LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society


John Solleder and Ron Henley sit down for the second part of their discussion on the rich and storied history of network marketing. Ron talks about the history of Nutrilite, Abundavita, Ovation Cosmetics and their impact on the network marketing landscape. He shares stories about the history of NutriBio and how it was formed, and the lessons leaders can learn from it. Ron also talks meeting other industry legends and the life lessons he picked up from them. Finally, Ron and John talk legacy and how they would like to be remembered.

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The Network Marketing Historical Society Part 2 With Ron Henley

It is my privilege and honor to have part two with Ron Henley. We had a great interview last episode, Ron. I enjoyed it. You did, too. It was a lot of fun. I said, “Let’s do a second one.” We’ve got two other ones that we’ll talk about. One that’s confirmed and the other, we’ll talk about. To review a little bit, I know that Rich Schnackenberg was such a significant player. He’s the Adam of the industry if you want to talk about him a little bit further.

What an incredible human being. Where do you start with something like that? He is the linchpin of this whole thing. He can be traced back to the beginning. Everything can be traced back to him. It all started with the California Vitamins in ‘34. They changed their name to Nutrilite in ‘39. They became a network marketing company on September 1, 1945. Sales started to climb. Rich was working. He owned a coin laundromat in Gate City, California. A Nutrilite salesman came to see him. It was the typical story, “This guy is so bad, I could kill this thing.” This guy’s doing that well. He joined Nutrilite at the beginning of 1948.

He was an avid student of success. He studied everybody like Napoleon Hill, Orison Swett Marden and a lot of people that they haven’t even heard of but they were the success pioneers as well. He even studied P. T. Barnum. He wrote a book called The Art of Money Getting. He was a successful guy. He had a lot to say. He took all that success mindset stuff. He was the first person I ever heard say, “Personal development with the pay plan.” That was his entire thing. He brought that into his organization and Nutrilite exploded. He built the largest group in the entire company. A year later, Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, who went on to start Amway joined his downline in 1949 a year later. He is the granddaddy of them all.

I’m reading some of your writing from Larry Thompson’s Millionaire Training book. He was descended from Napoleon Hill, Orison Swett Marden, Wallace D. Wattles, a predecessor of Hill with The Science of Getting Rich. There were Dale Carnegie, George Clason, James Allen and more. Here is an Amazon Prime production of a movie about James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh that I watched. For everybody that hasn’t seen that yet. It’s probably on Netflix. It’s well done.

I’m looking forward to seeing it.

I want to read you something else here that you wrote in the introduction to The Millionaire Training Book. I love this and would love to get your comments on it. I read it and I got goosebumps. “We are all part of the California Vitamin company, Nutrilite, AbundaVita, Nutri-Bio, Amway, Ovation, Mary Kay, Bestline, Holiday Magic, Koscot, Dare to be Great, Slender Now, Golden Youth. Herbalife, and many more.” That is like the DNA of our industry described in those companies that a lot of people never heard of. Ovation, for example. Tell the story with Ovation a little bit because that’s an interesting story. That was the first skincare company to multi-level.

No. There were a few others around about that time. Earl Shoaff started Ovation in 1963 or 1964, when Nutri-Bio folded. He wanted to get completely out of the vitamin supplement business because with everything that the FDA was doing. He didn’t see how you can serve people and play by rules that he thought were unfair. He shifted gears and started Ovation cosmetics which is still in business nowadays.

You then talked a little bit about some of these leaders that were developed. I want to go back to Nutri-Bio in 1957. That’s where Earl Shoaff and Rich Schnackenberg got together.

No, they got together in AbundaVita.

They eventually wound up after a falling out with the owner of AbundaVita. Tell that story a little bit because that has much significance for some of the people who we’re going to talk about next.

It’s a thing called, “Take care of your people and keep your promises.” When Dr. JB Jones wanted to start a vitamin supplement company, first of all, he was a direct student of Napoleon Hill. He got his start going around town. He did TV shows, radio shows talking about Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success. He was giving these lectures. He started getting this feedback from people, “I wish there were some way I could put this into practice and work with you somehow.” He saw that the supplement business was exploding. You saw what was going on with Nutrilite. Shaklee wasn’t around yet. They started in 1956. He saw what was going on. He wanted to be a part of it. He had been watching Rich Schnakenberg and Nutrilite. Rich, because of everything that was going on with Meininger and Castleberry, became the master distributors on September 1, 1945. They were in charge of the whole deal. They were getting in trouble hand over fist because then they wouldn’t listen.

If you make promises, keep them and leave your ego at the door. Share on X

He tried to talk to them. He even tried to buy a controlling interest. He tried to buy the company outright from Rehnborg, but Rehnborg wouldn’t sell. He tried to buy controlling interest and Rehnborg wouldn’t let any of it go at the time. He was disheartened. JB Jones had been watching all this stuff going on, saw and witnessed everything that Rich had done in a Nutrilite. He watched what he had done in Nutrilite and knew that he was disheartened. Rich hadn’t resigned his position but he actively stopped building, hoping he could figure out a way to get better. John saw what was going on with him and came up to him and said, “I’ve got this idea for a new supplement company. It’s going to be less expensive. It’s going to be with people like you on board. It can be a better product. We can bring your whole personal development with a pay plan philosophy to it.” As a matter of fact, he combined abundance, vitamins and got AbundaVita.

From the inception, that was the cornerstone that the company was going to build on instead of an afterthought. Rich was excited about that. He was going to come on as Vice President of Training right away. He resigned his position with Nutrilite and went on full-time with AbundaVita. This was in 1953. They built that thing. Earl Shoaff was pressing pants at a department store called Desmond’s, living in Long Beach, California. I know his nephew, and his nephew still has one of his old smoking jackets from Desmond’s from back in the day. Earl had a neighbor named Marvin Wendt. Earl would go out and work 10, 12 hours a day, present suits, come home, and be too tired to move. His next-door neighbor kept saying, “You need to come to hear this guy. He’s got a lot of great ideas. It’s something you would like.” He and his wife, Flossie had been putting the guy off for two months. Finally, one day they forgot to call him and tell him they wouldn’t go. He showed up at their door, ready to go.

Earl looked at Flossie and said, “He’s never going to leave us alone. Maybe if we go, he’ll leave us alone.” That was their entire strategy, to get Marvin to quit bugging them. They go and Earl, being a student of success himself, was blown away about what JB Jones had to say about Napoleon Hill in the Laws of Success. Rich got up and talked about a few things, “Hang around. We’ll show you how to put what you’ve learned here and to action.” I’m heavily paraphrasing that. Earl did, and Rich got up there and a few other distributors talked about this new idea called the AbundaVita. Jones talked about how he made that happen, how Rich became part of the company, the philosophy of the company and what they were going to do. Earl was blown off of his seat. He had been looking for something like this. At the time, he was making $100 a week. That’s a whole lot better than Jim Rohn’s $57 a week. He was working 60 to 70 hours a week to get that $100.

This was also in 1953. The company started. He joined right away and was the first person in the company to buy a case of twelve bottles of product. Everybody else would buy one for themselves and maybe 1 or 2 to sell. He bought a case and said I’m hitting everybody in the neighborhood. He did. Here’s an interesting thing everybody talks about, and I do especially, what a great person Earl Shoaff turned out to be. The funny thing is, I always tell people, “Don’t worry about when you first start. You have to be bad to be good. You’ve got to go through that learning curve. The first door that Earl Shoaff knocked on, he forgot his own name. Don’t fret about it. You get out there and do it. It’ll take care of himself.” The two men rapidly rose. Earl became a star in the company and became Vice President of Sales. Rich Schnakenberg was Vice President of Training. They had another guy that came on. Harry Ebbert produced all the films and sales brochures. He’s the media consultant.

Earl and Rich went around the country because, by this time, Jones wanted to do other things. He said, “You go around the country and build the company.” They agreed to it. John said, “Once sales reach $1 million dollars a year, I’ll give you guys stock options.” They had everything all written out in the companies since it’s a private company. “If you’ll put in some sweat equity and help me build this thing, I’ll reward you with stock options and some other perks.” The guys did. They poured themselves into it. They’ll go around the country, and they were in Pensacola, Florida in 1955. That’s where Jim Rohn came to the San Carlos hotel guided by another friend of his that used to work with him at Sears who was doing well with AbundaVita. It’s the same story, “You got to come in here. This guy is rich and easy to talk to. He’s got a great philosophy about life.” Jim goes and he’s blown away as well. What Rich and Earl had to say at that meeting, he did not have the money to buy.

He borrows the $200 from his parents to buy his kit. He gets some inventory to get going on. He quickly paid them back. He was quick to always tell us. He’s quickly paid him back. That’s how he got started. The guys went around the country. John said, “You’ve got this in hand. I’m going to go around the world on vacation. I’m going to take a yacht and I’m going to sail the seven seas and see the world. I’ll be back in 1 or 1.5-year. You guys got the company. It’s all good.” He takes his time off. Earl and Rich take hold of this thing. They grabbed the bull by the horns and the thing goes off like a rocket. It became incredible what they were able to do.

They quickly passed the benchmark that Jones had set for him. Jones comes back thinking that he’s going to come back to a company in shambles. It’s going to be in complete ruins. “These guys can’t do anything without me.” They tripled the company while he was gone. He comes back and to make a long story short, his ego for all the good that he did, for all the prosperity that he preached, his ego could not take the fact that they did this without him. He called him into the office and said, “I’m not giving you stock options, not only that, I’m capping your pay.”

Rich said, “I’m done.” He called Rich into the office or was out training somewhere. Rich said, “That’s not going to work. I’m going to go off and start my own thing.” He told Earl what had happened. I forgot Earl was over 3 or 4 states away at the time in Nevada. It was one state over in Nevada. Rich called him and told him what happened. He quit on the spot and said, “I’m with you. I’m coming.” Harry quit. The three of them together sat in Rich’s living room trying to figure out what to do. They came up with their own supplement company. They found a chemist named Earl Hillerman, who was top of the line. I’ve got a video of Rich talking about him. What an incredible guy he was. He gave them top-notch products that had never been seen before. They were trying to figure out a name for it. It was Earl’s wife, Flossie who came up with Better Nutrition Through Biochemistry. They’d named it Nutri-Bio. They had the name, but Earl and Rich were equally qualified to run that company. How do you think they decided?

Coin toss.

Earl won the coin toss. Earl became president. Rich became Vice Executive Vice President of the company. They are proud to say that they never contacted a single person in their AbundaVita downline to come and join them in their new venture. They had full expectations. They planned as though nobody would join them. They are going to start from scratch and start knocking on doors, building a client list on their own. When people found out what was going on, they too were tired of Jones’ ego. A bunch of them left and joined Nutri-Bio on their own, including Jim Rohn, who left and under the direct tutelage of Earl and Rich. He rose to the top quickly. They were able to give him the attention that he needed and desired. A proof that he was a worthy student. He grew quickly. He hit the top of the pay plan, which was General Coordinator. He made about $25,000 to $35,000 a month at that point. This was in the late ‘50s to early ‘60s. That’s some money out there. They left AbundaVita because Jones had an ego and broke his promises to them. There’s a lesson in that if you make promises keep them and leave your ego at the door.

There’s a lot of lessons in there. Every company owner should read this because we’ve all seen it. I was in a company a number of years ago. Off of that company, there have been eight other companies built literally, including my own, but seven other people left. We’ve done extremely well around the world and there’s the owner ego again. Anyway, we could go down that road if we’ve been a multi-level long time. Everybody’s got one more to go. “I remember this one or that one. I was in this or that one.” Ego, greed, arrogance, those three things will destroy a marriage. They’ll destroy a ball club. They’ll certainly destroy a network marketing at church.

LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society

Network Marketing Historical Society: Ego, greed, and arrogance will destroy a marriage, a ball club, and a church; it’ll certainly destroy a network marketing company.


The other lesson you shared that’s going through my head is something that’s been said over the years by my mentor, Larry Thompson, “Your skills are transportable.” Those guys’ skills grew up at AbundaVita. They transported them to Nutri-Bio. There are some other people that came with them. I want to go through the list. It’s such a who’s who. Anybody who’s been in self-development for the last years knows every one of these names. I’m going to say, to some degree, some are better than others. You mentioned Jim Rohn and we’ve talked about Jim a great deal last episode and we’ll probably wind up talking about him again next episode with what we’re going to do with our other guests. Let’s talk about Bill Bailey a little bit because he is a huge impact on the industry.

Bill was born and raised in Caney, Kentucky, which is not far down the road from where my country comes from in a town called Middlesboro, Kentucky. It’s right where Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky all meet together in a place called Cumberland Gap. That’s where we were from. Caney is not that far from there. That’s where Bill came up from. He and I connected by Kentucky farm boys. We would connect that way. Bill was an incredible human being. He knew he wanted modern life. He ended up going into the service and use the GI Bill to get a direct degree in marketing. Back then, they had what was called a $0.5 and $0.10 store. $3 would be the closest equivalent at this time. It was called Ben Franklin Stores Five-and-Dime. Everything was a nickel, a dime, or a quarter.

He bought a Ben Franklin franchise and had his own Ben Franklin store. He went to college when he was getting his degree with Bobby Depew. That’s how they met, in college. I can’t remember how Bobby met William Penn Patrick but those two had become friends. Bobby and William Penn Patrick had joined Nutri-Bio already and were trying to figure out who they could talk to. Bobby said, “I’ve got a guy that’s sharp. Bill Bailey over here. He owns a Ben Franklin store.” They went over there. Larry will tell you the story. When they walked in to see Bill, he was sitting on the floor counting sewing needles. That’s how tedious that job had gotten. He was counting sewing needles. They came in and laid it all out for him and said, “Come on. We got a meeting. You can go to and hear all about it.” He was all in and he joined. Bill, William Penn Patrick and Bobby Depew became general coordinators in the company, which is the highest you can get. They did well with that.

Bill, he waited after Nutri-Bio folded. William Penn Patrick started. This is all tied in together. I’m going to be going left and right. It’ll all tie up in the end. William Penn Patrick looking for another opportunity, passed a garage while he was taking a walk in San Rafael, California. They were selling their entire stock of fruit-scented cosmetics. It was a company called Zolene. They were completely out of business. Penn Patrick goes in there and says, “How much for everything?” He paid them $12,500 for the entire company.

With that stock and with what he had learned in Nutri-Bio, he launched Holiday Magic cosmetics. Bill Bailey was the first president of Holiday Magic. Bobby Depew came in with him. Patrick as well and the three of them got Holiday Magic going. Bill and William Penn Patrick became good friends. Almost like brothers like Earl Shoaff and Rich Schnackenberg. They got into a little squabble one day. One is a little silly squabble that if you don’t watch what you say, you can’t take it back. Bill said to him, “Maybe I’ll quit.” William Penn Patrick being angry and not thinking about it, “Maybe you should.” Bill walked out. They both regretted it.

Penn Patrick went on building Holiday Magic. In 1966, Bill Bailey took what he learned in Nutri-Bio and Holiday Magic. He started Bestline products. He started selling soap called Zif, a biodegradable soap. I mean, babies could drink it and it wouldn’t hurt you. You’d blow bubbles but it wouldn’t hurt you. That’s how Larry got started two years later was on Bestline products. Bill came from a Ben Franklin store to Nutri-Bio to Holiday Magic to starting his own company, Bestline in 1966. In 1968, both our friend and mentor, Larry Thompson got started. The rest is history. Was there anything else that you want to know about Bill?

I never met him. I’ve had friends. Larry knew him. Jeff Weisberg and Jeffrey Roberti knew him. Dave had met him at some point. I never had the opportunity. His name comes up often in the history books, to speak of network marketing, and apparently was a great speaker too from what I understand. He was a real motivator.

He was smart. It is unbelievable. We used to have these conversations. I would tell him, “Bill, I’m going to read a little cassette recorder. You remember used to be able to hook a suction cup onto the receiver. You could record these conversations. I got my cassette player. I’m going to record what you tell me so I can unpack it later.” He would get talking about this stuff. He would start talking about how quantum mechanics and quantum physics dictated why you were a success or a failure. How the past can pull you and how you can use quantum physics to break that. It was crazy.

He’s the person that while you’re listening to him, you’re following along fine. You’re like, “I get it.” When it’s then all over and done with, you feel like you’ve been in a car wreck. You’re sitting there and several times, my wife would walk in. I’d be sitting there with this blank look on my face, having I got off the phone with Bill. She would say, “What did you guys talk about?” I’d go, “I don’t know. I’ve got the recording here. I’m going to have to listen to it back and line by line to figure it out.” He was an incredible mind. He was amazing.

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Jim Rohn was bored by Bill Bailey. Jim always talked about this brand that he had, that could go on vacation, come back and tell you about it. It then would be better than you go in yourself. That was Bill Bailey. Because Bill would make a story come alive. He would use all of the sensory perceptions. He would tell you the smells, taste, sounds, atmosphere, what the weather was doing, what this sounded like. You felt like you were in there when he was telling you about where how something worked or whatever. It was incredible.

You met you mentioned Bobby Depew. I know we talked about Bobby a little bit on the last episode. Let’s talk about Bobby a little more. Bobby was somebody that I did have the privilege of spending time with and getting to know. He was such a nice gentleman. Another one of these guys was a big thinker, smart, intelligent and worldly. You could talk to him about politics or fifteen other subjects. You knew he knew as much as he did about multi-level. That’s not everybody in our industry. Unfortunately, a lot of guys are talking about our industry. They’re myopic. They know our business but they don’t have a clue what’s going on elsewhere. Bobby was one of those guys who struck me that when you threw a subject at him, he had some facts, opinions and ideas. Let’s talk about Bobby a little bit.

Bobby was a school teacher, if I’m not mistaken. He was either a Math or a History teacher, I can’t remember. He was a school teacher when he got started selling cookware door to door. He wasn’t making enough money. He needed to supplement his income as a teacher. This is another story that Jim Rohn says that he had this friend that wanted to get into sales. He never mentioned Bobby by name. Bobby’s brother-in-law mocked him and said, “You’re not going to get into sales, are you? You’ll never make it.” That made Bobby mad that he swore he was going to be a success. He became and did well in selling cookware door-to-door. He said he would always take his brother-in-law out to lunch to rub it in his face. When it came time to pay the check, he always had a hard time finding small money. He would put those hundreds out to rub it in his face. Jim used that as a lesson you can people can make you mad that you can use that as a motivator to go out and make it happen.

Jim certainly helped. Jim had the philosophical side of it. Without Bobby pouring into Larry Thompson the way he did, I don’t think Larry would have been near the success that he turned out to be, and then go on to make the impact that he made and is still making in our profession. Bobby was another intelligent person, as you know, having to sit down and talk to him like you did. Larry would tell you he got the strategies and tactics of how to do this business, which like you said about Bobby, he was worldly. He would talk about concepts that were universal. You can certainly apply them in network marketing but you can apply them in every area of your life. They were world or global philosophies that anybody could use. He was smart and quick on his feet. He could be soft-spoken at times. Larry has some recordings that he made of Bobby, giving a presentation. It was or some sales training. I don’t know if more were made. As far as I know, personally, that’s the only recording that ever survived on Bobby Depew.

He’s working on cleaning it up because it was recorded on a bad machine. He’s got people in there trying to clean it up and make it where you can hear it. Everybody needs to hear Bobby. To me, that’s how this whole thing got started with this whole network history thing. Network marketing history is Jim Rohn talking about our shelf. I was blown away by Jim, July 15, 1978. I was a fourteen-year-old kid. I said, “He keeps talking about his mentor. If I can find him and learn from him, that’ll give me better insight into Jim’s work. Plus, I’m sure he has stuff or something to add.” I didn’t know he had died in 1965.

My search for Earl came up with all this over the past decades. People need to be able to hear. I wanted to make Earl Shoaff a real person, not a reference in Jim’s webinars and seminars. I wanted him to be real to people. Nobody knew what he looked like or sounded like. I wanted to change that. I’m glad that I made Earl real to people. I’m helping make the history of this profession real to people. Larry, through what he teaches and shares about Bobby plus with these recordings and maybe some other things he has, he can make Bobby DePew appear real to people because they need that. They need that important piece of the puzzle.

We’ll probably talk about this next episode or we might not. Who knows where we’ll go? We’ll go in a lot of directions on our next interview. I met with Bobby a number of times, but the one day that I spent about seven hours sitting in the back of Larry’s ranch out there in Hidden Valley. I remembered because there’s a famous salad dressing that comes from like down the street that I see on TV sometimes. I’m like, “I’ve been to that place.” I’ll never forget that because Sophia Loren was on one side of that estate, and the other side was Tom Selleck. We would take these three-wheeled motorcycles up into the mountains to see if we could see Sophia reading in the backyard, which we never did. We talked to Tom Selleck at one time and he was nowhere near as exciting, it seems.

You say next door, but there was a lot of land in between them.

It was 110 acres. We have a lot of fun up there. Having said that, that meeting with Bobby was amazing because you can tell how he could do it. Larry’s talked about this a lot with him. He could do Math calculations. He was a Math teacher. Every pay plan that exists to this day has Bobby’s DNA on it. I’ve constructed a few for companies that are still in business, I’m happy to say. Every one of them came for a conversation with Bobby about how Math has to work. It has to work and distributors don’t understand this at times. I don’t want to get anybody upset. It’s got to work for the company. If a company doesn’t make profits, you’re not going to be there to pay it. We mentioned some of these old companies. If they had made a profit, they might be here today.

LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society

Network Marketing Historical Society: Even if you fail miserably, the skills and the attitudes that you learned from being around the top performers will serve you in every area of your life.


Who knows? Maybe there never would have been an Amway, Herbalife or Nu Skin, if some of these other companies had done something important. Bobby understood that because he had such a business mind and a Mathematical mind. When I met with them, I said, “I see why this guy was able to do what he did because he understood.” He’s like, “Here’s a product. The company’s got to get his part. Distributors got to get its part. The taxman, rent guy, and everybody else has to get their part,” to have a functioning business. He understood those numbers well and was brilliant with them. Let’s talk about another guy that came out of that. That’s John Fleming. John is still around with us. Happy to say he still shows up on different things. Tell us about John.

He wrote the foreword to The Millionaire Training. He got his start in Bestline as well in 1969, a year after Larry did, he got in. He started with Les Brown. John Fleming, in this profession, I tell people, “Get involved in a network marketing company. Even if you fail miserably, the skills and the attitudes that you’d learn from being around these people, these top performers will serve you in every area of your life. It’s worth it to even if you can do the work and stick to the basics. You can’t fail.” That’s the bottom line. I’ve been telling people that if you bomb out completely, you’ll be better for the experience.

John Fleming took everything that he learned and was the President of Avon West. He brought the network marketing aspect to Avon. That company did extremely well. Once he retired from there, he’s become this gig economy expert. He is the go-to guy, John, and the team that he’s put together about how the gig economy works. Understanding it, deciphering it, peeling it apart and putting it back together in a way that people can understand how their business relates to the gig economy. Larry has picked that up. He and Taylor do extremely well, translating the gig economy into network marketing. John is an incredible human being, smart, talented and a good guy to know.

I’ve known John over the years. I would agree with all of that. He’s a very nice person on top of everything else. I’m glad he’s still around. Another guy who is still around is Les Brown. Talk about a powerhouse. I’ve seen Ronald Reagan live and seen some other politicians that were incredible speakers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody that gets your juice going better than Les Brown. That man could motivate the dead. I’m convinced of it. Talk about Les a little bit because Les came out of that same company. That’s amazing. All these guys were there. It’s incredible in one organization.

Without California Vitamins becoming Nutrilite. Without Nutrilite spawning AbundaVita. Without AbundaVita spawning Nutri-Bio, and all the people that came out of there. Bestline being one of them. Les Brown joined Bestline in 1972. He had gone to a hotel to meet somebody else. While he was waiting for this person to show up, he heard Bill Bailey’s voice through the wall. What Bill was saying got eccentric. He said, “I’ll peek in the door here and see what was going on.” About the time he did that, Bill was finishing up, introduced Jim Rohn, who came up on stage and totally knocked the legs out from under Les. He had never heard anything like that in his life. He joined that day because of what he heard Bill and Jim say in that meeting. He stumbled on in a hotel that he had gone to meet somebody else. Serendipity and the fates sometimes guide you in exactly where you need to be at the right time. Les has since become like the king of motivation.

I’ve listened to him as a student of motivation. I’ve also watched him as a student of public speaking. This guy, first of all, has raw talent. He has harnessed and worked on himself to where he can. He looks totally at ease whether he’s talking to one person or if you had a million people in a room, he wouldn’t be fazed. If a million people were watching him, he wouldn’t be fazed. He would still be Les. He has the crescendos, and he knows when to bring it down. He knows how to speak load and make a point, and then wrap it up to get the juices going. He’s an artist. He’s talented, smart, and got this personality that is perfect for what he does. That’s why he continues to make the impact on the world that he does and will continue.

William Penn Patrick, I don’t know a lot about him. His name has come up in conversations with Larry. It’s come up in conversation with Ron Reynolds, Charlie Rigas. Other guys that were around the industry for a long time but I don’t know much about him. Share a little bit about him if you would.

William Penn Patrick got his started Nutri-Bio with Bobby Depew and Bill Bailey. They started Holiday Magic cosmetics in 1967. With fruit-scented cosmetics. Here’s what I want to say because it needs to be said. In a lot of these companies, there were no laws. There were no guidelines. When these companies started doing what they did back in the day, they were trying to figure it out. A company has to make a profit to be able for the distributors to make money for everybody to get paid because you got to get the products made. Those people got to be paid. The people who make your boxes and your bottles, they’ve got to be paid. Everybody’s got to be paid. This thing turned a profit.

Bill Bailey and I had several talks about this. It was never coming from a place of, “What can I do to get over on everybody?” It came from a place of, “Things that haven’t been tried before. What if we did this? What if we tried this? What if we did that? Let’s see how it works.” The marketplace is the ultimate judge of what works and what doesn’t. If it works, you build on it. You grow it. You enhance it. If it doesn’t work, you scratch it off. You start over somewhere else. A lot of these things that were going on that when people see you making too much money, they come after you. They don’t like you’re making that money. You got to be doing something wrong. Crazy way of thinking but that’s the way it is. A lot of these laws that came into effect weren’t in effect when these companies got started. They were regulated out of business. They were regulated completely out because they weren’t like to buy some people. I can talk about this for days, but I’m not going to. We’re going to keep this positive.

Serendipity and the fates sometimes guide you in exactly where you need to be at the right time. Share on X

William Penn Patrick took a huge bullet with Holiday Magic. People that know about Penn Patrick and Holiday Magic are quick to assume the worst because they gloss over the supported facts that are on the internet, which are a bunch of hokey. I can tell you from personal experience. I know the stories. I know what happened. Ben Gay III knows what happened because he was the last president that Holiday Magic had. He and William Penn Patrick were like that. Ben Gay III was also a direct student of Napoleon Hill. William Penn Patrick actually hired Napoleon Hill to work with Ben Gay III in his office as president of Holiday Magic.

Imagine, you go to work every day, sitting right there beside your desk is Napoleon Hill. Right there telling you, “This is what you need to do. Let’s work on this.” Talk about direct mentorship. You can’t get more direct than 3 feet in front of your face. Ben Gay is another incredible human being. A lot of people think this whole network marketing thing got started years ago. We’re coming up on the century mark. The people who weren’t around don’t know that much about Ben Gay III, but he is still around nowadays. He is an absolute treasure trove of stories because he knew all of these people.

William Penn Patrick was fighting the good fight with Holiday Magic. I can tell you some incredible stories, some fun things that happened. Maybe we’ll get into it one day. When Bill was a pilot, he liked to fly planes. He was flying over his ranch in Colorado and San Rafael, California. It’s where it was in California, I know for sure. He lost control of the plane that crashed in, went to the mountain and killed him. After that, Holiday Magic seems to be but had he been able to live and fight, Holiday Magic would probably still be around.

What was their core product line?

Cosmetics. The story of Bill who was taking a walk one day and he passed this garage. While he was deep in thought, he started smelling these fruit scents. He turned around, looked, and went in to say what it was and it was these fruit-scented cosmetics. The company was called Zolene. They couldn’t make it work and they were going out of business. Bill bought the entire inventory, formulas, sales aides and bought everything for $12,500 in 1967. He renamed the company Holiday Magic. I don’t know how that happened. I would love to be able to find out how that name came about. That’s how that whole thing got started, with fruit-scented cosmetics.

For those of you who know network marketing is, you know the self-development space, the impact of these names, all of these guys were at one company. That’s the thing that blows me away, when I read this and all our conversations, what a talent pool. The last guy, of course, is somebody who was almost like a surrogate uncle to you, Zig Ziglar, who you knew since you were five years old. Share the story. How you do things, because it’s remarkable. He’s still remarkable. His name comes up every week on a podcast, a conference call, or a Zoom call. It’s amazing Zig’s impact. He was a Dallas boy like I currently am. I am talking about Zig, if you would because that’s a great story in itself.

Zig had a great line about Dallas, Texas. He loved it in Dallas, Texas, and he would tell people, “I’m not from here, but I got here as quick as I could.”

He made a bumper sticker with that. I hope he got royalties for his family.

Zig also got started in Nutri-Bio and knew Jim Rohn. Nutri-Bio back in those days but because Jim did well with what he learned being under the direct mentorship of Earl Shoaff and Rich Schnakenberg that when Nutri-Bio went out into Canada decided to expand internationally, they handpicked Jim Rohn to be Executive Vice President of the entire Canadian Division. That’s how that happened. Zig and Jim knew each other from those days. Jim did well to Nutri-Bio. When that company folded, he went with Holiday Magic. He was a top producer in Holiday Magic. Ben Gay III got some great stories about Zig and Holiday Magic. Another guy that came out of Holiday Magic was a man named Glenn W. Turner. The entire Koscot and Dare to Be Great. All that stuff was Glenn Turner. They all got their start in Holiday Magic. Zig did well in Holiday Magic. When that company was getting ready, what looked like all this trouble was coming. The way Ben Gay tells the story, as Zig Ziglar had decided to be Zig Ziglar at that point.

LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society

Network Marketing Historical Society: If you bomb out completely, you’ll be better for the experience.


He decided to make it more than network marketing and start focusing on the motivation and success aspect of it. Learning everything that he learned in network marketing, he started selling cookware for a company called Salad Master. That’s the same company that Bobby DePew sold cookware. They called it selling pots and pans. That’s what he did. He went door to door and built up even more sales skills, becoming the number two salesperson in the world and that entire organization. The only person that beat him was his brother Judge. If you’ve never heard of Judge Ziglar, with that dude up, he will blow socks off. Zig became the number two salesman in the entire Salad Master cookware division. Before all that happened, which gets back to the story you were talking about. In 1968, my dad and my grandpa got involved in an opportunity called Automotive Performance out of Dallas, Texas. My dad and grandpa both were car nuts. They were cars crazy.

Anything that could do to build a motor and make it go faster, enhance performance, they were all about it. When this opportunity rolled around, they sold a kit that you could put in the hood of your car back in those days. You didn’t have all the emission stuff. You had the engine sitting there and you had all kinds of room around the motor. You could put this contraption down in there that was the first ethanol-type product. There was in this jar, it would get siphoned into your carburetor. Give you an extra boost to give you better performance. They had built an entire opportunity around that my dad, my grandpa got started with that in 1968.

Zig was the corporate trainer in that company. Once they got introduced to Zig Ziglar, the wheels came off. They went nuts with this thing. They found a business that they loved with a product that they love because they were already car people. They went nuts on this thing. They’ve built the largest organization, the entire southeast. Because of that, Zig would fly over from Dallas, Texas and do special training for my dad and grandpa’s group, which would be quite sizable at that time. I first heard it was five years old in 1968. That’s how I first got a hold of Zig Ziglar.

I’ve still got the records over here in this cabinet that my dad and grandpa both played. One was the automotive performance opportunity, which talked a little bit more about what you could do in the business and how to apply what you learned. The other one was a record called Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles which eventually became See You At The Top. Those records were played constantly in my house. That got to when you’re five years old, a kid, you hear something on TV, over and over, commercial, you start repeating it. Here’s something on the radio over and over, you’re a kid you start repeating it. With these records being played almost nonstop. Being a five-year-old kid, I started repeating what I heard on the records, not even realizing. I go around and start saying all this stuff. Pretty soon, my dad and grandpa thought it was the neatest thing in the world. It wasn’t long before they wouldn’t have meetings out in the garage of our house that we had. They would invite people over.

When this thing first got started, they would get me up in front of the room to give little Zig talks to people. That five-year-old kid, my grandpa, would say, “Tell him what Zig has to say about this,” and I’m fired off. My dad would say, “What about this?” I’m fired off. It was a neat little recruiting tool to use a five-year-old kid that gives Zig talks. People started bringing their kids to the opportunity meetings because of that, and it got bigger and bigger. They started having them in hotels and things like that. They came into my life when I was five years old because of that. I got to meet him when I was five. My mother and dad passed away years ago but I’m going through all her stuff.

Somewhere, there is a black and white photo, when Zig came to training here in Atlanta, where he’s down on one knee, shaking my hand. I’m a little five-year-old kid. I can’t get the picture out of my head on the screen or I would but I know what the picture looks like because I’ve seen it. I was there. I’ve got to find that picture that you talked about a key moment, that’s it. Zig sowing his thoughts and his philosophies into me at five years old. It changed my mind and changed my entire life. I shudder to think where I would be or who is going to be, had I not been around the people that I’ve been around my entire life because of what got started when I was five.

To have known Zig and some of these other people, what a privilege. The guy we’re going to talk about next to summarize this interview. 1968 is an interesting year in the history of network marketing. There are many things that you referenced and many things we probably don’t even have time to reference that happened, including that the dissent decree of 1979. I was in high school. We have a mutual friend, a mentor and a buddy, Larry. We are friends. I mean, we do other things besides talk about network marketing. Larry is somebody that’s up on what’s going on in the world. You’d have a conversation with Larry about stuff besides network marketing, and he’s been a real good friend to me through the years.

We’ve been there for each other through a lot of personal stuff as well as business stuff. I met Larry in 1983. I started a business on April 18, 1983. On May 18, 1983, I graduated college. When I graduated college, Ronald Reagan spoke at my college commencement. It’s funny because I was an avowed socialist at that time. I thought that he was terrible. He had broken the air traffic controller’s union and all that stuff. I didn’t want to go to my college commencement and my father, who was a union guy said, “You’re going to go. We spent the money. You’ve got these loans. One way or another, you’re going. I don’t care whether he’s there or not. You don’t have to listen to him. We’re going to go.” We went. I used to talk about the guys that used to fold their arms and with all the answers and no money, that was me.

I started at the back of my chair. I’m not exaggerating. By the end of Reagan’s probably his first paragraph, when he talked about leadership, mentorship, freedom, and what made America unique in the rest of the world, I was up at the top of my chair. He talked about, “If you’re going to be successful in life, you find a mentor. You find somebody who can teach you what it is that you want to know once you have an interest.” Maybe you have no interest. You can be mentored by Tom Brady. He can teach you how to throw a football but if you want to play the violin, it’s probably not going to do you a lot of good. Anyway, President Reagan, my opinion our greatest president to date in my lifetime. I don’t want to get political. Reagan talked about finding a mentor.

The marketplace is the ultimate judge of what works and what doesn't. Share on X

Find somebody who can teach you what you want to know. Thirty days later, I wind up in Hartford, Connecticut myself, my upline Tommy Husted and a girl I was dating at the time, and three other guys who were also my first three distributors. We go up there and this broken-down station wagon. Do you remember the cars we had the hole in the floor? When you throw a penny through it to see if you see the road go by? That was what we drove to Hartford. The six of us shared a room. We were kids. We were still getting out of college and nobody’s got any money. Six people in one bedroom. With all the sports I was into, I was always living out of a duffel bag. I was fine with it. I don’t know how many other people were.

It was an interesting weekend. I’ll never forget. There were about 1,000 people at this event in Hartford. All of a sudden, this rolling smoke comes up like they have in Vegas. I swear to God, I’ve told Taylor and Leah, Larry’s oldest daughter, this many times when they’re introducing this guy. I’m about in the fourth row somehow. I don’t know how I got up close. I felt like we were in Vegas and that Elvis was coming on stage. Larry comes out. He’s in great shape. He’s still in great shape, by the way, for 70 plus years old almost. He comes out as big as his life and he’s ripping it. He says one thing that I can quote in my sleep. It came from Jim that was, “For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better.” I had never heard in my life that messages from anybody because I was always, “Told the government was no good. Taxes are too high. This and that.” All the excuses.

All of a sudden, I’ve got this idea of mentorship from President Reagan. I’ve got 60-day experience in the company. I make some money. I made $100 the first month. I got some success. Part-time. I’m working in a health club while I’m getting out of college. I’ve got people that I know through sports and stuff. I’m selling products every day. I don’t know about recruiting. I recruited some guys but I mean, at the end of the day, my money was retail, wholesale. It was real money. It was money made from selling products.

I lost about 15 pounds on the product, too. I like that. My energy then was up and everything was going well. I go to this meeting, and this guy comes out. I got Larry at another level that I had grown up in the construction world. My father, uncles, grandfather were union electricians. We knew what hard work was. I would spend my summers and normally my Christmas breaks from school as an electrical helper. I knew what hard work was. I know we’re carrying pipe up for five flights of stairs, putting it on your shoulder and getting it up there, etc.

When Larry came out and sharing this long-haired hippie construction worker, I didn’t get that part. I was too young for that. I missed the ‘60s. I shake his hand after the meeting. I said, “This boy has got some calluses. This guy’s done some real work in his life.” He’s not a guy with a nice suede shoe salesman in a nice suit and tie. Let me know how to dress. Certainly, a lot better than I ever have. Anyway, I liked the guy. He resonated with me. The message and philosophy resonated with me. I was not successful with that company. I made some money. Some things happened with the FDA down the road. I never made any money but the message stayed with me permanently. When I was ready a few years later, that message and that training are what I started my first company with. I became the number one distributor quickly. One thing then led to another and here I am years later, but it was that message. You’ve got your own Larry Thompson story. We’re going to have Larry on with us discussing 1968 and going full weight.

That’s going to be something else who knows where that’s going to end up going? Get the three of us together. Larry and I have a lot of similarities. Larry got started on May 4, 1968. A friend of his named Mike Fuller called him up. Later, Larry found out that he was the absolute last guy that Mike called. Mike had gone through everybody on his list, but his sponsor was in town. Larry Huff was his name and he was in town and told Mike Fuller, “You bring somebody to this meeting.” He had gone through and exhausted everybody that he knew. In a last-ditch effort right before the meeting was getting ready to get going, he called Larry and said, “Let me call you right back.” He had to sit and get his hair going. He called him back and said, “Let’s go.” They picked him up and put on his best hippie beads. He walked into the room with his long hair and his long beard like ZZ Top. He said people walked into the room, and they thought they were hallucinating. Back then, you didn’t see people like him in a business meeting.

He sat down. He’d never been to a hotel in his life before that. He said that’s one of the main reasons that he went. Not so much for the business meeting, just so he could go into a hotel that he passed all the time and get to see what it looked like inside. He sits down and everybody leaves, scoots over this and that way. He sits there and listens. Bobby Depew comes out and talks. It was Bobby’s meeting. Bill Bailey comes out and talks. They share this message of what the company is and what you can learn. Bobby laid something on Larry that Larry still talks about with us. That is the perfect summation of managing expectations for anybody who gets started.

Bobby, after he laid out everything that had happened with him, all these distributors got up and talked about what had happened to them. Bobby said, “If only 10% happens for you, that happened for us, it will be the greatest thing that ever happened to you.” Larry said that struck a chord with him. Larry Huff is the guy who was Mike Fuller’s sponsor. After it’s all over and done with, Mike comes walking up to Larry and Larry Huff is right behind him. Larry Huff is the one that looked at Larry Thompson and said, “You don’t want to do this, do you?” Shaking his head back and forth. Larry said, “Yes, I do.” Thank goodness he said yes that day. I need to ask Larry about this. I don’t know what happened to Mike Fuller. I don’t know if he became successful or dropped out. Every time we talk about things, we always go off on these avenues and I forget to talk about what I meant to talk about. Mike Fuller is one of them.

Bobby Depew saw something in Larry. That meeting, that night was Jim Rohn. Jim Rohn had been invited by Bobby Depew. They had all this history together with a Nutri-Bio, and when Bestline rolled around, they had been keeping in touch. Jim had been looking for things to do and not sure how to put his talents to work but knowing that he wanted to. He finally accepted Bobby’s invitation to come to the meeting that night. It’s interesting when you look back at how all of this came to be. What if you could be in a time machine, go back, sit in a corner and watch Larry Thompson and Jim Rohn walk in, watch these two notice each other and meet each other for the first time and think of everything that has come out of all that? That would be one of the neatest moments that you could ever go to see that happen. Larry made several $100 within a couple of weeks and he was on fire about this thing and the rest is history.

LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society

Network Marketing Historical Society: If it works, you build on it, you grow on it, and you enhance it. If it doesn’t work, you scratch it off and start over somewhere else.


That’s why at the end of that introduction, I say we’re all part of California Vitamins all the way down. Everything that got poured into those guys that they poured into Larry is what The Millionaire Training was. Larry was 35 years old when he hit that stage at the Bonaventure hotel in February of 1981. Everything that had been poured into him is what he poured out. He put his own little spin on things, his little nuances to it but it’s the basic things that he learned from Bobby and Jim directly and everything that they had learned from everybody else.

As far as Larry is concerned, about three months later, on Friday, May 1, 1981, I was working at a corner gas station. If you know anything about Atlanta at all, there’s a big mall here called Cumberland Mall. Right across the street from Cumberland mall used to be a Chevron station owned by Jim and Tony Little. I worked for them. I would do oil changes and things like that, pump gas and did all that stuff. I was trying to find something to do. This lady comes up and to this day, I’m unable to find out who she is. I haven’t been able to ask Tish, but I’m going to. Her name was either Margaret, Marge, or Marjorie.

She came up in her station wagon and went up to Tony Little and said, “I’ve got these products that I’m trying to sell, do you mind if I pull my car over here in the corner of the parking lot and try to sell some of these products?” He said, “Sure, no problem at all.” She goes over there and sets out these little canisters on the tailgate. Put some signage up, homemade signs. I was watching her for a couple of hours. I thought on my lunch break, “I’ll go over and see what this is all about,” and I did. She told me about the company and the products. At that time, they had that a few vitamins. She said, “If you sign up as a distributor, you get 25% off. If you think this is something that you would like to learn more about, we have a training tomorrow.” This was Friday, so tomorrow would have been the Saturday training. I said, “Give me the kit here. Give me the whole thing.” I signed up, got the whole thing, took it home, drank the shake, it was pretty good. Took the other tablets and started feeling better. I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this.”

I go to the meeting, remembering everything that I had learned from my dad and my grandpa all these years ago. I’m seventeen years old at this point. I met Zig when I was five, I met Jim Rohn when I was fourteen. Three years later, I was seventeen years old looking for a place to put this to work. At that meeting was the first time I ever heard the name, Larry Thompson. I found out that I was in his downline and Tish Rochin’s downline. Millionaire Training had just come out. It had been recorded three months before and they were blasting these cassettes out to the field. I always tell Larry, “I apologize, but the first time I ever heard you, it was a copy of Millionaire Training on a Memorex cassette tape.” They couldn’t get them out quick enough, people were making copies, crappy copies, too. You could hear it, but it sounded horrible. You can get the gist of what was being said.

I know you and I both, and all of us have worn out how many sets of cassette player tapes over the years. I would play them until the brown was gone off the tape and then you’d started on another one. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Larry’s name. About a year later at a supervisor school, when I met him for the first time. Another thing of major influence in my life, Zig Ziglar other than my dad and my grandpa, and then Jim Rohn at fourteen and meeting Larry when I was eighteen. Those three things set me on the path. I shudder to think where I would be now had those men and their ideas, messages, enthusiasm and outlook. If that had not come into my life, I shudder to think where I would be. I’m sure you do too. 

In 1983, I was at a weird point, I was graduating college. We’re coming off the Carter years. Reagan was still making the economy eventually recovered. It was still a mess. You’d go out for a job interview and people would say, “You’re a kid, you don’t know anything, you got no real experience.” I was selling health club memberships and got a little bit of money with that but that wasn’t a career and that wasn’t something I wanted to do. I worked hard to go to college. I spent a lot of time, money and I was a good student. I graduated with honors from college but there was nothing there.

I was thinking to go into Marine Corps. I had the option to go into Marine Corps. In the same week that I was talking to the Marine Corps recruiter, I was down in Virginia. I was at a Sambo wrestling tournament. It’s a combination of freestyle wrestling in judo and I did both sports. That’s my first Sambo tournament, not to be confused with Samba dancing people, I’m a lousy dancer that day. One of the fellows I competed against had been in the Marine Corps for many years and he was also a recruiter. He gave me the Marine Corps layout. My dad didn’t serve but all my uncles had mostly in World War II and my one uncle in Korea got the Purple Heart for getting shot. I came from a long line of military people on that side, my mother’s side is the same thing. All career officers, Coast Guard.

I like the idea and I like the discipline. I was thinking I’m going in there. Ironically, it was about three days later. It was a Wednesday because I got back on Sunday. I got to untie on top of it because we borrowed geese, believe it or not, that’s a story in itself. I got sick as a dog with a skin rash. I had to go to the doctor. It was Wednesday, Tommy, who stayed come to my office. I was working for getting Dave Schultz. Dave Schultz was a world-class wrestler. He tied the great Dan Gable. Heck of an athlete himself. I’m working for Dave and Tommy comes in, he was a two-time New Jersey State wrestling champ.

I had great respect for these guys. They were both legends in the sport that I still love. Tommy comes in and he started telling me, “For $32, you can join this thing. I’m thinking, “Start a business as opposed to going into Marine Corps. What sounds easier?” That’s the day and I gave Tommy a check for $32 on the spot. I said, “Can you hold the check until Friday?” I didn’t tell what Friday. I just put Friday on the check. We still laugh about it. We’re still good buddies. He lives over in Thailand now, but we laugh about that hot check that I gave. There’s no way in the world that I had $32 in my checking account.

If you don't ask good questions, nothing's going to come of it. Share on X

To your point, those things happened for a reason in my life. I wind up, 60 days later, going and meeting Larry and hearing him. I was nobody and I was a kid. Because I was a big guy, I always had a way to get through a crowd. Afterward, there’s a bunch of people standing around. They used to put the product out so you can take as many handfuls of the product as you want at these meetings. I wound up there. Here comes Larry Thompson and I’m like, “I can make a beeline for this guy.” I’m not going to knock anybody over, but I want to meet this guy. I want to make sure he’s as real as he seemed on the stage. He was real, as personable, as down to earth and aggressive. He won’t get where he was even at that point in his career without being aggressive and know what you’re doing, but I liked him. I liked the company. I liked Mark when I met him as well. They’re both real and most of the people in our industry are real. The real ones are real, let’s put it that way, but I had so much fun with it.

We had so much fun since we’ve done all sorts of things together, ballgames and I don’t know how many lunches and breakfasts we’ve eaten together but a ton over the years. We’ve kept restaurants in business here in Dallas over the years. He’s a great guy and he’s a great friend. He’s been a blessing to my life. Sometimes when you are in the self-development world, which is what you’re in, I’m in, and Larry’s in, to that paraphrase, “This is a self-development business with a pay plan. It is the product and a pay plan. You go down that road and things happen in your life is when you recognize the value of what people say.

My oldest daughter, who is 26 in 2021. Thank God she’s doing well, so I can tell this story. She got herself in some trouble a couple of years ago and changed her life since. I’m so proud of her. I’ll backtrack. We were at an event with Bill Bartmann and Robert Kiyosaki years ago here in Dallas. Kimmy was probably ten years old. She’s short. Larry, I, and Kimmy went to this thing. I brought Kimmy because I wanted her to be around the influence of major people. Kiyosaki is a great person. Bill Bartmann passed away, unfortunately. They are not network marketing people, but they’re closely aligned.

We went to this thing. I’ll tell you the kind of guy Larry is, “He’s like there’s no way in the world this kid’s going to be able to see back here. He walks to the front of the room, grabs a chair, sticks my daughter in that chair, and says, “Sit here kid,” right in front of the stage. During the day, Kim Kiyosaki comes out to speak and he sees this little kid. Stuart Johnson has something to do with that event. I might be wrong about that. I forget who sponsored it. My daughter winds up in the front row and Kim notices her.

We go to the after-party event that night, and Kim notices her again comes up to me and says, “Do you mind if I borrow your daughter?” “Sure.” My daughter spends the night hanging out with Kim and Robert Kiyosaki sitting up there. I’m sitting back with Larry and we’re sitting back in the back rowWe’re back there, sitting next to each other and there’s my kid. She’s upfront with Kim Kiyosaki and Robert Kiyosaki. It was an amazing experience but that was Larry. He’s proactive. He said, “There’s no way this kid will enjoy this or hear anything of value back here. We’re taking her to the front.” I admire that about him because that’s the kind of guy he is.

When my daughter got a little bit of a problem couple of years ago. Thank God, it’s resolved so I can share this story. It’s been God’s blessing in her life and she’s doing amazing things. What’s funny is when she was getting out of the rehab that she was in, she looked at me, I looked at her and she said, “I know what you’re going to say, dad. Day at a time, brick at a time and process by process is how we’re going to beat this thing. That isn’t multi-level, It’s much bigger. Multi-level is a business. That’s life.”

I call Larry on the way home. I was in tears. I must have heard Larry say that 100 times if I heard him say it once. It goes back to the construction business. How do you build a building? Day at a time, brick at a time, process by process. That resonated and carried over to something so much more important than just sponsoring another distributor, building another team, gaining another rank or getting another recognition at your company event. Those are all important but nowhere near as important as the impact that statement had in her progression of the rest of her life. I got to let you have the last word. I know you certainly have one as well.

To build on what you talked about and what I alluded to is I tell people get going in a network marketing business because of the life skills you will learn, not just about business but about life. These universal life tools, life skills, attitudes and ideas will change your life. That sounds hokey when you say that. “This will change your life. That’ll change your life.” People use it so much. It doesn’t have the impact that it should. I tell people, “Even if you completely bombed out and never make a dime, you will walk away a better person from being exposed to these ideas.” That’s what it is.

I hear stories like what you shared all the time, especially when it comes to what Larry has taught us. Larry’s DNA is all over this profession. People who don’t even know they had been mentored indirectly by Larry. Those of us who know him and can call him a friend as well and a mentor get to see a bigger picture of Larry than a lot of people get to see. Larry is the real deal. That is why I’m so excited about next time because it’s going to be three of us. I guarantee you we’re all going to feed off of each other. You’re going to say something and Larry is going to have something and then I’ll say something. It’ll be like this round-robin thing. It’s going to be so exciting.

LNC 25 | Network Marketing Historical Society

Network Marketing Historical Society: Distributors, the taxman, the rent guy, and everybody else has to get their part to have a functioning business.


What creates a great conversation are great questions like the questions you’ve asked me, which were incredible and that got me going. If you don’t ask good questions, nothing’s going to come of it. The things that the three of us know, the questions that we can ask each other, directly and about and of each other, are going to make the next show one for the books. It’s going to be something incredible. I can’t wait to be a part of it. I would sit over in the corner and let Larry and you go. Like you said, “The real people are real.” I can’t thank you enough for having me on and for letting me share some of the histories of this profession that I love so much. I have a passion for it. I can’t not do it. It seems like every day I’m thinking of some aspect of it, how to capture it, how to display it, how to teach it, how to share it with people in a meaningful way. I appreciate you and for allowing me to come on, especially for two episodes in a row and then next time, the wheels are going to come off. It’s going to be so much fun. I can’t wait.

The other thing is, I want to interview Ben Gay III with you too.

I’ll get a hold of Ben. I think they’ll do that.

Larry and Ben are icons. Thank God they both have nice long lives and they have so much of history. People must get not only these guys’ impact but the history lessons that they can share. Honestly, I’m going to be sending this. I’m going to send this to my company owner to say, “You’re 42 years old, and you’re doing amazing stuff, but I want you to be here when I’m pushing up daisies. I want this company to still be here for my legacy but more than that, learn from the mistakes that some of these guys made. You talked about Nutri-Bio. That company could have been Amway or Herbalife easily with that level of talent.

When the Nutri-Bio got going, the newspapers called them a national mania. Because they were outselling Nutrilite, Abundavita and Shaklee, all of them combined. They were outselling and growing people. They were up to 115,000 distributors before you could bat your eye. We’re talking about the late ‘50s and a whole deal here. The whole thing I wish we could get into how Nutri-Bio folded in that whole deal. It’s was crazy. I’m proud to be from Atlanta, but sometimes I hear some things about Atlanta that make me quit and made me cringe. When Rich Schnackenberg told me that the beginning of the fall of Nutri-Bio started in Atlanta because the FDA had snuck agents into a meeting. He had a wheelchair off to the side of the stage. All he said at that meeting was, “Since I’ve been on these products, I don’t need that wheelchair anymore.” That’s all he said.

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The FDA shut the meeting down, confiscated all the products and said, “You’ve mislabeled it.” That was the beginning of the end and they did this whole smear campaign. Have you ever seen the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dreams? Tucker created the car in 1948 called the Tucker Torpedo. Find that movie. Jeff Bridges is the star of that movie. When you watch that movie and anybody else who watches that movie will be able to have a comprehensive discussion on how Nutri-Bio got railroaded. The same way Preston Tucker got railroaded by the governor.

It was a whole complete thing. After Nutri-Bio was shut down, Rich didn’t want to give up or want to completely out of the supplement business with just fine. Earl and Jim Rohn were going to start their own company called Biolite and they got shut down before they could ever get the thing off the ground. Death threats, people calling and threatening their lives they say, “We know when your kids go to school. You’re not going to launch this thing.” Erring on the side of caution, they stopped, got nasty. Watch that movie and you’ll get an understanding of what happened to Nutri-Bio.

This has been amazing. I’m looking forward to next time. It’ll be a lot of fun. I want to thank you for the insights. The name of my books that I’ve written Leave Nothing to Chance. It’s available on Amazon as we speak digital, Spanish as well, and a hard copy. 2020’s book, Amazon best sellers Moving Up: 2020 that’s still available as well if you haven’t read it. It got a lot of concepts in it that you can share with your team. I want to thank everybody. Keep reading these shows. This is becoming a living classroom of network marketing. Ron Henley, my friend, I want to thank you again for incredible insights, information, knowledge and be the living history of our industry. Thank you again for everything that you do.

My great pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Thank you.

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About Ron Henley

LNC 24 | Network MarketingRon 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.