day with this but I want people to get the impact of what you’re doing. My reader’s age range is from 18 to 80, most of them have been in the industry for a long time. Some of them are newbies and they’re just learning some of this history. If they have artifacts that they want to send you, where can they do that? If you want to give the address and what kind of stuff you’re looking for as well. The best thing to do is to go to NetworkMarketingHistory.com. That lays out what we’re doing, what we’re about, what our vision is, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and how to contact me via email or phone. If you want to send something to the address, all the information is there. There are different resources on there like The NMHS websites and things people can connect with and become a part of. Everything is going to be online until we get the physical museum going. When it becomes a physical museum, the online portion is not going to stop because there are going to be some people who can’t travel for whatever reason, from others countries, and still want to learn about the profession. I’m going to give them a chance to learn. The online is going to stay but the focus is going to be on getting this physical museum up. If I can make the vision in my head and manifest itself, it’s going to be a total mind-blower and the kind of things that we’re looking for. I don’t need distributor kits or things like that. I’m looking for unique items. If you have a question, contact me and ask me. Send me pictures of whatever you need to do. I’m looking for unique items from companies that helped tell the story of how they got started, how they developed, and how they maintained themselves during good times or bad times. It’s just paperwork. I don’t need brochures, distributor kits, and things like that. I’m looking for physical objects, awards, pens, and even some books. Different things that tell the story of the company. Go to NetworkMarketingHistory.com, look that site over, and you’ll get a better idea of what we’re looking for, what we’re going to be doing with it, and then you can contact me there. That’s the best way to do it. Do you have an idea when you’re physically going to be able to open the bricks and mortar? No. Right now, I am in negotiations with a climate-controlled storage facility that is trying to figure out a way they can rejigger their operations there because we’re going to need a pretty decent space, but I don’t need anything huge like a mall. I’m going to need a pretty decent space and they’re right up the road from me and the tie-in to that is going to be, “If you’re in Atlanta, come see the museum.” It’s going to be about ten miles outside of Atlanta but it’s only about six miles from Six Flags. Come and see the museum and go hang out at Six Flags all day. That’s going to be the tie-in there. From day one, when we opened this thing, when people walk in the door, I want their jaws to drop. I want it to be unlike anything they have ever seen before. I want them to leave with a sense of wonder. Just like a kid on Christmas morning and be excited about where we came from, where we are, and where we’re going to go. It’s a big vision but that’s what I want to make happen. You have another great author and great thinker, not in our industry per se, but he certainly influenced us. Dr. Jim Collins says, “A big hairy audacious goal for what you’re doing.” I’m sure Mrs. Henley is not going to be unhappy to see some of that stuff go to that new facility. She comes out here sometimes, looks around, and just shakes her head.
I could imagine. I’m excited holding this stuff and she’s like, “What is that?” I’m like, “You don’t understand this was, this and this.” She’s like, “I’m going to go cook supper. I’ll see you later.” You have the ultimate multilevel man-cave, I guess. Ron, let me ask you this last question. If we could do about ten interviews on all of this stuff and we will, we’re going to come back to this as you progress, I’d love you to be a guest on a regular basis every couple of months. We just update people on the status because what you’re doing is so important. History is so important in our industry. People need to understand it from that standpoint because it empowers them to build their own distributorships or companies in some cases. Company owners read this as well. We’ve had a couple of them that have contacted me and they’ll be reading. We’re going to get this out to people to let them know what you’re doing. You’ve been at this since you’re five and as long as Larry has. In 2021, everything has happened. COVID-19, people losing jobs, people losing businesses, all the stuff that we know about. Why should somebody in 2021 join this industry? Because the promise has never left from its inception. I still think, honestly, that network marketing offers not only the average person but anybody who applies themselves the very best opportunity to not only create financial independence for themselves but to open the door to a life and a lifestyle that they would’ve never been able to otherwise experience. Network marketing is inexpensive to get started. It’s inexpensive to get trained. All you have to do is develop yourself, put in the work, and the rewards will come. There’s nothing else like it. It’s so easy to get into, which is both good and bad because people think that. There’s such a low price point to get involved in most companies that there’s not that much to it but that is so wrong. That is such an error in judgment. I love Larry talking about the Thompson Rule, the 80/15/5. There are so many people, especially because of this pandemic, suffering. All they have to do is find something that they like themselves, find a product that they like, and learn how to share it with people without bugging people about it. Learn how to talk to interesting people about what it is that you’re doing. If you’ll do that and put in the work, network marketing is by far the best avenue for anybody to take because it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, and anything about you. The marketing plan is the same. You’re bringing yourself to the marketing plan. Work on yourself, put in the work, and the rewards will come. It’s the very best chance that anybody got hands down. That’s my opinion. Ron, I want to thank you first of all, for your time. We have to do this again because I know this is an ongoing project. This is what you call a life project that you’ve got going and long after. We’re both gone but our industry is going to live on. The influenced that people like, we’ve talked about and the influence that you’re having and the contribution is once again so appreciated by those of us that are out building distributorships or building companies. You get so busy doing your thing that you forget we’re part of this whole industry and this whole movement. The whole movement, at the end of the day, summarizing that we’re trying to help other people to get ahead and take care of themselves. What you’re doing is amazing and thank you for doing it. I want to thank everybody for their time reading. We air every Tuesday on Apple, Spotify, iTunes, and a number of other podcast stations. If you want to purchase our books, Leave Nothing to Chance and our prior book, Moving Up: 2020, you can get those on Amazon digitally. You get them in Spanish and in a number of different languages. Ron, thanks again. I’m going to give you the last word and let you sign us off. I want to thank everybody for taking the time to read. If you want to know any more information, go to NetworkMarketingHistory.com, learn about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and why we’re doing it. Contact me with any questions. I can talk about this stuff for days so we’re definitely should have to do this again. Let’s plan on it.
- Ron Henley
- Zig Ziglar
- Leave Nothing to Chance
- Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles
- See You At The Top
- Tracey Jones – Previous Episode
- Leading an Inspired Life
- The Millionaire Training
- Og Mandino’s University of Success
- The Universal Laws of Success and Achievement
- Success Habits of Super Achievers
- The Laws of Human Nature
- 48 Laws of Power
- Dream Machine
- Living An Extraordinary Life
- Time, Money, Freedom
- Lasting Impact
- Network Marketing Secrets
- Magnetic Sponsoring
- How to Work Miracles in Your Life
- Jim Rohn
- Facebook – Ron Henley
- Larry Thompson
- Jeff Weisberg – Previous Episode
- Foster Owusu – Previous Episode
- Network Marketing Historical Society – Facebook
- Ebby Halliday Real Estate
- Mary Kay
- Nu Skin
- YouTube – AL Williams Speech
- All You Can Do Is All You Can Do But All You Can So Is Enough!
- Spotify – Leave Nothing To Chance
- iTunes – Leave Nothing To Chance
- Moving Up: 2020
About Ron Henley
Ron Henley is recognized as the World’s Foremost Expert on Network Marketing History and is the Founder of the NMHS. A third-generation network marketer, Ron was introduced to the profession in 1968 by his family at age 5. Directly mentored by the company’s corporate trainer, Zig Ziglar, his dad and grandpa built their company’s largest team in the Southeast. With Zig’s records being constantly played in the house, Ron began repeating what he heard word for word. Being just 5, it was a novelty and his family proudly showed him off, having him do “Zig talks” in front of the room at meetings and wherever they went. It was a great recruiting tool and he is proud to have been a part of the network marketing profession at such a young age! Being mentored by Zig at such a young age, coupled with a serendipitous introduction to Jim Rohn at age 14, Ron followed the family tradition, starting his first network marketing business on May 1, 1981, at age 17. From those early days, an insatiable curiosity became a driving force. Coupled with a deep passion for discovery, Ron began an incredible journey of capturing the history of the profession that continues to this day. That mission has allowed him to connect with people in a unique way as he became friends with, and personally mentored by the original founders and legends of this profession. A prolific writer, Ron was recently featured in the new #1 best selling book, “The Millionaire Training – Golden Principles That Created The Top Network Marketers of Today”, where he shares the origins and the lineage of the companies and people who created the service model we now call network marketing. Over the last five decades, he has purposefully amassed an incredible collection of memorabilia and artifacts that capture the origins of network marketing but it’s not enough. It’s time to bring attention to a serious problem before it’s too late.